Category Archives: Healing

Letting Go

letting go

It is extremely challenging to remember in times of strife to “let go”. It’s difficult because oftentimes we don’t catch ourselves in the moment trying to control things. Leaving our lives and will to an unknown (some call it a higher purpose or “god”) can feel like throwing away or abandoning all our hopes and dreams. But by practicing the art of letting go, we later learn that rather than destroying our identity or what we believe is important to us, letting go is more like simply letting go of our attachment to the outcomes. We still have dreams. We still ambitions. We still have desires. And we should.

But after a while, we come to understand that the process of “letting go” isn’t something we just “do.” It’s something we experience and apply daily in all aspects of our life. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard. It can’t be rushed, pushed, or forced. But it can, for certain, begin, after we take that first step. And then the second. And then the third. And keep walking forward. Step by step. Day by day. We move forward courageously as we are not used to letting go of our perceived control over life.

It meant trusting. Just like knowing the feeling of warmth by experiencing cold, we must learn trust by experiencing deceit. Sometimes life’s greatest blessings are life’s toughest lessons and without them we would not be where we are, who we are, or have what we have.

“Letting go” to me, meant trusting that life isn’t happening to me, but for me, and that it’s ok to let go of the desire to only feel “warm”, and just allow it to be cold sometimes.

We come to trust and believe in something bigger than ourselves and that whatever that is, it knows exactly what we need in order to get to where we need to be, and we acknowledge and accept that even though sometimes we think we know better, the fact is that we don’t. We make mistakes. We are all human.

We come to understand that our strongest moments are not when we are fighting against that which simply is, but when we learn to find peace in the midst of it all. Looking back, we see courage and resiliency.

When we are able to find peace in the moment, it gives us clarity into the situation, the people we are dealing with, and who we are and how we want to respond. It gives us strength to hold off on impulsive reactions that we may later regret, and guides us into making decisions we know we can live with. Sometimes “to let go” is something big like entirely letting go of the situation or relationship, and sometimes it is simply putting ourselves in a “time out” while we calm down and open ourselves up to a higher power or “divine guidance” or “intuition” or whatever you want to call it.

When we are able to calm our mind, body, and spirit, it helps us “see” what is going on without any of our default filters (e.g., anger, sadness, insecurity, etc.). By letting go of our need to control things and people, we find something we never expected: that we are in good hands- always have been and always will be. We are surrounded by supporting, loving people. We have the tools and resources we need to get through this.

We reconnect with ourselves and our heart. We come to understand that our heart, like any muscle, can only get stronger through exercise. It is normal to find ourselves tired of exercising our minds, hearts, and bodies, because it requires quite a bit of effort, consciousness/mindfulness, and a little bit of being uncomfortable. It’s ok to rest sometimes. But exercise, we know, is the only way to get the results we want (a better body, a better mind, or a better heart). So we bravely continue exercising our heart, which can sometimes feel like tension. We know tension all the time is not good, but no tension at all is also bad for us. In order to have strong hearts and minds and bodies, a good balance is all we need. When we start to understand that (and don’t let ourselves fall into one extreme or another) in a sense we are beginning the process of “letting go.”

When we let go, we find a sense of calmness, which in turn makes us better prepared to make decisions that will positively help us through sticky spots, rather than “shoot from the hip”. When we make well-informed and aware decisions, disappointments affect our inner peace much less. But when we get ourselves to this place of calm, we begin to truly feel like the captain of our own ship again.

Holding Space for Love

space for love

There is nothing more easy than to lean in to our partner during our moments of joy and bask in the glorious feelings of LOVE. But in a moment of conflict, we are left feeling distant, disconnected, disappointed, and often bitter. To be able to lean into those moments is a skill that takes practice, but the result is a strengthening of our own personal resiliency, the resiliency of our relationship, and an increase in our understanding of real LOVE, and an increase in our capacity to love deeper.

To run away from that precious moment is to run away from an opportunity to exercise our heart muscles and learn how to love better.

What if in those moments, with all the strength and courage we can manage to muster, we lean in and BE loving instead of pull back? What does LOVE look and feel like in those moments?

In those moments, treat the conflict as an opportunity to open space in our heart to really hold our loved one in all their entirety, allowing them to be with us in all of their flaws, mistakes, and disappointing behavior. Rather than punish them for disappointing us, and rather than try to “fix” them, or change them, or prove our point, or make them wrong and us right, what if we just opened our heart up a little more and allowed our Love to simply be who they are in that moment?

To be vulnerable in front of our Love in that moment, we fear we will be hurt. We put our guard up and get on the defensive. We justify our behavior or belief and make them wrong and ourselves right. We demand they see things our way. Yet ironically our loved one is deeply desiring, “if only my partner could see things my way…”

What if instead of armoring up to defend ourselves, our opinions, or our desired outcome, we spent all that energy remembering the Love we have for this person? In that moment of remembering Love, our hearts and minds open, and often open just enough to allow our Loved one to also feel safe enough to put their shield down as well. That is when the magic happens.

What we often mistakenly believe in those moments (and what crushes our opportunity to lean in to Love) is that just because we open our hearts and mind and lean in toward our loved one, doesn’t mean we can’t still acknowledge our own pain and disappointment in our loved one’s behavior. We blindly think that if we let our partner be right, then it will mean we are wrong or that our pain is not real or justified. We can still be justified and feel the very real pain we are feeling, and STILL respond in a loving way that brings us together rather than pull us apart.

We want to trust that our loves will not disappoint us, but the fact is we can only trust that our partners will always show up exactly as who they are: both wonderful and flawed. This is the nature and beauty of having someone share their life with us. We too bring both our wonderful and flawed selves to the relationship.

If you are so blessed to have someone choose to share their life with you, cherish it.

Your Legacy

There’s a theory- well, it’s actually a “law” (The Law of Thermodynamics, to be precise)- that claims energy can neither be created nor destroyed. The basic idea is that energy can only be transferred or transformed from one thing to another.

You’re probably thinking “WTH does this have to do with my legacy?“. Well, assuming this “law” is true, this means that the energy in and around us is always there. There isn’t ever a time or place with “no energy”. The energy is either neutral (conserved), positive, or negative. I’m definitely not a physicist, and for all I know what I’m saying is total nonsense… but if I’m happy I’m emitting positive energy. If I’m pissed, I am emitting negative energy. And there are sometimes when I’m just not happy or pissed, but I’m just kinda “there” (i.e., “neutral”).

When I’m mad, my “energy” or “vibes” tend to pour over into others around me. People can sense my mood. When I’m full of joy, people tend to reap the benefits of my joyful mood. We have the potential power to take our “energy” and affect those around us in a positive or negative way.

And THIS is where your legacy comes into play.

In thinking about our short time here on Earth, we don’t have a lot to leave behind. I know some people may think that living until 100 seems like a long time, but it really isn’t. We are born, we go through this awkward phase of learning how to walk, talk, and get along with others, and for most of us, we actually die still trying (or not trying…who knows…)

But the point is, in this short time, the only thing we think we leave behind is the memory of who we are and what we contributed to the world while we were alive, but memories can only go so far. On the other hand, if energy can neither be created nor destroyed, then what happens with our energy when we’re gone?

All the times we bestowed grace and love on those that carried negative energy… all those times, instead of adding to the fire of hate, we diluted the flames with kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and love (all of these towards ourselves and others)…

Feeling horrible sometimes is inevitable. Loss and pain (physical or emotional) is inevitable in life and it’s only natural to feel what we feel. But I don’t think that our feelings are “the energy”. The energy that is transferred and transformed by us and through us is in how we respond and process those feelings.

The key is not to turn off our humanness, our feelings, emotions, but rather take a step back, maybe even take a few breaths (or more) and really consider what kind of energy we are putting out there.

Even if we do nothing, energy, by the law of nature, will naturally spread out. It’s like a hot pot that has been removed from the stove: eventually it’s going to cool down. The energy spreads out of the pot and into the air.

So here I am thinking, we have 3 choices: we spew out negative energy, positive energy, or somehow try to find a way to conserve our energy or at least keep it neutral, because it’s here to stay, and it’s indestructible.

This, I believe, is where your legacy is. It can’t be seen with our eyes, and sometimes it isn’t directly or automatically felt, but if the law is true, I believe we are always leaving our mark and establishing an unforgettable legacy.

Make it a good one.

legacy

(Photo found on trinity Roselle foundation; no copyright infringement intended)

One in the Same

If we were to classify all the suffering in the world, I bet it could likely all fall into one (or more) of only a handful of categories:

* Things didn’t work out the way I hoped or expected/Things aren’t going the way I wanted them to.
* Someone said or did something I didn’t like.
* Something someone did made me feel threatened/offended/hurt.
* I feel lonely/rejected/neglected/abandoned.
* I don’t feel connected to others/People don’t understand me.
* I’m grieving the loss of someone.

There’s probably a few more, but for the most part, in a modern world, I think all our suffering could generally (albeit broadly) fit into one of the above six categories. But what I also came to realize is that not only is our suffering one in the same, but so is our response to it.

If we were to then categorize how we respond to our suffering, the grandiosity in our response is almost entirely based off the amount of control we think we actually have in any given situation, which is more often than not, overly miscalculated.

In other words, the more control we think we have, the more extreme our response. The less control we think we have, the less extreme our response.
For example (and these categories are far more extensive):
* I can change their mind or teach them to do what I want them to do or behave they way I want them to behave so that I don’t have to feel like this anymore.
* If I do x, then I can make this situation change towards my liking so that I don’t have to feel like this anymore.
* If I fill my life/mind//body/etc. with x, y, z, I won’t have to feel like this anymore.

Perhaps the extent of the damage we cause in trying to relieve ourselves from our perceived suffering can be minimized when we finally accept and realize that we cannot control others, and in almost all other cases of suffering, there isn’t much we can do about shit that didn’t go the way we wanted it to. Just like the joy that comes in and out of our life, suffering is simply a part of that: the opposite side of the spectrum. Without one you can’t have the other, and as much as we like to delude ourselves into thinking the opposite, there is not one single person on Earth that is immune from suffering.

In the above cases, we see that we are trying to control external circumstances, which can sometimes be seen as “working” until we realize it wasn’t a long term viable solution, but rather a short-lived distraction to get us by until we can find another one. We’re constantly on the search for an escape from suffering or discomfort. This feels like a constant war with the world, which has got to feel like a truly crappy way to live.

Eventually, we come to realize that the only thing we will ever have control over is our attitude and how we face suffering and discomfort. It won’t make reality any different than what it is, but at least you are no longer going to war with reality. You stop fighting others because you realize we are all one in the same. You become allies with Life. You come to understand your fellow humans a little better. And life gets just a little bit easier, because you get just a little bit better at dealing with it.

Growing Up and Being a Mature Person

Some may argue that maturity comes with age. Some argue it comes with experience. I don’t know which one is right, but maybe it’s both. What I have learned at my ripe age, is that maturity isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being real. It’s about being honest, and it’s about not letting the desire for pleasure or fear of pain be the motivation for the decisions we make in our life.

Immature people speak and behave based on their current emotions and personal feelings. This behavior is based on their understanding of rules, trade-offs, and the social order around them.

For an immature person, everything is seen as a trade-off. These children (and a shocking number of adults) approach life as an endless series of bargains. I will do what my boss says so I can get money. I will call my mother so I don’t get yelled at. I will do my homework so I don’t fuck up my future. I will lie and pretend to be nice so I don’t have to deal with conflict.

Nothing is done for its own sake. Everything is a calculated trade-off, usually made out of fear of the negative repercussions.

You can’t live your life this way, otherwise, you’re never actually living your life. You’re merely living out an aggregation of the desires of the people around you. In a sense, you’re a slave. To become a mature and emotionally healthy individual, you gotta break out of this bargaining and calculating way of thinking, and realize the higher guiding principles.

“Ideally, after some time, we will begin to realize that the world cannot always be bargained with, nor should we subject every aspect of our life to a series of transactions. You don’t want to bargain with your father for love, or your friends for companionship, or your boss for respect. Why? Because feeling like you have to manipulate people into loving or respecting you feels shitty. It undermines the whole project. If you have to convince someone to love you, then they don’t love you. If you have to cajole someone into respecting you, then they don’t respect you. The most precious and important things in life cannot be bargained with. To try to do so destroys them.”

You cannot manipulate happiness.

While people who navigate the world through bargaining and rules can get far in the material world, they remain crippled and alone in their emotional world. This is because transactional values create toxic relationships — relationships that are built on manipulation.

A mature adult gives without expectation, without seeking anything in return, because to do so defeats the purpose of a gift in the first place.
Life is far more complicated than simply pursuing one’s pleasure and avoiding pain.

As children grow up, they experience the shocking realization that the world does not cater to their whims, and that the only things in life of real value and meaning are achieved without conditions, and without transactions.

As a mature adult, you sit and think critically about yourself and about what you’ve chosen to care about, not through word, but through deed.

What level of maturity are you actually operating on?

Sit down, get honest with yourself, and really pick apart whether or not your interpretations of your actions actually make sense. Are you just deluding yourself? Do your actions reflect what you think is important? If not, where is the disconnect?

Happiness and health come when there is no disconnect with your virtues and your thoughts and behaviors.

Don’t get me wrong: The problem is not you. The problem is what you’re choosing to value, how you’re choosing to see the world and the way in which it operates.
You didn’t fuck up because you caused pain. You fucked up because you caused pain for bad reasons.

Sometimes we think we are the mature ones, so we go around trying to make others “mature like us”. But you can’t go from a child to an adult without being an adolescent in between.

Maturity happens when we realize that it’s better to suffer for the right reasons than to feel pleasure for the wrong reasons. Adulthood occurs when we realize that it’s better to love fully and unconditionally and lose, than to never know what it means to really love, and what LOVE is really about.

Eventually you learn what pain is worthwhile, and what pain is just kicking you further from inner peace and joy. Choose wisely.

grow up

(NOTE: This is a summary and interpretation of one of my all-time favorite authors, Mark Manson, in his article “How to Grow the Fuck Up: A Guide to Humans”; a VERY long, but VERY WORTH TAKING THE TIME TO READ piece I absolutely LOVE.)

You Are “The One” You’ve Been Looking For

Through the hard times, we often rely on our friends and family to help us through. They serve as our emotional support and encourage us, lift our spirits, motivate us and give us affirmations that we are good enough and we can do it. They remind us of our worth, our value, and our strength. They give us strength too. Sometimes our significant other does that for us as well.

But what if no one is around us? What if we don’t have friends or family around us?

                                                    ******    What if we are alone?     ******

There are times, I believe, in all our lives, when we look around us in our darkest moments and realize that we are, in fact, alone. Most of us, in an effort to “get by”, would fill our time with distractions like social media, TV, or other hobbies and activities –  anything to not feel alone. The distractions make our “alone time” pass by so it doesn’t feel so lonely.

Recently I was faced with a significant loss that threw me into an unexpected depression. I was devastated. I had my children around most the time, work, dogs to care for, a house to clean, and of course, dancing, writing, golf, yoga, and a ton of other activities as my hobby to keep me busy. But when the children weren’t around, and I finished my work, I was again faced with the feeling of being alone.

But this time it was different. Something inside of me was curious as to what it would feel like to befriend myself in my moment of sadness. So I started talking to myself. Not out loud sounding like a crazy person, and not without intention, but simply just asking myself, almost like an inquiry, questions like, “how are you feeling right now?”, “why do you feel that way?”, and “what do you wanna do?”

Being alone with myself in those moments, really digging into what it was I was feeling, needing, desiring, believing, thinking, and deceiving myself about, helped me understand myself a bit more.

It was as if I was getting to know a new friend. You see, when we make new friends, we initially ask them lots of questions with the intention of getting to know them. We’re curious as to who they are, and what they think. Ideally, the more time we spend with them, the more we like them; the more time we want to spend with them, and the more we find we enjoy their company.

My goal was just that: To spend more time with myself until I really liked being in my own company. But this “time” wasn’t the large amounts of time I already had driving my 2-hour (one way) commute to work, nor the 20-minute dog walks (twice per day), nor the 30-minute jogs; it had to be time that I deliberately and intentionally set aside to sit alone, with myself, without any distractions, and just BE present.

In my dark and lonely moments, I leaned into the pain, embraced it, and desperately tried to make friends with it. Who are you? What are you trying to tell me? What am I not hearing? What are you afraid of? Why are you intent on believing that? What’s your ultimate purpose in all of this? OK then, if you’re intent on being here for a while, let’s at least become good friends!!

I asked myself questions, I hugged myself, I pat my own head. I tried to think, “if my best friend were going through this, or feeling this way, what would I say to her or do for her to help her feel better, or more loved, or at peace?” And so for the next two months, I set aside 15-30 minutes every day to just sit with myself, alone, and get to know “me”. I was determined to learn how to be a good friend…No… a BEST FRIEND…to myself.

But… as with any relationship, it required that I be completely honest and vulnerable as well. Being honest with myself was hard. I found myself making excuses for my behavior or thoughts. I found myself trying to blame others, make them the “bad guy” and even deceive myself into believing one thing, as opposed to reality. I found myself justifying my behavior.

Slowly, layers of myself began to come off and I saw things I absolutely hated about myself. But I also saw things I loved about myself.

While it’s only been a short romance, I think I’ve finally found “the one”, and that person was me. The person that desired to be loved, accepted, heard, understood, and embraced fully was ME this whole time.

There’s something magical that happens with being alone. It’s a magic you can only find through experience. And it’s an experience that leaves you feeling completely surrounded by unconditional love, strength, motivation, and contentment. It melts away your insecurities and fills you with joy and confidence.

Suddenly, all the needs and attachments we place on others disappears, because we know we have all we need and want within ourselves. We finally see others in our lives as simply icing on the cake, rather than the vital ingredients that we’re made of. We see ourselves as whole and complete AS IS. We come to realize that everything we need is right here, within us, right NOW.

Everything, right now, is perfect, just as it is. We take it one day at a time. And because we are “the one” we’ve been searching for all this time, the entrance of new people in our lives is simply an opportunity to love, and the loss of people in our lives is simply a reminder of how much we have loved. We move forward, courageously, bravely, and confidently, continuing to love, because we realize that LOVE is who we are. It was never something we needed to get or receive from another person. It is who we ARE and who we will always BE. And there is nothing greater or more fulfilling then feeling free to be who we really are.

youare the one

Embracing the Suck

Only when we admit we do not know, can we open up the possibility of truly Knowing.

This post comes from a very vulnerable place. I’ve recently experienced a significant loss in my life that I have never experienced before, and it hurts. I’m 6 weeks into the loss and I’m showing no sign of improvement. The pain won’t go away. My heart is heavy. My tears are unending. I’m feeling…enormous grief and depression and I can’t shake it. I’m so sad…

I thought I had the tools to deal with this kind of loss. I used every tool in my toolbox.

  • talked to therapist
  • talked to sponsor
  • talked to friends
  • talked to God (pray)
  • meditated
  • cry it out
  • drink it off
  • distraction (social media)
  • expand my social circle (go out and make new friends)
  • do things that inspire me
  • do things that uplift me
  • do things that challenge me
  • take a hot bath
  • write / journal / blog
  • read inspirational books
  • watch funny  movies
  • listen to music that brings me joy / inspires me
  • listen to music that makes me want to dance
  • take myself out on dates
  • make new friends / meet new people
  • make myself a wonderfully delicious meal
  • smudge (yeah, smudge) my house with sage to remove negative energies
  • decorate the house with “magical crystals”
  • decorate myself with “magical crystals”
  • bury myself in work
  • volunteer around my community
  • donate stuff I don’t need or use
  • be present
  • take the kids out and have fun
  • quality time with people I love
  • drink lots of water (lots and LOTS of water).
  • take my vitamins
  • dance!
  • learn something new (guitar!)
  • practice gratitude
  • play piano
  • sing!
  • sleep… lots and lots of sleep.
  • drink delicious hot tea…
  • go running (get those endorphins up!!)
  • keep up on my exercise! (taking good care of my body)
  • affirmations…
  • surrender it all (give it to God).
  • say “hello” to the feelings; greet them, embrace them, and accept them.
  • make direct amends
  • sit in the suck…
  • breathe it all in…
  • Dig deep and find the “blesson” (blessing + lesson) in all of it.
  • reflect and learn from my mistakes
  • listen to advice (asked for or not) and take it!
  • got down on my hands and knees with snot running out of my nose and tears swelling my eyes begging God to remove this pain from my life…
  • Listen to Binaural Beats
  • Hypnosis and listening to subliminal messaging to “get over it”
  • Shockingly cold showers to “snap me out of it”.
  • Punish myself
  • Ruminate on where I could have done better
  • Blame the other person for where they failed..
  • Understand “it could be worse”
  • Forgive.
  • Offer compassion.

The list goes on…

I tried everything. Six weeks in and my sadness and grief refuses to leave me. I was left with only one conclusion: Embrace the Suck.

This sucks. It’s supposed to suck. And it will suck in all its glorious suckiness. No amount of my saying how much it sucks will make it less suckier. It just sucks. Plain and simple. No, it’s not plain, and it’s not simple. It’s horrible. I hate it. And it will continue to be horrible…until… it isn’t.

And that hope; that faith that one day it won’t suck anymore… that’s what somehow gets me through.

embrace the suck

On Feeling Lonely

lonely teddy

A sinking feeling in my lower gut.
A dull feeling, almost that of feeling tired, sluggish, slow.
A lack of appetite.
A lack of feeling at ease.
A desire for distraction.

Run!
escape
Where is my phone? What’s on Facebook? Instagram?
Nothing.
Should I text someone? Start up a conversation? Will they sense my desperation?
What else can I look at, read, or do to take my mind off of things?
I know! I can work! I can bury myself in work. It makes me feel productive…
I’ll check email. All five accounts.
I’ll look at old pictures and re-read old texts.
Ugh, I feel worse.
Should I take a nap?

No matter where I ran, Lonely was right behind me. I couldn’t escape it.
The more I ran from it, it just got faster and bigger than me.
The more I hid from it, the louder it got.
The worse I felt.

So I decided to stop running from Lonely, look at it right in the eye and say…

“hello”

I was surprised at what I found:

Lonely was… me.
Not all of me. Just a part of me.
And she was beautiful.

She wasn’t the monster I had envisioned.
She wasn’t angry. She wasn’t crying. She wasn’t desperate and ugly.
She wasn’t weak and pathetic.
And when I looked at her right in the eye, she didn’t even make me feel any of those things I was feeling when I was running from her.

Lonely didn’t cause those feelings I was feeling.
It was running from her that caused them.

I asked her, “why were you chasing me? I was scared!”

She said, “why did you abandon me?”

Loneliness is an important part of us, and it is NOT the opposite of Joy. It’s a PART of Joy. You see, without Lonely we wouldn’t know Joy. Just like without Sad, we wouldn’t know Happy.

Joy expresses herself when we are with those that we cherish; Lonely expresses herself when we lose someone. It’s a beautiful part of us that tells us so much about ourselves. We aren’t “just Joy”, we are ALL of it on that spectrum.

Teddy bear

Lonely, in its hidden beauty, reminds us that we are human, that we are capable of and desire love, and that we care. It reminds us to keep our hearts soft, flexible, and open. It reminds us to say “sorry” when we make a mistake, and to forgive when we’ve been hurt. And that requires a tremendous amount of courage.

But the difference between Lonely and Joy is that Joy embraces us. Lonely requires that we embrace it.

There’s a fundamental rule in all relationships: that we can’t just take, take, take. We gotta give a little too. If all we do is sit and expect Joy to embrace us, Joy will leave us. So be brave and embrace Lonely. Don’t run. Just like you, all she wants is a hug and to be acknowledged.

Savoring the Experience…It’s All We Have

Early Spring/Summer mornings are my favorite because the night before, I like to open the window and sleep with great excitement for the morning when I can wake up to a fresh cool breeze, the sound of the fountain, and birds chirping. There’s something about that moment that pulls me into presence. I get out of my busy mind of “what do I need to get done today?” and into “aaaah, I LOVE this feeling…right now.” I feel a wave of peace roll over me where nothing matters but what is right in front of me: everything I have is everything I need. I need nothing more.

I took advantage of the time (6:30am on a Sunday) and went to the kitchen to make coffee. As I sit here on the patio sipping my coffee and writing this, I see geese flying over my home, an airplane, two mourning doves, a crow, and my pug staring at me with adoring eyes (or so I’d like to believe). It’s so quiet. I LOVE this feeling. Soon my children will wake up and the day will be filled with a different energy. The boys will play, and they will fight. There will be arguments about what’s for breakfast and how we will spend our day. Someone is going to get hurt and at some point we will all hug each other and make up. I will be exhausted for a majority of the time, but I LOVE this feeling. I am grateful for my children and for the incredible responsibility for being a parent.

And yet, every moment that I LOVE comes and goes. The sun is rising and people are starting to wake up and take their dogs out for walks. That moment I cherished- my joy- is now gone… but only in the form that I was experiencing. Joy is never ending. It will come again. This is life. It shows up in nearly everything we do: from eating a delicious meal to being in love in a relationship.

Love isn’t something we “get to keep.” It is simply an experience. Love is unconditional and within reach every day, all day. There is never a lack of love. Sometimes we think we lose love when we break up with someone we loved. But love is still there. It is within us always. We just got so used to feeling it in one form (the presence of another being) that we forgot about our very essence, which is love.

Just like everything in this world, from my morning calm, to a hot coffee, to parenting young boys, to being in a relationship, nothing lasts forever. Everything comes in and out of our lives. People. Things. Everything.

If we step into a relationship thinking, “Yay! I finally got what I wanted! Now I can finally be happy forever!” we will be extremely disappointed when that changes. The form of the relationship will change. Our feelings and others’ feelings will change. Relationships change. My sweet little boys that adore me will grow into teenagers and give me attitude…maybe…hopefully not!

And when things do inevitably change, we will become upset. We will think, “but this isn’t what I wanted. I need it to go back to the way I wanted it…the way it was.” Yes, wouldn’t that be nice… We will be disappointed time and time again as we hold onto our attachment to what was.

“Well, what’s wrong with that?” you might ask. There’s nothing wrong with wanting things to go back to the way things used to be. This is exactly the feeling that brings us to an important turning point- the point where we either suffer from our loss or thrive. That point is a choice. We can choose to cultivate resentment, bitterness, and anger toward the loss of what we wanted, or we can cultivate gratitude for the experience that brought us so much joy.

If we are to choose the former, we will miss out on the experience of knowing and feeling what it means to actually “love” unconditionally. And if love comes with conditions, it isn’t love. To experience love, we feel joy. To reject joy at the fear of losing love, is to hold love with conditions: “I will only love if I am guaranteed it will never change and never leave me.” That’s not love, it’s business. We forget that love is not an exchange, it is an experience. A “being”.

If we were to be honest with ourselves, we would all admit that even toward those that we claim to love, we are sometimes not very loving. We say or do things that are not loving at all. To experience love in its fullness, we are constantly brought to a moment in which we get to choose to be loving or not. Similarly, the people around us are constantly choosing, in every moment, if they want to be loving or not.

I have met many people who, when they don’t feel that their partner is being very loving at the moment, they jump in and out of other relationships because they believed that the only way to experience love is to feel loved by another. They go into relationship after relationship just to “fill” their emptiness… never really getting to know what it feels like to love.

It reminds me of a constant hunger that is never satisfied. Some people eat just to eat, and some people eat to enjoy the food. They eat to savor the flavors, aromas, and textures. They know the precious value that went into the growing of the vegetables, and seasonings, the picking of the fruits, and the labor that went into preparing the food. And with that gratitude for the experience, even a single bite is enough to feel full, satisfied, and joyful.

I think love is like that. It takes tremendous courage to love and be loved. So the more we open ourselves and become vulnerable, to share our minds and hearts and lives with another, even if it comes at the risk of losing that love sometime in the future, I still believe that it is better to love fully, than to never love at all.

And with that, the kids are up! Time to start the day!

Transformation and Healing in Relationships

pexels-photo-326625.jpegRelationships are created to assist both souls learn their lessons and balance their misdirected energy. When the lesson is learned, the karma is cleared and the contract has been fulfilled. Choosing to stay in these relationships becomes a choice. If both souls are willing to retrieve their lessons, step into a place of healing, and shift their consciousness, the relationship will evolve from one based on karma to one infused with the new energy and transformation.

Unfortunately, some souls do not always choose to evolve and heal. Some souls will choose to stay in the old energy where they will continue to recreate the same lessons over and over again, keeping them stuck in drama, trauma, and chaos. It will be very important for those of us choosing to take the high road (e.g., love) to not get caught up into other’s despair, confusion, and denial. This can be very hard to do because we care about the other person. However, we must respect their freedom to choose.

Compassionate detachment and discernment are absolutely necessary if we plan on continuing with our own personal healing and transforming our energy from hate into love. The one rule of all living things is our freedom of will, and many of us have given our freedom of will away. We must learn to say “no” when we need to, and “yes” when we feel it is for our highest good. Each of us must learn to stand in our own power and learn to discern what is a good investment of our time and energy.

Staying involved in toxic relationships will deplete us and keep us from moving forward (ultimately, it will keep the other from moving forward as well!) on our own soul’s advancement. The only person we are responsible for is our self. Everything outside ourselves is merely a reflection of the relationships we are having with our own inner being.

We teach others how to treat us by the way we treat ourselves, so when we make ourselves of equal value and stop sacrificing our energy in order to please others, we will build a sense of personal power, helping us to set up very strong boundaries. Keeping ourselves fully anchored on a love-based path by choosing not to get caught up in relationships that suck us dry and deplete our energy is not selfish; it actually serves the whole of humanity. We cannot be of service to humanity if we continue to allow others to pulls us down into the lower ego-based energies of confusion, chaos, denial, limited beliefs, addiction and drama. We need to pull ourselves out of denial and be really honest with ourselves and ask if our current relationships are based on Love or fear.

If they are based in fear, you will need to love yourself enough to disengage from anything that is disempowering and does not serve your highest good. Recognize your mistakes, bringing them into your awareness so you can transcend them. All mistakes should be immediately dealt with so the imbalanced energy will not be returned to you. The relationships here are the toxic ones where there is a split. One soul chooses to awaken and step into their empowerment, while the other soul chooses to stay in denial and refuses to change and accept responsibility for their unconscious creations. These souls will no longer be a good match, and will only create continued disharmony for each other. It will be up to you to listen to your heart when it tells you your contract with another soul is complete.

The only person who can decide this is you. You have total free will to choose which relationships serve you and which ones deplete you. If this relationship is meant to be a part of your life, give it the space it needs to heal. Release it with Love knowing that it will be returned to you if it is for your highest good. The highest way we can be of service to others is to stay in the higher vibrations of love, joy, peace, compassion, forgiveness and understanding, setting an example for others to follow.

On person holding their mastery core and radiating their energy can transmute the fear energy of hundreds of people who choose to keep themselves in limitation and fear. Set an example that others will want to follow. When we remain in the higher frequencies we lift each other up!

Each of us will need to stay in alignment with our spirit, listen to our heart, and choose not to allow other people’s unconscious behaviors, motivated by their ego, throw us out of alignment with our core. Stepping into a place of detachment, surrender, and allowance for others is absolutely necessary. They have free will and every right to choose to stay stagnant in their soul’s evolution. It will become imperative to look at everything from a bigger perspective, instead of from a human perspective and know that there is always divine order and a bigger picture in every event that occurs.

We are all on different consciousness levels with the free will to choose whether we want to move towards the higher energy of Love or stay stuck in the lower energy realms of limitation. Sometimes it takes others more time and many more lives before they will finally surrender their ego and move forward into enlightenment.

The best way to live, is to always ask yourself:
Is this relationship, activity, thought, or belief:
1) For my highest good?
2) A wise energy investment?
3) Going to enhance or deplete my light?
4) In line with my being?
5) Contracting my energy through fear or expanding my energy with love?

*Disclaimer: I found this in my diary from way back. It must be from some class I took, and I don’t remember which one it was or who it was by. Possibly Abraham Hicks?