How Cannabis and a Nude Retreat Woke Me Up

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In childhood, I’d always had a sense that I was different. I didn’t quite fit. I remember the adults around me being obsessed with sports and money—but it all seemed so boring to me. I remember my friends desperately striving to get good grades at school—while I couldn’t care less. I slept through most classes. What I wanted, rather, was to hug people, to play, to explore, to laugh, and to learn about love and relationships… unfortunately, these were not on the curriculum.
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As a kid, I longed for creative expression. I remember dancing silly, even somewhat sexual dances in front of my bedroom mirror: I was utterly fascinated by how my body would move. I remember skipping school in favor of writing long, epic poems and randomly weird stories. I remember creating incredible, off-the-cuff songs that nobody heard but me.
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And I remember the mystical moments, too. Moments when there wasn’t any explanation. Like when my stuffed animals and dolls would move by themselves. Or when I would dream something and then it would come true. I particularly loved those lucid dreams on lazy Saturday mornings, where I’d float outside my body and be taught by angels.

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And, yet, despite all of theses amazing experiences, I suffered deep depression. As my childhood years passed into young adulthood, I began to slip more and more into a coma of forgetfulness. I entered the mass delusion, the Matrix. I believed the advertising and made sure my makeup was perfect. I hated my small breasts and wanted plastic surgery.

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And then comes a poignant afternoon. I am in my early twenties, smoking a very potent strain of cannabis. Leanne, a dear friend of mine, is playing guitar by my side. She is happy and carefree. I am watching the light dance on the wall from a nearby curtained window. All of a sudden, I erupt into a rush of giggles! I begin shaking and rocking with utter joy! As Leanne watches in amazement, my giggles soon turn into howls. I begin to slap the table like a madwoman, gasping for breath, delirious in bliss. I know my friend is confused, so I try to force my mouth to make the words, to try to somehow explain to her what’s going on, but I just can’t. There is no way I can explain it in words. Some kind of veil is being pierced. I have the thought: “Everything they told me about Jesus was a lie.”

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This is the moment that began my journey as a mystic. The moment when I moved from religion to spirituality. It was the first crack. And although I didn’t stay “high” (as in, higher consciousness) and soon resumed the normalcy of my depressed life, the shell of my ego was beginning to crack.
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The crack became a full-fledged break about five years later. On this particular afternoon, I am sick in bed (as usual). Browsing through documentaries on Netflix, I discover this offbeat documentary called The Workshop. It’s about a spiritual teacher named Paul Lowe. On the cover of the documentary are a bunch of naked people, smiling and making all sorts of quirky faces. Even though what initially attracts me to click on the documentary is an interest in the nude retreat he leads, where he teaches about the value of radical honesty, I cannot help but be captivated by his deeper mystical message. He keeps saying: “Be here now. Right now. Don’t be anywhere else—just now. In this moment.”

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Although my brain is accustomed to high logic (I am in graduate school at the time, fully absorbed in the “truth” of the scientific method), his simple words somehow penetrate me. A wave of palpable relief fills my body. I slowly let my head sink downward, finally resting my forehead against the softness of my palms. Inside this dark little cave, I smile to myself. I am aware of the feeling of breathing. I am aware of being alive. I distinctly realize that my thinking mind has stopped. I am present. I am in the here and now. Whoah.

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For the next two weeks, I am high without any form of drug. (This is what’s known as a temporary Kensho experience.) I wake in the morning in ecstatic bliss and my feet no longer seem to touch the pavement. All my friends and classmates ask “What happened to you???”, their eyes a twinkle of curiosity and amazement. But I cannot explain to them anything. I just know that I’m finally free and happy.

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Since those two precious moments—the first one with plant medicine and the second one with Paul—my life has been a whirlwind of revelations. I’ve befriended shamans, healers, and teachers of all kinds. I became a Reiki Master. I travelled to India and began teaching yoga. I became self-employed and wrote a book about how to create outside-the-box relationships. My life is amazing.

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I have the very clear sense that I’m being guided by a vast power. It’s not about “me.” It’s about something greater. I’ve surrendered to the Light, to the Divine Will. It’s not about the pleasure I can gain from life, rather it’s about how I can serve and how I can grow. It’s about waking up as fully as possible in this lifetime.

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In the end, our stories are not so different. We all wake up sleeping, and then we move—gradually or speedily—towards a sense of waking dreaming. Isn’t that amazing? Indeed, we learn (to our surprise!) that everything is a very lovely illusion. We learn that suffering and trauma might seem real, but our stories shape that “reality” and we can quite literally heal the past, the present, and the future with our thoughts. We learn how powerful we are.
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We learn other lessons, too. We learn that our bodies are beautiful and it’s good to take care of them, but we also learn that our bodies are a temporary manifestation that we must, eventually, leave behind. We learn non-attachment. We learn how to say goodbye. Hopefully, through all our spiritual training, we can do it with grace.

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Ultimately, we learn that we are a speck of consciousness floating in a sea of eternal mystery. We learn so many things… we gather up so much “information”… and, in the end, we laugh. We remember the cannabis, we remember the documentary (or whatever it was that woke us up), and we laugh. We bow our heads in gratitude, saying: Thank you for this life. Thank you for helping me remember. 

 

How to Prepare for Your Life Coaching Session: Five Tips    

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The choice to book a life coaching session is a crucial moment in your life. It is the first step, among many, that will move you toward empowerment and the manifestation of your deepest dreams.

 

Prior to your session, it is essential to prepare your body, mind, and spirit.

 

As a life coach, I have witnessed the difference between clients showing up haphazardly versus those who take the time to prepare themselves prior to our meeting. The difference is always obvious.

 

A coaching session is like a dance: it takes two to tango. The coach plays their part, and the client plays their part. If both parties are playing their part to the fullest possibility, that’s when the magic happens.

 

When you are committed to the process of transformation, the Universe will assist you—in every way possible!—so that you may have an amazing, awe-inspiring experience with your coach.

 

Now that you’ve booked your session, it’s time to begin the dance. It starts today, right now, as you’re reading these five powerful preparation steps.

 

  1. Write the specific questions you will ask your coach.

 

Going with the flow is usually sage advice; however, in this particular situation, creating a plan for your meeting is a better idea. But don’t worry…it doesn’t have to feel like “work.” It can be fun and effortless.

 

Here’s how you can make it easy. Set the intention that you will create 2-3 questions regarding a certain topic. The topic could be a relationship, finance, spirituality, family/parenting, or something else. Then, simply go about your next few days as normal. The words will simply come. The trick is to carry around a notebook with you wherever you go…and then—bam! Suddenly, inspiration will strike! While you are at the grocery store or having tea with a friend, you can pause to write down the perfect words, as they flow into your mind spontaneously, effortlessly.

 

That’s how the subconscious mind works. Just give it the right space to do its work (set the intention, have the notebook ready), and then it will feed you exactly what you need to grow.

 

After you write down a first draft of your questions, go back and see if you can refine the wording. Be as meticulous as you can. Be precise. The words you choose matter. For example, the question: “Should I get a divorce?” is not so good because it frames your concerns in terms of right or wrong. This kind of black-and-white thinking is not going to produce much personal growth, because reality is never actually set in terms of right and wrong. Reality is much more beautiful than that.

 

Reality is a dancing web of choices, in a variety of shades and colors, and we—each one of us—have the power to choose our destiny.

 

The question “Should I get a divorce?” assumes that there is a right or wrong answer. There is not. If you are feeling unhappy in your life circumstances, then there is a cornucopia of new choices available to you. Some may involve getting a divorce and some may not. What’s best? Only you can tell.

 

Ultimately, there is nothing to fear. Only exploration. Only self-reflection. There is no grim, bearded Father God in the sky judging you. No. There is only you, your heart, your beautiful intuition, and an endless play of creativity and passion.

 

In addition, the question “Should I get a divorce?” is not so wonderful because it subtly places all the power into the hands of your coach. If you’re asking a “should” question, you are looking for your coach to give you the “correct” answer. But to proceed in this way is unwise. Your coach is not a fortune teller. Rather, your coach’s job is to simply hold space for you and to deeply listen. Through that deep listening, they will gently guide you toward self-discovery.

 

When writing your 2-3 questions, allow for some flexibility, for some exploration. Questions based on curiosity and creative play (rather than the desperate search for the “right” answer) allows the collaborative dance between you and your coach to unfold. It is here that you will find the highest expression of your truth.

 

For example, a better question might be: “What might be the hidden challenges of getting a divorce?” or “Why am I feeling so afraid to stay in this marriage?” or “What are you sensing about the arguments I’ve been having with my spouse?” All these questions are excellent because they invite your coach to offer you some nuanced, intuitive insights. Ideally their intuitive offerings will then be filtered through the powerful lens of your own intuition. Which brings me to my next tip…

 

  1. Carve out some alone time for yourself.

 

A few hours prior to your session, make the conscious choice to disconnect from the voices of friends, family, and colleagues. Disconnect from your phone, from gadgets, from all social technology. If the demands of your schedule do not allow for a few hours, then at least take twenty or thirty minutes.

 

This is an important step because you are setting the tone for the session ahead. You are signaling to the Universe that this time is about you: about your own wisdom, your own healing, your own knowledge and self-care.

 

Women often have a difficult time prioritizing their own self-care. We have been trained to be the rock for others. If we do not take the time to support ourselves, though, how can we expect to support those around us?

 

As we come into a space of stillness, away from the opinions and speech and communications of others, we may choose to take a long, soothing bath. Or we may take a walk in the forest or on the beach. Or we may roll out our yoga mat. Whatever we may choose to do during this precious time, we are coming into our own awareness of who we are and what we need. We are learning to trust ourselves. And this is important, because, in order for our session to be truly transformative, the guidance from our coach must be filtered through our own intuition.

 

Sometimes what our coach says may deeply resonate—and, at other times, it may not. Some advice may be spot-on, while some might feel generic or not relevant to our situation.

 

So, how do we tap into our inner-knowing? A simple method for learning to trust our intuition is to ask ourselves: Does this piece of guidance make me feel expanded? Does this advice make me feel excited, intrigued, or happily challenged about the possibilities for the future? Or, does this guidance make me feel contracted, small, fearful, or confused?

 

If we feel expanded, then that is our inner-voice saying “Yes, yes, yes! This resonates with me! This will help me!” On the other hand, if we feel contracted or small as we listen to our coach, then that is our intuition saying, “Nope, that advice might be beneficial for someone else, but it’s definitely not for me.”

 

One part of a powerful coaching session is to be open to the fact that your coach might be wrong about certain things. And, if this happens, it’s actually—strangely!—a cause for celebration.

 

When you can trust yourself enough to truly listen to your own intuition (over the voice of an “expert”), in that moment you have become your own teacher. 

 

Am I saying that you should continue to book sessions with a coach who gives less-than-stellar advice? No. If your coach is not resonating with you overall, then it’s perhaps time to look for a new coach. If, however, you have a fantastic coach but—once in a while—they say something that doesn’t resonate and you choose not to follow it, then this is direct, wonderful evidence that you are learning how to trust yourself. You are learning the art of discernment.

 

 

  1. Practice Visualization.

 

How do you want to feel after the session has concluded? Do you want to feel peaceful? Happy? Relieved? Grateful? Focused? Energized? Joyful?

 

Listen to your intuition and allow it to name the emotional state that would best serve your healing journey at this time. And then, visualize yourself feeling that state. For example, let’s say you want to feel energized. You can imagine yourself running along a beach, arms outstretched, a giant grin on your face. You are effortlessly leaping and doing cartwheels and the warm sun is shining down upon your back.

 

When you take the time to imagine how you want to feel after the session has concluded, you are helping to manifest that very same future. You are inviting it forward.

 

  1. Move Your Body.

 

Moving your body prompts stagnant energy to unblock and release. Indeed, exercise is one of the simplest yet potent ways we can prepare ourselves for our coaching session.

 

If you are not already an avid exerciser, I encourage you to find an activity that you love to do. A day or two prior to the session, spend at least an hour doing that. It could be walking, it could be riding your bike, it could be dancing naked in your living room, it could be yoga. Whatever it is, make sure that it feels fun for you. (Incidentally, this is the way to create a long-term exercise program that you won’t want to quit—by making it fun!)

 

Before you begin your movement practice, I invite you to take a few moments, close your eyes, and speak aloud (or silently) an intention. Say something like: “I am ready to release old energetic patterns in my body. I am ready for new, healthy, fresh energy to flow through me.”

 

  1. Get plenty of sleep.

 

Be mindful to get extra sleep the night before your session. It’s so important to recharge our body’s batteries before our transformative coaching session! Your intuition works much better when you are well rested.

 

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As you explore the support of a life coach, it’s important to remain aware of the patterns and dynamics of that relationship. Working with a coach can be empowering, or it can (unfortunately) become a source of toxicity in your life.

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A great coach will want to empower you, not addict you to their advice and pressure you to do endless sessions. If you sense that your coach is not holding this high ideal, it is recommended that you find someone who will. You deserve a coach who will help you grow to your highest potential!

 

With that having been said, most coaches are wonderful. There is nothing to fear if you simply state your intention to remain awake and aware.

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Participating in the field of coaching and holistic healing is not only healing for you, but it’s also healing for the whole human family. In today’s hectic world, the person who takes the time and directs their financial resources toward personal growth is someone who is a model for others. Too often we are taught by our society that it is “selfish” to love ourselves. But that is the farthest thing from the truth! By digging down and carving out a space in our lives for coaches, healers, and wise guides, we then empower ourselves to be the shining light that is so desperately lacking in our world today. By healing ourselves, we give others permission to heal themselves.

 

Through a coaching session, we invite the wisdom of our guide into our own heart. We become like them.

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Every teacher has a teacher. Every healer has a healer. We cannot always struggle onward on our own, alone. Sometimes it is so wonderful to have a friend: someone who can be our trusted mirror.

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This is a path of wisdom, a path to enlightenment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consciously Choose YOUR Flow!

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What happens when you aren’t in your own energy flow and you subconsciously (or even consciously) choose the flow of someone else?
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Recently, on my road-trip travels, I found out just how important it is for everyone to be in their own flow before attempting to achieve unity consciousness or “oneness”.
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Do you know what your own flow of energy feels like, or are you simply “going with the flow” without being with your essence? Sensitive empaths are especially susceptible to “flow leaks” because they often aren’t aware which energy is theirs.

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I made this video to help you gain an understanding of the importance of being with YOUR energy. Life can change quickly when you are the master of your flow!

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Susie Beiler is a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner with Spectrum Health Consulting LLC. She is the founder and lead facilitator in The Creation Temple®, an online venue for supporting Lightworkers in their ascension process. Susie lives in Sedona, AZ and enjoys nature, authenticity, and high vibrational food. Please visit her at: www.susiebeiler.com and www.creationtemple.com

Releasing Alcohol and Caffeine in the PTSD Healing Journey

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Trauma survivors often struggle with alcohol. We turn to this substance because we desire relief. We hope to numb overwhelming emotions.
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Also, trauma survivors often become addicted to caffeine. We turn to this coping method because we want increased energy. We want to feel happy, alert, vital, and alive.
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However, there comes a certain point in our journey when we realize that our coping mechanisms are causing us more harm than good.
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Embarking upon the path of holistic healing means we will inevitably have to release certain behaviors, in order to bring peace and harmony into our minds and bodies. This is especially true of individuals with PTSD, whose endocrine and nervous systems are overly-stimulated.
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In this article, we will discuss how PTSD survivors can find balance and true, deep, lasting healing. PTSD is not a life sentence. It is absolutely and totally curable. (I speak from experience!)
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One of the ways we can soothe our overly-stimulated endocrine and nervous systems and bring ourselves back into balance is by gradually reducing our intake of alcohol and caffeine.*
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The Harmful Effects of Alcohol
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I think most of us know, in some vague sort of way, that alcohol is bad news for the body. But…why is it bad? Do we really understand the mechanisms behind that feeling of being “drunk”?

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The ethanol content found within alcohol causes blood pressure and heart rate to increase. This bring a sense of giddiness and euphoria…but, also, a difficult time getting a good night’s sleep. For individuals with PTSD, getting plenty of deep, rejuvenating sleep is utterly crucial to the healing process. Sleep is the time when the body is most able to cleanse the negative effects of trauma.
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Let’s not beat around the bush, dear ones. Alcohol is a poison. True, it may help us temporarily relax, but only by 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 compromised. Adding alcohol into the mix only impedes our healing.
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During my years as a college undergraduate and then, later, during my PhD program, I consumed vast amounts of alcohol. I was drunk every weekend and many weeknights. At the time, I had no idea that I was suffering from PTSD.
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Looking back, I can see that my refuge into alcohol was simply my way of escaping the pain of the past. I didn’t want to face the memories; I didn’t want to face the terrifying anger that was bottled up inside of me.
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However, my physical and mental health deteriorated as I neared my doctoral graduation and I knew I had to change. I realized that I had a serious problem with alcohol. So, I began to research mind-body connections. I also began to practice Reiki: a form of energy healing that helps many people heal addictions.
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Now, five years later, alcohol is no longer a part of my life.
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I do not miss it.
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The Harmful Effects of Caffeine
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When I released the habit of drinking coffee and caffeinated tea, my body made an astoundingly rapid, positive shift. My panic attacks were greatly reduced and my sleep was vastly improved. I found that I had greater concentration, focus, and balance throughout the day. I felt happier. And to my great delight and surprise, I discovered that I actually had more energy than I ever had while I was consuming caffeine! Unbelievable, but true!
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Contrary to popular opinion, caffeine is not a harmless substance. Just like alcohol, caffeine is a poison. It’s a toxin. It’s harmful not only for trauma survivors, but for everyone.
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When caffeine is ingested, it prompts our bodies to release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which then cause our bodies to enter an artificial fight-or-flight mode.
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In addition to being mentally-emotionally addictive, caffeine is incredibly difficult to digest and puts a strain on the liver. This type of constant stress exhausts the endocrine and nervous systems, depleting our bodies of natural energetic resources. For those of us in trauma recovery, this is the last thing we want!
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Just like popping a pill is (usually) not the best solution for lasting healing, so too is turning to caffeine to “gain” energy. When we are feeling tired, it may seem like the smart solution is to go to Starbucks or eat a chocolate bar; however, the long-term effects on the body are horrendous.
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Back in 2011, I remember waiting nervously in the waiting room of my first-ever holistic doctor. (I’d seen dozens of traditional doctors and had undergone very expensive surgery, but nothing had worked to cure my chronic sinus infections.) 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 me squarely in the eye. She said, “If you really want to recover from this, the first thing you must do is to give up caffeine.”
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I wanted 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 chronic illness by drinking 2-4 lattes from Starbucks, daily. How would I make it through my classes? How would I get out of bed in the morning? As my mind raced with these frightening questions, the full impact of my addiction became clear. I had, somehow, begun to equate drinking coffee with the very ability to live my life.

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It was at that moment that a quiet, peaceful voice came into my mind. The voice said, “Don’t worry. You can do this.”
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New Life Patterns
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Since I have released alcohol and caffeine from my life, I have felt healthier and happier with every passing year. I am thirty-five years old today, and I can honestly say that I feel better today than I have ever felt in my entire life! (I was a very sickly child.)
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Saying goodbye to these coping mechanisms was incredibly challenging at times. Yet it was a crucial part of my recovery journey.
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I no longer suffer from PTSD and I live a relatively happy, balanced, peaceful life.
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One of the secrets of releasing something is to replace something old with something new. If we only focus on “quitting” something, then our efforts can often backfire: we can often feel a sense of lack or depravation. However, on the other hand, if we intentionally add in new habits, patterns, or practices, we can often feel a growing sense of abundance and excitement about our new path.
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For me, I have replaced my coffee habit and alcohol habit with positive, healing practices, such as meditation, yoga, and Reiki. I not only look forward to the benefits that I receive from these practices, but I have added motivation to always learn more and dive deeper and deeper, so I can teach them to others.
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My life looks so different than it did even four years ago. Today I have a fulfilling career in the holistic health field. I offer Reiki healing and meditation workshops in a domestic violence shelter, and coach women one-on-one about how they can heal themselves from PTSD.
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And, let me be very clear about something. I am a natural intellectual. I love to think. So, when my team of holistic healers suggested I bring the spiritual practices of Reiki, meditation and yoga into my life, I struggled at first. Because these practices are based on silence and the surrender of thought, I found it difficult to embrace them or have faith in their benefit. However, over time, I have observed the many benefits resulting from these practices and have formed what I call positive addictions to them! For example, when I skip meditating for a day or two, I feel off-kilter and sad! I truly adore meditating now; it brings me such joy.
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And, my taste buds are not complaining, either. Instead of my afternoon latte or weekend wine, I now love to sip organic sparking waters, homemade raw juices, and unsweetened almond milk with cinnamon and raw honey (iced or hot). I also adore caffeine-free herbal teas, such as chamomile, lavender, bergamot, dandelion, and spicy ginger. Yum Yum!
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Slow and Steady Wins the Race
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Dear friends, I know how scary it can be to make big changes.
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My advice is to take it slowly, gently. If you are drinking three cups of coffee or caffeinated tea per day, see if you can reduce your daily intake down to two cups per day, and then one, and then half a cup, and then, eventually, zero.
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A great way to reduce your coffee habit is to blend Teeccino in with your coffee, a blend of rich herbs that taste and smell every bit as delicious as coffee but is absolutely caffeine-free. (Seriously, thank God for Teechino…if it didn’t exist, I probably would miss coffee very much.)
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If you normally drink a bottle of wine every weekend, see if you can have just a glass with dinner once or twice a week.
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If we make changes gradually, then the pain of change is not so intense. If we are gentle with ourselves, then we are free and excited to make the changes we know we want to make.
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As we make wise choices that help us heal from PTSD, we remember that the comfortable or easy choice might not always be the best choice. Sometimes, what our bodies need may be different from what our emotions are craving. And, sometimes making changes can require a certain amount of discipline.

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Change takes patience. There will be setbacks sometimes. Healing takes time.

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Ultimately, when we set the intention to heal our body, mind, and soul from trauma, we choose to prioritize self-love and self-compassion. We listen for the loving voice within, the one that says: “You are a survivor. You can do anything.”
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Ultimately, it is our own inner guide that will guide us, every step of the way.
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*Please note: I am not a medical doctor. I am not a medical professional. I am not a psychologist or nutritionist. 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.

Healing Our Addictions with Patience and Self-Love

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It’s a cold winter day. As I plunge my hand down into the wax paper bag, I fully expect to find another bite or two. But, alas, there are only crumbs.
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A distinct wave of sadness shoots through my heart. The chocolate scone is gone. And I don’t even remember eating it.
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It is in this moment that I wake up. I quickly shake my head from side to side, as if rousing myself from a long night of troubled dreams.
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What have I just done? What about the vow I’ve made to myself, again and again?
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For years I have known that the best thing for my body’s healing process is to eat fresh, whole, organic foods (lots of leafy greens and fruits) and to avoid ingredients that overstimulate my endocrine and nervous systems, such as sugar and wheat flour.
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And yet, today, here I am again. Eating some stupid, cheap scone I picked up on impulse at the local bakery. Full of who-knows-what ingredients.
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Here I am again. Ignoring my own wisdom. Falling back into the food addiction that has plagued me since childhood.
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Today I have lost control.
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I pull my car over into a parking lot. (Yes, I have been mindlessly scarfing that darned scone while driving!) I take a deep breath.
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Now is definitely the time for some self-love.

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Addiction is a Dirty Band-Aid 

Whether you struggle with a food addiction like I do or you deal with drug or alcohol addiction, every addiction is the same. An addiction is a loss of control over one’s behavior.
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Our addictive behaviors don’t just randomly happen for no reason. They are a symptom of a deeper issue.
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Why do we get addicted?
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That scone or that cocktail or that cigarette brings about a temporary cessation of suffering. They block sadness, tension, fear, pain, boredom, and anger. They numb any and all negative emotions.
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To put it simply, an addiction is a coping mechanism. It allows us to trudge onward in life, but without really looking toward the deeper issues.
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An addiction may be a short-lived, temporary cure for the pain—but, as we all know, it’s not a long-term solution.
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Running to our addiction is like slapping a Band-Aid on the wound—a Band-Aid that is dirty. Over time, the wound gets infected with the dirt and grime, and it worsens rather than heals.

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The Addiction is Not the Problem

Here’s the thing about addiction, dear friends: The addiction is not really the problem. The addiction is the glaring symptom.
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If we can look deeper than the symptom and see the situation from a holistic point of view, then we may begin to bring about a resolution to much of the suffering in our lives.
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So, what is the deeper issue? What lies at the root of addiction?
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Ultimately, all addiction—no matter the type or the severity—stems from a lack of connection. When we feel disconnected from other people, from our society, from our deepest hopes and dreams, and from a sense of love, then this disconnection brings about powerful emotions. These emotions hurt, and so we run to the seeming solace of the addiction.
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The addiction may seem, on the surface, as if it’s the problem, but actually it’s not. The addiction is, in reality, a helpful pointer, showing us that there’s some internal healing we need to do.
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The wonderful thing about addiction is that it is a powerful red STOP sign. It screams loudly: “Look! There’s a problem!”
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Addictions help us get in touch with our inner self. Just like a cough helps us connect with the needs of our lungs (do I need fresh air? do I need more exercise? do I need to take certain herbs?), an addiction helps us get in touch with the needs of our heart.
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Our heart is the seat of all emotion. Our heart is where feelings arise, are felt, and then released.
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When we feel a lack of connection and love, we do not feel safe. We do not feel safe enough to explore the many emotions that can arise as a human being in our daily lives.
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When we feel disconnected, negative emotions can feel overwhelming and scary. This is particularly true for those with abuse or trauma in their life history.
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The addictive behavior is a misguided attempt to self-soothe. We believe that if we eat that scone or we drink that beer, then those scary emotions will stop and we will somehow be safe, somehow feel connected again.
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But we all know that doesn’t work. What ends up happening is that, once the temporary high wears off, we are left feeling crappier than ever.
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The addiction is not the problem. The problem, rather, is the false perception that there is no love, no connection.

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Rising from Bottom

The cliché of the “rock bottom” is a cliché because it’s true. Most addicts eventually experience it.
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Rock bottom looks different for everyone. It will have varying levels of intensity and consequences.
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For some, the bottom is drastic: a suicide attempt, an illness, or a hospitalization. For some, it will simply be a very sad day when they realize that the time has come to change.
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This time of rock bottom is the moment when we begin to wake up. It’s the time when the healing can truly begin.
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For me, my rock bottom with food addiction came when my body had disintegrated nearly to the point of death.
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I was on my perhaps my tenth round of antibiotics that year and having a severe allergic reaction to the medication. Delusional with a high fever, unable to lift myself from bed and barely able to call for help, I realized I probably would not live much longer if I did not change just about everything in my life. Shortly after, I began to explore the world of alternative medicine and began to clean up my diet.
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We can think of this rock bottom—this intense realization that things need to shift—as the bottom of a spiral. This spiral begins at ground zero, and it moves upward through time.
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As the days, weeks, and months pass, and we dedicate ourselves to a new way of being, we will have various challenges that arise. We will learn and grow and allow our emotions to be felt, rather than running from them. We will heal old wounds from childhood that have been lurking for many years.
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Over time, with patience, we will be slowly shifting our perspective. We will become a new and better version. We will be moving from contracted perceptions of disconnection, lack, and fear, into expanded perspectives of connection, abundance, and love.
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Through the adoption of various healing practices such as meditation, support groups, therapy, prayer, Reiki, or exercise, we come into greater harmony within ourselves. We learn to love ourselves.

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Relapses on the Spiral of Evolution

In my struggle with addiction (not just with food, but with many other substances over the years), I have realized I am grateful to addiction. Addiction has played a very powerful role in my spiritual evolution.
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Addiction is a powerful point of change. It is a journey inward. It the journey of becoming aware and conscious.
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As we humans make this journey, and break the cycles of addiction, it’s so important to remember that change is not linear and it’s often not easy. Relapses happen.
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The spiral analogy can be helpful. If we imagine that we are travelling upwards in consciousness, to greater and greater levels of joy, power, and self-awareness, then we can avoid traps of self-blame when we do occasionally relapse.
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That day when I woke up to find scone crumbs on my lap was a challenging day indeed. I’d just had a disagreement with my roommate and was struggling with money issues. When I stopped at the bakery that day, intent on buying some tea, those scones whispered sweet love songs to me and I could not find the willpower to resist.
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In that relapse, I temporarily lost sight of my own truth: That I want to avoid sugar and wheat flour in order to heal my body.
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In that relapse, I was returning to the particular side of the spiral that was so known and comfortable: running to unhealthy food for comfort.
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And yet, even though I had returned to that old familiar side of the spiral, I actually experienced this relapse from a greater height! In other words, in this relapse, I was able to more quickly move past it and get back to my own power.
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It took just a few minutes and I forgave myself and moved into self-acceptance. I did not beat myself up.
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In that cold car on that cold winter day, I placed my hands on my heart, and whispered some words of love and reassurance to myself. In the past, in the beginning of my healing journey with food, I might have added a cookie or a brownie on top of the scone, as a way to escape the terrible emotions of self-judgment and guilt. But—this time I didn’t! 

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Love Yourself and Heal 

A relapse is nothing to be ashamed of. It happens.
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If you or someone you love has been healing a pattern of addiction, please know that patience is key.
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The spiral of evolution will bring you situations that will test your courage and self-awareness. Sometimes you will succumb. And that’s okay!
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If you wake up and suddenly find yourself acting in a way that you know is not your highest good, then congratulate yourself for waking up. Take stock of your long-term changes and pat yourself on the back for coming this far.
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Notice how you can more quickly bounce back from the relapse, with greater levels of patience and self-love. Notice how awesome you are!
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Ultimately, the journey of addiction recovery is a journey of healing. And it’s a journey all humans go through, as we refine to greater and greater levels what it means to love and care for ourselves.

 

 

This post originally appeared on tinybuddha.com. You can find the original post here.

Loving Everything

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In our journey of healing and awakening, we often believe, mistakenly, that the darkness is an enemy. We fall into the false belief of duality. We believe that light is good and darkness is bad.

 

When this happens, we run from the darkness. We flee.

 

However, as we gradually wake up on the spiritual path, we learn that all is One.

 

Every single thing is a part of that mysterious being we call “God” or “Source.”

 

This recognition has huge implications. If we recognize that everything is a piece of God, then this means that even the darkness, even the evil, even the suffering has a necessary role to play in the cosmos. Everything is here for a reason; nothing is by accident.

 

Everything is us.

 

 

 

Learning to Love Everything

 

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While our conceptual minds may grasp this life-giving wisdom, our emotional bodies may need some time to adjust. We may need some time for our life experiences to prove to us that, yes, this wisdom is true. We are all One. We are all God.

 

Indeed, it is incredibly challenging to integrate the understanding of ‘all is One’ into our daily lives. Not impossible—but very, very hard! Since birth, our parents and teachers have told us we were separate. We are working against deep programming.

 

So, yes, it takes time. The process of evolution is not a quick one. It must be undertaken with patience and self-compassion.

 

As we awaken, we begin to see the necessity of loving everything that arises—even the darkness.

 

We see how our “sins” are like children, crying out for the compassion of our own motherly love.

 

At this point, you might be asking yourself: Wait a minute!? If I love my darkness, won’t it get stronger???

 

My friend, that’s an understandable question!

 

Imagine a crying baby. In the old days, many parents believed that comforting a crying child would spoil them. In today’s world, most of us understand that if our child is crying, we do not punish the child by ignoring it—no! We go to the child, love it, caress it, nurture it.

 

In the same way, we can bring a loving awareness to whatever arises, even if it happens to appear bad or dark.

 

By comforting ourselves when we do something we dislike or by sending loving thoughts to another person who does something we consider “wrong,” we then transmute those seemingly “negative” energies into love. We convert fear into love.

 

It is only by loving everything that we can create more love.

 

By loving, we do not create more fear. By loving, we actually—finally!—bring an end to the vicious cycles of fear and violence.

 

This does not mean that we passively sit back and allow those in power to trample all over us. No. When action is called for, we courageously take it. If a law is unjust, we disobey it. If we do not appreciate another’s abuse, we walk away from them. Yet, we can do all of these liberating, rebellious acts of dissent with a heart full of love. Love and rebellion can co-exist.

 

We can learn to love everything, even the darkness within our own heart.

 

 

 

The Magic of Healing

 

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By bringing our dark side, our pain, our shortcomings, our suffering, our selfish tendencies up into the light of loving awareness, then that light begins to work the magic of healing. But if all that darkness stays hidden, then no healing can ever happen.

 

We can only heal that which we are conscious of. The first step in solving any problem must be to admit that there is, in fact, a problem.

 

Without bringing our problems out of the shadows and into the light, they will always stay hidden, replicating themselves over and over in an endless cycle.

 

How do we awaken? How do we heal? We learn to love even our shadows. We learn to love even our hate. We learn to love each and every reaction, no matter how grotesque or terrible they might seem. We learn to love it all. We learn to see everything as a vital part of the Universe.

 

This work is not easy, but the rewards are nothing short of miraculous. By bringing to light that which we fear, we heal the wound. As Jesus the Christ said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” (Gospel of Thomas)

 

 

Mantra Practice

 

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Okay, let’s take this conversation out of the world of theory and into the world of practice. To that end, I would like to offer to you three powerful mantras that you can use in your day-to-day life. These powerful mantras will help you begin—or deepen—your liberating journey into love.

 

  1. “Hello.”

 

When you notice someone doing something that irritates or angers you, simply say “hello” to that irritation or anger.

 

You don’t have to be cheerful about it. You can simply say hello in a neutral way. You can be an observer, a witness.

 

If you’d like, you can take this greeting a step further and say “Hello, how fascinating.” The human brain loves to analyze things—that’s its job! If you add “how fascinating” after saying hello, you are giving your brain delicious permission to observe something dark and “negative”—but without judgement.

 

Something that might help is to think of Mr. Spock from the old TV show Star Trek. He was a really profound, wise character, yet he was rarely judgmental, rarely upset.

 

 

  1. “Well done!”

 

When you observe a dark thought arising in your own mind, you are already awakened! You are already conscious!

 

The skill of mentally distancing yourself (extricating yourself from the swirl of the human drama) in order to be able to observe your own internal thought processes is success in itself! You have won!

 

Next time you notice a dark thought arising in your mind, take a few seconds to congratulate yourself. Pat yourself on the back and say “well done!”

 

By noticing what you don’t want without anger or self-recrimination, you are being a kind and loving parent to yourself. You are giving yourself unconditional love. Through unconditional love, you then feel truly empowered to make changes without shame or blame.

 

  1. “Thank you, darkness.”

 

If you’re an early riser, greet the dawn with a bowed head and the simple mantra “Thank you, darkness.” If you’re more of a night owl, before you go to bed you can bow your head to the night sky and say “Thank you, darkness.”

 

Without darkness, we would not know the glory of the dawn. Without the bitterness of winter, we would not appreciate the magic of the summer. Without the terrors of hate, we would not know the bliss of love.

 

Every day, take a few minutes to salute the darkness. It’s a crucial part of the cosmos, too! Without darkness/ignorance, our light/spiritual illumination could never happen!

 

♥♥♥

 

By using these three simple mantras, we can, over time, come to trust the fact that loving everything is the wisest thing we can possibly do. We can let go of our fears and soar into the sky.

 

 

Soul Food for Friday: The Truth of the Spiritual Path

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The critics will always be there. Always, there will be those who will scoff, snicker and smirk. But are these folks worth our time and energy?
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The world today is a dense world. Hard-earned paychecks spent at the cinema, rapt in a rush of guns and guts. It’s sad. But once we realize our critics are born from this world—this hard-edged world of darkness and violence—then we can allow our reactions to their cynicism to fall away. No need to wonder if they are right. No need to doubt ourselves.
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We know the truth.
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We know we must follow the spiritual path.

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Center of Light: An Interview with Keith Anthony Blanchard

keith2Keith Anthony Blanchard is a best-selling author, radio show host, and all-around amazing human. I first met Keith a few years ago, when he interviewed me about my book Opening Love. At the time, I had no idea that our connection would flower into an inspiring friendship.

 

I love Keith. He is a teacher, dedicated to empowering people to live their joy and create from Spirit. He is a lightworker, helping to restore balance in a seemingly dark and chaotic world. He is a friend, on a mission of putting smiles into the hearts of all.

 

I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to interview Keith at this particular juncture of change and tremendous growth. Keith is passionately working on his third book. In this interview, we’ll talk about the message of that book, as well as his views about enlightenment, love, and the cosmic awakening process.
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Keith, before we dive into talking about your next book and the awesome revelations you have to share, I’d like to go back a bit, and talk about your youth. When did you realize your life purpose was to be a spiritual guide? Can you talk about the first few years of your initial awakening?

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Early in my life I considered becoming a Catholic priest. That didn’t last long—once my dad put an electric guitar in my hands, one Christmas. Still, throughout all the years of being a rocker, while my “God path” sat in the closet, somehow, I knew I would return to “it” to fulfill my mission on Earth as a Teacher of Truth.
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What happened was, I dated a girl for ten years. When she left the relationship, I was thrown into a tailspin of depression that was truly a hell. But the Grace bestowed upon me from many past lives of good karma was the beacon to move through my dark night of the soul. In this period, I sought God with such fervor that it cracked a door open to the Divine.
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One day when some residual depression came up, I wanted to finally be clear of it. So, I began to say a prayer to God. Over and over and over, for a month I said, “God, I need to hear Your Voice.” I was passionate, sincere, humble and vulnerable.
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One morning, after a gig at a casino the previous night, I was awakened out of my sleep by Spirit telling me that it was time to “Wake up!” Upon hearing the Voice, I was thrown into the Light and immediately began to have that Voice come sit inside of me and live.

 

When we first met, you interviewed me for your show, Center of Light RadioI really appreciated how open you were to learning about polyamory as a spiritual path—it’s quite a controversial topic for many! So many people don’t want to touch it—they’re too afraid or judgmental. I feel your radio show is this amazing, open, warm platform to discuss diverse spiritual views. That is a rare and beautiful thing.

Please talk to me about the inspiration for starting the show, and how it’s developed over the years to serve humanity’s awakening process.

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I started as a host because of a friend who had just interviewed me; I told him that I would like to interview him as a returned favor. Thinking it was going to end there, I got a call from another friend who had a radio show and needed a break from it. He asked me if I would take over for six weeks. I said, “Sure.” Six weeks later, he asked if I wanted to keep the show for myself. I had to think about it, but it didn’t take very long to get to a resounding: “Yes!”

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Though I ran with the show using the name he created (Searcher’s Roadmap), it didn’t feel like me. So, I asked him if he cared if I changed it. He told me, “Keith, it’s your show. Do what you want.” Center of Light Radio was born in that moment.
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But the real inspiration for Center of Light Radio was people. I love people! Sad people are my life and helping them transform is my bliss. I have come to Earth on a mission to initiate others’ baptism into the Light. This is what I will do ‘till I draw my last breath.
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Who are the spiritual teachers who have most influenced you?

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Jesus, Sai Baba, Swamjii Viswayogi, Buddha, Wayne Dyer, Abraham Hicks, Kryon, Deepak Chopra, and my sister who died many years ago of a condition that took her life at the age of 27. She was my greatest teacher of compassion.

 

What does “enlightenment” mean to you?

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To understand. Not only in the intellect, but in the bones, from the core of the Soul to the surface of the skin. When one lives in this kind of space and knowing, then the space of ongoing knowing widens. This is truly a remarkable arena to play in! When one walks through this gate and into the playground of Soul, the last leg of the journey home has been initiated.

 

Keith, you have a celebrated musical career in addition to your other talents. How does your music influence your writing?

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Great question!

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Music doesn’t, per se, influence my writing. It does something completely different to me. When I am at a gig, after about 5 songs into the set, when I get settled and take off my shoes, “IT” begins to happen.
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What is the “IT”? you may ask. OH, MY GOD! The “IT” is the place where everyone longs to be. My buddies and I have quite a few ways to describe that place: The Zone, Digging IN, Making A Sandwich, Talking To God. My point is, being in this “Zone” so many times has allowed me to shift into “IT” any time I want with mere intention. We can all get into that Zone and I am the guy that can show you how. It’s actually quite easy to do.

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I have learned over the years to simply be EVERYTHING. The universe is simple.

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What is the message of the book you’re writing?

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That no being or thing —NOTHING —has ever been created, nor will ever be created worthier of Infinite Grace than you.

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Understand that there is only ONE path to God, no matter your preferred religion, code, sect, doctrine or deity. God is Love. The path to God is everyone developing Love within themselves. There is no other path.

 

How do you personally feel about this message? What kinds of emotions and thoughts is it bringing up for you?

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It brings me immediately into the Zone just thinking about it. When one begins to touch the Face of God, a liberation of an Infinite magnitude begins to expand into one’s experience. I live in this Kingdom daily. It also reminds me of the work I have yet to do to fully integrate the consciousness of my Spirit back into the loving arms of my Divine Parent.

 

Do you have a sense of how this book will change your life? Of how this book will change the course of humanity?

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The book changes my life every day. Whenever I sit down to write, my life is being changed, making me a more rounded teacher and a more passionate Divine Lover.

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As far as how can the book change the course of humanity, the book points the way to becoming a transcended being. Here is a basic idea about how to start that process:

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Always looking inward and forward, one will continue to lift them Self above the noise that entices them into the fight…

You will no longer be bickering with your loved ones.

No more arguing about politics.

Counterpointing racism.

Fueling the fear of terrorism.

Warring with drama of the world.

In essence, you will no longer be fighting your Self!

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To go back to your question, a bit ago, about what emotions are coming up for me … The emotions of joy and gratitude I feel in this moment contain vast amounts of encrypted information. It is this wellspring from which I draw an outpouring of my heart as a gesture and love offering.

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The seemingly unreachable is reachable, and it requires nothing from you except watering the plant that is YOU! That’s the depth of letting go that I am bringing to light here.

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Until recently, I have lived my life always trying to figure things out. Finally, it dawned upon me, “Ah … Keith, in all of this ‘trying to find your way,’ have you found your way? Why not toss it in the trash and be done; for it is all nonsense and will not grant you access into the magical space that lies just beyond logical thought.” Realizing this, a portal to the Divine has opened and has been expanding ever since.

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The bliss, glory and peace that is happening in my life right now is immeasurable. It is from this space the Divine Comedy and that Poetic Light shines and expresses itself into Being. am that Being. You are that Being. We are that Being. That is the gig — Being!

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So, I guess that question becomes,“How do let it all go to the depth that you have, Keith?” I can’t tell you with mere words how to do that. Instead, let me inspire you to find your own way as you witness who I am, how I feel, what I experience and what it is doing not only to me, but to others with whom I come in contact.

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Divine sparks are firing up all around me. It is Spiritual Law! As I live in the Light of Truth, Truth’s Light illuminates everything, everywhere I look. This perspective of mine or anyone’s is what will change the course of humanity.

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This same Holy Fire once ignited within you, will be the end of all of your misery and suffering. Please, my dear friends, take this motivational match, strike it and burn! Burn with the effulgence of ten-thousand suns. Engulf those around you as I do and illuminate your world, universe and Divinity.

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What I want to leave you with is this: Within the center of your chest is a stargate . . . an opening to the Golden Door entering the Kingdom of Forever. Once you cross the bridge to the Soul, beautiful things will begin to happen through, to, and for you. You will then become aware of your connection to the Christ, Buddha, Allah, Krishna, your loved ones, and everything else of which you were never separated.

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Remember, expanding into your birthright is not an arduous task! It is simple. Be easy on yourself. So much so that, you are willing to lose everything to gain your Self.

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In all love, as your brother, meet me in that Light, and in the Garden of the Soul, as Divine Children, we will play . . . FOREVER!
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What is love?

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Acceptance – Allowance – Appreciation!

Anya is Love.

 

How to Hold Space for Someone: 4 Tips for Facilitating an Awakening Environment

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As a life coach and energy healer, my job is to hold space. At core, my job is not really to give advice or to say wise words. In reality, the deepest, most healing aspect of what I do is to hold space for other people.

 

But what does it mean to hold space?

 

To hold space is to create an environment that is supportive for healing and spiritual awakening. (In reality, healing and spiritual awakening are one and the same.) To hold space is to act as a clear mirror for the other person: to nurture the process of the other person courageously looking within.

 

When one looks within, one discovers the intuition and wisdom that is already there.

 

Indeed, to hold space is to trust that the other person knows best—knows how to heal herself, knows how to change, knows how to grow, knows what to do. Holding space is a radical act of faith in the harmony of the Universe. Holding space is a radical act of generosity and of love.

 

When I first heard about the importance of holding space for another human being, I assumed it was easier than it really was. Yet, over the years, I’ve discovered that holding space can be quite challenging

 

Why is it challenging?

 

It is challenging because it requires a loosening of the ego. It requires cultivating an aura of non-judgment, non-reactivity. It requires compassion and unconditional love.

 

Holding this kind of sacred space, this kind of loving awareness is the ultimate gift. It is the ultimate healing force.

 

With this in mind, here are four tips for how to hold space for another person. You can use these strategies both in your professional healing practice or in your personal life with friends and family.

 

  1. Make peace with silence

 

There will be moments in your meeting when silence naturally arises. This is ok.

 

Don’t feel like you have to fill up every moment with speaking. There may be moments when the other person wants to stare out the window and gather their thoughts. Or maybe there are moments when you are both at a loss for words, overcome by tears and strong emotions.
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Don’t rush to fill the silence. Simply allow the silence to be another participant in the unfolding scene. Welcome the silence as a friend.

 

  1. Your whole world is that person

 

In our fast-paced, hectic society, when you give the gift of total attention, you are giving a priceless gift.

 

When you hold space for someone, you dedicate yourself fully.

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For the time being, your whole worldis that person. Your whole entire universe. Nothing else matters; nothing else exists.

 

When a person comes to you seeking solace or guidance (regardless of whether that person is a friend, family member, neighbor, client, or coworker), what they really want is to feel is that they matter. What the other person ultimately wants—whether they are consciously aware of it or not—is to feel your total attention on them. They want to feel that you are truly there with them.

 

When you hold sacred space, it’s not the time to think about yourself or your own issues. Be “all in” with that other person. Be utterly devoted, like a lover.

 

 

  1. Be like a child

 

Holding space is sacred and precious because it requires a (temporary) dropping of egoic boundaries.

 

When we hold space for someone, we find the courage to temporarily set aside our own separate, individual self—our own wants, desires, opinions, storyline, and beliefs. In order to hold space, we must be like a newborn baby: fresh into the world, without preconceived notions about what is right or wrong, possible or impossible. We must be simple, innocent, curious, open-hearted, sweet, and gentle.

 

For most of us in society, we have been trained to use our intellect as the dominant tool for processing our reality. The intellect (the ego), unfortunately, does not know how hold space. Rather, what holds space is the heart—and the quality of the heart is childlike innocence.

 

  1. Recognize that holding space for someone else is facilitating your own awakening process

 

When we commit ourselves to the practice of holding space for another human being, what we actually also do is facilitate our own awakening.

 

Holding space is like meditation. When we hold space, we become clear. We become pure.

 

When we intentionally step out of the constrictions of our ego, the more that the flavor of enlightenment permeates every cell of our body. The more we act as a clear, open mirror for someone, the less gunk we have in the way of our own awakening.

 

Holding space is a gift you give … and it is also a gift you receive.

♥♥

Dear friends, I’d love to hear your stories.

When was the last time you held space for someone? What did it feel like to hold space? What was scary about it? Exciting about it? Please comment below, so we can all learn together.

A Smile in My Heart: Enjoying the Journey of Now

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Reaching My Long-Awaited Goal

 

I recently reached a milestone.

 

For years, I’ve craved solitude. I’ve wanted to live alone.

 

This wanting has taken a few years to manifest from heart’s desire into physical reality. First, I’ve had a lot of financial blockages I’ve had to clear. Second, dealing with the psychological after-effects of a devastating illness (that almost killed me) has been a rather slow and complicated process. My task has been to heal layers and layers of trauma.

 

It hasn’t been easy. The self-healing work I’ve undergone has been, at times, quite rough and tumultuous. There were months when I felt stuck and frustrated, feeling like I’d never reach my goal.

 

But … now … I’ve finally reached my goal! I live alone!

 

About a month ago, I moved into a charming, cozy little apartment, on the banks of my favorite river on the planet, the mighty Maumee, the largest river to feed into the Great Lakes.

 

As I sip my tea and type to you this morning, I take a look around me. No roommate. No partner for support. Just me.

 

Just me.

 

This milestone is a deeply spiritual one. I’ve known, deep inside, the importance of this step to the “story of Anya.”

 

Living alone gives me the space and time I need for inner reflection. It gives me more silence. Less distractions. More time to meditate. More time to chant and pray. More space to discover the subtle truths of my nature.

 

This is a glorious time for learning.

 

 

Dissatisfaction with Success

 

A few nights ago, as I was washing the dishes, I found myself asking the question: “What’s next?” My mind was visualizing a chain of thoughts: selling all my belongings, hitting the road, getting on a plane, visiting ashrams, or maybe going to visit a loved one in England. My heart started pounding with excitement and anticipation.

 

But … wait a minute!! All the boxes haven’t even been unpacked yet—and my mind is already planning the next thing!!??

 

I’ve finally reached my long-awaited goal—and already I’m dissatisfied??!!

 

Instead of savoring and celebrating this milestone in my life, my mind is already a chaotic jumble of “what ifs” and “what next” questions. My mind wants to know what is ahead of this step.

 

Sigh.

 

This, my friends, is a prime example of the endless suffering of the monkey mind. Once one desire is attained, another one pops up in its place. Once one wish is granted, twelve more begin formulating.

 

In addition to over-planning, the mind loves to second-guess and doubt.

 

In the past few days, I’ve observed my monkey mind doubting whether living alone is “emotionally healthy” and wondering if perhaps I’ve wanted to live alone as a form of spiritual bypassing.

 

As I’m walking, a thought comes: “I wonder if I’ll ever get married again?” As I’m eating, a thought comes: “What if you get old and sick and no one is there to take care of you?” As I’m doing yoga, a thought comes: “You are selfish because you haven’t had children.” As I’m bathing, a thought comes: “You’re living a greedy life; you should really be living a life of service in an ashram or monastery.”

 

These questions and doubts are mind-made ghosts. They are fear-based.

 

When I sit in the clear light of peace and presence, after a meditation or during a Reiki session, I am one hundred percent sure that I have made the right choice to live alone—that this step is, in fact, a crucial part of my destiny.

 

 

 

From Planning to Patience

 

My spiritual awakening began while I was in graduate school. At the time, I was a classic Type A personality: a total overachiever, planner, competitive control-freak. My mind and my logical reasoning abilities were the crown jewel of my existence. I prided myself on my ability to strategize and get what I wanted from other people.

 

Indeed, back then I had every step of my life mapped out, with an array of contingency plans and alternate routes for “just in case.” I was the queen of planning, the queen of analysis … and, also, the queen of constant  stress.

 

Now, fast forward ten years. What is my life like today?

 

Living life now is much more from the heart than from the head. I feel into the moments of life rather than analyze them rationally. I use my intuition as my guide to discover what’s right for me.

 

The experience of watching my mind rush ahead into the future during these past few days has been a humbling experience. The overly-intellectual tendency to plan and always be looking ahead is obviously still very much alive within me.

 

And, yet, it’s been so important not to judge myself. I’ve been giving myself compassion for having these thoughts. I’ve been having patience with myself for wanting to plan.

 

 

Returning to Gratitude

 

I do not want to be angry at my mind—for my mind is simply doing what it’s been designed to do! Indeed, the mind is a brilliant machine whose purpose is to calculate risk and weigh options.

 

What I want for my life is to forgive my mind and enjoy the journey. To truly be here now. I want to commune with God here in this apartment, savoring each lesson that this chapter in my life offers. I want to dive deeply into the stillness and peace of this space—my own private little meditation cave—and discover the quiet truths herein.

 

Whatever step I take next is simply not important. Maybe I’ll get married again; maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll join an ashram; maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll have children; maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ve live alone for the rest of my life; maybe I won’t.

 

The next step doesn’t matter. In fact, on a certain level, the steps after this one do not even exist! Past, present, and future are limited concepts of the limited human brain. On an ultimate level, on the spiritual level, all that is real is the timelessness that I sense now as I type these words to you. I am in the flow. I have no worries, no questions about my future. All that exists are the click of these keys, and the chirp of robins outside my window.

 

I am peaceful; I am happy; I am alone and loving it.

 

Indeed, gratitude fills my being. I have this new wonderful space, this new beautiful home.

 

I have a smile in my heart.