Tag Archives: Growth

Writing To Heal 30 Day Online Writing Program Starts Today! Plus 7 Day Challenge Index…

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Thanks again to those who joined The Heart of Awakening Blog community for the 7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge focused on Cultivating Self-Compassion.  I hope you enjoyed the exploration and plan to bring this format back with other themes in mind.  Just in case you missed it, here is an index of the daily posts for you to explore or come back to in the future:

The next session of Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief, Loss and Change 30 Day Online Program, which I co-faciliate with Andrea Hylen of Heal My Voice is beginning today with a special Autumn Equinox Ceremony & Telegathering at 3 PM ET.  This call will open the group energy and space to bring in our intentions for the 30 days of writing.  Daily prompts begin on Wednesday, 9/23 and our time will include 3 additional teleclasses and a private Facebook group for community sharing.  If you are feeling called to dive more deeply into a process of Writing To Heal, I invite you to join us!  See below for details…


 

Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief, Loss and Change

A Heal My Voice 30-Day Writing Program

(With Teleseminar Support)

September 21 – October 22, 2015

REGISTER NOW

“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.” ~ Rumi

Joining a Heal My Voice program is a bit like embarking on a vision quest.  It is a journey into the core of our being.  In traditional cultures, this is done through time alone in nature; in Heal My Voice our vehicle is writing.  The intention of the Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief, Loss & Change 30-Day Program is to create a space for exploring writing as a vehicle for transforming and healing.  During this time, you will have an opportunity to:

  • receive daily support for your writing for 30 days
  • explore your own life and uncover a story that wants to emerge
  • connect with a community of authentic women and men on a journey of self-exploration
  • get to know yourself more deeply to reclaim personal power
  • discover your inner gifts
  • alchemize your pain into remembrance, honoring and joy; and
  • explore or reconnect with the Heal My Voice program to see if our upcoming 9-month book program is a right for you!

Screen shot 2012-04-06 at 7.40.51 PMThis 30-Day program with teleseminar support offers an opportunity to get to know yourself on a deeper level through the Heal My Voice process of Listening, Discovering and Exploring.  As you take this time to reflect on grief, loss and change in your life, Heal My Voice facilitators Andrea Hylen and Beth Terrence will support you in uncovering and identifying experiences and stories that wish to be expressed through self-reflection, writing and community sharing.  This program creates a container for you to go within, gain insight into your life experiences and access the gifts that emerge as we shine a light on our tender places.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~ Rumi

This 30-Day Program includes:

  • Three Weekly Teleclasses with exploration and discussion on grief, loss and change and transformation
  • HMV’s Sacred Sanctuary Writing Space (Audio recordings of inspiration and silence for writing)
  • 30-Days of prompts to inspire and jumpstart your writing
  • A Secret Facebook Group for sharing and discussion
  • BONUS CALL Audio: Tips on How to Write a Book (or E-book)
  • BONUS Fall Equinox Ceremony on the Phone. Live Call and Recorded. September 21: 12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern/9pm Europe

Three Teleseminars. All Teleseminars are recorded.

Wednesdays, 12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern/9pm Europe (September 30, October 7, October 14)

Location: Accessible by Phone or Online Listening; Audio replay will be available

Cost: $97.00 for full 30-Day Program

REGISTER NOW

Payment automatically Registers Your Email Address.

Facebook Group Opens on September 21.

Autumn Tips For Happy And Healthy Living

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Happy Autumn

“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.  Autumn and spring tend to be the times of more intense change and it is a powerful time to harmonize with the energy of the season for happy living and healthy well-being. Traditionally, autumn is the harvest season.  It is the time for our bodies to harvest and gather energy for the colder months ahead. The yang/outer energy of summer gives into the growing yin/inner energy of the approaching winter.

The days are getting shorter and cooler and as we are transitioning we may find that we are more tired, emotions are surfacing such as loss and grief and we may even feel a sense of overwhelm.  Although it may not seem so on the surface, there is an intense shift happening as we are clearing the excess heat from summer and then, we quickly need to begin warming the body the against extremes we will experience in Winter.  The strong, drying winds of autumn and the falling temperatures help the leaves to fall to earth and also, begin to push our own energies in and down as well.

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 Intestine, it has to do with digestion.  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 joy and ease of well-being now and as we move into the stillness of Winter.

Here are some tips to help you harmonize with the season:

  1. Rest & Renewal – It is natural to feel a sense of tiredness or fatigue as the seasons are changing.  This shift affects us in many ways and living in a modern world with electricity and technology can make it easy to override our natural rhythms.  The feelings of the yin energy coming in can be a heavy feeling, like we are being pulled down and it can be one we want to resist in order to get things done.  Be sure to listen to your body, mind, emotion and spirit and follow the messages you receive in terms of getting adequate rest.  You may be feeling to go to bed earlier or sleep in later in the mornings.  You may feel like taking nap in the middle of the day.  Your body is telling you what it needs; all you need to do is listen.  Getting adequate rest now is a precursor to having strong immune function during coming the winter months.
  2. Letting Go Of Clutter: In & Out – Autumn is the season of letting go and releasing.  We see this in nature as the leaves turn and begin to fall back to earth.  We see this with the Lung & Large Intestines as well.  We can use the energy of the season to support us in letting go of things that are no longer serving us.  This may be the clutter in our office or home and it may be beliefs we are holding that no longer serve us.  You may find that things you’ve wanted to clear or de-clutter and felt stuck on move more easily as you attend to them this time of year.  Taking time to create clearer space, both inner and outer, supports you in preparing for the stillness of winter.  Think about what you are ready to let go of.  Where can you focus your energies to create more space in your life?  What are you ready to let go of today?
  3. Connecting With Nature – Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are a part of nature.  Taking time to be present and connect with the natural world can help us to connect more deeply with our own essence.  Spend some time in nature just being.  Perhaps a walk in the woods or even just around your neighborhood.  Take some time to notice the changes that are abounding this time of year – the leaves turning color and falling, the squirrels busily preparing for winter, and the roots vegetables peaking that can support us through Winter.
  4. Warming Your Body & Soul – As the weather begins to cool and the air becomes drier, we need to find ways to warm and soothe our body and our soul.  In Chinese Medicine, Autumn is a powerful time to strengthen our Lung & Large Intestine function.  Drinking hot beverages can help to keep your body hydrated and warm.  Teas such as Rooibos, Green Tea, Fenugreek, Chamomile and Licorice can be beneficial.  Also, warming herbs such as Ginger, Cinnamon, Cloves or Cardamom can help warm our whole system.  Honey can be helpful as it supports yin function making it the perfect sweetener for this time of year; it can be used in tea or just in warm water to soothe a sore throat.  Try this simple ginger tea is incredibly warming and supports digestion as well:  Wash ginger root. Slice thumb sized pieces of ginger and place in 2 cups of water. Cover and simmer for 10-20 minutes and drink while warm.  Add honey if you need a sweetener.  Also, taking hots baths can help to keep the body warm and release toxins that are ready to be let go.  Try infusing your bath with some herbs such as lavender, chamomile, calendula, comfrey, clary sage or create your own blend.  Make a hot water infusion with 10 ounces of dried herbs in cups of water, steep for 15 – 20 minutes, strain and add to your bath; or you may wish to put the herbs directly into in a cheesecloth bundle.
  5. Honoring Our Ancestors –  In many cultures around the world, Autumn is seen as a time when we turn our thoughts turn to those who have left us; we think about their legacy and what they have left behind.  Often this “remembrance” arises naturally as feelings of sadness, loss and grief come to the surface.  It said that the “veils” are thinner this time of year and that our ancestors often come home to visit their loved ones.  This is a powerful time to honor our ancestors through ceremony & ritual.  It can also be a good time to allow ourselves to release feelings of loss and grief that we have been carrying that is ready to be released.  Sometimes we need to come to greater completion with our ancestors or loved ones.  Take some time to think of your ancestors.  Is there someone who has passed that you need to work with to move to a place of greater peace in your life?  Perhaps there are feelings you need to share or work through that are unresolved.  Now it the perfect time to do this type of soul work.  Is there is a pattern or belief you have become aware of in your ancestral lineage?  What can you do to begin to transform that pattern?  Perhaps simply asking your ancestors for help is the place to begin!

I hope you will take some time in the coming weeks to harmonize with the energy of the season.  As always, feel free to stop by to share your experiences and reflections.

Happy Autumn!

Bach Flower Of The Month: Walnut (The Remedy Of Change & Transition)

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WalnutI have been utilizing the Bach Flower Remedies since the late 1990’s when I began working with a practitioner to help in my healing of Fibromyalgia and emotional pain.  I had been on a near decade long  journey in healing through Fibromyalgia.  With little help from conventional medicine, I began an exploratory journey into alternative and holistic treatments.  After making many changes including diet, supplements, exercise as well as spiritual practices such as yoga and meditation, I found tremendous relief from my symptoms.  I would say by the point I came to work with Bach Flowers I was about 70% symptom free.

I had some life events happen around that time that really raised my awareness of the need to address the emotional body as part of the healing process.  I had done therapy at that point, but hadn’t really addressed emotional healing in an energetic or integrated way.  The Bach Flowers really opened the door to a whole new understanding of emotions and their role in healing; and, also offered me a foundation to do some deeper emotional healing work.

After one year of treatment focused on emotional healing, which included ongoing work with the Bach Flower remedies, emotional release work and some deep inner child work, I found myself symptom free of Fibromyalgia for the first time in over a decade.  I had already been working in the field of holistic healing doing bodywork, energy work and teaching meditation.  This experience really expanded my understanding of dis-ease and the effects that emotions play in how we experience health and well-being.

I share this because this month’s remedy is one that I feel was highly beneficial in my own healing process. It continues to be one that I use personally and is one of the most frequently used remedies in my work with clients.  It supports both adjusting to existing life changes as well as moving out of old patterns, feelings and beliefs, which are keeping us from creating the changes we desire.  Although all flower essences assist with change, I consider Walnut to be the official remedy of change and transition.

Dr. Bach shared the following words about the Walnut remedy:

“For those who have definite ideals and ambitions in life and are fulfilling them, but on rare occasion are temped to be led astray from their own ideas, aim, and work by the enthusiasm, convictions, or strong opinions of others.  This remedy gives constancy and protections from outside influences.

Walnut is the remedy of advancing stages, teething, puberty, change of life.  For the big decisions made during life, such as change of religion, change of occupation, change of country.  The Remedy for those who have decided to take a great step forward in life, to break old conventions, to leave old limits and restrictions and start on a new way.  This often brings with it physical suffering because of slight regrets, heart-breakings, at the severance of old ties, old associations and old thoughts.  A great spell-breaker, both of things of the past commonly called heredity, and circumstances of the present.”

Just as the shell of the walnut is very hard and protects it’s softer center, the Walnut essence helps to strengthen and stabilize our energy field so that we are more able to hold our center and engage in the world with clarity, focus and intention.  In a sense, Walnut offers a shielding quality that helps us in holding center, maintaining our choices and flowing with changes that are occurring both inwardly and outwardly.

Walnut has many benefits that support our ability to move through change and transitions.  Some of the benefits include:

  • Provides a shielding quality that supports creating & maintaining our boundaries and borders
  • Helps protects us from the effects of outside influences
  • Eases emotional and energetic sensitivity
  • Helps to adapt to periods of change and transition including life changes and development phases
  • Helps to let go of or break old patterns, limiting beliefs and core issues which no longer serve us
  • Aids in resolving dysfunction stemming from family of origin
  • Helps acclimate to new ways of being, such as new phases of life, work, family, etc.
  • Supports spiritual transformation and growth
  • Protects from the influence of suppressive energies or parasitic infestations (including physical, mental, emotional & spiritual)
  • Supports finding and holding our center and connecting more fully to our soul purpose

Here are some questions to see if Walnut may be beneficial for you at this time:

  • Do you find it difficult to adjust to change and transition?
  • Are you feeling disoriented, out of balance or having difficulty adjusting to change?
  • Are you currently experiencing changes in life or environment such as work, school, moving, etc?
  • Are developmental changes a factor such as puberty, menopause, aging, etc?
  • Do you feel drained by other people?  Are you aware that you take on other people’s energy or emotions?
  • Are you overly sensitive to ideas and influences of others?
  • Are you moving through a time of spiritual growth and transformation?
  • Are you committed to breaking old patterns or let go of beliefs, which no longer serve you?
  • Are you actively working on healing dysfunctional family or ancestral patterns?

Working with the Walnut remedy can greatly help to ease periods of change and transition, whether we initiate them through personal work or are going through a period of life change that arises on it’s own.  Whether you choose to work with Walnut or not, I hope you will take some time to explore current transitions in your life or consider changes you might like to make.

  • Do you need to change your self-care based on recent transitions?
  • Do you need to take time to connect with nature?
  • Do you need to spend more time going within?
  • Is it time to find new tools to support transformation and healing in your life?
  • Do you have a clear sense of your soul purpose at this time?
  • What choices you are making or would you like to be making to engage in the world in a more intentional way?

Walnut reminds us that one of the ways that we can move more easily through change is to be present with it in a conscious and loving way; and, that by returning to our center, again and again, we are able to allow our deeper essence to emerge.

I’d love to hear your experiences with Walnut or any thoughts and reflections that arise as you explore change and transition in your life at this time.

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For additional information on the Bach Flower Remedies and Dr. Edward Bach, visit http://www.bachcentre.com.

If you are interested in a Bach Flower Remedy Consultation & Treatment, I offer these sessions in Annapolis, MD, by phone or by Skype.  I have found the Bach Flower Remedies to be one of the most beneficial transformational and healing tools that I utilize both personally and in my holistic healing practice.   I have worked with the Bach Flowers for over 15 years and I am a Bach Flower Registered Practitioner through the Bach Centre, home of Dr. Edward Bach.  Please feel free to visit my website or contact me if you would like to explore how the Bach Flower Remedies and an Integrative Transformational Approach may benefit your own process of transformation and healing.  (www.bethterrence.com)

Also, you might like to explore the following posts on the Bach Flower Remedies:

The Bach Flower Remedies: A Tool For Transformation

Visionary Voices: Dr. Edward Bach

Bach Flower Remedies For 2012 Transitions: Walnut

Bach Flower Of The Month: Agrimony

Bach Flower Of The Month: Pine

Bach Flower Of The Month: Rockwater

Change Your Life Message #1

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“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~ Viktor Frankl

Original Artwork by Beth Terrence

Book Review: Making A Change For Good by Cheri Huber

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“At a certain point we must,

without self-hatred,

stand at the crossroads,

hear the little voice that says

“You can go in a new direction,”

heed that voice,

and make a choice to end suffering.”

~ Cheri Huber

It has been my intention to include book reviews as part of the information shared on The Heart Of Awakening.  In alignment with this month’s theme of change, I’d like to share about Cheri Huber’s book, Making A Change For Good: A Guide To Compassionate Self-Discipline.

For those who are not familiar with Cheri Huber, she is a Zen teacher, writer and speaker.  In 1983, Cheri founded the Mountain View Zen Center, and in 1987 she founded the Zen Monastery Peace Center in California.  She conduct workshops and retreats at these centers, other places around the U.S., and internationally.  In 1997, Cheri founded Living Compassion, which is  a nonprofit organization dedicated to peace and service.  She is the author of 20 books including the very popular, There Is Nothing Wrong With You.

Making A Change For Good was published in 2007.  As with all of Cheri’s book, this one is written in a fun, user-friendly style that supports deep exploration and transformation.  It’s the kind of book our inner children love to read.  It’s written in a fun font, with spaciousness on the pages and there are many cartoon like drawings that help to understand the concepts shared in a creative way.  In this book, the focus is on Change.  Huber speaks of shifting our perspective on how to create change from harshness and rigorous self-discipline that arises from our conditioned mind to a path of gentleness, compassion and self-acceptance.  In her words,

“Compassionate self-discipline is simply allowing the intelligence and generosity that is your authentic nature to guide you in every moment.”

The book offers two parts, the main content, which provides an exploration of compassionate self-discipline, beliefs, meditation, awareness practice and becoming a mentor to ourselves.  She also addresses some specific topics such as time management and eating which can be places where we may really have difficulty moving beyond our conditioning into  compassionate self-discipline.  The second part of the book is a Guided Retreat, entitled “30 Days To Compassionate Self-Discipline” which can be done in conjunction with reading the book or on its own.

I have really benefited personally from this book;  it is one of my favorite books on change.  It’s not just a good read on the subject but it’s a step by step daily process for transformation.  When working with the 30 Day practice, you have the opportunity to choose a specific topic to work on and as you do so, there is a process of self-awareness that occurs related to that specific issue or pattern.  Some of the topics I have utilized this book to explore include self-care, clutter, writing, etc.  I have probably worked with the 30 Day Guided Retreat at least 10 times, sometimes completing it and others not, but always learning more about myself and growing in the process.

There is a strong foundation of meditation as part of the practice and another way to use book can be to help support or deepen in the development of a daily meditation practice.  Whether your chosen change is focused on meditation or a specific area of your life, learning to be fully present to your experience and moving beyond the conditioned mind is a necessary part of the change process and it the gift that meditation brings to our lives.

I recommend Making A Change For Good to anyone who is working to cultivate change and would like explore creating change is a conscious, caring and compassionate way.   Also, if you have struggled with change, and particularly, a specific issue or area of change, this book offers a process that supports deep exploration into the nature of resistance as well as a path to transform old patterns, feeling and beliefs that may be keeping you stuck.  I often recommend this book to my clients as an adjunct support to the transformational work they are already doing.  The Guided Retreat includes a Daily Evening Review, which is a great way to track what is arising during the change process.

I hope you’ll explore Making A Change For Good: A Guide To Compassionate Self-Discipline.  If you have worked with this book, I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections, too.

To learn more about Cheri Huber’s books and programs, visit www.cherihuber.com.

Five Steps To Becoming Your Own Agent Of Change

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“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” ~ Alan Watt

1. Accept responsibility for your own change or healing process.

The most common definition of the word responsibility is “the quality or state of being responsible” and sometimes this is seen as a burden.  I had an Aha moment with this word when I attended a college psychology class with a friend.  Oddly, I had dropped out of school at the time but while visiting went to class  and heard his professor define responsibility as “the ability to respond”.  I can’t even tell the exact nature of that lecture or the class overall, but hearing those words impacted in a way that has shaped my life.

Interestingly, part of the reason I had dropped out of school at that time was because I had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and some of the symptoms such as fatigue and severe muscle pain caused me to be unable to attend classes consistently.  At the time, Fibromyalgia was a relatively new diagnosis and there weren’t a lot of treatment options available.  I learned quickly that if I were to regain my health and return to college, I needed to take “responsibility” for my own healing process.

Having that alternative definition of responsibility opened a door of possibilities for me as I began to explore holistic and alternative modalities so that I could become better able to respond to what I was experiencing and create change in my life.  “Being able to respond” is a core concept  in my personal work and in the work I share with others and I view it is a key to becoming your own change age

 2. Be curious and open to exploration.

As I began to explore alternative and holistic modalities, I began to learn and grow in ways I never imagined.  Carrying a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia for a young aspiring 20 something seemed like a burden, even a curse at times, and yet, this burden, led me to a path of self-exploration and discovery that defines who I am today.  This burden ended up being one of greatest blessings in my life and has led me to a life path I feel passionate about.

Some of the tools I explored were very beneficial, others not so much, but either way, I was building my toolbox and getting to know myself on a much deeper level in the process.  We don’t know what will help us in creating change until we try it and what works for one person may not work for another.  Being open and curious is such an important part of any change process.  In meditation and other spiritual practices, it is often suggested to come to it with a Beginner’s Mind.  This is a great way to approach life and change as well.  When we come to our explorations with this type of openness, new possibilities emerge that we may not have been able to see if we hold the “I already know” paradigm.

3. Track your experiences and build your personal transformational toolbox.

By now you are probably getting tired of me talking about the importance of journaling as a transformational tool, but without somehow tracking your experiences, it is difficult to truly identify what is working and what is not working in your change process.   Also, one of the keys to becoming your own change agent is to build a transformational toolbox that can support you in the changes you are currently making and in future changes.  Having some type of journal, log, and list becomes your personal guide to change.  And, no one can truly write this book but you.   In Five Steps To Mastering Anxiety, I share an example of some ways to track your experience and begin to build your toolbox that may offer some ideas to explore.

 4. Be willing to be uncomfortable and roll with the resistance.

This is a step that most of us don’t like and it is often where we tend lost our steam in the change process.  Being willing to roll with the resistance that arises as we initiate change is a vital component of any transformational process.  If we approach change with some of the above steps, we can be more conscious of our resistance and awareness as it is arising and this s a key to working with it.  Also, often doing some deeper work, such as an inner child process, can help to create safety and security within, which is often where our fear of change arises.  Developing practices that support being present with what is arising, such as meditation, can help.  Also, be sure to develop a good support system and use it

5. Recognize the need to continually adapt.

In the words of Greek philosopher Heraclitus,

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change.”

We are constantly changing, as is our world.  Our cells our changing, our relationships are changing, nature is changing and yet, we somehow long for things to stay the same.  This is where much of our suffering arises.  By acknowledging that we are always changing and that we will continue to change and by recognizing that as a result, we need to continually adapt, we truly become agents of change.

At times, it may feel like we need the majority of people to change for our world to change, however I feel much like Margaret Mead,

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world.  Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Each step we take toward change in our personal lives and in our relationships creates the potential for transformation to occur in a greater way in our world as we are all connected through the beautiful, amazing web of life.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and reflections and most of all, enjoy the journey!

Loving Ourselves As A Key To Change & Healing

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Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek & find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ~ Rumi

One of the foundations of The Heart Of Awakening Blog is the concept of Loving Ourselves As A Key To Change & Healing.  As change has come so strongly into the container this month, I am feeling to share a link to one of HOA’s most popular posts, 7 Ways To Cultivate Love & Compassion For Yourself.  This post offers a great exploration of this concept and some simple steps to begin to deepen is self-love and acceptance.  This is an important aspect of any change process and particularly if we are working to move out of limiting patterns and beliefs which we may be carrying that no longer support us.  Often, this can be related to the inner critic or approaching change with an attitude of harshness or rigid self-discipline.  As we begin to shift into a place of gentleness and compassionate self-discipline, new possibilities emerge for us on our journey of change and healing.  I hope you will take some time to explore this post.

Also, during the month of July, I will be offering a Free Teleclass on Monday, June 22nd at 12 PM EST that will explore Loving Ourselves~ A Key To Change & Healing as well as a live workshop in Annapolis, MD on Saturday, 7/27 on Living From The Heart: From Cholesterol To Consciousness With Herbalist/Health Educator Leigh Glenn of Art of Earth.  If you’d like to learn more about these events or to register online see the links below or feel free to drop me a note.

Loving Ourselves~ A Key To Change & Healing Free Teleclass on 7/22

Living From The Heart: From Cholesterol To Consciousness Workshop in Annapolis, MD on 7/27

I’d love to hear your experiences and reflections on loving ourselves as a key to change and healing or anything that is arising in your change process at this time.

Love & light,

Beth

Bach Flower Remedy Of The Month ~ Agrimony

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“Healing must come from within by acknowledging and correcting our faults and by harmonizing our being with the divine plan.”  – Dr. Edward Bach, Creator Of The Bach Flower Remedies

There are 38 different types of flower essences in the Bach Flower Repertoire; all were created by the visionary Dr. Edward Bach, who believed that disease in itself is beneficient and arises to show us where there is disharmony or discord in our being.  The remedies work through a process of flooding our energy fields with a positive virtue, which can help to transmute our pain, suffering and imbalances.  Participating actively and consciously in a process of transformation is at the heart of awakening to our journeys as human beings.  Working with the Bach Flower Remedies can support our awakening both through helping to raise our conscious awareness of our individual patterns as well as providing a tool, which can support bringing our whole being – body, mind, emotion and spirit – into greater alignment with our Divine essence.

Agrimony (Agrimonia Epupatoria) supports the process of being open with one’s feelings, standing fully in one’s truth in the world and developing true inner peace and calmness.   It is indicated for those who feel a need to conceal their true feelings, to appear together and always look good.   It is indicated for those who struggle with anxiety and are tormented by hidden worries.  Agrimony types are known to keep everything inside, to do anything to avoid arguments or strife and to make light of their own difficulties.   There is a tendency to be restless and overly sensitive.  Also, Agrimony types often suffer from parasitic infestation, drawing others who sap their energy and vitality.  They may use alcohol, drugs, emotional eating or other addictions to deal with their feelings and to help them appear more cheerful and carefree.

Here are some questions that may help indicate if Agrimony is beneficial for you:

  • If you come in are you’re not feeling good, do you just put on a happy face and nobody really knows what you’re feeling?
  • Do you suffer from anxiety?
  • Do you struggle with addictions or use substances (drugs, alcohol, food, etc.) to cope with your feelings?
  • Do you have a tendency to feel restless?
  • Do you tend to hide your worries or feelings?
  • Do you put on the “I’m Okay” facade even when you are feeling troubled inside?
  • Do you make light of your difficulties or act cheerful to hide your feelings of turmoil?
  • Are you overly sensitive in general or in response to conflict or strife?

The Agrimony remedy brings in a quality of authenticity and helps to get in touch with one’s true feelings with openness and acceptance.  It supports an individual in becoming aware of and processing anxiety and painful feelings rather than stuffing them or holding them inside.  It can be beneficial in transforming addictive patterns and fostering a deep sense of inner peace and calm.

Agrimony also has a very strong shielding quality.  This helps to protect from negative, violating and parasitic energies and people.  This is one of the major benefits of this remedy and of the Bach Flowers Remedies overall.  In order to feel one’s feelings fully and stand in one’s truth, it is necessary have a clear and strong energy field, which is one of the great benefits of the remedies.  Agrimony assists in bringing a state of genuine inner joyfulness, trusting optimism and the ability to see problems in the right light and perspective.

Affirming, “I am finding peace within myself” is the essence of Agrimony.

For additional information on the Bach Flower Remedies and Dr. Edward Bach, visit www.bachcentre.com.

If you are interested in a Bach Flower Remedy Consultation & Treatment, I offers these sessions in Annapolis, MD, by phone or by Skype.  I have found the Bach Flower Remedies to be one of the most beneficial transformational and healing tools that I utilize both personally and in my holistic healing practice.   I have worked with the Bach Flowers for over 15 years and I am a Bach Flower Registered Practitioner through the Bach Centre in the UK, home of Dr. Edward Bach.  Please feel free to visit my website or contact me if you would like to explore how the Bach Flower Remedies may benefit your own process of transformation and healing.

Also, you might like to explore the following posts on the Bach Flower Remedies:

The Bach Flower Remedies: A Tool For Transformation

Visionary Voices: Dr. Edward Bach

Bach Flower Remedies For 2012 Transitions: Walnut

Discover The Healer Within – Connecting With Sacred Space

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                           “Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.”                                                                                                                            – Joseph Campbell

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In many of the traditions I have studied, illness or disease have been defined as being out of balance or harmony; some say with our soul, some say with our different aspects of self, such as body, mind, emotion and spirit.  Historically, this has been a foundation for healing and yet, in our current medical model, we tend to be hyper-focused on specific conditions or symptoms without looking at the whole person.  This is hopefully beginning to change as we are seeing more focus on the whole person, but it is is slow process.  What I have learned in my own journey and in working with others for over 17 years in the field of holistic healing is that a key to transformation and healing is to take responsibility for one’s own healing process.

For this purpose, the definition of “responsibility” is the ability to respond.  This is a choice we can make for ourselves.   Often, I hear folks say “I know what I need to do, I just can’t seem to make those changes” or “I know I need to do something, but I just don’t know what”.   And, we often need to get support or guidance, particularly when we are working to change long-held patterns, conditions or beliefs.  Yet, ultimately, only we can truly know our own selves.  Getting to know ourselves and our inner guidance system is a major step toward healing and transformation.

It is also important to learn to experience that change is possible.  I find this is best done experientially through what I refer to as a “state change”.  As we begin to have the experiences of feeling differently, hopefully better, we begin to learn how to create our own shifts and then, the possibilities for change become wide open.  It is often in this space, which is usually one where we begin to create greater presence, clarity and awareness, that we can begin to know ourselves more deeply and learn to access the healer within.

There is no set formula and there is no magic formula that works for all people.  It is important to learn what works for us as individuals, to learn what doesn’t work and to learn how to be in tune with ourselves in an ongoing way.  Life is a journey and although we may heal from one condition or transform a pattern or belief, we are multidimensional beings.  As long as we are journeying in this life, there will be more work to do and another layer to explore.  So, learning to access the healer within and take responsibility for our own process is a vehicle that supports our evolution as human beings.

Learning to connect with Sacred Space is something that is a part of every culture and religion of the world.  It is something we can do in community and it is something we can cultivate on our own, both inwardly and outwardly.  When we enter into Sacred Space, we change energetically.  We step more fully into the present moment, our hearts open and we become more fully engaged in our experience.  Whatever our background or beliefs, finding ways to cultivate and connect with Sacred Space opens the doorway for knowing ourselves more deeply and accessing our inner wisdom.  This can be a powerful component in discovering the healer within.

At its most basic, Sacred Space is a place that invites the contemplation of divine mystery and encourages an attitude of spiritual openness.  We can consider this somewhere where we open our hearts and find support from spirit, in whatever way we define or believe that to be.  A Sacred Space may be a physical location where we go to search for meaning or truth such as a temple, church or even a place in nature.  It is not necessarily a place where answers are grasped or understood but more so it is where questions may be asked.  It can be a place or state where divine inspiration mixes with practices such as ritual, song, dance or prayer that help us to feel a sense of connection with our spirituality.

The origin of the word “Sacred” stems from Latin, sacer, which means “to make holy”.  In a sense, sacred refers to something that is set apart from the ordinary perhaps with intention, feeling or conviction.   Stepping out of the ordinary, out of the busyness or affairs of daily life is a foundational aspect of connecting with the healer within.  There are many ways to step out of the ordinary.  Many think of going to outer places such as temple, cathedral, space in nature, but we also have the ability to connect with and cultivate that sacred space within our own selves.

As we learn to connect with Sacred Space, both inwardly & outwardly, we begin to come into greater alignment with our own essence and the energies around us.  This helps to create a container for intention, connection and healing.  Although I refer to inner and outer ways of creating Sacred Space, this is really all the same.  “Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world.”  The outer is important as it reveals to us where our work lies by what is emerging in our lives.   When we become our own healer – we move inner to outer and outer to inner interchangeably knowing that energetically they are the same.

The following are some ways to explore connecting with Sacred Space:

Calling The Directions – In many cultures, including Native American, Buddhist, Asian, Celtic and other indigenous groups, there is a strong connection with the directions, which carry energy and meaning.  Calling in the directions can be done as a ritual to start the day or open Sacred Space; also, one can work with the energy or quality of a certain direction.  This can be a way to connect with specific energies as well as the greater whole.  This type of practice supports moving out of the limited construct of our individual self into the collective energy of creation.  Prayer For A New Day is an example of this practice.  Associations and meanings will vary based on culture or tradition; this is an example of how one might explore and find what meaning or method of practice is most resonant for them.

Shamanic Journey Work – From the shamanic viewpoint, everything is alive, has spirit, and all things/creation are interconnected through what we call the web of life.  There is an understanding that we need to respect and honor all things and all beings as we are a part of a greater whole.  In a shamanic journey process, there is an opportunity to connect with the Sacred Space within and explore one’s own inner guidance system.  Learn more about Shamanic Healing: A Journey Of Reconnection

Ceremony & Ritual – This is a wonderful way to access and create Sacred Space.  This is something one can do according to their own personal belief system or culture.  It can be as simple as stating an intention and lighting a candle or an as elaborate at a medicine wheel gathering or ceremony.  The important thing, once again, is to find what resonates with you and begin to bring more of this into your daily life.  Learn more about Finding Connection Through Ceremony & Ritual.

Meditation – Meditation practice, in and of itself, is a way to enter the sacredness within.  Also, moving into a place of stillness creates a gateway to our divinity.  The practice of meditation and creating a space to practice can be wonderful way to cultivate Sacred Space.  Having a clear space, coming to the cushion or seat in an intentional way, perhaps lighting a candle or incense, etc. is a way to shift our energy more fully into the present moment.  Each time we practice, we are fostering our experience and ability to access in any moment.  If you’d like to explore a 31 Day Guided Practice, try May Is For Metta.

Mind/Body Practices – Finding a practice that supports body, mind, emotion and spirit such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and coming to it in an intentional way offers an opportunity to consciously move into Sacred Space.  Working with this type of practice helps to develop awareness of one’s own energy system as well as our interrelationship to the greater whole.

Sound Healing – In many cultures and shamanic practice, sounds such as drumming or rattling are used to facilitate a natural altered state of consciousness.  For many people, simply listening to music is a way to shift their energy and awareness.  Using sound or music is a powerful way to create a state change and can be utilized to connect with Sacred Space.  Using a certain sound or piece of music can be part of a ritual practice or ceremony as well.

Spending Time In Nature – The natural world is the original sacred space.  When we enter into the natural world or consciously connect with nature, our energy automatically shifts.  This can be as simple as going for a walk in the woods, hugging a tree, or laying on the earth.  We may wish to bring natural elements into our home such as rocks, plants or a waterfall.  We can connect with nature physically but also can do so energetically through meditation, visualization or shamanic journey work.  Mother Nature is one of the most powerful gateways to cultivating Sacred Space.  Also, as we love, honor and respect nature, we begin to access more of our own sacredness as part of a greater whole.

Stepping into Sacred Space facilitates a shift in our energy and our consciousness.  This affects us on all levels – body, mind, emotion & spirit.  We may not see changes right away as it may take time to manifest but this is creating a foundation for change.  As we enter into the stillness and begin to shift our energy from the busyness and chaos of the world and of our own mind, we can begin to hear our inner wisdom more strongly.

Again, everyone is different.  There is not one blueprint for healing and transformation.  What works for me may not work for you.  But, there are many tools, resources and practices to explore and see what is resonant for you.  Ask yourself these questions:

“Where do I feel a shift?”

“Where do I feel a sense of connection?”

“Where do I feel more at ease?”

“What practice or experience helps me to access my deeper essence or my inner wisdom?”

Always be asking and observing as life is a great exploration.  This is why journaling can be a great practice to support the process of transformation and healing.  Even if you are not into writing, it can be a great way to track your experiences and begin to build a toolbox or resource list for your own personal journey of discovering the healer within.

I hope you’ll take some time to reflect and explore connecting with sacred space as a way to discover the healer within.  Just 10 minutes a day of entering sacred space can be a powerful practice.  You may wish to try different practices each day for a while or choose one to work with for 10 – 30 Days to explore what’s possible.

As always, I’d love to hear your experiences, thoughts and reflections…

Are you ready to go deeper in your process of transformational and healing?  I’d love to support you in your journey to discover the healer within.  Learn more at www.bethterrence.com/Individuals.

 

Harmonizing With The Season

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“O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” – Percy Bysshe Shelley

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As I was writing my e-newsletter today, I found myself sharing about the change of seasons and the importance of being in tune with the rhythms of nature.  I have found that this time of year can be particularly challenging energetically as we make the shift from late Winter to early Spring.  I thought I’d share that piece here and if you would like to explore my e-newsletter which usually includes an introductory post, a transformational or holistic health tip, and the latest news on upcoming events and special offers on individual sessions, you can take a peek by clicking here.  Also, I wanted to share one of my favorite books on seasonal health and wellness – Staying Healthy With The Season by Elson Haas.  Dr. Haas is a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine and his site offers wonderful resources on health and wellness.  I’d love to hear your thoughts about this time of year and staying in tune with the energy of nature and the seasons.
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One of the wonderful things about life is the beauty that unfolds with the change of seasons.  Everyone seems to have their favorite season or time of year.  As we watch the natural world, it is easy to see the changes that occur throughout the year.  As humans, we are affected by these changes, but often, we are less aware of the energetic shifts that occur in our own being.  

Learning to connect with seasonal shifts happening in nature is a part of traditional healing practices.  This can be seen in many indigenous cultures, Chinese medicine and Ayurveda.  Also, if we were to consider the origin of many of our holidays, most likely they would be linked to some seasonal celebration.   Living in a modern world with the ability to control our environment, our temperatures and limit our exposure to the elements can easily create a sense of disconnection from the seasonal flow of energy.

From this place of disconnection with nature and our own natural rhythms we may tend to experience discomfort and disease.  Learning to connect with and harmonize with the energy of the seasons can support us in feeling a greater sense of ease and well-being.  Making simple shifts in our seasonal routines through diet and self-care can make a big difference in our overall health.

I have found this time of year from late winter into early spring to be one that can be most challenging.  It is time of year when many people experience depression or a sense of lethargy.  Perhaps this is due to the darkness of winter but this is also a time of shifting energy.  We are moving from a more yin/inner energy to a more yang/outer energy and that shift is increasing at this time.  Although spring is not yet ready to show itself, there is a lot going on under the surface, both in nature and in our consciousness.

This can be a time people experience a sense of dis-ease which many manifest physically through sinus issues or colds or as a feeling of discontentment with life as it is.  Often, lots of emotions which may have been more dormant during the winter months as our body, mind and spirit was drawn inward are beginning to percolate under the surface.  It is not uncommon to feel a sense of unsettledness, edginess or impatience.

Just acknowledging that we are in a place of shifting energy is important as well as finding ways to create greater harmony for ourselves through this current transition.  Also, recognizing that there’s no hurry – Spring will come in its own time and we can choose a rhythm that supports us in finding greater balance and ease, too.

Here are some ways to align with the seasonal shift as we move through late Winter and into early Spring:

1. Be gentle with yourself as you make changes and explore aligning with the natural energy around you.  Be willing to go slow.  As Spring approaches, we start to feel ready to jump forward but right now, our energy is not ready to move too fast.  Be willing to honor what your body tells you in terms of rest and renewal.  There will be plenty of time to play in Spring & Summer.

2. Stimulate your energy by moving your body first thing in the morning.  Our bodies are still in a Winter mode and we want to wake up as Spring is almost here!  Start with a few minutes of stretching, tai chi or yoga – sun salutations are great.  Also, try a brisk walk or simply dance around you bedroom to get your energy moving.  This literally awakens the body’s energy channels.

3. Try getting to bed earlier so you can wake up refreshed and ready for your day.  Create an evening ritual to help you wind down such as a taking a hot bath, drinking a relaxing tea or doing an evening meditation to shift your energy toward sleep.  Remember that this is still late Winter and we do need more rest.

4. Start spending more time outdoors.  Even though the temperatures may still be cold, we are already experiencing noticeably longer days.  The sun is rising earlier and setting later.  The sun is also higher in the sky and beginning to warm up the atmosphere.  Take a moment to close your eyes and feel the sunshine on your face.  Take a midday walk directly in the sunshine between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.  Walk toward the south, directly into the sunshine for the greatest benefits.

5. Begin to add more greens to your diet.  This is important all year round, but especially as the seasons shift into early spring.  Nature provides us with spring shoots and leafy green vegetables.  The bitter taste of the greens is nature’s way of helping us to lighten up and cleanse our system after the cold winter and the denser foods we’ve been eating.  A great way to do this is to start your day with a green smoothie.  Use parsley, swiss chard, dandelion greens, spinach or kale, blended with some fruit and almond milk.  Add some soaked chia or flax seeds for healthy fat.  Enjoying a smoothie at room temperature is best as ice-cold temperatures can be depleting to your digestion.  As Spring sets in, it may be time to focus on a liver cleanse or detox, but for now just beginning to bring that green energy into your diet can give your energy a boost.

6. Take some time to journal.  Reflect on feelings that arising and how you experience shifts in energy.  Consider the coming of Spring and explore where you feel called to place your increased energy as the season arrives.  Spring is a time of growth and rebirth; it is a wonderful time to start new things.  Now is the perfect time to consider what new things you want to do come Spring.

I hope you’ll take some time this week to harmonize with nature’s energy and to explore creating greater balance and ease in your life.


 

Reflections Of A Wounded Healer: From Victim To Visionary – Heal My Voice Radio Show

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“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”
– Kahlil Gibran 

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Yesterday, I joined host, Andrea Hylen, on Heal My Voice Radio.  Continuing on the theme of my recent post Reflections Of A Wounded Healer: Finding Light In The Darkness, I share some of my own experiences of walking the path of the Wounded Healer and how having a willingness to journey in our most painful places can become the catalyst for a new life.  For me, this was a life that I never imagined was possible due to my childhood experiences growing up with a mentally ill parent.  It is said that as the Wounded Healer heals, there is an opportunity to become a healer, teacher and guide.  In a wonderful dialogue with Andrea, I share how this journey unfolded for me to step forth as a shaman, becoming a guide for others to embrace their dark places to find the healer within.

I have found that sharing my story and being open and authentic is one of the most powerful catalysts for healing and transformation.  Often, we want to leave our stories behind or just “get over it” and although we don’t want to continue to live out our stories, there is much wisdom, healing and “medicine” that can be found there.  Our life experiences are here to teach us and guide us in our soul’s evolution.  As we are willing to journey into those experiences, no matter how painful they may be, we have the opportunity to heal those places and to find the blessings held therein.  In a sense, this is a type of soul retrieval as we are reclaiming a part of ourselves that we have lost or disconnected from in some way.  Often our desire to move forward and leave that part of us or the pain behind, actually becomes an obstacle to our growth, healing and to living a joyful life.  When we consciously attend to the past, with all its sorrows and joys, we move into a place of greater alignment, which allows us to be more awake, alive and available to the present moment.

Listen to Reflections Of A Wounded Healer: From Victim To Visionary on Heal My Voice Radio

From Comparison To Compassion, From Perfectionism To Gentleness

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One of my favorite times in the day is when the Osho Zen Tarot App pops up on my phone with a message for the day.  I always find I receive the perfect card; the wisdom and simplicity that Osho brings helps me to step into the day with a sense of openness, playfulness and curiosity.  When today’s card arrived it read, “Comparison”.   I was not surprised as this is a topic I have been thinking about a lot lately.  The tendency to compare and contrast oneself to others is one that I learned at a pretty young age.  I am sure many folks can relate to that.

For me, this pattern is one I have worked on transforming on and off over the years.  Sometimes it seems I am more centered in myself and at other times, this pattern emerges and I fall back into comparing out.  When I am open, centered and grounded, I tend to be more accepting of who I am and how life is presenting itself to me.  When I am stressed, vulnerable or triggered, I tend to compare myself to others and evaluate my life circumstances based on a familial, societal and/or cultural construct that most often I do not resonate with as my personal truth.

I am amazed at how deep this pattern goes even with many years of personal and spiritual work.  It just runs so very deep.  I learned to compare as a child from family members; it didn’t take long for that to carry into school, friendships and later, work.  I am aware this dynamic was somewhat exaggerated for me by the impact of my mother’s mental illness and her own off the charts patterns of comparison interwoven with paranoia.  However over the years, I have observed this pattern in many of my clients, friends and acquaintances.   It also seems to be pervasive in American culture – everyone has heard the term, “Keeping Up With The Jones’s”.  However it may manifest, whether more personally or collectively, this tendency can really keep us stuck or unable to make desired changes in life as we are not moving from a place of center or from our authentic, heartfelt desires but from something outside of ourselves.

A related aspect of this that emerges for me is a pattern of perfectionism.   I find I can hold myself to such high standards that they are not really humanly possible.  So often, instead of honoring who I am and what I am doing, I am looking at what’s missing and comparing myself to an idea that does not exist and does not serve.   In fact, it is this pattern which keeps me the most stuck as I may not even begin to move when I feel that expectations are so high they are unattainable.  It seems kind of ironic because although perfectionism can lend some benefit to the process of success, achievement and fulfilling our potential, it can also hinder our growth as much as it can help it.  Perhaps there is some balanced level of perfectionism out there, but I haven’t found it yet.  I know this varies from situation to situation and person to person, but my sense is that it can be a huge block to living one’s potential.

I so loved Osho’s message on this topic today, here it is:

“Who ever told you that the bamboo is more beautiful than the oak, or the oak more valuable than the bamboo?  Do you think the oak wishes it had a hollow trunk like this bamboo?  Does the bamboo feel jealous of the oak because it is bigger and its leaves change color in the fall?  The very idea of the two trees comparing themselves to each other seems ridiculous, but we humans seem to find this habit very hard to break.  Let’s face it, there is always going to be somebody who is more beautiful, more talented, stronger, more intelligent, or apparently happier than you are.  And conversely, there will always be those who are less than you in all these ways. The way to find out who you are is not by comparing yourself with others, but by looking to see whether you are fulfilling your own potential in the best way you know how.” – Osho

It feels like turning Osho’s conclusion into a question is a great reflective practice:  “Am I fulfilling my own potential in the best way I know how?”  Even as I pose that question, I can feel many ways to answer it.  What comes to mind right away is to approach this question and this subject with gentleness and compassion for self.  Even when we enter into self-exploration and spiritual practice, if we do so with a critical or judgmental voice, we have the power to halt our true potential, rather than cultivate it.  Being open, loving and kind to ourselves is a key to shifting this pattern and many others as well.

I have found Metta (loving-kindness) meditation practice to be incredibly beneficial for this reason.  One, it helps to create a foundation of loving-kindness and compassion for oneself; and two, as we extend loving-kindness out to others and the world, our sense of oneness and connection really expands.  As our awareness develops that we are all really the same, the pattern of comparison is virtually nullified.  That is one of many reasons why I continue to work with Metta practice on an ongoing basis and share it with others as a foundational spiritual practice and tool for transformation and healing.

In my personal work and work with clients, I have also found some Bach Flower remedies that can really help to address patterns of comparison and perfectionism.  Here are a few that may be applicable.  I have included some basic indicators as well as Dr. Bach’s original descriptions:

Larch – Lack of Self-Confidence, Not Feeling Good Enough or Capable Enough, Tending To Compare Oneself To Others

“For those who do not consider themselves as good or capable as those around them, who expect failure, who feel that they will never be a success, and so do not venture or make a strong enough attempt to succeed.” – Dr. Bach, Heal Thyself

Rock Water – Rigidity, Self-Denial, Perfectionism, High Standards & Expectations

Those who are very strict in their way of living; they deny  themselves many of the joys and pleasures of life because they
consider it might interfere with their work.  They are hard masters to themselves. They wish to be well and strong and active, and will do anything which they believe will keep them so. They hope to be examples which will appeal to others who may then follow their ideas and be better as a result.” – Dr. Bach, Heal Thyself

Pine – Self-Critical, Never Satisfied With One’s Own Efforts or Results, Tendency To Be Harsh With Oneself

“For those who blame themselves. Even when successful they think that they could have done better, and are never content with
their efforts or the results. They are hard-working and suffer much from the faults they attach to themselves.  Sometimes if there is any mistake it is due to another, but they will claim responsibility even for that.” – Dr. Bach,  Heal Thyself

It felt fitting to share some of Dr. Bach’s words today as I was just notified that I have achieved status as a BFRP, Bach Flower Registered Practitioner, with the Bach Centre in the UK.  I have worked with Bach Flower Remedies for over 15 years and credit a major part of my personal healing process and spiritual growth to the support of the remedies and Dr. Bach’s philosophy of Unity and Harmony.  The remedies are an integral part of my integrative holistic practice, along with shamanic healing and zero balancing, as they help to support change and transition on an emotional and energetic level.

I share this because I am celebrating today and in my recent explorations of comparison and perfectionism, I have concluded that the best way to diffuse our inner critic is to cultivate our inner cheerleader.  This is something I am working on and plan to share more about in future posts.

I’d like to invite everyone to take some time to explore the question:

Am I fulfilling my own potential in the best way I know how?” And, hopefully, to do so with the utmost loving-kindness, gentleness and compassion possible.  Find some ways to cultivate those energies and qualities that bring you more into your center.  Allow yourself to celebrate who you are and what is arising in your life as divine perfection.  Pick up those pompoms, bullhorns, drums or rattles and say, “Three or three hundred or even three thousand CHEERS FOR ME!” 

Aho Mitakye Oaysin!  All my relations. I honor you in this circle of life today.

P.S. If Captain Vegetable can do it, so can you!…….

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Are you looking for a speaker, radio show guest, or someone to write a guest post on your blog?  I’d love to explore with you!  Feel free to contact me through my website, www.bethterrence.com.

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.

Lessons from Salmon: A New View On Struggle

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Some days
I flow with the river
Surging
Like a rainbow trout
Others days I thrash and flail
Like a salmon
Desperately trying to get back upstream
Not even knowing what I struggle for

I wrote this poem many years ago at a time when I had a very strong sense of struggle in my life.  The other night I had a dream that I was walking beside a large river.  As I looked into the river, I saw a salmon, then another and then suddenly the river was filled with salmon of all different sizes swimming upstream.  What I noticed was that the salmon were not struggling to get upstream, they were moving with ease, riding the currents below the surface.  It was beautiful to watch the way they were carried with grace and ease as they connected to the currents and just allowed themselves to be carried upstream.

When I awoke, I remembered my poem; it had been a bit of an anthem for me in my 20’s.  I often performed it when I did poetry readings; it seemed to represent the sense of struggle I felt about life.  Now, I notice that even then was able to acknowledge the times when I felt the flow of life although back then I was much more focused on struggle.  Over the years, my sense of flow has definitely increased and now I can see it relates as much to the salmon as to the rainbow trout.

I realize that I mistook the energy of the salmon as struggling when in reality the salmon only appears to be struggling as it moves upstream.  The salmon are not really fighting the currents but jumping to go deeper so that they can ride the reverse currents below the surface that carry them gracefully upstream.   What a beautiful metaphor for life.  At the surface, there is much that appears to be a struggle – there are a plethora of issues we deal with daily such as work, family, finances, health etc.  When we allow ourselves to delve deeper and to go below the surface, the energy and wisdom we need to flow through life is uncovered.  It was there all along but as we jump and dive deeper, we connect with those energies.

For some reason as I am writing this post the title of one of  Zen teacher Cheri Huber’s books comes to mind.  It’s called “When Your Are Taking a Fall – Dive”.   The salmon jumps upstream and is carried by the currents below the surface.  When we allow ourselves to go deeper,  to go within,  all of the support and energy that is an innate part of ourselves becomes accessible.  When we are willing to move with our resistance, there is spaciousness for great changes to occur.  We can learn from the Salmon who jumps out of water, it’s native element, essentially trusting that is will make the connection it needs to be carried upstream.  As we allow ourselves to move out of our comfort zones and be vulnerable, we are able to connect with those energies that can carry us and bring us into greater harmony with life.

I’d like to really honor the wisdom of the Salmon as a Power Animal or Totem.  It is often said that a Power Animal comes to you through a dream, journey or vision quest.  Power Animals can also be animals that we encounter in physical reality and have a strong connection with.   In a sense, they are  a reflection of our innermost essence; they represent our own talents and abilities and the qualities we need to thrive in the world.  When we connect with a Power Animal, we are gifted with a greater awareness as the Totem offers its power, medicine, protection and wisdom unique to its being; this can  help us to learn and grow. The term Totem is derived from the an Ojibwa word ototeman, meaning “one’s brother-sister kin.”  Through cultivating this sacred connection and spiritual support, we are able to become more in touch with our own self and the web of life.

There can be wisdom to learn from all animals whether or not they are our personal Power Animal.  In more traditional cultures, a relationship with animals is innate and reflects a sense of connection to the greater whole.  In many ways, we have lost this connection in modern societies.  Through exploring the energies and qualities of animals and the wisdom they bring, we are honoring our true nature and allowing more of our own essence to emerge.

The Salmon is a major totem for the Eskimo and other cultures along the North Pacific Rim.   For thousands of years, the rhythm of daily life has been ordered in accord with the Salmon population.  The Salmon are thought to inform the humans of their connection with the natural world and attune them to the natural rhythms of life.   Additionally, the Salmon is considered an animal totem in Celtic myth.  According to their mythology, there was a sacred well situated under the sea where the sacred Salmon acquired their wisdom and shared it with the Celtic people.

Some of the medicine or wisdom that Salmon brings includes the awareness that we have the strength within to:

  • Overcome obstacles that present themselves
  • Move steadily on our spiritual journey
  • Find meaning and purpose in our life
  • Swim upstream through emotional waters to gain insight
  • Roll with resistance and fear of change
  • Explore our bonds with the past and gain understanding from of our history
  • Connect with natural rhythms of life
  • Allow ourselves to be childlike, playful, spontaneous and inquisitive
  • Develop awareness of the currents and energies beneath the surface
  • Learn to go deeper to find those energies that support our movement
  • Persevere
  • Find fulfillment within ourselves and harmony with our world
  • Find satisfaction and self-expression through creativity
  • Connect with our source
  • Find strength from within
  • Know we are always home, wherever we may be

There are many books on Power Animals and resources online that can help to gain insight in animal totems.  One of my favorite books is Animal Speak by Ted Andrews.  It can also be beneficial to study, meditate or journey to a Power Animal or animals we feel drawn to and see what specific messages and wisdom they have to offer us.

I’d like to conclude with a new poem honoring Salmon and the deeper understanding I have of it today:

Jumping upstream
Diving deep
Finding currents
Being carried
We grow
We flow
We know
We are always home

The Bach Flower Remedies: A Tool for Transformation

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One of the most transformational tools that I have benefited from personally, and as a result have become a practitioner of, are the Bach Flower Remedies.  I was first introduced to the Bach Flower Remedies when I was in the process of recovering from the effects of Fibromyalgia.  I had been on a journey of exploring holistic modalities and nutritional support, as I had not found traditional medicine to be helpful in dealing with this condition.  I would say I was about 70% symptom free at the time that I began to take the Bach Flowers.  It became clear to me at that time that although I had addressed my body and physical symptoms in a variety of ways, the key to healing really lay in dealing with emotional body and the unresolved emotional pain that I was holding.

Around that time, I really dedicated my personal practice to working on healing my emotions and learning to let go.  I found three key patterns that were related to Fibromyalgia.  It has been my experience in my own recovery and in working with individuals dealing with Fibromyalgia over the last decade that these patterns need to be addressed:

1) An inability to let go.  This includes an inability to relax and a tendency to hold onto to difficult feelings and stresses, which then leads to severe tension and rigidity being stored in the physical body.

2) Push, push, crash.  This is a tendency to push so hard, beyond one’s abilities and then become depleted.  It tends to happen in those moments when one feels better or stronger but I have found this to be an overall energetic pattern of Fibromyalgia.  I believe the crux of this pattern tends to stem from perfectionism and a powerful inner critic which continues to drive a person despite physical limitations.

3) Sponginess. This refers to one’s energy field to be depleted, and like a sponge, to have the tendency to absorb others energy and emotions.  Without developing a more stable energy field, it is very difficult to strengthen and heal.

As I was working on these issues, I began to work with a Bach Flower Practitioner, who helped to determine remedies that would support the changes I was trying to create in my life.  I found that within a short time I felt tremendous relief, and within a period of six months, I had profound life changes, ones I never thought were possible.  The remaining physical symptoms I was dealing with were resolved; my overall health and well-being improved dramatically.  Additionally, I felt the greatest sense of serenity, balance and hope that I had ever experienced.  That was 15 years ago.  Since that time I have become a practitioner of the Bach Flowers, working with individuals as well as giving talks and workshops on the subject.  I continue to take the remedies myself as I find them a tool for the times we are in.  They support being more  balanced, grounded and energetically stable.

I will be sharing more about the Bach Flowers in upcoming posts.  I find the remedies themselves are a beneficial tool and the teachings of Dr. Bach, the creator of the Bach Flowers, are inspirational and insightful.  To learn more about Dr. Bach, you can read a previous post, Visionary Voices: Dr. Edward Bach or visit The Bach Centre, the home and workplace of Dr. Bach.  I will also be including a Bach Flower of the Month post to help bring to light the benefits of specific remedies.  Dr. Bach intended the remedies to be accessible to all and used by individuals for themselves and their families.  It can be helpful to work with a practitioner for a period of time as the process is subjective but it is possible to learn to work with the remedies on one’s own.

The Bach Flower Remedies: A Tool for Transformation

The Bach Flower Remedies are a tool for transformation that can assist in moving forward and creating change in one’s life.  They can help to heal old wounds and to assist with new ways of being.  The remedies can facilitate a strengthening of one’s ability move more easily in the world, to have healthier relationships, and to experience greater joy and ease of well-being.

The visionary physician Dr. Edward Bach discovered the thirty-eight remedies, which comprise the Bach Flowers, in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  Dr. Bach was well-known in England for his work in the areas of bacteriology and homeopathy.  It was through this work that he began to see a connection between state of mind and the disease process.  He found that if he treated the person’s state of mind, all physical symptoms would disappear, and if he treated early enough, may prevent illness from arising.  He recognized that long-term stress from emotions such as anger, fear or worry can lower a person’s resistance to disease.

Additionally, by studying vibrational medicine and native British flowers, Dr. Bach discovered that certain plant essences have a profound healing effect on the mind.  He observed that the remedies affected a deep personal transformation in his patients’ character and behavior patterns, which not only prevented disease but also left the patient happier and more integrated.  According to Dr. Bach, certain flowers are of a higher order.  He believed that these healing plants addressed disharmony within the mental and spiritual aspects of our being by flooding our energy field with higher frequencies and thereby aligning our whole being.  The remedies actually transmute negative energies into positive ones.  They do not mask the effects of the emotions, but provide a catalyst for change to occur from within us.  He saw this change as necessary for our spiritual growth, and said:

“The action of these essences is to raise our vibrations and open up our channels for the reception of our Spiritual Self, to flood our natures with a particular virtue we need, and wash out from us that fault which is causing harm.  They are able, like beautiful music to raise our very natures, to bring us peace and relieve our sufferings.”

Dr. Bach defined seven main moods, which prevent us from being our true selves and thereby, contribute to disease and suffering in an individual.  These moods include:  Fear, Uncertainty, Insufficient Interest in Present Circumstances, Loneliness, Over-Sensitivity to Influences and Ideas, Despondency or Despair, and Over-care for the Welfare of Others.  Dr. Bach also defines the seven beautiful stages in the healing of disease: Peace, Hope, Joy, Faith, Certainty, Wisdom, and Love.  Treatment with the Bach Flower Remedies essentially floods ones being with these positive qualities, transforming all energies, which limit or restrict one’s true self from being fully expressed.

A Bach Flower Remedy Consultation is done though an interview and detailed questionnaire.  This helps the practitioner to determine core issues and treatment remedies.  It is a collaborative process; the role of the practitioner is to support individuals in learning about themselves and determining remedies can support their process of change.  Most often a combination of five to seven remedies is recommended.  The remedies are taken orally;  2 drops of each core remedy are added to a 1 oz. dropper bottle filled with spring water.  The remedies work vibrationally rather than medicinally and as such are gentle and effective; they can do no harm. They are so gentle that pregnant women, children and even animals can use them.

As the remedies assist in deep transformation and healing, it is important for the individual to be open and willing to address the issues, which may come up for them.  The remedies teach us how to resolve issues and heal, but we must be willing to listen to the voice of our own soul.  It is important to remember that the Bach Flower Remedies, like any alternative modality, assist in our transformation.  It is up to the individual to be responsible for and to direct his or her own healing process.

The Bach Flower Remedies are a powerful catalyst for healing and change.  In addition to supporting change and transition, they have been beneficial in relieving chronic pain, anxiety, depression, fatigue and grief.  Whether you are already in a period of transition or wish to create changes but are feeling stuck, the Bach Flowers can support your movement into new ways of being.  Although determined by the emotions, the remedies support transformation and growth on all levels – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, the Bach Flower Remedies may have something to offer you:

  • Are you going through a major or minor life transition?
  • Do you feel tired and exhausted?
  • Are you looking for direction in your life?
  • Are you feeling stuck?
  • Do you have pain that won’t go away no matter what you do?
  • Are you sensitive emotionally and energetically?
  • Are you aware that other people or situations drain your energy?
  • Are you ready to step forward in you healing process?

One of the major benefits of the Bach Flower Remedies for our current times is the effect they have on the energy field.  In addition to supporting transmutation of specific emotions and personality traits, the remedies also help to strengthen and stabilize our energy fields.  In order to maneuver in the world in 2012, it is critical to find tools and practices that support our inner stability.  The Bach Flowers Remedies offer such tool and can be a valuable transformational resource.

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To learn more about Beth’s work with the Bach Flower Remedies, visit www.bethterrence.com.  Bach Flower Consultations are offered in person in the MD/DC area, by phone and by Skype.  Bach Flower Consultations are available as an individual modality or as part of an Integrative Transformational Session, which is a customized session based on individual intentions, combining transformational resources such as Shamanic Healing, Bach Flowers, Body/Energy Healing, and Meditation.

Upcoming Bach Flower Talks in the Maryland/DC Area:

July 11th– Introduction to the Bach Flowers, Wholefoods, Annapolis, MD

August 8th – Bach Flower Q & A, Wholefoods, Annapolis, MD

Actualizing The Power of Intention

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“For the last four hundred years, an unstated assumption of science is that human intention cannot affect what we call “physical reality. Our experimental research of the past decade shows that, for today’s world and under the right conditions, this assumption is no longer correct. We humans are much more than we think we are…” – Dr. William A. Tiller

We have come to a place where science and spirituality meet in many ways. For those who have had a focus on energy, whether through Acupuncture or Eastern Medicine, Energy Healing such as Reiki or Pranic Healing, Yoga or other spiritual practices, it has long been accepted that matter follows energy. It is exciting that science is now on board with this concept. A major focus on the Heart of Awakening blog is to support a shift into a new paradigm. This begins with an inner shift in our thoughts, energy and focus – it begins with Intention.

At this point, there is greater acceptance and understanding of the role of intention in creating change. The work of Dr. Tiller is called Psychoenergetic Science. It involves an expansion of traditional science to include human consciousness and human intention as being capable of significantly affecting the properties of materials (non-living and living) and what we call our “physical reality.” Basically, our intentions affect our experience and our actual world. And, we have the ability to change our lives and our world.

Using intention in a positive way is a powerful tool for transformation. Intention is used in many aspects of our lives. We may have general intentions or wishes, which we are holding but they may not be in the forefront of our consciousness. Our conscious mind is actually only a small fraction of our mind, the vast part of it being unconscious. However, when we bring something into our conscious awareness and give it meaning, we are creating a relationship with our unconscious and support transformation on a deeper level.

As we bring our intentions into the forefront of our experience and work more actively with them, we begin to create changes in our consciousness, our energetic field and in the world. In a sense, we become a beacon carrying that energy both inwardly and outwardly into all of our experiences. We all have our own personal intentions that we can work with and we also have the opportunity to carry intentions that support ourselves, others and the world. Embodying qualities such as peace, happiness, respect and serenity can become a part our active intentions thus assisting in our own personal transformation and shifting our world into a new paradigm.

Finding a way to actively work with intention helps us to move more consciously in the world and to create alignment within ourselves. As with all practices, it is important to explore and find what resonates for you personally. This is part of moving into greater alignment with oneself. Some ways to work with Intention include:

1. Affirmations – Affirmations are a powerful tool for transformation. To affirm means to “make firm” that quality or message you are working with. Affirmations offer a way to change our inner dialogue, in a sense to short-circuit the unconscious messages or tapes that are always playing in our minds and to create new ones. This practice can transform our attitudes and our expectations. It can also show us the negative or unconscious messages that we are carrying within us. Affirmations can be done silently, spoken aloud, written down or even chanted. They can be posted in places you will see them, tucked in hidden places where you will find them unexpectedly or recorded so you can listen to them repeatedly.

2. Ceremony & Ritual – Participating in ceremony and ritual helps us to feel connected to ourselves, to others and to the world. It is a time when we enter into sacred space. Whether it is a ceremony that marks a major life event such as a marriage or death or the simple ritual of lighting a candle, there are two elements at play – intention and action. We can create our own ways of working with ceremony and ritual to take our intentions into a place of action. This helps us to embody our intentions more fully on all levels – body, mind, emotion and spirit. One of my favorite ways is through Fire Ceremony. I use this personally as well as with clients and groups both to set an intention to let go of experiences, feelings and energies, which are no longer serving; and, to invite in the energies or qualities (the intentions) that can support transformation and moving into a new way of being. The energy of fire is one of transformation. Taking action in this way helps to support a powerful shift as well as bringing us more fully into the present moment. Perhaps this is the greatest intention of all – to be fully present in this very moment.

3. Creating – Creating something to represent our intention helps to concretize it and brings it more fully into our own consciousness and into the world. This can also be a way to let one’s own creativity emerge, which in and of itself is a way to access our inner self. Creating can be through artwork such as a drawing, painting, or mandala making. It can be through the written word such as a poem, slogan or just writing your intention in your journal or somewhere that it is visible to you. Another option is to make a Vision Board in which you use pictures and words to help to invite in your intention and the vision you wish to create into your life. Being creative is an opportunity to explore your own essence and to create a connection between your conscious and unconscious self. Through you own self-expression, you are making your intentions visible.

4. Contemplative Practices – Contemplative practices such as meditation or prayer help us to move into the present moment, to quiet some of the busyness in our minds and to connect more deeply with our intentions. Moving from a place of stillness, clarity and focus supports being in alignment with our intentions and carrying them with us as we move in the world. When we take the time to pause, center and reconnect with our own self and spirit, our energy becomes clearer and we are able to align with our intentions in a more focused way. This creates a clearer, stronger energy field that helps us to truly embody our intentions.

5. Authenticity – Allowing ourselves to be authentic and to speak from the heart, openly and honestly, is part of actualizing the power of intention. When we share our intentions with others, we are sharing our deeper being. We are also moving into greater alignment as we merge our inner and outer self. Many of us are hesitant or afraid to share all of who we are and particularly those greater intentions for change in ourselves, others and the world. Imagine if every being were to speak from the heart and share their intentions openly. Really, these intentions are our good wishes for ourselves and all beings. It is often easier to speak about our negativity and judgments, which causes a contraction of energy, rather than expansion. Sharing our authentic selves and our positive intentions openly is a powerful way to transform ourselves and the world.

As we work with intention, we are bridging our conscious and unconscious self. In a sense, working with intention is helping to bring a new infrastructure to our being which allows us to be in greater alignment with those energies we are carrying into our consciousness and into the world. As we begin to move more consciously, new possibilities emerge. Cultivating intention is an action step in shifting to a new paradigm.

I hope you’ll join the Heart of Awakening in exploring and actualizing the power of intention to support transformation in your self, others and the world.

I’ve included a video of Dr. Tiller for inspiration…..

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Love Yourself, Live Your Life 4-Week Teleclass: Moving Beyond Self-Criticism, Shame & Doubt starts 7/9. This is an opportunity to live more from the heart, to become more gentle and loving with yourself, to develop a deeper sense of connection and to work through patterns and feelings that are no longer serving you. Explore more….

Loving-kindness: It’s Not As Easy As It Sounds

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As Take Your Metta To Work Week comes to an end, I was planning to add an additional post giving an overview of the benefits of taking your practice to work.  I have decided to hold off on that post for now to share a bit more of my personal experience with this practice.

As someone who has been practicing meditation for over 30 years and focusing on living from a deep heart centered place for more than decade, I still find that there are times when doing all the “right” things is difficult.  It’s almost three months since I began the Heart of Awakening.  During that time, I made a decision to really step forward in working with organizations in addition to individuals.  This is something I have done in various ways over the years and now has become something I feel truly passionate about doing.

This desire to bring awareness, authenticity and a heart-centered approach to organizations and the workplace was one of my motivations in adding Take Your Metta To Work Week to this year’s May is for Metta program.  Today’s post really focused on what can arise inwardly as we practice.  And, it is this material, the voices, thoughts, and limiting beliefs, which we are more able to access during meditation or loving-kindness practice, that can really keep us stuck.

Although outwardly it may seem as if I have been very active this week posting daily on May is for Metta and elsewhere, inwardly I have been experiencing a strong feeling of being stuck.  As I have been working with the Metta practice and moving forward with my work, many negative thoughts and beliefs have been coming to the surface.  Some of these include feeling not good enough, worthy enough, and capable enough to do all I am setting out to do, even though what I am doing is really just a shift in the focus of my work.   It is easy for my friends and colleagues who support me to see that these feelings and beliefs are not really true, and yet, when I am experiencing them, I can feel hopeless, powerless and incredibly stuck.

I am sharing this part of my experience because this is something that can emerge whether you are a brand new practitioner to Metta and meditation or whether you are an experienced practitioner.  When we create stillness in our lives and enter into the heart space, stuff comes up.  We face what’s inside ourselves and if we are able to continue our practice, we begin to change.  But, it’s not always easy.

I tend to find that work is a place where I set such high standards for myself that I am destined to feel like a failure even when I am incredibly successful.  This is a pattern that has become more evident to me during this month’s practice and it is also one that has had the power to keep me from moving forward in the past.  It has not been easy to face this aspect of myself.  Even while doing the daily practice and actively bringing Metta into my daily life, I have found it extremely difficult to be consistently gentle and loving with myself over the past week.  I feel like I have touched on a pattern that goes so deeply into my core.  And although I have felt challenged in many ways, I know that when these types of feelings and struggles are at the surface, they are closer to being transformed.

Life is a process and through our practice, we learn where our inner work lies.  I am continually amazed at how powerful our conditioned mind and habitual patterns remain even when we do so much to change them.  This is one of the reasons why daily practice and building a strong foundation of loving-kindness is so important.  It’s important to stick with it even when it feels like things are falling apart or we feel like we are stuck.  It is often in these moments when we are about to have a paradigm shift; we just don’t know it yet.

I am thankful for everyone who has shared in the journey of May is for Metta so far.  I am excited to see what emerges in our final week of online practice.