The Walls We Build
When I was a little girl, I used to dream that someone would rescue me from my life. I never thought of myself as a princess, I was never raised or taught to be one by my parents, but still, I wanted to be saved by someone.
As the years went by, no one came to save me. I waited like I was supposed to, but I saw no brave knights. There were no flowers, no gentlemanly kisses to my hand, and no offers of courting. In my heart, I knew that I was a good person and nothing like most of the people around me. I didn’t want to make people suffer, and I certainly didn’t get any joy out of anyone’s suffering, and yet, constant negativity directed at me had made me doubt my self and my actions. I had built so many bricks for my tower, that it was almost blocking out all the light around me. So much so, that I was only paying attention to the darkness. That darkness fed my fears, ignorance of life, false beliefs, and poor self esteem.
Fed up with the way my life was going, one day I decided that sitting in a tower was pretty darn boring! I wanted to learn things, I wanted to live my life, and I wanted to have my own voice. I looked around my tower and I realized that no one had built it for me. No one had put me in that enclosed space but myself. So I looked around my tower, and I decided that things needed to change, because my prince wasn’t coming, this wasn’t Camelot, and I was no Guinevere!
I had no idea where I was going to start or how, so I just started with something I already knew how to do that had helped me in the past. For me, that was talking to myself with only positive messages. Any time I heard myself saying something negative out loud or in my head, I would correct myself, and change the message to a positive.
For example: If I met someone new, previously I would have told myself that maybe the person wasn’t interested in what I had to say. The “new” me said to myself “This will be fun. It’s exciting to meet new people. I wonder what interesting conversations we will have?”
Of course at first it was incredibly hard for me to even think positive thoughts. I struggled to maintain control and not panic when speaking to new people. Sometimes I would pretend that I was excited to meet someone new but inside I was scared and insecure. Eventually, doing it over and over again, I began to realize that it wasn’t an act anymore. I really did enjoy meeting new people and having interesting conversations. I also realized that sometimes other people were nervous too, so I did not feel so alone.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I learned years later what I was doing, what I still do to this day, is a form of Self Hypnosis. Self Hypnosis is something that most people do all day long, but unfortunately, many of them give themselves negative messages. Negative self talk only causes a reinforcement of negative patterns in the brain. What that means, is that just like myself, I was so stuck in my dark tower that I could not see the light that was around me! If all you see, hear and speak is negative, that is all that you will attract and all that you will feel.
With that one action of continued positive self-talk, I had kicked out some the bricks in my tower to let more light in. By doing that, I was able to see that there was hope in my life. I kept encouraging myself to try new things, so I went to social events that I never would have gone to before. I forced myself to talk to people, sometimes people I knew, mostly people I didn’t know. Sometimes that didn’t go very well, but I kept trying. The braver I got, the stronger I felt. I volunteered in Hospitals so that I would be forced to interact with people. One volunteer position was in a Hospital gift store so I could learn new skills without the pressure of worrying about being fired if I messed up!
Everyone has their own path in life, and only you get to decide how you will view it. If you only see the rocks you stumble on, or the animals that try to bite you, you will miss some incredible aspects of your journey along the way. If you hold fear in your heart, and build up your tower so you never move, never feel the touch of another; never move on from past negative experiences, you will have deprived yourself of a full life and an amazing journey.
As the years have gone by and my life has gone up and down, so has my tower. Everyone is a work in progress as no one is perfect; no one is without fault. Today my tower has some bricks left. They are pretty strong and resistant to breaking, but that is okay. I am working on them and loving myself, and the light that can reach me now.
Let Your Spirit Grow.com
It seems to oppose the basic tenants of Spirituality teaching. How can anger be of any benefit for anyone trying to follow a Spiritual path? Spirituality is not about being perfect, or never feeling any emotions. Emotions are what allow us to connect to our fellow humans and all the creatures around us. Embracing our anger and looking at its root cause encourages us to embrace all parts of ourselves and let go of the negative energy associated with unexamined, idle anger, which only muddies up our Spiritual path.
What is idle anger and why should it matter? Imagine a car that is running but just sitting there not moving. Is it serving any useful purpose or benefitting anyone in any way? As it sits there, it is wasting gas and causing noise and smoke pollution. Idle anger is like that car, just sitting there, not contributing in any positive way to a persons well being. It causes its own form of pollution and noise in the body and mind of the person it is idling in. It is hard to find your spiritual path when you cannot see the road in front of you for the smoke, or even hear your inner voice to think straight.
Many people categorize anger as a “thing” which must be controlled and segregated away, but by doing that, a person then will consider a part of themselves to be “bad” and not worthy of being included in their whole being.
A very effective method that I employ with my clients who are willing to try to discover the basis for their anger is to practice Journaling. Journaling is simply the act of writing out what is felt about a specific incident as a person feels it, and continuing to write whatever comes to mind. An example of this could be anger at being cut off in traffic while driving. Once the incident is written out and can be view and read aloud, it often becomes clear that memories and other feelings are somehow connected to that anger. With continued writing, incidents and feelings not even related to the driving incident emerge. A pattern begins to be form, which can then be viewed more clearly, and the various emotions and memories associated within it worked on.
It is at this time very beneficial to include the use of one or more healing modalities such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Hypnotherapy and Spiritual Coaching, in order to dissipate the disruptive emotions associated with the memories involved. Every memory is therefore still maintained, but it no longer holds a negative charge to it.
Once the basis for an ongoing anger is resolved, people often find that day-to-day life becomes easier for them. They are not so quick to become angry with others, and when they do feel angry they are able to feel the emotion, as they should but not let it take over their whole being. Acceptance of the emotion and letting go of it, allows them to continue on in their day and not hold onto that negative energy long term. Their car is no longer idling, and the road is clear ahead of them.
What is a spiritual journey? How it is “supposed” to be? I know what I used to imagine. I imagined going away to an amazing retreat full of enlightening moments, peaceful meditations surrounded by beautiful nature, wonderful meals resplendent with fresh produce and healthy choices…..ahhhh so lovely isn’t it? Anyone could find peace and enlightenment in that setting couldn’t they? What a lovely dream that not many of us have the opportunity to experience but would love to if we had the chance.
“Mommy wake up!!!” is often shouted in my ear at the crack of dawn by my never tired 3.5 year old son. Oh yeah, I’m feeling peaceful….. not exactly the tranquil sound of nature is it? Welcome to the reality of modern spirituality, especially for a parent. Peaceful moments are few and far between, where even the sanctity of a few moments alone in the bathroom is more often than not suddenly interrupted by the crashing of the door against the wall, with urgent inquiries as to the whereabouts of the latest beloved toy. So what is a parent to do? How can a person possibly hope to work on themselves if they never get a break? The answer is to take 5 minutes a day, whenever it can be snagged to do something for you. I know that thought is crippling to many parents, but most especially to mothers I think. We moms sometimes feel that we have to do it all, but doing it all for everyone else, leaves precious little time for the most important person of all~ you.
As I type this I have dishes piled in my sink and a growing stack of laundry waiting to be washed. My floors could use a cleaning, and don’t even get me started on the paper piles! I know from experience that it can be absolutely overwhelming to contemplate trying to pause, and in the beginning even stopping for 5 minutes for some people will be hard, but do it anyway. Do what? I can hear you asking. Do what you love for at least 5 minutes. Read, dance, sing, make a great cup of tea and actually enjoy it while it’s still hot! For those 5 glorious minutes you are going to be only thinking about you. Breathe and enjoy. Take note of your senses, the smells, taste, sensations, sounds and sights. Try not to feel guilt or shame, it’s okay to cater to yourself for a little while. What does it accomplish? Well, for however much time you took, you allowed yourself to be with you, fully and completely with no interruptions. Call it modern day meditation. Didn’t it feel great? Take that feeling with you and continue on in your day. When you need to, you can then tap into those good feelings that you allowed yourself to feel. Creating a positive energy field around yourself is a big step towards mind-body-spirit healing and a great beginning step in any spiritual journey.
Let Your Spirit Grow.com
EFT For Food Cravings
How To Resist Those Seasonal Temptations
The festive season is probably the hardest time of year for anyone trying to have a healthier lifestyle. Enticing food temptations are around every corner, every store display, at the office and at every social visit or event. It can be overwhelming and intimidating to try and constantly resist them, especially with well meaning persons encouraging you to have “just a taste” or saying things like “come on, it’s the holidays, one bite won’t kill you!”
It may be true that one bite won’t kill you but it could lead to an avalanche of poor choices and the attitude of defeat~ “well I gave in all last week, so I might as well just give up trying.” It is hard to continue to be motivated under such stressful conditions, so I am here dear reader to offer you a solution.
EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique is very useful and effective for food cravings. The common belief is to exercise “will power” and avoid all the delightful treats around you, but that is often impossible for most people. One of the benefits of EFT for cravings is that it is actually more helpful to be exposed to that which you desire. Images of desired foods are very appealing, and are able to sway many people to suddenly want something that had not thought about, like seeing a burger commercial and suddenly craving that burger! For those who are able to resist the image of a food, often times being in the same room, or having that food put right in front of them is too much for them. They can see it, smell it and will start them salivating just thinking about eating it. So how can EFT be used to combat these overwhelming sensations?
EFT is a technique, which is most effective when done with a specific goal in mind. When working with food cravings, having that item – for example a cookie in front of the person who wishes to work on their cookie cravings is the first step to combating the desire to eat it. All of our senses are engaged when we are around food. It is one of the reasons why we don’t feel like eating when we are sick because often times, our sense of smell is diminished or gone. Without being able to smell food, our desire to eat it is reduced greatly. EFT works with all our sense and our physical reactions to food temptations. The sight, smell, taste, sound, and touch are all worked on bit by bit until the desire to eat the unwanted food is either super low or gone altogether.
A simple test to see how much our senses play into our food cravings is to have someone who loves chips first look at a bag a chips and ask them how much they are craving in on a scale of 1-10. Then ask them to open a bag of chips. Almost certainly their craving desire will increase with the feel of the bag in their hands, and the sound of crinkle and then the sound of the bag being opened. The sudden rush of the scent of the chips as the bag is forced open. They may also develop physical signs like mild heart racing and salivation of the mouth.
So if you find yourself desperate for a solution to the holiday temptations which overwhelm your to want to eat them, consider trying EFT for your cravings, and see how much less stress you will experience this festive season.
Let Your Spirit Grow.com
I am now an online columnist for The West End Times!
Read my current submission online
They can dig up you lawn, eat your flowers, tear apart your new leather shoes, scratch a beloved piece of furniture, drop your precious china on the floor, and generally make messes and more work for you, but you love them anyway. Who is this creature? It’s none other than the family pet. Whether they have fur or feathers, scales or spikes, for many of us, our pets become part of our family. We tolerate their occasional disasters or early morning wake up calls because we receive a rare and precious gift back, the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. Okay so it may be hard to tell if your pet fish or exotic lizard really loves you, but they do trust you to take care of them and they depend on you. An Ipsos Reid poll shows that 83% of Canadians consider their pet to be a family member with 4 in 10 believing that pets can be a good substitute for human companionship. So your pet is seen as a member of your family. You make sure it has all its basic needs met, now what?
What about your pets Spiritual well being? Don’t worry, I am not going to say that should meditate with your cat or try to find your dogs inner puppy! For some people who want to try and do that, I say more power to you! What I want to offer you is something to try, that is a little more tangible and easier to do. I find that it is especially helpful for pets that can be held and touched comfortably. I have only used this technique on furry friends, but if you want to try it on your lizard or fish or other type of pet, please use appropriate cautions, and a gentle touch as always.
I have found that a combination of Reiki and EFT has been beneficial for my pet. My pet is a super hyper, very talkative (when I say “talking” what I mean is meowing…a LOT!), 6 year old Tuxedo cat named Treun. I don’t think she has really ever stopped talking since the day she was born except when she sleeps! I have used Reiki, which is a form of Japanese energy healing, on my cat for years with great success to the tune, that she is calmer and seems happier afterwards. With any animal, knowing their temperament is important before you start any sort of energy work or healing modality. I know that my cat will let me do pretty much anything I want to her, but please dear reader, if you have a volatile pet, or are trying to help someone else’s pet, please proceed with caution or call upon an experienced professional such as myself.
EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique is a form of acupressure, which is used to help with many emotional and physical issues. On pets, it can be used to help them to become calmer in general, and help them with anxiety, which is common in pets and often exhibited as separation anxiety when the owner leaves the home. It can also be used to ease physical pains such as arthritis in elderly pets. When working with animals, generally it is better to gently massage the required points instead of tapping as that could lead to irritation and/or pain.
A recent example of how EFT and Reiki benefited my cat was that one particular day my cat Treun would not stop talking (again read this as meowing incessantly to the point where I could feel a migraine forming in my brain!), and followed me for every step I took, so much that I was tripping over her. I scooped her up and performed gentle EFT and then Reiki on her. She instantly became limp and relaxed and began to purr. After I was finished, and we could both think straight, she was much calmer for the rest of the day. The entire session with her lasted about 30 minutes as I incorporated both healing modalities on her, but because animals don’t like to stay in one spot it could take longer depending on your pet and how restless they are. Most animals will respond positively to both Reiki and EFT as they can sense that you are not there to harm them, and only want the best for them.