Finding the courage to create a joyful life

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Real Joy

Make a list today of the people, places, and experiences that bring you Joy then go out into the world and Do, Be, Experience and Share them. Your world will be forever changed!

Thanks to Cultivating Your Feminine Spirit for sharing this image

Have you ever really looked at how you communicate or don’t with other people?

Have you ever noticed that when you are given feedback that people will often try to make the feedback palatable, and in doing so the communication becomes ambiguous leaving a lot of room for misinterpretation?

In a recent exchange I got to experience this first hand.  I was given feedback in the form of a statement where it was suggested that perhaps I was reading too much and not experiencing the learning.  Well I tell you what, this statement brought up every ounce of not good enough and  not doing it right that could ever be possible for me.

Doing my personal work has allowed me to recognize that these statements were the little voice in my head speaking. This voice often does me no favors.  I have the propensity at times to believe what this little voice says is true.On the flip side, I am  beginning to recognize that this voice starts talking because I am hearing something that is not being said or putting in meaning that is not really there (this is where the ambiguous part comes in.)

With this experience I decided to return to the person who made the statement for clarity. So the conversation went round and round trying to be clear in what I was hearing.  The person with whom I was speaking was continuing to be non-direct until finally they had negated everything they had originally given feedback about.  I then asked what they were really trying to communicate.  At this point the feedback became more direct. I was asked the question “Are you using reading as a way of checking out and not experiencing what is going on around you?”

For me the statement about reading too much and not experiencing the learning and the question “Are you using reading as a way of checking out and not experiencing what is going on around you?” are vastly different.  The second question for me leaves no room for that not good enough voice, that doing it wrong voice. It offers me a place to check in.

The interesting thing is that further conversation shared that the person giving the feedback delivered it in that ambiguous fashion in order to stay safe, be heard, and avoid confrontation.  The kicker is in avoiding confrontation, misunderstanding actually created confrontation. In speaking in ambiguous terms the situation of not being heard was created.

I sit and ponder how often I try to communicate in that “nice” ambiguous way and by doing so create more issues than were there with the feedback I was attempting to give in the first place? Or worse, I communicate in that ambiguous fashion to be nice and then end up  with frustration and anger that surface because I am not being heard.

I think my learning over the past few days looks like this.  It is important in human relationships to communicate directly.  I must ask what is true for me to communicate instead of trying to couch feedback in ambiguous language to avoid confrontation or stay safe. I could also say there is much learning in letting go of the need to be heard, and that is another conversation entirely.

The biggest learning for me though is how self critical my little voice becomes when feedback becomes too broad.  This is a constant point of choosing to be loving to myself instead of tearing myself down.  I now recognize that in choosing to love myself I am choosing to speak clearly and directly. I am also choosing to make new agreements with the people in my world asking them to say what needs to be said directly, in the form of a question. this way I may look directly at the question instead of making all kinds of CRAP up about what is trying to be said.  That feels more loving for sure!

It has come to my awareness that I have probably the most creative Ego of all time.

As I have been traversing my path of self learning I have had some marvelous training on this wonderful concept lovingly labeled “The Drama Triangle.” from a wonderful Life Coach, Jennifer Halterman of Everyday Joy & Essence.  She teaches this concept about how Drama is a wonderful game that we all so often play in our relationships. You know, where someone plays the villain and victimizes someone and then a hero comes in and rescues things an puts life back to being right and good. Well my learning on this concept has deepened here of late and as I reflect I find the whole thing astounding.

I have learned that not only can this game play out in the world, it also plays out internally within me. This internal Drama Triangle plays out when my Ego starts running the show.

My Ego really likes to be in control. When my life starts whirling with change then my ego likes to jump into the game.  My Ego gives me feedback. “I am a victim of all the changing circumstances”, or better “I am the villain of my life for not maintaining control.” The kicker is when the feedback says “regain control and you will be your own hero.” This of course is a set up! Control is an illusion so there really is nothing to regain. The set up though lies in the fact that I can once again play the role of victim when I am unsuccessful at regaining the illusory control and my Ego has no problem telling me I am not good enough to deal with the situation at hand.  Sneaky Bugger!

The larger awareness though is in the fact that just by entering into my Ego’s game I had given away my power. I never understood before that I was the one taking my own power and leaving myself to feel not good enough or less-than. Enter even greater understanding….

The greatest relationship I have is the one with myself. 

In this relationship with myself choice points occur.  Do I enter the Ego Drama or stay In my self-loving Essence. Do I retain my personal power or do I give my power away. Choice! It is always about choice.

My Ego is very Sneaky! It is very practiced at staying in charge and keeping me playing drama on the triangle. In fact, the Ego really likes to be in charge. It likes to be in charge because one of the Ego’s primary functions is to keep me safe, thus keeping me living in Fear. While safety is good, fear is not.

My intention is to move forward from the place of this awareness and learn to look at the feedback from my Ego in a different way; Not from a place of fear, not from the place of being victimized by it, not letting my Ego get a big head for keeping me safe, rather from a place of Love.  I will run all feedback both given and received through a filter of Love and “highest good” at each choice point.  Asking the question, is this feedback loving and does it serve the highest good?

Sometimes feedback does not feel good and does serve the highest good of those involved. The key when it does not feel good is does it fill both criteria, Loving and Highest Good?  Other times feedback feels great, but is not of the highest good.  Again, does it fill both criteria, Loving and Highest Good?  Discernment with breath is the key.

So now when my Ego starts to play it’s sneaky games I can stop, take a breath and remember that I am always at choice about giving away my power or using it to live my highest good. And that feedback outside of my Ego is a very powerful tool to obtain the personal awareness that I value so much.

To learn more about the Drama Triangle Visit The Blogtalk Radio rebroadcast of Everyday Joy – The Drama Triangle
To learn more about Essence Coach Jennifer Halterman Visit The Everyday Joy and Essence Website

  Learning From Feedback  

For those of you who know me personally, you know that Feedback is on    of  my biggest nemeses of life.  While I love to give feedback, looking at the feedback from others is very difficult for me. I suppose that is true for many since it is often difficult to look at our own stuff.

For me the most difficult part is taking all the feedback very personally!  You see, my Ego wants to constantly tell me that “I am what you think of me.” The reality is though that what you think of me says nothing about me and everything about you, the person who is providing the feedback.  This distinction is great mental learning, yet it is difficult for me to embody in the midst of a conversation.

I have found that my reaction is often very visceral and physical when I feel the feedback coming toward me, and I am sure that at times this has given some very interesting feedback to those I am interacting with.  The body language in bracing physically or drawing away is often not great for interpersonal communication. The energetic drawing away can really give some interesting messages too.

The amazing part  is I have the same reaction regardless of the feedback being positive or negative. In fact, it is almost more difficult for me to receive the positive messages that I am given.  This is where I use my personal energy to block as much as possible.  I am sure you have encountered people just like this or perhaps you are one. It is odd to encounter the person who deflects positive feedback. Messages of the interactions are confusing at best. It is even more difficult to look at the fact that is how I show up in the world.

Observing feedback from a place of Essence, a place of love, provides much learning. 

Observing family members who stuff their emotions until they explode, rather than express them, has shown me the value of constantly moving my emotions in the moment. This is a skill that takes practice for sure!  In the past though I would (and still sometimes do) take the emotional explosions personally and as attacks. This is when my feedback responses kick in super strongly, even to the point of Fighting back.  The reality though is that the whole experience is nothing but the other person’s over flowing of their suppressed emotions. The whole thing really says nothing about me.

I find though, if I look deeper, often these experiences can serve as my greatest teachers.  I have learned how anger, mine or anyone’s, is really just their fear flowing out.  I have learned that addressing the fear really is what changes the dynamics of the situation.  I have learned to ask of myself more often “what am I feeling?”  I have learned to look in the mirror of the situations I am confronted with to find the nugget of what learning is there for me. Most importantly I am learning that staying away from the opinion of others, good or bad, keeps me in a place of balance and flow. It keeps me in a place of confidence and loving me.

All this because I am not what you think of me, though my Ego would like me to believe that I am.

When I focus on my Essence I can stay in the natural place of love and compassion for whatever I encounter, taking the learning and leaving the drama. 

Such an easeful way of life! Ahhhhhhh! I wonder why I have chosen to live differently for so long?

Letting Go has been one of the most difficult concepts for me to grasp in this grand adventure of my life!

My mind can see the value of the process of relaxing, allowing, and trust.  At the same time however, I am finding how incredibly easily I use my mind to override the very thing I would like to create.

You see, I have been in my life a self professed control freak. As such, I often hear myself saying to me “sure go ahead and let go.  Are you doing it?  come on go ahead and do it, Let Go!”  I laugh at the irony of experiencing when my mind takes over, my Ego self jumps in and attempts to force something like letting go.  I in fact find it so very funny that all I can hear echoing in my head when that happens are the words of my favorite coach saying “How’s that working for you?”

The reality is that this never ends well!  I did not begin well.  It began with my Ego being tweaked and fighting to control the day. Enter Miss Know it all, I get to be right, see I told you,  you are doing it all wrong.

Although I can now recognize what is happening, I still find the shift to letting go a key trigger for me to play in my Ego rather than playing from the authentic place of my being, that place of my Essence.  While I recognize the shift  I find it incredibly difficult to Let Go  which is exactly what would bring me back to living in my natural essence.

Ahhh the circular nature of learning can sometimes be maddening…..especially if I try to force it.

So for now I get to acknowledge the experience, thank my Ego for it’s latest lesson and “STEP AWAY FROM THE CONTROL!”

And while I sit here laughing at myself, I can see very clearly that this process is perfect, and the Spirit learning is Divine.

The Heart Space

I have embarked on a magical journey.

The journey of connecting with Spirit in a place I like to call the Heart Space.  The most difficult thing about the journey appears to be entering the Heart Space, but once  located this space is the magical sweet spot of life.

What is the Heart Space?

For me, this Heart Space is that inner place of quiet surrender where love and creative inspiration emanate from. The place of quiet where the outside world is still and all that exists is me and my creator.

Allowing myself to even be willing to look for this Heart Space was a big step for me. For the longest time I was at battle with myself. I felt (or my ego did) that if I surrendered to this magical place that I would lose control of my life and that I would have to face into things that my Ego and head did not want to do.

Case in point, For the longest time I believed with the very core of my being that surrendering to spirit would mean I would have to give up the one relationship that was most important to me. I believed that because all of the religious structure I had contact with constantly told me that the relationship was wrong. The news media told me that the relationship was wrong. My neighbors and even some I viewed as friends all shared the common belief that the relationship was wrong.  The message was so overwhelming that at some point I decided to believe it was true.

In hindsight, I find it amusing that by being stuck in my ego I was judging what I held most dear as wrong. I was living from a place of betraying myself with every moment I spent within that relationship, just because I believed what I being told by the world.  I was so stuck in my pattern of control that allowing myself to think that Spirit was really working for me, not against me, was not possible.  Surrender was not possible.

Once I decided to take the leap and connect to my Heart Space anyway I learned that Spirit really wants everything I want for myself and more.  In my Heart Space I learned what my relationship could be, and I have learned in baby-step fashion how to move forward in creating the relationship I truly want.  My  relationship has changed completely, and for the better.  It looks different on the outside, and it feels different on the inside.

What Spirit has had me learn through this relationship has been very important in my learning of how to connect to my Heart Space.

Connecting to the Heart Space

 The heart space is easy to find. 

The Heart Space is that moment between the breath, that moment between inhale and exhale.  That is the connecting point to this magical place.  The beauty of that is we all breathe.  The simplicity of this is, whether we recognize it or not, every person who is breathing is already connected to their Heart Space. It is in the moment of the breath that we come to discover Spirit and Spirit’s divine plan for our lives.

 The Heart Space requires practice.

Just like when we are training for a sporting event, training ourselves to access, recognize, and take action from the Heart Space takes practice. Starting in an easy way is key.  Set aside 5 minutes in the morning and evening for Heart Space practice.  During the 5 minutes focus on the magical moment between the inhale and the exhale.  Allow whatever wants to happen at that moment to occur. There may be magical ideas, there may be burst of creativity, perhaps you will be given directions of things to do or act on, but mostly you will be given a state of peace.

Remember also that how or where  your practice occurs does not matter.  It does not have to look any particular way.  Some prefer a traditional meditation setting, others will do better to practice connecting to their Heart Space while they are walking or moving.  Whatever feels right to you is usually right for you.

To really enter the Heart Space we need to suspend our beliefs. 

Spirit really will guide us and direct  us to the place of our greatest good and  biggest learning.  When we are willing to look past what we believe to be true and lay aside our judgment, we open ourselves to our greatest learning.  This is all about surrender. All about letting go. All about letting go of something good to find something great!

For me, letting go of my special relationship as it existed has allowed me to go forward creating a new relationship with the same person. My beliefs about what it  looked like and what it could look like have been laid aside. The opening provided for by Spirit allows for The Heart Space to be entered and embraced. From the Heart Space the relationship can blossom and grow on its own with no expectation of what the end will look like.

Connecting to my Heart Space has allowed me to move the quality of my relationship to a different and better  place. As I stay connected I am finding that my whole life is shifting in subtle ways for the better. As I stay connected I am finding that the world really is a magical place once more, and as I surrender I find both peace and freedom.

Finding your Heart Space is finding the beginning of spiritual wellness. Don’t take my word for it though, find the magic for yourself.

Feeling the Fear

What a day it has been…

Never in my life have I experienced so many ups and downs in one day.  The roller coaster of emotion is rolling like waves to the point of overwhelming.  it is amazing to me the diversity of the joy, laughter, pain, fear, and anger that has rolled through my day.  Just as perplexing is the amount of physical change in my body that occurs with each emotion.

At this moment I have a headache and my stomach is very queezy.  When I look past the physical symptoms, I am able to see that my world is changing very quickly in unexpected ways which is bringing fear into my world. Fear for me triggers that queezy feeling, and trying to control the fear brings on the headache as I clench my jaw and tighten all the muscles in my body.

My inner knowing tells me that I need to find physical ways to express my fear.

Looking to processes like walking meditation, gentle stretching, or vibrating my body with laughter will create that physical release of the fear.  The beauty of these types of release is that they act as a conduit to the free and natural flow of emotion, allowing the movement rather than the blockage of the energy in my body.

Free moving and flowing emotions are one of the best ways to proactively prevent disease from taking hold.

Another suggestion for acknowledging and releasing fear is the use of Ho’o pono pono, as describes by Joe Vitale in his book entitled Zerolimits.  This is a system that allows us to clear  emotions and memories, bring us back to spirit.  Saying the simple phrase of I love you. I am sorry. please forgive me.  Thank you.  is a powerful way to release in love and transmute what we are feeling in gratitude for it showing up in our awareness. I have even focused this ho’o pono pono practice to the area of my body that is speaking loudly and the results have been amazing.

How do you handle your emotions?  Do you bottle them up and attack yourself from the inside, or do you acknowledge them and let them flow?  Do your emotions flow in a gentle and healthy manner, or do they back up and then explode through violently?

Do you pay attention to the symptoms in your body letting you know about what you need to be addressing emotionally? I do!  Sometimes I like what my body is telling me. Other times I don’t. But my body will always give me the gentle (sometimes not so gentle) nudges that will allow me to recognize and move through what is before me. For that I am truly grateful, and humbled by the magnificence of who I am.

As a side note my headache and queezy stomach have now passed….Journaling is also a great way to process emotions, but that is another topic for another day. 🙂

The Art of Being Nervy

Or “Who do you think you are and what gives you the right?”

As I continue my contemplation of all my Wild Joys of Living I often find myself entering into a construction zone.  You know the kind with all the orange cones and hard hats, just like the roads here in Utah. My latest construction zone finds me knee deep in the murky water of my relationship with myself.

I have the constant propensity to place everyone else and their needs first in my world. In doing that several things have occurred. First, I have lost myself because I am constantly dishonoring me. Second, I have become the hero, victim, or villain in the famous drama dance of life.  Both of these options suck!

In losing myself I have have given away my place of personal power. I have given away my God given right to go out and live my passions or create my dreams. I have done that by filling my world with so much of everyone else’s Stuff.  I have done that by being the hero, the doctor that fixes it, the mom that gets it all done and makes it all better. I have done this by choosing to be the bad guy, holding you accountable for your choices (even while I have not been accountable to me for mine). I have done that by making “their world” feel better for them.

So, Starting today I get to practice what I teach. I get to practice the Art of being Nervy, because It takes a lot of nerve in this world to put yourself first!

So what is being nervy?

First it is following the airline rules…put you oxygen mask on first and then assist those around you.  For me that means making a specified portion of my day that is for me.  The part where I get to fill myself up so that I can go forth and truly serve others from a balanced and grounded place. The part where I can be gentle with myself by relaxing, reading, bubble bathing, massaging, walking and moving, dancing, meditating, journaling….the possibilities are endless. It means speaking and living what is true for me. It means learning to make choices from the place of honoring both myself and the self of others, not the comfortable choice.

Secondly, It is damn nervy to go out and change how you show up for others, even if it is in everyone’s best interest.  It is damn nervy to say “you made the mess, you clean it up.”  “An emergency on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.” “I am sorry, that sucks, but only you can change it.” Being willing to change how I show up though is the only way I can get back to the business of living my passions and my dreams, and  It also puts me in the position to be fully present with (you) the people in my life so that I can  say to them (you) from my heart “How may I assist you?” and be ready and willing to tell that other person if I can offer that level or form of support (is it a yes or is it a no for me).

So who am I and what gives me the right? I am an individual with a purpose and mission in this life. I have passions and dreams that are just as important as yours. I am here to love you and live my compassionate nature by assisting you, but I am not here to do it for you.

We each have the right and the responsibility to take on our own learning full force. My role as a healer says that I am here to offer you assistance, guidance, education, ect… in your process of healing. My role as a healer in no way states that I have to give my entire life trying to fix it for you. My role as a mother says I am here to show up for you and support you in your quest for your own passions and dreams, but it does not mean that your dreams are mine. My role as a partner say “I will love and support you in your learning and your path, but it does not mean that your path is mine” even though we are often on the same path.

So, please live what is true for you and I will live what is true for me. I promise to be honest with myself and with you. I promise to be in service to you as long as that service beings me joy instead of expectation or obligation. I promise to be open to feeling the joys and the ouches of life openly. Finally, I promise to always live the Namaste’ Principle by honoring the light in myself and acknowledging your light by honoring you too.

So am I Nervy…you bet! Because I am worth it and it is the best way I know to create whole-body healing.

I often come into contact with individuals who express to me displeasure about their body. I am told many things about how they don’t like their weight, or that they are out of shape, or that they are dealing with some form of illness. From that discussion then emerges questions about the latest fad diet, fitness program, or natural healing strategy. Does this sound familiar?

I know it does to me. I often say I need to lose weight or I hate going to the gym. The unfortunate part is that when I say these things to myself or out loud my body hears a resoundingly loud message. “I don’t love you,  I am not happy, and you suck.”

For many years I have fought the never ending battle with myself about diet, exercise and my general health.  I have been able to make short term changes, but things always cycled back around. When the cycle came full circle there I was again and the message stayed the same. “I don’t love you,  I am not happy, and you suck.” I call this my ultimate form of insanity.

While exploring all of the tools that were available to me as I walked my path of life, there was one core piece that I often overlooked. That is the use of Essence Qualities in managing my body.

What are Essence Qualities?  The are the qualities that we as individuals express from  the inner core of our being.  Some examples of my personal essence qualities are Love, Joy, Compassion, Laughter, Fun, and Creativity. (though the list is much longer I assure you)

So knowing who I am on the inside (My Essence) puts me in a different space and allows me to make choices for my body that serve me and fill me up.  Instead of asking which fad diet will allow me to lose weight I begin to ask “Is this (Insert food of choice here) loving for my body?Does this (insert type of exercise) Love and support my body? Does it bring me joy? Is it Fun and creative? By doing or eating ____ am I acting with compassion toward myself?” Then I listen to my Yes’ and No’s.

In using my Essence Qualities as a guide post I find that having love and compassion for my body may look like nourishing it with green smoothies, and at other times my body may want to express fun and laughter by enjoying a cupcake. I find that my body may want to express movement through dancing and not a strenuous workout at the gym. I find that having compassion for my body  may mean taking a break from sugar or caffeine. Using  Essence Qualities as the guide post lets me tap into the inner knowing that exists in me to find the answers that I seek. Using Essence qualities lets me find a gentle path, and changes my inner dialogue to “I love you, I am happy, and you Rock!”  It takes away the temptation for self beat-up by allowing open expression.

Using Essence Qualities as a tool to make choices from places me in a position of personal power and allows me to be gentle, compassionate, and loving with myself.

“If you live on the level of the Body and the Individual, you will get entangled in food, fun and frolic, ease, envy and pride. Forget it, ignore it, overcome it — You will have peace, joy and calm. In the Divine Path, there is no chance of failure; it is the Path of Love.”

Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Setting a clear intention is one of the most pivotal actions to take when changing your health is what you desire.

Working as a healthcare professional for almost 20 years now has given me a huge chance to exercise my listening skills. especially when it comes to working with people who are in battle with some type of ill-health. Over the years, the most frequently asked question that I have heard is this ( and it is usually prefaced by the statement  “No one has been able to help me”) “Is there anything you can do to get me better?”

In my early days of practice I would move into my  role as reassuring provider. That is, until I learned this powerful secret.

Only the person with the illness, or dis-ease can create healing within themselves.

Think about it….you can apply any number of pills, lotions, potions, medical procedures, etc. to a problem or condition, but it is only what your body does with the treatment that makes any difference.

Many individuals look at me like I am crazy after I have told them that I can’t DO anything to change their condition. Only their body can change their condition by BEING in the space for healing to occur.

The BEING space of healing starts with setting a clear intention about what it is that you are asking your body to accomplish. It also requires a willingness to listen and do what your body directs you to do to reach that outcome.

Here is an example: An lady names Serena came into my office seeking chiropractic treatment for pain and numbness that she was experiencing in her shoulder and neck. She informed me that she had been dealing with these problems for more than 3 years. She then proceeded to give me a laundry list of all of the Doctors she had seen, procedures she had done, medications she had taken, exercise regimes that she had tried, braces and supports she had worn. The list was long and extensive. It was obvious that the medical approach she was taking was not giving her the result she desired.

It was time for Serena to take her healing to the next level.  This is where Serena and I had a conversation about her Intention for  Healing.

I asked Serena the simple question of “What do you want?”  Her immediate response was that she wanted to be out of pain and to be able to use her arms and hands freely so she could live her life. She wanted to do things like play tennis again and be able to hold her child without it causing pain or making her feel like she was going to drop her.

My next question was “What are you willing to do to get what you want?” Serena replied with the standard answer saying she would do anything to create a pain free life again.

I asked Serena if she would be willing to change her job to get rid of the pain.  Here she squirmed but said that she would if she had to. I asked her if she would be willing to look at the emotions like anger, or emotional situations that might be creating or perpetuating her pain. At this point in our conversation Serena became agitated and quite insistent that there was no anger that was causing her pain. I knew we were on to something with her response. What I was looking for though was her willingness with her stated intention. So I asked again. “Are you willing to look at and clear out the emotional components of your physical complaint?”  Serena was so agitated by the question, and so un-willing to step into her emotions that she ended the consultation shortly thereafter and left the office.

What is there to learn from Serena? 

First and foremost is that there must be a clear intention for healing to take place.  Second, With a clear intention there must also be an unwavering willingness to  do things that seem very uncomfortable or that launch us into the unknown. And finally, we must be willing to listen to ourselves,  and listen to our bodies to find the answers for ourselves.

This is what Serena did…

Serena left the office agitated and flustered, but the conversation kept replaying for her.  As she took in the message she decided to dig in and really listen to what her body was telling her.  After a short time of learning to gently support her body with physical care, taking the time to examine her thoughts and emotions, and surrendering the healing process to her spirit, Serena found success.  It took her 4 short months to heal what she had suffered with for years.

That my friends is the Wild Joy and the Art of Whole Body Healing.