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The Fear Virus: 3 Little Stories

What the Heck is the Fear Virus? Little Story #1

I have a story to share about a tooth. About 15 years ago, I went to a dentist for a cleaning. While there, he looked at one of my premolars that was filled when I was very young. I was told emphatically that I needed to get a crown on that tooth; it was on the verge of breaking…so he said. He gave me the line that it was better to take care of it now than later as I might end up needing a root canal instead. He was passing on “the fear virus”.

Here’s the irony. I heard the same thing from another dentist a couple of years before. And yet, nothing had happened with that tooth in that period. That dentist was also rather emphatic. I could now believe this second dentist, take on the fear he was trying to instil in me for his profit and my financial detriment, or I could trust myself and walk away.

I’m really glad I walked away, for as I said, many years have passed and absolutely nothing has ever been wrong with that tooth! I could have gone through all that pain, discomfort, and expense for absolutely nothing but fear.

Why am I sharing this? Because this is happening to so many people every single day. Because we place way too much authority in the voices of “experts” who can only see life through the veils of their training (aka indoctrination) and perspectives. It’s a warning to all, a call not to submit to the fear virus that is proliferating across our planet.

Little Story #2

I’ll give you another example. Earlier this year, my partner was told by his doctor that if he didn’t have a certain procedure, he “wouldn’t see another Christmas”. Setting aside for the moment the completely unethical and unprofessional aspect of such a statement, this message naturally induced quite a fear in my partner. Worse yet was the fact that the doctors who were to have performed this “life saving” procedure failed to get in touch month after month. It started to cause panic in us both with each passing week we were put off, until I remembered something important: the Universe knows best.

By breaching ethics in the egotistical way he did, to plant that seed of unnecessary fear in my partner, this so-called doctor certainly caused far more harm than good (so much for “do no harm”). Maybe that procedure will one day be necessary. Or maybe it never will be. Either way, it isn’t meant to happen now, and it certainly won’t be helpful to have it under a falsified threat of impending, early death. True to my remembrance, the failure of the hospital to set a date for the procedure gave my partner the time he’s needed to re-evaluate his symptoms, reconsider what’s really happening with his health, and reflect on whether Dr. Ego even meant what he said or was just having a bad day and taking it out on him.

Little Story #3

What brought these stories to the surface is another tale I recently heard from a client whose doctor had tried to instil the fear-virus in her by saying that because she was run down and overstressed with responsibility, it was all the more important for her to have this shot and that shot and to take this pill to make her feel better. I won’t share more about that personal story, but I will share how angry it made me to hear it for several reasons.

When a person is facing challenge, they don’t need to hear how much more at risk they are for this disease and that disease and this or that psychological issue. The last thing, NOT the first thing, they need is a pharmaceutical option. First they need to be reminded that diet, sleep, and exercise are key. They need to be encouraged to self-care. They need to be reminded of their own power to heal. And they need to be reminded that challenge and difficult feelings fall on everyone; it is not a pathology to feel down when facing hardship! Popping a pill isn’t going to change anything; in fact, it may very well cause more enduring problems. And don’t get me started on shots!

The Molar Moral of the Story

Look, we all have to make our own decisions. What I’m trying to bring to light here is that too often, we relinquish what sovereignty we have because we think someone else knows best, and we usually do this out of fear. It’s a mistake! A big one. Our beliefs are powerful vessels of our faith, and it seems someone is always out to steal that power or steer it towards whatever serves their egos, pocketbooks, or paradigms. It’s time to recognize and own this power for ourselves.

We’ve got to start recognizing when someone else’s fear is trying to worm its way into our own system. We’ve got to start seeing how we ourselves might be trying to push our own fear off on others. And most importantly, we’ve got to stop taking actions out of fear and wasting precious time, money and energy.

Need a way to start? Check out this journal entry of “Four Steps to Overcoming Fear“.

 

Revenge of the Plants: Is Nature Fed Up?

It may sound like a horror movie: the revenge of the plants. I was speaking to one of my soul sisters yesterday, and she made a comment about how a certain tree non-indigenous to the United States was brought over by some unwitting traveller and how that tree is now taking over. She called it just that…revenge of the plants and went on to express how Nature has had quite enough of self-destructive, thoughtless humans.

I nodded my head in agreement at the time, thinking of the garden here and the constant upkeep required as things grow out of control within weeks, but this morning, contemplating my friend’s fanciful expression in the bathtub, I realized that it didn’t sit so well with me. Nature isn’t vengeful. Nature responds to conditions. It isn’t out to get us. That’s ascribing very low-frequency human characteristics to something Essential and Divine. Only humans have problems with Nature being itself. And only humans would fail to ask their intuition if transporting a tree from one part of the world to another was actually a good idea or not.

Perhaps the Spirit of Nature, anthropomorphised into Mother Nature or some Deva is indeed frustrated, disappointed, and fed up with human weakness. It’s a tale that’s been told not only in horror movies but in folktales from around the world and even butter commercials from the 70’s (“It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature”). Perhaps there is some truth in the tales. But is every flood, every earthquake, every tornado the revenge of Nature? Or is it all simply a matter of causes and conditions? Maybe it’s both.

If we touch poison ivy, it’s likely we’re not going to have a good day. If we misidentify a poisonous plant, we’re going to feel ill or worse after eating it. If we clear cut a forest, there will be numerous natural consequences. If we build houses in calderas or on beaches, we’re asking for trouble. Do we then turn around when trouble appears and blame Nature for an unfair wrath?

From rain dances to other offerings and appeasement, the human has often gone to great lengths to earn the favor of such nature beings. There is no question that balance is essential to life on earth. But I guess I’d rather hold compassion in my heart for nature and all her woes, especially for that misplaced tree that is replicating itself madly in an attempt to not feel so alone in a strange land. I suppose this is still a projection, just a different one.

As with Nature, the human is also undergoing so much change. Perhaps none of it on any level can be helped; we’re headed where we are headed. One things for sure: balance will be restored one way or the other. It’s not so much revenge. It’s just Life.

 

Healing in the Age of Confusion

Have You Noticed?

It’s funny. The path of healing is one rife with confusion and contradiction. Ask one “expert” and you get one kind of advice. Ask another and you get the completely opposite information. Eggs are good. No, eggs are bad. Salt is essential. No, salt is bad. Butter is awful. No, butter is better. This drug cures what ails you. That same drug gives people another disease worse than the first. It’s a maze, but perhaps slightly more akin to a landmine.

Even the field of psychology can cause this perplexity. On the one hand, we are told that suppressed emotions can and eventually do cause all kinds of disharmony and disease. We have to feel them. On the other hand, being with our emotions can become a habitual indulgence. Lingering in our grief for example can stunt our growth. And rehashing the same old traumas can reinforce them rather than free us from them.

What to do!

The problem here is an outwardly-facing loci, a belief that our knowing comes from the outside in. We rehearse an abdication of our inner authority from a very young age. This results in a state of disconnect from that inner knowing. What’s needed is a turning back inward to the inherent wisdom of self with which we are all born. It’s intuition and more. It’s access to our will and soul intelligence and connection to our own Divinity. We have no choice but to discern for ourselves the best path to be taken in all aspects of life, and not just in regards to our health.

It’s All Energy

We don’t often perceive the world as energy unless we are already inclined or graced to do so. Instead we see a rock as a non-living, solid mass and a tree as a thing with branches and leaves. But everything is, in fact, essentially energy. Because we misperceive the material world as actually material (rather than as Maya), we forget about the nature of things and their relationship one to another. We don’t perceive the rock or tree as an extension of that same life that created all. We don’t see ourselves as connected to every other living thing. How then can there be healing (wholeness)?

Chi Gong (Qi Gong) can help us re-establish an awareness of energy and its role in our health. Energy doesn’t like to stagnate. It creates disharmony. Chi Gong helps energy to flow as it is meant to do. It also helps us cultivate and function with increased energy. Literally anyone can practice it, and it only takes minutes a day. While it may not be enough, it is, in my opinion, an essential starting place.

We Are the Meaning Makers

The mind is nothing more than an interpreter of energy. While someone else’s interpretation of reality may be helpful or inspiring, let us not forget it is merely their own meaning-making. When it comes to the information flood, we can be content to keep only what helps us grow or improves our lives and let go of the rest; nothing else deserves our energy. That said, we must also exercise a certain vigilance in regard to the ways we both deceive ourselves and are cut off from our true instincts.

As far as all that conflicting health advice that exists, don’t let it discourage you. The conflicts and contradictions are an arrow pointing us back to ourselves and our intuitive sense of what’s right for us. Inherently, we know the work to be done. Often, however, we aren’t willing to put in the effort; taking a prescribed pill is somehow easier. Not everyone is serious in their wish to be well. As an energy worker, I can only help the ones who are.

As a final thought, I share this for your contemplation:

“Heal me of my sickness” pleaded one praying.
“Help me heal myself” prayed another.
This is an important distinction.
Those of the former persuasion rarely get better.
Only the latter make steady progress.
Healing requires effort and change.
If you want to be healed, a healer cannot help you.
If you want to heal, a healer is, at least in part, an answer to your prayer.

 

The Energy Healing Cooperative & A Victorious New World

I often describe myself as more of an energy worker than a healer. For one thing, I’m not really doing the healing; Spirit is. I simply make myself available to whatever purity of healing frequency wants to come through. My practice is more about getting out of my own way than anything. I don’t even have to understand what I’m doing or why. I sometimes get asked, “Why are you moving your hands like that? What does that do?” and I’m like, “Uh…I have no idea!” Or I’m asked, “What did you see?” after working with someone, and again, I’m like, “Uh…not much.”

I used to see stuff. I used to see power animals, other-wordly beings, and receive flashes of insight into a person’s distress. I’ve let all that go. I don’t have to know (and frankly don’t want to!). I just have to do. For some reason, following this directive is very easy when it comes to healing work and not very easy when it comes to my personal life, but that’s another story.

There is, however, a power of intention within me as well. And it is this power that calls me to create blueprints for new structures for a world that doesn’t exist yet. It may sound crazy. I don’t really care. Somehow, I know what I’m doing.

The Need is Ever Greater

I was just researching funding sites, and as I perused all the pleas for help from desperate people, I was completely overwhelmed with all the need. “Help me with funeral costs”, “help me with medical bills”, “help me start over”, “help me, help me, help me!” I am reminded of that Bible story of Jesus being drained by all the throngs of people in need of healing. Several things struck me:

1) How easy it would be for a “supposed” proclaimed philanthropist to erase these requests in one sweep instead of continually destroying our food supply or experimenting on third-world resource-rich populations with toxins.

2) How very desperate things are getting for more and more people.

3) How blessed I feel (and silly) to realize how blessed I actually am.

4) Why is there not a funding platform to which one could make ONE donation and then choose how it gets divided among various causes? It would eliminate the overwhelm feeling (I can’t be the only one who feels that), allow even unpopular requests to finally have a measly buck in their campaign (“someone sees me!”), and be overall so much simpler for the donor. (I am an idea person but this idea is not my calling. Somebody out there go do it!!)

5) I’m not sure this problem of need can be solved in a world of greed. Seems a new mode of energy work is necessary.

And that’s what this post is all about. For I see that new mode of energy work unfolding having come to me at the beginning of the year, and it is very exciting to me and nothing I would ever have thought I’d be doing. 

I’ve learned some very valuable lessons in my lifetime. One is that we are more powerful when we cooperate and dream together. That is what led me to create an Energy Healing Cooperative. Now, such a cooperative isn’t necessary a new idea. Reiki circles, for example, have been around for ages. But what we’re doing though this cooperative is creating a transmaterial architecture to meet the needs of the many. (And to give credit where it is due, it was my former mentor, Dr. Gene Nathan, who gave me the idea of working in this way through his own vision of “The Wishing Well”.)

The Energy Healing Cooperative works uniquely in several ways.

An All-Accomplishing Healing Ocean
All energy is transmitted to a collective morphic field. There the frequencies from each healer and whatever modalities they happen to practice coalesce becoming more intelligent. In this way, healing can be delivered where it is most needed. There is no need to focus healing toward one individual. The healer is free to simply generate healing. The Ocean delivers the goods.

The Highest Good & Dedication 
Before each session, all negative influences are neutralized. After each session, we dedicate the energy toward the victorious realization of the divine, spiritual and supramental Truth in all hearts and minds. In this way, the field that we create is completely protected from destructive and depleting forces.

All donations go into the pool.
Participants are free to make donations to support my facilitation and the work at hand. However, my intent is to share this energetic gift and for these donations to enter the All Accomplishing Ocean to establish a transmaterial bank from which anyone may draw energetic funds whenever needed. No loan applications or approvals necessary! A free storehouse of abundance and prosperity for all.

All “hearts” or “likes” go into the pool.
Likewise, whenever anyone shares a “heart” (as on Insight Timer) or a “like” (as on Youtube), these too are intended as gifts to the collective so each may feel the blessing of appreciation, kindness, acceptance and love.

Symbols of intent also go into the pool.
In addition to sending healing energies such as Reiki, one may also wish to send symbols into the All-Accomplishing Ocean such as the Four Immeasurables: Love, Joy, Equanimity, & Compassion or any other word symbolizing qualities that are of the highest vibration and helpful to all. This is also a way for those who have not yet recognized or developed their healing abilities to participate as anyone can send Forgiveness, Sovereignty, Wisdom, Prosperity, Friendship or other symbol without any training, certification or special knowledge (which is also, of course, true of healing, but some have yet to have faith in that).

It gets stronger every single week. 
I’ve noticed something happening over the weeks and months since the Energy Healing Cooperative took shape. Every week it becomes stronger. It started out with us sending healing to a pool. It didn’t take long before I felt quite silly calling it that. It had clearly become an Ocean of Light and Love filled with all good things. It is deep and vast and often changes colors as it responds both to the energies going to it, the energy it needs to send out, and the intelligent alchemical processes of the cooperative effort.

It’s always open!
It also became clear to me after some time that we weren’t starting from scratch each week. Yes, each week we were generating and cultivating more and more energy into the field, but what we’d created had grown so strong that the energy was never depleting. So, one can visit the All-Accomplishing Ocean at any time, not just during sessions. It’s there, ready to serve, 24/7.

Love Bugs
Somewhere along the line, someone in the Insight Timer group nicknamed us “The Love Bugs” and it stuck.

Join us!

If you feel called to join us in this endeavor, you can do so on Insight Timer on Sundays at 2:15 CET or 8:15 AM EST. It’s FREE. You don’t have to practice a specific healing modality but all modalities are welcome. You can attend to give or receive or both. It’s a beautiful, sweet, loving safe space supported by like-minds and hearts all across the planet.

You can also join me on Youtube on Wednesdays at 2:30 CET or 8:30 EST for Live Energy Healing (day and time subject to change so be sure to subscribe and hit the notification bell). Other healers may or may not be present for this, but again, you can attend to give, receive, or both. And the video each week is available for 24 hours. 

Getting the Word Out

I need your help in getting the word out. Please do share this information with anyone you feel would benefit or desire to be part of this venture. The more the absolute merrier! Together, we are building the structures for a Victorious New World.

Multidimensional Being: Aspects of Self

In my last post on the Multidimensional Being, I introduced the DMT 10-Body System, a synthesis of well-established yogic systems and so, while unique to DMT, not remotely a new concept. In this post, I will delve into each of these layers of our being from a DMT perspective. By getting to know the layers of our being, we are able to better map where we might experience blockages of energy or be cut off from aspects of Self. As such, knowing the dimensions of our being is extremely helpful on the healing path. What’s more, being aware of all these aspects of Self deepen our experience of Divine Me Time.

Physical Body

This one’s obvious. It is what is traditionally referred to as “the body” including all of its systems and parts: the organs, the bones, the tissues, the limbs, the extremities, and nerves. We are born with what seems to be one and the same body, and yet, from year to year, it is always changing until that eventual and inevitable moment in which we must leave it behind. Surprisingly, very few people are actually “in” their bodies now.

Multidimensions of BeingThere is such a learned disconnect for reasons of survival from a young age, and our inability to process other layers of our being can totally stunt our relationship with our physical selves. This can manifest as disease of every kind. That is why somatic movement, slow and mindful, is so important to our well-being. One may think that an Olympian athlete is “in the body”, but in fact, it is just as likely they are cut off in some way…forcing it to conform to the will of the mind, this just to say that appearances can be deceiving. I’m not implying every athlete is disembodied.

Pranic Body/Life Force

This is the bioelectrical energy force of all life fueled by the breath. If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you were meant to be here, hold your breath. You’ll get your answer soon enough. How we breathe is an indicator of physical health. If we breathe primarily up in the chest, we are creating a nervous tension in the body. If we can drop our breathe into the belly, we become more relaxed and soothed by our  own internal rhythm. That, of course, is assuming that we’re not efforting to breathe in a certain fashion but rather, following a natural breath.

One could also see this field as the physical healing field as when we cut our finger accidentally, we notice over a period of days that the cut has healed. This is the wonder of the pranic force of life.

Emotional Body

Joy, sadness, frustration, resentment, rage, contentment. These are common emotions that arise in our emotional body. We tend to get a little addicted to our favorite emotional states…even the less comfortable ones. Emotions are energetic symbols alerting us to imbalance which is why if we ignore or suppress them, we do so at our peril.

You may ask, “How can joy indicate imbalance?” For one thing, joy can leave us ungrounded and floaty. For another, because we tend to want to hold on to higher states, imbalance arises out of our clinging and preference. But all emotions are meant to flow…to come and go. This isn’t to discount experiences of True Nature that can be incredibly tranquil. But that tranquility is True Nature…not a fleeting emotion. Whether or not we can maintain consciousness there is another matter, however.

While we need to absolutely be aware of all of our feelings, if any of them become sticky, even the good ones, we are setting ourselves up for suffering. Like the breath, the emotional body is meant to be ever in flux.

Mental Body

The mental body deals with all of our thinking as well as memes and the conditioning of the mind. If you can think it, put it in this category. Even the words you are reading now are aspects of the mental body which gives every stroke its meaning. It is often said that where the mind goes, energy flows. So how we think has a direct impact on our experience of reality. The mental body should not be confused with mind, however. Mind is clear, luminous space…like a crystal. The mental body manifests within the space of the mind.

The Auric Body

This is the energy field of the body that radiates beyond our physical boundaries. It is associated with the chakra system and it has within itself several different layers. There are those who are adept at seeing these layers and the various signs of disease or weakness that might be displayed through holes, tears, punctures, colors and textures. Our thoughts and emotions can be displayed through our auric field. Anyone can train themselves to see the aura, but we’ll leave that for perhaps another time.

Kirlian photography has captured the auric field on film. The images are quite magnificent.

Wisdom/Intuitive Body

Did you know you have access to Cosmic Wisdom? Through this body, we are able to receive intuitive guidance and impulse. Here we have access to the Akashic Records and an intelligence greater than the individual human mind. This is the field in which the Muses operate, inspiring invention and all manner of artists. It is the field in which all problems can be solved because it is a refined consciousness in which the problems don’t even exist. It is a world of potentials, but potentials inspired by Spirit rather than ego.

Radiant Body

The radiant body exists just beyond the auric field. It reaches out to the world. It is our magnetism. It can open us up to and attract opportunities as well as be used to protect us from unwanted energies and manifestations. Similar to the aura, the radiant body is often represented in religious iconography as the halo.

Bliss Body/Celestial

This body is commonly accessed by storming it with psychotropics. But it is best earned through meditation and devotion. It is our connection to the orgasmic cosmos, expanding and collapsing in ever-unfolding rapturous wonder. The Ecstatics, saints that regularly fell into or even lived most of their days in an ecstasy are examples of beings deeply connected to this level of being. However, it tends not to be a very practical existence.

Soul

This can be referred to as “the higher self”. It’s the you of your highest potentials that guides your path as a being here on Earth. You can think of it as a God-designed blueprint if you wish. We lose sight of our soul body at our karmic peril, but regardless of whether or not we allow it to inform us, it is always trying to do so.

Absolute

As stated in my first post, the Absolute remains unavailable to description and definition. It even lies outside of our ability to experience it. And yet, we are it. It’s a paradox that only the Great Mystery could concoct!

The most important thing to understand is that, while we look at these separately in order to see them more clearly and work with them intentionally, they comprise a single being…the entirety of YOU! You aren’t missing any of these layers though you may be unaware of them. They may require a bit of attention and “buffing up” before we can fully integrate each into the other.

Multidimensional Being

Multidimensional Levels of Being

We Are Multidimensional

Did you know that you are much more than what you appear to be? We are conditioned from birth to think we are the body. If someday, we enter a spiritual quest, we often spend the rest of our lives trying to undo the confusion! If you’ve ever asked yourself the question, “Who Am I?”, congratulations! Something in you might already be in recognition that everything we’ve been told or thought in answer to that question can never satisfy. We are so much more than we think.

Instead of feeling angst, Divine Me Time provides a system for self-exploration that is about involution as much (if not more so) as evolution. We stop interfering with life, work with who we are now, let go of the drive to “self improve” or “fix” what’s “broken” and instead, surrender to the Life than animates us, trusting every step.

Then what is meant to improve will just happen and what needs fixing will be addressed. It may sound like magical thinking, but it isn’t. There’s still work to be done, but it gets done. Instead of trying to control destiny and every aspect of our lives, we let go and enter the Stream of Divine Flow. Divine Me Time is about letting the capital S-Self take care of “self” so our whole life become the answer to life’s biggest question.

Let the Self Take Care of the “self”

We can let go of the struggle. Through breath, we open to that greater mystery, the life force within us. We make ourselves fully available to it, we make ourselves as empty a vessel as possible and become a channel, not to external voices, but to our own soul.

In order for the Self to take care of the “self”, we have to first recognize that we are indeed the Self. It isn’t some separate entity out of reach. It is here, now. The little self is merely a construct, a representation of that Greater Being. But it isn’t something to destroy in some misunderstood spiritual pursuit (“kill the ego”). Instead, it is to be aligned and integrated with that Higher Self so that we can “be becoming” fully-functioning adults and beacons of sanity. In other words, it is a process.

The practices by which we invite this shift within include breathwork, deeply restorative (as opposed to sporty) yoga, healing chi gong and other forms of energy work, and meditative practices than involve the mirror as well as voicework and other creative arts.

Yogic Models of the Levels of Being

We open channels of communication with all the dimensions of ourselves as expressed by 5-body, 7-body, and 10-body theories described below by Perplexity AI:

The difference between the 5-body, 7-body, and 10-body theories in yogic traditions like Kundalini Yoga lies in the understanding of the human energy system and its components:

– **5-Body Theory**: In this theory, the human being is seen as composed of five bodies or sheaths known as Koshas. These are the physical body (Annamaya Kosha), the energy body (Pranamaya Kosha), the mental body (Manomaya Kosha), the intellectual body (Vijnanamaya Kosha), and the bliss body (Anandamaya Kosha). Each sheath represents a different aspect of human existence, from the physical to the spiritual[1].

– **7-Body Theory**: This theory expands on the 5-body model by adding two additional bodies. It includes the etheric body (Sthula Sharira), which is associated with vitality and life force, and the celestial body (Karana Sharira), which represents the soul or higher self. These additional bodies provide a more comprehensive understanding of the human experience and spiritual evolution[1].

– **10-Body Theory**: The 10-body theory further elaborates on the human energy…. [There are said to be one physical body, three mental bodies, and six energy bodies in the kundalini yoga system — soul, negative mind, positive mind, neutral mind, physical body, arcline (halo), auric, pranic, subtle, and radiant bodies.] Each body plays a specific role in shaping an individual’s consciousness, emotions, and actions, contributing to a deeper understanding of self-awareness and spiritual growth[1].

These theories offer varying perspectives on the layers of existence within an individual, highlighting different aspects of human nature and consciousness in yogic philosophy.

Citations:
[1] https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.iayt.org/resource/resmgr/bibliographies-public/psychophysiology.pdf
[2] https://www.aranyayogaashram.com/recommended-books-inspiration/
[3] https://www.scribd.com/doc/138648121/Brahmacharya-For-Spiritual-Aspirants
[4] https://lakshminarayanlenasia.com/articles/ChakraPuja.pdf
[5] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/368337420_Chakras_A_Psychological_Approach

The DMT Fusion Model

Each system has its uses and points our attention to different aspects of self. So, I prefer a fusion approach which tends to move from the densest to the finest vibratory body (though there’s room for disagreement). I’ll break these down in another post, but for now:

Physical Body
Pranic Body/Life Force
Emotional Body
Mental Body
The Auric Body
Wisdom/Intuitive Body
Radiant Body
Bliss Body/Celestial
Soul
Absolute

Of course, the Absolute remains unavailable to description and definition. It even lies outside of our ability to experience it. And yet, we are it. It’s a paradox that only the Great Mystery could concoct!

In summary, Divine Me Time invites you to open up communication with these fields of our being making it possible to bring all layers of ourselves into greater harmony and alignment.

Protecting Freedom from Totalitarianism or Authoritarianism

I have fun with AI sometimes. I ask it questions rather than doing my own search and it tends to yield a pretty good synthesis of results. For example, recently I asked Perplexity the following question about protecting freedom:

How do we protect ourselves from totalitarian or authoritarian governmental policies?

Here’s what perplexity had to say:

To protect ourselves from totalitarian or authoritarian governmental policies, it is crucial to be vigilant and take specific actions based on the insights provided by various sources:

1. **Stay Informed and Vigilant**: Be aware of proposed laws that may infringe on fundamental rights, criminalize disinformation, or silence dissent within public institutions[1].

2. **Protect Minority Rights**: Uphold the rights of minorities, including political and demographic minorities, as they are often targeted by authoritarian regimes to sow division and consolidate power[1].

3. **Defend Free Press**: Fight for press freedom and support independent media outlets to prevent state control of information and propaganda dissemination[2].

4. **Promote Unity**: Resist attempts to divide society by staying united against efforts to label certain groups as enemies of the state or unpatriotic[2].

5. **Challenge Misinformation**: Combat the spread of misinformation by fact-checking, thinking critically, and exposing lies and distortions of the truth[2].

6. **Advocate for Judicial Independence**: Protect the independence of the judiciary to prevent the erosion of checks and balances that could lead to unconstitutional legislation[2].

7. **Engage in Civic Education**: Educate citizens about the threats posed by authoritarian regimes and empower them to defend democracy against external influences like election interference, cyberattacks, and disinformation campaigns[5].

By following these guidelines and actively engaging in safeguarding democratic principles, individuals can contribute to resisting authoritarianism and protecting democratic values.

Citations:
[1] https://protectdemocracy.org/work/the-authoritarian-playbook/
[2] https://verfassungsblog.de/the-authoritarian-regime-survival-guide/
[3] https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2022/global-expansion-authoritarian-rule
[4] https://www.reaganfoundation.org/reagan-institute/publications/democracy-and-authoritarianism-how-should-values-matter-in-foreign-policy/
[5] https://www.bushcenter.org/topics/freedom-and-democracy/confronting-authoritarian-regimes

Here’s What I Have to Say

I find this somewhat alarming given the current state of our world. It sure seems like we are failing to live up to these guidelines. For example, it is getting almost impossible to keep up with all of the legislation being proposed and passed by governmental bodies these day. And quite often, items are snuck through or passed without any consideration of future dangers. Who does that serve? And why is it becoming increasingly difficult and even dangerous to express a dissenting idea?

I have personal experience with the rights of minorities at risk because I was one of the people unwilling to take an untested injection these last few years. As a white privileged female, I might not otherwise have ever had an understanding of how awful it is to have one’s rights removed and to be villainized by the majority. Now I do. And that makes me much more sympathetic to those who feel their rights are ignored or denied altogether, even if it has no impact on me personally. The fact is, any attack on anyone’s rights leads to a deterioration of everyone’s rights.

As for a free press, is that even possible when sources of information are corporately sponsored and/or owned? There is ever more encroachment in the form of censoring, de-platforming, and the proliferation of “approved” narratives and the like. Because I tend to listen to a multitude of voices rather than relying on mainstream media, and because I live in a different country than the one in which I grew up, I am perhaps blessed to hear a variety of perspectives from which I can then stitch together more likely truths.

But I have also seen just how widespread the silencing is as well as just how deep the propaganda from all sides is infiltrating in an attempt to confuse the masses. It’s scary. It is not just tin-foiled lunatics who are silenced, either. In fact, it is very often experts or journalists who maintain inconvenient truths. (Seems to me like plenty of lunatics actually remain free to spout whatever idiocy their wish.)

It’s interesting how a lack of free press actually works to destroy the unity which is necessary to prevent society’s breakdown. The news is already polarized (ie: MSNBC vs. FOX) and of course, those who watch one tend not to watch the other, which only reinforces bias. Social media and its demonstrated “mob mentality” doesn’t help. Humanity has a long way to go to realize that blame is actually disempowering and that there is no greater enemy than the one inside. And as long as emotions are so easily manipulated by the masses and those in power, societal actions will always be at odds with its own values.

When it comes to misinformation and challenging it, how does one do that when the information is processed through corrupted channels?  When words are redefined, statistical measures adulterated, scientific methods bypassed, and propaganda legalized against one’s own people, how do we ever arrive at legitimate truths? Without a functioning intuition and ability to challenge one’s own thinking, it becomes quite plainly impossible to discern.

I can’t comment on the sixth point. I don’t have enough knowledge. But I can say how immensely grateful I am to those on the frontlines doing their utmost to protect liberty.

But as a former educator, I can honestly say that our education system has been failing kids for decades. It’s why I left the public school system in the early 2000’s and then the community college system in 2013. As long as we don’t first provide the absolute basics – healthy diets, safe homes, and emotional intelligence – how can we expect any child to thrive? That some do is a testament to the resilience of children. Education needs a major paradigm shift that includes real-life skills, self-awareness, and critical thinking. The fact that is doesn’t serves who, exactly?

It’s Almost Midnight

Have you ever heard of the doomsday clock? It signals how close humanity is to complete destruction. According to it, we are 90 seconds to midnight, the hour of catastrophic outcomes. It mostly represents nuclear threat, but taking into consideration the guidelines above, I think it signals the destruction of authentic democracy as well. I don’t know where we are headed as a species, let alone as a civilization but I sincerely hope humanity awakens before it is too late when we finally realize how much we’ve lost due to apathy or fear.

You may be wondering why I am sharing this. It’s not exactly inspirational. And on the surface, it would seem to have little to do with selfcare. But I believe that our lack of self-knowledge and selfcare is at the heart of the problem, as is our disconnection from our own Divinity. Too many are externally focused, waiting for someone else to save them. Too many remain blind to frightening realities because it is easier to stick one’s head in the sand. And too many fail to do the work necessary to free themselves from the tyranny of our psychological and societal conditioning.

My point in writing this is simply to speak up. We all need to find our voice and realign our values with our actions.

If you’ve bothered to read this, it’s probably safe to assume you are one of the people on this planet as concerned as I am for humanity’s future. I am grateful you exist.

Being Full of It

“Some Teachers Are Full of It”

While I was guiding an online meditation the other day in “just sitting”, a non-doing practice of being, towards the end, someone wrote in the comments, “Some teachers are full of it.” I wasn’t sure how to interpret this. Was it a symbol of appreciation for a simplified practice or meant to be a direct insult? It was difficult to tell, but my initial response, though, was probably surprising to the commenter: “We’re all full of it!”

If we weren’t, we wouldn’t need spiritual practices like meditation.” Since it was a mere ‘chat’ comment, though, I wasn’t able to follow up or clarify with the commenter. I didn’t take it personally, but I did spend some time with it to see what it might have to offer me.

Insult?

Sure, I could have taken it as an insult…that this person thought I was full of it. They may have gotten nothing out of the practice or even been triggered by it or something I said. While that would be a bummer to know this was the intention, I’ve learned to immunize myself from the negative opinions of others.

The only way I could have been insulted is if I resonated with the comment on some level of charge, but I didn’t. I know that for every one who is not served by something someone does or says, there are usually a handful who do, and they are the only ones who matter, for whom the message was meant. Sometimes, what I say doesn’t even make sense to me and yet people keep coming back!

Compliment?

I could also have taken it as a compliment. “Yes, many other teachers are full of it, but I have integrity!” Now that would indeed have made me ‘full of it’.  The spiritual path is a long one. It lasts lifetimes. I don’t claim to be enlightened as a person. I just express what I express and know my true nature, beyond the person. Being a teacher is a role we all play to others at some time or other. Sure some are more adept but when it comes down to it, it’s far more about the receiver of the message and whether or not they construe meaning or essence from what is shared.

One thing’s for sure… If I thought a teacher was full of it, I wouldn’t be wasting my time at their meditations nor wasting my energy telling them what I thought.

We’re All Full of It

The truth is, yes, we are all full of it. The question perhaps is, what are we full of? Are we full of ourselves? Are we full of concepts and ideas and thoughts of being right? Are we full of ego? Well, yes. We are!

Are we full of Divine Light? Are we full of Love? Are we full of wisdom and capable of sharing a Holy message through this body/mind we inhabit. Well, yes we are!

We are all full of it. Can we love that about ourselves and each other? As spiritual teacher Ram Das is known to have said, “We’re all just walking each other home”.

When Selfcare Sucks

When we think of selfcare, we tend to think of long hot paths full of rose petals or a cozy night in with a great movie and some favorite snacks. Or maybe it’s the discipline to go to the gym every morning. I’ve written before about how each of those things in and of itself isn’t necessarily selfcare…that it’s the attitude with which we experience these acts. But there’s another side of selfcare that is far less talked about. It’s when the selfcare we need kinda sucks.

When Selfcare Sucks

For those experiencing a medical problem, for example, selfcare can be doing a whole list of things you really don’t want to. It can involve driving back and forth from appointments, dealing with condescending doctors, having to take medications that make one feel worse, multiple tests, or lifestyle changes that cramp all the things one used to do for selfcare.

Or maybe there’s something that needs to happen to balance out one’s relationships. Maybe a confrontation is necessary. Maybe one is building up the courage to quit, raise a complaint or leave a relationship. And maybe whatever needs to happen doesn’t come so easily. Maybe it is asking for a level of confidence not felt, or the facing of one’s deepest held wounding. This can be scary. And often, procrastination gets in the way.

Or maybe one has a difficult goal to reach out of necessity rather than pleasure. For example, I have to keep studying French. I don’t really enjoy it all that much, and I find it so exhausting. But I know that doing it enriches my life here. I can consider it drudgery; or I can consider it selfcare. But doing so doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult.

Perhaps one’s budget needs tightening and this means giving up on the gratification of a longed-for trip. Or some responsibility demands that one set aside one’s own selfcare to help another. It may seem ironic, but dealing with what is in front of us, and being able to go with the flow, is indeed selfcare. The second we allow the mind to convince us that we’re somehow being cheated of our own selfcare time, resentments can grow. Recognizing that this is happening and taking steps to change our attitude is selfcare too.

Sometimes, selfcare just sucks.

Meditation Dangers

Meditation Trauma – Is it Real?

I listened to a fascinating interview on meditation trauma recently with Willoughby Britton, a neuroscientist who has done research into the negative effects of meditation. Apparently, she has received a great deal of backlash for her findings.

While I don’t agree with everything she says, and certainly not with the way she says it, I do think the pure science of her work is not only helpful but important, especially as a meditation teacher. To dismiss it would be incredibly negligent. 

This controversy reminds me of a few years ago when in the yoga world, a lot of the talk was about the injuries yogis were experiencing from their practice. Suddenly, headlines in the field were warning of the physical dangers of yoga poses and the hip replacements that were necessary. Now, we go from the physical to the mental realm to discover that meditation can also be “dangerous”.

Maybe It’s Us

Here’s a thought. Maybe it isn’t the yoga or the meditation. Maybe it’s us and the way we adopt practices! Unfortunately, we live in an era in which yoga and meditation, originally spiritual practices, are adopted by secular fields such as sports in the case of yoga or  psychology or personal development as a panacea for stress in the case of meditation. But meditation is not “a treatment”. It is a humble spiritual practice.

Just as if people enter a yoga practice unaware of a structural configuration that would otherwise bar them from certain poses, if people enter meditation with unresolved trauma, and we all have unresolved psychological issues, those issues will remain unresolved for both students and gurus alike. The problem really isn’t the practice; its these unresolved psychological issues of the practitioner. I wrote a post about who shouldn’t meditate and it began to address this, though in hindsight, I could probably update it to include “the perfectionist” or spiritual striver who overenthusiastically wants to outdo everyone and breakthrough ordinary reality.

Symptoms of Meditation Sickness

Being human is risky, psychologically speaking, so there are risks to any activity a person may engage in…even meditation. Let’s take a look at some (you can find more here) of the more common symptoms that a meditation practice can bring to the surface in the form of a healing crisis:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Headache
  • Flashbacks
  • Dissociation
  • Feeling Out of Control
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Negative Rumination
  • Intensified Emotions
  • Diminished Emotions
  • Memory Loss
  • Paranoia

Meditation can also create new challenges such as a kundalini awakening, hallucinations, and even psychosis but I don’t really want to go into these type of issues that can arise out of spiritual practice because most people will never encounter them. These certainly aren’t the type of meditation students I attract.

What Do the Symptoms Tell Us?

Such symptoms are a sign that something is not being addressed. Either we’re ignoring some underlying issue (which could include addiction of some sort) or we’re trying too damn hard or doing too damn much thinking than is good for us. Or we’re not expressing the truth of our practice with someone who can reflect back to us.

There’s no point (aside from commercial greed) to ignore that these symptoms can and do arise. But there’s also no point in either fearing them or avoiding meditation altogether because of them.  We just have to be aware of them and aware of ourselves and when our practice might be bringing out some new psychological toxin. Then we can address the reality of our situation by pausing practice, seeking support, and doing the necessary inner work, even if this means we let go of our practice for a time.

Be What You Are

I have often questioned myself whether my own revered nondual gurus such as Ramana Maharshi or more recently, Robert Adams, weren’t, in fact, experiencing some form of mental illness to have dissolved any sense of a separate self. That may indeed be our true nature, and yet, here we are…living in a world of duality, be it maya or not. So how realistic is it for me to follow their lead and expect or even strive for the same results? I don’t have an answer. I don’t need one. I let life take care of life. I am in this body perceiving through these eyes.

But there are plenty of people in this world who aren’t comfortable holding questions. They either collective-evidence gather to confirm their biases or overdo everything and feel entitled to peak experiences and/or unearned achievements. If a five-minute mindfulness practice is good, then a month-long silent retreat with ayahuasca and daily power yoga all while fasting has to be better. It’s never helped anyone to storm the impenetrable Gates of Heaven. It’ll boomerang and you’ll end up fried.

So How Should We Practice?

The best and safest way to approach meditation is to have no preconception of or expectations from it. I think a contributing factor to meditation trauma is how it breaks up our belief system, so the looser we can hold what we think we know before we even start meditating, the better. Forget about all the tales of reward too. Assume there are none. There’s no goal to reach. There’s no breakthrough just around the corner. Meditation isn’t an act. It’s a being.

So why do we bother? It probably wouldn’t surprise you that here at Divine Me Time, the belief is that the practice absolutely must come not from a motivation of “self-improvement” or “self-help” but from the soul (sole) wish of opening up to Spirit, whatever form of higher power works for each individual. Without that, we’re either just relaxing (and there’s nothing wrong with that) or trying too hard which is often fed from a lack of self-acceptance.

There also has to be a level of self-compassion and self-awareness. No guru can really teach you to meditate because you have to be able to discover what works for you. You have to discover your own truths about it and trust in those truths. You have to communicate your experience when working with a teacher. Abdicating your reality to a guru who him or herself might have some unresolved trauma or blindspot is only going to bring confusion and second-guessing.

In the end, the greatest advice ever given is to know thyself. And isn’t that what meditation is really all about?

 

Divine Me Time vs. Spiritual Bypassing

Have you heard the phrase “spiritual bypassing“? It was first coined by Buddhist teacher John Welwood. To quote him, it is the “tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks”.

I appreciate this definition. It’s concise. And in essence, it warns that we cannot forsake the real work of awakening with all its gritty, uncomfortable, distressing, and totally destabilizing challenges in exchange for a free pass towards open-hearted bliss, joy, and well, Divine Me Time.

Believe it or not, a lot of what I offer here through Divine Me Time could be used to spiritually bypass life’s challenges. One might choose to continually avoid a conversation that needs to take place by turning instead toward a meditation practice. Or one might use a movement practice to empty the mind rather than face a painful feeling. Or someone might use their spiritual practices to convince themselves they are doing the work when they really aren’t. This requires a rather tricky kind of discernment because it’s never obvious to the one doing it and often takes place on a subconscious level of intention.

It’s Only Human

What’s more, it isn’t necessarily a terrible thing to do. In fact, it is a human thing to do. We are all looking for ways to feel better, and if we can do so without diving to the painful roots, we might think “why not?” Sometimes, we just need space from a problem. We can’t deal with it in the moment. It’s too much or we have to focus on more pressing things. Sometimes, we’re not ready to take the action we know is necessary. And sometimes, we’re just too exhausted to feel another gut-wrenching emotion.

It’s okay to rest when we need to. It’s even okay to employ a bit of escapism and “pretend” all is fine; that can be a way of faking it until one makes it. What’s not okay is not knowing what you’re doing when you’re doing it and why.

Somebody Save Me

Another aspect of spiritual bypass is thinking that some outer power or teacher or saint can do the work for you. We externalize the savior, paying our respects on Sunday perhaps, but then during the week, we’re cheating other and hating our neighbors. And yet, having some higher spiritual power to look towards, pray to, and invest faith in is an important aspect of Divine Me Time. So how do we balance out this seeming contradiction?

The savior, if not one’s self, is actually the behavior of the teacher, saint, guru to whom we look for wisdom. We must aspire to live by their example, not expect that their compassion will rescue us. We can gain strength, support and unconditional love, but there’s no such thing as a free indulgence. We’re either sincere in our awakening or we’re not. It’s not a gray area. But if we ever find that we are indeed bypassing a difficult aspect of our journey, all we have to do is see it and recommit to the true path of awakening.

We don’t need to judge ourselves. As I’ve said, it’s only human. But once we become aware of any tendency we may have, it is simple enough to adjust course.

 

silent scream

Healing Our Self-Destruction

Is Silence Complicity?

I try not to get involved in this blog on highly polarizing current events, but I can no longer keep silent about the genocidal atrocities happening in Gaza and around the world in which innocent civilians of any sex and age (aren’t innocent men as worthy of life as women and children?) along with all traces of both their humanity and civilizations are systematically annihilated like inconsequential fodder for the fearful, hateful, purely pathological, greed-driven motives of others, reinforced by the gas-lit ineptitude of mainstream media, out-of-touch politicians complicit as long as their pockets are lined and infiltrated institutions masquerading as societally concerned, while undermining every right and liberty we possess. We are witnessing not only a genocide, but a global suicide that surpasses understanding. Therefore, I cannot keep silent. It is time to speak to healing our self-destruction.

An Inner Scream

I can no longer tolerate the pompous righteousness of the morally twisted who defend such atrocity. I am so thoroughly disgusted and sickened by the lies and justifications being used to prop up toxic egos, to propagate categorical brainwashing lies spending billions for destruction instead of creation. There is a colossal scream ripening within me and I promise it will break not only speakers, earbuds, and amplifiers but eardrums and blood vessels when I let it rip. Not my eardrums and blood vessels mind you, but those of the demons who are running wild on the face of this beautiful, beleaguered planet.

My scream is for the mothers mourning their dead or maimed children. It is for the innocent little child whose family, home and every belonging is lost to them forever. It is for the doctors whose patients’ lives they just miraculously saved despite a complete lack of anything he needed as he ducks once again from the bombs falling over his head. It’s for the thirsty one at the refugee camp who just wants one tiny sip of water, now more precious than gold. It’s for the lover of knowledge and critical thinking whose eyes burn with the ashes of his beloved university up in flames, all those treasured books lost. It’s for the worshipper of God whose beautiful temple built by his ancestors has been reduced to rubble. It’s for the journalist wanting to show the world a inconvenient reality but being silenced at every turn, relentlessly continuing even as his own family is murdered. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. My scream could shatter the earth herself.

But Words Are Useless

There are those who are approaching the crisis with diplomacy, attempting to give a platform for debate and discussion, but in my opinion, the time for ‘talking’ has long since past. Communication can no longer happen constructively on the level of concepts. In fact, doing so only entrenches the ego. Those of us with ears to still discern fact from fiction can’t possibly “listen” to the views of those who are completely mentally corrupt. It’s like listening to gibberish or worse…because it is quite literally poisonous to sanity. To those who are capable of listening without complete physiological rejection, who can hold space for such words, I humbly salute you and your gift.

Most would assume then that I am taking an extremist view and encouraging some kind of physical battle. Hardly. Has history taught us nothing? War solves nothing. It only ever costs and far, far more than it’s ever worth, which is why the profiteers of the war machine love it and do anything to ensure its necessity. No. I’m recommending a different approach…on a completely different dimension of reality. Neither am I advocating for more hatred or terror. This too, quite obviously, serves none but those who profit from such base feelings and actions.

Healing Our Self-Destruction

As I already alluded and as my title affirms, atrocity of any kind is self-destruction, the absolute antithesis of Divine Me Time. We are not separate organisms; we are all cells within one body. And at the moment, we are fighting a virulent cancer. The cancer would have us eternally dividing and polarizing, endlessly fighting and destroying. We can no longer afford to be caught up in surface appearances and paradigms that speak to what is readily becoming ancient history. Reality has already changed. It is up to us to catch up. So based on this understanding of oneness, those who are called to practice a spiritual activism can employ the following techniques.

Tonglen Meditation

I often cultivate compassion for the traumatized souls and the mentally ill who have become so self-obsessed and confused in their hearts and minds as to have no sense of soul, but my compassion is not to be mistaken for weakness. I can send love to the freakshow personalities and mouthpieces governing our world because on the ultimate level, I know they are also made of the same God-stuff as we all are, albeit completely unplugged and inherently dangerous.

I can find an inner mercy towards their lost souls and realize that it also my soul. They are playing out a role that I have cast out of myself into the world and it is up to me to bring it back in, acknowledge it, and integrate it so that they may be freed from the weighty duty to show it to me…however distorted the reflection. This is a form of tantra in the truest sense of the word (and not some sexualized, bastardized, western version of it) known as Tonglen in Buddhism.

This requires a recognition of the interconnectedness of all beings, one that transcends nationality, religion, history, politics and everything else. It is a path that requires self-inquiry, shadow work, mirror work, and Divine Me time. It requires feeling, truth-telling, sacrifice and trust. It requires courage and fortitude, and faith in an ultimate justice.

Daily Hygiene

This is also something I’ve recommended numerous times before…practicing of a daily spiritual hygiene whether that takes the form of some kind of meditation, prayer, chanting, movement practice, walk in nature…whatever is necessary to empty the person of all personhood as many times a day as possible or necessary to maintain a certain equanimity and clarity.

No point mincing words. We can no longer afford projection, blame, hatred, or emotional immaturity. We can no longer afford our delusions and fear-induced need to control. We wake up now or we continue to devolve and suffer greater and greater atrocity.

 

From Wounded Empath to Spiritual Warrior

What, pray tell, is a wounded empath?

I’ve encountered my share of wounded empaths on my own healing journey. I feel uniquely qualified to write about this because I used to be one! And I can’t say 100% that I don’t sometimes slip into that stance from time to time, but I’ve definitely become more aware of any such tendency and regularly employ certain antidotes, which I’ll below.

We All Have a Little Empath & Narc Inside

First nevermind that it is my belief that we are all empaths to some extent, this post is about something more specific. It’s about the people who believe themselves to be empaths, rather than merely empathic, and specifically those who have done none of their own shadow work. They are a confusing, toxic breed not much different than a narcissist, although again, we are all narcissists to some extent. If I haven’t yet offended you and you’re still reading this, great! We’re off to a good start.

First, let me address the “to some extent” aspects of both empaths and narcissists.

The irony is that, generally speaking, people who are aware of these terms tend to believe themselves to be empaths and others in their lives to be narcissists. Empaths are very rarely in touch with their own narcissism or tendency to assume and project. Meanwhile, narcissists rarely are in touch with their own capacity to be empathic, unless that capacity is being used strategically to serve their narcissism. In other words, they can read and register your sadness, for example, and use that to their advantage but they cannot connect it to any internal compassion as any empath could. But again, I’m not really concerned about addressing narcissists in this post. That subject has been milked to death already!

The Emotional Slime of the Wounded Empath

So to answer the original question, “what is a wounded empath?”, the wounded empath is someone who hasn’t processed the difference between projection and perception. Their own emotional aura is a cloud of unprocessed mixed feelings. They are easily triggered by emotions they themselves have not yet fully come to terms with, so when they see an expression or “pick up” a vibe from elsewhere, rather than clarity, they register an assumptive explanation, projecting their own emotional discomforts or even judgments onto the other.

Unlike the narcissist, when they sense you are sad, for example, (whether or not this is true), their compassion mechanism contorts and generates pity and/or a completely false sense of resonance. For the one who is the object of their projection, it can feel like getting emotionally slimed. Yuck! Or if they perceive rage, their compassion may not fire at all because they have not connected to their own inner rage. Their inability to validate the reality of rage can feel like dismissal.

From Wounded Empath to Spiritual Warrior

A wounded empath who does “the work” becomes a clear seer. They know what is theirs and what is another’s. But they hold no arrogance and make no claims when it comes to specifics. They are not just compassionate, but ruthlessly so, unwilling to coddle another’s ego and especially not their own. And they can hold space for just about anything with wisdom and strength without the need to “impose”. The emotional experience of another is neither judged nor dismissed, but simply witnessed. What’s more, the clear empath doesn’t need to defend their own stance.

If you recognize yourself as a wounded empath and are mature enough to recognize the damage you are doing your own psyche by continuing to project your own stuff, make assumptions about others, and leave unexamined the need to be right, and if you’re not sure what you’re doing wrong or how to start to change it, look no further than the best-selling book, The Four Agreements, by don Miguel Ruiz. On the surface, this book seems simplistic and obvious, but if you work with it instead of just read it, if you practice what it preaches, you will be well on your way to healing so that you can step into your Spiritual Warriorhood.

I share with you here three of the four agreements which I feel have the most application:

Make No Assumptions

As an empath, if you are picking up some vibe from another person or group of people, don’t assume you understand it or have them all figured out. It is merely energy and is open to misinterpretation. Be willing to ask about it. Be willing to be told it’s none of your business. And be willing to be wrong about what you think it is. Don’t fall prey to the notion that empaths are always right; a little humility goes a long way. You do not know another better than they know themselves, so just forget that nutty notion.

Take Nothing Personally

Wounded empaths tend to be a little “trigger happy”. In other words, they are easily triggered by what they perceive to be another person’s lack of compassion for them. Nothing anyone does or says is ever about you. Not even if it’s seemingly about you on the surface. You may indeed be reading a facial expression or emotion correctly (and you may not), but that doesn’t mean you necessarily understand what is at the heart of it. People are complicated. Don’t reduce them to meet your level of comfort. And don’t use them to hurt yourself.

And know that I’m not judging you for being sensitive. Of course you are. You wouldn’t be empathic without it. But don’t become a victim of that sensitivity. No one is here to make you feel safe. That’s an inside job.

Be Impeccable with Your Word

This one frequently comes up in a teachy/preachy way. When speaking about what you believe to be true or about your philosophies of life, watch how you express yourself. Are you including the entire world in your feeling with grand sweeps of “we” this and “we” that? Because I guarantee you’re only expressing your experience and others will have their own, which may or may not be the same. So leave them some room to exist!

In other words, when exercising your empathic abilities, it is far wiser to use “I” statements than “you” or “we” statements, especially when discussing feelings and perceptions.

The Shadow Work Continues

The Four Agreements are a great launching point for healing the wounded empath, but they aren’t enough. It is essential to also commit to the shadow work of reclaiming the disowned self. It’s more than I can get into here, but if you are not familiar with the concept of shadow work, you can read more about it here.

Distractions & Temptations Along the Path

It’s no joke that there are many pitfalls, distractions & temptations on the path of spiritual awakening. Today, I address one that comes in the guise of promising “the perfect life manifested”.

When I see the word “mirror” attached to anything, I get a little excited. I just watched a rather slick video in which the speaker introduced something called “the mirror principal” as something that one can use to get (basically) everything they want in life. It is directed at an audience of entrepreneurs and professionals…of course…because they are both generally the ones who want everything in their lives just as they want it and the ones who can afford such programs.

At first I was intrigued. I was even hoping it was something that would be inspiring and sharable. But what it proved to be is just another convoluted system complete with science-ee diagrams based on ancient wisdom and personal development that expounds what only the expert can help you understand and apply.

Okay, okay, we all need others who know more than we do to inform and instruct us. I don’t have qualms with that nor with people selling their time or knowledge.

A Quick Related Diversion

Forgive me. I’m on a kick. At the risk of going off-topic, yesterday, I participated in a healing event during which the facilitator kept saying things like, “I’m authorized to do this on your behalf” and “I’m giving you an audience with powerful beings.” While I appreciated the ritual being offered, I couldn’t help but think each time I heard him say “I” that “I” didn’t need him to do anything for me, thank you very much; the days of buying papal indulgences and communications with Higher Powers through priests are long gone. I had to remind myself that some people actually need to hear that; he was speaking to a certain audience that hadn’t yet claimed their own ability to command Holy attention. The irony is I think this man was trying to be humble but all that “I’m empowered to do this for you” just made him sound terribly arrogant. Had he dispensed with the idea he had any role but to share the ritual and instead empowered those in attendance to do their own “connecting”, it would have been a truly lovely and uplifting offering in addition to being an interesting ritual. Hence why I’m a little raw when it comes to “experts”.

Back to the Topic

But back to the subject, in general, I don’t have qualms with the video. The speaker was, as in the example above, speaking to a certain audience, in this case with a certain propensity for wanting life to be exactly as they want it to be. The underlying message is an appeal to ego. He’s really only a fractional hair away from a greater meaning.

And I feel I must distinguish the mirror work I teach from what I would define as a materialistic system that contorts ancient wisdom rather than one that reveals it, and to distinguish the ultimate goal of mirror work, at least from my perspective. It isn’t that a person can’t have great wealth, a great relationship, the car, the house…whatever. But these things need to be recognized as nothing, neutral, and hardly the point. They come and they go. And even if they stay, they neither guarantee happiness nor fulfilment.

Both Guatama Buddha and Christ spent time “in the desert” facing their demons. One of those demons promised the world and unlimited material power. Buddha and Christ successfully defeated such temptation and went on to full realization. Where I see many systems claiming ancient wisdom fail is where they fall into this materialistic trap. The question becomes, “Do you want everything you think you want just as you want it when you want it? Or do you want full self-realization?” To be honest, most people want the former and not the latter, a sad fact of modern life.

There is no doubt that we are powerful beings. Our minds create everything. So naturally, the more able we are to control that inner landscape, the greater the impact on the outer reality. However, it still remains a relative reality. It is still Maya, a matrix, a dream or land of illusion. If waking up is what you want, I suggest you don’t stop there.

Ultimately, our lives must become a sacrifice to something greater than our personal desires. The word “sacrifice” is enough to send people running far, far away. The ego doesn’t want to become insignificant. It wants what it wants. And it wants to keep wanting. It wants to be important and necessary and is ever in search of proving that. It wants to feed, not freedom. So it will fight to the death to exist.

Please don’t think I’m claiming to have mastered this sacrifice. Far from it. But it is the path I walk and my daily prayer. And it is the ultimate goal of everything I offer. As spiritual teacher Ram Das often said, “We’re all just walking each other home.” Try not to get too distracted along the way.

Living Beyond the Box

You’re probably familiar with the concept of getting “outside the box”, a way of living that frees one from the seduction of familiarity, limitation of unquestioned conditioning, and mechanical repetition of habit, but “beyond the box”?

I’ve lived a greater portion of my life outside a lot of boxes, an often lonely and misunderstood Cat in a boxexistence, but one I wouldn’t trade to get back in the boxes from which I’ve been freed. But lately, I’ve been thinking all I really ever did was adopt a different set of boxes, perhaps a little more spacious but still bordered by perceived limits.

Now that we’ve entered and passed through the Lion’s Gate of 2023, I am more curious now about learning to live beyond boxes entirely. This excites me greatly, not just as an idea but as a cellular sense that human beings are capable of so much more than we realize.

The Book Group Catalyst

I am a member of a book group that studies wisdom texts. For the past few months, we’ve been reading I Am That by Nisargadatta Maharaj. It’s been great. But during our last meeting, someone mentioned feeling like nothing changes.

The irony of our book group is that week after week, we read chapters that basically say the same thing in different ways over and over again, and the overriding message is, “You have to go within and look, silently.” (and yet what is within when you realize it’s all within?)

And yet, week after week, we all happily show up to talk and talk. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with doing so. It has its benefits.

But the irony doesn’t escape me. I can only assume we either 1) are really there just for the commradery or 2) are really there to assert and confirm our own matrices despite declaring we want freedom, or 3) simply don’t know how to get beyond our current structure and enter freedom. Maybe there’s another possibility or maybe the three are by degrees. I tend to think, for myself, that 3 is the truer.

And as for myself, I keep showing up because I love the reflections of these people, and I’m so grateful for the depth of conversation. But it is, if I am honest, not an application of what we read and not a means to awaken. Am I wanting sangha in a book group? That’s an unrealistic expectation.

Beyond the Box

How could we move beyond our current structure? And is doing so even desired by anyone else? For now, I’ll assume yes so I can continue to ponder the possibilities.

Maybe what is needed, in addition to meditation, is to have some kind of ritual that signifies we are “talking”, just making more noise. I’ve tried to do that with the opening meditations to some extent…to unify our energy and elevate our field. But is it enough? I feel like our conversations are really very much like the chapters…saying the same thing in different ways.

People might need to share opinion or personal meaning, confusion or insights. I sometimes do. So, I’m not saying we can’t or shouldn’t engage in this way. We’ve also started sharing music, poems, and artwork towards the end of group, though, and this strikes me as closer to source. I just wonder how we can keep moving upward? How do we keep evolving and not just “creaming butter”?

How do we serve as healers? How do we create, move, and send energy? How do we clean and transform it? Not as egos. Not as individuals, but as one body??? How do we perform miracles? We know there are all these horrible situations in the world. Maybe they are perfect. But maybe we can do something. Maybe we can generate fields of love and purify the crap.

Why else are we alive if we can’t affect change? Why if everything is within us do we assume there’s nothing we can or should do to heal that…that it isn’t our business? And why do the words “inner work” preclude that? I’m not interested in activism. I’m interested in shiftism. Is that just a different matrix…a bigger box?

We talk about inside and outside but isn’t it all inside, a reflection of the One? Or am I just confused?

Something So Big

The book group is a microcosm of our greater world and at least my own recognition that what once worked is no longer working and without adapting rather abruptly to massive change without losing our values such as truth, beauty, and human compassion, the world as we know it is going down.

Ramana’s very field, Yogananda’s very field, Jesus’s very field was healing. What if they had worked together? Historically, awakened ones have awakened alone, then taught alone. Why? Is that the only way? Can a community awaken? And why not? The paradigm is always teacher at the front, disciples to the back. What if there was no hierarchy? I don’t know why I’m so full of questions. I just sense something so big just around the corner…something so outside of anything ever conceived of.

“We come alone. We go alone.” That is said by many a saint and of course, relatively true for the separate self. But if we share the source, what is “alone”? Is it not just another meaningless concept? Or am I just spinning my own wheels here?

Is a different book the answer or is an entirely different paradigm in order or an additional group for those of us wanting to explore these potentials? Or is this all borne of my frustrated longing to serve and be useful?

I walk knowing I am in a dream. I walk and tell myself, “You’re dreaming. Wake up.” But some little switch in my brain hasn’t yet ripened or something.

“Aren’t You A Yoga Teacher?”

Recently I was diagnosed with a degenerative disk disorder which was to large extent hastened by congenital physiology. This was preceded by a somewhat alarming loss (for a yoga teacher!) of mobility and strength. It required my yoga practice to completely change, for the 3rd time in my life. It might surprise you to learn that each time that has happened, my practice has deepened and matured… it has never been a loss. That’s because if we actually practice yoga in its truest form, it meets us as we are.

Many people, far too many, think of yoga as a workout.Aren't You A Yoga Teacher? That is to limit yoga to a fraction of its potentials to serve not just the body, but the breath, mind, and spirit. In addition, many people, again, far too many, have a perspective of yoga as requiring certain postures including those that are inaccessible to them, that must be done in particular ways.

If they know that they cannot meet some preconceived expectation, they don’t even try. Or, they go to the wrong teacher (wrong for them) whose style simple doesn’t fit their needs and then conclude that all yoga is not for them. It is unfortunate.

An Interesting Question

Yesterday, I has an encounter with an acquaintance, and when I mentioned that I probably shouldn’t be lifting things because of my back, she looked at me and asked, “Aren’t you a yoga teacher?” as if 1) yoga teachers should never be injured and 2) yoga teachers who are don’t know what they are doing.

There is unfortunately at least a grain of truth to each of those assumptions, at least in regards to a yoga practice. Of course, injury of many kinds can happen to anyone at any time that have nothing to do with one’s yoga practice. But it is assumed that a yoga teacher who knows anatomy and asana well enough shouldn’t be injured by their practice. And yoga teachers who do get injured are often injured because they don’t know their own bodies enough to listen and/or are driven more by accomplishment than by embodiment.

But…

For a long time now, since before 2000, I’ve been dealing with back problems. I only had a vague sense of my congenital condition. And though it had been pointed out to me by doctors in the past, it never presented as a problem, so I wasn’t really doing anything to prevent future problems other than just trying to remain fit and strong.

Unfortunately, I did some really stupid stuff when I was younger, felt invincible, and didn’t know how to recognize harmful activity. I also had a ridiculously strong work ethic that made it impossible for me to walk away, take a break, or give up entirely on tasks that I knew were compromising my body. They are lessons learned.

But time does take it’s toll on all of us. Change is inevitable. And no body is immune from the ravages of aging.

What I Wish I’d Said

What I wish I had said to this acquaintance was, “Thank God I am! I hate to think of what condition I’d be in if I didn’t have my yoga practice.” I truly believe that. Despite everything, I remain more flexible and mobile than a lot of people in my age category. And more importantly, I know how to rest and restore my body. I know what can relieve pain, and I know how to listen to my body when I try things that may very well be recommended for my condition but that don’t actually work for my body. Yoga has given me both an embodiment and wisdom that serves my evolution (aka aging) on this planet.

Of course, inherent in this woman’s question was also the misunderstanding of what it means to be a yoga teacher and that there’s some highly athletic aspect that assumes Olympic invincibility. I’m not a fitness teacher. I’m not a sports coach. I’m not even, in many regards, a yoga teacher. I’m a yogi who shares from her direct experience, and my wheelhouse is selfcare and restorative forms of movement. It’s yoga, but not in the Instagram sense.

Injury, fortunately, does not preclude me from either practicing nor sharing my yoga. In fact, it enriches both.

 

 

Projection

Sky Castle – A Brilliant Glimpse of the Dangers of Conditioning

I recently completed watching a Korean series on Netflix called Sky Castle. It was an incredibly eye-opening glimpse into the culture of the Korean family and educational system.

But I’m not writing about that aspect today but the more universal glimpse it provided into the what I’ll refer to as the fixed ego complex at the root of human suffering and the source of most if not every current global crisis.

Mirror of the Bigger Problem

What Sky Castle did so brilliantly (aside from being well-written) was present a very painful reflection of how our unquestioned beliefs, those most likely handed down through the generations or upheld by the greater society, hold the power to not only destroy us but those we love and everything we hold dear.

While I suspect most people would watch this program and not necessarily equate it with their own lives, that would be a grave mistake and a potentially enlightening lesson wasted: how rigid the mind can be! How twisted it can become. How easily it can justify our actions to ourselves and others. And like a deadly virus, how easily these poisons can spread from one person to the next and from one generation to another.

A Family Moves In

The family that moves to Sky Castle brings the fresh air and perspective the community needs so desperately in order to wake up. They are a disturbing force. We all need the occasional disturbing force to come into our lives and shake us out of our complacency. But often, we see such forces as, at best, inconveniences and at worst, as threats to our existence…which they are in a way. They threaten everything we’ve become so attached to, so identified with, that the very question of them is indeed threatening, not to our lives but to our sense of self.

Not surprisingly, this family became a target of the community for that very reason. Here were sane people suddenly introduced into a community of the completely insane pretending to be sane. The contrast was just too much to bear. And the extents to which members of this community would go to fight against this disturbing force, in order to remain “dug in” to their cherished ideas and ways of doing things, became criminal.

It may help to take a moment to address the definition of sanity. For my purposes, to be sane is to accept what is real. The be insane is to believe a lie (and often merely to assume). And within my definition is a pre-acknowledgment that our soul knows the difference, even if the mind can convince us otherwise. This is what creates illness and the dystopia of sick societies.

Does it remind you of anything? Anything at all? It reminds me of several things…for example, how hated prophets or other figures are who preach love over fear, or how reviled authentic whistleblowers are for making difficult truths public, or how persecuted and silenced anyone is today who questions the establishment (and by that, friends, I mean not just “the” establishment, but my establishment and your establishment!). My question for you, dear reader, is which one are you: the sane person daring to declare truth or the insane person caught in the trap of the fixed ego complex? We may be sure of our answer and yet, how on earth can we tell, especially if we have become cut off from our inner knowing by that very cunning and downright ruthless fixed ego complex?

Facing Ourselves

Sky Castle is about the path of facing ourselves and our deepest unresolved wounding, the very thing that fixes and then feeds and strengthens the ego complex in place. In the story, the evolution of the characters is driven by their suffering, often painfully slowly until it becomes so great that it can no longer be denied.

We are given that choice ourselves by life – to continue living in the sickness of separation or to heal and become whole. Will we take the gentler route and accept reality now or do we need the greater dose of suffering to break the hold of the illusions that have captured us? It seems the world is at a tipping point to decide that question now.

A Test of Sanity

We are not exactly the best measure of our own sanity and yet we are also the only measure of it in a twisted and corrupted society. How can we determine for ourselves if we are deluded, if we have fallen prey to generational conditioning, or if we’re being driven by our traumas and fear into believing falsehoods?

I think the number one indicator that something within us is off balance is defensiveness. How quick are we to rush in and shut someone up if their perspective runs counter to our own? To what extent are we willing to let go of our freedoms and volunteer up the liberties of others to alleviate our anxieties?

ProjectionA more difficult-to-see indicator is how often we project our own weaknesses or guilt onto others. Of course, we have to be willing to see this in order to acknowledge it. It starts by accepting the fact that we do this…we all do this. Willingness is enough to draw back the veil and begin to catch the ways we separate ourselves from others through judgments of better or worse, good or evil and blame. See those three fingers pointing back at you when you find yourself pointing at another.

And finally, how often do we seek confirmation of our own biases to feel more secure in our identity? How often do we turn to friends we know will agree with us, or watch programs or read books that align with the thoughts we already have? How big is your echo chamber? Do we seek to understand and connect or do we seek to merely distract and entertain ourselves and then compare ourselves to others in order to solidify our sense of self?

There are other ways to affirm our sanity, through meditation and contemplation for example, or through the studies of ancient wisdoms written at a time when man was more connected to the Earth and to Spirit.  It doesn’t matter how we get there; what matters is that we acknowledge our collective sickness and strive to heal.

 

Walking Backwards to the Future

The latest ‘craze’ in fitness is walking backwards. But this post isn’t about the practice per se. Rather, it is about an insight that came to me while I was doing it.

It has been discovered that walking backwards help heal knees and improve all kinds of lower back and body issues. Because I recently hurt my knee, I’ve been practicing walking backwards as a way to heal and build back strength. One day, I turned my attention to the scenery receding away from me and was struck with an insight. I realized that everything I was seeing as it receded was actually my past and that the way forward, the path I couldn’t see as my back was turned toward it instead of my face, was the future. It was a spectacular perception shifting moment that I shared in a short on my youtube channel.

But as I continued to consider the deeper meaning of my experience, I realized my video is incomplete. I said something about ‘creating the future you want’, and I realized that there’s something more profound to be seen. The only moment of choice is the point of the body, whatever direction it might face. And that alone is the point of creation. But the future itself inevitably and always remains unknown. There are no guarantees that what we want to create will come to fruition. There are far too many variables. So what is it exactly that we ‘lean into’ when we walk into what we cannot see? It is the Great Mystery, the unfolding of Life.

I’ve always taken issue with material concepts of manifestation – ‘just want it and it’ll come true’. If that were true, I’d be a lot richer, a lot taller, and always happy and wise. Nowadays of course, the principal of manifestation is more akin to ‘believe it and it’ll come true.’ I know I’m not rich, at least in terms of dollars, I’ll never be taller, and I’m not always happy and certainly not always wise. So I’m not so sure believing is enough either. Nor is it meant to be. True manifestation is the allowing of what will be…the unseen unfolding.

Don’t get me wrong. Sure, in any moment with awareness, we can choose to have more optimistic thoughts. We can daydream and imagine the feelings of happiness and abundance. And that is very likely to impact our future reality to either a greater or lesser extent, but it all depends on our karma and the grace we’ve cultivated. It may also very well depend on our fearlessness. But ultimately, the future remains that unseen realm obscured by the maya we face with our vision when we’re walking forward. In other words, whether we’re walking backwards or forewords, we’re only ever seeing our past. It’s what has already unfolded. It’s what has already been created.

The thing is, if we put our faith in and ‘make matter’ that seemingly current reality, even though it is actually our past, it isn’t as easy to surrender to the unknown. We limit potentials and are forever caught in the duality of aversion and attachment. When walking backwards, we have no choice but to trust what is unfolding. And that alone makes the present moment so acute and precious.

I don’t know if I’ve articulated this very well. I think walking backwards is a great practice to shift one’s perception as well as one’s knee injury! Why not give it a try yourself and see what you discover for yourself?

Words with Selfcare Implications

“Cept” is a root word meaning to take or receive.

I love words and enjoy playing with them (even though I nearly failed Linguistics in college!)  Looking at them from different angles sparks my creativity and helps me understand myself. Let’s look at a set of words that all contain the  root “cept” and have important implications for selfcare. We’ll start with the most obvious ones dealing with the physical body, as selfcare is very often equated to care of the physical body or care of the person via the body.

These words all have a place in the realm of yoga, which of course, is one of the main ways I help clients develop their selfcare. How many of them are familiar to you?

 

Exteroception – awareness of external stimuli, be it temperature or birdsong

Neuroception – ability to feel safe and/or sense threat

Proprioception – awareness of the muscles, joints, and bones and their relationship to each other and to external space

Perception – cognitive/mental sensing

Interoception – internal states and sensory processing

Pranaception – breath awareness

 

Not all words that include the root of “cept” are related to the body, but the following 4 words still have an important connection to selfcare, but tend not to have a positive or negative charge in and of themselves. When you look at them, what comes to mind in terms of how these words might be impacting your selfcare?

 

Inception – the beginning or start

Conception – the act of conceiving or creating something; the birth process

Interception – preventing or stopping something in progress

Reception – a welcome, greeting or acceptance

Exception – objection (or criticism which perhaps would take ‘exception’ into our  next category)

 

Now I share with you a short list of “cept” words which symbolize the energies which we must guard against in our selfcare. As you consider each one, what comes to mind in terms of your own selfcare, perhaps more so on the mental/emotional than physical level:

 

Deception – acts of falsehood, hiding or distorting the truth

Misconception – a misunderstanding or mistaken notion

Misperception – a false or inaccurate idea or belief

Preconception – an idea or belief made without all the necessary information

Susceptibility  – to be easily affected or swayed by one’s emotions or to succumb without critical thinking

 

Now consider the following 2 types of ‘ception’ that describe spiritual acuity. Do they have a place in your current selfcare?

 

Pneumaception and Brahmaception – sense of the spiritual or subtle

Numaception – knowing of the unseen

 

Words are just words. And yet they are incredibly powerful and can give us tremendous insight into ourselves and our entire belief system. Words are often used to manipulate and control us (think advertising and propaganda). But they can also give us insight into how we operate and areas of our lives that are closed off to our true potentials.

Is Your Physical Selfcare Short-Circuiting?

You may have the best of intentions when it comes to selfcare. Yet you may find that your methods aren’t improving your quality of life. If your physical selfcare is short-circuiting, I have some questions for you.

Have you ever:

–worn clothing that felt uncomfortable but instead of getting rid of it, continued to wear it?

–chose the stylish instead of sensible shoes and walked until you got blisters?

–were so busy that you forgot to eat?

–just wanted to get to your destination, so didn’t take car breaks on a long journey?

–sat in an uncomfortable position so as not to disturb others?

–got to the end of a long day only to realize you hardly drank any water?

–practiced a yoga pose even though something didn’t feel right?

–sit with your legs crossed so long they go numb?

These may seem like fairly insignificant discomforts, but each of these is a sign that somewhere along the line, you lost touch with your physical body, what I often refer to as your avatar, and failed to selfcare. Maybe it comes down to our conditioning around no pain, no gain. Maybe it is a belief that we have to try harder, do more, go bigger. Maybe we’ve learned all to well to invalidate our own experience. Or maybe it just boils down to a lifelong disconnect between mind and body (ironically the antithesis of yoga which is meant to unify mind and body).

So here’s how these kinds of habits can short-circuit any attempts at selfcare. I’ll use yoga as an example.

Someone might think, “I’ll take a weekly yoga class so that I’m doing some selfcare every week.” But here’s the thing; it isn’t enough to show up in a yoga class once or even three or four times a week. It’s more about how we show up. Are we present and aware or just going through the motions? As a yoga teacher (or yoga student!), I am sometimes astounded to see students (or teachers!) who are quite obviously uncomfortable push through some position or pose. Even when given a cue to check in, often they still don’t realize that they are doing something totally unnatural for their bodies.

For example, not everyone is comfortable sitting in easy pose with the legs crossed. I give options for comfort and yet, it is sometimes like pulling teeth to get a student to take the initiative to grab a blanket to place under the hips or to move against a wall so that they have back support and don’t have to try so hard.

Or I witness a student finally start to unwind in savasana, and so invite more time, but as class is coming to an end, I still have to get others up and ready to close. What inevitably happens more often than not is that the student will spring to attention with the others. Unfortunately, practicing bad habits reinforces them. They become so automatic we don’t even know we’re doing them and therefore can’t question them. We think we’re engaged in selfcare when we’re really, in essence, just pretending.

Mastery of awareness is the road to transformation.

So here’s my challenge for you. Over the next week or two, commit to discover all the ways you covertly deny your body whether in a yoga class or out. Are you: stifling a yawn, holding in a fart, overeating, holding your pee, indulging in an addiction that makes you feel ill, whatever it may be. Take a few notes and every time you catch yourself, no need to judge yourself. Just affirm to yourself, “I am committed to authentic selfcare.”

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