Blog

Who’s Driving Your Life? ll Lora Cheadle

Who’s Driving Your Life?
True Power and the Fallacy of Force

     We like to think of ourselves as being strong and capable, and for the most part, we are! But because we live in a world that makes us believe we can make, or force, things to happen, we lose touch with the fact that the only thing we can control is ourselves. No matter how much the world tells us otherwise, we cannot make anyone else do what we want. And paradoxically, our true power lies in the absence of force; in the realization that although we cannot control anything, but that we still need to stay at the wheel. We still need to steer our own course for our own benefit.

     We all have dreams, goals and desires, and it’s perfectly acceptable to go after our dreams, to fight for our goals, and to pursue our desires. Often times, our hard work and dedication pays off, and we achieve exactly what it is we desires. Psychologically it’s good for us to plan, prepare and have projects that we are working on.

     The problem lies in the fact that we have been conditioned to think that we have control. That we will be rewarded, in kind, for our hard work and dedication. That if we pay our dues, we will be allowed in the club. That life is fair, and that we deserve things. Our thinking becomes black-and-white. Most of us believe that either;

  • We have complete control over our lives, and if things aren’t turning out the way we want, we simply have to buckle down, work hard, and force it to happen; or
  • That we have no control over our lives, we are at the mercy of God/family/friends/our job/our health/or financial situation/our living situation/the world, and that no matter how much we try, our ship will never come in.

     While neither of these extremes are accurate, most of us lock into one extreme or the other. Then, over time, we look for evidence that supports this belief. And as we find this evidence, it supports our belief as to how the world works, and our belief gets stronger. Eventually, the belief is so strong, that it becomes our world view, and it shapes the course of our life.

Bully Syndrome– My Way or the Highway!

     If we believe that we have the ability to force our will, or desires, or dreams onto others, then we turn our attention, our true power, away from ourselves. When we shift our focus or our power away from our self, and focus it on others, we engage in a type of coercion. Even when the relationship is mutual, whenever we are trying to get someone else to do something for us, we turn over our power to that other person. We become imbalanced, because all of our energy goes towards how we can make others fill us up. Instead of filling ourselves up, instead of creating for ourselves, we seek to have others do the work for us, on our behalf.

     While it may sound appealing to have others do the work for us, in reality, it weakens us. It moves our power outside of ourselves and places our responsibility for our self on others. We become reliant on them, and without realizing it, we have turned the wheel over to them. We can holler out directions, but they are the ones who are truly in charge. We are no longer driving our own lives, and we are relegated to being a back-seat driver in our own existence.

It’s not My Fault! Excuses, Victimhood and Taking Your Hands OFF The Wheel

     Similarly, when we believe that we have no control over anyone or anything, we hand our will away just as much as when we try to control others. The perpetual victim correctly sees that they have no control over others. However, instead of doing what they can to influence or change themselves, instead of at least trying to drive, they simply take their hands off the wheel. They don’t drive, nor do they seek out other competent drives to assist them. They careen along, being knocked about by every bump, twist or turn.

     And life does get bumpy for the perpetual victim! Moreover, the perpetual victim seems not to notice when good things happen, but only notices the bad. They create a self-fulfilling, poor me, belief system, and subconsciously they use the power that they do have, to perpetuate their dejected reality. They literally steer themselves into the ditch! So, although the victim may actually be more powerful than the bully, in that they understand that they cannot control others, they use the power that they do have, to create more victimhood!

Defensive Driving, and Balancing Our Power In Life

     The key to creating a healthy, successful life, lies in bridging the gap between these two extremes. In understanding that we are in charge of driving our own lives, and that although we may use others to assist us, that we are the only ones who can steer our own course. We have to take responsibility for the fact that sometimes we crash, and as crazy as it sounds, sometimes we crash intentionally. Whether it’s fear of failure, fear of success or some other deep, subconscious reason, sometimes we intentionally crash our own lives. And that’s okay. As long as we have awareness about what it is we have done, and we take responsibility for our choices and our actions, we will learn from our mistakes. We can correct our course.

     We are all the bully and we are all the victim. We are in charge of our own life. Take your own wheel, and be mindful about who you allow to drive for you. The road may be bumpy or smooth, but it’s not the road’s fault. Take the wheel when the going gets rough, and be mindful of where you are steering.

Everyone crashes. It’s what you learn from those crashes that counts.

Feminism:  A Tapestry of Colors and Weaves ll Rev. Mary Coday Edwards

Feminism:  A Tapestry of Colors and Weaves
By Rev. Mary Coday Edwards, MA.
April 10, 2018

“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat, or a prostitute.”  —  Rebecca West, 1913

     What follows is a non-exhaustive list of feminism’s branches; some authors lump categories together, some exclude (1, 2). My point of this exercise is to recognize that we differ in how we direct our energy for a just society. During the 2016 election, intersectional feminists criticized Hilary Clinton for her liberal feminism. They saw her as compromising feminist values—sleeping with the enemy. They ignored how she struggled for decades to enable intersectional feminists to even exist.

     And so we end up where we are now, with millions marching in pink pussy hats. And where a year ago, under this current political administration, we were treated to the photo op of 13 men and no women deciding the fate of women’s healthcare (3).

     I suggest you read the following mindfully, paying attention to any emotional pings. From there, see if you can trace those responses to where you’ve created values, beliefs, attitudes, and laws that other people must follow in order to meet your standards in the fight for social justice. We journey through different life stages, with various limitations imposed on us—sometimes by life choices and sometimes due to what life has given us. Walk with gentleness and compassion toward the other.

Liberal Feminism

This variety of feminism works within the structure of mainstream society to integrate women into that status quo structure.

     As opposed to other forms of feminism, Liberal Feminism is individualistic rather than group-based. Men and women deserve equal rights because both are individuals; rights are granted to the individual—not gender or groups. In the late 1700s, its ardent champions Abigail Adams and Mary Wollstonecraft worked within patriarchal power structures to gain women the right to vote. But that was for white women—not black.

     Focusing on individuals, it sidesteps the social nature of women’s oppression. Compromise is the name of the game, toiling along inside the system. The male-dominated social status quo defines the range in which women are allowed to roam and what that roaming looks like. It’s demanding equal participation in a male tradition. Traditional religions opening up to female leadership initially look like this.

Radical Feminism

     Radical Feminism has its roots in the civil rights and peace movement of 1967-1968 and was the leading edge of feminist theory until about 1975. From the Latin word, root or source, Radical Feminism believes that the male-dominated hierarchy is the source of the oppression of women.

     While Liberal Feminism focused on the rights of the individual, Radical Feminism was dedicated to eliminating and re-ordering the social/group structures that perpetuated that oppression. Its goal was to jettison male supremacy in all institutions.

     This included the idea that since men had oppressed women for hundreds of years, it may be necessary to discriminate against men while society undergoes this change, such as by excluding men from positions of power for a time.

     This laser-directed attention changed laws, giving women access to credit, equal pay, equal employment opportunities, as well as raising public awareness to issues of rape and violence against women. This branch of feminism has given birth to several sub-categories which focus on particular issues.

Marxist and Socialist Feminism

     Instead of the patriarchy as the root of all female oppression, Marxist Feminists see capitalism as the cause of gender equality. This economic system presses women into assuming responsibility for unpaid domestic tasks, such as child-rearing, homemaking, and caring for elderly family members or those with disabilities, while men are free to create monetary wealth in the public sphere. It is sometimes seen as a sub-category of Radical Feminism.

Cultural Feminism

     Social change demanded by Radical Feminism (or any group working for social justice) is just plain hard. Pessimism always waits around the corner ready to defeat you. So in the case of Radical Feminism, many moved over to Cultural Feminism—the difference between the two is that while the former sought to transform society, the latter moved to create a woman’s culture. If you can’t change the male-dominated society, avoid it as much as possible. Health centers created by women with a specific focus on the needs of women, children, and those in poverty are an example. 

     Cultural Feminism holds that women and men are essentially different and that women are generally more nurturing, more empathic, and less violent than men. Cultural Feminists seek to celebrate these qualities, which they believe have been oppressed by men.

     Cultural Feminists believe that both men and women are hurt by contemporary male-dominated society, which they see as encouraging male behavior such as competition and conflict.

     The goal of Cultural Feminism is not to bring about some pre-scripted political revolution, but to improve tolerance and diversity by celebrating women’s special qualities and unique experiences. Like Marxist Feminism, Cultural Feminism has in recent years expanded its focus from championing not just the perspectives of women, but also those of sexual and racial minorities as well.

Ecofeminism

     Always a favorite of mine, it holds that a patriarchal, resource extraction and polluting society degrades and/or extinguishes our natural resources with no attention to the consequences of these policies to the rights of nature or to sustainability. “Mankind” in all its wisdom (and hubris) denies interconnectedness and will develop technology to reverse the impact of pollution’s poisons in our air, water, and earth. Since dominance rules, survival of the fittest in its most harmful form is law. Creatures who can’t defend themselves against man’s greed and violence are destined to be eliminated from our planet.

     This theory says that as men control and destroy our environment for their own benefit and pleasure, so they also control and oppress women for the same reasons. Ecofeminism advocates for a reduction in environmental destruction, as well as creating a healthy society to repair social and environmental injustices.

Intersectional Feminism

This section deserves its own page, which I will address in my next blog.

     A primary criticism of early feminism is that it was defined around the needs of white, middle-class women, ignoring the fact that women of color, those with disabilities, or any transgender will face alternative forms of oppression. Intersectional feminism seeks to address these blinders.

Other

     Other categories include Black, Separatist, or I-Feminism. I will discuss some of their concepts in my next blog.

     In the meantime, practice awareness, inclusion, and compassion in order to create a just and equal society.

______

Notes & Sources:

1.) Many resources exist on the Web. An excellent sources for additional reading options: https://www.uah.edu/woolf/feminism_kinds.htm

2.) https://opinionfront.com/types-of-feminism-you-should-know-about

3.) https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/room-men-maternity-coverage_us_58d416e6e4b02d33b749b713

4.) Kabat-Zinn, Jon, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, on mindfulness practices.

_______

About the Author: Rev. Mary Coday Edwards is  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

Treasure What You Already Have ll Kate Heartsong

TREASURE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE AND BUILD CONFIDENCE AND GRATITUDE

By: Kate Heartsong

 

You’ve probably have heard to not take things for granted.  Yet we often do take people and/or and things for granted.  For example, how many times have you started your car and it starts?  You don’t think anything of it right?  How about when you get together with your friends and loved ones; go to the same job each day; have enough food on the table; feel physically healthy; are able to walk; and are free to go where you want to go?  Yes, all of these are easy to take for granted.

Yet, when something unexpected happens and what you’ve been taking for granted is gone, oh!  that’s when we appreciate it all the more!  And often we experience great upset when it’s gone.

About a year ago, I went to my car in the garage, and pushed the garage door opener, and the garage door got stuck.  It turns out the whole spring and cable came out!  I couldn’t get my car out after trying to open the garage manually either.  It was a helpless feeling, knowing my car was stuck in this garage and I couldn’t go to teach my class!

Thankfully, my roommate and also my nextdoor neighbor were available quickly after I contacted both of them.  Wow!  They assessed the situation, were able to put their muscles to work and manually lifted the heavy garage door.  I was free!  Talk about a great demonstration of being taken care of by the universe through these two wonderful men acting so quickly on my behalf.

This situation wasn’t extreme as others, yet it reminded me to appreciate and treasure what I do already have. 

Then, this made me realize that sometimes we can take ourselves and our skills and gifts for granted.   Ummm, let’s think about that one! 

For example, how many times have you shown up to work, offering your organizational, communication, and/or leadership skills – whatever gifts and skills you use – without giving it a thought of the positive benefits you’re giving to your employer, co-workers and clients?

What would it be like if you came to truly recognize those gifts and skills at work?  And what about at home in your personal life?  What would it be like to really appreciate yourself?  This will increase your self-confidence!  And the awesome thing about this is, as you raise your self-appreciation and confidence, and NOT take yourself for granted, you also benefit others around you!

I bring these examples up simply to remind you to not take things for granted, and not to take yourself for granted.  Let’s take this a step further, and invoke gratitude for all you have , for all you do and all your gifts and skills!  Gratitude is such a powerful and positive emotion, and it raises your vibration, so you feel better!

I invite you to sit down and write a few of your gifts and skills and feel gratitude for yourself.  Also, write down five people and/or things you’re choosing to NOT take for granted.

Here’s to your confidence, joy, empowerment and fun!


Kate Heartsong is the “Confidence Coach”, motivational speaker, workshop facilitator, author and Reiki Master/Teacher.  Her passion to serve others comes from her personal journey of transformation.  Kate’s audiences and clients gain self-confidence and new heights of self-appreciation and also reduce their stress, through her deep wisdom, expertise, caring, and the Psychology and Business degrees she holds.

Kate Heartsong
303.549.0546
Kate@JoyfulRadiance.com
Website:  JoyfulRadiance.com

Frugality, Self Reliance, Generosity and the Cost of Not Receiving ll Dorothy Wallis

Frugality, Self Reliance, Generosity and the Cost of Not Receiving

By Dorothy Wallis

     As a child of depression era parents, I was taught to be frugal.  Growing up in a small farmhouse in the country, there wasn’t a need for many material possessions.  Anything that one owned was valuable.  Clothes were practical and seasonally appropriate.  Taking care of them was necessary.  If they became worn or torn, we mended them.  I learned how to sew, knit and crochet from my mother and grandmother.  To this day, I hand wash my sweaters and mend the moth holes.  Repairing anything over throwing it out and buying new is a first response.  If it can be fixed, do so.  If I buy something, I expect it to last and I take care of it to make sure it will as long as possible.  I will wait to buy quality over a cheaply made item.  If it still works and has life in it, keep it.  My car is a 2001 Toyota Celica.  It does not have a GPS, keyless starter or fancy electronics.  It does have style and it gets me where I want to go.  I have no intention of trading it in for a new luxury vehicle.  Yes, my car is a relic, it is not even made anymore, but I love it.

Confidence through Self Reliance

     Being frugal has taught me self-reliance.  A sense of practicality became a “learn how to do-it-yourself” philosophy.  Why pay someone else to do something if you can do it?  I have made clothing, doll apparel, pillows, curtains, costumes, toys and teepees, sanded floors, painted and repaired walls, designed my house and garden, hand dug trenches, holes and garden beds, planted, pruned and landscaped my property while tending my vegetable garden with the satisfying benefit of fresh nourishing produce.  As a child, I built play structures out of bark, snow, and scrap pieces of wood or any available material.  Making things is fun.  There is a sense of groundedness and accomplishment in knowing that I am capable of figuring things out, using my imagination and creating what I want. 

Self-reliance has served me well and given me the inner confidence to know that I can learn to do anything.   

     This self-reliant confidence along with a fascination with design took me through a span of jobs designing printed circuit boards, electronics, mechanical equipment, aerospace launch vehicles, and originating a landscape design business.  My interest in psychology, spirituality, biology, the arts and people has cultivated my pursuit of creating a healthier and more humane world for all of us.  Through following my aspirations, I journeyed with metaphysics, meditation, teaching children, facilitating adult vision retreats, workshops, counseling and therapy and found fulfillment in giving to others. 

The Myth of Giving being Better than Receiving

     What I have discovered is that frugality and self-reliance are not in opposition to generosity.  Frugality is being thrifty, economical, prudent, and careful with resources.  This quality has lost ground over the last fifty years and we can see this in our economy and care for our environment.  One image that people may have is that if one is frugal then one is stingy but these are two different attributes.  I was taught to depend upon myself and to be generous and giving to others.  One story really sticks in my heart.  Friends of my parents had a large family with thirteen children.  Every time we went to their home, we were to take one of our toys and give it to them.  That was hard when I was a kid because we didn’t have many toys and each one was precious.  Yet, it felt so good to see the happiness the gift of my toy brought. 

What I learned was unselfish charity, “It is better to give than receive.”
 
     It sounds like such an admirable truth and it shaped my life.  Yet, there are consequences to thinking that giving is Better than receiving.  Of course, giving to others is valuable and worthy.  I give of my time and energy.  I’m a good tipper, a generous gift giver and will happily spend money on friends and loved ones, give the “better” or “bigger” piece to another, give things away for free, give discounts and go overtime with my clients, do pro-bono work, think of others first and go out of my way to do for them and put my needs last.  Being generous feels good and research confirms that giving to others enhances mental health, reduces stress, lends a sense of purpose and increases life expectancy.  I won’t give up Giving.  What I needed to ditch was putting myself last or forgetting my needs entirely.  The attitude that giving is better than receiving cost me.

Being Needless and Wantless Creates Guilt and Shame

     For a long time, I was reluctant to spend money on myself.  Growing up, my family was not just frugal, but also quite poor.  We were taught to do without and to be needless and wantless.  Guilt would succumb me whenever I bought something for myself that was not a necessity.  Somehow, it was not okay for me to receive.  It showed up in big and little ways.  Inside of me was a secret chamber filled with shame that I kept hidden.  Judging myself, I would hide things I bought, which also meant that I was not enjoying their use.  I had to justify my purchases, “it was on sale, someone gave me a gift certificate, I needed it for work, it will be useful.”  It couldn’t be that I simply desired it.  The shame would churn inside and eat me up.  “Am I being irresponsible? Am I being selfish?”  There was a lot of fear and worry that I locked inside.   

“Without Giving there can be No Receiving and Without Receiving there can be No Giving”

Abundance is Giving and Receiving

     Abundance in the form of being “given to” was not a part of my belief system.  It was fine if it happened through work.  I was self-reliant to an extreme.  I would not ask for help even if I were sick.  I would not pay for a service if I thought I could do it on my own.  I wasn’t allowing myself to receive the joy of sharing abundance.  What I now know for sure is that without giving there can be no receiving and without receiving there can be no giving.  One is not better than the other.  It is a balance.  They go hand in hand.  What I left out of the equation was Me.  I wasn’t receiving the joy of giving to myself or allowing others to give to me.  Deprivation is not a virtue.  If I truly believed in an abundant universe then I needed to adjust my scarcity thinking.  As I receive, I am filled and able to give in return and so are others.

     I remember my Grandmother Dixie putting her finest and most cherished dress in the back closet only to be worn occasionally at very special times.  Did those times ever occur?  Not often…perhaps not at all.  Am I going to put my life on hold or am I going to allow myself the joy of the abundance in my life?  Letting go of guilt and shame about “having” nice things is such a relief.  I’ve learned to take those clothes out of the back closet, wear my jewelry, use the china and “special” dishes, and purchase things for my home that delight me.  I’ve decided to take trips to visit my daughter, my sisters and to go on outings with friends.  I have realized that I am a resourceful and responsible person and will still be frugally cautious with my money.  I can rely on myself and also ask or pay for help.  With the consciousness of abundance, I have genuine gratitude for my possessions and have the ability to share my resources in Joy.


     Dorothy Wallis is a former intern at People House in private practice with an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She is 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 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

The Real Secret ll Erin Amundson

The Real Secret – How Your Subconscious Plays a Role in Manifestation
By: Erin Amundson

Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down with a friend who has been looking for a new job for quite some time.  This friend of mine has an impressive resume, an attractive personality, amazing personal references and has been in the search for work for more than a year in a market that should be relatively easy to find a job in.  He’s working his tail off, he’s hired professionals to review his resume, and he follows up every time.  He’s doing “everything right” – and not succeeding.  Well, everything, that is, except perhaps the MOST IMPORTANT thing: examining his subconscious beliefs and managing his energetic output.

When I engaged him in a process of going deeper, we discovered a few things. 

One, he had been shamefully and arguably wrongfully terminated from a job in the height of his career.  Two, as a child he was constantly told he wouldn’t amount to much by an abusive father.  Three, he had become desperate for a job, and that was very clear in his body language and energy.

First, let’s look at his past in the context of the quantum world we live in.  New science continues to prove that we are made of energy and the environment around us is made of that same energy (this is at the smallest level of the molecule).  Science also tells us that these energetic particles are in a feedback loop with one another.  That means that we take in the information from our environment and adjust to it, and our environment takes in the information from US and adjusts to it. 

So, the question I always ask is this:  Do you want be a product of your environment or the creator of it?

As adults, we have the choice.  However, we’ve all heard children called “sponges” and for good reason.  When my friend was small, his environment was one of abuse, failure, limitation, addiction and struggle.  His little being soaked all of that up, and because his young brain wasn’t developed enough to process it, the information was stored in his subconscious, which created a program of output based on his environment.  My friend now puts out a literal vibe of being worthless, having to struggle, being a victim and failure.   And as he is interviewing for jobs, these are the messages that are reflected right back to him.

On paper, and in person, you’d never know this about my friend.  The truth is, he didn’t know it about himself.  Consciously, LOGICally, he knows he’s talented and hard working.  But under the surface, he is still telling the story of his childhood, reinforced by the story of his being fired mid-career.  I suspect he will either attract no employment at all or another abusive employer if he doesn’t shift the story of his subconscious.

The second factor keeping my friend from his dream job is his desperation.  This one was developed after a few months of searching and failing.  He approaches his interviews with a neediness, that ultimate keeps attracting more need into his life.  If we spoke to the employers, we’d probably hear them say something like, “I can’t put my finger on it, but something about that guy just doesn’t FEEL right.” 

And they’d be correct because my friend is out of alignment to attract what he wants.

So what’s the message in this story?  If you’re working to co-create your life – whatever it is that you want – and it’s not working out for you, you may need to explore your subconscious.  Most of the great law of attraction literature teaches us to manage our thoughts.  I think this is great – but did you know that our conscious brain is only 5% of the story?  The rest of the information, particularly information we have taken in as children, is stored in our subconscious.  The subconscious thoughts and beliefs put out just as much of a vibe as our conscious thoughts and beliefs.  It is only when we bring them into our conscious awareness that we truly have the power to create what we desire.


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.

A Different Kind of Pill ll Rich Brodt

A Different Kind of Pill
By: Rich Brodt

   

   The “red pill” was a concept introduced into American culture by the film, The Matrix, and the symbol has come to mean something like the truth – an ability to view what is really taking place outside of our perception and cultural programming. So when I watched the documentary “The Red Pill,” I expected to receive novel information that would change the way I looked at gender equality, but instead I saw more blaming and little actual progress.

     The film, which purports to be a feminist’s journey into the Men’s Rights movement, ends up being a somewhat heavy handed documentary that accomplishes little in terms of bridging the gap between men and women who both feel that they receive unfair treatment in society. The film does point out several men’s issues that could use more attention. These include the male suicide rate, male treatment in family court and men’s health issues. However, there is rarely any sort of deep inspection as to why these issues arise. The feminists interviewed for the film tended to blame the men for their own problems, painting themselves as unsympathetic to men’s issues. The men interviewed in the film seem unsympathetic to women’s issues. And as a result of how they frame their arguments, a few reveal their own misogynistic thinking. 

      The most immediate response most people have to something going wrong in their life is to immediately look for someone or something on which they can blame their misfortune. As we mature, we are faced with our failings more frequently. We can blame an “other” for this misfortune and easily cede responsibility for fixing it ourselves. However, this leads to inertia and increased defensiveness. If we regularly avoid responsibility for our actions, we need to shout even louder about who is oppressing us in order to justify our continued stagnation. Now this is not to say that oppression doesn’t exist. It does.

     Both men and women experience injustice at the hands of a system meant to laud certain traits in both men in women, while exploiting others. Men fights and die in wars more than women. Men work more dangerous jobs and account for a vast majority of workplace deaths. Women face high rates of sexual violence, sexual assault, and harassment. Women have more difficulty rising to top level job positions in large companies, and are underrepresented in politics. 

      Most sane people would look at the last paragraph and agree that these are all issues we, collectively, should care about. The systems currently in place limit the freedoms of both men and women. Most of us do not carry viewpoints that skew us into polarity on topics of gender equality. However, a very loud minority of people do. These are the voices that we tend to hear. Those that sensationalize facts, manufacture clickbait headlines, and treat identity issues as all-or-nothing endeavors where one side is right while the other is clearly wrong. Few issues are that black and white.

     We live in a polarizing time. The media pushes those stories that are most controversial. Media outlets have been rejuvenated, and given new life by the politicization of their reporting. Controversial headlines mean clicks, and clicks mean money. I would urge all media consumers to question those who seeks to monetize your struggle. The actual red pill involves the ability for all people to take step outside of their respective narratives and work towards a more equal future for everyone. I think empathy is the key. We need to see these problems collectively as, human problems that cannot be remedied without cooperation and collaboration. Dividing our causes by gender lines only worsens the issues.

Citations:
Davies, E & Jaye, C. (2016) The Red Pill. United State of America: Jaye Bird Productions


 Rich Brodt is a former intern at People House, and is currently a co-owner and private practitioner at Elevated Counseling, PLLC in the Highlands area of Denver. Prior to training to become a therapist, Rich practiced as a mental health litigation attorney in New York City, where he first became passionate about the field. Rich draws on knowledge of law, philosophy and poetry, bringing a unique perspective to his sessions. 

Rich’s current practice utilizes a client-centered approach, integrating Gestalt, existential and depth approaches. He focuses his practice trauma and anxiety-related issues, including PTSD, high-stress careers, life transitions and other major stressors. Rich’s first priority in counseling is to create a safe, non-judgmental space, where clients can feel comfortable sharing and processing their most difficult thoughts. 

 

Elevated Counseling, PLLC
2727 Bryant Street Suite 550
Denver, CO 80211
ElevatedCounseling.org
Ph: (720) 295-1352

Jealousy, Envy & Why We Love to Watch Others Lose ll By Lora Cheadle

Jealousy, Envy & Why We Love to Watch Others Lose
…and how to FLIP it around for our own benefit
By: Lora Cheadle

Much of the rhetoric around the Superbowl consisted of football fans saying they “wanted the Eagles to win because they were tired of the Patriots winning.”  OMG! How terrible is that?!?! In a culture that celebrates winning, and often times even encourages people to win at all costs, where does a statement like that come from, and psychologically, what does it mean? How can we want to win so badly, yet at the same time, condemn and despise those who do win routinely?

Even in our own lives, are we truly happy for our friends when they win a promotion or get a new car, or find a new love interest, or buy a new house? Are we honestly and completely thrilled for them, or are we a little bit envious too? What about when two of our friends really hit it off, leaving us in the dust? Jealous much?

At its core, jealousy and envy are nothing more than triggers, which have pointed out something within ourselves that we are trying not to acknowledge. But with a little bit of knowledge and understanding, we can tame the green-eyed monster and learn how to better ourselves thought the success of others.

The Difference Between Jealousy and Envy

Jealousy and envy are different! Jealousy involves three people and takes place when someone else is threatening to disrupt a situation between us and another person. Whether it’s a new hot-shot at work, coming in to woo our boss, another person flirting with our significant other or someone coming between us and our friends, jealousy involves some sort of triangulation.

Envy only involves two people. Envy is where something wonderful happens to someone else, and we have a hard time being happy for them. Either we want that thing to have happened to us instead, or we feel they didn’t deserve it, but we do! Envy is the experience of not being able to celebrate another’s good fortune because we have reverted to self, and to our desire to get what we want.

Jealousy Triggers and How to Overcome Them

We will not be provoked unless we feel threatened. Stop and re-read that sentence. We will not be provoked, unless we feel threatened in some way. Notice I didn’t say unless we are threatened. Actual threat doesn’t matter. What matters is our feeling of being threatened.

Which leads to the next questions; why do we feel threatened?

In the case of jealousy, it’s easy to put the blame on the third person, but really, the emotion is about us, not them. Whenever we perceive a third party as coming in and destabilizing our relationship, it means that we are afraid of change. It doesn’t matter if that change is good or bad, it only means that we will have to change, and to our subconscious mind, all change is perceived as a threat.

The best thing to do to manage jealousy is to first acknowledge that you are feeling jealous. Then, you can ask yourself who is making you jealous and why. Once you have the who and the why, ask yourself what you are going to do about it. Don’t lament the fact that change is on the horizon. Change is perpetually on the horizon! Instead, cycle through all the possible options you have, from the absurd to the rational, and begin figuring out what you are going to choose to do. Getting comfortable with your choice empowers you to lead the changes in your life, instead of getting swept up in a current of change.

For example, when a hot-shot comes in a work and threatens your position as a top producer, it means you will have to change. You can choose to learn from them, seek out other sources and to better yourself. Notice I did not say “beat them”. You may or may not beat them, and that’s not the point. The point is, you accept that change is inevitable and you embrace that change for yourself. You can choose to stay the same, to stay in your comfort zone, and learn how to come to terms with not being the top sales person. But the focus needs to stay on you and the fact that everything takes place in you, because of you, and not a result of the other person.

Done right, experiencing jealousy empowers you, because it allows you to take stock of, and to manage your life proactively!

Envy Triggers and How to Overcome Them

Whenever we see another person receive something that we want, it points out that which we find to be lacking in ourselves. It doesn’t matter if it’s something that is actually lacking in us or not, it’s our perception of lack that triggers us. It forces us to confront some sort of scarcity within us. Even if it’s just the perceived scarcity of something as elusive as good luck.

One of the best ways to manage envy, like jealousy, is to first acknowledge that the emotion is coming up. Then, ask yourself what you perceive to be missing from your own life? It doesn’t matter if it’s silly or not. Be honest with yourself. Next, ask yourself what you can do about it.

If you are envious of your best friend’s new relationship, even though you are happily married, what is that showing you? Could it be that date nights are lacking in your marriage? Could it be you are lacking a certain freshness and excitement that you wish you could recapture? Then make those changes! If you are envious that your best friend just had her first grandchild, and your kids claim they don’t want kids, what is that bringing up for you?

Although you can’t force other people to give you what you want, you can figure out the root cause of your desire for grandkids. Is it because you don’t feel you can retire unless there is a reason? Is it because you miss being with kids? Is it due to latent feelings of guilt that you weren’t a better parent, and you somehow made your children not want to parent? Is it simply the fact that you haven’t come to terms with your children’s decision, or perhaps you felt forced into having children? Whatever it is, once addressed, it allows you to make positive change in your life. It points out, that which is missing within, giving us the opportunity to acknowledge and address our own fears and needs.

Envy can also challenge us to acknowledge our own negative thinking habits, allowing us to become more positive people. For instance, in regards to the Superbowl, instead of negatively saying, “I want the Eagles to win because I’m sick of the Patriots winning.” flip it around to “I want the Eagles to win because they’ve never won before and I love sharing the love with teams who have never had that kind of an honor.”

Go deep within the feelings of both of those statements. They will be different!

What do they bring up for you, and what are you going to do about it?


Change or Starve: Cracking Patriarchal Buddhism ll Rev. Mary Coday Edwards

Change or Starve: Cracking Patriarchal Buddhism
By Rev. Mary Coday Edwards, MA

In the days of the Buddha, in the Indian village of Kosambi, two Buddhist monks came to blows over a petty latrine infraction when one of the monks left water in the bathroom’s dipper. The dissension grew, with the law breaker being excommunicated—unfairly in his opinion, as well as in the opinion of his followers. Two factions formed around these monks, creating more discord.

Word of their animosity reached the Buddha, and he sent emissaries encouraging them to be united, and twice the emissaries reported back saying, “They refuse to be reconciled.”

The Buddha himself came to mediate, and was told by the two monks to mind his own business. The Buddha then left to go on retreat.

Due to the monks’ enmity, the spiritual needs of the community began to suffer.

Now, Buddhist traditions require the community to support the monastics through alms giving.

“This is ridiculous,” they decided. “We’re feeding these leaders for what reason?”

Halting the giving of alms, the community members told the two dissenting monks, “Change or starve.” And so the lay people accomplished what the Buddha couldn’t, and the monks resolved their differences (1).

A First Step: Full Ordination of Women

Buddhism’s foundation was built upon a political past of hierarchy, patriarchy, and authoritarianism. Buddhist theologian Rita M. Gross asks whether,

“… stripped of sexist privilege to men, patriarchal hierarchies, and androcentric interpretations of key texts and concepts, anything remains of the religion” (2).

In other words, can this religion be saved? Under this patriarchal veneer, do core truths exist that are fundamentally democratic and liberating for both men and women? Gross concludes there are, as does retired Vipassana Buddhist teacher Eric Kolvig (3), encapsulated through the Four Noble Truths (4).

Gross says that institutionalized and mandated full ordination of women is an obvious first step, granting women full participation in Buddhist institutions.

“Ordain them or starve!” said Vipassana Buddhist Teacher Eric Kolvig.

Kolvig told me the opening Kosambi story in connection with the Theravada Buddhist tradition.

“Monastics in the Theravada tradition depend for their survival entirely on support from laypeople,” he said. “The laypeople of Kosambi withdrew their support from the battling monastics and forced the antagonists to make peace.  It was the first recorded organized boycott in human history.

“The patriarchal establishment in Theravada monasticism today steadfastly refuses to grant women full ordination,” Kolvig continued.

“Because these contemporary monastics, like the ones in the Buddha’s time, depend entirely on support from laypeople in order to survive, we can be inspired by that boycott 2,500-plus years ago.  We laypeople today can withdraw our support from those who will not grant women full ordination, saying, ‘ordain them or starve!’”

Historical Precedents

Within the three Buddhist traditions of Zen, Tibetan, and Vipassana/Theravada, sub-groups exist which have in the past and continue to ordain bhikkhuni, but not necessarily granting full ordination. Elements of unfairness still remain across countries and within these three traditions. For example, women may have obligatory extra vows, called The Eight Garudharmas, subordinating them to the bhikkhus. In some countries, women end up neither bhikkhuni nor lay people, but somewhere in the middle. Not fully ordained, they are not entitled to the same recognition, status, or financial support as their bhikkhu brethren.

But within Buddhism, precedents exist justifying female ordination. Historians say that after Prince Siddhartha became the Buddha, he denied his aunt’s request, Mahapajapati Gotami—the woman who had raised him—for admission into his monastic community.

But Gotami persisted. Eventually the Buddha relented and ordained Gotami as a bhikkhuni (fully ordained Buddhist nun; male monastics are called bhikkhus), along with other women including his wife Yaśodharā. This order lasted for a thousand years, dying out through what Gross believes was institutionalized neglect as well as the discouragement of women from leaving their traditional, domestic roles behind for their own spiritual quest.

Bowing to Outdated Cultural Constructs?

Do Westerners want to give up their civil rights—legal rights guaranteed to them—such as the rights imparted to U.S. citizens through the U.S. Constitution, which include the basic right of freedom from discrimination based on certain personal characteristics, such as gender, race, or disability?

Do these same individuals want to live divided/dualistic lives, where in the political and economic spheres women can lead governments and corporations, but in their religious communities, they are subject to the whims of a male dictatorship? Where men keep half the world’s adult population as children, determining what’s “best” for them? Do we want to return to that oppression/suppression?

I left my Christian church years ago. I’d been in dialogue with the male pastors over their suppression of women’s rights when it dawned on me: “Hey! This is a volunteer organization—what am I doing? I don’t have to be a part of this.” I was a leader in my professional life, but in the church I was a child whose speech and conduct were directed by the male moral arbiters, who couldn’t—and wouldn’t—explain this dichotomy.  I withdrew my energy to direct it toward life-affirming endeavors vs. life-denying.

Ordain them or starve (5). It’s simple and powerful.

______

Notes & Sources:

1.) https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/English-Texts/Buddhist-Legends/01-05.htm

2.) Buddhist theologian Rita M. Gross’, “Buddhism After Patriarchy,” in After Patriarchy: Feminist Transformations of the World Religions, eds. Paula M. Cooey, William R. Eakin, and Jay B. McDonald; 1998; Orbis Books, New York. (This question could be asked of all the world’s major religions.)

3.) Personal interview with retired Vipassana Buddhist teacher Eric Kolvig, February 2018.

4.) Many Buddhist resources exist on line and in print explaining The Four Noble Truths.

5.) Change IS happening: https://www.lionsroar.com/enlightenment-has-no-gender/; https://www.lionsroar.com/love-and-justice-the-radical-buddhism-of-rev-angel-kyodo-williams/; http://theweek.com/captured/721705/thailands-female-rebel-monks

_______

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

Abiding in Stillness ll Dorothy Wallis

Abiding in Stillness
by Dorothy Wallis

     Is the turmoil and chaos around the world impinging upon your life?  Is your level of anxiety increasing?  Do you desire relief from uncertainty and stress?  The world is rapidly changing and it may seem overwhelming to constantly experience so much change.  You may want life to be simpler, easier, and less complicated.  You may have a strong desire for peace and serenity, for all of the turbulence, disorder and conflict to stop.  You want to enter into the “good times” where life is pleasurable and you look forward to each day without worrying about anything.  You want space to breathe and relax.  You want the “noise” to stop.

When life brings you stillness…those times when nothing is happening, everything is quiet, you have time to spare without anything to do, your loved ones and friends are fine, there is no drama or concern, when there is only space and time, what happens inside of you?  Do you relish these moments?  Do enjoy the stillness?  Do you stop and just Be with the spaciousness?  Do you pause and breathe into a state of relaxation?

Does it take you some time to unwind?  Do you find your body fidgety, restless and buzzing with energy?  When you stop doing, do you find yourself thinking about all that “needs” to get done or feel guilty for not being productive?  Certainly, when your life is filled up with tasks and responsibilities, there are always more things that “need to get done.”  Yet when your chores are done and you actually have time without anything “to do” or when circumstances create time where you “can’t do”, what happens to you in those moments?  As strange as it may seem, stillness is one of the hardest states to be in.  Think about it for a moment.  What happens when you have nothing to do?  Do you feel at peace?  What happens when you are waiting in line or sitting in a meeting?  Do you take the time to be present right where you are without it needing to be different or do you become anxious, annoyed, impatient, or irritated?  Do you need others to “hurry up” and “get on with it?”

Movement is Natural and Habitual
There is a natural tendency to keep moving.  Life is movement.  Every atom, molecule and cell in your body is vibrating with energy.  Stillness can be scary or at the very least uncomfortable.  Movement is innate.  The life force propels you to develop, grow, and unfold the distinctive gifts and wisdom that are the result of the blending together of your ancestry and the accumulation of your spirit’s journey.  The body has limits and from human experience, it has an expiration date.  There is a remembrance of the body’s impermanence and an instinctive urge to make this life count, to have meaning, purpose and fulfillment.  There is a sense that “time is of the essence” along with societal admonitions of “do not put off tomorrow what can be done today.”  In other words, action and movement are built into our biology and also culturally encouraged.

Distracting from What Ails You
You may not be taking advantage of times when you could be still simply from a conditioned habit of “non-stop doing” or preoccupation with drama and external events.  At a deeper level, you might use distractions to stop yourself from taking time to be still, which may indicate an avoidance of personal issues, thoughts, behaviors or emotions that you do not want to face.
​Intolerable feelings of heartbreak, loss, disappointment, trauma, difficult life decisions and transitions may stop you from going within and being with stillness.  You may rush to be engaged with anything that will keep you from feeling hurt, the emptiness of loneliness and despair, or from knowing that you have a health issue or an insurmountable problem.  A loss of relationship and connection with another may amplify the void within.  When you are not receiving love and nurturing from others, your feelings of loneliness and pain may serve as a reflection of your inability to love and nurture yourself.  It can be very difficult to turn within and become aware of what is lacking, what has caused you pain or loss, or to see unhealthy beliefs and habits you have held.

“Nature Abhors a Vacuum”  ~ Aristotle

What is Here that Wants to be Present?
Stillness evokes a sense of emptiness, of the unknown and the void.  Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, postulated, “nature abhors a vacuum.”  He observed that whenever there was empty space, it would be filled even if it were filled with air.  You can see this phenomenon in the aftermath of a forest fire.  Rain and floods are often prevalent in the following years and very quickly dormant seeds germinate, weeds take hold, and new trees are birthed.  Before long, flora and fauna return.  We too, abhor a vacuum.  We want to quickly “fill the space and emptiness.”  Just think what happens when there is silence at a dinner party or at a seminar?  Does it feel uncomfortable?  A friend that attended an Eckhart Tolle workshop mentioned how Eckhart sat in front of the group in silence for a very long time before speaking.  His message was one of “Presence in the Heart” and by physically “Being Present” he modeled the vibration and message more powerfully than speaking about it.  Do you imagine that the participants sat peacefully in the Darshan of stillness?  Most likely, the stillness began to bring up emotion.  Perhaps some of the people experienced anticipation looking around the room to see the response of others, and maybe they responded with nervous movement or laughter.

“It is in the Stillness that you Hear the Longings of Your Soul.”

Emotion is aroused in stillness.  It wants to be felt, to be seen, and for you to listen to what needs to be heard.  It is in the stillness that you hear the longings of your soul.  It is in the stillness where your guidance offers you counsel and healing.  The emptiness is filled and it is filled with your essence.  It is where your true nature is found.  Emotions are an elegant expression of energy offering you vital information about your well-being, your passions and desires, and guidance toward your highest growth.

Stillness Balances, Heals and Revitalizes Your Body
After a person has been through a lot of stress and chaos, the natural state is for the body to enter a time of stillness and emptiness in order for the body to rebalance.  It can show up as needing a lot of sleep.  You may want to withdraw from the outside world for a while.  You may be sensitive to noise and just want to “zone out.”  Your body does its best to carry out your desires, yet physically, mentally and emotionally, it needs to rest and rejuvenate to remain balanced and energized.
Abiding in stillness will help you revitalize your physical body.  Stillness gives brain cells time and space to regenerate, with less sensory input silence and stillness replenish your brain and body’s energy and resources, it gives your pre-frontal cortex rest from the burden of processing, organizing, decision making and higher order thinking, and taps into an alternate mode where creativity and intuition reside.  Stress, anxiety, high blood pressure and heart rates are reduced and people sleep better when balance is achieved through silent stillness.
Free and Integrate Your Emotions
A free flow of emotions allowing them to resolve, integrate and dissipate occurs, instead of being “stuck” inside of your body, when you touch them in stillness.  It is the build up of suppressed and bottled up emotion, which becomes destructive.  Emotion is energy and when it accumulates, the pressure cannot be contained without outwardly exploding or internally damaging your physical body causing illness and disease.  Mental disturbances and cognitive dissonance may occur resulting in a breakdown of mental health.

Feel Safe Exploring Stillness
     If you have been avoiding or are fearful of stillness, you might invite a friend or a person you enjoy and trust to sit together in stillness.  Sit in an energy or place that you love and where you feel safe.  Allow yourself to be a bit uncomfortable as you experience the feelings and sensations that arise.  If difficult emotions arise, breathe and relax into the sensations.  Take a break if needed.  If you feel they are too intense for you to process, find a therapist to help.  Know that you are in control.  Sit for as short or as long as you desire.  Take your time; you do not need to rush the process.  Begin to trust yourself and your body.  Allow yourself to experience stillness as an interesting and even exciting destination that you have not experienced before.  It is not empty.  This place of stillness is actually filled with life.  The fountain of creation is found within the void.  Find the richness of texture, sensation, feeling and subtle nuances of being and consciousness contained here.  Meet your essence, receive guidance, and discover yourself.  You will be rewarded with a newfound sense of trust, stability and confidence in the world and yourself.


Nature inherently organizes towards homeostasis and balance.  After a heightened period of chaos when everything is thrown “up in the air” a new structure will be established that adapts to the changes that have occurred.  A time of Stillness ensues as the new form stabilizes.  Developing Patience allows a person to slow down and comfortably move into Stillness.  Refer to “Dancing with Chaos” and “The Lost Art of Patience.”

Dorothy Wallis is a former intern at People House in private practice with an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She is 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 based upon the latest research in science, human energy fields, psychology, and spirituality.
www.TheDorWay.com and www.Heartfulnesspath.com

Trusting, Confidence and Inner Peace ll Kate Heartsong

Trusting, Confidence and Inner Peace 

Trusting ourselves and that all is well in our lives is a big one for many people.  It certainly has been for me!  I have gratefully become more trusting over time, trusting myself, others, and that all really is in divine right order in my life.  Of course, we all can’t go around trusting everything, but that’s where discretion and self-trust comes in.   As you increase self-trust, your self-confidence grows!  It has a wonderful cumulative effect.

Here are two simple techniques on increasing your self-trust:

1.) Create a special altar in your home that is specific to your heart’s desires. This altar can consist of special mementos that bring a sense of peace and joy. It could include such items as a sentimental family photo, a unique rock from a place that brought you joy on vacation, a poem, or picture that ignites a certain pleasant memory; anything that brings you a feeling of love and warmth can be put on your alter.

Once you have this alter, sit next to it and just be with the essence of it and set an intention to be more trusting. As you are with these objects, choose to have positive thoughts, and choose to relax and trust all is well.

2.) You can carry with you a small cherished object that warms your heart and reminds you that all is well for you. Touch this object during the day as often as you like.

As you touch the object, you can feel in your heart and say any of the following words to help build trust:

–  I am a child of The Creator and this inherently means I am indeed taken care of on all levels. All my needs are easily met.

–  It is The Creator whom I am always with and therefore I trust that all is well in my life.

– I fully know and believe that all I need is provided for me now and always. I deeply breathe this truth into my soul.

– The Creator, You and I are one, and therefore abundance of joy, peace, and harmony are mine. I easily receive these blessings.

As I have greater trust, I have more self-confidence, and also inner peace.  This in turn contributes to more peace in the world through our collective consciousness, since we are all one connected !  Oneness !  Isn’t it grand to know you can make a positive difference?

In what ways do you create more trust within yourself?

Here’s to your confidence, joy, empowerment and fun!


Kate Heartsong is the “Confidence Coach”, motivational speaker, workshop facilitator, author and Reiki Master/Teacher.  Her passion to serve others comes from her personal journey of transformation.  Kate’s audiences and clients gain self-confidence and new heights of self-appreciation and also reduce their stress, through her deep wisdom, expertise, caring, and the Psychology and Business degrees she holds.

Kate Heartsong
303.549.0546
Kate@JoyfulRadiance.com
Website:  JoyfulRadiance.com

Beyond Mindfulness ll 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 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 chose 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 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.

Losing Connection through Connectivity ll Rich Brodt

Losing Connection through Connectivity

By: Rich Brodt

     An opinion is only that, an opinion. All opinions are valid as they are simply views or judgments based on one’s personal beliefs. Everyone is entitled to them. Everyone has opinions with which others strongly disagree. They are subjective, and certainly not conclusive.

     Opinions aren’t new. However, over the past couple decades we’ve seen the proliferation of social media platforms. It started with websites like MySpace and Friendster and has lead to social media apps like Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and various others that I am probably too out of touch to be fully up to date with. These platforms have some obvious benefits. Many marginalized groups are able to hold safe space in these places, often with anonymity that can protect their identities and allow them to share more freely, allowing feelings of acceptance and validation. This can be life-saving for individuals who feel misunderstood, rejected or isolated from their peers.

     There’s also a very dark side to social media that seems to be growing; it promotes shame for certain groups while attempting to empower others. If you use Facebook, for example, you should understand that there are algorithms in place, which are designed to simply feed you ideas that agree with your worldview. While this is happening on your computer screen, there is another individual who’s beliefs differ from you being fed information that further enforces his beliefs. The more each side continues to be spoon-fed information that justifies their beliefs, the more extreme those beliefs become.

Eventually, we stop seeing people as individuals and start to judge them solely based on their stance on the controversial topic du jour.

     This leads to conflict with no resolution. Both sides, dogmatic in their beliefs name-call, shame and poke one another until the whole thing devolves into chaos. Nothing is resolved. Both sides have their beliefs reinforced again, “I am right, and the other side is either stupid or evil.” Who, with a Facebook account, hasn’t at some point scrolled through an argument over a political post and seen the thread regress into name-calling, with words like “MAGA Moron” or “Libtard” being thrown around? No one wins and the two sides move further away from any common ground.

     This is where we are. We have a cataclysmic income gap, one of the worst healthcare systems of any developed nation, a huge national debt, mass surveillance, and politicians that seem to care less and less about the actual human beings that put them in office. And this is where we will stay if we insist on being so attached to our beliefs and unwilling to empathize with the positions of others. The political climate has been so divisive, so belligerent that many people honestly believe they can’t even have a conversation with another human being based on who that human being voted for, and without any knowledge of why they decided to do so. Let’s call that what it is: ignorant. You can talk all you want about how terrible/disgusting/dumb our current Commander in Chief is, but when you shut people down based on their voicing of an opinion that is different than your own, aren’t you doing exactly what you hate him for doing?

Connection with others, in and of itself, is the key to change.

     However, the connection we seek has damaged us. Social media platforms are exploiting flaws in our psychology. If you don’t believe me, put “facebook designed to be addictive” in your search engine, and you’ll find several articles referencing a Facebook creator’s admission that the platform was designed to exploit “a vulnerability in human psychology,” and that he fears what it is doing to the brains of children who use it regularly. Many of the other social media platforms, I would wager, were designed to exploit that same flaw. In essence, we get addicted to the feedback we get from social media, and so we return to it over and over again. We get a dopamine hit from writing a scathing response to someone. This phenomenon has caused such turmoil in our brains that we are actually giving ourselves a little chemical reward for publicly being terrible to another human being. This is highly disturbing.

     The way I see it, the more we’re looking down into our phones, computers and tablets, then the less we are looking at the faces of people we walk by on the street.

On the internet, things are safer, we can easily pick out the groups that share our opinions and sink comfortably into an echo chamber, where we can avoid true conflict resolution. This echo chamber then reinforces the most extreme parts of an individual’s beliefs by creating an environment where anyone who speaks out, however reasonably, in opposition is immediately ridiculed, bullied, shamed and often threatened. We can’t learn to reason intelligently about topics, and actually address the issues when there is no room for discourse. It is essential that, as individuals, we seek out and dialog with those who are different from us. I don’t think we need to step away from social media entirely, rather, I think we need to spend more time reminding ourselves that every individual we interact with is more than just a simple opinion, more than just a username and avatar, more than a meme. We are far too complex for that sort of reductive thinking.


Rich Brodt is a former intern at People House, and is currently a co-owner and private practitioner at Elevated Counseling, PLLC in the Highlands area of Denver. Prior to training to become a therapist, Rich practiced as a mental health litigation attorney in New York City, where he first became passionate about the field. Rich draws on knowledge of law, philosophy and poetry, bringing a unique perspective to his sessions.

Rich’s current practice utilizes a client-centered approach, integrating Gestalt, existential and depth approaches. He focuses his practice trauma and anxiety-related issues, including PTSD, high-stress careers, life transitions and other major stressors. Rich’s first priority in counseling is to create a safe, non-judgmental space, where clients can feel comfortable sharing and processing their most difficult thoughts.

 

Elevated Counseling, PLLC
2727 Bryant Street Suite 550
Denver, CO 80211
ElevatedCounseling.org
Ph: (720) 295-1352

Overcoming a Holiday Hangover ll Lora Cheadle

How to Overcome a “Post Holiday Hangover.”
By: Lora Cheadle

     Welcome to January! You know, that month where you realize that you did, in fact, gain too much weight over the holidays. And then, mid-month, when credit card statements come in the mail, you also realize that you spent way too money. And later on, near the end of the month, you realize that somehow, despite your best intentions, you have already blown your New Year’s Resolutions. In other words, by the end of the month, most of us feel some combination of being unhealthy, broke and depressed.

     But don’t despair! No matter how bad you blew it over the holidays, (honestly!) you can still recover. All it takes is a little forgiveness, awareness, and wisdom. With these three simple steps, you can get back on track and have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018, no matter what transpired over the holidays!

Forgive Yourself

     The first, and most important place to start, is in your own heart and soul. We all make mistakes. Yes, you may have drank too much, sent an embarrassing text, lost a job, spent too much money, quit working out, yelled at your sister; whatever. The first step is learning how to forgive yourself. Learning to love yourself, unconditionally.

     It doesn’t matter what you did. You did it. It happened, and you have to deal with it, and yourself. Forgiveness is not about absolving oneself from guilt. Nor is it about making excuses or laughing something off. It’s about digging deep, realizing the full extent of your mistake and owing what happened. It’s about understanding the full impact of your actions, the consequences to yourself, and those around you.

     It’s about identifying the emotions around your actions, feeling your shame, embarrassment, guilt; and dealing with those emotions. When we allow ourselves to feel and acknowledge our emotions, they guide us towards right action. Whether that means making amends, moving on or getting help for ourselves. Understanding our actions on an emotional as well as a cognitive level allows us to fully process and release our actions. Instead of stuffing our feelings down, we learn from them, and we grow healthier and wiser in the process.

     Truly forgiving oneself is not easy. Nor can it be accomplished overnight. Forgiveness is a process that, like grief, has many stages. Keep working on it! The past cannot be undone. Put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. If they did what you did, would you forgive them? We tend to be much harder on ourselves than we are on others. Extend yourself the same courtesy.

Understand the Impact of Your Behavior on Others

     Next, seek to understand your actions and the consequences of your actions. Not why you did what you did, but what you did Moving into the why’s tends to create blame. It doesn’t’ matter why you spent too much, reached out to your ex, yelled at your children, or got drunk. It only matters that you did.

     What is the result of your behavior? What did it create in your life that wasn’t there before? What are the consequences? Not the potential consequences or the watered down consequences, but the actual consequences to yourself as well as to others? Make a list. Ask around. Be open to learning, to understanding the impact of your decisions.

     Once again, put yourself in another person’s shoes. If someone had done this to you, what would you want them to do? Do that! Or quite simply, ask others what they would like you to do in order to make amends. Seek first to understand. Fix what you can fix. Let the rest go. It’s time to look forward, not back.

Rejoice in Choice

     One of the biggest mistakes people make when moving ahead and creating positive changes in their lives is putting too much pressure on themselves. Dreaming big is wonderful but we need to be realistic too. Dreams are not accomplished overnight. Two steps forward, one step back is to be expected. Remember the age-old question – How do you eat an elephant? The answer is – One bite at a time!

     Yes, you can get your finances back on track. You can lose the weight. You can be happy. But maybe not overnight. Every day we have multiple opportunities to choose. Choosing to make coffee at home instead of going out seems like a simple choice, but coupled with other small choices, it becomes monumental. Choose to smile, to hold doors open for others, to pack a healthy lunch. Choose to donate, swap or borrow instead of buy. Call your credit card company and ask to have your interest rate lowered. Read articles on managing debt. Take a walk. Go to the library and check out workout books or DVDs. Meditate. Pray. Choose kind words. Forgive others. Choose tolerance. Breathe in. Breathe out. Make every choice count.

     Grant Yourself the Serenity to Accept the Things you Cannot Change, the Courage to Change the Things you Can, and the Wisdom to Know the Difference

     Make a list of things you can control and all the things you can’t control. We can never truly control others, but we can always control ourselves. Yes, we may be fat, broke and miserable. Our life may indeed be filled with others who impact us negatively. We may be burdened by our own past actions. But we can’t control the past. We can only control ourselves in the future.

     We can control each moment, each choice, exactly as it comes to us. Each moment. And the moment after that. And the moment after that. Our lives are lived one day at a time. Days are nothing but a collection of moments, a collection of choices. Choose wisely. Remain conscious. It’s the only way to change your life.

     Forgive yourself. Witness and learn for your mistakes. Then choose again. The next moment is always there, presenting us with another opportunity to choose.

     So what do you choose? Joy, happiness, prosperity and health are literally just a collection of moments away. Every moment is a choice, and every choice moves us towards our goal or away from it. Accept that which you cannot change, and have the courage to create a future that you can be proud of. Yes, we can all be healthy, happy and prosperous. It’s simply a matter of choice.

Just like eating the elephant, life isn’t lived all at once. Life is lived in a series of bite-sized moments. Choose each moment wisely.


To read more of Lora’s writing, visit her website.

About the Author: Not sure what lights your fire, or do you know exactly what lights your fire, but you keep spinning your wheels? Either way, Lora’s got you covered! Whether it’s through an Angel Reading or through hypnotherapy, where the subconscious mind is brought on board with the conscious mind, working with Lora reveals your divine path and gets you chugging down the road in no time. As a former lawyer, (She knows firsthand the courage it takes to following a new path!) Lora is very straight forward and process- oriented, using modalities that that yield results. No crystal balls or goddess robes here!

Light and Dark: Living a Seasonal Mythos ll Mary Coday Edwards

Blog 21
Light & Dark: Living a Seasonal Mythos
By Rev. Mary Coday Edwards, MA

     Like a light dusting of snow covering a bleak industrial landscape, our religious leaders cloak crass and frenetic Christmas consumerism with a barren literal religiosity, embedding the Christ mythos into the Santa mythos in order to sanctify our materialistic voraciousness.

     For those of you who barely endure this season, can you scrape off that corrosive disdain and turn your gaze to a mythos of promise, perhaps through your own faith? Or instead mythologize these days through contemplation of the long nights and the returning of the sun/light, a mythos that gave succor to our ancient ancestors?

“If professional religious leaders cannot instruct us in mythological lore, our artists and creative writers can perhaps step into this priestly role.” Karen Armstrong

     A beautiful word, mythos, and infuses our lives with significance when understood in its original meaning. Myth is rooted in mythos, but it has come to mean a lie, a falsehood, or an untrue story.

     As defined in Karen Armstrong book, A Short History of Myth, myths contain universal and timeless stories that reflect and shape our lives. They provide narratives that remind us of what it is to be human, narratives that are reinforced through ritual. Our Western, enlightened society asks, “Did that actually happen?” while pre-Modern cultures were more concerned with what an event meant.

     Physicist-turned-theologian Ian Barbour in his Myths, Models and Paradigms, says a myth provides a worldview or world picture by endorsing particular ways of ordering experience and acting in daily life.

     We are a meaning-seeking species. At some point in their lives, most people will engage in mythological thinking: “It just wasn’t my time,” someone says, after barely escaping a calamity, not quite sure who or what might be controlling what’s going on behind the scenes, but only seeking to make sense of that avoided tragedy.

     In my late teens I let a rock star define my mythos. I lived out Paul Simon’s lyrics: “I am a rock, I am an island. I touch no one and no one touches me.”

     As an 18-year-old freshman at university I ate soybeans as a paid experimental guinea pig for a month so I could travel alone to the UK for three weeks: “I don’t need people,” I told myself.  Navigating a new culture at 18 where strangers compassionately came to my rescue more often than I cared to admit, I was lonelier and more miserable than at any other time in my life. I returned chastened.

     I took Simon’s song literally and isolated myself, whereas Simon’s universal truth/myth relates to being grounded inwardly in who we are, vs. being tossed about like a rudderless ship based on our perceived notion of others’ opinions of us—and therefore being under their control. One hour we’re up—“She said nice things about me! I’m so together!” and the next hour we’re down: “No one ‘liked’ my Facebook post. I am such a loser.”

     Unknown to me at the time, that traveling and insecure 18-year-old was living out other universal and timeless truths/myths, which Joseph Campbell names in his hero/heroine’s journey (Note 1).

     As an initiation from childhood to adulthood, the protagonist leaves the comfortable nest, experiences the road of trials with its tests, enemies, and unexpected allies, and returns wiser.

     I did return wiser: humans function best living in community. But because I was miserable, I wrongly concluded that I was incapable of making good decisions and jettisoned the entire adulthood effort and crawled back into childhood. I joined the Jesus Movement which soon morphed into an authoritarian hierarchy controlled by the patriarchy.  I regressed to the “father” controlling my life.

     And because—for those of who are mentally capable—adulthood/maturity is our destination, this mythos, too, would be rearranged. But that’s a story for another day.

What mythos informs your holiday season?

     When celebrating this season, many find themselves around the middle on a continuum with “Everything Non-Religious” on one end, and “Everything Religious” on the opposite—which this year includes Christianity, Judaism, and Paganism/Wiccan.

     Jesus may be ONE of the reasons for the season—but not THE reason. December 25? Fake news: Pope Julius 1 in the 4th Century officially designated it as Jesus’ birthday in order to Christianize the Pagan festivities already occurring around the Winter Solstice, OR the god Saturnalia, OR Mithra’s birthday the Iranian god of Light, OR the unconquered sun god of the Romans Sol Invictus, OR Egypt’s god Ra—take your pick. Most Christian historians and scholars believe Jesus could not have been born in the winter months of December, but MAY have been born in March. But look deeper: What’s the mythos embedded in this story? Titled the light of the world, Jesus calls us to be imitators of him. For those who follow Jesus, what does that look like for you?

     This year Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, began Tuesday, Dec. 12 and ends Wednesday, Dec. 20. Hanukkah centers around the lighting of the nine branches of the menorah, commemorating the successful Jewish revolt against their Greek-Syrian rulers in the second century B.C. The story goes that in rededicating the Jewish temple by lighting the traditional seven-lamp menorah, they found only enough uncontaminated ritual oil for one day. The one-day oil lasted for eight—thus Hanukah’s eight-day celebration. The menorah itself stands for light, wisdom, and Divine inspiration.

     Unlike other Jewish holidays, Hanukkah is not mentioned in the Jewish scriptures.  Is this mythos? Not necessarily an untrue story, but a story based in an actual event which contains universal truths for how Jews make sense of their world, truths that give meaning to their lives.

     Pagan and Wiccan celebrations of the Northern Hemisphere’s Winter Solstice remind us that the sun will return. It’s the promise of light returning to the world. Pre-Christ astronomers observed that at a certain point the days began to get longer—the season of starvation and pestilence was winding down. To ward off death and disease, centuries before Christianity the Scandinavian Vikings believed their sun god Balder particularly favored evergreens and hung them up to court his favor, while other Pagan cultures believed evergreens warded off evil spirits. Festivities sprung up, honoring what’s now called Winter Solstice.

     Advent means the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. Pagan cultures prepared for their Advent—the return of the sun—by honoring the night, a time of rest and restoration for the land and its many creatures. Of course, minimal resources to spend on candles or torches encouraged this withdrawal into their caves—and perhaps into themselves, where stories, songs and poems spring from.

     During this season of Advent peace settles over me as I sink into the deep rhythms of nature and that transcendent Energy flowing through all life.

     Can the seasonal drift toward the coming light infuse your spirit with hope?  What symbols within your mythos resonate within you? Can you lift beauty from the core mystery of what remains? Can you be a light-bringer to those around you? Can you sit with the dark, the night—symbolic often for suffering—and contemplate what life holds for you?

     If any words in this blog pinged your psyche/spirit, sit with them mindfully: paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, and nonjudgmentally (Note 3).

______

Notes & Sources:

1.) On myth: Maureen Murdock’s The Heroine’s Journey, Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces, Carl Jung’s map of the soul, Clarissa Pinkola-Estes work on fairy tales, and Ian Barbour and John Polkinghorne on the intersections of science and religion.

2.) “Where did Christmas Come From?” https://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/tag/winter-solstice/; the author uses excerpts from various documents.

3.) Kabat-Zinn, Jon. The founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, calls this practice mindfulness.

_______

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

Here is a list of the other blog Mary has written for People House:

The Lost Art of Patience: an Antidote to Stress and Chaos ll Dorothy Wallis

The Lost Art of Patience: an Antidote to Stress and Chaos

By Dorothy Wallis

     As the year winds down, you may still be feeling the intensity of the tumultuous changes that have been taking place in your life and in the world.  The Chaos discussed in October’s blog continues.  For many it has been a stormy and uncertain time not knowing what it means for the future of the children and upcoming generations, the economy, the environment and the human species.  On a more personal level, you may be anxious about your own future.  There is a heightened sense of concern about matters that were once taken for granted or ignored.  Major upheaval in the world is challenging to your sense of safety and security. 

     Anytime your safety or security is threatened there is an urgency to act.  Action may mean shutting down or protecting yourself in ways that create distance rather than connection.  The current challenges are pushing you toward both an internal and external purifying catharsis beyond primal reaction.  The opportunity presented is for you to realize your ability to choose.  You get to decide how you will respond.  You can move through the initial “whoosh” of dread, fear and anger by staying present to all of the physical and emotional sensations arising and allowing them to just “Be” without acting upon them.  You can choose to be with “what is” happening in the moment.  Having choice enables you to move from feeling helpless, powerless and at the mercy of your experience to one of knowing you are capable of going through it.  It gives you strength and authentic empowerment.  Staying present requires a commitment to being aware of your experience and patient with yourself.  

     Patience is a skill that takes practice.  It is easy to fall back into judging your ability to be still before acting or to not distract yourself from your experience.  Nothing in our culture reinforces patience: quite the opposite.  Being still, not talking, stopping before making a decision, contemplating, slowing down, daydreaming……any and all of these are not generally encouraged in our fast paced culture that rewards output and productivity.  When were you told that it was okay for you to take your time?  Just listen to our language about doing nothing: laziness, idleness, indolence, sluggishness, lethargy, dragging your feet, dawdling, dilly-dallying, procrastinating and even more demeaning indignations ad infinitum.  Being called a daydreamer, deadbeat, slug, bum, slacker, loafer, lazybones, airhead, procrastinator…or any variation of these, brings with it a blast of shame.  If you are not actively doing “something,” you are judged as “wasting” time or being indulgent and self absorbed.  Doing nothing is socially reprehensible.  We shame others and we shame ourselves.  Just notice your inner critic when you are “not doing.”  The closest we get to a socially acceptable mode of “not doing” is “Chilling out” and that usually happens when you are so overwhelmed or “burned out” that you have to stop doing or become ill.  Meditating is an exception because it is thought of as an activity.  Meditation is an intentional action, which is an excellent way to develop the stillness in patience.

     Patience is not your first response to stress or chaos.  Your first reaction is to quickly and as soon as possible get rid of the stress and calm down the chaos.  What usually happens is more stress and chaos from impetuously reacting to external events with alarm and drama.  It is an enormous task to subdue disturbances outside of yourself.  The idea of calming down the external chaos is a clue to the real antidote, which is to calm down your inner experience.  This is done through skilled Patience. 

     In order to have patience, you first have to be okay with the whole idea of being patient.  Instead of feeling guilty or pressured for taking your time, not acting quickly, and being thoughtful, you must know that there is great benefit to being patient.

The Benevolent Benefits of Patience

The stillness of patience calms the chattering mind.  Your parasympathetic nervous system quiets and composes the body into a harmonious rhythm.  Your mental, physical, and emotional health all improve through the friendly cooperation of a tranquil and balanced physiology.  When your body is working together in harmony and alignment, it functions better.  You think more clearly and are able to perceive what is actually happening around you.  Your ability to be informed from all of your senses is sharper.  Your intuition is heightened as the higher functions of the brain engage and connect with the compassionate wisdom of your heart.  Decisions you make use the entire scope of your knowledge and senses while extending your awareness to limitless dimensions.  Patience opens the gateway to creativity.  It is in the stillness that you are able to touch the deeper level where source wisdom resides. 

It is in the stillness that you are able to touch the deeper level where source wisdom resides.

     Patience is practical.  You make fewer mistakes with forethought and planning.  People skilled at patience are nice to be around; they are easy-going, even-tempered and generally unflappable.  They respond with attentiveness to others needs and so reach out with kindness and generosity.  The kindly atmosphere of patience extends to your personal well-being.  Stress and depression are diminished, as you are able to face annoyances and disturbances with less anxiety, frustration and despair.  You become more tolerant and forgiving of discord.  As your tolerance increases, you are able to persevere through difficulty and hardship, which enhances your ability to meet and achieve your goals.  

The Artful Practice of Patience

     Patience means “Being With” whatever is in your field of experience.  It is calmly waiting in times of adversity without the need to do or act.  There is an art to practicing the skill of patience.  It is both mindful and heartful.  A profoundly powerful way is to lovingly and quietly connect with your body while observing and feeling whatever is moving inside of you.  Your focus turns inward.  Instead of judging your experience with your thoughts, you are present to the physical sensations in your body while being equanimous with the feelings that arise.    

     Patiently staying present to the sensations and feelings increases your emotional resiliency as well as your ability to regulate your emotional reactions.  Emotional resilience is the “magic elixir” that increases your ability to handle stressful situations.  You are able to adapt to crisis and adversity without lasting issues.  Remarkably, this patient adaptability to crisis can allow a person to experience horrendous traumatic events without contracting PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

     Through the practice of waiting and observing, you develop a greater level of self-control and discernment.  Your thoughts do not jump to conclusions and you are less likely to automatically blame, project onto or dramatize outer events.  A calm mind and heart allows you to experience the subtle joys of life.  You see life as an ever-changing fluid terrain of impermanence.  Wonder and curiosity return and you experience with good humor, the mystery of life’s challenges and opportunities.

Patience is Felt and is a Gift for Everyone

     The current human and planetary crises can be seen as a “wake up call” and on an even grander scale seen as an advantageous design to raise the level of human consciousness.  Seen in this light, instead of contracting into isolation or allowing frustration to overwhelm you into destructive habits, with patience, you can skillfully expand into what is present and determine actions and behaviors that are beneficial for you and others.  You decrease the stress and chaos in the world through your patience. 

Giving the Gift of Patience brings Peace and Harmony into the World

      As you gather with friends, co-workers, family or are just “out and about” in your neighborhood during this holiday season, take time to stop, breathe and appreciate.  You make a difference in the world by practicing patience.  Each day take in the beauty of life, observe the hustle and bustle with delight, say a kind word to the cashier at the counter, slow down and allow the car merging into traffic to go in front of you, listen patiently to your partner, your child, your friend and to those you do not know and notice how your patience influences those around you.  Take time to give the Gift of Patience.  It will bring you an abundance of contentment and joy.


     Dorothy Wallis is a former intern at People House in private practice with an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She is 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 based upon the latest research in science, human energy fields, psychology, and spirituality. 

www.TheDorWay.com and www.Heartfulnesspath.com

Life’s Interconnection, Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem ll Kate Heartsong

Blog # 3. Due Dec 1 2017

Life’s Interconnection, Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

     Have you ever experienced walking into a room where the tension was so thick you thought you could “cut it with a knife”?  Or, how about when you’re suddenly thinking of a loved one, only to have that very same person call you shortly afterwards?  And how about the phenomena of birds turning exactly in unison while flying together?

     What explains all this is the concept of life being interconnected, also known as Oneness. There are many scientific studies proving that, at our most elemental basis, we’re all energy, and this is what causes the oneness/interconnectedness of life.   Lynn McTaggart, internationally known author and researcher, stated: “At our most elemental (level)…… human beings and all living things are a coalescence of energy in a field of energy connected to every other thing in the world.”

     I love this quote from John Pierrakos, a physician and psychiatrist:  “Energy and consciousness are in a continual state of interaction: energy is shaped and directed by consciousness which is itself driven by energy.”  What this means is how we feel about ourselves and how we show up influences those around us, because we’re all energy. 

     So, what does all this have to do with self confidence and self-esteem?  Everything!  For when you raise your self-confidence and self-esteem, not only do you feel better but this positively effects those around you.  When you feel confident, love yourself, and realize your gifts and skills, then you’re better able to show up more authentically with those around you. By doing this, you’re actually better able to give to others!  (And by the way, being self-confident and loving yourself is NOT egotistical.  It’s only being egotistical if you think you’re better than someone else!)

     Think about that! Yes indeed, you’re better able to give to others and also offer higher quality service.  And you’re a happier human being.

Wow, what would that be like, to be happy and to show up more fully for others with more joy and authenticity?

     So, are you beginning to see just how vital it is for you to build your self confidence and self-esteem?   It all starts with you! One person at a time! Yes, you can make a difference in your own life by raising your self-confidence and self-esteem, and in doing so you’re also making a positive difference  to those around you; in your work place; your home; along with your community and the city you live in, and……. also in the world.  This is because we’re all interconnected and we have a collective consciousness.    

     My invitation to you is to read my two previous self-confidence blogs and read books on this subject, google self-confidence articles, take workshops ( I have one coming up February 20th at People House), and take the journey of raising your self-esteem and confidence!  You deserve to live in joy.

Here’s to your confidence, joy, empowerment and fun!


Kate Heartsong is the “Confidence Coach”, motivational speaker, workshop facilitator, author and Reiki Master/Teacher.  Her passion to serve others comes from her personal journey of transformation.  Kate’s audiences and clients gain self-confidence and new heights of self-appreciation and also reduce their stress, through her deep wisdom, expertise, caring, and the Psychology and Business degrees she holds.

Kate Heartsong
303.549.0546
Kate@JoyfulRadiance.com
Website:  JoyfulRadiance.com

Bored of Being Bored in Recovery ll Martha Fletcher

BORED OF BEING BORED – LEARNING TO COPE WITH BOREDOME IN RECOVERY

I knew a man once who died of boredom.  Of course not, that is ridiculous!  Yet, boredom can be blown out of proportion and lead to relapse in recovery.  Why?  First, it is important to know that  boredom does not cause relapse, but what we tell ourselves about being bored that is the problem.  So, what do we tell ourselves?  “I can’t stand being bored.  I should always be entertained. Things should always be interesting.   If I don’t do something about this, I am going to implode.  I feel trapped and anxious with nothing to do.  I hate this feeling, I need to drink to make what I am doing more interesting.  I need to escape this feeling.”  Solution:  Dispute the irrationality behind it.  “What do I mean I can’t stand it?  Will I die?   Will I actually implode?  Must things always be entertaining and interesting?”  Changing the irrational belief to rational will lessen the intensity of the discomfort and make boredom tolerable.  

     Secondly, boredom is simply a misdirection of mental energy.  It is the gap between focused and unfocused.  We usually experience this when we are tired.  The brain essentially struggles to focus on one thing and wanders because it is simply running out of fuel. 

Solution:  Rest, relax, mindfully embrace boredom as an experience that will shortly pass, not box you in and kill you.   

     We can also overcome boredom by taking charge of our mental energy and refocusing it.  Get deliberate:  What goals can you focus on?  Get inspired:  What motivates you?  What excites you?  What are you passionate about?  Take action:  What can you do to change your surroundings?  

What can you do to give your brain a rest and do something fun to kill the time? 

     Drinking, or engaging in any other type of addictive behavior, to deal with boredom is a maladaptive coping strategy that is reinforced every time we employ it and strengthens our urge to use.   Dealing with intense urges only takes up more cognitive fuel and will most likely leave us feeling tired and bored and wanting to use again to cope.   Employing new, healthy strategies (or habits), over time, will create new neuropathways, resulting in decreased urges, less boredom (or at least more tolerable boredom), and improved quality of life. 


Martha is passionate about coaching and teaching others how to live inspired, meaningful, and prosperous lives in recovery.  Her coaching practice utilizes a client-centered, evidenced-based cognitive approach.  Her focus is on helping women overcome addictive behavior through teaching effective coping strategies, self-management skills, unconditional self-acceptance, and creating a healthy-balanced lifestyle.  She also provides aftercare support to women in recovery who are struggling to navigate life after treatment with a focus on building healthier and happier lives that will sustain long-term recovery.

MRW Recovery Coaching
3035 W. 25th Avenue
Denver, CO 80211     
www.mrwrecoverycoaching.com
Ph: 720-515-0713

You Should (not) Be Ashamed of Yourself! ll Erin Amundson

You Should (not) Be Ashamed of Yourself!
By: Erin Amundson

**(Written and published with permission by the young man in question)

     I am continually honored to be invited into the deepest parts of other’s experience.  Recently, I sat down with a young man I happen to be related to and had a conversation that turned out to be all about shame.  Neither of us knew going in that we would head toward that most elusive, secretive, and important topic.  However, I’ve come to understand that the source of most human suffering is just that: shame.

     This young man began by talking about feelings. He was not feeling so good about himself as a person.  He confided in me that he had some secrets – he had done some things nobody else knew about.  These things caused others in his life to feel a great deal of pain. 

     He described having a sexual relationship with a girl that was dating one of his best friends.  He threw a co-worker under the bus rather than taking responsibility for a mistake at work.  This co-worker was fired.  He went on to say that there have been so many things he has done to hurt others that he couldn’t possibly name them all – the point was, he was feeling out of control and concerned that his behaviors would only get worse in time.  I agreed with him that without some exploration into his subconscious, they might.

     In the course of our conversation, his face became flushed.  I noticed his trembling and could hear him choke back the tears that wanted to fall.  Clearly this young man was in emotional hell.  He wondered aloud why he had done these things to people, and then very quickly claimed to be a “waste of space” who “never should have been born”.   In these words I heard the source of his actions and his suffering. 

This young man was trapped in shame.   

     I asked this young man to talk about the first time he could remember feeling like a “waste of space” – going to the source of the pain so that he could begin the journey to healing.  He described being bullied at a very young age.  He also described some pretty severe abuse by a sibling.  As I pieced together the details of what I already knew about this young man, I added the experience of abandonment (he was sent away to military school and the abusive sibling stayed home).   It was clear to me that he was given a lot of reasons to feel worthless in the world.  He learned shame at a very early age. 

     When we learn shame early on in life, before our brains are able to engage in a mature process of understanding, our ego identity is formed on this basis.  Shame becomes a trusted source of esteem.  Yes, it’s a painful esteem, but if we don’t know any differently, we remain comfortable with what is familiar to us. 

     It was clear to me that the actions that brought this young man my way were subconscious attempts to mirror his shame back to him so that he could address it.  In hurting others, he was re-creating the same low emotion that he experienced early in his childhood.  Much like the cycles of addiction, shame takes on a life of its own.  If it continues to go unaddressed, the levels to which we will go to experience shame continue to get greater and greater. 

We can actually become addicted to feeling bad about ourselves.

     This young man came to me saying he had a “dark side”.  The truth is, we all do.  And our psyche will do what it takes to illuminate it so that we can heal.  This man didn’t start out his life hurting others.  In fact, the pattern started with self-sabotage.  He would make mistakes at work and lose his job, or cheat on a partner when the relationship was just getting good.  He had a long history of hurting himself before he moved on to hurting others.  However, much like a chemical addiction, he began to need more and more shame in his life to get the same effects. 

     It is human nature to experience shame.  The sad truth is that shame is the source of suffering in many forms, including addiction, violence against others and suicide.  Our lack of permission to be vulnerable and our cultural belief that we should be able to navigate life on our own fuels the fire.  Not only that, but our culture actually supports the outlets of suffering that keep us in our shame by advocating substance abuse, eating disorders, consumerism and the myriad of ways that we numb out.

     I decided to share this heavy topic with you today because I believe it is truly a part of our calling as humans to return to love.  In order to do so, we must allow one another to be vulnerable as this young man was with me.  I’m not sure where this young man would have found himself had he not come to me to address his suffering.  I do know that it’s likely his actions would have continued to accelerate – perhaps to violence or suicide.  I am grateful that he trusted me enough to explore this issue, and felt it important enough to allow me to share his story with you with the hope that we might break the silence of suffering in our world. 

     With this, I invite you to consider how shame impacts your daily life.  When you make a mistake, how do you treat yourself?  Can you meet your imperfections with compassion, or do you have a tendency to treat yourself with harsh judgment?  Do you have people in your life you can truly connect to, be vulnerable with, and share your deepest secrets with?   Our ability to open up and share not only helps us to heal and connect, but provides permission for those around us to do the same.  So today, with you, I will consider how I can better show up for myself. 


 

All About Erin:

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.

Finding Sanctuary ll Rich Brodt

Finding Sanctuary

By Rich Brodt

     In my darkest times, I have turned to music. The obsession started early, and I was only 14 or 15 before I was regularly attending concerts with my now lifelong best friend. We were skateboarders at a time when skateboarding was not cool or popular, and we generally just did not find much acceptance within our very conservative hometown. We started making a habit of escaping into the Manhattan for a Saturday matinee at ABC No Rio or CBGB, or convincing one of our unwilling parents to drive us to some obscure punk show 40 miles away. Our parents couldn’t stand their kids dressing like punks and attending what they believed to be very dangerous concerts, which made it all the more vital for us. We’ve shared this connection since, visiting one another in different states to see our favorite bands play. Whenever I felt homesick or down, this music pulled me right out of it. There’s a feeling that comes from screaming and thrashing about with both friends and strangers that is impossible to replicate. It is at once cathartic and connecting. That visceral connection, I think, is the most important part. It gives the outside a place to feel like an insider.

That’s why I fell in love with punk and hardcore music.

     For a long time, I felt like that experience would be difficult to replicate with any other type of music. I loved that punk and hardcore more music was dirty, fast, gritty and to the point. You didn’t have to guess at what people were feeling. Everyone was in it together. If someone fell, 10 hands reached out to pick them up. The singer of the headlining act might pass you the mic to sing for a longer than appropriate portion of the song, or see that you got hurt in the pit and come ask how you’re doing after the show. We met strange people who lived lives we understood nothing about. We leaned against the walls of dirty clubs smoking cigarettes and had our eyes opened to a world of people who lived however they wanted to.

Most importantly, we were experiencing this unknown, surreal world together.

     Early this year, I was on the receiving end of a traumatic event at a hardcore show in Denver. I was injured, though not severely, but the entire incident unfolded unlike anything I had experienced at similar shows for the previous 20 years of my life. My sanctuary was no longer a place of comfort for me.  After I got over my initial disillusionment, I realized that I was already finding experiences here that were fulfilling me elsewhere, and that, perhaps it was the experience of connection that was most important part. Sharing one’s catharsis with other people, makes it that much more powerful. I liken this to the same way one might experience meditating alone versus meditating among a group of people with a singular intention. I came to realize that the scene that I grew up with was not the one I was experiencing in Denver. I couldn’t come to a new city and expect the same beliefs and values to be present. This was difficult for me.

     I was attached to the scene I grew up with, and with the feeling that it provided me when I was a struggling teenager. My attachment made it difficult for me to see opportunities for new experiences. Eventually, it was cemented for me that my identity did not need to be tied to a specific type of music. I needed, instead, to be open to the new experiences, while understanding that any expectations I placed on these new experiences were probably unreasonable. I needed to let go of the idea that my past experiences with music were somehow better or more unique than what other people were getting from the music that moved them.

     I found myself embracing a much more diverse group of musicians and musical genres. I allowed myself to be open to what the new people in my life were interested in listening to. In turn, they opened themselves to the music that was important to me. I’ve now been to countless hip-hop, rock, industrial and even electronic shows, and I’ve found that each is unique in what is offers. Each is valuable, and cathartic in its own right. Each was shared with me by someone who is deeply moved by that type of music, which has enriched my experiences greatly.

Music has always been an outlet for those who struggle.

     I believe we connect to the darkness, pain, joy and love that music is capable of creating. Perhaps it is a way for one person to  briefly connect with another as they pass in the dark, and these connections are moments of light.. These are the moments when, despite feeling separate or different from society as a whole, we can be a part of something bigger, deeper and more powerful. It’s where we find our people – the ones who give us hope through our hardest times, the ones who let us know that we belong to something bigger.


Rich Brodt is a former intern at People House with the Affordable Counseling Program, and is currently a co-owner and private practitioner at Elevated Counseling, PLLC in the Highlands area of Denver. Prior to training to become a therapist, Rich practiced as a mental health litigation attorney in New York City, where he first became passionate about the field. Rich draws on knowledge of law, philosophy and poetry, bringing a unique perspective to his sessions.

2727 Bryant Street Suite 550
Denver, CO 80211
ElevatedCounseling.org
Ph: (720) 295-1352

Feminism as a Path to Healing: Part 3 ll Mary Coday Edwards

Feminism as a Path to Healing, Part 3

By Rev. Mary Coday Edwards, MA.

     “Stop shaking your head …” said former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to veteran correspondent April Ryan at a White House press briefing in March.

     “What??!!” went the collective gasp. “Who does Spicer think he is, telling this grown woman and an experienced journalist, what to do? Believing he knows what is and what’s not acceptable and proper behavior for her??”

     There are so many things wrong with this scenario. From the podium, to a room packed with journalists, he claimed the role of Supreme Being/Big Daddy, telling Ryan, a respected journalist, what her behavior ought to be and to “STOP” what she was doing – characteristics of the patriarchy: entitlement, command, and control.

Not to mention a white man bossing around an African American woman.

     If, in monotheism, God is man, man is God. Why does God look suspiciously like the ruling class? Why is Jesus, a Jewish guy from the Middle East, blond and blue-eyed? Gloria Steinem, My Life on the Road

     What in Spicer’s life created this sense of entitlement, that when push came to shove, out of his mouth spewed this automatic response? Well, he’s wealthy – to the tune of $14 million. Hand-in-hand with wealth comes entitlement (1).

     And the press describes him as a “devout Catholic.” We know this in detail because his feelings were hurt back in May when the Trump Administration didn’t invite him to a meet-and-greet with the Pope. But then the media widely reported on how an ecstatic Spicer sat in the front row snapping photos when he attended the International Catholic Legislators Network at the Vatican this past August.

As Simon Beauvoir wrote so elegantly back in 1949 in The Second Sex:

Man enjoys the great advantage of having a god endorse the code he writes;

and since man exercises a sovereign authority over women

it is especially fortunate that this authority has been vested in him by the Supreme Being.

[In monotheism and others], man is master by divine right;

the fear of God will therefore repress any impulse toward revolt in the downtrodden female.

     As a Catholic, Spicer’s saturated in patriarchal values and attitudes. I know this – I was raised Catholic. His religious leaders have been regulating and censoring women’s bodies, lives, and behavior for more than 2,000 years. It’s in his DNA. He is “master by divine right,” his god endorses “the code he writes.” These are the values Catholicism taught him.

I believe that the most serious violation of human rights on earth is the abuse of women and girls. Former President Jimmy Carter

     In 1998, Cooey, Eakin, and McDaniel edited the anthology, After Patriarchy: Feminist Transformations of the World Religions, which examines the question: “Can our major world religions transcend their deeply and far-reaching patriarchal roots?”

     In this base line anthology, feminists from each major religion question if there is hope for their respective faiths, and if so, what needs to change; and how to re-appropriate “what they believe to be the liberating and even essential elements of their traditions, elements in scriptures or tradition that have seen suppressed, forgotten, or erased by patriarchal power relations and theory”(pg ix).

     Tackling Christianity in general, Cooey wrote the chapter, “Post-Patriarchal Reconstruction of Inherited Christian Doctrine.” Cooey concludes that patriarchy is not essential to Christian doctrine, quoting other researchers who argue that the earliest communities were radically egalitarian but then, like a sponge, early missionaries soaked up patriarchal values from the cultures they sought to evangelize. 

     She believes that through critical analysis of church teaching, Christianity has possible value [emphasis added] for an “egalitarian and environmentally harmonious existence.” This can only occur if patriarchal Christianity can insist upon the full integrity of women as women and the integrity of all who have suffered under patriarchy. Not only does the latter include humanity, but also the earth and other sentient beings. The Christian past has oppressed women as well as other human beings and our environment and its ecosystems.

Many, of course, experience that transformation like pushing a boulder up a mountain and have exchanged that struggle for spiritual paths that nourish the feminine vs. malign it. This includes contributor Emily Culpepper, in her chapter titled, “The Spiritual, Political Journey of a Feminist Freethinker.”

Protesting against images of the divine which justify grossly hierarchical, authoritarian, and violent practices.

     October 31 marks the 500th Anniversary of Reformation Day, an international Protestant religious holiday, commemorating Martin Luther’s nailing of his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Times haven’t changed much in 500 years: Luther was protesting against papal authority and its abuses.

     It’s time for another Reformation – and not just of Roman Catholicism, but of all Protestantism still steeped in patriarchy.

     Former President Jimmy Carter metaphorically nailed his succinct protest on the door of the Southern Baptist Convention when he said as he withdrew from the Convention after six decades: “The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter” [emphasis added].

     Just as the infrequent bright star shines through a murky, polluted sky at night, so occasional leaders and branches of Christianity have promoted a divinity which doesn’t discriminate based on race or gender.

     It’s worthy of note that Spicer commanded Ryan twice to stop shaking her head. Patriarchy doesn’t control her.

     Like heavy and clunky baggage, many of us still struggle lugging around this supervisory patriarchal authority unconsciously within us. While reading this blog, if any feelings or emotions surfaced or twisted around in your body, such as sadness, anger, tears, a fight or flight reaction, I suggest you mindfully reflect on those emotions, waiting for any truth or memory that may be seeking to surface. Emotions are our teachers – they are not good or bad.

     Whatever you experience, don’t push it away but stay with it, welcoming this wisdom of transforming power and energy. And practice mindfulness, as Jon Kabat-Zinn taught (3):

Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose,

in the present moment,

and nonjudgmentally,

to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.

______

Notes & Sources:

1.) Buchheit, Paul. https://inequality.org/research/era-wealthy-entitlement/

2.)Editors Cooey, Paula M.; Eakin, Willilam R.; and M cDaniel, Jay B. After Patriarchy: Feminist Transformations of the World Religions.  Orbis Books, New York. 1998.

3.) Kabat-Zinn, Jon. The founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, calls this practice mindfulness

 


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

Here is a list of the other blog Mary has written for People House:

Dancing in Chaos ll Dorothy Wallis

 

      Daily, you are being bombarded with news of disasters, endless tragedies, and destructive and dehumanizing behaviors causing you to be more aware than ever of the Chaos happening in the world.  These random and outrageous events affect your sense of stability and security and may leave you feeling confused, disturbed, helpless and frightened especially when those unpredictable events cause death and destruction.  You are connected in a way that you never have been before.  Instant news and the Internet have created a dense enmeshed information web that envelops the globe.  In any moment you can hear about a catastrophe at the farthest outpost on Earth.  Your body knows even before your mind.  You are feeling it energetically.  You are connected through more than just the wireless radio waves that carry information.  You are a cell in the body of humanity.  Whether you like it or not, you are in a constant reciprocal flow with the human electromagnetic field coursing through your heart and processed through your body and brain.

      Even when you don’t watch the news or get on social media….somehow, you still feel the disruption.  Achieving a sense of harmony takes effort.

     Your consciousness is extending far beyond the confines of your individual body.  Your body is receiving massive amounts of energy and information.  This is a new development and it takes a lot of energy to process and integrate these phenomena.  Your body is adjusting and learning how to assimilate these experiences and make sense of what is happening in the world.  The magnitude of chaotic events may leave you with a deep sense of vulnerability.  You are unable to exert control to stop these events.  This may bring about hyper-awareness, anxiety, and stress or your body may respond by shutting down with a sense of being drained and fatigued.  Any of these physical reactions may cause confusion and disorientation with accompanying emotional reactions.  You may find yourself tense, irritable, worried, fearful, and angry or you may become detached, withdrawn, sullen or depressed.  Your personal response is a natural strategy used to protect you from physical and emotional pain and overload.

     Unfortunately, these strategies are not especially conducive to achieving the healthy equilibrium necessary for optimal day-to-day functioning or for managing your reactions to the chaos.

 

Making Sense of the Chaos

Why is there all of this chaos and why does it seem to be intensifying?    

     Humanity is linking together.  For the most part, we are no longer isolated into small villages unaware of other communities and cultures.  Modes of travel and the Internet have shortened the distance between all of us.  The body of humanity is coalescing into a global community of disparate as well as resonant cultural proclivities.  We come together from all walks of life and all levels of development.  This interconnection creates an awareness of actions and behaviors of others that are not in agreement.  These opposing views and values often clash as they meet and create chaos.  Chaos is messy.  Chaos is destructive because it breaks down patterns, behaviors, and structures that no longer work as we grow, change and form a larger community.

Chaos is a Part of the Creative Process

      Have you noticed a proliferation of odious, perverse, thoughtless, heartless, abusive, or inhumane treatment of others surfacing in the world?  You are witnessing the dredging up of shadowy human behaviors that destroy life.  This destructive phase of chaos is rampant across all forms of life.  It is disturbing and it is supposed to be. 

      It is a time when you must be accountable and responsible for your thoughts, emotions, and physical actions.  You cannot accept or look away from harm.  If the human species is to survive, you need to be aware because what each one of us does affects us all in a way it never has before.  Chaos is a natural process of growth that shines a light on behaviors that sift out what no longer works to sustain life and restructures them into greater life giving forms.  As you become aware of others actions and behaviors it prompts you to look within at your own.  What attitudes, beliefs, behaviors and actions separate me from others and life and which ones create connection?  You are given the opportunity to become aware of what motivates you, supports your growth, offers meaning and purpose and expands you and what does not.

     As you ponder your own beliefs, you may discover that some of your values shift.  Some of your values may be in conflict with others that you hold.  This internal chaos is a creative process that encourages inquiry.  What is harm?  What is life sustaining?  How can I expand my perspective to include a broader view?  You begin to realize there are no solid answers and more questions arise.  This is growth in action.  You open up parts of yourself that fear, parts of yourself that want everything to remain the same or to radically change, to parts of yourself that want to isolate and parts that want to join with others.  You may have judged parts of yourself as harmful and others as helpful.  Can you begin to see that all of these parts came in at one time for a purpose? 

You are dancing in the Chaos of internal inquiry.

You Need Chaos In Your Soul to Give Birth to a Dancing Star

 ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

     Friedrich Nietzsche spoke of this internal chaos as a form of individual creativity, which when “sought through the acquisition of self-knowledge results in a dancing star, or a unique contribution to the world.”

     Waking up to your inner chaos allows your unique perspective and gifts to illuminate the human condition.  You find parts of yourself that you vehemently reject and see the violence that you enact upon yourself through this rejection.  As you deepen your awareness, you join with discordant parts within yourself and see each of their origins, how they grew into patterns of behavior and reactions.  You develop compassion for these parts.  You begin to let go of fighting or resisting these elements and embrace them for what they offered or still provide.  Loosening the grip of resistance allows a relaxation into acceptance and release.

     Your perspective expands to include a deeper knowing and love of your true Self.  

     All growth moves through this process of Chaos.  The deconstruction and dissolution of the old must take place to make way for the new.  It is happening for you on an individual basis at the level of development that is right for you.  It is happening collectively in the world…again at the pace and next level of development that is appropriate for each person and each community.  Humanity contains all stages and levels of consciousness.  It is a great challenge to integrate into a harmonious whole.  As each person takes responsibility for their own internal development and allows the internal chaos to work its magic of restructuring, the entire world benefits. 

     A great example of visually seeing how chaos is necessary for growth is watching a demonstration of Cymatics.  Sand or other fine particles are placed upon a plate to which various frequencies of sound vibrate the plate.  Each frequency forms a structured pattern.  As the frequency increases, the particles go into chaos allowing the old structure to dissolve before a new pattern of increasing complexity forms.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvJAgrUBF4w

     As you grow and change, you move through periods of chaos and each time you do, you reach a new frequency of development and maturity.  You develop knowledge and wisdom.  You embody a completely new form because your old beliefs and structures are no longer relevant.  It is a constant movement into higher stages of consciousness. 

     Our world is increasing in complexity and as it does it moves through these periods of chaos.  It is a time of tremendous transition as we journey toward becoming a harmonious global community.


Dorothy Wallis is a former intern at People House in private practice with an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She is 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 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

Me Too ll Lora Cheadle

 

To Those Who Cannot Say #metoo

I’m not sure if was the firing of Harvey Weinstein that started the #metoo movement, but reading other people’s stories, seeing the antagonistic comments against those stories, and reflecting on my own experiences, made me realize how my own thought and beliefs about sexual assault and sexual harassment were as much as a part of the problem as the actual perpetrators were. This personal revelation made me realize that unless our society-radically changes the way it looks at sexual assault and sexual harassment, we will never be able to quell this epidemic.

And who am I to talk? After all, I haven’t been raped. I’m not one of them. I can’t write #metoo on my status.

     As a former lawyer, and now Life Choreographer™ – my unique version of hypnotherapist and life coach – I’m well trained at listening to other people’s stories without judgment. It has always been my job to listen to people and to accept where they are, without question. Once I understand where a client is at, mentally, spiritually and emotionally, then I am capable of assisting them. Whether in the legal arena or the therapeutic arena, the first step is seeking to understand. Not agree necessarily, but to understand.

     To understand another’s pain, whether or not I can relate to that pain, or whether or not I believe that pain is valid, is the necessary first step to creating change or finding a resolution. When a client had a crippling fear of crossing bridges, I did not downplay that fear as irrational. I sought first to understand how debilitating that fear was. When I had a client who compulsively gambled away his paychecks, I didn’t shame him. I sought first to understand his compulsion and crippling shame when he failed to control his addiction. When I had a morbidly obese client, I sought to understand his emotional baggage and self-loathing. I did not blame him for years of overeating or accusatorily ask him what he did to cause his weight gain. But that’s not what I did when I first hear about #metoo.

But maybe it’s because I’m not one of them. Maybe it’s because I can’t write #metoo on my status.

     When I first heard about #metoo, what went through my mind was, “Great idea, but that’s not something I’m a part of. I’ve never been raped, my life has been blissfully trauma-free. I am the healer, not the victim, this is not me.” But as those words passed through my mind, for the first time, I heard how wrong they were. I suddenly say how my way of thinking was the problem. I saw how my thoughts encapsulated the beliefs of our society and how they were perpetuating the problem.

     Just about every female I know has been sexually harassed. Not just harassed, like one might be harassed in some minor traffic altercation or for wearing an opposing team’s colors at a sporting event, but sexually harassed or intimidated specifically for being a woman. And we – the women out there who have been harassed so routinely that we become so used to this behavior that we don’t even see it as a problem – sit in blissful ignorance claiming that what we’ve been though is no big deal, then things desperately need to change.

I’m deeply supportive of women, but have nothing to share. I’m not one of them. I can’t write #metoo on my status.

     My sexual harassment stories were always less than someone else’s. And because my stories were less than full-blown, violent rape, then in my mind, they weren’t relevant or valid. In my warped mind, because nothing had ended up happening, I hadn’t been assaulted. In my mind, unless actual, full-blown rape, with a police report and a trial happened, what had happened to me wasn’t important.

     I know that not all rape is at gun point in a dark alley. I know that the vast majority of rape is not the stereotypical image of rape that our culture holds so dear. Yet my thoughts and behaviors reflected that it had to be just that, or the incident didn’t count. Unless it was real rape or real assault, it was commonplace and could be dismissed.

     To be clear, I am not counting the numerous creeper, awkward, offensive-but-not-harmful experiences that I have faced in my life. We as humans are fallible, and we make mistakes and to me, those types of experiences are not sexual harassment. To me, a man putting his hand on my hip and whispering, “How married are you?” is a creep. And although I dislike it, I am not intimidated, harmed or fearful. I categorize that as stupid human behavior and I move on. As do many women. So no, don’t tell me horror stories about women who ruin men’s lives by crying “assault!” when all the man has done is asked her out on a date. Like the “How married are you!” man, these women are stupid, fallible humans. We all make mistakes. So let’s not talk about the anomalies, let’s talk about the majority.

     The greater, societal problem lies in the fact that our culture still thinks that anything short of full-fledged, violent rape is not sexual assault. Apparently there is a piece of me that thinks this too, or I would have instantly realized that I am a part of the #metoo sisterhood as well.

Could I be one of them? Dare I write #metoo on my status?

     I have had men surround me in parking lots while heckling me, and telling me what they wanted to do to me. I have men grab my shoulders and force-kiss me, grab my hand and put it on their secretly exposed penis, and hold me down as they dry-hump me. I’ve had men threaten to tell people that “I did something with them” unless I did, actually, do something with them. I had a boss ask me to meet him in the office at night, and then tell me, “Never mind” after I said my boyfriend was going to drive me. I’ve been offered special projects by professors, making class time unbearable. I have had men expose themselves and grab at my clothing and body. Yet, in my warped mind, I haven’t been sexually assaulted. Just because nothing ended up happening. It’s all magically washed away!

     Dude! That bullet missed your head by a full inch! You weren’t actually killed. Let it go! I don’t understand why you are still so upset. You were stupid enough to be walking in that neighborhood after dark without a bullet-proof-vest. What were you thinking? Don’t you dare ruin that poor guys live by charging him with attempted murder. Nothing happened. Deal with it.

     This is the kind of thinking that permeates society and keeps us trapped. As long as people think like I did, then there is no hope of quelling this epidemic. The statistics of one of five women being sexually assaulted will stay the same. Men will not learn. Women will not learn, and nothing will change. Until we acknowledge the fact that one can be being sexually assaulted or harassed and walk away, without a full-blown incident occurring, nothing will change. This is not how it works for any other crime except sexual assault or sexual harassment.

      And men, maybe you too should be writing #metoo on your status. Maybe none of the men who harassed or intimidated me had any intention of doing anything more than what they did. Maybe they were all good people, making poor choices. But I didn’t know that. Seek first to understand. Understand that women don’t know that you are only joking. That you have no intention of taking it further, or of harming them for real. Maybe you should put #metoo on your status if you have ever inadvertently scared a woman like this.

Because until we all work together, and change our thinking, this epidemic will never change.

#metoo.

Building Confidence in Recovery through Self-Acceptance ll Martha Fletcher

Building Confidence in Recovery through Self-Acceptance
By Martha Fletcher

Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others.  Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval.  Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.

Lao Tzu

Self-confidence is contingent on our self-view.  That is, our perception of personal worth and competence.  A healthy self-view starts and ends with self-acceptance.  When we reject any part of ourselves by holding the beliefs we are inferior and incompetent, our confidence in our abilities and judgment becomes unstable and insecure.  To have self-acceptance is to love ourselves unconditionally!

Self-worth is determined by how we measure our personal value.  When we measure our worth against external values, such as wealth, success, popularity, status, and beauty, the value we assign ourselves begins to decrease when we fall short of how we believe we “ought” to be.  When we measure our worth against our mistakes, flaws, and struggles, the self-view takes on an inferiority complex.  Finally, when we base our worth on acceptance of others, the self-view becomes fragile and defensive which determines the quality of our interpersonal relationships.

Cultivating Confidence

We can start strengthening the foundation of our confidence by creating a healthy sense of self. 

This includes unconditional self-acceptance.  We can cultivate self-acceptance in the following ways:

  • Choose self-compassion and love over judgment and criticism. You can do this by recruiting your inner critic to be on your side instead of on your case.
  • Choose acceptance over rejection. What part of yourself are you rejecting?  Take that part and embrace it with open arms like you would the person you love the most.
  • Don’t take things personally. What people say and do is a reflection of their own pain and suffering.  It has nothing to do with you!
  • Selfvalidate. Validate yourself through honoring personal values and striving towards self-improvement. Love yourself from your heart, not through the eyes of others. Take what you want others to say about you and create an affirmation and repeat it to yourself.
  • Your mistakes are not part of your identity. Mistakes are not a measure of self-worth.  Mistakes are behaviors.  We are not our behaviors.  Forgive yourself and use them to make better choices in the future.
  • Find the treasure in your struggles. Where you stumble is where you will find your greatest treasure. When life trips you up with struggles and problems, there is a treasure at your feet.  Look for it!
  • Stay focused on the positive. What do you like about yourself?  Build a shrine to your strengths and values.
  • Accept limitations without judgment. Each and every person has limitations.  You are part of the human race.  Expect it!  Accept it!
  • Evaluate yourself independently instead of comparing yourself to others. Life is not a competition.  Always do your best and know that is the best!

Self-worth and Addiction

The cycle of addiction is fueled by a negative self-view.  Feelings of low self-worth sound like, “I’m not good enough; I’m a failure; I’m not important; I’m worthless.”  At the heart of unhealthy emotions like anxiety and depression is an intolerance to events that are perceived as personal failures or rejection by others, which can lead to self-destructive behavior.  The judger is always watching and waiting for the next mistake, failure, or rejection so it can criticize, shame, and repeatedly punish.  The reality is we all fail, we all are rejected at times, but in no way to these determine our value.  We can learn to cope with these realities by developing self-acceptance.

Self-acceptance is crucial to building confidence and a healthy sense of self in recovery.  It is not something we are born with, it is something we learn, practice, and master over time.  We need to throw away the ruler in which we are measuring our self-worth and start practicing self-acceptance.  This means talking to oneself with love and compassion, focusing on strengths and values, taking pride in our accomplishments, forgiving ourself, and changing the meaning we give our mistakes, failures, and flaws.  Perhaps the need to be valuable is mistaken for the need to make our life important and meaningful.  We can make our life count in the way we enrich the lives of others, living with purpose and meaning, the contributions we make, through an appreciative and grateful attitude towards life, and through love and acceptance of ourselves and others.


Martha Fletcher is a visiting practitioner at People House, and is owner and private practitioner at MRW Recovery Coaching.  Martha graduated summa cum laude with a BA in psychology from Hunter College, City University of New York and is a certified addiction recovery and life coach through New York University, New York State OASAS and Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery.  She is also a trained SMART Recovery facilitator and founder of Books4Recovery. She recently received her certification in Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy through the Albert Ellis Institute and Illinois Certification Board.

MRW Recovery Coaching
3035 W. 25th Avenue
Denver, CO 80211
www.mrwrecoverycoaching.com
Ph: 720-515-0713

Getting Off the Hamster Wheel ll Erin Amundson

Getting off The Hamster Wheel
By: Erin Amundson

     A little girl on a hamster wheel. This is the central focus of a young man’s dream we are working on at the International Association for the Study of Dreams Conference last week. It’s his dream. And he had an intention before he slept that night to connect to a dream that would help him improve his inner relationship to his mother.

     As the group collectively dug into this dream, I found myself strangely disconnected from it. As a psychotherapist who specializes in dream work, I’m typically deep into the dream long before we even engage a process to work with it. But, I thought, my relationship to my mother is really good.

I don’t need to work on this – this dream doesn’t apply to me.

     Anyone who has ever done dream work with me knows that my response to a statement like the one I was making in my own head would be something like, really? Why don’t we see? And, yes, there is a bit of playful prodding in that. Of course, I wasn’t going there. I actually found myself distracted. This should have been my first clue that this man’s dream contained something I didn’t want to look at. Something deep in my subconscious.

     In any case, I navigated the 2 hour workshop with curiosity but no emotion, with respect but no involvement, with appreciation but no growth. And I should have known.

     As it often goes in dream work, the dream images are multi-layered and represent an area in our subconscious that is asking to come into our conscious awareness. Little did I realize, I was the girl on the hamster wheel through that entire 2 hour process. Running and running and getting nowhere, perhaps because I felt way to exposed and vulnerable with the depth of the emotions that lie under the surface.

Especially since I am one of the experts in the field. The experts don’t lose it, right?

     But I did. I actually broke down and wept, an hour after the workshop, alone in my hotel room. Shades drawn, do not disturb on the door, blankets up over my head. My temptation had been to attend the next workshop, to go have lunch with others, to swim….anything to keep myself on that hamster wheel when I felt the wave of emotion welling up.

     So the dam broke, and still there was confusion. This wasn’t about my mom at all. That I was telling the truth about. As I sunk into the feeling, I realized that I was facing saying goodbye to an amazing experience of connection as the conference was coming to an end. I had new friends. I had a world of dreamers around me. I felt at home and alive there. Rather than facing the grief of losing this, I preferred to stay on my hamster wheel. But as dream work goes, my awareness moved me off the hamster wheel, and the landing felt very abrupt.

     Like many of us, I struggle with abandonment. I’ve worked a long time to heal this aspect of my wounding, and I’m down to the relationship I have with myself. While the man was dreaming about an outside relationship, my connection to the dream was in me. And it was clear that I needed to find a way to get the girl on the hamster wheel to stop running. To do this, I first had to explore what my hamster wheel is, and I’m going to invite you to consider the same. Here are my main hamster wheels:
1. Business. I can stay busy for days. Laundry, work, catching up phone calls, making too many social plans, going to the gym – I’ve got to get it all done!
2. Rabbit hole thoughts – I can obsess over something that happened day one of my group facilitation that nobody else even noticed. Such as my perception that I held the meditation a bit too long.
3. Perfectionist or Inner Critic Tendencies – these guys will run and run for as long as you let them. I guarantee they get you nowhere.
4. Intellectualism – I will do research, I will “figure out the reason” I’m feeling a certain way, or I will endeavor to learn something new all to avoid my emotional processes.
5. Any type of addictive or substance use behavior. Emotional eating, drinking too much or out of boredom, over exercising, not eating enough, shopping, planning the future, gambling, working too much. Really any behavior can fit into this category if the energy of it feels out of balance.
6. Taking care of others at the expense of caring for myself.

     At this conference, I felt very deeply, yet I was busy facilitating, socializing and analyzing anytime I wasn’t deep in a dream. I hadn’t given myself the space to process all of the healing, hope, and creation that had come from my work there. And just when I thought I was through it, another dreamer’s image jumped out and grabbed me – this was the most powerful moment of the entire week for me.
When we are able to recognize we are on the hamster wheel, we have the opportunity to step off and into an authentic expression of soul. We’re no longer running from what we feel, or who we truly are in the world.

Consider your hamster wheel for a moment. How do you know when you’re there?


     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.  

     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.

Special Edition Blog! ~The Gift of Music~

By: Craig Fruend
“A community united by the ideals of compassion and creativity has incredible power. Art of all kinds— music, literature, traditional arts, visual arts— can lift a community.” 
-Martin O’Malley 
As a community at large and particularly as a nation, we have endured a great-deal of recent hardship. From natural disasters and concerns around governmental shifts, to anxiety surrounding national security and future direction, this year has been particularly challenging. With an engaging role in the community People House strives to support the greater Denver Metropolitan area through affordable counseling and mental health, as well as with spiritual services. 
At People House we continue to see an increased demand for these services and strive to meet the needs of all that might benefit. The People House mission would not be possible if it weren’t for the active participation of caring and supportive organizations, families and individuals. On November 5thThe Gift of Music will be hosted by Denver’s top jazz club Dazzle. As a community, we will gather in support of fellowship and the greater good!
With excellent music in an excellent venue, this event will offer a fun night out in the heart of Lodo in downtown Denver, as well as the opportunity to support a great cause. With 6 great bands on 2 stages and excellent silent auction items, not to mention the raging cocktails and eclectic foods offered by DazzleThe Gift of Music will not disappoint! As we know, music can be extremely nurturing, unifying and even FUN. It has been said that “united we stand and divided we fall, so if you’re looking to unite, as well as a great excuse to get out and have a great time, look no further… Join us for the Gift of Music!
 
See more of our story in the Westword or with ePR News!
“It’s not only music. It’s not only art. It’s a community. It’s a sense of having a place to belong.” -Jared Lets

Erasing Shame ll Rich Brodt

Erasing Shame

By: Rich Brodt

            The Oxford English Dictionary defines darkness as both an absence of light, and as wickedness or evil. I take the former to refer to an overall state of literal or figurative darkness. One might say that America is in a time of darkness. Trust in the system is at an all time low due to the actions of our leaders, and people are figuratively in the dark as a result of the media’s inability to consistently report accurate facts. The first definition is easy enough to take at face value, but the second definition gives me pause. Under that second definition, “wickedness or evil,” the Dictionary lists several sub-definitions such as “[u]nhappiness or gloom,” “[s]ecrecy or mystery,” and “[l]ack of spiritual or intellectual enlightenment; ignorance.”

            These definitions are fascinating. They explain the definition of darkness as “wickedness or evil.”

These definitions indicate that unhappiness, gloom, secrecy, and a lack of enlightenment are essentially evil or wicked. Some of the purportedly evil things are the same words we might use to describe mental health issues. “Gloom” or “unhappiness” could easily refer to a depressed individual’s state of mind – and this is how we are defining wickedness or evil. 

            The stigma of mental illness has improved somewhat over the years, however, these are still the messages that society sends to unhappy people. If you are unhappy, something within you must be flawed. The definition treats the negative feelings more like unwanted interlopers than valid emotion. Yet the definition merely reflects what is readily observable in American culture. We are taught to praise the image of a person who is ascending, succeeding, working hard, living a “happy” life. Depression is not depicted as a natural part of life, instead it is portrayed as a defect, a character flaw. I believe this is because we are made uncomfortable by another’s pain.

So on top of sending the message that it is not okay to be depressed, we are also asking depressed individuals to hide their true emotions in order to make us more comfortable.

            These messages force people into hiding, severing connections that are essential to individual growth and positive thinking. By avoiding these uncomfortable topics, we send the message that they are taboo. As a result, negative feelings are suppressed. It seems that this is often followed by detachment and aloofness. Our discomfort with another’s pain causes them to suppress further. Others, sensitive to these messages from an early age, may adopt a false persona to blend in with the people they perceive as normal. This can be dangerous. The continued effort of suppressing one’s true self around other people is exhausting. When an individual suppresses their feelings to this extent it eventually leads to worsening levels of depression, self-harm, and isolation.          

            As a culture, we want people to be “happy.” However, happiness is not meant to be a permanent state. If happiness was permanent, there would be no drive to grow or to improve one’s self. A state of bliss is a nice vacation, but if we stayed there we would probably have far fewer chances to evolve. Stress, anxiety, tragedy, grief and trauma are all a part of the process of becoming who we are. The more we shut ourselves off from the darkness that life challenges us with, the less we are able to accommodate and appreciate moments of light.

            This is largely why I feel that therapists need to spend time working through the taboo thoughts that their client may be having, normalizing them and allowing the individual to understand the reasons for them. For example, at some point, most of us will counsel someone on the verge of losing a loved one. Sometimes, the client will shamefully reveal that the relative’s suffering is so difficult to bare that they would prefer if their loved one would die already. While the statement is impactful, it is not bad or wrong. It can be shocking since the statement is inherently hopeless. However, this shows me that the individual is open to their feelings and not detaching from them. The individual usually feels shame and guilt around even having such thoughts. When they do, I try to remind them that what they are thinking is natural. The mind tries to find a way to relieve itself from suffering. Fantasizing that this person has already passed does exactly that – allows the mind to envision a situation where the suffering has ceased. It provides a comfort.

It is important to normalize this thought process, allowing the client to see there is no reason to feel shame.

            This process can be used to facilitate the processing of other similarly taboo thoughts a client may experience. I believe that there is a reason for every thought; for negative/dark/taboo thought, the reason is usually related to some kind of emotional or physical pain that the individual needs escape from. If that unwanted thought can be traced to something distressing, the individual can begin to understand why the dark thoughts started to emerge. This helps to relieve feelings of shame, and keeps the client moving forward free of judgment.


References

Darkness. (2017). In Oxford.  Retrieved from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/darkness.


About the Author: Rich Brodt is a Registered Psychotherapist and former attorney with over 7 years of mental health treatment experience. He is especially interested in working with trauma, grief, existential themes in counseling, and the link between psychology and philosophy. He is currently in private practice conducting group and individual therapy at Elevated Counseling, PLLC 2727 Bryant Street Suite 550, Denver, CO 80211 and can be reached at (720) 295-1352 for scheduling inquiries.

Spirit, Soul and Personality – Reaching Enlightenment After Death ll Lora Cheadle

Spirit, Soul and Personality – Reaching Enlightenment After Death
By: Lora Cheadle

“It’s weird. You know me better than people who have known me for years, but we’ve never met and we’ve only talked twice.”

As an angel reader and intuitive, I get comments like this a lot. But I still love explaining why this is the case. You see, when we meet people in the context of normal life, we meet as our personalities. We meet with some sort of an agenda. Either we are in a professional arena or a social setting. Often times we know what we are supposed to do or to be with that person. We need something from them, or we need to be something for them. Whether it’s to impress them with our intellect, our looks, or our abilities, meeting people is always somewhat about sales because every relationship is ultimately about some sort of transaction. 

But during a reading, I don’t meet you as your personality. I meet you as your soul and as your energy. There are no preconceived notions about anything and there is nothing I want from you, or you from me, other than my impression of your energy, your soul. Which is why readings are such meaningful experiences for people.

How do Intuitive Readings Work?

Rarely do we have our own energy, our own soul reflected back to us in such a pure state, without judgment, comment or editing of any kind. And the experience can sometimes be jarring because it brings to light all that we are inside, all the truths that we keep hidden from the world, not because they are bad, but simply because we aren’t used to expressing in such a deep way. Which is why intuitive readings can be so valuable.

During a reading I will probably not tell you anything that you don’t already know. But I will express exactly what’s been rolling around in your own mind and heart for a very long time. Which is probably the reason why you sought a reading in the first place! And that can be earie. Because I might say exactly what you are thinking but aren’t admitting to yourself. But it will be something that you needed to hear in order to process and move forward.

It’s kind of like mind-reading, only it isn’t. We all have thoughts that go through our brains but that we don’t say out loud or even acknowledge to ourselves. Even if these things aren’t said, they still create an energy that is tangible, or readable to people who perceive energy. So when you are thinking that you don’t really love your spouse, or are visualizing a life in a different part of the country, with a different job, that is the energy that I perceive and share back to you. Which can sometimes feel startling. Because sometimes you don’t even realize you are having these thoughts or feelings. But I do.

How Does Mediumship Work?

Mediumship, or communicating with deceased people, is similar. The soul is pure and doesn’t require a body, brain or a personality. During readings, whether the person being read is living or dead, it’s the energy of the soul that I tune into. Not the personality. I read their soul energy, which is separate and distinct from the body’s energy and transcends physical boundaries.

Death and Enlightenment

This is also why there is a certain amount of added clarity after a person crosses to the other side. Yes, personality is still there, but over time, personality takes a backseat to the soul. The deceased person becomes more their soul and less their personality.

No, death does not make a soul omniscient, instantly wise or suddenly enlightened, but it does allow for a higher perspective. Being unbound, or “lightened” from the body and brain and personality gives the soul room to take center stage. We become more ourselves, because we are unencumbered by that which is not us.

Life Lessons Post-Death

By way of example, this morning I was talking to my Grandmother who passed away three years ago. I asked her why she was sometimes so difficult to deal with in life. Why she sometimes cut off her nose to spite her face. This would not have been an appropriate question to ask her while she was alive nor would she have been able to answer it honestly because of the blocks from her brain and personality. But three years post-death she was able to give me a beautiful and complete answer from her soul.

Her marriage had not ended up the way she had wanted it to, but she was dedicated to the idea of the stability that marriage was supposed to bring. She kept alive a glimmer of hope that her husband would one day see her radiance, be humbled by all that she could offer in a relationship and fall hopelessly in love with her for choosing him above all the rest. She never received this adulation from him and she knew, on a soul level, that she was not supposed to point it out to him. His challenge was to see it on his own. Her challenge was to wait.

But this waiting was more painful than she wanted to endure and it interfered with her relationships with others. Frustration with his inability to see her for who she was, coupled with her inability to force him to see, caused her to over assert herself in other areas of life. She was attempting to balance out the deficiency in their relationship by forcing herself on others in the way she wished she could force herself on him. Which was perfect, in a twisted, karmic sort of a way.

The more she stood up for herself and demanded exactly what she thought she deserved from others, the more others backed away from her. All of us, her friends and family, saw this behavior as part of her personality, but failed to see what was really happening with her soul. The more difficult she became, the more frustrated others became with her, the less her husband thought of her, and the worse he treated her. The worse he treated her, the more she fiercely asserted herself, and a downhill cycle ensued. Which was sad, for everyone involved on a human, personality level.

But on a soul level we knew, and we didn’t judge ourselves as right or wrong, good or bad in any of this. Had we been operating on a soul level, so much would have been clarified and rectified. He would have known her need to be seen. We could have communicated her position to him if he hadn’t. It all would have been seen and understood by all of us. But we were all just personalities, brains and bodies and despite what we knew on a soul level, we still let our personalities rule and we perpetuated the cycle. Which was our collective lesson.

How Intuitive Readings Help the Living

Which is why intuitive readings or speaking with a medium is so valuable. Readings give us the opportunity to check in with our souls and our energy, to get our personalities and brains out of the way and to get perspective on whether or not we are living our highest good and best interest. Readings help break us out of our personality and our human desires, connecting us to something greater, and more en-lightened!


To read more of Lora’s writing, visit her website.

About the Author: Not sure what lights your fire, or do you know exactly what lights your fire, but you keep spinning your wheels? Either way, Lora’s got you covered! Whether it’s through an Angel Reading or through hypnotherapy, where the subconscious mind is brought on board with the conscious mind, working with Lora reveals your divine path and gets you chugging down the road in no time. As a former lawyer, (She knows firsthand the courage it takes to following a new path!) Lora is very straight forward and process- oriented, using modalities that that yield results. No crystal balls or goddess robes here!

Feminism as a Path to Healing: Part 2 ll Mary Coday Edwards

By Rev. Mary Coday Edwards, MA.
September 12, 2017

“I decided you didn’t need it,” said a retired, older white man (OWM) to me in my not too distant past.

“Whoa,” I thought, while simultaneously, “Warning! Warning! Danger ahead!” clanged my internal alarm systems.

And then I razzed this potential colleague mercilessly about his god-like powers enabling him to know my truth.

Unfortunately, he didn’t get it.

Normally I avoid collaborative ventures with OWM, but this one has a good heart, and the nonprofit I was tip-toeing into had the potential for increasing the planet’s greater good, so I risked it. However, my somewhat mature and somewhat wiser self now enters into such endeavors consciously. Life is short, so I choose to divert my limited energy into life-flourishing undertakings and I needed to research his organization.

Over a span of three weeks – again, and again, and again – I asked for the Articles of Incorporation. These are legal documents and available to the public.  During those weeks, the OWM wanted commitments from me, but as I humorously explained to him many times, “how can I commit until I know what I am committing TO?”

The Articles were the documents he had “decided” I “didn’t need,” a comment he eventually made in passing, as if it was perfectly normal and acceptable for him to decide for me.

ENTITLEMENT, CONTROL, & COMMAND: CHARACTERISTICS OF A PATRIARCHAL SYSTEM

Patriarchy commonly means social systems in which power is primarily held by adult men – and in Western culture, that would be predominantly white adult men.

Author Sue Monk Kidd says the characteristics of a patriarchal system include (1):

Entitlement: the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.

Control: the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.

Command: give an authoritative order; have authority over, be in charge of; dominate from a superior height

Strongly influenced by feminist thinking in both science and theology, physicist-turned-theologian Ian Barbour speaks of patriarchal assumptions underlying scientific research and discovery.

“Control and domination of nature express attitudes associated more often with men than women in Western culture”, he says. And, that “in a patriarchal society, the exploitation of women and nature have a common ideological root …. Scientists participate in these manipulating attitudes when they make control and prediction, rather than understanding, their goal.” (2, pgs 24, 149.)

Patriarchal values (which are not necessarily male values) include the belief that one is entitled to control, command, and dominate. This always implies a one-way relationship, whether it be political, personal, or religious: someone has to dominate and someone has to submit; someone has to be right, someone has to be wrong; someone has to control, someone is the controllee.

This OWM did eventually send me the documents.  But at an unconscious level, he believed he was entitled to tell me, an adult woman, that he knew what was best for me, thus revealing that his worldview still included the erroneous right of control and command – as if I was a small child.

LOVINGKINDNESS: IT DOESN’T MEAN APPROVAL

My younger self faithfully served as a handmaiden to the dominant male culture for far too many years (3). In some cases, I actually believed patriarchy’s ardent male and female supporters would see, like a parasite, how the system drained life out of the very ones it depended upon for its existence.

I could have been the poster child for Einstein’s definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

This OWM’s words revealed his unconscious bias.  A successful businessman before he retired, he is a product of a 3,000-year-old patriarchy system; it’s in his DNA.

I get this – and I can extend lovingkindness to him without approving of his life-denigrating actions toward me – or feeling compelled to be “nice”.

That’s why, and because of his good heart, I stuck with it for three weeks, even while he lightly dismissed my requests as trivial. If this had been part of a patriarchal system, I wouldn’t have had a choice, and it would have been institutionalized oppression, pervasive in the United States until woman’s suffrage in 1920 (it’s still prevalent – just not so obvious).

In my last blog, I spoke of how the patriarchy sends both women AND men to my office, seeking healing from their woundings.  Feminism means being able to make the choices that are right for you.

In addition, as adults we carry this bossy and demanding patriarchal authority unconsciously within us, long past its expiration date. While reading this blog, if any feelings or emotions surfaced or wiggled around in your body, such as sadness, anger, tears, a fight or flight reaction, I suggest you mindfully reflect on those emotions, waiting for any truth or memory that may be seeking to surface. Emotions are our teachers – they are not good or bad.

Whatever you experience, don’t push it away but stay with it, welcoming this wisdom of transforming power and energy. And practice mindfulness, as Jon Kabat-Zinn taught (4):

Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose,
in the present moment,
and nonjudgmentally,
to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.

______

Notes & Sources: Kidd, Sue Monk. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter. A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine. HarperCollins; 1996. Pg. 199.

1.) Kidd, Sue Monk. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter. A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine. HarperCollins; 1996. Pg. 199.

2.) Barbour, Ian. Religion and Science; Historical and Contemporary Issues. HarperSanFrancisco, 1997.

3.) Murdock, Maureen. The Heroine’s Journey, pg 2. Shambhala Publications, 1990.

4.) Kabat-Zinn, Jon. The founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, calls this practice mindfulness.


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

Here is a list of the other blog Mary has written for People House:

After the Deluge ll Dorothy Wallis

After the Deluge
By Dorothy Wallis

     Imagine people stranded for hours and days on rooftops, in homes, in cars, sleeping on freeways, and people wading through neck high water filled with rodents and snakes in an attempt to find safety.  Imagine what it is like to be trapped inside a building or car and wondering if you will be found or rescued.  Imagine being out in the elements drenched, cold, tired, hungry, carrying babies and children trying to find your way to a shelter overflowing with people.  This is not a movie…this is the reality in the 4th largest city in the United States, underwater in an unfathomable deluge.  Of course you have heard about the catastrophe in Houston.  Yet, the realization of the magnitude of this disaster is hard to imagine.

   

     Presently, there are over 32,000 people in shelters.  People were air lifted from hospitals, and nursing homes.  Other people are bravely and dramatically rescuing those still stranded, using helicopters, boats, kayaks, canoes or anything that floats including air mattresses, and even carrying people on their backs to safety.  The doors of community centers, schools, churches, mosques, temples and many businesses have opened to house people and do whatever is necessary to help people and animals survive the flood.  Ranchers on horseback are driving cattle out of floodwaters while some reluctant and frightened animals are being dragged out.  With human lives being a priority, many animals are lost or left behind.  Currently, there are volunteers and organizations from other states coming in to find, rescue and shelter animals.  Amid the horror of the storm and the devastation and destruction, acts of courage and compassion are evident.

 

Dealing with Loss

     People are still missing.  People have died.  In the coming weeks, loss will be felt.  Not just the loss of homes and possessions, but the loss of a sense of safety, security and a former sense of normalcy.  Entire communities have been destroyed.  It is estimated that as many as 40,000 homes have been wiped out and thousands more damaged.  Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana has affected 13 million people.  Schools, grocery stores, churches, businesses and all normal functions of life are gone.  In moments of danger survival is all that matters.  There is no time to think or feel except how to get to safety.  The physical and emotional impact is momentarily put on hold.  In the days that follow, thousands of people will feel the shock and despair of enormous loss and wonder how they can create their life again. 

     This is trauma.  The stories of the traumatized and the terror that individuals experienced will be alarming.  People are dealing with nightmarish and unexpected danger that sounds otherworldly.  One man was torn up by a colony of fire ants floating on the water.  Another man watched hordes of them crawl up any solid surface they could find.  A woman and her children trapped for five days were finally rescued and brought to a shelter.  Wide-eyed and in shock, she and her children were cold, water logged and hadn’t eaten in days.  Emotionally, in a state of panic, fear and anger, she was spent.  Finally finding shelter, her emotions emerged in a roar.  Her “Mama Bear” came out strong and fierce; there was no ignoring her demands to get her children food and warmth.

     Emotions will be heightened as the reality of the situation begins to arise and the tension and emotions that have been held inside surface.  It will take time for the full impact to be known.  After getting people out of harms way, the first response in a disaster of this proportion is to provide food, shelter and the basic necessities to those in need.  We know how to provide for the physical needs.  Humans come together in disasters and unify against a common foe.  Human chains formed in Houston to rescue people and animals.  Immediately there has been a compassionate outpouring of volunteers, donations of money, food and clothing, and people providing space in their homes and sheltering animals. 

Softening the Blow of the Emotional Aftermath

     Providing for the emotional needs in the aftermath is more challenging.  Once people have those basic needs met and the immediate crisis is over, those affected are often left to fend for themselves.  The aftermath of a catastrophe is the most daunting.  Helping people deal with their acute feelings of vulnerability is essential.  Connection with others is key, which helps a person know they are not alone and that someone cares. 

     It has been found that post traumatic stress syndrome, PTSD, can be minimized or even eliminated when a person is able to freely talk about their experience with someone supporting and accepting their emotions and their story.  This includes validating the traumatized persons experience, comforting them, and assuring them that they are safe and that there is an available system of support to help keep them safe.  Knowing that you are safe reduces the flush of fear activation in your body. 

Allowance and Acceptance Restores Equilibrium

     After experiencing trauma, it is normal for emotions to arise apparently without any provocation.  A life-threatening event throws you out of balance.  There is a sense of being “out of control” and an awareness of being at the mercy of random over-powering forces.  Much of the feeling of safety occurs when you are able to know you are capable of controlling some aspect of yourself.  By allowing yourself to gently experience the intense emotions that cycle through and learning how to cope with them rather than shutting them down is healing.  

     Often people feel they are helping someone by telling them to “quiet down, stop crying, quit being so angry and emotional, be calm,” which might temporarily shut down the emotional reaction, but is actually a disservice.  Emotions are a vibrational charge of energy coursing through the body.  That energy has to go somewhere and will sit inside unless there is release and resolution.  It Is better to help by encouraging the person to feel safe with their emotions and let them know it is normal to be having intense emotions after a life-threatening shock.  This validates their personal experience and lets them know that they are okay and will regain their equilibrium.

     Release happens when you consciously touch and feel the sensations of the emotion allowing the energy to flow and dissipate.  It can be scary to feel the intensity because there is the perception that the emotions are uncontrollable.  Being patient, compassionate, and taking as much time as needed to slowly feel the emotions and stopping when it gets too much helps you to know you are capable of managing the flow. 

     Disturbing and reoccurring thoughts are also common after a traumatic experience.  It is a natural part of the healing process for these thoughts to come up and will diminish over time when given the proper support.  Resolution occurs when you realize the event is past and can accept the reality that it happened, you have skills and resources that showed up, you survived, and you are stronger and grew through the experience.  Instead of seeing yourself as powerless, you see how the experience fostered a greater realization of your ability to thrive and to meet life.  This gives you the confidence to create your life and move forward. 

Challenge, Growth and Opportunity

     Whether you are one that is experiencing trauma, has in the past, or are someone reaching out to help someone in distress, in truth, we are all in this together.  As you feel compassion and empathy for your own vulnerability your heart can expand to touch this very human quality and see that growth and resilience are found within the core of your most tender parts.

     For all of the loss that is part of this tragedy, there is the opportunity for much growth and wisdom to occur.  Humans are resilient and though we often focus on the darker aspects of our nature, adversity also brings forth the unifying higher qualities.  Pay attention to all of the stories of miraculous rescues and story after story of courageous shining examples of selfless bravery and giving.  See all who are uplifting and supporting their brethren.

     Let us praise those characteristics and bring a greater awareness in our daily lives to love our fellow beings and give support and encouragement.

 

Let the music keep our spirits high
Let the buildings keep our children dry
Let creation reveal its secrets by and by, by and by
When the light that’s lost within us reaches the sky

~ Jackson Browne “Before the Deluge”


     Dorothy Wallis is a former intern at People House in private practice with an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She is 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 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

Building Self-Confidence ll Kate Heartsong

Building Self-Confidence

By: Kate Heartsong  

Self-confidence is an important foundation for all areas of our lives. 

Self-confidence:

– impacts how we interact with others and how we relate to ourselves

– effects how we perform at our jobs or our own business

– is responsible for how easy or hard we experience life changes

– gives us our ability (or inability) to step outside of our comfort zone and try new experiences

– and more

     We all benefit from having a healthy level of self-confidence, whether it’s the type of self-confidence that’s related to self-esteem, related to making life changes, or the confidence related to self-efficacy (the level of confidence you have regarding receiving results from the effort you put out).

     Building self-confidence and maintaining this is all an inside job.  It’s up to you to take effective action steps such as learning and using tools and processes.  Be willing to take the bull by the horns.  No one else can do it for you!  In this, and the future confidence articles, I’ll be sharing some valuable tools for you to use.

     Some of the symptoms of low self-confidence include frequently saying sorry, feeling depressed, having self-doubt, making mistakes and covering them up so others don’t think bad of you or asking for something you want.

     So, you may be asking “How can I raise my self-confidence”?  Well, one of several effective ways is to create a more positive and better belief about yourself.   This is done through affirmations and visualizations, and are much more effective when you feel the emotions that are associated with the new beliefs you want to create.

You’re invited to discover a process that I call “The Feeling Process”. This will help you build your self-confidence:

1) Become aware of what belief or behavior you want to change. 
Example:  Have less self-criticism
2) Create a replacement belief or behavior and then create a visual representation and/or an affirmation  
Example: The replacement behavior is: Use more positive self-talk.
Visualize a big beautiful red heart that represents positively talking to yourself instead of criticizing yourself.
 3) Now imagine this visual representation and/or say the affirmation, and at the same time, feel the emotion of how it feels to have this new belief or behavior.  Just use your imagination and make believe.  Have fun with this! It’s best to do this for a few minutes or more.
Example: Visualize the big beautiful red heart coming lovingly towards you.  With intention, feel the emotion of love and appreciation absorbing you.  This emotion can be invoked by thinking of a loved one or remembering a positive experience.
Say positive statements such as “I appreciate you!”
You’ll benefit by doing this daily several times a day.  The more you do this, the better.  It has a cumulative effect too!  So, if this process resonates with you, use it. You’ll love the benefits you receive!
There are other processes and tools that you can use to build your confidence; you’ll learn another one in the next blog. You’ll also discover that it’s through conditioning that creates your self-confidence.
Here’s to your confidence, joy, empowerment and fun!


Kate Heartsong is the “Confidence Coach”, motivational speaker, workshop facilitator, author and Reiki Master/Teacher.  Her passion to serve others comes from her personal journey of transformation.  Kate’s audiences and clients gain self-confidence and new heights of self-appreciation and also reduce their stress, through her deep wisdom, expertise, caring, and the Psychology and Business degrees she holds.

Kate Heartsong
303.549.0546
Kate@JoyfulRadiance.com
Website:  JoyfulRadiance.com

Bouncing Back:  Building Resilience in Addiction Recovery ll Martha Fletcher

Bouncing Back:  Building Resilience in Addiction Recovery

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.  – Nelson Mandela

     In August 2012, I discovered something called my five-year plan.  I was amid my struggle with substance abuse and thought if I could have the life I wanted, surely giving up alcohol would be worth the benefits of having that life.  I created a timeline of what I would accomplish and by when.  I finished college, got my certifications, moved to Colorado, started my coaching practice, dated a wonderful person, and had plans to be married in 2017.  However, my five-year plan fell apart just short of having it all.  The path of least resistance would have been to return to drinking to cope with my loss and disappointment with the thought, “What’s the point, I have nothing left to lose but this pain?” 

     When the reasons that motivate us to change who we are and how we live are not realized, we can become disappointed, depressed, and angry which can lead to relapse.  Does this mean lower our expectations so low that we can guarantee a certain outcome?  Does it mean to set small goals to avoid feeling disappointed?  Small goals are not motivating and lowering our expectations is comparable to saying, “I’ll give it a shot, but I don’t expect much.”  How long are we going to sustain any real effort with that mindset?  These are not solutions, but ways to protect ourselves from feeling vulnerable to failure and disappointment.  When failure is not an option, we can forget about sustaining any long-term motivation in recovery because learning, growing, and change require risk.   

     Fear of being vulnerable keeps us stuck in our comfort zone when we aren’t given effective ways to manage living outside of it.  The solution is not to avoid being vulnerable to disappointment and failure, but to learn to experience it without the need to escape it.  It is hard to tolerate these experiences when we tell ourselves it is unbearable, we can’t stand it, and brand ourselves failures or life as unfair.  By doing so we actual turn something manageable into hopelessness and powerlessness.  The truth is it is uncomfortable to fail and be disappointment, but we can bounce back from hardships by cultivating the ability to overcome these adversities.  That is the meaning of resilience.    

     When faced with adversity, resilience is like two hands pulling us through the darkness towards the light.  Those hands are hope and faith.  Hope is not something we have or don’t have, but something we cultivate in our thinking and actions.  Hope is defined as a desire for things to be the way we want them to be.  It is synonymous with ambition, goal, plan, and design.  Hope is a personal power to effect change.  We can do this through goal-setting, problem-solving, and action-planning.  It also requires flexibility, perseverance, and believing in our own abilities, along with the courage to reach out for help and support.   For example, if we are faced with a health crisis, do we turn it over to the hands of God alone or do we actively participate in our recovery?  We do both. 

     Faith is the other hand.  The Serenity Prayer reads, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”  In some situations, hope alone can only take us so far and the hand of faith will need to carry us the rest of the way.  The definition of faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something.  Does confidence equate to certainty or guarantee of a desired outcome?  According to Anne Lamott’s book, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, “The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty.”  Brené Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection defines faith as “a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.” 

     To truly live is to experience disappointment, failure, and loss, along with joy, happiness, and success.  At the heart of all these feelings and experiences is vulnerability.  When we avoid showing up for our own lives in fear of feeling exposed and vulnerable to failure and disappointment, we will be observing life in a dark room through a small window, never experiencing what it means to be alive.  Those in recovery deserve to feel joy, happiness, and success.  However, we have to being willing to walk through the door of vulnerability and have the tools to manage the emotions we experience when we do.  By cultivating a resilient spirit, we can fully experience life despite uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.

     Hope and faith have helped me choose the path of courage when facing disappointment and failure in recovery.  I am uncertain about the future, but I cultivate hope by setting realistic goals, believing in myself, and trusting faith.  Faith is not my golden ticket.  It does not guarantee me anything, but I am confident that I am being held in the gentle hands of something greater than myself and that, despite success and failure, and there will be both, there will be joy because joy springs from the heart of vulnerability.


Martha Fletcher is a visiting practitioner at People House, and is owner and private practitioner at MRW Recovery Coaching.  Martha graduated summa cum laude with a BA in psychology from Hunter College, City University of New York and is a certified addiction recovery and life coach through New York University, New York State OASAS and Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery.  She is also a trained SMART Recovery facilitator and founder of Books4Recovery. She recently received her certification in Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy through the Albert Ellis Institute and Illinois Certification Board.

MRW Recovery Coaching
3035 W. 25th Avenue
Denver, CO 80211
www.mrwrecoverycoaching.com
Ph: 720-515-0713

Dreams ll Erin Amundson

Dreams

By: Erin Amunson

  

Many of us have heard the phrase I am a spiritual being having a human experience.

     If you’ve heard it, you might think that it’s a pretty profound statement.  It’s smart, it’s catchy, and it resonates.  Something about turning our perspective around to consider that we are much more than human helps to soothe some of the discomforts life brings.  I’m all for that.  That’s why I practice and write about everyday spirituality.  I know that the more I connect with the spiritual aspect of my existence, the easier it is to navigate my life with joy and playfulness.

      In reflection, I began to wonder why we need to remind ourselves that we are spiritual beings having human experiences.   If it’s true that we are spiritual beings, wouldn’t be easier to just be spiritual?  I would think so, but the truth is that most of us get caught up in worry – about our bills, our children, our career path, our politics, our relationships and our bodies.  All of this worry creates a spiritual crisis, and then face a forced reminder that we need to connect as a spiritual being.

I don’t know about you, but I’m interested in an easier way.  That’s why I created a personal and professional practice centered in daily spirituality.   There are many ways to do this.  How you do it isn’t as important as just doing it.  I like to do things that are easy, fun, and natural to me. 

                I have found that the most natural, easy and fun way to maintain a daily connection to spirituality is through dream work.    

     We all dream daily, whether we are aware we are doing it or not.  Many of us invest a lot of money and time in self-help books, retreats, yoga, meditation, therapy, coaching, and endless other opportunities to keep us aligned on our spiritual path. 

      These are all important in my world, but I wonder why we miss one of the more obvious and simple ways to stay connected – our own subconscious link to the soul through dreams.  I like to call this our Natural Technology.  And once you know how to speak the language of dreams, it costs nothing but a few minutes of your time daily or weekly. 

       The two most common questions I get about dreaming are Why is it Important? and How do I do it?  Let’s start with the first.  Dreams have been a part of most indigenous culture’s spiritual practice since the beginning of time.  See this link for a great example. Tribes gathered at the morning fire to discuss the visions of the night before and make adjustments to their living to follow what the dreams told them.  Often, this was the practice that saved their lives. 

     In more recent times, the greats such as Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs and Steven Spielberg credit their dreams for their greatest contributions to the world. 

     In short, dreams offer us warnings, healing, and alignment as well as a connection to our own brilliance in the world.  But first we have to understand the language.  I teach this for a living both in my private practice and through my free events, weekend retreats and writing. 

      Here are some ideas for getting started.  First, to remember dreams, it’s important to have a practice of recording your dreams every morning, when you first wake up.  I suggest writing them in a journal or recording them on your phone to listen to later.  It usually takes about 5 minutes to record anything you remember.  Even snippets of dreams can hold powerful material.  If you are having trouble recalling your dreams, you can create a bedtime ritual of asking to remember your dreams by writing, lighting a candle you identify as a dream candle, or any other ritual that suits you. 

     Once you have material to work with, I suggest starting by making associations to your dream symbols.  If you dream about a crow, write that word down in your journal, quiet your mind with several deep breaths or a meditation, and jot down whatever comes into your awareness when you think about a crow. Then ask yourself what aspect of your life resonates with these association words.  If death comes to mind, think about an area of your life you are ready to put to rest.  

     In addition to this, you can ask the dream symbol to speak to you in a meditative state and see what message it has.  Most of us think of a crow as a representation of death, but I’ve seen it mean different things to different dreamers including strength to face an illness, the burden of an addiction and an indication that it is time to make a career change. 

    When you begin to engage dreams, your subconscious responds by providing you with more material and usually begins to offer more direct guidance.  When you record your dreams, you might identify patterns that symbolize an important message from spirit, such as a dream that someone else is driving your car – and that you need to develop or initiate taking the wheel in some aspect of your life.

     Personally, my dreams have warned me away from abusive people in my life, guided me to a career that uses my core talents and fulfills me, helped me to co-create aspects of life I want to manifest and healed a childhood trauma for me.  If I were to calculate the costs in therapy, self-help, life-coaching and workshops, I’m sure I would’ve spent thousands of dollars.  I only wish someone had taught me this language at an earlier age. 


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.

The Art of Darkness ll Rich Brodt

The Art of Darkness

By: Rich Brodt

     I sat across the aisle from my classmate, Kyle, on a bus filled with counseling students from our master’s degree program. We were heading back to campus from a day trip to Taos, NM. Kyle and I were engaged a lively discussion about our favorite horror movies. As our conversation turned to some more obscure titles and topics, another student eventually turned around to express that our conversation was a bit morbid. With seeming disgust, the student questioned why someone would be drawn to such dark topics as a source of entertainment.

     I was familiar with this tone. It rang with both curiosity and mild disgust. My tastes in the darker side of art had been questioned by friends, romantic partners, teachers, parents and others throughout my life. Truthfully, I had not seriously questioned these interests until after the brief incident on the bus. I did, however, observe that most of the people in my life looked at some of my interests in a negative light. On that bus, I also observed that many individuals working towards a career in the counseling profession, where judgment is frowned upon, had no problem chiming in to let us know that the subject matter was a bit offensive to their sensibilities. As I continue to consider the idea of why some of us are drawn to darkness, the answer seems simple. These pursuits are therapeutic.

     When watching a horror movie, one is faced with the uncanny, the mysterious, the obscene and the paranormal. In a sense, these are concepts of unreality in that what we see in horror movies does not reflect the world’s present reality, except in rare circumstances. As a result, the movie creates a world that is separate from our own. It is a fantastical surrogate, used to represent the atrocities of our world without forcing us to witness those atrocities in a reality that is too familiar to us. It is inhabited by fictitious people and entities playing out fictitious stories. In this alternate reality, the viewer can safely engage in fantasy and take on any role from hero to perpetrator of evil. This feels permissible because the fantasy takes place in a setting so removed from reality. The viewer has a safe place to explore their most distressing, unwanted desires without slipping into a place of self-judgment, and without inflicting harm on others. This is cathartic. 

     Catharsis is not without value, but there is deeper work to do. This is where both art and therapy can play a larger role in allowing the individual to process the emotions related to horrific or scary thoughts.

     Personally, poetry was the medium I chose to explore darkness. The lens of the poet allowed me to take my most negative thoughts and twist them into beautiful language. Using this lens to explore my psyche, I could see light and dark integrate to form a more complete picture. I saw myself expressed on the page and accepted the positive and negative as equally important parts of my personal narrative. They were not good thoughts and bad thoughts, they were simply different thoughts, the integration of which allowed me to feel whole, and the denial of which made me feel disconnected. Poetry was a door to vulnerability that allowed me share myself with others on a deep level. I no longer needed to live in denial of what I believed were unacceptable feelings and thoughts. It was a starting point to self-awareness and self-acceptance.

     Writing worked well for me and has become an essential part of my mental health, but counselors can foster the same kind of exploration in their sessions if they are willing to go there with clients, fostering an atmosphere where these thoughts can be explored, imagined, experienced and processed.

     The clinician can use a variety of skills to accomplish this. If the clinician senses that a client is keeping something hidden, they may inquire about this, maintaining a non-judgmental stance, the clinician can ask the individual about songs or other movies they may be connecting with at present. Jungian depth work would also be helpful in helping a client connect to some of their thoughts that they may shy away from. Having the option to provide the clinician with an image or metaphor representing a thought should let clients feel safer disclosing and processing. This creates separation from the client’s inner thoughts, allowing them to process a representation of their thought when the thought itself is too difficult to swallow. That being said, it is not necessarily the method that will make a difference, but the willingness to dialog with the client about these thoughts creates a space where self-acceptance is possible amid unacceptable thoughts. Without a route to accept and process such thoughts, an individual may avoid or deny these thoughts, seeing them as taboo. This closes an individual off to vulnerability and can lead to destructive behaviors, such as self-harm, substance abuse and various other unwanted behaviors.


Rich Brodt is a former intern at People House, and is currently a co-owner and private practitioner at Elevated Counseling, PLLC in the Highlands area of Denver. Prior to training to become a therapist, Rich practiced as a mental health litigation attorney in New York City, where he first became passionate about the field. Rich draws on knowledge of law, philosophy and poetry, bringing a unique perspective to his sessions. 

Rich’s current practice utilizes a client-centered approach, integrating Gestalt, existential and depth approaches. He focuses his practice trauma and anxiety-related issues, including PTSD, high-stress careers, life transitions and other major stressors. Rich’s first priority in counseling is to create a safe, non-judgmental space, where clients can feel comfortable sharing and processing their most difficult thoughts. 

Elevated Counseling, PLLC
2727 Bryant Street Suite 550
Denver, CO 80211
ElevatedCounseling.org
Ph: (720) 295-1352

Breaking Point || Lora Cheadle

What to do When You Are at Your Breaking Point

How to Identify and Eliminate Stressors BEFORE They Break You

Have you heard the idiom, “It was the straw that broke the camel’s back?” This illustrates the point that while we can take a lot, at some point, we all reach our breaking point. Whether that means losing our temper, getting sick or sliding into depression, none of us want to reach our breaking point. Just like the camel, many of us are burdened slowly, adapting to our ever-increasing load, until one day when a seemingly innocuous little straw is placed on our back, and we break for what seems an insignificant reason.

The parable of the frog in pot of boiling water illustrates a similar point. Put a frog in a pot of boiling water and it will panic and struggle to get out. Put a frog in a pot of tepid water, slowly turn up the heat, and the frog will sit quietly, allowing itself to be cooked alive.

Our Emotional Warning System

As self-preserving organisms, we are equipped with our own built-in guidance system that allows us to identify when we are being pushed to our breaking point. When we experience feelings of overwhelm, frustration, anxiety or stress, it’s our body’s way of letting us know that we are reaching our breaking point. Contrary to what we may believe, it is not normal to experience chronic states of stress, overwhelm, frustration and anxiety. These emotions are danger signals, and it’s crucial for us to be aware of what these emotions are signaling, and to take action before we reach our breaking point. Before we find ourselves with broken backs. Before we find ourselves having been boiled alive.

Negative or stressful emotions are danger signals, signaling us that we need to make a change. If we don’t, we suffer the consequences. Even if we don’t have a full-blown breakdown, the resulting consequences can be mental problems, emotional outbursts, relationship problems, anger issues, impaired job performance, the inability to connect with others, a decreased capacity to feel joy, chronic inflammation, diabetes, unexplained pain, weight gain or worsening feelings of hopelessness.

Breakdown of the Emotional Guidance System and the Resulting Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

When we treat these emotional warning signals for what they are-signals warning us that we need to make changes – and then we make those changes – we recover. Our bodies, minds and spirits heal and we return to a natural, normal state of calm alertness. But when we fail to respond to these warning signals, when we keep-on keeping-on, fighting down panic and pushing ahead, we force our bodies to adapt in unhealthy ways. Forcing our bodies, minds and spirits to live in state of chronic hyper-stimulation and anxiety short-circuit all of our natural survival mechanisms. Like any machine forced to run beyond its capabilities, we eventually break down.

By forcing our bodies to integrate negative and stressful emotions into our everyday lives, without respite, we adapt. We forget what it’s like to feel peaceful, calm and centered. We believe it’s normal to live in a state of heightened anxiety, to feel stressed, overwhelmed and frustrated, and this becomes our new normal. A new baseline is set and suddenly we think we are feeling good when we are truly feeling stressed. We have changed our brains to believe that stress and anxiety are normal states of being, making our emotional warning system ineffective. By being stoic and brave we train ourselves to allow more negativity and stress, until one day – often without warning – we reach our breaking point. Our back breaks or we realize that we have been boiled alive.

Decreasing Stress and Anxiety in Four Steps

Fortunately, we can reverse course on this phenomenon and return our stress and anxiety baseline to a healthy, normal level. All it takes is self-awareness, dedication and a commitment to living in a life of joy, peace and harmony.

Step One

Identify a time when you felt calm, peaceful and centered. When you were alert, contented and neutral. Not elated, just neutral. A time when you simply felt good.

Step Two

Identify when you experience negative and stressful emotions. Don’t judge them or try to change them, just notice when you have them. Get a little notepad that you can carry with you. Keep it with your cell phone and every time you fiddle with your phone, write down how you feel mentally, physically and spiritually.

The notes might look something like this:

Irritated, pent-up, silent.

Frazzled, blob-like, vindictive.

Tired, sore, far-away.

Energetic, bouncy, filled with song.

Do not try to avoid having emotions, or deny what you are feeling, simply identify what you feel.

Step Three

Once you are aware of what you are feeling, consciously feel those emotions. Spend up to a minute consciously feeling the emotion that you have identified. How does this emotion feel in your head, your heart and your body? What is it like to be that emotion?

Step Four

After you have allowed your body, mind and spirit to experience these emotions, consciously return yourself to a place of neutrality. To a place of peace. Return to a neutral, natural, rational state of peace and then deal with whatever is causing your negative or stressful emotions, repeating the process of identifying and feeling any negative emotions that pop up in the process, and continuously and systematically returning yourself to a state of peace and neutrality.

 

Stress-free Living

We are the camel. We have to unburden ourselves every time we are burdened or risk running out of capacity and breaking. We are also the frog. We have to stay aware of our surroundings, of what is happening to us at all times, or we will be boiled alive without our knowledge. Our emotions and feelings are the tools that allow us to stay alert, aware, safe and happy. All capacity is finite. We are not weak, we are human and we have limits. Let’s learn to honor those limits before it’s too late.


To read more of Lora’s writing, visit her website.

About the Author: Not sure what lights your fire, or do you know exactly what lights your fire, but you keep spinning your wheels? Either way, Lora’s got you covered! Whether it’s through an Angel Reading or through hypnotherapy, where the subconscious mind is brought on board with the conscious mind, working with Lora reveals your divine path and gets you chugging down the road in no time. As a former lawyer, (She knows firsthand the courage it takes to following a new path!) Lora is very straight forward and process- oriented, using modalities that that yield results. No crystal balls or goddess robes here!

Feminism as a Path to Healing || Mary Coday Edwards

Blog 18: Feminism as a path to healing

By Rev. Mary Coday Edwards, MA.
July 25, 2017

“What I do is not up to you,” Wonder Woman schools Steve Trevor when he decrees: “I can’t let you do this.”

In other words, patriarchal values of London’s World War I don’t control her. When men try to define her, confine her, or exclude her, she just goes about being herself, listening to her intuition, and continuing her mission of eliminating as much suffering as she can.

Of course, supernatural powers make for a pretty good backup.

But first, as a disclaimer: patriarchal systems are not necessarily male values (more of that in next month’s blog).

IF I’M NICE ENOUGH, THEY’LL LET ME PLAY

For many years I avoided using THAT WORD – feminism. While I was against unjust patriarchal social institutions that kept men and women as children, THAT WORD was too loaded, so I focused my energy on ecological injustices and the complex web of life we’re all participants of. After all, I reasoned, if we’re all in this together – down to the soil molecules we depend on for food – surely intellectually we as a species would come to our senses and want ALL life to flourish. That’s in our best interests, as members of humanity.

And a definition of feminism includes this relationality, this interconnectedness. If we’re all in this together, why should anyone/anything be excluded from decision-making in our political, educational, and economic institutions?

Alas and yes – I was so naïve.

True, for almost 20 of those years I lived and worked in Third-World nations, hearing often enough of Westerners forcing their values on the rest of the world as a form of colonization.

But a Human Rights Conference in Peshawar, Pakistan, put that myth to rest, as well as a wise, male Iranian professor, who stressed that these were basic HUMAN rights. But yet, in order to not offend, I still came about it from an indirect way.

And who did I worry of offending or angering?

Those with vested interests in continuing the status quo, those who stood to lose through the demise of the patriarchal system. As a child of patriarchy, I was waiting for permission and, therefore, living with an unconscious filter: If I’m nice enough, they’ll let me play.

That’s not a filter Wonder Woman lives by.

MAKING CHOICES THAT ARE RIGHT FOR YOU

FEMINISM basically means equality and being able to make the choices that are right for you – whatever your gender is. Webster formally defines it “as the policy, practice, or advocacy of political, economical, and. social equality for women.”   

Feminism includes the belief that being a woman or gender non-conforming person is as valuable as a being a man – not better than.

And in its quest for social justice, feminism calls out those who use their power and position to abuse the marginalized. Not a man-hater, Wonder Woman wasn’t into protecting anyone’s ego – regardless of gender – in her mission to end suffering (see Note 1).

Irreconcilable with feminism is PATRIARCHY, defined by Webster as a social system in which the chief authority is the father or eldest male member of the family, clan, or ruling system. Breaking this down:

  • Like a pyramid, an extremely small number of people hold all the power over the majority.
  • Since the “fathers” only qualify to rule, it presupposes male superiority.
  • Thus characterized by androcentrism, the dominant norms and values center on male perceptions, interpretations, experience, needs, and interests, thereby marginalizing women, intersex people, and non-binary gendered people.
  • This minority decrees who is worthy to access material goods and the means to that, such as education, jobs, and political influence.
  • Generally speaking, the tasks allotted to men will be more highly valued and rewarded than those tasks allotted to women.

FEMINISM AS A PATH TO HEALING

Daily I encounter souls deeply wounded by patriarchy and its values – both men and women.

Sensitive, spiritual, and creative, they come to me cut off from the deepest parts of who they are – parts generally seen as weak by our culture and therefore nonacceptable. They conformed in order to avoid pain, humiliation, ridicule, and often familial ostracization.

Their journeys back to wholeness include not only taking individual responsibility for their own responses and the re-membering of these shamed bits, but acknowledging the social oppression that colluded in these woundings. And then taking the next step – working to dismantle these societal norms (see Note 2) embedded in our political, education, and economic institutions that perpetuate the wounding.

In next month’s blog, we’ll look at our cultural values, beliefs, attitudes, and actions. We’ll be searching for those that enable all life to flourish in our interconnectedness.

Meanwhile, mindfully pay attention to what gives you life and what, if anything, needs to change to support that transforming energy.

______

Notes & Sources:

1.) Weiss, Suzannah; July 5, 2016. https://www.bustle.com/articles/170721-7-things-the-word-feminist-does-not-mean
2.)Mander, Anica Vesel, and Rush, Anne Kent. Feminism as Therapy. Random House. 1977.
3.)Editors Cooey, Paula M.; Eakin, Willilam R.; and M cDaniel, Jay B. After Patriarchy: Feminist Transformations of the World Religions.  Orbis Books, New York. 1998.
_______

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

Turning Your Inner Critic Into a Supportive Ally || Dorothy Wallis

Turning Your Inner Critic Into a Supportive Ally

Does your inner voice judge you or demean you?  Is a critical voice telling you what you “should” or “should not” do or experience?  Do you have a feeling that somehow you are not enough or do not matter?

At first, your Inner Critic may wake you up and try to get your attention; “better work on that project, get going, you are going to be late, quit procrastinating, you made a mistake, be responsible, exercise, eat healthier.” It informs and jars you into action.  It can be helpful, nudging and prodding you into beneficial behaviors.

If you haven’t paid attention, it often turns ugly and begins to berate you.  It says mean things about your character; “you are lazy, stupid, ugly, irresponsible, wrong, weak, no good, damaged, you can’t do anything right, nobody will ever want to be with you and you will never amount to anything.”  Those may be mild words compared with your critic.

Whatever words bring up your deepest darkest core wounds, the critic uses them against you to force you to react.  It causes a sharp pain inside telling you, “You are not good enough and need to be fixed.”  The message is that you are bad and shameful or you are weak and ineffective.  This voice is relentless.  You become anxious, hypersensitive, and defensive.  It brings up a host of feelings, which may run the gamut from annoyance, worry, frustration, to anger, guilt, sadness, intense grief and toxic shame.  At the worst, you can’t concentrate on anything else.  You are caught in a barrage of thoughts and feelings that tear down your self-esteem, may cause confusion, depression, and sleepless nights until you are apathetic and drained of energy.

Even when you are feeling tormented by the inner critic, there is another part of you that arises in disagreement with it.  The angst and pain are shouting that judging yourself is harmful.   You KNOW there is another story.

Where does this Critical Voice come from and Why is it Controlling Me?
With all of its bashing and criticism, you naturally think that the inner critic is a judgmental devil that wants to crush you.  You resist it, push it away or attempt to ignore it.  Judging yourself, your experience, your emotions or others always creates distance.  There is an immediate natural reaction to push away or ignore what we judge as not right or do not want to experience.  So, you push away the inner critic and at the same time distance yourself from experiences and people, which the critic suspects are harmful in some way.

“You lock the door and throw away the key, There’s someone in my head, but it’s not me.”  ~ Pink Floyd 

What if I told you that this voice wants to protect you?  Now, that seems like an absurd, crazy thought….but stay with me.

The inner critic is a part of the psyche known as the Superego.  It has a purpose.  Its job is to help you follow the rules, protocols of society and beliefs that you formed as a guiding foundation in which to safely navigate the reality.  Your inner critic is a guide and protector constantly watching everything you do or don’t do so that you stay on course, to keep you safe and free from pain.  It guides you away from any person, experience or emotion it assumes will cause you pain.  It points directly at your values, rules, and beliefs and cleverly knows exactly how to get you to stay in line with them.  You developed many of these rules in childhood by hearing, watching and learning about what was expected of you and what your family and culture deemed valuable.  You added your own self-critique, thoughts and beliefs through your experience of life.  This conglomeration of words and phrases are repeated to you through the voice in your head.

The thing is…all beliefs and truths about reality are temporary constructs.  You and life are constantly growing and expanding.  Values, beliefs, and rules need to grow and change as well.  The values and beliefs of your caretakers and culture may not mesh with your highest good or what is applicable for you now.  In addition, unhealthy cultural motivators of anger, guilt and shame most likely shaped your inner critic.  The inner critic only has power and control over you when you believe disparaging thoughts about yourself to be true or believe that all of its advice is good for you.  Rather than motivating you, derogatory criticism, judgment and shame deplete your self-confidence and contract you.  It limits you, keeps you small and disengaged from your talents and abilities.

“The Inner Critic does not know the Truth”

You have the Key to Open the door to the Truth 
Think of the Superego as a supervisor.  The job of the supervisor is to oversee You.  It tells you when you are going out of bounds from your own values and beliefs.  It did not create the rules nor did it create the way to deliver the message.  It does not know the truth.  It is simply pointing out the principles you have believed are valuable for you to be safe, be accepted, receive love, achieve your purpose and fit in with society.  You get to decide what to believe and what values support your highest well-being.  When you know this, your superego can work for you in a powerful way to uplift you instead of diminishing you.

Approaching the Inner Critic with Non-judgmental Awareness and Discernment
1.  With compassionate awareness and discernment determine:  What is the intention of the voice?  How is it attempting to protect or guide me?
Turn toward the inner critic instead of pushing it away.  Approach the voice from an intimate distance with curiosity and loving-kindness.  Have compassion for this part of you that wants to protect and guide you.  Listen to what it is actually saying.  Instead of immediately believing the words, question the validity of your self-talk.  Is it a guiding voice talking about behaviors that need adjustment or actions to take that are helpful, is it protecting you from pain, or is the critic attacking your character?

2.  If it is Guiding you then ask:  How is it guiding me?  Is the guidance helpful or not? Am I resisting any actions, behaviors or experiences, which are beneficial for me?

3.  If it is Protecting you then ask:  What is it protecting me from?  Is there something dangerous or to fear?  Is it limiting me?  Am I afraid to feel my emotions?  Am I afraid to see reality?

3.  If it is Attacking your character:  Is it saying you are flawed, defective, no good or weak?  What were you told growing up?  All attacks on your inherent worth are untrue and damaging.  Allow yourself to touch the pain underlying condemning words.  See the truth and allow any wounded feelings of shame, weakness and grief to express and release.  What have you believed about yourself?

4.  Use the superego’s directional compass to reveal distortions of the truth and to show you what you believe.  See the triggered emotions as telling you “something is off otherwise I would not feel pain.”  What have you believed you needed to be, to have, to do, or to achieve in order to be accepted and feel safe in relationship or in the world?  Do these statements about yourself or how you interact with life match up with the truth of your authentic self?  Do they support your highest growth?  Do they allow you to expand and grow or do they keep you contracted and limited?

You get to choose what you believe and what values support you.  You are not bound by the judgments of others or of a “voice in your head.”  Whenever you hear words of what you “should do” or “should be” it is an indication of someone’s opinion and that opinion may not jive at all with what is right for you.  Use discernment to decide whether the advice is beneficial or not.  Remember, you do not need to be “fixed.”  You are inherently valuable; you matter and simply by being, you are enough.

You can build a different relationship with your superego.  You can feel compassion for the vulnerable parts of yourself that are afraid to step out of limitation and the tender parts afraid to feel the pain of repressed wounds or emotions.  You can silence the disrespectful voice by honoring the truth of your inherent worth.  You have the ability to transform outmoded beliefs and rules into healthy life-giving ones that support you and your relationships with others.  When you listen with your heart you will know what values, behaviors and actions serve your soul’s highest good.  By becoming aware of your authentic truth, your inner critic will take its proper role as a supportive guide and protector and become a worthwhile ally.

************************************************************************About the Author

Dorothy Wallis is a former intern at People House in private practice with an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She is 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 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

Men and Grief: The Power to Learn to Love Again || Craig Freund

Men and Grief: The Power to Learn to Love Again

By Craig Freund

 

“Grief never ends, but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. Grief is the price of love.” -Unknown

Often, we learn to love without one day expecting that it may change. We may learn to love unconditionally, without reason, intention or restitution. We may love like we’ve never been and won’t ever be hurt, while in fact, this may be love in it’s purest, most open and trusting form. As much as we love, inevitably, we will all one day find that love hurts and that grief is the price we pay for having had the glorious opportunity of a loving experience.

While love can be one of the most fulfilling experiences, the loss of love can be one of the most painful. For anyone, but especially for men, navigating the experience of love and it’s intimate partner grief can be a lonely, confusing and troubling experience. Although modern masculine stereotypes seem to be on the move, traditionally, men are taught to suppress emotion, never to cry and never to reach out.

In terms of emotion, for men, it is traditionally only acceptable to express stoicism and anger. For this reason, men often resort to feelings of anger or irritability when what may be under the surface is an experience of sadness and sorrow. This struggle with grief is not limited to the death of a loved one, but might be a break-up, lost opportunity or an old lifestyle. In varying degrees, grief accompanies our experience with loss, change or growth.

While grief can be one of the most intense emotional struggles in our inherently vulnerable human experience, attempting to suppress and avoid related feelings can only lead to greater difficulty in processing grief. Suppressing these strong feelings may prevent a sort of emotional or cathartic release. With this, men can experience shame in addition to the socially unacceptable difficult emotion.

As you can see, the grief process for men can become exceptionally complicated by various societal and cultural expectations and self-imposed limitations. Often, due to their upbringing and these cultural norms, men may not recognize the underlying core emotion and the process of suppressing becomes automatic or even unconscious.

As a result, displaced and unrecognized emotion may lead to social irritability, domestic violence, or substance abuse. This process of suppression and lack of emotional expression, can lead to what has been amusingly referred to as emotional constipation. As time passes, this lack of emotional expression might even lead to clinical depression, anxiety disorders, addiction, domestic violence or even suicidality.

This stunted grief may be one possible contributing factor in the shocking statistic that nearly 80% of completed suicides are by men. Furthermore, this issue of emotional constipation may reach beyond an individual struggle and on a more global level contribute to crime, violence, lack of role models and general societal difficulty.

 The question becomes, how do we deal with this issue and how do we support men in their grief process so that they might learn to love again? For starters, it’s important to normalize the myriad of difficult emotions that might need to be expressed. From sadness to guilt and even nostalgia, grief can bring up a wide variety of emotions. Male or female, masculine or feminine, these emotions are a completely normal and an even healthy part of grief.

Next, we can label these emotions and work to understand them. In regards to grief, what might sadness need to say? What might regret have to say about our loss? They might say that you’ve lost something near and dear, they might say that you wish you’d had more time with your loved one. As we normalize and listen, we might then allow ourselves to experience and feel the emotion, all in hopes of allowing for the relief of an emotional release.

Finally, let’s not forget to breath through this process and cope with what comes up. In grief, these feelings can often be overwhelming, this makes it important to find healthy ways to cope. With this, some men have found that tangible, related projects can be cathartic. For example, some men might benefit from a dedicated wood working project, art creation, memory box or even writing a song. These intentional and sometimes dedicated coping strategies don’t impede the process, but can better facilitate steps toward healing.

With this, keep in mind that is not necessary to take on the grief process all at once, but instead, if possible it is important to balance this with healthy coping or distraction. This isn’t a task to be completed, but a natural process to be engaged and respected.

 -Normalize

-Label Emotion

-Listen & Feel

-Breath & Cope

 Although grief may never end, with time and respect for the process, we can learn to live with it. The experience of grief itself might come and go, but generally speaking with respect for this process the intensity of the grief may lessen.

Most importantly, as we honor these emotions and the role they take in our process, we can hope that we might learn to love again. We can hope that we might learn to love with open hearts, unrestrained by the difficulty of suppressed emotion and stalled or displaced grief. Men with open hearts and the capacity to love become positive leaders, role models and fathers, demonstrating strength in a manner that will empower our fellow man to lead happy, healthy and successful lives.

Moving forward we might work to raise young men in a manner that normalizes emotional experiences, fosters emotional maturity and empowers an understanding of the information offered from our emotional states. 

In my work, I often encounter men who haven’t had the opportunity to develop the capacity for emotional intelligence, they’ve either explicitly or implicitly been taught to stuff their feelings and this, rather than expression is what has been reinforced.

With a collective effort, we can teach the importance of these emotional processes and allow boys to become men who are empowered to feel, able to love and are present for their families.

“What I needed more than anything was the strength, courage and permission to grieve.” -Ken Druck

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” Thomas Campbell

Men and Psychotherapy || Craig Freund

By Craig Freund, Affordable Counseling Program Intern
New posts every other Tuesday

men and psychotherapyJPEG

 

 “Some men turn away from all this cheap emotion with a kind of heroic despair… But this too can be an error. For if our emotions really die in the desert, our humanity dies with them.” 

Thomas Merton

 

     Despite modern stereotypes associated with talk therapy, this practice was once a predominantly masculine career choice. From the forefathers of modern psychotherapy including Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Carl Rogers and Albert Ellis, the practice was once limited almost exclusively to male practitioners. During the early development of this field, gender inequality was very much alive, just as it is today. However, overtime there has definitely been a shift not only in the practice, but also in the proportion of male and female therapists who facilitate the healing process. This modern day gender imbalance may be both a symptom and a contributing factor in a cascade of problems that significantly impacts the greater population and the male population in particular.

     In the world of mental health, the male population represents nearly 80% of deaths by suicide, furthermore men are much less likely to seek treatment than their female counterparts. This shocking statistic can certainly be attributed to gender stereotypes and culturally reinforced gender norms. These factors are only further represented by the minimal number of practicing male psychotherapists. While an ongoing feminist movement continues to strive for gender equality in regards to women’s rights, men continue to suffer the consequences of restrictive gender stereotypes and gender roles. For men, it is often culturally unacceptable to experience, express and discuss certain emotions. Furthermore, it is generally considered faux pas for men to seek help for emotional or behavioral issues. In fact, when men do not adhere to culturally preferred gender roles they can experience social rejection, loss of status, as well as fewer opportunities in work or with potential mates. Instead, men often bottle or repress their emotions leading to destructive behaviors or even suicidal actions.

     Recognizing this growing concern, www.mantherapy.org has implemented a humorous campaign in an effort to make psychotherapy more approachable for men. This campaign applies a masculine perspective in examining mental health issues that are more specific to the male population. Despite the clear benefit of this campaign, it will require an ongoing effort by those that truly care about the men in their lives to alleviate the stigma that men often experience when expressing emotion or seeking treatment. If you have concerns for your husband, father, brother or son, ask the tough questions, normalize their experience of sadness, grief or anger and encourage them to take a look at resources like Man Therapy, or even to seek support from a mental health specialist.

Starting a conversation can certainly save lives, however this is only the first step towards ensuring psychological wellness for the men in this world. 

     In an effort to further address this collective cultural issue, it is important to reflect on how this cultural norm is reinforced. Young men are raised to be tough and are either directly or indirectly taught that expressing emotion is a sign of weakness. Young men are taught to seek out independence rather than relationships and can be stifled in regards to their emotional development. In an effort to address this ongoing cultural issue, we must take a look at how we are raising our male children. Rather than overtly or even covertly reinforcing the suppression of emotion, we must teach all children that it is okay to experience and express emotion. We should encourage children to label their feelings and to talk about why they might be feeling what they are feeling. By enabling our children to develop some degree of emotional intelligence, we can increase a cultural capacity for emotion regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal relationship. In turn, we can hope that issues effecting the male population including substance abuse, domestic violence and suicidality will be on the decline.

     As we deliberately challenge what has become a devastating cultural norm, we can hope to increase the number of male mental health professionals that might help to further address a variety of patriarchal problems that seem to run in every family. Furthermore, by encouraging a cultural shift we can hope that male clients might further seek treatment from a professional whom they are most comfortable working with. It is true that a strong male who is capable of modelling appropriate emotional expression and regulation can very much encourage other men to follow suit.

     Various cultures in the history of the world have thought that tears were a sign of masculinity and strength. It was thought that tears reflected that a man lived by a code of values and cared enough to show this by experiencing emotion in various circumstances. It is very true that vulnerability requires courage, it seems that a man who is capable of expressing emotion might be that much more comfortable with their own masculinity. As I reflect on various positive male role models in my own life, I have great admiration for those that have had respect for emotion and were capable of expressing feeling.

Despite this, it is true that the tough guy stereotype dies hard and it might only be through a collective effort that our culture can strive to improve the mental health of the men in this world. 

     If you or a man in your life is struggling with behavioral or emotional issues, encourage a conversation, validate/normalize their experience and encourage them to seek help from a qualified mental health professional. As with emotion itself, therapy is not a purely feminine domain, therapy can very much take on a no bull shit, tough love perspective that is interwoven with genuine understanding and unconditional positive regard. If you have specific concerns related to men’s mental health, find a therapist that is familiar with and specializes in men’s issues. Finally, check-out some excellent supportive resources such as man therapy or the good men project.

“If a man does not know what port he is steering for, no wind is favorable to him.” 

-Seneca

 

www.mantherapy.org

www.goodmenproject.com

Dancing With Change || Dorothy Wallis

Dancing with Change by Dorothy Wallis

Life is movement, change, and continual transformation.  

If everything stayed the same life would not only be boring, it would cease to exist.  When you are challenged with changes in your life that seemingly “come out of the blue,” or are initiated by external forces or that you are unprepared for, it is natural to put on the brakes and resist.  Sometimes change is hard to understand.   As Alan Watts says, “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”   These days I am feeling the quick motion of life sweeping me off my feet into an entirely new realm and the only thing I can do is go with the flow.  Jumping into this river of life can be demanding because it can be so easy and comfortable to stay on the shore of what is known….  

The only Way to make sense out of Change is to Plunge into it,

Move with it, and Join the Dance”  

~ Alan Watts

I’ve had my share of uncomfortable and sad moments with the process of moving out of my home and town that I’ve known for 24 years.  Yet, even this town is not the same as when I first moved here.  It has changed big time.  The slow paced lifestyle of a small country mining town has turned into an upscale hip gathering mecca drawing people into its vortex of dynamic energy.  There are still the hometown parades but now the downtown is buzzing with lively restaurants that are filled every day and hour of the week.  Community has a new face.  The personality of the town has changed reflecting the current wave of lifestyle embodied by a new generation of occupants.  

I realize my nostalgia is for a time that has passed and I am feeling the same pangs for “what was” that my grandmother felt when she left her farm for a half-acre in town.  That was downsizing for her.  Whatever change in breadth and scope of place or circumstance is an adjustment.  The faster pace of life with more cars, more people, houses stacked edge to edge and lack of space is something I am reluctant to face.  Adapt, I must and adapt I will.  

My heart is full even as it aches.  I am cherishing thousands of precious moments of love, beauty, and memories that have added such richness to my life.  I am not the same person that first laid eyes upon this plot of land.  I have grown and changed; my family and friends have grown and changed too.  These eyes have always appreciated the process of creation and growth and I see the beauty in what has transpired not just in the land but mostly in the hearts of my companions and neighbors.  Are we more loving….more caring?  Our shared experience of life has mellowed our hard line ideals.  We have grown together….raised our children, helped one another in times of need, and been involved in giving time and energy to our schools and community, forging an unspoken but deeply felt bond of trust and understanding.  We have matured and learned how to forgive and let go of expectations.  

There is a sense of completion in this phase of life.  One by one the original families that settled in our little hamlet are selling their homes as their grown children venture into the world. Families with young children are moving in. Their spirit infuses these streets with fresh stimulating energy.  I hear the sounds of laughter and giggling as the children play games in the meadow and feel reassured of the continuity of life.  “The beat goes on” with the humming rhythm of the eternal cycle.  What comes next, I do not know.  Life holds the promise of utterly unique metamorphosis and diversity. So, I take the plunge and dance, dance, dance into my beautiful life of infinite possibility.  May you too treasure each incomparable moment, let go of regret, find the power in forgiveness, notice the good, appreciate kindness, see the beauty in the unfolding transformation and dance into the never ending journey of change.


About the Author: Dorothy Wallis

Dorothy Wallis is a former intern at People House in private practice with an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She is 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 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

Fruits of the Spirit || Lora Cheadle

Fruits of the Spirit

By Lora Cheadle

Ingredients for a Happy Life

I’ve noticed a lot of relationship stuff on Facebook lately. Many of my friends are celebrating anniversaries, several friend’s kids have gotten engaged, and there are always a multitude of articles such as: making others fall madly in love with you, what women are biologically programmed to find attractive in a mate and what all men wish women knew.

Then there was the post from The Onion that my son recently shared. It was entitled, “Study Finds Not Acting Like Total F*&%ing Moron Most Attractive Quality in Potential Mate.” Although the article was satire, it actually made a very important point, which you don’t even need to read the article in order to benefit from. And that is, don’t act like a jerk.

Everyone has Troubles, the Difference is how we Respond to Trouble

Life is hard. For all of us. Nobody goes through live unscathed, no matter what they may say and no matter what you may think. Everyone experiences loss, heart break, devastation, sadness, depression and pain. True, some may seem to have more or less than others, but really, it’s about the same. Everyone experiences hardship. The difference is how we handle that difficulty.

Being Positive For Ourselves

Most people are resilient and most of us like to feel good, so we go ahead and act happy, even when we aren’t. Not to lie, or to put on a false front, but simply so we can feel as good as possible. Because feeling good feels better than feeling bad. So, for whatever period of time that we are out in public, we put on a happy front, and quite often, because of the happy front we’ve put on, we actually feel happier.

Not Burdening Others

Sometimes we also feign happiness for others. There are many situations where it’s not appropriate to say what’s really going on in our lives. For better or for worse, there are things that we just don’t say, and there are things we just don’t want to hear from others.

How would we react if our favorite barista told us that she’s super tired because her husband got drunk last night and woke her up at two in the morning to fight about their credit card bill, which was too high to pay off? What if a co-worker said she was sorry to be so out of sorts, but that she hadn’t felt loved in years, and that the emptiness of a bad marriage sometimes really got her down. What if the checker at the grocery store shared that his grandma is battling cancer and that his ex-wife was bipolar and he is scared to leave the kids with her more often than he was comfortable with because his grandma needed so much help?

In some sense it could be a relief to hear that others had problems too, and it might make us more compassionate, but in another sense, it could unduly burden us. We might think, “What, so now I’m supposed to be late because you can’t get it together?” or “What am I supposed to do with that? Am I supposed to help, offer advice, give you the day off? What do I do now?” Which is why culturally, we just don’t air our dirty laundry!

Everyone Hurts, All the Time

Just because we don’t share our problems, doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. We aren’t the only ones with problems and we aren’t the only ones digging deep, putting on a pleasant face and going on with our day to the best of our ability. Everyone else is too.

Which brings us to The Onion article that my son posted on Facebook. The most attractive quality in anyone, not just a potential mate, is not acting like an idiot. Treating everyone with respect, kindness, and with the assumption that everyone is fighting some kind of battle.

It doesn’t matter what kind of a relationship we are talking about either. Whether it’s a long term one or just a fleeting interaction in public, the only thing that matters is how kind we are to each other.

The Common Denominator is Kindness

When I started thinking about my relationships, and what I wanted out of those relationships, I started off with longer lists of qualities. I want friends who are humorous and supportive, who are open minded and loving, but very quickly I saw that those qualities are actually fairly superficial. Yes, I want a partner who is humorous, but I also want one who is serious. I want friends who are supportive but I also need friends who give me my space. Yes, I strongly prefer those who are open minded, but I also deeply appreciate those who have strong beliefs. The common denominator to any of my desired qualities is kindness.

If someone is serious or funny, I want them to be kind with their words. If someone is supportive or aloof, I want them to do it with kindness and gentleness. If someone is committed to their beliefs or open to a multitude of new ideas, as long as they go about it in a kind and gentle way, I’m perfectly fine with whatever they think.

It made me see that living a beautiful, joyful, peaceful life really isn’t that hard. All we have to do is be gentle and kind. To understand that suffering is a universal human quality, and that everyone suffers is all we need to know. To know that it is not our job to change or alleviate this suffering is also helpful. We don’t have to have solutions. We don’t have to find the answer. Literally, all we have to do is be kind and gentle to everyone around us. That’s all.

It reminded me of a wall hanging that a friend gave me when I got married, that was taken from Galatians 5:22-23. It was a row of apothecary jars labeled with the fruits of the spirit; love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

I always thought of it as the Ingredients for a Happy Life, and although I have failed to use those ingredients, those ingredients have never failed me. Pretty simple recipe, if only we remember to use the right ingredients!


To read more of Lora’s writing, visit her website.

About the Author: Not sure what lights your fire, or do you know exactly what lights your fire, but you keep spinning your wheels? Either way, Lora’s got you covered! Whether it’s through an Angel Reading or through hypnotherapy, where the subconscious mind is brought on board with the conscious mind, working with Lora reveals your divine path and gets you chugging down the road in no time. As a former lawyer, (She knows firsthand the courage it takes to following a new path!) Lora is very straight forward and process- oriented, using modalities that that yield results. No crystal balls or goddess robes here!

Mother Earth: At the table or ON the table? || Mary Coday Edwards

Mother Earth: AT the table or ON the table?
By Rev. Mary Coday Edwards, MA.
May 30 , 2017
(The views in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of People House).

Exclusion.

Dredges up unpleasant memories for most of us, defined as the act of not allowing someone or something to take part in an activity or to enter a place; it’s a shutting out, a barring, a denying from participation.

When I lived in Peshawar back in the 1990s, its summer heat of 110 degrees plus rationed electricity would send me, my family, and friends up to the cool breezes of Pakistan’s Swat Valley. After an hour’s drive, we’d turn off the valley’s Grand Trunk four-lane highway and begin the (on a good day) three-hour, slow crawl north up a dizzying, narrow, and winding mountain road. With its headwaters in the towering Hindu Kush Mountains, the great Swat River followed alongside us, sometimes spreading gently in a wide plain, but more often carving its way through narrow canyon walls hundreds of feet below us.

Close to the Afghan-Pakistan border, the valley’s inhabitants share the ultra-conservative values of the Pushtun people (1), in particular those governing women who are excluded from economic and political life, their influence limited to the home – maybe.

We’d drive/crawl through village after village, the road through each one long bazaar, with donkeys, ox carts, jeeps, bicycles, and people demanding space among the push-carts selling vegetables, fruit, plastic wares, slabs of meat, and winter scarves.

Swat River, near Madyan. Photo by Xain, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39968979

Missing from this crowded jumble of life? Women. Sometimes I’d spot the occasional yet-to-reach-puberty female child. And if a woman needed new shoes? Her husband/father/brother was sent off to the bazaar, with her foot drawn on a piece of paper to be matched to a shoe size. Pakistan’s female rural literacy rate 25 years ago was about 2 percent – defined as being able to read and write their name.

I’d sit demurely in the car, with my white, tablecloth-sized chador wound around my body and just my pale face showing, eyes covered in dark sunglasses. Exposing myself and hence breaking long-held social taboos could invite violence. I’d learned to avoid mob mentality.

Our destination, Swat’s Mingora, with its long history as a cultural and economic center, along with its ancient Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim kings, was more relaxed in the early 1990s around the female presence, especially the foreign female presence. Arriving there in the early afternoon, I became visible again and could unwind in the hotel’s calming, lush, cool gardens – metaphorically and physically – still modestly dressed in the traditional shawar kamise but without my chador.

But the dark cloud of female exclusion would replace my chador, wrapping me in its gloom. By the next morning, however, I could sense its heavy darkness easing away from my shoulders. It was only after that release that my body would begin recovering from its weird heat-related symptoms of Peshawar.

“Rights for Nature articles acknowledge that nature in all its life forms has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.” Ecuadorian Constitution

The political provides a glut of exclusion examples: Native Americans camping in the snow to protect sacred lands based on treaties while politicians bow to corporate greed; voting laws changed to protect powerful vested interests; photos of only male politicians gathered to sign health bills – bills that impact women; education bills passed that shut out those in poverty from a decent education.

But not only are just people of color, women, and the poor barred from the table of participation and denied their basic human rights: What about the rights of nature? (2)

Last week I experienced that same feeling of grief due to exclusion, but this time it wasn’t Pakistan’s Swat Valley, but Southern California.

I had spent hours driving on paradise paved. Absent from the scene was nature in all its wildness. Grief again clothed me at this loss and exclusion of nature, the violence the human species commits daily with impunity against the natural community we are embedded in.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and Beach was my destination, and walking on its sandy paths with all my senses gratefully soaking up nature’s gifts, I felt that shroud of mourning slipping from my shoulders. Later, Torrey Pines Docent Fran Doolittle told how protecting this fragile 1,500-acre reserve of endangered flora and fauna from encroachment by developers was a constant struggle. And while a single steel rope fence clearly demarcates the path, “we can’t keep people on the path,” she said. “These plants receive little water,” she continued, and tourists tramp through them, increasing the stress on their already tenuous existence.

That, and visitors leaving their trash, which she explained had drastically decreased since Torry Pines  stopped selling disposable plastic water bottles in 2013 (3), replacing them with the sale of reusable bottles (4).

Our current administration excludes the environment from the policy table (5).

Instead of cleaning up their messes, coal mining companies are free to dump their poisons into the lifeblood of the earth – our waterways. Pesticide runoff once again threatens our protected wetlands and tributaries – nurseries to thousands of ecosystem species.

And according to the U.S. 2017 Energy and Employment Report, “nearly 1 million Americans are working near- or full-time in the energy efficiency, solar, wind, and alternative vehicles sectors. This is almost five times the current employment in the fossil fuel electric industry, which includes coal, gas, and oil workers.”

But yet this administration feels compelled to open up our fragile offshore ecosystems and our protected national lands to the fossil fuel industries – without compensation for decreased human, as well as water, air and earth ecosystem health benefits. And taking into account community benefits, if all these services were correctly priced and included in the costs of resources – a cornerstone of capitalism – we wouldn’t be having this discussion, as the oil and gas sector couldn’t afford it.

Thunderous Silence

To those stripped of humility and a true understanding of humanity’s position as a member of the web of life, Mother Earth is considered “property” to be exploited.  Nature won’t bully her way to the front of the crowd, but she does speak in thunderous silence.  Ignore this powerful voice within us and that web disintegrates.

We are her. Her life courses through us in that interconnectedness; she sits at the table through us.  And no one can deny us our voice.

_______

Notes & Sources:

1.)One valley further east lays the city of Murree – also of cooler temps but located in the more liberal district of Punjab. In those days it was a longer trek from Peshawar.

2.)In 2008 Ecuador became the first country to recognize the rights of nature in their constitution. It takes the concept of Environmental Rights to the next logical conclusion by bestowing rights unto nature itself. The people have the legal authority to enforce these rights on behalf of ecosystems. The ecosystem itself can be named as the defendant.

3.)https://torreypine.org/wp-content/uploads/nl/2016/1607.pdf https://www.banthebottle.net/bottled-water-facts/

4.)Plastic bottles are the largest single contributor to national parks solid waste load, averaging nearly one-third of all solid waste in parks surveyed(https://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/more-national-parks-ban-plastic-bottle-sales.html).

5.)http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/03/how-trump-is-changing-science-environment/;https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/02/climate/environmental-rules-reversed-trump-100-days.html

6.)https://energy.gov/downloads/2017-us-energy-and-employment-report; https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lara-ettenson/us-clean-energy-jobs-surpass-fossil-fuel-employment


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

Here is a list of the other blog Mary has written for People House:

The Power of Forgiveness When You Have Been Wronged || Dorothy Wallis

The Power of Forgiveness When You Have Been Wronged
By Dorothy Wallis
You’ve heard it before, “forgive and move on,” and inside you are still reeling from the pain and hurt that has been done and there is no way you want to “forgive, forget or move on.”  The feeling of violation is strong and you feel justified in blaming and having resentment. 

If you were betrayed, unloved, neglected, rejected, lied to, cheated, dismissed, manipulated, silenced, emotionally or physically abused, you want justice and acknowledgement of the wrong that has been done to you…. 

You want to understand why it happened.  You want the offender to be remorseful, to make amends, or to pay for what they did.  You want the past to be different and wonder what your life would be like if this had not happened.  Your mind replays the experience over and over.  These thoughts fill your mind and you can’t seem to let go and at this stage you don’t want to let go.  You believe if you let go, you will never receive the retribution you deserve.

Yet, what is the cost of not letting go?  Your hurt can turn into bitterness with contempt, anger, hate and even revenge pulling you deeper into a dark shroud of pain and despair. You carry the heavy burden of past wounds and are held hostage by the wrongs of the past.

“Let us Forgive Each Other – Only then will We Live in Peace” 
~ Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

Resentment Magnifies Your Pain and Suffering
The act of forgiveness has often been misunderstood.  It is not an admission that what happened to you or someone you loved was okay.  Forgiveness does not condone the harmful act or make the wrong that happened acceptable.  Forgiveness is giving up the belief that the past could or will be different.  It is an acceptance that what happened did happen and cannot be changed. The act of forgiveness releases you from the toxicity of hurtful and destructive emotional baggage, which captures and poisons your mind.  Holding on to resentment not only inflicts more anguish and suffering onto your initial injury, it actually magnifies the pain you feel.  It does not empower you nor does it right the wrong nor does it change the one that caused the harm.
Forgiveness Heals

True power comes from the act of forgiving.  Forgiveness is something you do for yourself not for the one that caused the harm.  The glorious benefit is that it also releases the grip on the offender, which allows  deeper and often miraculous healing to occur.  You want acknowledgment of your pain, so offer it to yourself.  You may never receive the acknowledgment from the one that offended you.  Bring your grievances into your awareness and have compassion for the pain you have endured.  You have experienced a deep loss.  Allow yourself to really grieve the loss.  There is a part of you that has been lost and must be retrieved.  Your innocent trusting nature has been wounded.  Release emotion that has been bottled up and smoldering beneath the surface.  Nursing animosity induces stress and research shows that ruminating on negative feelings impairs your heart leading to earlier death.  Forgive yourself for holding on to hurtful thoughts.  Regain trust in your own ability to heal.  Your body will be liberated from the rigid tension that separation from your true nature brings.

“When You’re Sure You’ve Had Enough
of this Life, well Hang On
Don’t Let Yourself Go
Cause Everybody Cries
And Everybody Hurts Sometimes”
~ R.E.M.

Your heart yearns to be healed and the way to heal is having the courage to forgive.  Forgive yourself and forgive others for being human and imperfect.  It may be difficult to believe; yet each person is doing the best that they can with their present stage of awareness.  No one goes through life untouched by painful experiences. 

“Forgiving is the Capacity to Bend from a Rigid Conditional Stance and Freely Move Toward and Offer Heartfelt Compassion to All”

When you let go of the past you are opening yourself to freedom.  “For” means to go toward someone or something while “Give” means to freely transfer or offer something along with the capacity to bend.  Giving freely is an unconditional act in which you do so without the expectation of receiving anything in return.  So, forgiving is the capacity to bend from a rigid conditional stance and freely move toward and offer heartfelt compassion to all. Begin with offering compassion to yourself.  Do it for Love.  The hurt in relationship is ultimately the pain of not feeling loved, cared for, valued, respected and free from harm.  You desire safety, love and unity and when you dare to forgive, you mend the internal fracture of separation and return to your natural state of secure loving kindness.  People that have the ability to forgive are less anxious, depressed and live a happier life.  You give yourself the greatest gift of love when you forgive and release the painful separating thoughts of blame and resentment.  You come to realize that your true self can never be hurt by the thoughts or actions of others. 

About the Author: Dorothy Wallis

Dorothy Wallis is a former intern at People House in private practice with an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She is 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 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

Lessons from the Bird at my Window || Lora Cheadle

Lessons From The Bird at My Window

By Lora Cheadle

For about three weeks now I’ve had a robin who throws himself at my foyer window.

The foyer is two stories tall and the window is inaccessible from the ground floor. There are no window coverings.  Every morning, and again in the afternoons, the bird sits in the tree outside the window and repeatedly throws himself against the glass.

At first we had no idea what he was doing, calling him our suicide bird, but then I learned that in mating season, birds are very territorial. He was seeing his reflection in the mirror as another bird, and he was simply trying to protect his territory.

If we turn both the upstairs hall light and the foyer light on, it sometimes dims his reflection enough so he quits, but not always. With a hypnotizing rhythm, he throws himself against the glass, returns to the branch, shakes himself off, and throws himself against the glass again. And again. Easily, for two hours every day.

I’m afraid he will hurt himself. I’m afraid that one day I’ll step out my front door and see his tiny bird body on the ground, neck broken. I go outside and talk to him, I go inside and jump around inside the window and try to scare him, but none of it does any good.

Then it dawned on me. Maybe this bird is here for me. Maybe this bird is here to teach me something that I’m not noticing in my own life.

Fighting Our Own Reflection

How many times have I fought something that wasn’t really there? How many times have I defended my territory against something that was an illusion? Could it be that there were times where I thought I was persevering, pushing ahead with strength and determination, while others were looking at me with pity, or even laughing at my folly?

Have others tried to get my attention, to let me know that I was fighting my own reflection, but I didn’t notice? Perhaps. I started thinking about the times where I’ve stood my ground, defended my territory.

It’s interesting, because as a female who wanted to please, and then as a mom, I have spent a lot of years learning how to stand up for myself. My instinct still is to take the short stick. I can handle it, I can make others happy, I don’t really care.

Whenever I open a loaf of bread, I dig out the two heels and I eat those first. Not because I like the heels, but because I know my family won’t eat the heels, and it’s easier to get the two heels out of the way first, so nobody else is stuck with the heels. Except me. Because I can take it. This is a fight I’d never take on. This is territory I would never defend. But what if I did?

The Choices I Willingly Make

If I didn’t eat the two heels, my family would keep them wrapped in the bread bag, stashed in the refrigerator forever, waiting until I ate them or threw them away. Which would drive me crazy. Seeing the uneaten heels of the bread would bring a multitude of bad thoughts to mind. Every time I’d open the refrigerator, I’d get irritated. If I said something, my family would probably say something simple, like, “Throw them out if you’re not going to eat them.”

But I don’t like wasting food, so I’d either have to eat them anyway or throw them away. But I couldn’t make someone else eat them. If I did nothing, eventually, my entire refrigerator would be stuffed with bread bags containing the two heels from each loaf. I’d be the one fighting myself, not liking anyone else’s solutions, banging endlessly against my own reflection. Which is why I simple eat the two heels first. I avoid the whole scenario.

But bread is minor. What about the big things, where I feel strongly about defending my territory?

The Choices I Unwillingly Make

This last week, my husband did something that really upset me, yet he refused to apologize. I felt like I needed an apology, like the core of my being was wounded. Even though I know he made the mistake inadvertently, I still needed that apology. But he doesn’t apologize. Before we got married he told me that he doesn’t believe in apologizing. And he doesn’t. Nor will he. And I know that. But I still wanted it.

So now what? What happens when I feel like I need something, but I know I will not get what it is I want? Am I like the bird, constantly throwing myself against an immovable object? I must be, because I know I can’t win. Yet I still try. And I know that the only one who gets hurt in the process is me.

Fighting Others, or Fighting Myself

But I feel so strongly that I need to defend my core, my rights and my integrity that I keep fighting.

To my own detriment, because what I’m really fighting is my own reflection, not my spouse.

I’m fighting my own history of putting myself last, of willingly taking the short end of stick, but I’m not fighting him. His behavior brings out my frustrations with me, and my inability to take what I need, to put myself first. I know where he stands, and I always have.

And so I finally see. There is no other bird there. It’s only just me.

Unconscious or Subconscious: Does it Matter? || Mary Coday Edwards

Unconscious or subconscious: Does it matter?

By Rev. Mary Coday Edwards, MA.

 

Two words often bantered about with imprecision, we do well when speaking of our own spirituality to use clarity when venturing into these underground realms.

As a word person, my first stop on this journey of exploration is a dictionary (1).

First coined by French psychologist and philosopher Pierre Janet in the early 1900s, the subconscious is defined as that part of our mind that is currently not in focused awareness.

Unfortunately for the majority of us, it’s impossible to hold the bulk of what we experience with concentrated attention, and therefore it’s spirited into the subconscious, to perhaps later be retrieved.

For example, you may be hiking along a forest trail in deep conversation with a friend. Later, sitting on a sun-warmed boulder, lunching on your peanut butter sandwich, your friend remarks on those wildflowers  bedecking the wilderness floor passed by earlier, at which point your mind might recall the blue sea of columbines that at the time registered with your visual sense – but without conscious focus.

Past-learned skills also find their way into the subconscious.

In every country I’ve lived or worked, I struggled to learn the local language and/or dialect, measuring success by how accurately I could buy peanuts from the shopkeeper in the bazaar.

Grocery shopping, Kabul, Afghanistan; April, 2007

And although I’ve been back in the States for a few years, these languages still surface in my dreams. People I knew then show up, conversing in their native tongue – sometimes I have two different language conversations occurring in the same dream and while my dream self understands both parts of the dialog, my dream characters do not.

“I never know when somebody’s going to knock on the door of my own unconscious in a way that I wouldn’t have anticipated.” Anna Deavere Smith, Actress, Playwright, Professor

Said to be contributed by 18th century philosopher Friedrich Schelling, Freud took the word unconscious and divided it into the id (instincts or drives) and the superego – sometimes referred to as the conscience.  He regarded the unconscious as a storehouse of repressed socially unacceptable desires, wishes, and ideas, as well as painful memories and emotions. The key concept here is repressed, and thus not easily accessible to our day-to-day operations of living but yet exerting their influence upon our behavior.

Carl Jung retained Freud’s notion of the unconscious mind as the storehouse of repression, but added another stratum called the collective unconscious, which is a reservoir of unconscious memories that we inherited from our ancestors. From this collective unconscious arise other of Jung’s concepts, such as archetypes, anima, and animus (topics not addressed in this blog).

“I think unconscious bias is one of the hardest things to get at.” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

While the material stored in the subconscious can be recalled with deliberation and effort, that which sits in the murky regions of the unconscious is, generally speaking, not accessible through one’s own self or one’s efforts via the ego (2).

And ego, in today’s language milieu and simplistically speaking, is that part of our mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious. It keeps us safe from what might be deemed unacceptable to our parents, teachers, or peers. Long after it’s done its job, the ego still maintains its habit of refusing questions and killing curiosity – required steps in growth of consciousness.

Transformation and personal growth require that our unconsciously driven behaviors be brought to the light of consciousness. We learn to watch for and respond to unconscious stress signals vs. reacting with fight or flight.

Unfortunately, ego’s very good at convincing its host that what it believes/thinks/wants is the ultimate and only truth or reality. Mindfulness and mediation practices reveal our ego’s dictatorial bent and personal bias.

A dream is a small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens up to that primeval cosmic night that was the soul, long before there was the conscious ego.” Carl Jung

My above-noted dream scenario serves as an example of both the subconscious and the unconscious at work.

Symbology is one of the many tools our unconscious uses to get our attention, with dreams being a conduit to consciousness.  Without going into dream interpretation, my unconscious took my subconscious material – foreign languages – and turned it into a symbol representing a lack of communication between parts of me, which I then can explore.

But first I must consciously address my ego who is right there upon my awakening, insisting I ignore this gift of a dream from my psyche. “We have more important things to attend to!” it insists.

Honoring all parts of myself – after all, the ego did keep me safe – I remind if gratefully and compassionately of its past and current job descriptions.  I tell it that when other bits of me are ignored, denied participation in the conversation, or left to die in a neglected corner of my soul, I incur stress which brings sickness, disease, and an early death – not a hopeful outcome for ego.

Through mindfulness practices, we watch attentively for emerging unconscious behaviors, beliefs, and values which come knocking on our door.

And as always, People House ministers, counselors, therapists, and staff are here to assist you on your path of transformation. No one can do it for you, but you can’t do it alone!

_______

Notes & Sources:

1.) Psychology Glossary, https://www.alleydog.com/glossary/psychology-glossary.php

2.) In my early teens I asked my mother what the term “male ego” meant, a popular phrase in those days, usually with the word “fragile” attached to it. She refused to discuss it, which sent me to the dictionary – not finding it of course, and “ego” with its 10-15 word definition did not do the word justice to my teen brain. I perceived uncomfortable emotions attached to her refusal – correctly or incorrectly – and so did not risk pursuing the topic further with other adults.

_______

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

Here is a list of the other blog Mary has written for People House:

What Story do You want to Live? || Dorothy Wallis

What Story do You want to Live? There is Power in the Story You Tell Yourself

By Dorothy Wallis

You are a marvel of extraordinary creativity.

     The creative force of life flows through you and manifests itself continuously. Your body is recreating itself from the patterns in your DNA, from the beliefs you hold, and the images and emotions that stream through your heart. In every moment you are born anew from the story you tell yourself about whom you are. 

     Your story is vast. It is the story of your ancestor’s experiences and beliefs about life. It is the story of how they survived, their relationship to the land and the people they loved and those they had conflict with. It is the story of their pain and triumphs. It is the story of their culture, the language, songs, dress, customs and mores, religions, social organization, governance and the ways in which they formed community. 

     Humans are storytellers.  Whether you realize it or not, you are constantly telling yourself a story.  It is the powerful and unique way in which we create. Before writing, the ancients shared story through drawings, cave paintings, song, dance, myth, and through the oral tradition of passing on knowledge.  Story coalesces images with emotion and belief.  It formulates a pattern, which remains as memory, and activates an electro-magnetic field that responds, duplicates and enacts the story as reality. 

     Self-talk is the daily chattering in our head that reinforces our story of life, how the world operates, and the image we hold of ourselves.  It tells us how to interact with others, what is safe, what is not safe and is filled with judgments, assumptions, limitations, rules, protocols, and all manner of beliefs about navigating this reality.  This “Inner Talk” is mind-blowingly powerful!  We are so used to its drone that we do not even realize the significance of its effect on our experience of life. 

     “The circumstances and conditions of life are outpictured inner talking, solidified sound.  Inner speech calls events into existence. In every event is the creative sound that is its life and being. All that a man consents to as true reveals itself in his inner speech.”  Neville

     There are different voices doing the talking.  There is your “Inner Guidance” often referred to as your “Higher Self” and most likely you also have an “Inner Critic.”  Some people have very loud obnoxious Inner Critics that condemn and demean them. Others have a softer more modulated Inner Critic that warns them or keeps them limited to what is believed to be safe. Whether loud or soft the Inner Critic is giving you messages that keep you in line with the values and beliefs that you have accepted.  This acceptance becomes your reality and shows up as an experience mirroring the story.  “As you sow, so shall you reap.”  The seeds of your inner talk beget the Story that germinates into future action. 

     Your self-talk can also freeze you into inaction and contraction when it demoralizes you.  Condemning words of self-hate, self-loathing, believing you are no good, or that something is terribly wrong with you destroy your sense of self-worth.  When your self-worth is disparaged, your vital life force is diminished.  You can feel it in your body when your inner critic attacks you.  It feels as though you’ve been hit with a heavy blow knocking you out.  You may experience confusion, disorientation, and emotions of sadness, depression or shame.  Physically, it can feel as though a compressing wave is shrinking you.  This contraction is real.  The cells of your body respond to the story whether your words are silent or spoken out loud.  Essentially, you are enacting a powerful intention with the story you believe.  When this story deflates your sense of self, your Self and your body lose their power to BE.  Low self-esteem is an action reducing the Self.  You are actually causing your physical self to lose its vitality and ability to live when you consistently criticize and belittle yourself.

     When depressed, it is often very difficult for a person to stop the inner critic. 

     The voice and the story have become second nature; the voice is a constant companion.  You are used to hearing it and you accept it as the truth.  You have built up experiences that validate the story you tell yourself.  With a mountain of evidence of abandonment, neglect and rejection, you determine that you are unlovable or not worthy.  You may have protected yourself with an armor of meanness, bitterness or withdrawal so as to not get hurt anymore.  This reaction of defense is an unconscious story, which only serves to diminish you and cause more hatred toward yourself, “see what a terrible despicable person I am?”

     Bringing the unconscious stories into your awareness is key to breaking out of the old pattern and perceiving the reality of the power your story has on your experience of life.  What is it that you believe and how do those beliefs create the story you tell?  Follow the story to its conclusion.  Will this story create the outcome I desire?  When you truly see that the images you hold of yourself and life engage your emotions and thoughts into a story, you can begin to tell a story that enriches your life.

     The stories of the experiences of the past only have power when you hold onto them and invite them into the present.  Did you know that every time you recall something, your brain changes the memory ever so slightly and thus the story of the past?  Memories are not absolute.  Our stories are embellished and altered every time we remember.  In each and every moment, you have the power to choose a different story.

     Even small changes to the story you tell about yourself will have an effect.  You can begin by not accepting the voice of the inner critic as the truth.  Every time the voice of diminishment and contraction speaks, what can I tell myself instead?  What uplifting story am I able to imagine and tell?  What story empowers me into my highest good?  Use the power of your imagination and conscious choice to create a new story.  Remember, You are writing and telling the story of your life.  What do you desire it to Be? 

Why “Living in the Moment” Doesn’t Always Work || Lora Cheadle

Why “Living in the Moment” Doesn’t Always Work

By: Lora Cheadle

I was in the lobby of Rockefeller Center in Manhattan when the secret of life was revealed to me.

Contrary to what I’d been told, happiness, peace and prosperity did not come from living in the present. Happiness, peace and prosperity came from leaving the present moment, constantly shifting between the past and the future.

My chronic obsession with being present for everyone and everything in life had actually created a bigger issue, and as a consequence, I was even less present than I was before I became mindful. My over-presence resulted in a severe lack of presence.

Connecting to the Past and the Future

This sudden shift in perspective was due to a trompe d ‘oil (trick of the eye) mural on the Rockefeller Center ceiling by Jose Maria Sert, entitled Time. The key figure in this mural straddled a wide gulf with a heavy yoke over his neck. One foot on a pillar representing the past and one foot on a pillar representing the future, with the man perpetually balancing in the present.

The remarkable feature of this mural was that the man appeared to move as the viewer moved below him. When standing to the left of the man, he appeared to be looking to the future, his weight rooted firmly on his left leg, on the pillar representing the past. Moving towards the center, present point, his weight appeared to be evenly balanced on both pillars, poised between past and future. Moving to the right, the man began shifting his weight and his gaze, once again looking to the future and shifting his weight to his other leg, which, from this vantage point, was now in the past.

Walking back and forth under this mural two things became apparent. First, in order to stay perfectly balanced in the present moment, there can be no movement. Second, the crushing weight of the present moment was too heavy, even for this strong man, to hold up without the constant shifting of his weight. His movement was what gave him strength, flexibility and resiliency. He would not have survived rooted in the present.

The Fallacy that “Staying Present” Leads to Peace

This got me thinking about the push to live in the present moment, and how we might be taking that all wrong. Single-cell organisms live in the present moment. I’m pretty sure my dogs and cats spend quite a bit of time in the present moment. Babies and children spend much time in living in the present moment, but as they develop, they begin moving outside the present moment. The greater the level of intelligence, the greater the ability to move outside of the present moment, to reflect upon the past and to plan for the future. It is the ability to escape the ever-present present moment, that leads to happier, more productive and more peaceful lives. Not simply being present.

I once heard a former prisoner of war speak.

Despite spending seven years in captivity, he was able to survive and eventually thrive, in part, based on his ability to continually shift between the past and the future in order to create a tolerable presence. I navigated natural childbirth based on my ability to shift between the past and the future, only touching down in the present moment momentarily.

Even in ordinary, everyday situations, my ability to continually shift forward and backwards over the present moment gives my life peace, meaning and continuity. Otherwise, like the amoeba, my life sometimes feels like nothing but a perpetual string of frustratingly disconnected present moments. My ability to escape the present, to continuously integrate the past and plan for the future, provides depth and richness, bringing me happiness, success and peace.

Attending my children’s school concerts, I move briefly into the future, mentally planning a quick store run in preparation for dinner. This makes my future more efficient and enjoyable. Flashing back to memories of my own high school concerts brings on a flood of warm memories, making my present more enjoyable and meaningful. I am present, listening to the music, watching my children, but I’m also teetering between past and future, using both to navigate and enrich my present.

Disconnecting from the Present Moment Preserves Sanity

For me, my problem is not my failure to stay present. The problem is my chronic obsession with being present for everyone everything in my life. My problem is my over presence.

Like most Americans, I am constantly bombarded with multiple texts, calls and people. With two children, four animals, a spouse, multiple friends and family members, as well as clients and coworkers, staying present is sometimes crushing. Staying present requires me to be in multiple places at once, which I cannot do. Nothing remains sacred. Life becomes a string of present moments where nothing gets accomplished, nothing is enjoyed and frustration and inefficiencies mount.

The crushing weight of being present for everything that life throws at me, in the exact moment that it happens, means I’m stuck standing still. Like the man in the painting, I get crushed by a burden that I cannot hold.

I stand there stoically and attentively, but no matter how present I am, I cannot answer incoming calls at the same time I am texting replies. I cannot check my Facebook messages at the same time I’m viewing a Snap Chat. I cannot listen to one child’s stories about the day and help the other one with homework. I cannot pet the dogs while feeding the cat.

Mindfully Unmindful

In order to stay sane, happy and productive, I need to escape from the ever-present present moment. I need to move between the past and the future, constantly shifting between them in order to make the present do-able.

For me, the secret of perpetual peace and happiness does not lie in living in the present moment. The secret of perpetual peace and happiness lies in my ability to straddle both the past and the present, continually shifting my weight between the two. Like Time, staying locked in the present moment is too much for me to hold. I remember my past. I look forward to my future, and I bring both of them with me wherever I go, using them both to organize and enjoy my time in the ever-present present.


To read more of Lora’s writing, visit her website.

About the Author: Not sure what lights your fire, or do you know exactly what lights your fire, but you keep spinning your wheels? Either way, Lora’s got you covered! Whether it’s through an Angel Reading or through hypnotherapy, where the subconscious mind is brought on board with the conscious mind, working with Lora reveals your divine path and gets you chugging down the road in no time. As a former lawyer, (She knows firsthand the courage it takes to following a new path!) Lora is very straight forward and process- oriented, using modalities that that yield results. No crystal balls or goddess robes here!

Bumping into the Lost Parts of You || Mary Coday Edwards

Bumping into the Lost Parts of You

By Rev. Mary Coday Edwards, MA.

April 4, 2017

In my 20s I found myself tricked and captured by the mythological Greek bandit Procrustes, known as the stretcher.

According to Greek mythos, Procrustes’ house was near the road between Athens and Eleusis, and he’d invite travelers in for a meal and the promise of a bed that would fit them perfectly.

But as the unsuspecting travelers would soon discover, this perfect bed came with a steep price: Procrustes would stretch short limbs to fit and cut off any overhanging bits.

In today’s world, the Procrustean bed is proverbially defined as a forced conformity to an arbitrary standard, often through violent or ruthless means (1). 

We do this unconsciously to others when we take our own cultural values and beliefs as absolute truths and impose them on the world around us, angrily judging that which doesn’t fit.

I’m part of an online “Freethinker” group – and its more vocal members have no qualms stridently slashing out at others whose thoughts don’t fit the arbitrary Freethinker Procrustean bed.

Family members force this on each other, as do our religious, educational, political, and economic institutions. Without even realizing it, we allow others to chop off vital parts of our beings, our psyches: “This part is acceptable, this is not.”

Thus we regularly empower our egos to brutally damage our true selves to serve what we perceive as society’s norms.

Fitting into the box of conformity

I knew nothing of Procrustes when an image popped into my head more than 30 years ago, leaving its blunt message forever engraved on my psyche: I saw myself stuffed into a box, with limbs sticking out – the pieces that just wouldn’t fit into that box of conformity – but, “Not to worry! We’ll just saw them off at the edges, and look! Now you fit perfectly!”

Some history: Having abandoned my childhood faith when I was 13, I eventually fell into the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s and early ‘70s, which then morphed into a patriarchal authoritarianism. 

“Jesus will set you free,” I was told by the male leaders, “but only free to be what I tell you.”

Fast forward a few years. Carl Jung writes that within each of us is an innate drive for wholeness (2), and eventually if those parts that we have deemed unacceptable aren’t brought out of the shadows and incorporated into ourselves, lethargy sets in along with a deep sadness that won’t go away, as well as despair and hopelessness.

John of the Cross calls this the Dark Night of the Soul.

And this despair, this deep sadness, this dark night – they are all gifts to us from the deepest part of who we are.

“Wake up!” it’s telling us.

So, when people come to me in despair, dying inside, they soon see the gift in the anguish – and they work with what’s emerging from their soul.  

The Sacred Way

This road by which Procrustes lived is known as the “sacred way,” because it was the route taken by processions when celebrating the sacred rites of the Eleusinian Mysteries. These mysteries relate to the myth of Demeter, mother of Persephone, when Persephone was abducted by the king of the underworld, Hades.

Demeter, goddess of the harvest and agriculture, goes into deep mourning for this lost part of herself – her daughter. While searching for Persephone, she caused a drought during which time people starved and died. These rites describe the descent (loss), the search, and the ascent – and of course, the representation of life restored.

Symbolically speaking, we can see the pattern in our own psyches: how while traveling the sacred path of our life’s journey, we can be tricked into violently rejecting parts of ourselves not acceptable to what might be an arbitrary standard.

We’re hobbled by rejecting these vital pieces of who we are, but we continue on until the wake-up call can no longer be ignored – usually because of emotional, psychological, or physical suffering. 

And it’s here we have a choice: We can give into despair, believing things will never change.

OR, we can begin the descent into our psyches, searching for these lost parts of ourselves – and if we’re fortunate, we find apt guides who aid us in interpreting the signs along the way.

Those at risk for suicide teeter on the edge of hope. People are bumping into this lost part of themselves and don’t know it. Hope sets us off on a journey to find our missing pieces. You might end up down a path with just enough light to see that next step. You will develop new awareness skills through mindfulness practices

Wherever you end up, you won’t be the same. The energy consumed in ensuring that those wiggly pieces wouldn’t reconnect themselves is now set free and you will live your life differently.

So, what’s emerging from your soul? What beautiful fragments of you will you find?

And as always, People House ministers, counselors, therapists, and staff are here to assist you on your Sacred Way. No one can do it for you, but you can’t do it alone!

_______                                                                              

Notes & Sources:

1.) For Procrustean bed and Eleusinian Mysteries, see online sources, such as Wikipedia and Britannica, Greek mythological figures.

2.) Jung, C.G. Collected Works of C.G. Jung: The First Complete English Edition of the Works of C.G. Jung. Routledge; 2015.

________

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

 


Here is a list of the other blog Mary has written for People House:

An Ode to the Garden of Home || Dorothy Wallis

An Ode to the Garden of Home

By Dorothy Wallis

     Sunbeams, blue sky and daily temperatures rising into the high 70’s beckon me into the garden.  Sweet birdsong from robins, finches and doves lighten my mood.  The bright blue jacketed jays distinctly stand out as they sit in tree branches just beginning to bud out.  I feel drawn to the mystery taking place under the dry leaves.  Finding my garden gloves and wielding one lawn rake, one shrub rake, my favorite Felco pruners, and garden shears, I venture into the orchard.  It feels so good to stretch my arms and limbs in the rhythmic motion of raking the leaves and shriveled stems off of the candytuft.  Luscious green mounds appear to float above the ground.  In just weeks these mounds will be covered in a cloud of tiny white blossoms.  Each motion of my rake uncovers more jewels of lime green shoots popping up out of the orchard bed.  Blooms of purple, yellow and white crocus and early yellow and white daffodils show their sunny faces.  Is it a trick of my eyes or am I actually seeing the wild strawberry plants dotting the sides of the stone pathways unfurling their leaves and reaching towards the light?

     The birds are very busy steadfastly scouting locations for their nests and building them.  They are not bothered by my presence nor by my cat as she stalks a vole under the low boughs of the Colorado Spruce.  The sap is rising; the buds are swelling and life is returning to the tips of the apple and pear trees.  The ruby red calyxes dripping off every twig crown the ‘Red Sunset’ maples with a regal garment of majesty.

     I trim last years stalks down to the base of the peonies and discover plump burgundy sprouts waiting to make their run to the sky.  Once released from the dark womb of creation the sovereign Paeonia surges growth of incomparable speed as it must burst its beauteous explosion of voluptuous bounty for all to see.  My heart expands with the joy of the promise of its magnificently rich buxom blossoms. 

     Another aristocrat is already showing off her pristine stellated tutu of white.  Lucky for her, Royal Star Stellata Magnolia, may actually get to pirouette and dance an entire month to entice the bees before a notorious Colorado spring snow deflates her.  She is offering a very special gift this year, as I cannot remember a year when she has so enthusiastically displayed such a flourishing abundance of bloom.  I feel her thankfulness for the years of appreciation of her splendor and for tending to her needs.

     It is a bittersweet pang of nostalgia and gratitude I feel for every being in this garden that has taught me and nurtured my growth.  In a few short months, I will be leaving this garden and moving on. 

     When I first came to this land, it was barren of trees and shrubs.  Sloping down to the south, a split rail fence fringed the property line before sharply falling to an open space meadow filled with cattails and grasses skirting a wending farmers canal.  Delicate native Prickly White Poppy wove and wildly interlaced itself between lush grasses.  It was glorious in its natural state and I could envision the home I had designed snugly nestled into it.  Purchasing and inhabiting the land began a new adventure. 

     One day while our home was being built, my three-year-old daughter and her dad went for a walk in our established Denver neighborhood and gathered maple wing seeds.  They put them in pots and placed them safely under the immense spread of the canopy of the old lilac shrub.  Early settlers brought this old fashioned variety from the mid west to the region; its fragrance and lavender color are legendary.  The maple seeds sprouted and grew into long thin stems.  We were amazed to discover that lilacs had also seeded themselves into the pots.  They grew full and lush as the months passed.  Finally, it was time to transport them to their new home.  Gently teasing the roots apart, the maples and lilacs became the first plants to settle into the new land. 

     Plans and visions emerged.  “What a gift; here is land that I get to touch with the joy and beauty I envision.”  Tedious hours spent tilling, shaping the land, building beds, amending the soil with compost, planting, cultivating and tending bestow an ever changing harmony of creation.  The land is impressed with the memory of each creature, plant and being that dwells and dies here.  What unfolds is more than a place for my artistic expression.  Nature has her own desires.  Plants grow, some thrive, some die, some become sentinels sheltering newbies and providing rich humus for wild vagabonds to join the community.  One of the beloved seed grown maples grows into a glorious beauty stretching her arms out and shading the dining room window through many summers.  An infamous spring storm dashes through bringing heavy wet snow breaking her main trunk.  We mourn her passing not only for her greatness but also for the loss of not realizing the future legacy of seeing her grow into old age, which was the sacred intention of the child and father that planted those seeds.  Yet, surprisingly the thin weak looking straggly maple at the back of the yard from those same seeds takes on the job of being the sole survivor and grows into the tallest tree on the property.  He slowly and patiently rises straight and tall before opening his arms outward as if a germ of wisdom calculated the angle and thickness of branches needed to bear the weight of wet snow in order to minimize the risk.  He still stands…for now. 

     Another prized tree, a sweet Cherry, grows a very thick shiny rust colored trunk with equally large shiny leaves.  She is radiant and captures the attention of all who see her.  The birds check on the ripening berries each spring day, tasting them and spitting out the sour ones.  The ground is littered with the debris.  We are happy to savor the sweet ones the flocks have left on the lower branches. 

      Unfortunately for the birds, and us, at twenty-two years her life ended abruptly.  High temperatures in November preceded a dramatic freezing drop.  Many fruit trees, including cherries and plums, had not gone dormant; their sap froze, swelled and burst the walls supplying life-giving nutrition.  Months later, it was painful to see her brittle bare branches when all of the other trees were green with life.  It took some time to remove her as our hearts wept.  In her place a red twig dogwood gallantly and courageously planted itself, mirroring the shiny rouge of her bark.

     Hardier species of evergreens, trees, and plants continue to adapt and bear the brutal force of nature’s onslaught along with nature’s bountiful grace.  With every plant that dies, a new one makes its entrance.  Drifts of enchanting species emerge, make a bold appearance and have their day.  Just like life, the garden is an ever-changing, self-renewing kaleidoscope. 

     The wee child has grown.  I honor this land that has given support to dreams, taught me patience, resilience and that struggle and sadness mixed with great joy are all necessary aspects of growth.  I fall in love with every life form and delight in the uniqueness of their being.  My heart hurts at their passing and my heart trumpets at the arrival of a fresh discovery.  Change is constant and the lesson is to treasure the beings and people that inhabit my world.  This land has bequeathed a divine gift to me, my family, and friends, teaching us what it truly means to love and be in relationship with one another and with life.  Reflecting on what has been and what will be brings a deeper appreciation for the precious moments and movement that create a rich life. 

It all adds up to love of Home.


How Emotions Affect the Body || Lora Cheadle

The Mind/Body Connection of How Emotions Affect the Body

By: Lora Cheadle

Our bodies and our minds are endlessly adaptable. There is quite literally an endless variety of adaptations that our bodies and our minds can make, allowing us to survive in even the harshest of mental or physical circumstances. Although this ability is useful in a wide variety of circumstances, it also the reason that emotions can get stuck in our bodies, negatively impacting our health as well as our mental well-being.

Physical and Emotional Traumas Both Have Physical Manifestations

When we break a leg, and are in a full leg cast for an extended period of time, our bodies adapt to the gait and manner of walking with one leg straight. Remove the cast, and for the first several days it’s difficult to walk normally again. Our physical body adapted. Without mirrors, physical therapy or the conscious desire to return to a normal gait, our limp might remain permanent, even though there is no physical reason to maintain the straight-legged gait.

The same is true with physical patterning with regard to emotion. Different emotions result in different physical posturing, and our body language changes depending on the emotions we are experiencing. Unlike a limp however, emotions are not tangible. We cannot simply look in a mirror and see where we are holding emotion in our bodies. Therefore, it can be difficult to identify and release the emotions that are unnecessarily being held in our bodies.

But just like the resulting limp from a broken leg, unnecessarily holding emotions in the body can be just as debilitating. Whether we call it baggage, triggers or psychological damage, emotional experiences impact our physical bodies. Since emotions cannot exist outside of the body, the only way to hold or express emotions, is through the body!

How Emotions Get Stuck in the Body

Think about your own body posturing when you are trying not to be noticed. Have you ever worn the wrong type of clothing to an event? Been awkwardly taller than those around you? Had a blouse that kept gaping open or a zipper that kept sliding down? Chances are, in an attempt to not be noticed, your body posturing changed. Perhaps you slouched, pulled your shoulders up and forward or hung and head. Maybe you presented the side of your body instead of meeting people head on, kept your arms crossed over your chest or literally tried to make your body compact, and smaller than it was.

Our feelings of embarrassment, nervousness, or our desire not to be noticed manifested in our bodies, in the form of tension in the shoulders, neck or chest, due to slouching, or pain in the knees, ankles or feet, due to slight squatting and keeping the body turned sideways. Our physicality reflected what was happening on an emotional level.

Over time, our bodies can get stuck in a variety of emotional holding patterns. Just like the limp from wearing as cast too long, we can slump, slouch, squat or protect out of habit, even when there is no longer an emotional reason to do so.

Emotional Holding Patterns That Cause Physical Symptoms

Take the case of long-time caregivers, who often have the tendency to slouch. Whether it’s from holding babies or from leaning over beds to check on patients, the emotions of nurturing, protecting, care and concern become synonymous with stooped posture. Over time, whenever those caregiver feel the same emotions they feel when checking ono patients or children, the physical patterning of slouching follows suit. The emotions literally get stuck in the body’s muscles.

Although the caregiver might have enough strength and flexibility to physically stand up straight, on an emotional level, standing up straight is as emotionally threatening as asking that caregiver to stop feeling emotions of nurturing, care or concern.

How to Release Stuck Emotions From the Body

A good way to begin untangling the emotions from the body is to start noticing your body in a variety of situations. At home, at work, with friends or while you are alone. Notice how your body feels when you experience different emotions. Begin to see the correlation between your body’s posturing and your emotional state.

Notice what you feeling and where. Is it tension in the neck, back or shoulders? Is it a holding in your stomach or a gripping with your thighs? Do you have a pain in your foot, difficulty breathing, or clenching in your jaw or fists? Is there an obvious physical posture that is causing this tightness or sensation, such as slouching, leaning, gripping or holding?

Identifying both the emotion as well as the posture is the key. After identifying the emotion, analyze whether this emotion is currently present in your world today, possibly necessitating the physical posturing, or whether this patterning is a holdover from a past situation.

Sometimes simply recognizing holdover behavior is enough to release it. Other times, deeper psychological work may be necessary. In either event, one of the most effective ways to deal with physical patterning that is the result of an emotional issue, is to do this 30 second meditation.

Take a few deep breaths. As you are breathing, focus on feeling your body both physically as well as emotionally. Focus on aligning, straightening, expanding and opening your body. Feel like you are stacking your bones, one on top of the other, and that they are so perfectly balanced, you no longer need any muscular tension in order to keep your bones in place. Relax your muscles and breathe.

Focus on your emotional state. Gently let any stressful or negative emotions either float up, and out your body, or drain down, and out of your body. If you know the emotional trigger that caused your tension, affirm to yourself that that situation is in the past, and can no longer impacts you, or your body any longer. If you are not aware of your trigger, affirm for yourself that even though you are not aware of the root cause of your tension, you still unconditionally love and accept yourself. Affirm that from this point forward, you are no longer impacted by that, which in the past, caused you to hold tension or emotion in your physical body.

Take one more breath, imagining, visualizing or pretending that both your physical body and your emotions are uniting in a place of unity, peace, resilience and healthy harmony.

And so it is!


To read more of Lora’s writing, visit her website.

About the Author: Not sure what lights your fire, or do you know exactly what lights your fire, but you keep spinning your wheels? Either way, Lora’s got you covered! Whether it’s through an Angel Reading or through hypnotherapy, where the subconscious mind is brought on board with the conscious mind, working with Lora reveals your divine path and gets you chugging down the road in no time. As a former lawyer, (She knows firsthand the courage it takes to following a new path!) Lora is very straight forward and process- oriented, using modalities that that yield results. No crystal balls or goddess robes here!

Doubt…Creator of Mountains || Jenny St. Claire

Doubt…Creator of Mountains

By: Jenny St. Claire

You are about to do something where you will be truly seen and a feeling comes over you –  you’re frozen or shaking on the inside, maybe both, and thoughts start quietly sliding into your consciousness.  As the seconds go by, the volume escalates until they are screaming at you:

What if I’m not good enough for my partner’s family?

What if I can’t actually do this job I’m so passionate about?

What if I’m too (fat, hairy, flat-chested, zitty, wrinkly, old) for someone to love me?

What if I can’t earn enough money to care for my family?

What if I don’t fit in because I do/feel/think differently than everyone else?

What if people find out that I’m not as perfect as they think I am?

Sound familiar?  The common denominator in all of these thoughts is doubt.

“Your faith can move mountains and your doubt can create them.” ~ unknown

Doubt is defined as a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something.  Further, it is a hesitation to believe.  When we’re doubting the truth or nature of ourselves, it can be debilitating.  It can keep us from taking any step leading toward what we’re wanting in life.  On a deeper level, if we’re hesitating to believe in ourselves, the pain can slam us right to the core.  Ultimately, doubt can spark shame, which is the felt sense that we are bad.

According to Brené Brown, in her book Daring Greatly, we have twelve areas that can trigger our shame: appearance and body image, money and work, motherhood/fatherhood, family, parenting, mental and physical health, addiction, sex, aging, religion, surviving trauma and being stereotyped. 

In addition to our shame filled culture, we also buy into the idea of lack.  Brené believes this sense of shortage extends to how we perceive ourselves.  Fill in the blank of this sentence: “I am never _________ enough.”  How many sentences can you come up with?  Spend a week investigating these pervasive messages and you’ll probably discover more than you were aware of.

These kinds of thoughts are painful!  Since we don’t really want to be present with our doubts, we have a tendency to turn away from them.  Brené outlines in her book a variety of ways we do this (which I’ve summarized): numbing with alcohol, drugs, sugar, food, sex, social media and technology is incredibly common.  Other ways we avoid doubt are perfectionism, trying to control everything, playing the role of victim, oversharing, or becoming critical.

The bottom line is this:  whenever you want to take a step where you might feel vulnerable, doubt will rear its head.  At best, it will only make you pause.  At worst, it will stop you in your tracks.

When you step back and look at yourself and your life as a whole, do you really want doubt to hold you back?  Would you rather risk being vulnerable, really being seen for who you are, in order to create connections with others?  To make your dreams a reality?

If you’re willing to find the courage to open to vulnerability, to choose to believe in yourself, here are a few things that can help you through:

  1. Notice if you’re numbing out. If so, what are you avoiding?  Facing a hard truth will be uncomfortable for a little while, but it’s better than using your energy to avoid it for a lifetime.
  2. Remember all of the fears you have already overcome. How did you overcome them?  Try it again.
  3. Get in touch with what you want more: having what you desire or being stymied by doubt.
  4. Decide to wonder. I wonder what it will be like when I succeed…  I wonder if it will all go better than I’m thinking it will…  These kinds of questions open you up to possibility.
  5. Brené suggests finishing this sentence, “I’m feeling vulnerable and I’m grateful for ________.”

I’ve heard it said in many ways that happiness is just outside your comfort zone.  Doubts keep you within the safety of your comfort zone.  In order to reach happiness, we need to embrace vulnerability and choose to believe in ourselves.  Here’s to you!


About the Author: Jenny is one of the many phenomenal interns working in the People House Affordable Counseling Program. With over 15 years of experience as a Spiritual Counselor, 4 years as a teacher of meditation and energy work and 2 years as a Wellness Coordinator, Jenny is a wonderful addition to the People House community. Jenny is a gentle and reflective soul who is committed to inspiring her clients to reconnect with themselves, find meaning and create positive changes. For more information or to contact Jenny, please see her therapist bio.

People House: a Center for Personal and Spiritual Growth