Blog Soul Coaching® November 17, 2018

Hey Boomers, this is for you! I’m not afraid to tell my age so I admit it, I turned 65 this year. For those of you who are older than I am, you may be remembering those halcyon days of yore and wondering what’s the big deal. For those of you who are younger, I may seem old and over the proverbial hill! Of course, the hill keeps moving, depending on which side you stand and your point of view.

What Happened?

It’s not surprising that the whole event we call aging has been on my mind this year. I didn’t dread turning 65, especially when I considered the alternative, and intellectually, I’m happy about it…yet…There was a little voice in the back of my head asking,  “How the hell did I get here and what the f-ck just happened?” (Sometimes profanity is not only called for, it’s recommended.) Then again, as a Gemini, I’m always of two minds and, I can be in two places in my head at once! So I embraced my age, but admit that I’m still thinking about it a lot!

Still A Young Thing

When I turned 60, I challenged myself to blog about it for 60 days, trying to catch a dream for 60 nights in a row, and the issue of aging came up in my dreams and my waking life. Five years later it seems I’m still grappling with the issue of aging. Well at least my subconscious is! It was long before 60, in fact, when I started thinking about it consciously. Was I thinking about it as I watched my grandmother, then my mother age, get sick and die? Or was it the pimply-faced kid at the movies who gave me too much change for my ticket because he charged me the senior rate without even asking? I had grey hair so I must be a senior!

Since then, I’ve been watching and tracking how society treats seniors and let me tell you, it ain’t pretty! It’s not an honoured label in western society, and if we are not alert to how seniors are treated, and aware of our own beliefs on the topic, before you know it, you start thinking like “they” do, hating your age, covering up your grey hair (Hoary Heads Rule!) and bemoaning your fate as “old”.

65 is the new 45

In any case, now that I look back at 60, I recall that while that age seemed like a milestone to mark, I wasn’t too worked up about it. I just wanted to go through it with self-awareness. And, wasn’t 60 the new 40? Now that I’ve stared down the barrel at 65 and survived,  it seems everywhere I look, everyone wants to give me a “seniors’ discount”! Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld would say, but it’s on my mind!

The List

So in the spirit of gratitude for 65 years of blessings and challenges, and with the help of my Facebook friends, I came up with a list of seven blessings, seven good things about aging. See what you think!

1. Life Begins at 65! 

This time of life, or any “big” birthday can be a rite of passage. It’s a time to be marked with ceremony and celebration. It’s a time to start something new, whether a new project, a course of study, or anything you never had time for in the past. The fact is, we can take more time, time to tackle our list of “some days”, to relax, to join a basketball team! This San Diego basketball team players are all over 80!  (Thanks Facebook friend Veronica!) You can slow down from your list of “have to’s” and follow your heart with “want to’s”.

2. Silver Hair Privilege

The age may vary according to the company, store or government agency but generally by 65 the discounts have begun! While this isn’t a comprehensive list, there are discounts at movies, plays, mass transportation, as well as Medicare and Social Security (in the US), Canadian Pension Plan, GIF, Old Age Security, drug benefits, free university tuition and more (in Canada). Facebook friend Lyn called it “Silver Hair Privilege” and that is the perfect name for this bundle of goodies! You earned it! But I have to note that “silver hair” can be a double edged sword. Women used to avoid talking about their age because society taught us that to be labeled as “old” meant we were written off with little value. We were taught that women of a “certain age” were old, dried up, washed up and invisible…unless they looked good!  Cue the hair colouring commercials. Now we can choose to age naturally and gracefully, or to colour our hair. Do what makes you feel good, but be aware if your “good” is defined by someone else.

3. What the F-ck Do I Care?

You made it! Your mission, should you decide to accept, is to no longer care so much about doing the right or politically correct thing. This does not give you license to be a jerk, just permission to not care about others’ opinions of you more than your own opinion. This includes freedom from others’ opinions about your lifestyle, hairstyle, clothes, weight, friends, activities, choice of partners, and in a nutshell, the freedom to do, say, behave in a way that would make you proud of yourself, while not caring what your kids or your neighbours think about you. I’m still working on this one in some areas. It’s a process!

4. Wisdom & Knowledge

At this stage of life, your priorities may shift. You know what’s important, and you don’t sweat the small stuff. You’ve been down the road and back, handled the twists and turns and if you are even slightly self-reflective, you’ve learned from the journey. It’s a time to take courses, learn something new, mentor others, and with this wisdom, you will come to accept yourself; the whole package.

5. Creativity & Connectivity

When we are creative, we connect to Source; the Creator. You don’t have to be an “artist” to be creative but when we stick our fingers in paint or clay, write in a beautiful journal, receive a flash of inspiration, or catch a dream, we connect with the same energy that gives life to creation. When we create anything, we renew and rejuvenate ourselves. We can do this on our own, but to connect with others in community or groups we get the support of other humans and that fills a primal need. According to research, we even live longer in community, whether with friends, lovers or people of all ages. Isolation kills. So follow your heart with a friend and watch your heart get healthy!

6. Growth

Facebook friend Jennye has come into her personal power and she’s not alone. You’re finished with all the “issues” of family and growing up. You’ve climbed your mountains and survived. You’re comfortable with yourself, and you can honestly give advice (should anyone care to ask) to the youngsters!! Your mind is open to new ideas and adventures and you’re not done growing….Unless all you do is sit in front of the TV and binge on Netflix.

7. Gratitude

Seniors who do the best in their twilight years are the one’s who feel gratitude for their life; the good with the bad, the challenges with the delights. It’s a time to celebrate and laugh with the children and our friends. Gratitude can pull you out of depression, anxiety, grief and loneliness. What are you grateful for in this moment? Don’t wait until you’re 65 to begin.

We Need A Theme Song

Remember the TV show Ally McBeal? At one stressful time in her life, she went to therapist Tracey Clark, played by comedian Tracey Ullman, who asked her what her theme song was. Everyone, apparently needs a theme song. So in that same vein, I propose the following theme song for every Boomer turning 65 this year or any year. This song, Young At Heart, is turning 65 too (it came out in 1953), and although it was first recorded by Frank Sinatra, my favourite version is this one by Jimmy Durante.

 

And if you should survive to a hundred and five
Look at all you’ll derive out of  being’ alive
And here is the best part, you have a head start
If you are among the very young at heart

It’s Simple

My advice and philosophy is simple. For myself, and hopefully for you too, I plan on staying young at heart, no matter what my age! I’ll take those senior perks and freebies, assuming I can remember them, and rejoice in having made it to a new stage of life and growth . What will your next age look like?

 

Change Your Life Because of a Dream?

Uncategorised November 17, 2018

Would you change your life because of a dream? I always encourage dreamers to get the dream’s message and do something in waking life to honour the dream; to bring its message to conscious light. But would you do it? Do you really want to shift your life based on a dream? Most people love to get clarity but don’t actually seek change, which can be very uncomfortable. I am no different but I decided that I need to practice what I preach.

The Dream

I was walking with a rather tall man in robes- maybe 7′ tall- in a quadrangle, a large courtyard in what felt like a campus setting. He says, “Your job is death.” I ask, “Well how do you mean it? Symbolically or literally? As a psychotherapist my clients have mini-deaths, (symbolic endings and releases) all the time.” But before he can answer, I am awakened. End of dream. 

 

Since that dream, twelve years ago, I have looked at it every which way possible and it never produced an “aha” of new insight. Maybe it was simply a confirmation that I’m on the right track but I follow the wisdom of Jeremy Taylor who says that dreams don’t come to tell us what we already know. I know all about the symbolic ways of death; the endings, letting go, new beginnings and the symbolic fires that scorch our souls so that something new can grow from the charred but enriched inner destruction. Twelve years of working on that dream off and on simply produced “Ya, I know that” kind of reactions. So I decided to take the dream literally. The man in robes had the feel of a teacher or guide (perhaps from other realms) and since all the symbolic approaches got me no where, I thought I had nothing to lose by going literal.

The Action

So I signed up for a series of courses at the University of Toronto on grief and bereavement. There’s another course I’m eyeing too. Will it change my life or the direction of my work? It’s too soon to say. However, I know I’ve run from this interpretation for a reason. I helped start a charity whose goal was to create a hospice and when I left, I couldn’t get far enough away from the topic, though that wasn’t the reason I left. I just felt gun-shy and started avoiding the field, even though I passionately agree with everything about the hospice movement. Of course my “job is death” could be about the dying process or the grieving process. On an interesting note, a psychic once told me that I was a “rescuer”! Not an emotional rescuer but one who apparently helps people who don’t know they are dead, get to the other side. Supposedly I do this in my sleep and that’s why I wake up so tired! But again, why would the dream tell me what I already know? Dreams bring forth material from our subconscious that we are ready to look at. They may also carry precognitive and other psychic information. In either case, it won’t be old material.

 

A Dream Uninterpreted is Like a Letter Unopened

This quote from the Talmud is right! We are getting nightly letters from our unconscious mind, our higher mind and sources beyond that, so how long will we let the mail pile up? It’s time to open your letters. Here are some ways to move the dream and its messages into your waking life.

  • Post it!
  • Stick it!
  • Draw it!
  • Move it!
  • Create it!
  • Learn it!
  • Do it!
  • Change it!

 

Dreams & Soul Coaching®
Blog Dream Courses Dreamsharing Soul Coaching® November 17, 2018

Dreams & Soul Coaching®

Dreams & Soul Coaching® have been walking hand in hand for years. Let me explain. I’ve been curious about dreams since 1980 when, pregnant with my third child and having had an interesting dream, I happened to catch an interview with Dr. Gayle Delaney on the the morning radio show I was listening to while juggling children and coffee.

But the first time I became aware that dreams were hinting at something larger than my own personal psychology was in an unlikely place for a revelation. The year was 1997 and I was sitting by the hotel pool on a very hot Philadelphia weekend. A friend’s son had just celebrated his Bar Mitzvah and my kids, numbering four, were cooling off in the pool along with all of Philadelphia it seemed. I sat in a lounge chair, watching the kids, watching people and reading Joan Borysenko’s “Fire in the Soul”.

Fire in the Soul

In it, she wrote, “A Parable: Safe Passage Home”. I read it and gasped. Then I cried under my sun hat. Somehow, in a few words, I found out why I was so interested in dreams, why I was a dreamer. Borysenko wrote,

“The fledgling souls took many roads Home. Each Way had its own Story and each soul responded to that Story with the gift of free will, embroidering new stories on the dream-tapestry of the One Great Dreamer.”

A Fire in MY Soul!

With that sudden understanding, I could now see what wasn’t there a moment before. In that moment, I reconnected with my Creator, with myself and to all dreamers in a way that I wasn’t connected before. Before, I felt like an orphan; now, suddenly, I belonged. Before, there had been an intellectual understanding of the psychology of dreams, now it was personal and it was spiritual.

In that moment by the pool I realized that I dream—you dream—because God dreams. Being “created in God’s image”, a familiar passage from the Bible, now took on deeper shading, as the idea took root in my heart and in my soul. Life was a noisy, hot day by a pool one moment and reality was where I had left it. Yet, a moment later, my eyes were opened to a broader perspective and I understood. I dream because God dreams! I was born of the One Great Dreamer and to dream is my birthright and my gift. At the same time, it is both natural and ordinary,  yet supernatural. My fascination with dreams had come into alignment with creation. Yet this sudden spiritual awakening —my poolside satori—threatened to dissipate as I struggled to understand. Am I dreaming all of this? Am I dreaming my life? My children? (My deliberation paused as I counted heads in the pool.) And if, like my Creator, I dream or create my world, are my own children, or anyone else for that matter, dreaming a different dream? Are common dreams what creates community and binds societies together? If my mind can play with the possibility that I’ve created my own reality, and I’ve dreamed this life of mine, then I have to also consider the possibility that God is a dream as well. Who’s dreaming whom? (And is it time to get out of the sun?)

Sharing My Field Notes

In some small way, I might say that my life is the story of one woman’s journey and search to remember the dream she had of herself, of God and of all creation, all while cooking dinner, raising four children, running a psychotherapy practice and Soul Coaching® groups. And these essays are my field notes from the road because as I write this, I am still searching and still dreaming. I’ve been a “Dweller on the Threshold” with one foot in the dream world and one foot on the ground of daily life with its pleasures and its pains. Ironically, the more I dwell in the dream world, contemplating its insights and adventures, the easier it is to access its wisdom and guidance as I find my way in the waking world. I’ve seen the reports of other dreamers and I know I’m on the right path, tracking my Self and Spirit, however many potholes and detours I encounter. We are all “Dwellers on the Threshold” with a foot in both realms, but who has the courage to step over the threshold? Dreamers do.

Combining the Two

Dreams and Soul Coaching® have been siblings, traveling together, each supporting our inner journeys. In fact, Denise Linn, who is the founder of Soul Coaching®, wrote a book on dreams long before she created Soul Coaching®. So when we, as Soul Coaching® Practitioners, help our clients find the tools of transformation to move their lives forward, dream work is part of the package that I offer. For those who would like to dive deeper into dreaming, I haven’t forgotten you! I am so excited to share that I am creating a course, for deepening and expanding your dream-working skills, for yourself and for others! Dream on, friends, and watch for news on my next creation!

 

surfing
Soul Coaching® August 6, 2018

I want to share with you Dr. Estes brilliant work, “We Were Made For These Times”,  because we are in “these times”! (If Social Media stats are correct and you don’t want to read that much text, then just read whatever line pops out at you. There are NO coincidences!)

Read her post below and then continue on for a few ways that we can learn to surf in the choppy seas of change.

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times.

I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world right now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking.

Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency too to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails. We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear.

Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely.

It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing.

We know that it does not take “everyone on Earth” to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire.

To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both, are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it.

If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do. There will always be times when you feel discouraged.

I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it; I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here.

The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours: They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here.

In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for. This comes with much love and a prayer that you remember who you came from, and why you came to this beautiful, needful Earth.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D

Learn to Surf

I was born in California but I’m not actually a surfer. However I DO love the metaphor! Here are some ways to get up on the surfboard of life without wiping out.

  • iGPS– Your dreams are an inner Global Positioning System, or “iGPS” for short and they can not only tell you what you’re feeling and thinking, but they will tell what you don’t yet know about yourself. In stressful times, this can be a life saver. Dreams can also provide answers to life’s dilemmas as well as giving you creative solutions you might not think about with your rational mind. When life is uncertain and stressful, your dreams will be your inner guide that you can consult for direction.
  • Balance– Too far this way, too far that way and you wipe out! I don’t know about you but finding balance in my life has been a life-long practice. Balance between work and family, between rest and play, between self care and everyone and everything else! Schedule time for yourself during stressful times because your heath is essential to those in your life. But more importantly, finding your “sea legs” keeps you afloat when the surfboard rocks. You can’t be too stiff or too loose, but finding the right in-between stance will allow you to respond to the waves of life in a way that keeps you balanced.
  • Media Fast- While this isn’t a perfect surfing metaphor, I can say with certainty, that surfers aren’t watching their screens while surfing! “These Times” are unfortunately available to us 24/7 whether on TV, on social media or on all your devices. Take a break from the news. Your body and your mind will thank you and you will find yourself feeling calmer and less anxious. Doing a media fast for 24 hours or more will have the added advantage of helping you be present in your life. You will ace the “Be here now” practice, whether watching the waves or focusing on what’s right in front of you.
  • Hang Ten- While this originally referred to hanging ten toes over the end of a surfboard, now it also means to just chill. We need to know when to pause in our hectic lives and then actually do it- get off the merry-go-round- rest and renew your energy.  This is more important in stressful times than ever. Just do it! You may think you’re indispensable but for the majority of us, the world will manage without us while we take a break.
  • The Perfect Wave– Surfers look for the perfect wave and that takes patience.  You may never find it! Watching, waiting, timing, using experience and visual clues to know when it’s coming and then get in there…. In surfing through stressful days, you too can use some of these traits to know when to hold ’em; when to fold ’em…. Oops, sorry, wrong metaphor. Patience my friends, and a little detachment, and you too can choose when to step into the wave or when to let that one go and wait for the next one. This detachment can be a life saver when stress has you reaching your limit for the day. Patience, pause and breathe. The nature and constant of the universe is one of change; know that there is never only one wave.
  • Riding the Waves- Once you’ve decided to jump in whatever is up for the day, riding the waves requires the ability to allow. You might be able to control how you surf but you can’t usually control the wave itself! There will always be some letting go involved as you allow life to unfold. You might as well relax and not fight what isn’t yours to fight or control. What you can control, however, is how you ride the wave. Like in life, how you choose to respond is even more important than the situation you are responding to. (Hint: respond with love and compassion as often as you can.)
  • Find a Friend– Find a buddy who knows how to surf. Whether teacher, mentor, friend or coach most of us will need a lesson or two. The same is even more true in stressful times. There are people who know how to survive the challenging waves of life. Let them guide you. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel and you don’t have to do it alone. Someone has walked the same path during “these times” and can shine the light on the potholes before you fall into one.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

– John Kabat-Zinn

It’s time to shine your light and find your voice my friends. We can get through these times together!

What's your disease
Blog Soul Coaching® August 30, 2017

What’s your dis-ease? We all have something! We all are looking for health and wholeness. Today I’m talking about “dis-ease” that develops into “disease”. When we are out of alignment with ourselves in some way, when we are not easeful within ourselves emotionally or spiritually, over time physical disease or illness will set in as an acute or chronic ailment or disease. I first learned about “dis-ease” from Louise Hay back in the 80’s. Quoting the Course in Miracles she wrote, “…all dis-ease comes from a state of unforgiveness” and that “whenever we are ill, we need to look around to see who it is that we need to forgive.” Sometimes the “who” is ourselves. This is true of the common cold as much as any other disease. Let me use my own life as a cautionary tale.

For the last two weeks, I’ve suffered from a flu or cold and cough (When you’re miserable, it’s often hard to tell them apart but it’s probably a nasty cold. Can you relate?)  I’ll start at the beginning. I’ve had an extremely busy summer- more than usual- filled with travel and family visits, an engagement and wedding planning. All wonderful blessings! I love my family and was happy to have everyone around to celebrate, especially my grand miracles, but my disease is the “Disease to Please” so before I knew it, my own place on my TO-DO List sunk far to the bottom.

I “forgot” to eat right having far too many celebratory desserts. (Sugar depresses our immune system.) I didn’t remember my vitamin supplements. I didn’t have a chance to exercise but was too tired to even remember that I should. Add to that the fact that I was constantly around people and crowds (Disneyland and Universal Studios for starters), and as an introverted empath who needs time and space to recharge, we had an illness in the making.

I developed cellulitis earlier in the summer then the night before my daughter left I felt the ominous tickle in my throat that tells me I blew it. The next day, it moved to my chest and two weeks later, I’m still not back to normal. The dreaded Disease to Please was back! I guess it’s easier to get sick than to say NO or ask for help.

Now I’m not saying we all consciously make ourselves sick or that we do this on purpose. Not even me! I know we don’t. In my case, with my Sedona Soul Coaching® training coming up, I have too much to do to be sick. I don’t have time for this but my body told me that I have to take the time. Somehow, no matter how much we know and understand, it’s easy to continue on doing things the way we have always done them, even when it does not serve our highest good and feeds our disease. Therefore it is important that we learn to listen for clues from our body. Ok Louise, I’ll start with self-forgiveness!

This is true of our obvious habitual behaviours like smoking and drinking and couch potato-ing. But it’s also true of our thoughts. What habitual ways do you think of yourself and how do you talk to yourself? Are you kind or do you find fault with yourself? Believe it or not, we choose those thoughts, but the good news is we can choose different thoughts!

Often we have the inner child self acting one way- the way that helped us survive our childhood- and our adult self who knows better, goes along. I know the child I was needed to please and take care of things to be okay. So why do we still do it? For as many people who read this, there are that many reasons we fall into dis-ease. In a sense though, when those behaviours are repeated, we are all stuck . How do we get un-stuck? Here are four things that can help. I’ve to put them into practice for myself but feel free to adapt them to your situation and your dis-ease.

Dis-ease Awareness

You can’t change what you are not aware of. Spend time watching yourself. Become the sacred observer and see what you are actually doing that may not serve your highest good or be in alignment with your soul and your life. Then keep a journal and write it down. It is hard to see our patterns unless they are right in front of us, in ink!

field notes

Intention

What is your intention? Do you want to shift the way you speak to yourself? Do you want to change a less-than-optimal behaviour? Set your intention! The universe will meet you half-way but you have to do your part. Setting your intention is the best way to begin manifesting change. Your energy will begin to align with your intention and as like attracts like, you will begin to draw different and healthier habits and experiences to you.

Trust in God but lock your car

Honesty

Perhaps this could be added to Awareness above, but the fact is, we have to be honest with ourselves. This isn’t always easy but if you have already begun to observe yourself, you might as well tell the truth. Pull out your journal and write it all out….Those times when you weren’t kind (to yourself or others), when impatience led to an outcome you’d like to forget, or when your life began to feel like Goundhog Day (the movie)…write them all down with honesty. Buy a mirror and see yourself the way others see you. No BS. No sugar-coating your story. I’ve been doing that with my latest cold and while I don’t like some of the things I’m discovering about myself there, isn’t a better way to get shifting.

Shift Happens

Dream-Catching

Yes dreams! When I was deciding what to write about I asked for a dream. The dream that I caught was chock full of symbolism that didn’t need much expertise to decipher. I was having trouble communicating and connecting with the internet. People were crowding me. Babies needed feeding. I awoke feeling overwhelmed with it all. Bounce your dreams off friends and partners, as long as they are respectful with your feelings. You can always book me for some dream time if no one in your life fits the bill. The reason we track our dreams as we try to shift, is that they will serve as a barometer of your feelings as well as tap into your unconscious. The Creator has given us the gift of dreams, so why not use them to shift?

our life is composed of dreams

At the End of the Day…

the older I get...

At the end of the day, for those of us taking baby steps towards health and wholeness, there will be a point of surrender. We are not “running the show” and we have to let go of the need to control the show or be perfect. But if we do our part, with intention and honesty, we will begin to see the connections between our thoughts, behaviours, and the dis-eases we manifest. And we might just decide to do it differently next time.

A Sad Post Script

Just as I was writing this, and mentioning Louise Hay, I learned of her passing! She was 90 and died in her sleep. Though sad, I can’t help but think, “What a great and blessed exit!” She helped millions and if you’d like to read more about her click here. G-d speed Louise. You were my first teacher.

3 Ways You Can Stop Beating Yourself Up and Be Happy
Blog Good for the Soul Soul Coaching® June 20, 2017

Stop Beating Yourself Up

Are there really 3 ways you can stop beating yourself up and be happy? It seems too easy but the ways we beat ourselves up are endless and the words we use do matter! It’s not just the words we say to others. The way we talk to ourselves is an important part of our spiritual development. Let’s start with others.

Words Can Kill

In Taunton, Massachusetts a woman who sent her boyfriend a barrage of text messages urging him to kill himself was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. A judge ruled that Michelle Carter caused the death of Conrad Roy III, who intentionally filled his truck with carbon monoxide in 2014. Clearly, her words mattered to Conrad Roy.

Let’s Get Personal

Lets take it personally. Every day, every moment, we beat ourselves up. We shame and berate ourselves. Horrible things that we would never say to another person we love are the norm. “You idiot! Why didn’t you…?” “You’re such a jerk.” You’re lazy, fat, stupid… Fill in the blank with your favourite way to beat yourself up. It’s very personal and most of the time, it’s not even our words. I wrote about a version of this recently in the Letting Go of My Old Stories. We are all “works in progress”!

Shift Happens

Who taught us to talk to ourselves that way and can we shift it? Can we learn to stop beating ourselves up and be happy? The answer is YES! Sometimes we are using the harsh words of our parents, our siblings, or negative teachers or the abusive bullies in our lives. For myself, I’ve done my share of self-trashing and when I trained in psychotherapy, I learned how much I did it. I learned to notice when I did it. It wasn’t until I trained to be a Soul Coaching® Practitioner that I learned some practical tools for shifting those hurtful habits and replacing them with more positive self-love. Don’t worry, I’ll share them with you!

What Me Worry?

Did you know that that worrying makes you feel like you’re doing something to solve your problem and in so doing, it activates the brain’s reward centre? Rationally, we understand that worrying doesn’t solve our problems, but that ancient brain of ours kinda likes it! Thanks to curious researchers like Alex Korb, who wrote The Upward Spiral, we now know that rather than getting off on worry, GRATITUDE boosts the neurotransmitter dopamine and serotonin! Take that you worry-wart! GRATITUDE is #1. Always #1. Apparently it doesn’t matter what you find to be grateful for, what matters is searching for something to be grateful for. Let the search begin!

Observe Your Life; Change Your Words

In the 28-day Soul Coaching® Program we spend 7 days looking at our beliefs and observing our thoughts and our life. What if you were to look at the events of your life as neither good nor bad? The meaning you give those events will determine how you see your life. Most of the time, we do this on automatic pilot, regurgitating someone else’s beliefs about our lives. In Soul Coaching® we become “the Sacred Observer” and observing how we talk to ourselves is part of that exploration. “No pain, no gain.” I’m too old to think about a new career.” “I never finish what I start”… and worse, the verbal abuse we heap on ourselves are more frequently repeated in our heads that you ever imagined.

We learn to notice and we learn to reframe how we think of our lives and talk to ourselves. Become the Sacred Observer then Say it Differently is #2.

Mirror, Mirror

We tend to unconsciously draw mirrors to us in life. What we believe about ourselves will be reflected in the people and events of our lives. Once you have found some newer, kinder ways of talking to yourself- it takes practice- find people, attitudes and philosophies that will support, reinforce and mirror the new you until it becomes second nature and a new habit.

They say it takes 21 days to change a habit but for most of us it’s more like a million and 21 days! You could start with something simple like the music you listen to, yet you may find, over time, that more and more supportive people come into your life. Try starting small and doable by making a new playlist of songs with lyrics that says all the wonderful things that are true about you. And if you have to curse at yourself, do it like this:

3 Ways =Happiness

Happiness is hard to define without using external measurements. I’ll be happy when I find love. I’ll be happy if I lose 20 pounds. When I get that raise, then I’ll be happy…. It’s always somewhere just out of reach and dependent on an external goal. What if happiness were measured in terms of love or gratitude? If I can find 3 things to be grateful for, then I must be happy! If I can say 3 loving things to myself, then surely I’m a happy person! Way better!

  1. Don’t Worry; be Grateful.
  2. Become the Sacred Observer & Choose New Words!
  3. Find Reminders

Now tell me….How will you talk sweetly to yourself? Your words matter!

 

 

 

 

 

family trees and other connections
Blog Good for the Soul Soul Coaching® May 23, 2017

I’m thinking about connections. I’ve started working on my family tree and I recently connected with a distant relative I didn’t know I had! It turns out that his paternal great grandmother and my paternal great grandmother were sisters! And the connection came through Facebook, which for all its imperfections is great for connecting or reconnecting!

Family Trees

I learned who my great, great, grandparents were…with photos! I was so moved to find out some of their history; that my great, great, grandfather was a bookbinder in Tsarist Russia and was favoured by the Tsarina. I had heard various versions of this from my mother over the years. To have it confirmed from an unexpected source was exciting! Through my newly discovered fourth cousin, I also learned that this ancestor was a scribe. For all the years I did calligraphy professionally (back in the 80’s), I never once suspected that it was a “family business” 100 years before!

Claff great, great grandmother

Your connections

How often have you considered the unseen forces that animate your life? When I need to connect energetically with someone, I picture the world as a globe fully encircled in a grid of light. Rather than “six degrees of separation”, it’s NO degrees of separation! We are connected to everyone in one way or another. That so-called “stranger” may not only be a cousin, but may be someone you knew and loved in a past life! And I believe this is true, not just genetically and psychically but also in the way we affect each other’s lives. Mitch Albom’s book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, shows how our lives are intertwined with the lives of others in a way that we may be unaware of! Yet seen or unseen, our connections to each other impact our lives.

 “…that each affects the other and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one.” (M. Albom)

 One more connection

The connection to others, to our past and family history, are but a few types of connections we need to make in order to live life fully cognizant of what we are about. Additionally, the connection within, to our own Self, is one that I believe we should explore as well. Everything I do, whether journaling, reading, or watching a movie, or my professional work of as Dream Teacher or Soul Coaching® Master Practitioner and Trainer, all help me know myself. But every person I meet helps me know myself too….from clients, to family and friends to random people in the grocery store!

Explore your connections

Our lives are filled with mysterious connections! Will you explore your connections in life or will you let them get dusty like my family history? How do you know yourself? What is your favourite way to connect to others or do you prefer to stay disconnected? One thing I know, it’s easier to not pursue connections, but it’s so much more interesting when we do!

 

 

 

 

Seeking Purpose: 5 Essentials

Heart-Centered Dreamwork Soul Coaching® May 7, 2017

Seeking Purpose

Are you seeking your purpose? I often reexamine my path and find myself seeking and questioning my purpose. Remember this rhyme from your childhood for counting and choosing things, “Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, doctor, lawyer, Indian chief?” (Is that even politically correct?) Sometimes I wonder if between lives, our soul is messing with us in the same way and our choice of “what to be” is determined by a seemingly random children’s counting rhyme? But then I have a dream and I remember who I am.

You’re not alone!

Who am I? Several times a year, it seems, I question my purpose. (Don’t judge me!) Not quite interrogation, I can nevertheless be hard on myself as I wonder what my purpose is. And if we have a purpose or a soul plan for our lives, how is it to be expressed? I have concluded, without a doubt- I’m always doubting, so this is big- that archetypally, I am a teacher. I may teach in the form of a mentor or guide, and my subjects are dreams and spirit, not history or math, but teach is what I do.

What’s your sacred contract?

I studied Caroline Myss’ Sacred Contracts with my students many years ago. Being impatient, I cast the wheel of my archetypes when I first read her now classic work, and then cast it again as I refined it with my students and the help of Martie Hughes from Lilydale. At first, the Teacher was in my 6th house of work and health, but in the second approximation it came to rest in my 3rd house of communication. Rather than continue to beat myself up for doing it twice, I now understand that differently. What, in my younger years, started out to be just a job came to rest now in the area that speaks to who I AM and is just as fundamental. I am a communication-loving Gemini after all!

It makes sense to me that teaching is as fundamental to my existence as communication and that it infuses every aspect of who I am and my daily life. (As an aside, that may be interesting to no one but myself, that in high school I joined the Future Teachers of America because my mother was a teacher and I thought that’s what women did. Later my mother and her cousin both ganged up on me and talked me out of getting my teaching credential. I know it was the violent 70’s and you were just worried about me, but I ended up teaching anyway, Mom!)

New beginnings

Five years ago, my husband reinvented himself, and I found that my own sense of direction floundered. I have always thought of him as my rock, I just never imagined that my own direction would wobble because of his own career changes. That’s so 1950′s! On further refection, I know that that view is a simplistic one but after all the Sturm und Drang (storm and stress), guess what? I’m still a teacher. I don’t like having to market myself and beat the bushes for students, so that makes me an underpaid teacher, but I’m changing all that! I’ve been waiting for a dream to confirm my direction, but since I clearly know what it is, my dreams have been telling me other things.

The windmills of my mind

If all of this meandering through the windmills of my mind resonates with your own path, then let my own struggles with my purpose and direction serve to comfort and support you. I struggle just like you do and if I can figure it out, so can you! Here’s what’s key to this exploration:

  1. Truth- Be honest and let the truth of who you are come through…Even if you don’t like the answers, ask for the truth always.
  2. Patience- The answers don’t always come when we want them so much as when we are ready to hear them. Ego time and Soul time (or Chronos and Kairos) aren’t usually on the same schedule, though they can occasionally meet up.
  3. Trust- Trust that you will be directed and find ourselves exactly where you are meant to be and in spite of what appears to be the situation, you will get where you are meant to go. (See “Mom” above)
  4. Self-love- Even if you struggle with developing healthy self-esteem, if you don’t love yourself even a little, then it’s hard to honour the answers you get from your Higher Self. If you’re not really to look in the mirror and declare your undying love for yourself just yet, then look at yourself and say “I’m willing to consider the possibility of loving myself!”
  5. Dreams- Both inner GPS and early warning system, your dreams will help you see the truth of any situation in your life. Trust them, but get support in understanding them if they are unclear or scary.

Actually, now that I think of it, these qualities are essential to any journey, not only the journey to discover your purpose. Send me your reports from the road and I’ll do the same. If you think you know what your soul wants for you, then when each opportunity comes along, ask yourself, “Is this in alignment with my soul’s purpose?” If it’s a good match then go for it. You will feel the truth of your choice in your heart and your body!

Letting go of our old stories
Blog Soul Coaching® April 23, 2017

What kind of stories have you been telling yourself lately? I’ve been telling myself that I’m not good at marketing, networking or social media. In a seemingly rational voice I criticize myself, nitpicking about my skills and denying my successes. I’ve been working on stopping that but old habits die hard. (There’s a belief to change!) I know where this comes from and while I have many insights around this, I need reminders from time to time to help me do a course correction and come back to who I really am.

The Universe Sends a Message!

Right on cue, Colette Baron-Reid provided the reminder. I went with another Soul Coaching® Practitioner to hear her speak and do readings in Toronto. In the washroom, of all places, I ran into someone who clearly recognized me but I couldn’t place her. It turns out that not only did we meet at an International Association for the Study of Dreams event, she even bought a deck of my oracle cards, The Abaton Keys®! This may not feel like a big deal to you, but for someone who thinks she sucks at networking, this random encounter, reminded me that I’m not invisible and I can, in fact, network!

colette baron-reid and patti allen

And It’s a Cleadon!

A “cleadon” is a message from spirit, delivered from random and sometimes unintentional sources. In other words, spirit makes sure we hear what we need to hear, whether it’s an over-heard conversation or lyrics of a song playing on the radio. In this case, Colette was giving me a message, that was delivered to the audience in general. After the washroom encounter, I find my seat and Colette comes on stage and tells her audience “Your old stories have to die!” Ok universe, I get the message! All that negative self-talk ain’t necessarily so and I’ve got to let all those inaccurate beliefs about myself go…again! I bought the mirror pictured above to remind myself to see myself through the loving eyes of others, rather than my own critical, self-deprecating eyes.

So what kind of stories have you been telling yourself? That you’re not enough? That you’re too this, too that? That you’ll never be happy until___ (fill in the blank)? Just in the same way that I don’t choose to believe in “genetic determinism”, that our genes determine our lives, I also don’t believe that just because we were raised in less that perfect, nurturing families, we will inevitably be what our parents were. Sadly, my negative voice is the voice of my mother. My learning curve has been how to keep her love while rejecting her less that perfect parenting or attitudes.

How will you let go of your old stories? I’m starting by talking to myself in the mirror (“No I’m not crazy. My mother had me tested”, as Sheldon would say) and creating positive mantras to counter the negative ones in my head. I’m sure I’ll repeat as necessary. Please share how you’re letting go of the old stories. It time we let them die.

anticipatory gried
Blog Grief February 19, 2017

Anticipatory grief is a thing. Really. Maybe you thought grief only happens after a loss, when you’ve actually lost someone you love. Anticipatory loss begins when you hear news of a terminal illness and impending loss. Sometimes with dementia one might experience anticipatory grief even before an official diagnosis.  A part of you just knows.

Time to Say Goodbye

There are some wonderful and beautiful opportunities that come from knowing someone you love is going to die, even though mixed with shock, pain and sadness. (Yes, we understand intellectually that we all die but I’m talking, for the most part, about the moment it becomes real and a diagnosis is followed by a timeline and the prognosis isn’t good.) The good things that come from this is the fact that we have time to talk to our dying loved one and finish up any unfinished business. We can take the time to express love, or work through old pain and try out the possibility of forgiveness.

Love Lives On

Isn’t that true? Love does live on. It’s also a great name for a website that helps people deal with their grief. Here is a little interview I did for them: www.loveliveson.com on the subject of anticipatory grief.

For those who have already moved into the grief stage, our next bereavement support group will begin Monday, April 24th @ 7:00 pm. Contact us for the details. Meeting with trained bereavement educators and the support of others who have experienced the same loss as you have, is helpful in ways that are hard to imagine when grief is fresh. We can help.