Our Deepest Fear

20140601-174010-63610084.jpg
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Excerpt from
A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles
by Marianne Williamson

7 Emotions That Don’t Serve You

20140330-142326.jpg
7 Emotions That Don’t Serve You + How To Detox Them
BY John Kim
Padhia Avocado

MARCH 30, 2014 5:11 AM EDT

Having emotions, even negative ones, is part of being human. But when we don’t have the skills to learn from our feelings and move forward, we can get mired in negativity, which prevents us from reaching our full potential. Here are seven emotions that, when not dealt with, can stop you from thriving:

1. Anger

Anger is arguably one of the most uncomfortable feelings because it’s a call to action. When we don’t have the skills to deal with it constructively, we stuff it down or feel shame because we believe anger is ugly or inappropriate. Think of that “stuffed anger” as weight that keeps you from soaring, that dilutes your life energy.

If things that made us angry happened at a time in our life when it was not safe for us to express anger, we’ve probably developed a lifelong pattern of suppressing it, which becomes a depressive pattern. Over time, more circumstances are left untouched by the actions we might take to affect a change, and we never learn the lessons in our anger, stunting our growth.

We are also frightened of anger because of the aggressive, red hot fiery feeling of it, which can seem like more than we can control. If you actually allow it to bloom to its fullness, you will discover it is in fact, finite, and you can handle it. It’s like looking at a tremendous shadow cast on a wall. If you look at what is actually casting the shadow, it has definitive edges and is quite small in comparison to what we assumed it was by not looking directly at it.

Some ideas to deal with anger:

Today, think of something that makes you angry. It can be as small or as large as you like.

Step 1: Don’t judge it. Don’t dismiss it as trivial. Don’t compare it to others who you see as having “real reasons to be angry.” You are carrying this anger, and that’s what matters.

Step 2: Write about what happened and how it made you feel. Acknowledge how long you’ve been carrying the anger and notice how much energy it takes to stuff it down. Explain how it affects you in your everyday life.

Step 3: Write out what you’re going to do to purge this from your system. It can be anything from an internal action such as: I am going to find a new perspective on this so I can find forgiveness. Or the opposite end of the spectrum: a physical action. For example: I am going to let the person know how angry I am. (Not looking for a resolution from them, simply for the purpose of not carrying the weight anymore.)

Acknowledgement + Examination + Action= FREEDOM

2. Regret

Regret is one of the fastest traps to spiraling downward. It disables our ability to recover from past stressful events and move forward. Instead of writing new chapters, we keep re-reading old ones and want to rip them out.

But the most damaging element of regret is the heavy self blame and judgement loaded up right behind that door. These beliefs manifest in your everyday life and you don’t feel like you can be who you want to be. Regret cripples your certainty.

Some ideas to deal with regret:

Step 1: What do you regret? Get it out. You may not want people to know. But then you’re not owning it. The value in this is to own it. Accept it. If you can’t accept it, it’s not going to go away. It will continue to haunt you.

Step 2: Forgive yourself. Consider the circumstances at the time that might have made it difficult to make better choices. How do you plan on forgiving yourself for your choices that you regret?

Step 3: Sometimes realizing we went the wrong way can become fuel. Reframe your “mistakes” and see them in a way that makes you a stronger, better version of yourself, wiser with a sharper radar. Use your regrets to give you clarity on where you want to go and who you want to be.

3. Shame

Shame is the prison guard that keeps us locked in a secret hell, suffering at the mercy of all our other negative emotions. Shame is the belief that things that have happened that have permanently marked us, changed us into an inferior being—not worthy of the same love, mercy, and compassion that others deserve.

As Brené Brown so beautifully said when explaining the difference between guilt and shame: “Shame is the difference between I did something bad or something bad happened to me, and I AM bad.”

Some ideas to deal with shame:

Step 1: Dissolving shame starts with defiance. Defying the prison guard that tells you that you must keep quiet or be rejected. The only way to do this is to find a voice. Write about what you are ashamed of.

Step 2: See the full picture of the bars you live behind. How does your shame isolate you, silence you, and cause you to suffer? Realize that’s what is at stake if you do not free yourself.

Step 3: How are you going to shift your perspective from shame to acceptance? Powerless to powerful? (Realize that by speaking about what you are most ashamed of, you have a powerful effect on others, as they are inspired by your courage. We expect to be rejected, but instead we are embraced.)

4. Hurt

First, the difference between hurt and pain. I liked Padhia Avocado’s definition. “Hurt is the impact of something very definable. Pain is more abstract. It’s the suffering that results from hurt.”

Everyone has been hurt. Everyone has gone through pain. No one enters adulthood unscarred. And if they say they have, it just means they’ve experienced a lot more hurt then they realize or are willing to admit. Suffering happens when pain pushes us across that divide and into powerlessness.

As long as we feel we have no power, we will stay stuck in suffering. So how do we get back to the other side? We must feel powerful again. Or maybe for the first time in our life. We must acknowledge what or who we allowed to take away our power.

Some ideas to deal with hurt:

Step 1: What or who has hurt you? Remember, the point of this detox is to get things out. There’s a difference between thinking about something in fragments or actually typing words that force you to have complete thoughts, and therefore revelations and growth.

Step 2: What feeling or beliefs about yourself do you carry because of this hurt? And how do these ripple in your work and relationships?

Step 3: How can you regain the power you lost, thereby dissolving the hurt? This can be anything, for example, reframing it and realizing that you gained wisdom you wouldn’t have had otherwise, or holding the person who hurt you accountable for the pain they caused you.

5. Sorrow

We were not born to suffer in sorrow. Circumstances, upbringing, parents lacking tools, other people’s poor choices, things that were not in your control, have cast what you might believe is a permanent shadow that will follow you for the rest of your life. But there is a way to stand in the sun.

The first step forward is acceptance of self and story, and in order to fully accept, you must accept your feelings completely. Easier said than done. Our families, culture and religions taught us to mistrust and be critical of our true emotions.

Step 1: First, admit that you are carrying unhealed sadness
. Do this by describing the sorrow you carry and why.

Step 2: Know that you are not your sorrow / sadness. Just because you carry it, it doesn’t define you. You may feel sorrow but you are not sorrow. Sorrow is residue from the past. That is not who you are today.

Step 3: Establish an accepting relationship with your sorrow. Instead of allowing it to drown you, friend it by showing it compassion as if you went back and saw yourself as a child. Shower that kid with compassion. Tell her what you wished someone would have told you.

Step 4: As you connect with your sorrow, you connect with younger parts of you, parts of you that didn’t know what to do with those feelings. Now as an adult, I hope you allow whatever emotions come, instead of stuffing them deep into a box. If you feel like crying, then cry. Cry harder than you ever cried before. You owe that to yourself. Maybe that’s why you’re sad, because you’ve never allowed yourself to be.

6. Discouragement

I define discouragement as “dissing your courage.” When we get discouraged, we allow ourselves to be afraid. We start to question everything.

Discouragement isn’t a feeling. It’s a trap of faulty thinking. Instead of asking yourself why you get discouraged, ask yourself why you keep trapping yourself. What are you afraid of? Failure? Expectations? Judgement? What does it mean to you if you “fail”? What does it mean if you are judged?

Some ideas to deal with discouragement:

Step 1: What are you discouraged about these days?

Step 2: Track the fear. Where is it coming from? Usually it’s not what you think it is. Hint. Where do you find yourself the most defensive? Start there.

Step 3: What will be your action towards dissolving these fears?

Step 4: Finally, what’s at stake if you dis your courage?

7. Powerlessness

There’s a difference between control and power. Control can feel temporary and even when we don’t feel like we have it, we believe somewhere deep inside we can obtain it, maybe in an unhealthy way. If the feeling of losing control feels like the long stretching of a thin rubber band, powerlessness is the breaking of it. Powerlessness isn’t losing power. It’s a cold snap, a complete disconnection, backwards fall into suffering.

Some ideas to deal with powerlessness:

Step 1: What areas in your life do you feel powerlessness? And is this a pattern?

Step 2: Why do you feel powerless in those areas? I want actual steps, actions you will take. Not just ideas.

Step 3: What are you going to do to not suffer anymore?20140330-142248.jpg

How to Deal When People Are Driving You Nuts

20140306-061729.jpg
BY Ally Hamilton
JANUARY 22, 2014 4:40 AM EST

If you’ve ever done “Navasana” (boat pose) in a yoga class, it’s possible the teacher told you to focus on the space between your toes. The idea is to train your mind to observe the space between all things.

The pause between the inhale and the exhale. The space between your thoughts, once you train your mind to be present. The space between an event and your response to it. The space between you and another person, and the ability to choose what goes into that space. We don’t always learn to think about things in this way, but it can be a real life-changer.

A couple of years ago, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who happens to be a Jungian therapist, and he said, “Well, y’know, no one can make you feel anything, unless you let them.”

And I started laughing. Because of course that’s true, but it really turns the “blame game” on its head, doesn’t it?

As the saying goes, A person can only drive you crazy if you give them the keys.

I want to be really clear. There are things in this life that can break your heart wide open. Events that would bring the strongest person to her knees.

And at times like those, you don’t have to think about the space between things, or where you’re leaving your keys, or anything else. You just focus on breathing in and breathing out, and you piece together how to survive.

I’m not talking about times like those. I’m talking about the day-to-day issues that can ruin your afternoon if you let them, or not so much.

If someone says something thoughtless or hurtful, you don’t have to allow it to absorb hours of your time. Maybe they’re having a tough day. Maybe they cried themselves to sleep in their pillow last night. Maybe their kid was vomiting until all hours of the morning and they didn’t get any sleep. Maybe someone they love is dying and they feel helpless in the face of that.

We really don’t know what’s happening with someone else unless they tell us. We don’t have to take it all on, and we don’t have to take it all personally.

When you create a little space between an event and how you respond to it, you put yourself in the power seat. I’m not talking about power over anyone else, I’m talking about maintaining your center. Being stuck in traffic when you’re trying to get somewhere is never fun, but you don’t have to allow it to raise your blood pressure.

You don’t have to tell yourself a story about how you always get screwed, or the universe is conspiring against you, or you never get any breaks. You don’t have to carry that anger into the rest of your day. You don’t even have to get angry.

If you’re having a tough time with your partner or your child or your parent, you could start to think about the space between you and them. You could decide you won’t pollute that space with your rage or resentment or frustration. You could fill that space with your love, concern, patience and understanding.

But you can only make those choices if you learn how to create that space, right?

A reaction comes out of our past. Something within us gets triggered, probably something very old, raw and unhealed, and we react as if we’re being attacked. Because something in the current interaction is echoing something that hurt us long ago. So we drag our past into our present and then it’s really hard to figure out what’s happening.

Are you really this upset with the person who cut you off on the freeway, or is this experience tapping some old pain around feeling disrespected? Ignored? Unseen or unheard? Is it the other driver, a complete stranger, who’s made you feel invisible, or is it something else, someone else?

The physical part of the yoga practice was designed to prepare the body and the mind for seated meditation. If you’ve been wanting to try yoga, I stream online yoga classes all over the world.

When we sit and meditate, we have this enormous and beautiful opportunity to know ourselves. Feelings come up and we witness them. We don’t try to fix them or change them, we just watch them arise and peak, and subside. No feeling is forever. And feelings are not facts.

You don’t have to believe everything you think, as the saying goes. We just sit and take a compassionate look at the world within us. At the quality of the relationship we’re having with ourselves, with others, with our own environment. We realize we are not our thoughts, which is huge, because so much of our suffering stems from the way we’re thinking about things.

And we can take that practice into our lives. When someone says something that hurts, we can pause and breathe and notice where we’re feeling that pain. We can observe our jaw clenching, or our shoulders tightening. And after awhile, we can even communicate while we’re doing that. “That really hurt. I don’t know if I’m misunderstanding you, but this is how I’m feeling right now.”

Here’s the other thing. When we’re thinking, we aren’t feeling; we’re separating ourselves from the experience we could be having. And those experiences include the feelings of love, joy, peace and contentment.

Merry Christmas!

Enjoy the day in a way which helps you to remain authentic to your beliefs and intentions which you shall carry over into the New Year!

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, – not even a mouse:
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there….
Clement Clarke MooreNot a creature was stirring, – not even a mouse:
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there….
-Clement Clarke Moore

Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts. ~Janice Maeditere

Christmas – that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved. ~Augusta E. Rundel

Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends. ~Margaret Thatcher

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love. ~Author Unknown

I heard the bells on Christmas Day, The old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet, The words repeat, Peace on Earth, Goodwill to men. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Stress-free Holidays

How To Turn The Holidays Into A Stress-Free Spiritual Experience

20131224-000059.jpg
Does the prospect of returning to your parents’ home for the holidays fill you with a combination of delight and trepidation?

You’re not alone. Most people I know are eager to reunite with their (or their partner’s) family of origin in the spirit of celebration. But they also dread the inevitable drunken political debates, nitpicking over fashion and dating choices, unintended and deliberate slights, annoying siblings, and troubling remarks from the ever-present inappropriate uncle.

The consensus seems to be:

Multiple generations + too little personal space + loads of booze and sugar = STRESS

The good news is you can prepare yourself for the upcoming holiday hassles by doing more than stuffing an extra suitcase full of gifts. You can choose to put yourself in a frame of mind where insults slide off you like bad mojo off Santa’s sleigh. You can be the bearer of the goodwill that this season supposedly exemplifies. And who knows? You may even end up enjoying yourself!

1. Look at this time as a spiritual practice.

The first and most important step in getting through this season with more joy is to embrace it as a spiritual practice. We know from yoga and meditation that often the most fulfilling activities in life require sacrifice and self-discipline. You may not always feel like plopping down on that cushion for some quiet time, but you do it because you believe it will benefit you over the long term.

So why not look at your “home for the holidays” trip in a similar way? Instead of expecting it to go smoothly, or poorly, accept that it is what it is. Whatever happens will teach you a lesson. Annoyed? Breathe into a more relaxed state. Bored? Take a moment to meditate. Insulted? Let … it … go ….

Look at this experience as one that will take some spiritual work, but ultimately will help you build patience, compassion, tolerance, and forgiveness — all of which will serve you for a lifetime.

2. View your relatives as spiritual teachers.

Spiritual leaders often say that those we love are the ultimate mirrors for ourselves: they show us our flaws, shortcomings, and triggers. What greater opportunity for person growth, in that case, than a long weekend in a house full of relatives?

Your grandmother says you’ve gotten fat? Laugh. Your mom wants to fix you up with her colleague’s “dependable” (read “boring!”) son? Give her a big hug and tell her you’re lucky she cares about you so much. Your cousin says climate change is a myth? Listen, even if it grates. Ask yourself, “What is this person here to teach me?”

If you can overcome your automatic, emotional reactions to your relatives, you’re modeling the kind of behavior you’d like to see in them. I can’t think of a better way to help your family become more evolved.

3. Take frequent breaks.

It seems so obvious. Yet when we’re crowded together celebrating with our family, it’s so easy to forget. Take breaks.

I’m a big believer in self-care. Some people may view this as selfish. But I see it as just the opposite. Only when I’m grounded in myself can I be the best me for the world.

When I’m home for the holidays, I go for an hour walk every morning. Throughout the day, I take five minutes now and then to step outside and breathe. This gets me centered so that the irritating remarks that otherwise might cause my temper to flare don’t get to me.

4. Make your presence the best present of all.

What if, in addition to the wrapped packages, you viewed yourself, your presence, as the most important present of all? I find this reframing of the holidays exceptionally powerful, because it makes your time at home about them rather than about you.

Yes, this may seem contradictory to the previous point about taking breaks. But that’s about getting centered. The rest of the time you’re home, show up fully. Be authentic and engaged. Pay attention. Express your love.

This will also help you let go when things don’t go your way — like going to the religious service you feel forced to attend. Instead of getting bent out of shape and thinking, “Why do I have to put up with this?” you might instead ask yourself, “How can I best be of service?” Suddenly that thing you didn’t want to do is something you can do to make someone else happy.

That energy, that intention, that level of devotion to your loved ones, will have a more lasting and profound positive impact on them than any gift you could possibly procure. And isn’t that what the holidays are truly about?
20131223-235931.jpg
About the Author
MeiMei Fox is the published author, co-author, ghostwriter, and freelance editor of numerous non-fiction health, wellness, spirituality, and psychology books, articles, and blogs, including New York Times bestsellers Bend, Not Break with Ping Fu, and Fortytude with Sarah Brokaw. Currently, she is developing a screenplay, a TV series, and a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy with her husband Kiran Ramchandran. She has edited books by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Columbia professor Robert Thurman, and was Expedition Writer for Alexandra Cousteau’s 2009 Expedition: Blue Planet.

MeiMei graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors and distinction from Stanford University, with a BA and MA in psychology. She also holds an MA in counseling psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute, and is an Ana Forrest-certified yoga instructor. In addition to writing, MeiMei works as a life coach, assisting clients in realizing their most ambitious dreams. Her loftiest goal is to be a Promoter of Joy. She sits on the board of HOPE Foundation, an NGO dedicated to providing shelter, education, health care, and job skills training to the street kids of Calcutta, India. Her mantra is: Fear Less, Love More!

Being Worthy

Being Worthy

Someone who is worthy of your love will never put you in a situation where you feel you must sacrifice your dignity, your integrity, or your self-worth to be with them.

How easy is it to get swept away by the attention and affection of another that we lose sight of who we are? It starts off so innocently with lofty ideas and predilections of the future. The fantasy is seldom in line with our realities, once the masks are removed and the masquerade ends. Sometimes, in desperation to maintain the fantasy, we grasp changes to meet our altered perceptions of the future. In doing, so we can unconsciously start to unravel all that makes us the individual we were born to be. Remember to be true to your authentic self. A true love will not only want that but demand that of you.

Follow me during the “Construction” of my website Discover Your Authentic Health.

www.discoveryourauthentichealth.com

It will serve to meld my thoughts and discoveries on becoming true to our authentic selves, from the inside out. We will learn to nourish our relationships and foster a positive self-image in order to ignite the confidence and excitement that lies within all of us. Discovering how food can help to heal the body and mind and bring a sense of inner peace. Authenticity is living your best life….mind, body, and spirit….health is wealth. A healthy mind in a healthy body.

Accepting the loss of a life taken too soon

Lily of the Valley

                               

                                 To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die                                                                                                               

                                          Thomas Campbell “Hallowed Ground” 

Continue reading