February 2015

Relentless: The Blog

Gray Matter

 

We humans can be a stubborn, judgmental bunch. For my emotional and energetic health I avoid immersing myself in the comings and goings of the latest news, but I do glean headlines or bits of info as I use the internet and I gotta say it is a mind blowing experience.

 

Vaccines, deadly or miracle? American Sniper, coward or USA hero? Bill Cosby, predator or comedic philanthropist? President Obama, the worst or best to hold the presidency? It seems everyone chooses a side and proceeds to sling verbal assaults back and forth. Each side is is so sure that their interpretation is of the utmost truth that they fight as though their life depends on it. The thing I find most amazing is that often times the debate is about people that we as the public have never met, yet some of us take on the role of character witness as we praise or blast another's reputation. Many also don the expertise hat for issues that they are minimally educated in or are only versed in the one perspective of a situation. It's reminiscent of preschool behavior when the only way we were capable of interpreting the world was to call things "good" or bad", lacking the brain development and worldliness to understand that there are various stages in between those two points.

 

This system of operations allows us to feel safer as we attempt to provide rigid structure to a fluid world. I'm no exception, I've played the game of "Is it Black or White?" as well. As I make attempts to not always be led by my ego I've taken a new perspective and I am now searching for the shades of gray. If we're honest, most times "the truth" lies somewhere in between what each side believes to be facts. If we swallow a chill pill and listen to what "the other side" is saying, we might find they have some valid points. Part of me hates that and I know you do too, but if we are to have hope of self growth and awareness it behooves us to act like the adults that we are and open our mind to the notion that there is more to a person or situation than one individual is capable of seeing.

 

When a celebrity is in the headlines for some questionable behavior there are those that proclaim only the saintliness of that person, while others clamor to make clear their absolute evil. Well, it's been my human experience that both exist within each and every one of us and maybe that is a great place to start, stop judging yourself and embrace the fact that you too are part of that gray area. No one and nothing can be oversimplified to a category of good or bad. In the debate regarding Bill Cosby for example, it's possible to be a serial rapist (If he indeed has committed the accused acts.) that has brought joy and generosity to millions, one doesn't negate the other. That notion is difficult for us to wrap our brains around, it makes the world about us seem less sure and predictable. But if we can embrace that dichotomy within ourselves, we can begin to offer other people and situations the same.

 

This is where our preschool self can be of assistance as we tap into our imagination. When you find yourself firmly cemented in a belief structure,imagine what might be the upside or benefits to someone or something that is in complete disagreement with your take. Or, imagine the possibilities that lie in between points "A" and "Z".This doesn't mean denying the parts you find disturbing or unpleasant, but instead is an exercise in expanding our perspectives and attempting to see a larger picture of which we are all a part.

 

What I suggest is a challenge I know, and one that our ego and sense of righteousness will fight tooth nail. But if we are only brave enough to briefly step out of our cocooned existence we might find within us, and our world at large, the space and a place for greater compassion.

 

Be well and happy.

February 2, 2015

Why Me?

 

That was the question a family member lamented as they struggled to cope with a challenge that was facing them. I noticed that this person used this phrase often when facing one of life's difficulties and gently made them aware of my observation. For their part, they were oblivious to the fact that it had become their go-to when feeling overwhelmed with some form of dilemma.

 

Of course many times the retort to that particular question is, "Why not?" I believe that statement holds some value if people take the time to explore it further, but most often once uttered the phrase shuts people down and off to the opportunity to explore insights being offered. Many times it's shared in the context of "stop feeling sorry for yourself" and it is actually a way of victimizing another by not allowing them to openly express and examine their feelings.

 

In looking at the question a bit deeper, "Why not?" begs us to examine our beliefs behind why something unpleasant is occurring to us. I've observed that there's a mentality in our society that says "if you're a good person then it's not fair if something bad happens in your life". So many times people utter, "He/she is such a good person. They didn't deserve that!" as if there is some tally system that measures the distribution of disturbing events in a person's life based on their worthiness, or lack of. That type of convoluted structure always keeps us hopping, trying to act from a place of societal morality instead of our souls' truth, and leaves many opportunities to fall short of expectations. A "good person" has a lot of variables that is based in the eyes of many observers and once again keeps us a victim, this time to a larger measuring system or greater power.

 

Simply asking, "Why me?" also puts us in the victim mindset if we stop at simply posing the question. Once in that mindset we feel impotent in whatever situation is presenting itself to us. We remain powerless. But if we ask this same question with the intention of understanding and looking for an answer, that my friends is genius! So, it's not in asking the question that we often err, it's in not searching for its answer that we fall short.

 

What I suggest is that instead of offering the snarky response of, "Why not?" when another is in the throws of self pity, we encourage them to dig further in order that they may find the answer to the question they pose. On looking back, perhaps there were steps they could have taken to avoid the creation of what is now happening in their life. Or, what are you now forced to understand or do because this situation is impacting your days? Nothing in our lives is meant as a form of punishment, ever. Sometimes the gift can be clearly and instantly gleaned, in other instances it make take years of digging to fully unearth the many layers of growth and insight being offered.

 

I did just that with my family member and what we discovered was that there were themes being offered to them in the guise of an upsetting event. What we found were universal truths such as, "Always listen to your inner voice, no matter what those around you are doing. Remain true to yourself." Also taken out of this particular instance was how this individual had a hand in the creation of what they were now facing. Taking the time to understand what is being gifted to us in the moment puts us right back in the seat of power and creation, as we were always intended to be.

 

Be well and happy.

February 16, 2015

Intuition 101

 

Being in the role of an intuitive guide has left me in a position to answer others' questions many times over about what they believe to be the elusiveness of intuition. I must admit that for me, explaining intuition is much more baffling than utilizing it. You might as well ask me how I got my eyes to

be their color, as my intuition has been my guiding force my entire life. I never had to learn what it was or how to listen to it, it was simply a part of me and fortunately for me its voice was louder than the people in my world. It was, and is, a part of you all as well. Each one of us possesses intuitive abilities but many have not been supported in utilizing its intelligence by those that surrounded us as children. Left untapped, our intuition does not remain mute but instead we simply become deaf to it.

 

What is our intuition? The simplest definition is to say that it is that part of you, your higher self, that possesses an unadulterated connection to the universal force. It is your best friend. Intuition has no hidden agenda and is only and always interested in your highest good. Sounds like a a great tool to include in our arsenal, right? Then why are people so afraid of it? As strange as it sounds, simply because it does only have our best interests at heart.

 

Our intuition isn't invested in what others will think of the information it shares or the human dramas of our world that might play out as a result, that's the mind's realm of expertise. The intuition's role is simply to guide us with knowledge that will keep us on the trail of our soul's intent and authentic expression. Our intuition provides us with guidance at lightning speed and just as quickly the mind is there to question and dissect the information. Both have intentions of supporting us, but the mind's input is often based in fear and protecting us from possible or perceived threats; it constricts us on many levels. Our intuition simply trusts and encourages our expansion.

 

Many then wonder, "How do I know if it's my intuition or my mind?" As I mentioned above, intuition is instantaneous and doesn't require contemplation on your part. Ask a question and boom, there's your answer. If you have to pause and ponder for too long, trying to figure it out, then you are utilizing your mind to guide you. The mind, for its part, will not go quietly by the wayside. It too has great agility and will be right on the heels of intuition to tell you what is faulty about the intuitive input. In a heartbeat, it will give you a list of fears and limits as to why you should disregard the voice of intuition. This is where many get tripped up and bounce back and forth between the two, ultimately getting frustrated and remaining stagnant in their life and often true to the preachings of their mind.

 

Many times people begin to call on their intuition for the big questions in life: Should I move across the country? Should I have another child? Should I end my relationship with Betsy? Should I leave my job? While our intuition will happily guide us in these matters, I suggest that baby steps are in order. Suddenly attempting to  rely on your intuition for issues that pack a boatload of potential emotions isn't the way to reintroduce yourself to your BFF. Call in the assistance of your intuition for the small things in life, those that won't send your fear factor into orbit. Things such as, "What color shirt should I wear today?" or, "What should I eat for breakfast?" The first thing you notice echoing its way into your awareness is what you should follow. If you hear the word "red" when asking about your shirt, then by golly throw a red shirt on, knowing that its vibrational color is resonating with your needs and your soul for that day. What this simple exercise allows you to do is to begin to trust in yourself again, tossing the programmed doubts and fears to the side.

 

Next, it's important to practice; every day, for months. Yes, we all hate the concept that something might take effort on our part, but not consciously utilizing your intuition hasn't left it weak, but rather the radar to receive its signal has has become faded. That radar is a muscle of sorts that requires us to use it in order for it to gain strength. Through practice we develop a relationship with our higher selves and begin to know and sense the qualities of its voice versus the mind's, just like you would the voice of a loved one compared to that of a stranger.

 

It's important to understand how your intuition speaks to you. One of the fastest ways to squelch the voice of your intuition is to try to experience it the way others might. Some folks may receiver pictures in their mind's eye (clairvoyance), others may hear a voice that is distinct from their own thoughts (clairaudience), some may have the ability to sense the emotions and psyche of others (clairsentient) and many will simply have what is described as a knowing- the sense that the information that has been provided to them is grounded in an unwavering truth (claircognizant).

 

If you find yourself repeating common phrases such as, "I just knew it..." , "I saw that coming...", "I just heard this little voice say..." , or "I just felt it wasn't right..." then you have a clue as to how your intuition communicates with you for each is an expression of one of the "clairs" I mentioned above. There are those that will possess all of the "clairs". The key is to not worry about others' methods of perception, instead focus only on how you receive communications.

 

Our imagination is another effective tool for discerning whether or not the input we're getting is sourced in intuition or the trappings of our mind. Call into your awareness a situation or event that you feel is causing you unrest. Pretend I'm sitting across from you and ask, "For you, what is the perfect ending of this situation?" There are no limits, no repercussions. What is it that first grabs your attention? How do you feel as you watch it expand in your imaginings? Trust, a key component to using your intuition, in what was presented to you. Don't allow your mind to begin its analysis, simply take what was shared and travel to the land where there are no mistakes or judgments, only possibilities. This place exists only to permit you to experience your true self. Allow the seed of the guidance to play out in your imagination. As you watch the scene unfold, do you feel alive, expansive and full of wonder?

Or, do you feel no true connection to what's playing out before you and sense a void? If you feel drawn to the sights that play out before you, then its worth exploring them further as they could be key to your growth and path.

 

I'm not referring to impulsive action, I saw a vision of myself as an astronaut and so I quit my job as a janitor the next day, what I'm referencing is an openness to what was offered. Revisit the scene and the issue, each time tapping into how you feel as you allow your imagination to flow. Remember, just because our intuition might make us aware of something for our highest good does not mean it won't require effort and awareness on our part or have potential consequences in our human drama, but even those consequences offer us an opportunity for continued growth and insight that can lead us to our truth. It's okay to ponder and peruse your intuitive guidance as you become reacquainted with the relationship and gradually incorporate that which is making itself known to you.

 

Most times your intuition will guide you with a gentle pull or nudge. If phrases, thoughts or situations continue to manifest in your life, that is your intuition gently steering you to explore the lessons or message behind what is presenting itself. Instead of chalking it up to coincidence, pause to reflect what you sense is being gifted to you. Sometimes your intuition will give you what might feel like a jolt and that is often when you are in immediate danger. That is the one time I recommend you do not disregard or take too long to wonder about what you just received, simply listen. Our mind can sometimes talk us out of such "hits" because the person or situation before us shows no obvious threats to us and we don't want to appear paranoid or odd. You don't have to be rude if you're dealing with another person, but you can gently and mindfully remove yourself from another person's physicality or take the extra time necessary to be sure the environment around you is safe.

 

Finally, your intuition will not leave you with a lingering and open threat that causes you great angst. I will use myself as an example in this instance because I believe it is a perfect fit for what I'm trying to convey.

 

Ever since I was a little girl I've had a recurring thought  that I was going to die of breast cancer. I took this to mean my intuition was giving me a prediction of sorts and spent a lot of time throughout my life fretting over my fate. My external world seemed to reflect my fear as I watched family members get diagnosed with breast cancer and one die from the disease. Numerous times in my adulthood I was sent for varying scans of "suspicious" findings in my breast, the doctors always reinforcing that my chances of getting breast cancer was significant due to the familial history. Of course, each and every time these incidents only fed my panic and paranoia until...

 

I asked a question I had asked many times before, but this time I actually listened to the answer instead of jumping into fear. The question, "Why would my intuition make me aware of this information, causing me to suffer for all these years of my life?" The answer was really quite simple, "It wouldn't." It hit me like a ton of bricks, I had forgotten what I knew to be true of my dear friend, my intuition would never intentionally cause me harm and suffering. My intuition had literally saved my life as a child, there is no way it would now turn the tables on me in some sick universal twist. So what was the point of this recurring theme in my life?

 

Once I took in that my intuition was not handing me a diagnosis, I knew that what it was asking me to do was explore the underlying factors that I had linked to the issue of breast cancer. As I began another layer in my personal journey I understood what thoughts, past experiences and emotions had culminated in my mind as breast cancer. As I dealt with the tangled web I had woven, I lost my connection to breast cancer but a gained a deeper one with myself.

 

The time and effort you choose to invest in your intuitive abilities will pay off tenfold. Once rekindled and nurtured, the relationship with your intuitive self will continue to blossom and become the well trusted comrade it was intended to be.

 

Be well and happy.

February 9, 2015

Unplugged

 

I'm not about to tell you anything you haven't heard already, this I understand. Nevertheless, one thing I have come to know is that we as humans require repetition of information if we are to incorporate it and embody the new. Most especially, it is the teachings that are of greatest benefit to our health and healing that need to make their way across our line of vision often as those are the ones most easily forgotten and tossed aside.

 

Recently I did a check-in with my body to assess the type of exercise it needed for the day. "A walk," was my body's response. My mind put up a quick defense, "But it's cold outside." My body stuck to its guns and so I acquiesced, bundling up for the great outdoors with iPhone in tow so that I might listen to some music as I faced the elements.

 

I thoroughly enjoy being transported by the tunes that I've chosen to be part of my musical library, yet as I listened to the first song that blasted through the ear buds I realized that today I was being guided to unplug and connect instead to nature and my surroundings. Always the obliging student (wink, wink), I hit mute and allowed myself to be led to where, I wasn't quite sure.

 

Soon enough I discovered that nature and our Earthly surroundings are wise teachers, and those lessons would have been lost to me if I had continued with my previous limited input that technology was offering by means of my phone. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the sound of the browned leaves as they skittered across the field of snow, their sound enchanting and bringing with them the vision of the tip toeing of the tiniest of fairies and the magic that is our world.

 

Behind me I heard the passing of a car and far above me the sound of an airplane, both transporting fellow human beings to various destinations. I took that moment to wish them all safety, on their journey of the day and their life, the very least we can offer our fellow travelers. Those souls received a blessing I would not otherwise have paused to share. The mail truck passed me as I wandered up a hill and I became aware of the many commitments and contracts we have made as humans to care for one another in the context of our jobs. A sense of awe and gratitude filled me as I attempted to take in the enormity of that which we offer to one another on a daily basis, all of it being considered routine.

 

The chilly wind left my cheeks cold to touch but soon the sun's rays were there to warm them, calling to my mind the knowing that the light is always present to comfort us in our times of discomfort. As I scanned the neighborhood I took note of the varying sizes and shapes of the trees, all of the same species but each one varying in shape and size based on its personal history and environment. Each one was unique in its offerings to our mutual experience but none deemed unworthy. The same could be said for us humans. Those same trees left the markings of their shadow upon the ground, speaking of the shadow self that we too all possess.

 

As I passed by various homes dogs began barking their greetings to me. "Thank you for joining us. So glad you came!" they seemed to be saying, and what I understood was that we are not alone as we make our way through this adventure, most especially if we're brave enough to step out of our comfort zone. The birds had offerings as well.

 

Above the tallest trees that created the nearby forest a vulture soared and I heard it call to me, "If you're brave enough to spread your wings the the universe will support you."  The tiniest of wrens crossed my line of vision, flapping its wings with great intensity and I knew that sometimes great effort was required on our part as we made our way through life, making the best of what we had been handed. Up ahead and to my left a goldfinch took a bouncy flight path to its next stop, telling of life's up and downs as we travel and the importance of always moving forward despite that truth. My ears caught the calls of a crow and a house finch. With the contrast of their sound it became very clear to me that how we voice our truth, cawing like a crow or gently chirping like a house finch, is key to who and what we attract.

 

In the sky the clouds were in continual motion and shifting in size and shape. There was no resistance on their part and they allowed themselves to transform with ease. I know, as do you, that the world is in constant motion and the best we can do for ourselves is to be willing to grow and move along with it, not stuck in the mental constructs of what we believe about ourselves and our world. Adapt and stretch.

 

Finally, the snow imparted its wisdom to me. The snow that lie by my feet was grimy and polluted with gravel, but if I shifted my focus I could see in the not too far distance the still pristine and pure state that it once was. I understood that if we look hard enough and change our focus the raw beauty and essence that is us, that is our home, still exists. As I approached my driveway I saw a swirling dervish of snow, "And don't forget to dance wherever the winds of life may carry you," was the last thing I heard.

 

All of this without any help from a modern gadget. I said I would share with you something you already knew, that we all need to take time away from the computer, TV and smart phone. The messages that were imparted to me were nothing that hadn't been in my awareness before, but the purity of the vehicle in which they were being shared again took me to a much more open and responsive state and I could feel the simple wisdoms touch my very soul. Perhaps you can set the intent to unplug and simply stand on your front porch or outside your office door for five minutes and use all your senses to understand that which nature and life has to share. I promise you won't be disappointed, and you will be taken to a place that reconnects you to yourself and the universe.

 

Be well and happy.

February 2, 2015

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