Category Archives: Balance

Now is the perfect time to honor our ancestors and ourselves!

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There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, 
which through the summer is not heard or seen, 
as if it could not be, as if it had not been! 
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Each season moves us through a period of transformation.  It is always beneficial to harmonize with the energy of nature and the season. And, as autumn and spring tend to be the times of more intense change, it can be especially beneficial to take time to connect. Traditionally, autumn is celebrated as the harvest season.  It is the time to allow our bodies to harvest and gather energy for the colder months ahead. As the yang/outer energy of summer gives into the growing yin/inner energy of the approaching winter, there is strong contraction of energy occurring.

In Chinese Medicine, the organs most active in this season are those of the Metal element – Lung and Large Intestine, both of which have strong functions of absorption and elimination.  With the Lungs this has to do with respiration and with the Large Intestines it has to do with digestion.  It is a natural time for gathering and letting go. Also, it is a time for us to nurture ourselves.

The emotions associated with this season are grief and loss and it is not uncommon to experience a lot of sadness bubbling up this time of year. By moving into harmony with what is natural arising in our being and nurturing these parts of ourselves, we can support ourselves in creating greater balance, joy and ease of well-being.  We can also create a strong foundation for moving into the stillness of winter – one that can support body, mind, emotional and spirit.

In many cultures around the world, Autumn is seen as a time when our thoughts turn to those who have left us; we think about our ancestors and their legacy – what has been left behind.  It said that the “veils” are thinner this time of year and that our ancestors often come home to visit their loved ones or “kin”.  This may come through memories, dreams or other surprise visits, too.   Often this “remembrance” arises naturally as our feelings of sadness, loss and grief come to the surface.

Autumn offers us a powerful time to honor our ancestors through ceremony & ritual. This can be for the gifts we have received and also for what we might like to let go of. It is a good time to allow ourselves to release feelings of loss and grief, limiting beliefs and/or patterns that are no longer serving us.  Sometimes we have a need to come to greater completion with our ancestors or loved ones or even to honor our own life experiences. Perhaps there are ancestral patterns such as addiction, abuse, shame or isolation that it’s time for us to let go of for ourselves and future generations.

Ceremony and ritual can be a potent vehicle for finding connection, honoring transitions and letting go.  It is something that is part of many cultures and that is a bit lost in our modern culture today unless we choose to create space for it in our lives, our families and our communities.  Learn more about Finding Connection Through Ceremony & Ritual…

Suggestions for this season:

  • Take some time to think of your ancestors. Are there any memories surfacing or visitors in your dreams?
  • Is there someone who has passed that you need to work with to move to a place of greater peace in your life?  
  • Are there are feelings of loss or grief that you need to share or honor that are unresolved?  
  • Is there is a pattern or limiting belief that you have become aware of in your ancestral lineage that it might be time to work toward transforming?  
  • What might you do to honor your ancestors and yourself this autumn?
Now it the perfect time to do this type of soul work. Take some time to reflect. Simply connecting and asking your ancestors for help is a place to begin. And, consider taking some time to create your own ceremony or ritual to honor your both ancestors and yourself!

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Come Explore!

If you would like to explore this type of sacred soul work in community, I invite you to join me on Saturday, October 29th in Annapolis, Maryland for Letting Go, Embodying Life: Honoring Our Ancestors & Ourselves ~ A Shamanic Journey Workshop for Autumn. It’s going to be a day full of rich exploration and connection.  Learn more or register at https://lettinggoembodyinglifeworkshopoct2016.eventbrite.com.

If you are not local to the MD/DC/VA area and would like to explore Letting Go, Embodying Life: Honoring Our Ancestors & Ourselves this season, I am available to support you in exploring your own sacred soul work and creating your own ceremony and ritual through One-on-One Shamanic Healing Sessions via Phone or Skype. Visit http://www.bethterrence.com to learn more or schedule a complimentary consultation today.

Winter Solstice Meditation & Message

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For those of you on my email list, I shared a Winter Solstice Message & Meditation yesterday.  And, tonight I led a Solstice Ceremony & Meditation in Annapolis.  This is one of my favorite times of year and as we approach the Solstice at 11:49 PM ET here, I wanted to share this message with the Heart of Awakening community, too!

Many blessings to you for love, light and peace on this Solstice!

Beth


 

The Solstice is a powerful time of transformation ~ one in which we can connect more deeply our natural world and to the true essence of who we are.  I am sharing with you an audio meditation and message for this Winter Solstice time. You might like to listen to it at the time of Solstice or sometime in the day before or after.  Click here to lookup what time the Solstice is in your area.

Listen to Beth’s Winter Solstice Message & Meditation…

I hope you will take some time to tune and celebrate the Solstice energy wherever you are.  I often share that I believe that one of the greatest diseases of our time is DISCONNECTION.  As we take time to harmonize with the energies of nature and with our own deeper essence, we are able to experience connection and harmony in our lives, our relationships and our world.  This may be something you wish to do on your own or in community.  You can use this meditation or there are many ways to create your own ceremony or ritual – it’s good to be creative and explore what resonates with you.

Read my post on Finding Connection Through Ceremony & Ritual to get some ideas for creating your own Solstice Ceremony or other ways to incorporate ceremony and ritual into your daily life.

Upcoming Events

January 1 – 30 ~ Setting Intentions & Visioning Our Dreams 30 Day Writing Program (Virtual)
1st Sundays ~ Healing The Shadow Shamanic Journey Telelcass (Virtual)
2016 Dates TBA ~ Healing The Shadow Shamanic Journey Process Group in Annapolis, MD (Local)
May 1 – 31 ~ May Is For Metta 2016: 31 Days of Loving-kindness Meditaton & Practice (Virtual)

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Beat The Seasonal Blues With The Bach Flower Remedies On Soundcloud

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Bach Remedies

It’s that time of year again!  The cold air is descending upon us and many in the US experienced their first snow of the season this weekend.  The daylight hours are quickly getting shorter.  Darkness is beginning to reign supreme from now through the Winter Solstice, the most Yin time of year.   Energetically, we, too, are shifting just as nature is.  As we are moving toward a more Yin/Inner state it is not uncommon to experience a sense of feeling out of balance or what some folks call “the seasonal blues”.

During times of seasonal changes, and particularly in the colder, darker winter months, it is important to honor our own natural rhythms, to take extra time for self-care and get plenty of rest.  It’s also good to find tools that support an experience of balance and well-being.  Last year around this time, I shared a post on How To Beat The Seasonal Blues With The Bach Flower Remedies.  The Bach Flower Remedies are one of the resources in my holistic toolbox that I have utilized both personally and professionally for over 15 years.  I find them an incredible support for adjusting to seasonal changes and “the blues” that may come this time of year or anytime.

Last February, I offered a free teleseminar on this topic, which offers an introduction to the Bach Flower Remedies and explores the information shared in the post.  I’ve just added that to Soundcloud for you to explore as we move into this winter season.  As always, I’d love to hear your experiences with the Bach Flower Remedies and feel free to ask any questions related to the post or the teleseminar in the comments below. Enjoy!

Beth Terrence is a BFRP (Bach Flower Registered Practitioner) through The Bach Centre in the UK.  She began using the remedies during her holistic recovery from Fibromyalgia.  After experiencing such amazing healing support personally in her recovery from Fibromyalgia and Trauma, she became a practitioner of Bach Flower Remedies in 1998.  She continues to utilize this powerful tool in her work with individual clients as well as a community educator and retail trainer for Nelsons, the international distributor of the Bach Flower Remedies.  Beth is available for individual Bach Flower Remedy consultations in person in the MD/DC area and via Phone/Skype.  Learn more about Beth’s work with the Bach Flower Remedies and Integrative Holistic Healing Programs at www.bethterrence.com.      

How To Beat The Seasonal Blues With The Bach Flower Remedies

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“Health exists when there is perfect harmony between Soul, mind and body; this harmony, and this harmony alone, must be attained before a cure can accomplished.” ~ Dr. Edward Bach

Many people experience the blues during the change of seasons.  This seems particularly strong when transitioning from winter to spring and summer to fall.  It is during these times of the year that there is the biggest shift in energies as we move from yin to yang (inner to outer) or yang to yin (outer to inner).  We can also see how in the spring there is a birthing process that occurs in nature and in the autumn, there is a dying process.  This occurs in nature and it is something we experience in ourselves, too.

These transitional times of year tend to stir lots of emotions and can be a powerful time to let go of feelings, patterns and beliefs, which no longer serve us.  Although letting go can be a positive thing, it can also bring up a sense of loss.  This can have to do with feeling loss for a part of ourselves, a way of life we have known or it can have to do with feeling there is something we are longing for in our lives that is missing.  Transition itself can be something that brings up a sense of loss as we move from one way of being to another.

When I was younger, I struggled with feelings of depression.  I found these seasonal transitions to be one of the most challenging times of year, often dropping into an almost suicide-like depression.  It took me many years of working on myself and my healing process to understand how the energetic shifts of nature were affecting me.  I came to know and expect the coming changes of the seasons as a time when my emotions would stir and need attention, just as a garden needs tending at various times of year.

As human beings, living in a modern, technological society, we have a tendency to separate ourselves from the natural world.  This disconnection does us a disservice to ourselves and often keeps us from experiencing the deeper essence of who we are.  As we begin to embrace ourselves as part of the natural order of things and to work with the constantly changing energies of nature, we have an opportunity to move into greater balance, joy and ease of well-being.  To achieve this, it is important to find practices and tools that help to deepen our connection to the natural world and make them a  part of our ongoing practice of self-care and personal growth.

One of the best tools I have found to support these seasonal transitions as well as to help us be in greater harmony overall are the Bach Flower Remedies.  Created by the visionary Dr. Edward Bach, the Bach Flower Remedies are flower essences that support emotional balance and ease of well-being.  They work vibrationally to bring a positive energy or quality from a particular flower into our energy field, transmuting an aspect of ourselves that is out of harmony or alignment with our soul purpose and with the unity of all things.  By nature, the remedies connect us to the healing energy of the natural world and to our own innate healing abilities.  (Read my post The Bach Flower Remedies: A Tool For Transformation for an overview of the Bach Flower Remedies).

One of Dr. Bach’s core messages is to “treat the person, not the disease”.  In working with the Bach Flower Remedies, we do not diagnose or address any specific medical or mental condition.  We look at each person individually – where they are in the moment, what they are experiencing and what feelings are at the surface on a daily basis.  When we speak of depression or the blues in the Bach Flower System, we are talking about depressive feelings, despondency, sadness, etc.  It is important to acknowledge that these are natural feelings to have at various times in our lives and that some people are more predisposed to certain feelings and personality traits, which is often an indication of where our personal healing work lies.

In the Bach Flower System, there are a number of remedies that address “the blues”; these relate to how a person experiences feelings of despondency and despair.  Also, in looking at seasonal blues, it may be important to address adjusting to transition itself as well as some of the effects of transition such as fatigue.  Here are some remedies, which may be beneficial in providing support during seasonal transitions and beyond:

Star of Bethlehem is for sorrow, grief, sadness and loss.  Autumn is a time when these types of feelings can tend to be at the surface, just as nature is going through a “dying” process, we can tend to feel a sense of loss.  Star of Bethlehem also is a remedy for trauma, both current and past.  (Learn more about Star Of Bethlehem: The Remedy Of Comfort)

Gentian is for a sense of discouragement.  This tends to come from feelings of setback, delays, failures or difficulties that come from a known reason such as life changes (e.g loss of a job/relationship, mid-life crisis, menopause, etc.)  It may include feeling easily dejected, doubtful and disappointed.  There can also be a strong tendency toward pessimism connected with the Gentian state.

Gorse is for hopelessness and despair.  There is a feeling that nothing more can be done; often a person feels resigned or has given up in some way, particularly on the inside.  A Gorse state may exhibit a “what’s the use” attitude; it is not uncommon for people in this state to be suffering from a chronic disease with a feeling like they have tried everything that can be done and there is just no more hope.

Sweet Chestnut is for a sense of deep anguish; there is a feeling that one has reached their limits of endurance.  This type tends to feel as if the very foundation of their life has been torn away and they can bear no more loss.  It is akin to the “dark night of the soul”.

Mustard is for a black gloom depression that tends to come and go for no known reason. This can be a deep gloom or feeling of melancholy that is often described as a dark cloud that descends on a person for a time and then just as magically disappears for no reason, but the pattern is one that perpetuates.  The person in this state is at the mercy of their feelings until they move out on their own accord and they feel they are back in the blue skies and sunshine once again.

Walnut is the remedy of change and transition.   It can be of great support when we are having difficulty adjusting to a transition.  This can include seasonal changes, life stages such as adolescence or menopause, and life changes such as a new job, marriage, birth of child, etc.  This remedy is also known as the great “spellbreaker” of the past and can support us as we move out of outmoded patterns, feelings and beliefs, which can be part of our seasonal letting go process. (Learn more about Walnut: The Remedy Of Change & Transition)

Finally, I just like to mention that often during these seasonal transitions, there is a tendency to feel fatigue.  Most people view fatigue as something being wrong, but I’d like to suggest that particularly in times of transition, added rest is what we need.  Rest creates time and space for the integration of all that we are experiencing on the levels of body, mind, emotion and spirit.  Particularly, in this shift toward winter, added rest is needed to support healthy immune function and overall well-being; getting adequate rest is often the best way to address our fatigue.

If fatigue is something that continues, there are two remedies that may be beneficial:

Olive is for a sense of total exhaustion with no reserve energy.  This tends to be on the physical, mental and spiritual level.  This is a deep tiredness with a feeling of being washed out.  There is a need for much sleep and rest.  

Hornbean is a remedy that supports more of a mental exhaustion.  It is kind of like that “Monday morning” feeling; there is an uncertainty of how one will manage as the day begins but usually there is enough energy to get going once we begin.

The Bach Flower Remedies offer a natural, energetic support which helps to bring us into greater alignment with our Soul, creating balance and ease of well-being.  The most important thing during seasonal transitions and really always is to listen to the needs of our body, mind, emotion and spirit.   There is so much wisdom inside of us and as we open to discovering the healer within, we move into greater harmony, joy and ease of well-being.

Feel free to drop a note if you have questions or would like to share your reflections on using the Bach Flower Remedies for seasonal transitions and beyond.

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BethTerrence

Beth Terrence is a BFRP, Bach Flower Registered Practitioner with The Bach Centre in the UK, home of Dr. Edward Bach.  Bach Flower Remedy consultations are an integral part of her Integrative Transformational Healing Programs for individuals.  She teaches and speaks on the Bach Flower Remedies at live events in the MD/DC area and via teleseminar.  Additionally, Beth writes a “Bach Flower Of The Month” post on her blog, The Heart Of Awakening: Searching For A New Paradigm.  Learn more about Beth’s work with the Bach Flower Remedies and Integrative Transformational Healing Programs at www.bethterrence.com or contact her for a complimentary 20 minute consultation to explore discovering the healer within.

Five Steps To Mastering Anxiety

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Everyone suffers from anxiety from time to time: there’s public speaking, job interviews, the dentist, flying on airplanes and many more situations that can be triggers for anxiety.  In a general sense, anxiety may be defined as a state of uneasiness or apprehension, which may include physical symptoms such as palpitations, nervousness, sweating, trembling and rapid breathing.  For about one in six people, this experience may cross over into what psychologists term a disorder at some point in our lives. There are many anxiety disorders; they include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social and specific phobias as well as generalized anxiety disorder.

Based on a wide variety of social, personal, genetic and environmental factors, anxiety can range from troublesome to debilitating and from occasional to continuous.  For the majority of people, anxiety is something that will come and go as part of the normal human condition.  We are currently living in a time when there is a lot of chaos and uncertainty in our world.  This itself can be a trigger for anxiety and additionally, there is a sense of a collective anxiety in our culture and our world.  Regardless of the pattern, degree or frequency that a person may experience anxiety, being able to deal with it effectively is an important component in experiencing a joyful and balanced life.

In my work as a holistic practitioner, I have found that anxiety is one of the major motivators for clients to seek alternative therapies.  There may be something they are dealing with such as a health, work, financial or personal issue, but it is often the experience of anxiety that is the driving force in taking steps to create change.  Both personally and professionally, I have found that incorporating a holistic approach, one that attends to body, mind, emotion and spirit is beneficial in addressing anxiety.

Healing and change requires attention, a commitment to oneself and openness to exploring what is possible.  There is no magic formula – everyone is different and needs to find the tools and resources that work best for them at any given point in life and in their own healing process.  The following five steps are the foundation of a 4-week series I facilitate on Mastering Anxiety:

Five Steps to Mastering Anxiety

1.  Learn to relax.  By learning to relax your body and mind, you become more able to handle the symptoms of anxiety, including muscle tension, palpitations, restlessness, and worry.   Relaxation practices are tools you can utilize anytime and anywhere in response to the stressors of life.  They can help in dealing with anxiety as it is arising and can also offer a powerful method of prevention.   Research shows that applied relaxation techniques such as deep diaphragmatic breathing, progressive relaxation and meditation are highly beneficial in reducing anxiety.

2.  You are what you eat.  This may be an old familiar saying, but it is true.  A well-balanced diet is a key part of managing anxiety.  It is beneficial to pay attention to certain stimulants such as caffeine, sugar, alcohol or cigarettes.  These can increase the heart rate, stimulate brain chemistry and cause the onset of anxiety or panic attacks.   It is also good to be aware that these types stimulants affect each person differently and effects may vary based on overall health and stress levels.  Finding a diet that is appropriate for you, eating regular meals, and staying well hydrated are all important factors in learning to mastering anxiety.

3.  Develop a fit body and fit mind.  We all know that exercise is good for the body, but what we don’t always remember is that a healthy body has a positive effect on our whole being – body, mind, emotion and spirit.  Research has shown that regular exercise can help to release feel-good brain chemicals such as endorphins and increase body temperature, which can produce calming effects as well as boost confidence, take the mind off worries and develop healthy coping patterns.  Most studies suggest that 30 – 40 minutes of exercise at least 3 – 4 times per week can be a great way to release tension, ease anxiety and let go of pent-up emotions.  By caring for our bodies, we are able to develop greater balance, calm and ease of well-being

4. Don’t suffer in silence.  Seek support and reach out for help to manage your stress and anxiety.  Find the support you need by connecting with friends or family, seeing a counselor, or attending a support group – moving out of isolation is one of the keys to easing anxiety.  Studies show that connection is one of the key needs of being human.  Our relationships can help to create the feelings and experience of safety.  When we feel supported, we can learn to respond to life stressors proactively rather than from survival mode.  Also, when we hold our feelings inside, they often intensify.   Sharing is a way to open up and release our feelings before our anxiety grows.

5. Know Yourself.  You are your own best friend and your own inner healer.  By exploring triggers that heighten your anxiety and becoming conscious of how you experience it, you can become better able to look at solutions and cultivate tools that can help to manage these triggers.  By recognizing the patterns of your anxiety, you can seek alternative behaviors and develop preventative measures for coping.   Knowing yourself, how you respond to life and what tools/resources are beneficial for you personally is vital to mastering anxiety.

Although knowing yourself was #5 on the list, it is actually the most important step in mastering anxiety.  It is part of all of the other steps.  Taking the time and space to actively and consciously choose to get to know oneself is probably the greatest thing a person can do for themselves.  In the process of learning to master anxiety or exploring other life changes, I recommend developing a journaling practice to track your exploration, identify patterns, and discover tools and resources that can become a part of a Holistic Self-Care plan.

Journaling is a powerful way to develop self-awareness, track our experiences and cultivate change in our lives.  There are many ways to journal and it’s important to find a way that works for you.  For some it’s hand writing, for others on the computer.  In the process of Mastering Anxiety, the important thing is to develop a process that helps to you to track where you are, what tools you are exploring and what changes you maybe noticing.  Also, lists are a wonderful way to develop clarity and have beneficial resources at hand when you need them.  Here are some suggestions for things to include in your journal:

Mastering Anxiety Log

Keeping a log of each time you experience anxiety can be a powerful way to track, learn about and begin to transform your anxiety.  The following is a suggested format but you can find a way that works for you.

1. Description of experience of anxiety or stress (e.g. was feeling anxious when I drove to work today)

2. Triggers that you are aware of (e.g. got an upsetting phone call as I was leaving from my sister)

3. Signs & Symptoms (e.g. palpitations, sweating, restlessness, nausea, etc.)

4. Interventions/Tools Used (Did you use an intervention? e.g. deep diaphragmatic breathing, took some Rescue Remedy, talked to a friend, etc.)

5. After effect/Response (e.g. – felt calmer or more at ease or still very anxious)

Lists

Lists are a great way to learn about yourself, to track information and to create your own personal reference manual for life.  Lists are something you can work with on their own or they can come about after you spend some time tracking your anxiety.   They can be helpful because sometimes when you are experiencing anxiety, you may not have the capacity or focus to remember what tools to use, who to call for support, etc.   If you have your lists available,  you can use this as a reference in times of crisis or as soon as you have the awareness to take some type of intervention for yourself.  The following are some types of lists you may wish to have in your journal for anxiety.  Also, this can be used for stress management and holistic self-care planning:

Signs and symptoms – how you personally experience anxiety (e.g. heart palpitations, stomach upset, insomnia, etc.)

Triggers – things you are aware of that trigger your anxiety (e.g. work, family, financial pressure, driving, etc.)

Tools/Resources – be sure to explore resources that support body, mind, emotion and spirit. (e.g. meditation, yoga, drinking enough water, going to the gym, taking supplements, etc.)

Support – be sure to include people, places and things that help you to feel a sense of safety and support.  Include phone #’s and contact info so you have it accessible when you need it.  Often, our animals offer a huge sense of support or going to a place in nature where we feel a sense of connection can help, too.

Notes to self…. – Include anything you may want to remind yourself or that feels important to address or explore.  You may also want to create a list of positive affirmations that can help you in the process of transformation.

We all have the ability to become our own agents of change and to find our healer within.  Taking time to explore and get to know oneself is the key to transformation and healing.  Seeking support and connection is an important part of feeling happy and safe.  Caring for our bodies through exercise and nutrition is a requirement for wellness.   Relaxation is a gift we can give ourselves that opens the door to feeling more balanced, peaceful and at ease.

Whether you are dealing with ongoing or occasional anxiety or are just wanting to create a more joyful and balanced life, I hope you will take some time to explore getting to know yourself more deeply and caring for all of who you are – body, mind, emotion and spirit.

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Mastering Anxiety 4-Week Teleseries Starts on Nov. 20 

Being able to deal with anxiety effectively is an important component in experiencing a joyful and balanced life.

 • Are you struggling with symptoms of anxiety?

• Do you experience restlessness and an inability to relax?

• Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep because you can’t quiet your mind?

• Do you have chronic worrisome thoughts that are difficult to turn off?

• Do you suffer from muscular tension, headaches, stomach problems or lack of energy due to worry or anxiety?

•Do you feel like anxiety is limiting the quality of your life?

Anxiety can prevent you from living a happy and fulfilling life.  It can keep you from being able to focus and be present.  It can cause a variety of physical and psychological symptoms, which can interfere significantly with work, family and everyday functioning.  If not addressed, it can become a contributor to physical disease such as heart disease and digestive problems.

Recent research has shown that they’re a variety of alternative treatment options for resolving anxiety.  Come and explore natural and effective methods for mastering anxiety without medication. In the 4 part Teleseries, you will explore:

  • 5 Steps to Mastering Anxiety
  • Understanding of anxiety and your own experience of it
  • Building a Holistic Resource Toolbox
  • Developing a Holistic Self-Care plan
  • Taking responsibility for your own process of healing and transformation

Facilitated by Beth Terrence. This 4-week Teleclass will be both educational and experiential.  Through a series of explorations, discussions and practices, participants will be able to explore how to master their anxiety and become their own agents of change.
Date: Tuesdays, November 20th – December 11th
Time: 7 – 8:15 PM
Additional Details TBA
For additional information or to register, visit www.bethterrence.com.

Spring Into Emergence

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One of the ways to stay in touch with the big picture is to honor natures transitions as well as our own.  What better time to explore this than as we move through the transition from winter into spring. Known as nature’s birthing season, spring is considered a time of creation in our world.  Energies, which were drawn inward in winter for rest and renewal, are now ready to come forth and blossom.  The first day of spring, usually March 21st, was on March 20th this year due to the leap year.  On this day, the Vernal Equinox marks the time when day equals night.  It is the beginning of the period when daylight, the sun, and yang (outward) energy will be the dominant force in our lives.  At this time, I always become aware of the substantial difference in my energy as the days become longer; I begin to feel more drawn to the outer world, as I am sure many of you do.

Although for some of us, this winter was so mild that at times it actually felt like spring, honoring this shift can still be an essential way to deepen our sense of connection to our natural world and to ourselves.  This time of transition gives us an opportunity to take a look at our lives and to begin to consciously create a plan of emergence. Spring is all about emergence. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of emergence is:

  1. the process of becoming visible after being concealed;
  2. the escape of an insect or other invertebrate from an egg, cocoon, or pupal case; and
  3. the process of coming into existence or prominence.

Although several origins are attributed, one of the oldest is from the Latin emergere, meaning, “bring to light”.  One of the first signs of this for me is when I see new shoots bursting through the earth.  The first I saw this year were the crocuses, which came early, but now new life is emerging in every direction.  Just as the new shoots burst forth through the earth, we, too, are emerging from our “shell” of winter.  This is a wonderful time to explore what we can leave behind that is no longer serving us and begin cultivate the energies and inspirations that can help us become more authentic and whole.

Spring is a time for planting; it is the greening season.  In addition to planting outside, it is a time to really consider what new growth is emerging in various aspects of our lives, our work and our relationships.  It is a time to let our dreams blossom.  Being in tune with the rhythms of nature and of the season, can support us in allowing our own newness to unfold.  Beginning to spend more time outdoors, in the natural world, feeling the earth’s energies is a way to align ourselves with the change that is occurring both inwardly and outwardly.

In Chinese Medicine, spring is associated with the Wood element, which governs the gallbladder and liver organs.  The energy of Wood carries a connection to structure and this can be a good time to create new structures for our transformation.  Mentally, Wood corresponds to ideas; it supports our mental clarity, focus and our ability to plan and make decisions. Wood is associated with the East and so rules the morning.  Having a balanced Wood element gives us a capacity to be energized as we begin each day.  Another association of spring is the Wind, which helps to clear the old and bring in the new.  Creating a blueprint for how we would like our life to be is a way to bring this new vision to life.  It is also a powerful time for beginning a morning practice of meditation or reflection.

The liver and gallbladder, the organs associated with Wood, carry out essential functions, particularly digestion and processing of the many substances we take into our bodies.  A healthy diet and exercise can support these organs and the proper functioning of our whole energy system.  Spring is wonderful time to review our eating habits, to take time to eat slowly and mindfully, allowing our food to digest and provide vital nutrients.  A good seasonal diet includes many greens, fruits and whole grains. It is also a very good time for detoxification with fasting or juicing as a helpful part of the cleansing process.  Just as with our mind or emotions, this is a way to leave the past behind, to cleanse the physical and to create new structures for our well-being with diet and exercise.

By following the laws of nature, we can learn to live in more balanced, healthy and conscious ways.  It is when we move outside the laws of nature or resist change that we meet with difficulties. By becoming in tune with the energies of spring, on all levels, we can begin to move into greater harmony within ourselves and the world.  This is a key component to holding the big picture in daily life.  Spring is a perfect time to connect with our own creative intelligence and to allow our true nature to guide us forward to rebirth.

I began this spring by going on a medicine walk.  I was planning to go on a medicine walk to honor a transition I am going through and it seemed like the beginning of spring was the perfect time.  A medicine walk is a practice used by indigenous peoples to connect with Spirit and to gather medicine that comes from the wisdom of the natural world.  How often in our modern world do we spend a whole day in nature, just wandering through the woods, sitting by the river, meditating with the trees and rocks, listening to the birds and seeking wisdom and guidance from nature?  I find this practice to be a powerful tool for marking transitions; for letting go of the old and inviting in the new.  And, what better practice for honoring the time of transition into spring.  Whether for a whole day, a few hours or even a short time, I encourage you to take some time to go out in nature, to tune into yourself and to consider what you are ready and willing to let go of and what energies and qualities you might like to cultivate in your life.  Allow the wisdom of the natural world to be your guide, harmonize with the energies of spring and emerge into your own new beginning.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, reflections and experiences as you transition into Spring.

Is Your BP (Big Picture) too high or too low?

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As I have been exploring and connecting with the big picture and how to live it more consciously in daily life, one thing I have become aware of in my own journey and in working with others is the need for balance.  This is a huge topic, which I feel to explore in many ways, but for now I am speaking about balance in relation to the big picture.

Obviously, the big picture is BIG!  It’s actually huge, vast, and in a sense beyond measurement.  I know that at times in my life when I have been really plugged into the big picture it can be difficult to deal with the details of daily life.  And at other times, I am so bogged down with the details that I can easily forget to hold the big picture.  I feel like this exploration is critical to holding and embodying the big picture and living and participating in the world on a day-to-day basis.  So this week’s koan or question is:

“Is your BP (Big Picture) too high or too low?  Are you able to find balance between embodying your big picture and handling the details of daily life?  How can you begin to create this balance in your own life and in the world?”

We know from a medical perspective that when our blood pressure is too high or too low something is out of balance.  It is a very clear and measurable indicator and there are many courses of action to stabilize it.  Stable seems like a good word to bring into this conversation.  When we are balanced we feel a sense of stability on an inner and outer level.  Everything around us may be in constant flux, even our own being and our own molecules are constantly moving, but when we find balance, we feel stable and grounded.  So in a sense, what we are talking about here is finding some type of homeostasis that allows us to develop balance between our inner and outer worlds, between our big picture and our daily life.

Balance is necessary on all levels  –  physical, mental, emotional and spiritual as well as overall if we are to feel stability, but it is a dance, an ever-changing process.  Balance creates a sense of stability.  Cultivating balance is not about finding a stationary place that is comfortable, it is about staying present with what is arising, being in touch with our immediate experience and how it relates to our big picture and finding tools that help to support coming to a place of alignment.

What I have experienced as someone who has often tended seek out the more spiritual side of life is that at times, there is a worry about being too much in the big picture and not being able to deal with the affairs of daily life.  I have had a desire to avoid the materialism of the world, especially with many of the extremes that exist in the world today.

On the other hand, I can also get lost in my to do list and being busy and feel like what I am doing is not connected to the big picture, to a greater purpose and that leaves me feeling disconnected and often, discontent.   I know that at the center of this is the importance of having a sense of meaning and purpose that carries through to all aspects of life.  Living consciously and purposefully in 2012 does not mean living in a cave in the Himalayas or in a monastery, it means bringing that deeper truth out into the world and into every day experience.

Both high and low BP’s have benefits and challenges and yet, when we can find balance, we receive all of the benefits.  The greatest benefit is that we gain the ability to actualize our vision and truly live the big picture in daily life.  Some of the benefits and challenges I see include:

High BP

Benefits: Sense of Vision and Purpose, Excitement, Passion, Feeling Connected, Trust

Challenges: Difficulty dealing with the material world, Overwhelmed by details, Unable to manifest vision or turn ideas into actions

Low BP

Benefits: Able to maneuver in material world, More easily handle the details, Stay focused on specifics and what needs to be done to manifest big picture, Perseverance

Challenges: Feeling disconnected, Lack of purpose,  Holding onto to too much, Grasping, Discontent, Feeling stuck, Unable to relax

When my BP is too high, one of the main ways I work with it is to get more grounded.  This can be done in a variety of ways and what I have learned as a facilitator over 16 years is that each person must find the tools or practices that work best for them.  Some methods include grounding meditation, energy practices, connecting with nature, using stones or crystals, using essential oils, and the list of possibilities is endless.  For me, I know spending time in nature is key to getting and staying grounded.  I, also, use a meditation/visualization which connects me to the earth that I can use in any situation or environment.   Some of my favorite grounding stones are ruby and hematite, which are often found in my pocket.  Finding a place of groundedness allows the big picture to come through, to filter into the physical world and to become embodied.  One of the things I work with with clients, both individuals and groups, is exploring grounding practices and tools that can be used in daily life.  I encourage everyone to create their own list of grounding practices and tools and will explore this topic more in future posts.

When my BP is too low, I tend to get too caught up in the details.  Another aspect of this is when I recognize I am feeling stuck or have a sense of efforting with “the list”; that it is a clear indicator that I need to take a break from what I am doing.  I know I need to step back.   Some of the ways I work with this is the pause, meditation, doing something creative, engaging with others, unplugging, etc.   “The pause” is what I call it when I step away from what I am working on and take some time to shift my energy from my point of focus.  This practice in and of itself helps me to reconnect with the big picture.   Clearly, this concept can go a bit against the grain of our push/push culture, especially in relation to work, but I feel it is key to staying connected to the big picture.

As I was finishing up this post, my partner, Mario, came home with a photo of a young red-tailed hawk sitting in a tree.  Suddenly, I thought of how the hawk is a great metaphor for this topic.  Hawks can sit for hours waiting and when they do move, they move consciously.  They also soar up high in the sky, seeing the big picture and yet, when it is time to move in, they are able to focus on the details, but with purpose and intention.

In Shamanic Healing, we often work with animal totems or spirits, as a way to receive guidance and wisdom.   Considered in this way, hawk can be seen as a visionary, able to soar up high and connect with the spiritual realm, the big picture.  Hawks also have keen eyesight and the ability to soar downward; they have the ability to be very precise and help to implement the big picture below.   Hawk medicine is said to unite heaven and earth, to connect with the universal energies and yet bring them down to earth in a practical way.  One of the messages of hawk energy is that we can carry the big picture into our daily lives and that if we do so, our life will be more fulfilling and purposeful.

How can we carry the message of hawk into our daily lives and find balance between heaven and earth, between the big picture and daily life?   How can our experiences and interactions in the world become more meaningful and purpose driven?  And what might happen in our world if we are able to move from this place of connection and balance?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections on this post, on your own experiences of your BP being too high or too low, on finding balance or anything that arises from exploring this topic.