Do You Feel Pressured to Smile? (Part 2)

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What would our world be like if we could all just sit with our sadness?

 

What would our world be like if our world leaders frequently took time off to sit by a river and meditate? What would our world be like if our CEOs felt it was okay to cry?

 

Let’s imagine that kind of world.

 

It would be a world without starving people. It would be a world without bombs, without wars.

 

Make no mistake, my friends: Such a world is possible.

 

Such a world starts with you.

 

SHIFTING TO A SELF-CARE PARADIGM

 

How do we usher in this new world?

 

If you’re sad, simply sit with your sadness. No need to smile. No need to run to addictive behaviors. Just sit and breathe.

 

Just be sad. Don’t worry about others in that moment. No need to pretend you are available to be nurturing to others when you cannot.

 

You must fill your own glass before you can share with others.

 

Let’s all just sit in our sadness from time to time. Let’s give ourselves permission to do that.

 

Let’s sit with our tears. Our heartbreak. Our grief and confusion.

 

And during those periods, if it feels right, we can phone a loved one and ask for support. We can seek a professional healer. A massage therapist. We can call in sick to work. Take an epsom salt bath. Dance naked in the living room and sweat out the pain. Play some healing music. Do whatever it takes to feel and be present.

 

Through your commitment to your own healing journey, you give permission to the rest of the world to adopt a new paradigm of self-care and compassion. You help humanity shift.

 

And … here’s the ironic thing. Once we are reminded that it’s okay not to smile, that it’s okay to drop our masks and be our genuine authentic selves … we often find that what is most genuine and most authentic is a clear space of love.

 

Even when we find ourselves in the throes of anxiety and depression, what we find, underneath, if we let ourselves surrender to that space of pure feeling for just a little while, is a vast space of love that opens up.

 

In other words, once we give ourselves permission not to smile, we may find that, rather quickly, we are ready to smile again.

 

 

TELLING THE TRUTH OF THE DARK WITHIN THE LIGHT

 

Chances are, if you are reading this article, you identify as a helper, healer, caregiver, lightworker, or wayshower. You understand, intuitively, that your presence on this planet is a source of inspiration for others. You have deep compassion in your heart and want to relieve suffering.

 

People like us, we are born to feel. Born to help. However, we must temper that natural inclination with giving ourselves permission to be authentic to ourselves and to always look after ourselves first.

 

This is not wrong or selfish! By loving ourselves, we build and strengthen ourselves so that we may then go out into the world and use our own life as a testimony to others.

 

As we love ourselves and set the example, it is important that we remember to tell the truth of the dark within the light.

 

If we hold ourselves to overly strict, rigid standards about “always being positive” or “always bringing the light”, then we may inadvertently carve a mask on top of our natural face.

 

The darkness (sadness, grief, etc.) has much to teach us about acceptance and unconditional love, too. The darkness is a wonderful teacher.

 

In Thich Nhat Hanh’s essay “The Dandelion Has My Smile”, he asserts that forcing ourselves to smile when we feel sad is a good practice, because eventually that forcing will become genuine. While I do agree that there are certain situations in life where it’s good to stretch ourselves out of our stale comfort zones and cultivate gratitude even in the worst of situations, I also think that his advice misses the point for people who tend to hold the martyr archetype or those who tend to over-carry for others.

 

Indeed, I believe that we can go overboard. We can get hooked on “always being the shiny happy one.” We can become addicted to it, in an egoistic way, creating a split between the sad self we feel in private and the happy shiny self we display in public. This can only lead to disjointed, schizophrenic feelings of isolation and despair.

 

As a highly sensitive person and empath, I have felt for many years that is my duty to smile and make eye contact with everyone I see on the street and in public spaces. And now … I realize the fallacy of that belief.

 

On the one hand, my intention has been good: I have wanted to use my life, every waking moment, to be a shining light, helping wake others to their own power and divinity. Such an intention has indeed brought great joy into my life.

 

On the other hand, that day in the park was terrible. (Please see Part 1 of this article.) My obligation to be smiley felt more like a burden than a blessing. I felt like a fake, a sham. More than anything, I wanted to just hold my own hand and not speak to anybody. I wanted to just walk by someone without a word or a glance and let that be okay.

 

And what I realize about myself is something that many of my friends and clients are realizing, too.

 

We as human beings have an aching desire to show all the parts of ourselves. Not just the shiny parts.

 

I want to show the Anya without the makeup. To show her tatters and scars. I don’t want or need to show this side to everyone, of course (especially not the narcissists or those misguided souls who delight in harming others), but I do want to show this side of me more and more to a growing number of loved ones, colleagues, and intimates.

 

I don’t want to create a false image of myself on this blog or in my life in general.

 

I want to show the real me to you: the good, the bad, and the ugly. I want to give you the chance to embrace me for all my facets: my dark, as well as my light.

 

I want to be real.

 

 

SHARING OUR DEEPEST QUESTIONS TOGETHER

 

As we awaken further and further, we dive into the deepest of questions.

 

Who am I? What is life? What am I doing here? What is the point of all this?

 

As I write this article to you now, I am asking: Who the heck is this Anya Light person?

 

As I pause to sip my tea, I smile, knowing that, ultimately, Anya Light is a label. A concept. A reference point in a sea of mysterious energy.

 

Paradoxically, when I think of life in this way, my body relaxes. I take myself down off the hook of needing to be perfect, and I can just enjoy my life—just as it is, just as I am.

 

Is Anya Light always blissful and bursting with light? No. Is she always compassionate? No. A fully enlightened yogini? Certainly not.

 

Here are some truths about the realities of living as “Anya Light.”

 

I am the archetypal “wounded healer.” I have come to know healing only through intensely plunging into the depths of suffering.

 

I have pulled myself out of some very dark holes, and I teach others how to do the same.

 

These holes that I dealt with can be described as chronic illness, suicidal depression, and PTSD. Even though I am healthier now than I have ever been in my entire life, and even though I facilitate safe spaces for others to heal themselves, I sometimes still have relapses.

 

Sometimes when I’m lacking food or sleep or when stress hits, certain old PTSD symptoms flare up. On these days, I am sad and frightened, like a little child. (Part of healing from trauma is the undeniable fact that even after the worst has passed, and even after the time has come to let go of the label PTSD, sometimes symptoms still come back.)

 

The truth is: Anya Light is not always light.

 

Sometimes I’m so fearful of this crazy world that I hide myself in my apartment.

 

As an empath, I get super overwhelmed sometimes. I feel too much: the terror, horror, and injustice that is unfortunately commonplace in our modern world. I cannot comprehend it or cope with it!

 

Why would people pay good money to sit in a theater and watch violence on the screen and consider that “entertainment”? Why would people start rumors and gossip about their coworkers? Why would a parent fail to hug their child? Why would politicians steal money out of pension funds? Why would there ever be such a thing as homelessness? These are the questions I ask that I do not have answers for and that sometimes send my head into a worried, sad spin.

 

Sometimes … living on this planet is just too much, and I get totally overwhelmed. I hide. I lose my sense of who I am and why I’m here.

 

But, dear friends, I don’t want to hide any longer! I don’t want to be overwhelmed by the world’s madness. I want to come out of hiding.

 

I want to say to the world “Hey, I’m sensitive and that’s okay!” I want to show others my tears and fears. I want to hold so many hands. I want to surrender to the light that resides within, no matter how dark that light might sometimes appear to be.

 

I want to be the change I want to see in the world.

I want to reveal my vulnerability.

 

I want to let others truly see me.

 

I want to be the change.

 

 

LET’S TALK!

 

As you ponder what I’ve shared with you, I encourage you to read, re-read, and journal about the following questions. Bring them up with your friends and loved ones. Seek answers, throw out the answers, laugh, and start again.

 

What is it you desire to experience in this lifetime?

What is your purpose?

Are you willing to show your true self?

Who is your true self?

What are the emotions you’ve quarantined or dismissed as “not evolved”?

Are you ready to come out of hiding?

Are you ready to show the light and dark within you?

How do you want to affect this world?

What is the more beautiful world your heart knows is possible?

Are you willing to show your true face—even without the smile?

 

Dear friends, I’d love to hear your answers to these questions in the comments. The more we can talk openly about these kinds of questions, the more we co-create the kind of world that makes us proud.

 

I love you all.

 

~Anya

 

 

Do You Feel Pressured to Smile? (Part 1)

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Recently, I was walking in the park near my home. It was a beautiful day outside: sunny, warm, blue sky.

 

But … inside … I felt rotten.

 

I had slept poorly the night before. I was going through some difficulties at work. My brain was tied into a million worried knots.

 

My reason for going to the park was to relax. I wanted to reconnect with the simplicity of nature. I needed to breathe and reboot. My plan was to be alone, without words, without other people, and just be with the trees and allow my emotions to flow.

 

However, when I began to walk the myriad paths through the sycamore and oak, I began to pass by many people from my small town. It was strangely crowded at the park that day. Apparently, my idea to take advantage of the gorgeous afternoon in the sunshine was not my idea alone!

 

As I passed person after person, I realized, suddenly, that I been forcing myself to smile at all of them. I had been putting an artificial tone of cheer in my voice and had been saying “hello!” and “good afternoon!”…when all I really wanted to do was cry.

 

I wanted to feel and really allow the sadness. I didn’t want to be fake. I didn’t want to smile.

 

But I was fake that day. The smiles and the hellos were forced.

 

Why did I feel an obligation to be cheerful? Why had this happened?

 

 

 

THE BEAUTIFUL DESIRE TO HELP

 

If you are a naturally giving or naturally upbeat person, you may wish you could smile all the time. Of course! It’s lovely to want to smile.

 

If you are a caregiver, parent, healer, therapist, minister, motivational speaker, teacher, coach, or helper of any kind, it is your natural tendency to want to uplift others. You want to make this world a better place. You want to bring the light. That is so awesome!

 

And … yet … we can get ourselves into tricky situations when we fail to honor our authenticity. When we force ourselves to smile or try to help too much—at the expense of our own needs.

 

I’ve seen it all too often. The genuine desire to be a beacon of light becomes, unfortunately, the mask we feel obliged to wear 24/7. It becomes a heavy burden, a façade. Slowly, over time, we begin to live solely for others, instead of acknowledging that we ourselves sometimes need help too.

 

Sometimes we are sad, too.

 

 

GIVING YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE REAL

 

My dear friends, you don’t always have to smile.

 

Sometimes you have a bad day. Sometimes you feel like shit. Sometimes you don’t get enough sleep or you catch a cold. Sometimes you are triggered by this crazy world: politics, taxes, paying your bills, the cruel treatment of children or animals.

 

You don’t always have to smile.

 

You don’t always have to shine.

 

For example, if you’re feeling lousy today and you’ve got to go to the grocery store, cut yourself some slack. Visualize a protective bubble of light around yourself and just breathe. Love yourself. Go to the store and don’t worry that you don’t have the energy to do what you normally do, such as make abundant eye contact with the cashier or cheerfully chat with your neighbor.

 

If you’re feeling low, it’s okay to turn off your “empathy button” for a while. Be in your own world. Give yourself permission to be exactly who you are in this moment: empty, flat, tired, and sad.

 

You don’t always have to smile. You don’t always have to be shiny. You don’t always have to be the perfect embodiment of joy, confidence, peace, and happiness. You don’t always have to bring the light. You don’t always have to help.

 

 

THE WONDERFUL TEACHINGS OF JIM CAREY

 

The comedian Jim Carey is a wonderful example of someone who has realized the value of being genuine.

 

In recent interviews and speeches, Carey talks a lot about letting our masks drop. Having the courage to set them down and be real.

 

He reminds us the value of being raw and authentic, genuine and vulnerable. In order to fully step into our beautiful humanity, it is essential to intentionally show our weakness to others. By allowing ourselves to be seen as “imperfect,” then we give others permission to relax and do the same. In this way, more compassion comes into the world. And more realness.

 

Carey’s message is the same as countless sages throughout history. He realized that only through daring to be vulnerable can our true light shine through.

 

The true light of God, Divinity, the Universe (whatever you want to call it) is within us—but if we pretend to be feeling that light when we are not, we are only hurting ourselves.

 

Sometimes, what we need to do is cry.

 

Sometimes, what we need to do is reach out to a trusted friend and say, “I need help—can we get some tea and talk?”

 

Sometimes we need to go to our Mum and say “Hey Mum, I’m scared. Can I have a hug?”

 

Sometimes we need to call in sick to work.

 

Sometimes we need to say “no” or let someone down in order to take care of ourselves.

 

Carey tells us about how, early in his career, while he was striving to become famous, he not only played the roles in the scripts, but he also played a role in his larger life: that role was called “Jim Carey”! But, he didn’t realize that he was doing this until he began to spiritually awaken.

 

In his awakening (the unraveling of his ego), he realized that in order to continue his evolution as a soul, he must drop even the role of Jim Carey! He must dare to let others see him, truly see him, moment to moment.

 

Who is underneath the mask, the persona?

 

When we make the choice to step outside the boundaries of the tense, anxious, ego-self (even if only for a few minutes, even if only for a little bit), we will find a free-flowing relaxation. A loosening. A delicious unravelling. A peace. And we will realize, incredibly, that we are not limited to form.

 

We are boundless.

 

What is underneath the mask is what the mystics have always spoken of. The collision of this moment and the infinite. The conflagration of spirit and emptiness. The person and the being. The Tao. The way. The everything.

 

Jim Carey dares us to be authentic.

 

And so do I.

 

What I learned in the park that day was a turning point in my life.

 

I realized that I needed to take care of myself first. And what that sometimes means is having the courage not to smile. To just feel and honor my own sadness. To just be human.

 

Even the inspiration of seeing yourself as a healer or a helper can become a false idol, a mental image. If we believe we “are” that thing that we do—even if it’s positive such as being a teacher or a nurse or a minister or whatever—then we will ultimately drown in that form. We will ultimately sink, into the darkness of confusion and untruth.

 

If we can relax our human role identity, it is then, paradoxically, that we can allow the full range of humanness—all our sometimes seemingly crazy, chaotic emotions—to emerge and be truly felt.

 

 

 

THE BEAUTIFUL TEACHINGS OF BRENÉ BROWN

 

Another person who has helped bring these lessons of authenticity to the light of our collective consciousness is Brené Brown.

 

In her infamous TED talk “The Power of Vulnerability” (with over seven million views on Youtube), she teaches how being vulnerable is a radical act of courage that can change the world. She shows how vulnerability is ultimately an empowering act: one we can intentionally choose in order to liberate ourselves from fear and step more fully into our joy.

 

Instead of reaching for that banana nut muffin and a beer, as she reminds us, do we have the courage to really feel what we are feeling? Do we have the courage to just breathe and be, instead of rushing to numb ourselves with food, drugs, or other addictive behaviors?

 

Can we find the courage within ourselves to reach out for help and be honest with those we love about our challenges?

 

Can we be honest about our sadness and our fears?

 

Brown’s questions are potent and transformative. In a world that’s waking up, it’s exactly what we need to hear.

 

She helps me remember that I don’t always have to smile. Sometimes I can be sad, and that’s okay.

 

 

THE CONTINUING CONVERSATION

 

This post has two parts, my friends. Please tune in next week, as I explore this conversation further.

 

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with two simple questions:

 

Do you ever feel pressured to smile? Why is that?

How to Heal Trauma with Healing Foods

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By Anya Light

 

Let’s talk about the foods we put into our mouths and how that relates to healing trauma.
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In my own journey of healing PTSD and adrenal fatigue, as well as in my work with traumatized individuals across a variety of therapeutic settings, I have discovered that diet plays an incredibly huge role in how quickly we can recover. Quite simply, diet is one of the key, core elements of healing.
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Many of us are familiar with a standard group of recovery modes for healing trauma: talk therapy, energy work, meditation, exercise, hypnotherapy, and somatic practice. Many people do not yet recognize, however, just how powerful diet can be.
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In this article, I’ll discuss 3 keys to a trauma recovery diet that promotes swift healing.
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Before I proceed, however, here is a quick caveat. I am not a medical doctor. I am not a medical professional. In no way does this article constitute a prescription or official medical advice. Rather, what I am gently suggesting here is simply personal opinion, based upon my own personal experience and research.

 

  1. Nourish your body with plenty of antioxidant-rich foods.

 

Antioxidants are natural substances that promote healthy circulation of energy through increased blood flow. Healthy circulation helps the body cleanse itself of toxins as well as reduce out-of-control inflammation.
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As you can imagine, getting enough antioxidants is important for every human being… but for PTSD and trauma survivors, antioxidants are especially crucial! Antioxidants help uncoil tension and stuck energy within the body, promoting the peace and relaxation that is so necessary to regaining a sense of safety in the world.
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Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans are rich in antioxidants. Some specific ones that have the highest levels are: blueberries, blackberries, goji berries, pecans, artichokes, elderberries, kidney beans, cranberries, cilantro, basil, and ginger.

 

 

  1. Increase your protein intake.

 

A common symptom of unresolved trauma is a reoccurring sensation of feeling floaty, shaky, dizzy, unbalanced, or ungrounded. Protein helps resolve these symptoms.

 

The intense experience of trauma forces us to adapt. In response to the trauma, we learn coping mechanisms that allow us to numb or even energetically flee our bodies altogether. In soul healing methods, such as those discussed in the peer-reviewed article “Trauma and Dissociation“, lasting healing happens when there is a reunion between body and spirit.

 

Increasing your intake of protein will vastly aid in such a reunion. Protein calms the nervous and endocrine systems. On a spiritual/energetic level, protein helps us to connect more solidly with our Mother Earth. Protein helps us come back into our bodies and to feel strong and safe there.

 

Some foods that are incredibly high in protein are: nuts, seeds, beans, peas, lentils, brown rice, tempe, kefir, mushrooms, and spinach.

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The question of whether to eat meat as a protein source is entirely up to your best judgment. Eating meat is your choice and no single rule works for everyone. At certain phases of a person’s healing journey, meat can be beneficial. At other phases, though, it can be destructive. Listen to your body. Eat a bite or two of meat and then observe your body afterwards. Do you feel renewed? Grounded? Calm? Solid? Queasy? Sluggish? Irritated? Angry? Be open to the messages your body is telling you, whether positive or negative.

 

If you feel that eating meat is a good thing for you at this time in your life, I encourage you to think about what’s easiest for you to digest. Allowing your digestive system the lightest possible amount of “work” frees up more energy that then is available to your body for healing. Typically, red meat and pork are the most difficult for people to digest. Fish is often the easiest type to digest.

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Also, if you are going to eat meat, I suggest limiting yourself to eating only “happy meat” is a wonderful choice—meat that comes from grass-fed, free range, organic, humanely-treated animals. As trauma survivors are quite often energetically sensitive souls, it is not advised to consume meat from an animal that has suffered greatly. An animal that has been tortured (what happens in factory farms) will certainly have vibrations of fear, pain, anguish, and terror imprinted into each cell. When a human being then eats the meat from such an animal, they are—quite literally—ingesting those difficult emotions as well.

 

As we eat increased amounts of protein, in whatever form our bodies are asking for, we connect energetically to the Earth and we re-enter our bodies in a more balanced, grounded way. We have the energy to complete our daily tasks without overwhelm, and we build the functionality of our muscles. We become strong in the world again.

 

 

  1. Avoid Toxic, Stressful Foods

 

It tends to be easier for people to add elements to their diet rather than take them away. The human ego does not like change, and certain foods and drinks are often habitually consumed for reasons other than health—they are consumed as a kind of drug, to bring relief, comfort, and numbing. Thus, please be aware that what I am about to share with you may be triggering to the ego.

 

When we are healing trauma, it is an absolute necessity that we do everything we can to calm our physical body. To put our body in certain conditions that will promote peace and tranquility. When we are traumatized, our fight-or-flight mechanisms have gone haywire, and our bodies are typically poised at the edge of fear on a consistent basis. Unhealed trauma means an overly-adrenalized endocrine system and an overly-stimulated nervous system.

 

In trauma recovery, there is a core group of substances that need to be gradually released for a full healing process to occur. In general, the core group of foods to avoid are: processed sugars, processed flours, foods laden with artificial chemicals, foods with pesticides, GMOs, alcohol, and caffeine.

 

The last two on this list—alcohol and caffeine—are the most toxic, stressful substances of all.

 

The damaging effects of alcohol

 

Why is alcohol important to avoid? The ethanol content found within alcohol causes blood pressure and heart rate to increase. This puts the body into a kind of heightened state that negatively impacts the ability to get a good night’s sleep. For traumatized individuals, getting plenty of deep, rejuvenating sleep is utterly crucial to the healing process. Sleep is the time when the body is most able to clear and cleanse the negative effects of trauma.

 

Let’s not beat around the bush. Alcohol is a poison. True, it may help us temporarily relax, but only through sending toxins to the brain that dull our senses. Even a single alcoholic drink can do considerable damage because it puts strain on our liver and immune system. For traumatized individuals, our systems are already severely strained. Adding alcohol into the mix is only going to delay our full healing.

 

The damaging effects of caffeine

 

When I finally gave up caffeine a few years ago (and this included chocolate), my body made a rapid shift. In the short space of a few months, my panic attacks were greatly reduced and my sleep was vastly improved. I found that I was able to have greater concentration, focus, and balance during the day, because now I was free of the roller-coaster of caffeine highs and crashes.

 

Caffeine triggers a release of adrenaline and cortisol. For those in trauma recovery, this is the last thing we want to do! Instead, soothing caffeine-free herbal teas are what will heal us: chamomile, lavender, bergamot, dandelion, and ginger are some of my favorites.

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Contrary to popular belief, caffeine is not a harmless substance. Just like alcohol, caffeine is a poison. It is a toxin. It hurts not only trauma survivors, but everyone. It’s a substance that puts undue stress on the endocrine and nervous systems. It is incredibly difficult for the body to digest. And it also is quite physically and emotionally addictive.

 

I often talk to my friends, family, and clients about the devastating effects of caffeine. In fact, I often discuss the parallels in mindset between our over-worked, stressed out, highly-caffeinated culture (with a Starbucks on every corner) to our big pharma culture, where we so often turn to quick fixes like pills to “fix” us. Simply put, a cup of coffee, caffeinated tea, or a bar of chocolate appears like a quick, easy fix for feeling sleepy. And yet, the long-term effects on the body are horrendous.

 

In truth, caffeine does not heal or fix or aid us at all! In fact, when we ingest caffeine, what is truly happening is that the body is being triggered into an artificial fight-or-flight mode. Thus, we are over-stressing our bodies and addicting ourselves to ever-present feelings of unease and anxiety.

 

I know from personal experience how difficult it is to release caffeine. I remember when I was sitting nervously in the office of my new holistic doctor, back in 2011. I was sipping a latté. After scanning my test results, she announced that I had an endocrine system that was functioning at levels normal for a 70-year old person (I was 30 at the time). She looked at me in the eye, concerned and grave. She said, “If you really want to heal, the first thing you must do is give up caffeine.”

 

I remember wanting to burst into tears right in her office. Give up caffeine? How in the world would I get through grad school? For the past three years, I had been surviving each day only by drinking two or three lattés from Starbucks. How would I make it through each day? As my mind raced with these questions, the full impact of my addiction became clear. I had, somehow, begun to equate caffeine with having the energy to live.
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It was at that moment that a quiet voice came into my mind. The voice said, “Don’t worry. You can do this.”

 

And I did. Giving up caffeine was one of the best things I ever did for my health.

 

 

Dear friends, as you walk this beautiful path to wellness and to a vibrant, peaceful life, please know that you are not alone. There are countless others who walk this path, too. I have walked this path, and now I’m here to tell you that you can do this. You can heal.

 

As you make choices about what’s most nourishing for your body, remember that the comfortable or easy choice might not always be the best choice. Sometimes making changes can require a certain amount of discipline. However, making changes is a day-by-day, often step-by-tiny-step process. Healing from trauma, PTSD, stress, or chronic fatigue doesn’t just happen overnight. Healing takes time.

 

Ultimately, when we set the intention to heal our body, mind, and soul from trauma, we choose a life where the most important thing is self-compassion. Through listening for what is the most compassionate choice, then we naturally and organically begin to make better choices that promote our long-term health and vitality.

 

Through compassion, we listen for the voice that says, “Yes, yes, dear one. You can do this.”

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How to Transcend Polarity with Gender Fluidity

 


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Susie Beiler is a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner with Spectrum Health Consulting LLC. Susie is a channel for the Divine. She assists her clients to discover and live their soul mission so that they can enjoy a deeply fulfilling life. 

After healing herself from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (adrenal burnout), she reprogrammed and rewired herself to live her own soul mission as a channel for the Divine. Susie is the founder and lead facilitator in The Creation Temple®, an online venue for supporting Lightworkers in their ascension process. She lives in Sedona, AZ and enjoys nature, authenticity, and high vibrational food. Please visit her at: www.susiebeiler.com and www.creationtemple.com

Zen and a Love Story

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By Anya Light

 

In the beginning, you are seated for meditation. Zazen. You wear a dark sweater and scarf. I notice how tall you are, and slender.

And then we begin to bow. I don’t know this ritual yet, and so I find my eyes drawn to you, as you make the movements. I dip my head reverently to the wooden floor, which represents the Earth. I dip my head and rise my palms for Buddha. (Not in worship—but in Yes!)

Yes, quiet meditation hall. Evening. England. This bowing. And there is no difference, now, between those who are bowing and those who are sitting or moving in this room in other ways. We all Are. I have Buddha nature, and so do you. I bow, watching you. You are always two seconds ahead, to my right. I can’t stop looking.

The story really begins with a headache. My headache. I cannot yet face them: the crowds, the rooms of expectant people, here to hear about my book. I am tired of talking.

Just ten minutes in the Zendo, I tell myself. Just ten minutes of meditation: that’s all I need. So, I rise from the bed, shuffle downstairs, and push open the wide wooden door.

It is you! You are there! You are already seated, on the old wooden floor. My heart is made of firecrackers. My heart is made of chocolate. I burn and melt. In total surprise, I say: You!?

We smile and agree to sit together. At the end of ten minutes, you ring the bell. I don’t remember what we talk about, after we sit, but it’s something that flows beautifully. A few minutes pass, and suddenly we remember other people and clocks exist. We say we are both reluctant to join them, but we do.

And then the story, well, it really begins with my question to you, after the reading: Would you like to take a walk with me? …And then, out in the open evening air, a few streets later, my question: May I kiss you? Your mouth is dry and you laughingly complain. We look around. There’s so much, and suddenly. The moon is big and the river is near. It’s August, the end of summer. We stand in the market town of Hebden Bridge. I don’t live here, but you do. You show the way.

We walk. When we reach the bridge, we hold hands. I remember resting my head in your lap. Your hands upon my head, so gently, so gently.

I tell you I’m a healer, a shaman, that I walk between worlds. I tell you everything. No secrets are between us, already. We talk of magic. We talk of love, mystery, sex. After awhile, we walk a bit more, back toward the house.

Back at the drafty old house, later, you kneel to write your number on a scrap of paper. Time has stopped a long time ago. While writing, you look up at me. I’m in the chair, close to you, legs crossed. You shake your head, disbelievingly, almost like a confused, giddy child. You say: I don’t know you, but I love you.

We are writing a love story, my love. It includes more things. Letters, packages, emails. Visits. Six-hour Skype calls. Orgasms and dances across space and time and all that seems real. You and I in the forest, that afternoon. You and I on the islands, those evenings, when we camped. The whale leaping from the waters.

How your laugh surprises me still.

How crickets can signal not the end but the beginning of a summer.

 

Daily Miracles: The Way My Sister Walked

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By Reverend Rhonda Sheryl Lipstein

 

The miraculous story I would like to share is the story of my sister, Elana Jody Lipstein-Waldman.

 

Elana was diagnosed with Stage 3C Ovarian Cancer when she was the very tender age of 32.

 

According to statistics regarding this diagnosis, Elana was given less then a 30% chance of surviving more than 2-3 years, and this was with the most advanced treatments currently known within the allopathic medical industry.

 

Amazingly, instead of choosing to believe the statistics given by her doctors, who were touted as some of the absolute best in their field, Elana chose instead to alter her perception of her diagnosis and her condition.

 

Instead of seeing the diagnosis as death sentence, she saw it as permission to enjoy life to its fullest. She began to view her condition not as fatal but rather as a chronic condition that simply had reoccurring flare-ups that needed treatment.

 

Over the next years, Elana was treated with over 100 chemotherapy treatments, radiations, test trials, injections, specialty diets, fitness routines, and lifestyle changes.

 

Even though these treatments helped, in reality it was her PERCEPTION that gave her the gift of life. She lived EIGHT YEARS beyond her diagnosis!

 

My sister walked the walk of Namaste Love and, as a result, was gifted the greatest miracle of all: life.

 

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Reverend Rhonda Sheryl Lipstein is an empathic holistic healer & intuitive mystic. For those seeking more pearls of love’s wisdom, please visit RhondaSherylLipstein.com

 

A New Year’s Letter to My Lightworker Friends

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Dear beautiful lightworkers,

 

The new year is here! Blessings!

 

As you look ahead, surveying the landscape of your life—wishing, hoping, and dreaming—I want to encourage you today to cultivate a gentle trust inside your heart. Trust that the Universe is guiding you exactly where you need to go.

 

This year, when you make choices and envision possible paths, take the time to listen to your heart. Ask what it feels.

 

The (sometimes challenging) truth is this: The intellect is overrated. Yet, our culture tends to glorify it: tends to idealize logical pros and cons lists…tends to idolize those with academic degrees…tends to trust something only if it can be “scientifically proven.”

 

And yet, and yet, the intellect is just a tiny piece of the puzzle.

 

Glorification of the intellect is the old way: the old way of the ego’s reign of power that is slowly dying on our planet.

 

The new way is intuition. Trusting the gut and heart.

 

There is so much more to life than the single perspective. Each one of us is like a tree, each with our own beautiful story…yet communicating through roots and water with the wider forest and all of Gaia herself. Each brain is valuable and beautiful, yes—but there’s so much more!

 

In the year 2018, let’s celebrate the intellect as a tool, but learn to grow beyond it. With deeper meditation and more mindfulness in our daily lives, we begin to feel the subtle nuances that come with our devotion to this life of awakening, this life of healing and service to a world that is so ready for us.

 

We are the light. We are here to shine.

 

Don’t let your brain get too much in the way this year. Make decisions from a place of surrender and faith. Trust the forces bigger than you.

 

The words and concepts that appear in your brain may not always be the highest reality. Rather, learn to subtly perceive the deeper vibrations emanating from your heart. Watch for the synchronicities. Watch for the pure moments of serendipity, when the clouds part, and you just know.

 

Remember, too, that on this path of life, there are no mistakes. As my Beloved recently said, “The word ‘mistake’ is a clunky concept, massively oversimplifying.” In truth, what we do is explore. Play. Adventure our lives in a way where we sometimes crash. And it’s okay! We learn, time and time again, that to breath and reboot is an integral part of the path.

 

The intellect is overrated. What counts on this lightworker path is your gut. Your heart. Allow your intuition and the forces of Spirit to move through you, guiding each step to exactly the next place you need to be.

 

This year, in the magnificent year of 2018, may your days be more joyful than ever before.

 

I love you all,

 

Anya

 

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Eternity

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a poem by Anya Light

 

I remember the body-less time.

The time before arms and legs.

It was a time before wonder—

because everything was wonder.

Everything was peace.

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I remember the body-less time.

Carved into bone,

this memory.

Any end of the cosmos was mine

in a wink or a blink.

…Maybe this

at least partially explains

my sorrow

at needing a car

or filling a wallet with dollars

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Strengthening Our Intuition with Oracle Cards

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By Sarah Atwell

 

Working with oracle messenger cards is one of my favorite ways to strengthen my intuition.
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Life is like the seasons—full of cycles and changes. The cards help us navigate. We go through times of renewal and fresh starts because it’s time to move forward. Sometimes, we must leave something behind because it’s no longer working for us.

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As we undergo these cycles of change, we can let go of old habits, find different kinds of work, or step out of comfort zones and try something new. Indeed, life is ever-changing. It’s an exciting and unpredictable adventure; a maze of possible choices and unknown outcomes. Sometimes when I feel like I’m a bit lost, I go to oracle cards for guidance. They have helped me so much, and I feel they may help you, too.


My Magical Experience

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Over the years, my work with the oracles has often focused on dreams and creativity.

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For example, I’ve received much guidance about the role of art in my life. About a year ago, The Green Lady card from one of my favorite decks, The Faeries’ Oracle, kept coming up in readings. She encouraged me to grow my talents and courageously embrace my innate magic. I’d also get Penelope the Dreamweaver card quite often, who of course is connected with magical dreams and visions. She seemed to be telling me to step out of the mundane and try new things that would inspire and renew me.
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During this time, I also had a dream that I was drawing lots of pictures so I could make my own coloring book or cards.

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All these messages pointed to my new direction. I decided I was going to get busy and start drawing again. (It had been years since I had done any drawing.)

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Now, a year later, I’m happy to say my first coloring book will soon be published. (If you subscribe to my blog at sarathefairy.com you will receive a free sample to download.)

 

Oracles and the Intuitive Mind

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How do oracle cards work?

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The oracles work as an extension of what we already know in our subconscious mind, which is where our intuition comes from.

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The cards can be considered the physical representation of our internal intuition. When we use the oracles, we’re strengthening the connections between our subconscious mind, our intuition, and the physical world.

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The images on the cards bring clarity to any hidden feelings, emotions or desires we may have.

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As we shuffle them and focus on our question, we’re setting an intention and releasing our energy into the cards. This is what gives them power.


Your Choice and Your Power
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There are many varieties of oracle cards. Some have themes like goddess, angels, animals or faeries.

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One of my favorite sets is Oracle of Visions. The images in this deck are not only colorful and pretty but also very straightforward, making it easier to understand their meaning.

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The other deck I love is The Faeries’ Oracle, as previously mentioned. Using this deck is one of my favorite ways to connect with the faeries and learn what they have to share.

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If you decide to work with the oracles, find some that speak to you. Remember: it’s not the cards in themselves that have the power—it’s your energy and your intention that give them the power to work within you.

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Sarah Atwell lives in Oregon and is currently studying various methods of healing. Connect with her on Facebook and her blog

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How to Consciously Evolve at Christmas: A Few Tips

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By Anya Light

 

The time of Christmas is a wonderful time for the evolution of our consciousness. Indeed, it’s a great energy to harness. There’s extra magic in the air, absolutely ripe for the setting and manifesting of intention. Our collective sense of what’s possible is expanded, and our hearts tend to be more open.

 

Dear friends, here are three tips to keep in mind, as you navigate your Christmas holiday with the intention of awakening further to the deepest truth of who you are.
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1. Be authentic.

At Christmastime, we often feel pressured to go along with what others are doing. We may feel obligated to participate in various traditions that don’t resonate with us for fear of rocking the boat.

 

Be bold and be you this Christmas. You say “no” and also be kind. For example, if you are a vegetarian and your mom is nudging you to partake in the turkey she’s just made, don’t confuse showing your mother love with abandoning your values. You can love your mom by simply saying “No thanks, Mom, I’ll forgo the turkey—but I’m so excited to eat these delicious mashed potatoes you made! Thanks so much!”

 

Here’s another example. If you don’t believe in the tradition of exchanging consumer products, then see what alternatives resonate with you. Could you make your loved one an artistic handmade gift, such as a poem or a painting? Could you offer massages and cuddles? Could you help your aunt with the dishes after the meal or lend a hand to help your dad fix his old broken down truck? Could you shovel the sidewalks of your grandmother’s house? What are the ways you can pitch in and add light to the lives of those you love, without feeling obliged to go out and purchase a mass market item?
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2. Be in the present moment.

One of the things I find challenging about Christmas is that the holiday often seems to carry these two implicit ideas: a) that the past is more magical than the present, and b) that it’s good to yearn for what you wish you had.

 

Indeed, Christmas is so much predicated upon the glorification of nostalgia. Whether it’s old-timey black and white movies such as “It’s a Wonderful Life” or holiday cards showing kids from the fifties throwing snowballs…the dominant message seems to be: Childhood was better than adulthood. Yesterday was more beautiful than today.

 

If you flip on your radio, you’ll probably notice all the Christmas carols singing praises to those supposed good-old bygone days, those Christmases of long long ago. For this reason, I choose my Christmas music very selectively and sparingly. Usually I prefer lyric-less classical music or the more spiritual or religious hymns, that at the very least bring a renewed sense of joy and gratitude for all the blessings I currently enjoy today. Indeed, I long for deeper, wiser messages in my music than the shallowness of nostalgia. I long to feel the beauty and peace of the now, the present moment, rather than searching backward in time for it.

 

For me, I want each Christmas to be a new Christmas. Yes, of course, memories may spontaneously arise in my mind. But I don’t want to camp out there. When memories of the past come into my mind at this time of year, my practice (as it is the rest of the year) is to allow the emotions to flood my body, without adding stories about “what should be” or “what could be” on top of these memories and emotions.

 

For example, the other day I was listening to some holiday music on the radio and it seemed like song after song was about some sad lover who longed for the good-old-days when they had their lover by their side for sleigh rides, snuggles, sipping egg nog, etc. The songs were love vibration: totally blue, full of complaint, heartache and longing. As I listened, I suddenly found myself entrained to the music. I suddenly found myself feeling sleepy and rather glum, playing mental movies in my mind of a former partner of mine, and suddenly wishing to be with him this Christmas! As soon as I became aware of these thoughts and emotions, I promptly flipped off the radio and simply stood still in the middle of my living room and breathed, allowing the emotions to circulate through my body, without adding any more stories and without judging myself for what had just happened. In a few minutes, those sad energies naturally subsided and I continued the rest of my day with renewed present moment awareness.

 

3. Do what nourishes you.

This is an extension of tip #1. Do what truly nourishes your body and soul this Christmas! If what feels best to you is staying all cozy at home in front of the fire with your cat because you’re feeling introverted, no need to measure or compare yourself to the general expectation that Christmastime is meant to be spent in the company of others.

 

Dare to question the status-quo and create your own sacred rituals this year. If what feels best to you this year is juicing raw vegetables instead of drinking a rum cocktail, listen to that wise inner voice. If what feels most nourishing to you this year is going on a meditation or yoga retreat instead of typical holiday parties, then make space for what you need. If your soul is urging you to donate your time to a local food bank or soup kitchen, then you know what to do.

 

My dear friends, this year, this Christmas, do what truly nourishes you. Forget the traditions and expectations from your culture and even from your family. Start your own traditions. Listen to that beautiful voice emanating from within your own heart, and heed its gentle wisdom. Be present. Be authentic. Avoid the silly dramas and the hectic stresses that others are unconsciously addicted to, and liberate yourself to find a new flow from the rest of the crowd. Be the loving example of what Christmas can be.

 

I’d love to hear in the comments below what you are doing this year to bring more mindfulness and love into this holiday season! Please share with us!