Living Energy Blog
Archive for the 'Stress' Category
Perfection is impossible and yet a lot of us have a mistaken beliefs that cause us to strive for it in some area regardless of what our conscious mind says it wants or believes. Actively focusing on releasing old patterns of belief, thought and feeling helps to open us to a freer way of Being.
To know ‘who you are’, it is important to own all your experience. All too often the emotional aspects of life experience are left unfinished which leads to feelings of being fragmented, disconnected, empty or isolated.
Grief can be an integrative experience knitting together the hurt places with inherent or new strengths if managed appropriately. It can help you be aware where you hurt and thus identify your feelings, which help define your needs and boundaries. It can also help separate unhealthy reactivity from deeper, truer emotions that show you a doorway to your authentic SELF. In order for this to happen there must be a space made, opened and honored so that all aspects of your experience are given form ….and released.
1. Honor your experience by speaking or writing it out. Telling your story, honestly stating how it was for you without laundering it into what you think is acceptable, is crucial. Experience needs to be claimed and witnessed in order to be processed and released. The witnessing, whether by yourself or with another, is best if it is nonjudgmental and compassionate!
2. Engage in a spiritual practice. Practices that help you connect with aspects larger than your ego self help make you feel that you CAN hold all your experience and not be shattered by it. Later you will realize that you can feel it AND let it go; this will give you more ability to feel what is there with courage because you can trust that you do not have to feel it forever.
Spiritual practice also helps you to not feel so empty or isolated. It can provide an infusion of loving, supportive energy that assists you and holds you up when you cannot do it all alone.
3. Seek out others who have been through similar situations. Sharing your experience, weaknesses and strengths is very healing. Both giving and receiving are a part of the natural flow of life. ..a core expression and rhythm of love.
4. Take breaks in your process. Especially if your grief is a large one, it is crucial to the process to give it both active and receptive attention. It is okay to let things rest and gestate for a time.
5. Provide an outlet for release of all thoughts, emotions and beliefs that have been stored up as a result of this loss for you. Create rituals, use intentions that help you to not only uncover and articulate but also for the letting go part.
6. Channel your energy into something positive. One family channeled grief about the loss of a child into a foundation that now raises money for research into childhood illnesses. Another family is honoring the memory of their child by funding a house for families to stay nearby when their sick children are hospitalized. These are two wonderful examples of turning grief into positive action … to process the grief and honor the past while improving the situation for others.
7. See a professional grief counselor if you feel that your grieving process has gone on too long or you feel stuck. A professional can help you reclaim your Self. Emotional Freedom Technique used alone or with a counselor is especially helpful for trauma, loss and grief.
8. Meditation, deep relaxation and energetic approaches to releasing emotions from deep within are essential to truly moving past grief and integrating our experience, so whatever other tools you use it would be beneficial to incorporate one of these methods with it.
Grieving is healthy. As you experience it, know deep down that you are OK. Allow yourself to feel the sadness, despair and loss, but also reach to feel your inner resources of strength, courage and hope. Find the combination of methods that will enable you to let difficult feelings go and move on. We are meant to grieve, but not forever! Just as a lotus flower blooms with its roots in mud, our grief can be a springboard to bringing new aspects of ourselves to a world that sorely needs all our goodness.
One of the most powerful ways of engaging this process is to consider the question of WHO is doing the choosing….who is holding a particular perception or viewpoint. We are all the product of so many influences and as a result have multiple sub personalities living inside us.
So this is no small question. One helpful way to unearth what may be coloring your perceptions, and thus your choice-making-apparatus, is to make a list of your beliefs. The beliefs that are problematic here are the ones that keep you from fully experiencing ease, joy, fulfillment; the ones that create stress within yourself and relationships; the ones that keep you bound in fear, anxiety, helplessness or hopelessness. Sometimes it can be most helpful to get in touch with the feeling and then work backwards to what belief about life may be the glue holding it in place. Your beliefs are your story … the drama you live through every day.
Where does one look for faulty beliefs? Well … how do you really feel about Men, Women, Mothers, Fathers, Siblings, Relationships, Love, Self, Others, Prosperity, Success, Abundance, Deserving, Playing, Work, Money, Health, Illness, Body Image, etc.
1. Take out a sheet of paper and write down what you don’t want to keep happening or how you don’t want to keep feeling. Write for as long as you like. Then, look at your “story” and underline or highlight the charged words … the words that hold emotion for you. Write these phrases or words in a vertical column. Now on the other side of the paper, write the opposites. For instance, if you are feeling stressed, the opposite might be relaxed. If something that you want is not happening, the opposite is that it is happening. If it should be easy, the opposite is that it is easy. If you are feeling it’s just a dream, the opposite is that it is real. Next go through and simply repeat each pair of opposite phrases out loud. See how it feels to bring the issues to consciousness and to look at both sides. Discover where you are caught in the spin and who you are without your story.
Keep in mind that you may have some wonderfully strong, helpful and supporting beliefs within you that you certainly want to keep. The suggested exercises can also help you see your strengths as well as the weaknesses…what has gone well in your life. Let your consciousness rest on that for a time and build on that strength. All too often we look at only what is off instead of embracing the totality, working with the good to help us in our release of the less graceful material.
In addressing any of these, remember there is a difference between what we WANT to believe we believe AND what we really believe deep down. By sitting quietly with each topic area you may become aware of deeper emotions and issues that signal something that needs to be cleared within you. These are simply the results of not knowing, they are not sources of fodder for self-flagellation or caving into hopelessness!
2. Another method of uncovering and working to release problem beliefs that cloud perception is chakra work. The chakras provide us with a roadmap of consciousness. As we work to clear and balance our chakras not only does perception clear but all other aspects of our mind-body health also improve.
3. Meditation is a another great method of uncovering faulty beliefs as well as for creating the space for their release. In addition, meditation practice opens you to another level of mind that is beyond the conditioned mind with all the beliefs and stories. Meditative methods reduce stress, heighten self awareness, enhance creativity and ultimately deliver us to true freedom –to that portion of the Self that is beyond habituated perceptions.
Change and creativity…so many aspects enter into the equation when we are trying to navigate the former and embrace the latter! One aspect that may not be commonly thought about with either of these topics is that of expectation.
Neuroscience is showing us however that we should think about expectations. It has been clearly demonstrated that the brain actually changes its activity based on our expectations!
In one experiment individuals were instructed to expect to see color even though they were viewing black and white…their brains made the same changes as if they had actually perceived color.
This is very exciting! Imagine! The brain responds to the choice you make about how you want (or in this case are told—much like in life!) to perceive something! So it seems to follow that the brain can shift from a closed, preconceived way of processing to a more open creative one should we make that choice and adopt that intention.
The fact that our brain changes its process in response to our expectation is not simply interesting. This and other similar research is pointing to the notion that we are all much more the driver of our own bus than we ever thought! We always have the choice to discount this information, resist it and or ignore it altogether like a news bulletin we opt to not receive. Haven’t we all at one time or another felt the hurt, confusion and righteousness inherent in being the victim of circumstances? We experience ourselves as the one affected rather than the one with the power within our lives. It is a major cultural conditioning that has kept us imprisoned within our own inner cell for centuries!
Of course, we would feel this way. We cannot demonstrate something we do not really understand or know how to use—our minds! So, we have been a bit less than graceful in shaping some of our realities! Not really a big deal….unless you walk away from it.
You see the process of choice making and its ramifications continues to work whether you are aware of it and consciously using it or not. If you do not take responsibility for your part in the process then the outcomes in your life may not be as you would like. Responsibility is a daunting word, but in this case it ultimately leads to freedom and can become a source of deep peace and joy. But you’ll have to try it, stay with it and practice, practice, practice before you can really experience that in any ongoing way. But once you do life changes beautifully! And I must insert my usual caveat here—we do not control everything, but we can exercise more influence than we have thought possible. And the tools that we use in learning to use our higher minds are the same ones that will build inner strength, stress hardiness and the ability to remain centered within our own higher heart-mind…and that will help navigate the stormy seas that arise out of our control or influence.
Next post: Effective Methods to Remove Blocks to Clear Perception
Recently I have been writing about spring, renewal, change and creativity. An important aspect of creative change is to honor and respect the various levels of mind. Our lower mind is that of conscious everyday activity and thought. But we have access to a much larger mind…one that can help us create, change and generally be healthier, happier and more at peace. We could call that mind The Creative. So how can you begin to dance with this larger energy/consciousness?
You can make room for The Creative to develop within you by letting go of inferior habits and thoughts … anything that doesn’t serve you or benefit your highest good. Such habits would include judgments about other people, careless words and thoughts, lack of compassion, intolerance, frantic actions and more. Cultivate integrity, goodness, patience and humbleness. Open yourself to help from others. Allow your High Powers to guide your actions. Change what you can about yourself and accept what “is.”
How do you make room for The Creative to accomplish this acceptance, or the letting go of that which no longer serves you whether it be old patterns of behavior, difficult emotions or repetitive thoughts?
Research has demonstrated that our physiology actually changes when we develop acceptance, shift focus and embrace positive qualities. Scientists have studied the process that successful people use in this regard and as a result have discovered that we can learn to set the stage for letting go through some fairly simple steps.
The steps are simple however the changes that occur in the brain and throughout the body involve complex biochemistry. These changes not only involve a letting go and arrival at acceptance, they also improve health, enhance mood, open the door to creativity, increased learning, ‘out of the box’ thinking and boost productivity.
Begin with Stress
The beginning of this process involves stress! The stress may be imposed from outside or it may come about as you seek to solve a problem or resolve a situation. The stress may be useful in the beginning in some ways, but if left unaddressed it typically builds as resolution of your dilemma is not forthcoming. If this continues your physical and psychological well-being are impaired.
You can intervene in the stress cycle in a healthy way by taking a break and engaging in an activity that will trigger more beneficial and helpful biochemistry that will lead to the solution to your problem as well as the aforementioned other positive changes.
Calgon Take Me Away
What types of activities are helpful now? Something that takes you completely away from your habitual and familiar thoughts, feelings and ways of reacting is essential. It can be helpful to consciously be aware of all the information and facts etc. regarding your stress but it is also helpful to engage another level of wisdom to enter and help you. This is done by shifting your state of mind and not continuing to actively resist or fight with the cause of your stress.
Repetitive activities that help to quiet the mind and body are the key. You may choose meditation, yoga, prayer, knitting, singing, housework, gardening, contemplating nature, conscious breathing, walking, biking or hiking. The important component is that these are changes that break the pattern you were in and focus your attention elsewhere.
What happens then is a series of intricate shifts within your biochemistry and neurology that sets the stage for an ‘AHA Experience’…. the resolution of your problem. The next step is a return to normal life with a heightened sense of well-being.
The first time you practice this approach may not feel exactly like an enlightenment experience! Be assured however that with practice you will be strengthening pathways and laying the groundwork for new abilities to grow within you. Spiritual energy and great creative forces surround us at all times but we must do our part to become worthy partners in the co-creative dance.
Deep relaxation of mind and body such as that on Relaxation 101 is really helpful to opening space for the higher mind to come online. Emotional Freedom Technique is a great tool for removing old emotional patterns of feeling and belief from your system making way for even greater intuition and resolution to enter your awareness. In addition, imagery or inner child work focused on releasing past core issues are enormously helpful to open and release the fundamental roots of stress so that your inner space can be free and clear to allow more creative flow within you.
The fundamental creative power of the universe is unrestricted and available to all. A process that allows for letting go of the old and welcoming a new creative flow, moves you gracefully beyond stress into a whole new way of being that is enlivening, affirming and life enhancing.
Some of our recordings that are helpful with this process:
Letting Go the Heart of Healing
Balancing Your Chakras
To learn more: http://bit.ly/13MPPDB
Since we are in a season of change as well as a very intense time of change for the planet and mankind I am reprinting an older article that speaks to the stages of change. I hope the awareness of these stages is helpful as we all ride the waves of transformation.
Ms. Chaos & Mr. Change: Guests on a Mission
CHANGE! We all know it’s an inevitable and necessary fact of life. Even so it can fill us with trepidation! We are brave, put on a happy face, see only the good, shush the voices that surprise us with feelings of inadequacy and insecurity that we believed were long discarded … and yet they wake us in the night, and are the first ones to greet us in the morning!
There are many journeys through change as we move through life. Some we instigate and others are thrust upon us. Of course the ones we initiate seem easier. We feel more in charge. A good strategy to adopt no matter what the source of the change is would be to develop ways to feel in charge where you can. A correlate to that is to find ways to be comfortable with not knowing, uncertainty and ambiguity!
It is helpful to realize that there are stages to change. If you properly identify the stage you are in, allow yourself to be there and match your activities to that phase. By doing, so you will move through change and transition with more ease. You also may find yourself growing and learning in ways that in the end are very satisfying and rewarding.
Sources and stages of change
Mr. Change most often arrives quite properly attired in a boring beige suit. He is not a very interesting fellow. The spark has long gone out of his eyes and his attitude. He has settled for stability in his life, happy to have things remain status quo. He may begin to experience feelings that he is not sure about…foreign and confusing they make no sense to him. In spite of the unease, or maybe because of it, he gradually becomes aware that something is amiss.
In contrast to the boring beige suit type of change is Ms. Chaos. She rips into town gaudily dressed and announces her presence quite loudly and often rudely. There is no denying she has arrived! She is shocking, harsh and entirely unwelcome. However, she does get your attention and demand that you deal with her….NOW!
Of course there are many ways that change can enter. These are two extreme metaphors that describe qualities of the initiation stage. The next stage is the passage through dissolution. In this phase some or all of certain aspects of your life and identity disintegrate. Confusion, doubt, fear and anxiety are frequent guests at your table now. This is a good time to remember what Fritz Perls said “Fear is excitement without breath”. It is also a good time to remember to give yourself permission to grieve losses, as well as time to indulge in some extra tender loving self-care. A Feng Shui tip to help with this stage: have some cool colors around you to help your energy flow more freely. The color gray, the color of dissolution, can be a helpful reminder to you to be willing to adopt an attitude of release. Letting go is a big part of change. As you become willing and open to letting go, you begin to create empty space and room for new ideas and parts of you to emerge. You also make space for new experience to happen.
After some time of feeling stuck and like you have been stagnating, you may (gradually) sense a stirring of life within you. The thought begins to arise in your consciousness that perhaps you will survive this reconstruction. Maybe you will even end up with a better life, or be a better person, or learn how to be happy no matter what, or…___ you can fill in the blank with some wonderful quality, event or happening that was not apparent at the start of this process–one that only materialized as a direct result of this change. In this stage there is the beginning of the integration of new abilities, skills, emotions or beliefs. Mr. Change shows up in a trendy new suit and Ms. Chaos is chantingOM! You’ll probably feel like wearing brighter colors like spring green to reflect your rebirth. In fact you can deliberately bring clearer, brighter colors into your world to help remind you of the new life mounting within you.
You may not feel quite steady or solid as you begin to live your new life but you are here, alive and present. Congratulations, you’re a butterfly at last! You’ve emerged and you’re ready to fly. It’s best to remember that these stages are often entwined, difficult to discern altogether clearly and there is a lot of overlap as well.
Each of us is going through various changes every single day. The world, our environment and inner and outer beings are in constant flux. When you learn to embrace your changes and allow yourself to dance in with them rather than resisting then the chances are you’ll be more comfortable with yourself. You may even look forward to change rather than fear it.
Different parts of your life can be at different stages of change at any given time. For instance, perhaps you’re a newlywed, just starting out, but your job or career is in disarray. Or your job might not have changed, but you’re beginning to notice that you are reacting differently to people and situations. Maybe you’re noticing that your feelings about your friends are shifting. You may be changing, but your job and social network isn’t. You may be caring for young children and sudden changes also require that you also care for elderly parents. Perhaps the predictability of your days and your time has suddenly been thrown into overdrive and you just don’t know what’s coming next. Life is an adventure, a mystery and at (many) times complex!
It helps as the drama of each day unfolds, to observe and experience how you really feel in different situations. Take a few minutes to reflect on what’s happening in a particular moment. Step outside of your situation and simply observe what is going on. Imagine you are watching a movie. Then, notice and honor yourself and your feelings. However you feel is OK. Go with the flow of your energy. If you need some quiet time, take it. If things are in chaos, go with it but don’t get caught up in the melodrama of it. Observe it, play your part but maintain as much of an attitude of noninvolvement with any drama as possible. Do what you can to trust in a deep inner sense of letting go and allow things to evolve.
Have you ever observed a pendulum? It’s in constant motion. It’s also very predictable, swinging from one side to the other, creating patterns all along the way. The pendulum goes to the outer edges but it never stays there. As soon as it reaches an edge, it begins moving toward the other side. Most of the time is spent in the middle. And so it is with change and our lives. Continuous movement, shifting and the creative emergence of the new is the way of our universe and we are a part of that.
Remember: You can take your time, acknowledge where you are in your process, choose to see transition as an adventure, or a mystery to be lived and match your response with the stage of your journey. Above all, stay in touch with the emotions that are part of your future goals …keep your eye on the prize…there is always a beginning, a middle and an end to everything…even change!
Acceptance is one of those feelings that is grossly misunderstood. Many think that adopting an attitude of acceptance means passivity or the condoning of violent or malicious acts. This need not be the case. Acceptance merely means to acknowledge a given situation ‘as is’. Typically we tend to cause ourselves stress by resisting what it. This may be a response that is habitual and not very well realized until we open our minds and become more observant and insightful about our own process.
If we can truly open to a sense of acceptance we can remain engaged in life without uselessly forcing our own agenda. Instead of using precious energy to resist or fight in vain, we remain open to many more possible and potent outcomes. It is truly amazing to watch what happens when you truly embrace acceptance… perhaps the most amazing thing is that so many problems simply fall away!
Since acceptance permits you to remain neutral, you can see more clearly where the best efforts are to be made in a given situation. The calmness that accompanies acceptance can open you to wider perception and it helps you to move from a position of blaming to one of resolving problems. And the best part of all…you dump a significant source of self created stress! As with anything, acceptance is not something you simply decide to have. It is more like a journey you embark on stopping at many roadside attractions before reaching your destination.
The process of learning to accept can begin by learning to be more comfortable with silence; it may grow faster within you if you learn to release tension and stress in general; developing you silent witness or observer self are great additions to your travel kit.
Our recording, Applying Alchemy: Turning Concepts into Reality (session #8 in our 12 Keys for Life and Self Mastery series) has more information, suggestions and guided techniques for you to use to help with the development of this very valuable skill. You can find out more here http://www.livingenergyworks.com
Here is a brief (7 minute) centering technique to help you to release the week’s stress, relax and head into the weekend…Enjoy!