Archive for July 2019

Action Over Insight: Why You Should Be Asking “What?” ll By Brenda Bomgardner

Action Over Insight: Why You Should Be Asking “What?”
By Brenda Bomgardner

 

There’s the old saying that, “deeds are more powerful than words.”

It means that action is just as important, if not more so than simply talking.

Although finding insight and discussing your intentions are valuable, the more critical step is actually taking action.

It’s also the hardest as it means committing to a path, course, or direction.

Also, it means taking a risk, with the haunting possibility of failure. Yet, an action also has the greatest chance of success.

After all, if you choose to do nothing then there will certainly be no benefit.

Therefore, consider the importance of action and why you should be asking “what?”

Understand Action and Empowerment

When you commit to action and focus on the “what” you are empowering yourself.

You are the person who is choosing to do something. This is much more strength-based as opposed to letting others do things for you. Or, to allow events to direct you instead of you being the one to take direction.

If this is new for you then taking action may be intimidating or even scary. However, it is also thrilling and exciting to be the one committing to action. It’s led to some of the defining moments of our history.

For example, it was the simple act of refusing to move from a bus seat that sparked the modern civil rights movement.

Focus on the “What” Versus “What Ifs”

When considering action, it’s easy to get caught up in the “what ifs” rather than the “what.”

For example, you may spin your wheels considering all of the possible outcomes of a situation. Although both the positive and negatives outcomes exist, it’s not uncommon to solely focus on the negative ones.

In turn, this can quickly lead to inaction.

Instead, direct your attention to the “what” and doing the action.

Yes, considering the outcome of your decision is important. Yet, if you get too stuck on the “what ifs” then you will never actually do anything.

Know That There Is No Perfect Choice

Another problem that you might have is focusing on the “perfect” decision. If you don’t make the perfect decision, what could happen? The possibilities are endless, no doubt.

The reality is that there is no perfect choice. There is simply the choice (or choices) in front of you.

Therefore, decide what you can do right now. In short, choose your “what.” Otherwise, you will again be stuck in the zone of crippling indecisiveness.

Find Purpose with Your “What”

You may feel that you don’t have any purpose in life. Thus, you are listless, drifting about in the world.

This doesn’t have to relate only to your professional life or job. It could have to do with anything in your life.

Are you just waiting for something to happen? Maybe you’re waiting for life to come to find you, fulfilling your goals and dreams.

Waiting won’t fill the void that you are looking to fill.

Instead, the fastest way to discover your purpose is to choose your “what.” The reason is that your “what may take you down a path you weren’t expecting, leading to new possibilities that you never even considered.

Or, perhaps you discover that you have chosen a dead-end. So what do you do now? Make a new choice and take a different course of action.

Both paths are ways to finding your purpose.

Be Willing to Commit

When you choose your “what,” you are committing to something.

Despite commitment being a word you may frequently hear, do you truly understand its meaning?

Committing to something means a willingness to stick with it, even with the ups and downs. It means being in it for the long haul and being dedicated to the action.

It’s easy to be scared away from your “what” because of the commitment. Yet, committing is necessary in order to find success.

When you are asking “what,” you are directing yourself toward action. Even if you decide later on down the road that it was the wrong decision, you’re still on a successful journey to your purpose.

You can always make another choice. For now, being willing to commit to the “what” and to the direction you take.


To learn more about Brenda visit her About Me page

Brenda Bomgardner is in her encore career. One of her greatest joys in her career is seeing people move beyond life’s roadblocks toward a fulfilling and meaningful life. She believes each person has a purpose in life waiting to be realized and that purpose continues to evolve over a lifetime. The path to reaching your life’s purpose is as unique as each individual. We all have dreams. Step by step she will walk with you on uncovering how to bring your dreams to fruition.  Brenda is a counselor, coach and clinical supervisor and specializes in practicing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which is a cutting edge evidenced-based processes. This means there is scientific research proven to show ACT works. Before becoming a therapist, she completed a successful 17 year career in Human Resources at a Fortune 500 company. On a personal note she loves the great outdoors, ATV riding, adventure travel and family.

Self-Care, Finding the Right Fit ll By Rich Brodt

Self-Care, Finding the Right Fit
By Rich Brodt

So far in this series, I have written a good deal around self-care, especially as it relates to regulating oneself, and addressing ones own needs. However, self-care is useful for more than just relieving stress, it can allow us to understand ourselves better, and be more present in our lives. 

The process of picking out a new activity can be very useful for understanding oneself and ones needs better. For the sake of argument, lets say that an individual has an interest in martial arts, but no background in martial arts and no idea which particular form of combat might best suit them. Luckily, almost every martial arts studio out there today offers some kind of a free or reduced cost introductory lesson or introductory week of classes. 

Simply attending a few different introductory courses can be informative and transformative. Muay Thai, or Thai Kickboxing, might be a good fit for someone who wants to cultivate strength and power, however it may be a poor fit for someone who wants to learn slow, precise movements in a meditative environment. Someone who wants to learn to leverage their smaller frame for the purpose of self-defense, might find a home in Judo or Jiu Jitsu. There are numerous different martial arts, all stressing slightly different theories and techniques, focusing on different strengths of the individual participant. 

Finding the right fit for ones own values and needs, can provide a transformative space for an individual to grow and gain confidence. 

The transformative nature is applicable to martial arts, as an example, but also applies to most new activities that people want to engage in. 

In fact, the simple process of attending introductory courses, whether martial arts related or otherwise, is quite illuminating. When I have clients who fear or avoid vulnerability, I often challenge them to attend some kind of introductory course. This may be a course in photography, yoga, or some other activity that piques their interest. Most people agree to start, and then report feeling anxious in the days leading up to the activity. This is part of the process. 

In our lives, we are regularly going to be faced with new and difficult tasks. 

The idea of intentionally taking on an activity where we are a beginner is quite vulnerable, and often leads to personal growth, as well as the discovery of skills that an individual might not have known they had. 

By simply being willing to engage in the processes of self-care, we find growth. We allow ourselves to be vulnerable – to identify things that are both interesting and totally new to us. With newness, there is often a good deal of discomfort. We worry about looking like we dont know what were doing. 

But thats the point, to be comfortable being lost, and to recognize the support we have around us.  

Along with vulnerability, most new activities have an ability to teach us about presence. In order to succeed, we must stay present, follow along closely with the instructions and take risks to test our abilities. Learning anything new, especially a skill when technique or body mechanics are stressed, is a great way to force oneself to stay present in the moment. As concentration on an enjoyable or challenging task increases, the stresses of the outside world tend to fade into the background.


About Rich Brodt

I provide therapy and counseling for individuals. My style integrates various techniques, but I tailor my approach to each client’s unique needs. I am committed to helping people that experience anxiety resulting from trauma, work-related stress, legal issues or major life transitions. Together, we will work to calm your mind and create lasting change.

Beyond Mindfulness ll By Erin Amundson

Beyond Mindfulness 
By Erin Amundson

I live a life that I love.

While I am not above feeling difficult emotions or having stressful moments, I’ve found a sweet spot to divine living that’s at least one step beyond mindfulness.  Sure, I started somewhere in being mindful, bringing conscious awareness to my thoughts, my actions, my food and my relationships. But I quickly realized that none of this does anything for me if my subconscious mind is busy running other programs.

If you aren’t familiar, the subconscious is the area of our brain that is responsible for things like our heart beat, our digestion, and our blood circulation.  It controls all the aspects of our functioning that our conscious mind doesn’t, kind of like our computer’s hard drive. All of these things happen without our conscious awareness.  

In addition to regulating our body functions the subconscious mind also regulates some of our bad memories, sensations and emotions for us so that our conscious mind doesn’t have to carry such a heavy burden. This is a pretty ingenious survival technique, since we would actually go crazy or die in shock from too much trauma on the conscious brain. Our subconscious handles what our conscious mind cannot.  

If all of this isn’t enough, our Natural Technology holds the blueprint for our greatest gifts, our purpose in the world, our healthiest body, our most fulfilling relationships, and the keys to rapid healing for our conscious mind.  This is the stuff we all want in life – and it’s my mission to make sure we access it.

This is the journey to the sweet life, my friends.    

I think most of us would say we want that sweet life, right?  Most of us try really, really hard to achieve it. We read books, attend seminars, meditate, do yoga….and on and on.  I do all of these things, too, because I enjoy them. Not because I believe any one is the key to my greatness. Because, in my search for a great life, I discovered something really important.  No amount of yoga, fasting, reading or meditation is going to bring me my best life if I have a wound operating out of my subconscious. So, I set out to heal my subconscious, and in the process, educated myself to provide healing to others.  

NOTE: A subconscious pattern creates a problem in our life that operates automatically, without our conscious awareness or any understanding of the cause or solution. Most of us store some form of hurt, rejection, trauma or limitation in our subconscious minds. The most common of these are rooted in childhood because our underdeveloped brains are less capable of processing heavy emotion and experience.  

Young children have undeveloped brains that cannot think abstractly.  We cannot separate what happens to us from who we are. Our conscious mind also is not developed enough to deal with certain levels of pain.  This can happen with a traumatic event at any age, but our child brains are especially susceptible. So, for example, when a child is abandoned by a parent or suffers the death loss of someone very close to them, this pain is often stored in the subconscious.  

Then, throughout life, the subconscious creates automatic emotional, physical and sensory responses to triggers that resemble what is stored there.  For example, having an intense emotional response to a good friend wanting some alone time or a close co-worker deciding to move to another country. To the subconscious storing the old memory of abandonment, this trigger event causes a great deal of tension in the adult relationship that feels unsolvable.   

In addition, the subconscious will cause us to make choices in our life from this automatic response based on a wound, or core shame message, we are not aware of.  Most of us are unaware that we make choices based on both the conscious and subconscious mind.

Now the wounded subconscious begins EVERY time to choose partners who end up abandoning the person.

This, of course, causes a lot of pain. 

The victim of this subconscious program usually believes they are worthy of love. They spend a lot of time in therapy trying to figure out why this keeps happening. The problem is, we can never solve a subconscious wound with our conscious, rational mind.  It doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how much you practice mindfulness, if you don’t know why you have the problem in the first place.  

Many of us have some kind of limiting problem that feels bigger than it needs to be. 

There is some area of our lives that we just can’t seem to master no matter how smart we are, how much therapy we’ve done, or how successful we’ve been in other areas of life.  Perhaps we have the perfect partner but can’t seem to find meaning in work. We may be happy in every area of life but have a fear of flying. Good news. I have a new solution for you that works – and it’s your own Natural Technology that is available to you any time.   

Anytime we cannot consciously understand or process a problem in our life, there is an invitation to look in the subconscious.  Developing an ongoing relationship to the subconscious, learning its language, and engaging it regularly has been the key to success for me and hundreds of those I’ve worked with in the last 10 years. If you have a problem you can’t seem to solve in your life no matter how many things you’ve tried, I encourage you to explore approaching it through the subconscious in dream work, past life regression, astrology or Depth Psychology. 

Your life WILL change. 


 

Erin Amundson loves helping people reconnect to their natural technology by decoding the language of dreams.  She is a healer, a depth psychologist and an entrepreneur who specializes in teaching people how to identify and remove barriers to success and make friends with their subconscious mind.  As the creator and founder of Natural Dream Technology, Erin knows that hidden beneath the surface of your conscious mind is a uniquely talented visionary, and she wants the world to benefit from your contribution.

After several fights with her own subconscious mind (and a re-occurring nightmare about skipping classes and failing), Erin finally surrendered and followed the wisdom of her natural technology to get a second graduate degree in Counseling at Regis University.  A life-long follower of dreams, Erin now began to learn the language of the subconscious as she slept.  Just as Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs and Steven Spielberg all experienced, Erin began to recognize in her dreams that her best work is to help you reclaim your connection to your own natural technology through dreams and the subconscious.  She has been teaching, facilitating and engaging in dream work with ambitious professionals ever since. 

Erin currently practices as a depth psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado and via the internet around the world.  In addition to her dream work, Erin is a certified past life regressionist, an intuitive astrologer and a lover of travel, snowboarding, deep conversations and cooking delicious food, all of which she enjoys practicing while she sleeps.

Relationship Refresh: Renewal After Separation ll By Dorothy Wallis

Relationship Refresh: Renewal After Separation
By Dorothy Wallis

A sweeping wave moves through people’s lives dissolving the past and transforming their relationships with one another. This may take the form of separation or ending. It is an awakening but in the moment it can seem like total collapse or disconnection. You may be experiencing this in your life or have observed it in the lives of your friends. It feels much like a crushing tsunami that exposes the disturbing underbelly of unmet expectations, unfulfilled dreams, incompatibilities, betrayals, dishonesty, gossip, rejection, offenses, and rigid, dishonorable, selfish, competitive, controlling or combative behaviors. Any one of these will upend a sense of integrity that dismantles what formerly had been stable. 

Sometimes these realities were hidden from view. Other times they were in plain sight and experience but you held onto the belief that things were fine, you could adapt or with attention things would work out or that the situation or person involved would change.  If you were completely unaware, finding out the truth comes as a huge shock striking you face down into a dark reality. You had high hopes for your dream of harmony and fulfillment to materialize. Perhaps you put in great effort to create what you thought was wanted or needed.  As you face the truth of the situation, your sense of trust, security and identity are altered. 

The tsunami drags out all of the loathsome bits into the mucky water of emotions to be felt.  Now, there is no denying, no hiding, and no appeasing; there is only feeling it all. You are in the surge.  It takes tremendous courage to wade through it. The waves keep lapping more into your awareness. Some bits are theirs and some are your shadow aspects.  An interval of space is required to wade through the aftermath. This is an opening and an opportunity if you allow yourself to be present to all that arises.  

Wading in the Waters

When everything seems to be falling apart dread, despair, discouragement, distrust and “you name it” all other types of negative thoughts flood your consciousness.  Your first inclination may be anger, confusion or retaliation. Instead of directing it outwards at whomever or whatever has provoked the friction, let yourself dive into the depths of your body where the physical energy resides.  Your body is speaking. It has received the impact and actually reshapes itself into the thought forms and emotions you are experiencing. As you linger here with your awareness, and feel the heaviness, the torment, the heartache, you notice how the sensations begin to change.  There is always movement. Your body is never static. All sensations are temporary.  

The physical pain often feels unending because the pain signal keeps repeating until there is sufficient healing.  Your emotions come and go. Awareness of the sensations and feelings allows insight and movement of the disturbance.  Dwelling in the thoughtforms recreates the emotions and gives them lasting power. It is challenging to bring your attention back to the sensations of the body.  Simply be with the energy as it is without pushing it away. Notice the gaps. In the space of the pause there is light, the light of insight and peace.  

Taking the Plunge

It is always easy to see the unhealthy or non-relational patterns in others and what they could do differently.  It is not so simple to see your own. However, as you plunge into the waters of your emotions, you will begin to uncover repetitive patterns of behaviors or reactions in yourself.  We all have them. Going from being shackled to an old pattern to freeing yourself takes a complete change in your perception of reality. The rip tide of your patterns is as ancient as humanity.  You must approach them from a different angle in order to not get dragged down. It seems counter intuitive and perhaps repulsive to dive inside the present experience, yet dive in you must. Much suffering occurs from struggling against what we are experiencing.

Be curious; ask questions.  Is this a pattern you have experienced before with a person or situation?  How did you respond? What thoughts keep arising? Do you believe they are true?  What beliefs do you hold that contributed to or precipitated your response? What beliefs do you rigidly grasp?  What happens if they are not true? If you were the recipient of your behaviors or responses, how would that feel?  What aspects of yourself do you push away? What patterns could you change that would foster healthier interactions?  What have you learned about yourself or your beliefs?

What are your fears?  Don’t pass this one off; really search for what your fears might be.  Fear underlies most of our disturbances and dynamics with others. What will you lose or fear you will lose?  Is there guilt or shame involved? Disturbances in relationship bring up core wounds. The loss of stability can be frightening.  When a relationship ends or changes the tendency is to think it was a failure or that something was wrong with it. Is there another alternative? 

“When we make things wrong, we do it out of a desire to obtain some kind of ground or security.  Equally, when we make things right, we are still trying to obtain some kind of ground or security.”  ~ Pema Chodron

What feels ungrounded or insecure?  Have you lost trust in yourself or another?  What do you trust? What is “wrong?” Are they wrong; are you wrong?  Is it possible to not cling to your version of right and wrong so tightly?  What happens if you just let go of the need for anyone to be wrong? Opening the space for non-judgment with no agenda is a practice that allows anyone to enter just as they are with their mistakes and vulnerabilities.  What kind of communication would result from spaciousness? Can you be with the vulnerability of uncertainty?  

Be candidly honest with yourself without judgment. 

I suspect that whatever you find inside needs some kindness and compassion.  Be tender and kind hearted to the patterns and beliefs you have held. They were there for a purpose and that purpose may no longer be necessary.  See them, relate to them, thank them. Being vulnerable is uncomfortable; it is not easy to feel the pain of our insecurities or to see parts of ourselves that we don’t like or the undesired parts in someone we care about.  Let compassion enter whenever you find yourself making you or someone else wrong. What shifts inside as you approach all with compassion?

The Transformative Waters of Your Essence

All forms change shape.  Being in a human body is one of endless reformation and renewal.  Relationships evolve and change because we are all constantly growing and developing.  It does not make them a failure, wrong or right when they end or change. They have their time and place in our lives.  Through the eyes of the soul it is a journey perfectly designed to cultivate the beauty and truth to live your true essence.  Going with the flow of change brings transformation and renewal. Look at what your relationships have given you. How have they shown you more about yourself?  What have they taught you about kindness and love?    

The groundedness and integrity of ourselves is found not in permanence or certainty but in approaching life with an open-hearted spirit.  Change is the way of life. It is surprising to find that when you connect to the change in your relationships with compassionate non-judgmental open-hearted awareness a passage opens and new life breathes in.  Trust is found in renewal. It awakens relationship to life in ways you could not possibly have imagined. Allowing others to be who they are frees you. You just might find that a deeper kind of love is found. 


Dorothy Wallis is a former intern at People House in private practice with an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She is a Psychotherapist, Certified Relational Life Therapist, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and an International Spiritual Teacher at the forefront of the consciousness movement for over thirty years grounded in practices of meditation, family systems, relationships, and emotional growth.  Her work reflects efficacious modalities of alternative approaches to healing for individuals and couples based upon the latest research in science, human energy fields, psychology, and spirituality.    

As a leader in the field of emotional consciousness and the connection to mind, body and spirit, her compassionate approach safely teaches you how to connect to your body, intuition and knowing to clear emotional wounds and trauma at the core.  The powerful Heartfulness protocol empowers your ability to join with your body’s innate capacity to heal through holistic Somatic, Sensory and Emotional awareness.

www.TheDorWay.com and www.Heartfulnesspath.com 

Dark Nights of the Soul, Part 4: Living in the Dark ll By Rev. Mary Coday Edwards, MA.

Dark Nights of the Soul, Part 4: Living in the Dark
By Rev. Mary Coday Edwards, MA.

To go in the dark with a light is to know light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight.
And find that the dark, too, blooms and sings.
And is traveled by dark feet and dark wings. (1)

In my last blog  I wrote of signposts and some reasons why a dark night moves in. Maybe you’ve ascertained that you are in a dark night. Now what? Is there a way to chart a course through murkiness? Are there guiding stars in the sky?

1-Pay attention to what’s going on in your life. In my past blogs on this topic, I’ve laid out two nonexclusive strains of soul talk: a secular , and a religious.  Paying attention is NOT the same as trying to figure out what’s happening—the latter implies you have serious problems and that you need to fix something. A dark night implies transformation. Think of the chrysalis transforming into a butterfly. It doesn’t emerge as a stronger, happier worm crawling on its belly on the ground. No, it emerges with breathtakingly beautiful diaphanous wings giving it flight.  

Continue with your mediation and/or mindfulness practices. “Mindfulness,” says Jon Kabat-Zinn, “is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

2-Work with it creatively. Write poems or prose, paint it, sculpt it, draw it, sing it, dance it, garden with it, cook with it, build with it. Walk with it in nature. 

3-Don’t expect flashes of brilliant light—or even a dribble of it—to light your way. Follow the wisdom in Wendell Berry’s opening poem:  let the darkness be your light. Befriend it. Live with it. Contrary to all expectations, this is the key. Incomplete contemporary ways exist to deal with your dark night: expert and not so expert advice; books and tapes; workshops; and religious institutions. Well-meaning friends and family will tell you “do something,” anything to dissipate the mood. But as Thomas Moore writes in his Dark Nights of the Soul, that is the hero’s shadow in the background—and ego’s. 

4-A dark night might require you to give up all concepts of success, progress, and enlightenment. Our Western view is that our lives are linear, that we will continue to do what we’re doing, just getting better and better at it. But that’s not true. Life is a series of transformations, of deaths and rebirths, of becoming a person with new competencies and skills. 

As I mentioned in my last blog, we outgrow our skins—the skins of unconsciously accepting and following values and attitudes. Live with life’s experiences, and let those experiences do their work. 

What is needed is a view of life that includes the dark.

5-Get used to it. You may carry it with you for years. Don’t try and push it away. Moore says, “What is needed is a view of life than includes the dark.” It isn’t that you embrace masochism but you surrender to your Tao, to your path, to your life. 

And you continue with your sacred commitments—to your partner and children, to your work. 

6-Avoid the blame game. Your ennui, sadness, deep funk—whatever you choose to call it—it’s no one’s fault. This is life. Yes, maybe you made choices that you recognize may not have been the healthiest, but you did the best you could with the knowledge, the wisdom, and the skills you had at the time. And now, gently, your soul is telling you it’s just time to move on, to live with a greater vision, a greater clarity of who you are, and what you’re created for.

Life is a mixture of pain and joy.

7-Happiness is not the end goal. You wouldn’t know that by the messages our culture repeatedly bombards us with. 

“Happiness is more a temporary sensation that things are in place and Heaven seems to have blessed the moment. But life is . . . a mixture of pain and satisfaction . . . .Weaving the dark into the light in your expectations and personal philosophy might temper the role of happiness and offer a way to appropriate the dark night with style and wisdom,” says Moore.

8-It helps if you can find a compassionate spiritual facilitator, one who knows about dark nights. You don’t need advice on what you’re doing “wrong,” and what you need to do to be “right.” You need someone to sit with you nonjudgmentally as you look within your darkness for its light, to untangle what’s going on inside you, to reassure you that you’re OKAY

In Part 5 of this series, I’ll bring in examples of how people lived their dark nights. Meanwhile, sit with T.S. Eliot’s poem (3): 

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing;
wait without love
For love would be love for the wrong thing;
there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all
in the waiting.

_____________

Notes & Sources: 

1.Wendell Berry, from “To Know the Dark,” in Farming: A Handbook. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1967.

2. The best resource I have found on determining if it’s a dark night of the soul or a clinical depression requiring the attention of a mental health professional is Thomas Moore’s book, Dark Nights of the Soul, A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life’s Ordeals. Penguin Random House. 2004. 

3. T.S. Eliot, East Coker, from his Four Quartets. Faber and Faber. 1940.


About the Author: Rev. Mary Coday Edwards is a Spiritual Growth Facilitator and People House Minister. A life-long student of spirituality, Mary spent almost 20 years living, working and sojourning abroad in Asia, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Latin America before finding her People House “tribe” and completing its Ministerial Program. Past studies include postgraduate studies from the University of South Africa in Theological Ethics/Ecological Justice, focusing on the spiritual and physical interconnectedness of all things. With her MA in Environmental Studies from Boston University, abroad she worked and wrote on environmental sustainability issues at both global and local levels, in addition to working in refugee repatriation. 

People House: a Center for Personal and Spiritual Growth