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.

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.

11 Ways to Raise Your Frequency

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A high frequency is a state of being where life feels fun, happy, carefree, creative, peaceful, and joyful. Life just seems to flow.

 

Striving to attain a high frequency state is not selfish. It is, in fact, good for the whole planet. When we are enjoying a high frequency state, we are feeling a sense of unity, a sense of oneness—thus, we are not only feeling loving towards ourselves, but we are also filled with love and compassion for everyone else, too.

 

Ever notice how happy people tend to be generous with others? That’s because people with overflowing, happy hearts have so much to share. When even one person is able to reach a high frequency, everyone around them benefits.

 

My friends, here is a list of 11 ways you can quickly raise yourself into a higher frequency in your day-to-day life.

 

I can personally attest to the amazing power of all these practices, as they have radically helped me shift my own consciousness from that of a depressed, nervous, traumatized person to someone who radiates peace and joy, and who now coaches others how to do the same.

 

  1. Eat high vibrational foods.

 

This is so important—and delicious! High vibe foods include raw fruits/veggies, nuts, seeds, healthy fats such as avocados and coconut oil, and gluten-free whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa. Whenever possible, eat organic and eat local.

 

These types of foods I just mentioned have a higher ratio of life force energy. These foods help us to feel physically good, and also to spiritually awaken.

 

  1. “Just for today, do not worry.”

 

This is one of the core Reiki principles. Every day when we wake up, we can remind ourselves that, just for today, we will not waste any of our precious life force energy in the act of worrying. There’s no sense in stressing about tomorrow, because tomorrow doesn’t exist right now! Rather, what exists right now is our chance to enjoy the adventure of life. So why waste it stressing?

 

  1. Enjoy the signs and synchronicities of life.

 

When we notice a repeating pattern of numbers or when we cross paths with a certain animal over and over, we can stop and ask ourselves: What is the deeper meaning here? What is the Universe trying to tell me? What is the special message?

 

  1. Meditate every day.

 

Meditation is just as important to our wellbeing as brushing our teeth or exercising. When we meditate, we tap into our infinite nature of being. We begin to touch that mystical I AM presence. We slowly lose our (false) sense of separateness, and, as our mind calms, we develop an unshakable inner peace.

 

  1. Be intentional about the media you consume and the messages to which you are exposed.

 

As children, we are exposed to dense networks of conditioning. This conditioning keeps us (temporarily) trapped in old-paradigm patterns of fear and control. Schools, governments, television, mainstream music…all of these are tools for lower frequency beliefs to confuse us and cause us to forget who we truly are.

 

The lower frequency beliefs would have us believe that we are not worthy unless we have a fancy car or have “achieved” certain things, such as a having a “successful” career, a huge house, marriage, and children. Question these beliefs.

 

You are infinite consciousness! You are immortal Spirit! You are a soul, temporarily residing in human form!

 

Instead of consuming the old-paradigm media, instead seek out nourishing media such as books written by meditation teachers or music composed by mystics and yogis. As you decide which books to read, what music to listen to, and what films to watch… ask yourself: What seems to be the intention of this author or artist? Does this media intend to uplift my Spirit? Does this media help me to feel my intrinsic worth as a human being?  Does this media make me feel happy or peaceful? Does this media help me remember who I truly am—or does this media simply serve to numb or distract me?

 

Intend to surround yourself with only positive messages of love that will uplift your frequency.

 

  1. Periodically unplug from screens.

 

When we are constantly attached to social media, our phones, and email…we are attuning ourselves to a ridiculously fast-paced rhythm of life that is not conducive to a high frequency.

 

When my clients come and see me complaining of stress, I recommend a very powerful (and sometimes seemingly quite scary!) plan of action … I recommend that they take one day per week for a “screen-free day.”

 

A screen-free day is where you chill out, slow down the pace, and detox from screens. Why? By doing so, your nervous system relaxes and your frequency rises.

On these special screen-free days, I recommend you spend a lot of time out in nature and doing things that are nourishing for your body and soul, such as exercising, cleaning your home, cooking delicious healthy foods, or spending time with loved ones.

 

  1. “Just for today, do not anger.”

 

This is another one of the core Reiki principles. This principle reminds us to avoid taking out our anger on other people. Of course, as human beings, anger will sometimes naturally arise within ourselves. That is OK—but the question is: Can we not let it overcome us and cause us to lash out?

 

When you feel yourself getting triggered into anger, take a few moments and simply focus your attention on your breath. Step away from the person or situation that is triggering you, and take a walk outside or simply go into another room. Focus your attention on the physical sensations of breathing, and allow yourself to calm down. Simply observe the feeling of anger rising and then falling away.

 

  1. Spend time communing with plants and animals.

 

The natural world is a veritable feast of high vibrational enjoyment! Being around plants and animals raises our frequency because these lovely creatures give us permission to let go of all of our stressful human mind-worries. Nature allows us to be peaceful, playful, and totally in-the-moment.

 

Whenever possible, surround yourself with the beauty of the natural world. Being in nature is such a simple yet potent medicine. I always tell my clients: “A barefoot walk in the park is the best antidepressant you will ever take!”

 

  1. Move your body!

 

The most important thing is to choose physical activity that feels fun for you. Too many people drag themselves to the gym in a kind of grim “I should” attitude.

 

I personally love to dance. I do it as often as I can. Dancing allows my inner child to come out and play—and my waistline is slimming down as a nice side effect! When we move our bodies, we allow stagnant energies to be released, thus resulting in a higher vibrational state.

 

  1. Interact in public spaces with a sense of service.

 

If you are a highly sensitive person, you probably sometimes dread going to energetically dense/chaotic public spaces such as grocery stores, doctors’ offices, banks, bars, malls, or crowded sports events. Indeed, places where lots of people congregate tend to feel overwhelming or upsetting for those of us who are sensitive.


You do not, however, need to be at the mercy of these unpleasant sensations! You can rise above. It’s all about shifting your mindset.

When you are required to enter a public space, view it with a sense of service. If you know how to do energy work, send waves of healing energy into the room and send silent blessings to each person you see. Or you can visualize a soothing bubble of golden light around yourself—a bubble that expands outwards to protect you, and also radiates outward to uplift those who are present around you.

 

When you visit public spaces, instead of feeling fear, you can use this opportunity to serve your fellow humans. You can understand that your very presence is a gift. No one else may consciously appreciate it—but that’s OK. You don’t need praise. Being able to rise above the negativity and feel a high frequency amidst the chaos is reward enough!

 

 

  1. Look into the mirror every day and say to yourself: “I love you.”

 

When you talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend, you are raising your frequency. You are finding the Beloved within.
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A New Vision of Work for the New Earth (Part 2)

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Today we will dismantle the second major myth about work. (Please see Part 1 to learn about the first myth.)

Myth #2: Resources are scarce, so it is necessary to compete.

 

The myth of competition has been so embedded into our consciousness that we might not even notice it. It’s been drilled into us since we were little kids. Remember in your school textbooks, the stories about Darwin and evolution? Ideas about how “nature” is a harsh and brutal survival of the fittest?

 

Did you ever think about who wrote those textbooks?

 

The people who wrote those textbooks, the people who promote the myth of competition is propagated by those who are not yet spiritually awake. These are ignorant people, clouded by deep misperceptions about how life really works.

 

The myth of competition and survival of the fittest serves the wealthy elite—but it certainly doesn’t serve you or me.

 

Simply put, the myth of competition serves to excuse bad behavior by those who would like to mentally justify their actions of greed.

 

If we believe that the Earth has scarce resources, then we will, naturally, feel justified in fighting over them and not playing together as a team. We will allow hierarchy. We will not cooperate. We will turn against our brothers and sisters, mistakenly seeing our fellow humans as enemies rather than as family.

 

The myth of scarcity creates fear, which leads us to work at jobs we don’t like. 

 

Here are some of the common fear-based ideas we have, that stem from this outdated myth, that keep us trapped in passionless jobs:

 

  • It’s better to have a job I don’t like than it is to be homeless
  • It’s better to have a job I don’t like than it is to or to be a burden to my family or to “the system”
  • It’s OK that I don’t like my job because I’m lucky to have a job at all—so many other people are unemployed…so I shouldn’t complain
  • My boss is a real jerk, but hey, I’m grateful that he hasn’t laid me off yet
  • I’m not happy here, but at least I have health insurance and a retirement package
  • I’m not happy here with this salaried job, but at least I get a vacation every year
  • I have to stay in this job because I have to make my mortgage payment and car payment
  • If I quit this job, someone else will take it
  • If I start my own business, I won’t have any security and what if things don’t work out? At least with this job, I have a safe, steady paycheck
  • There’s too much competition out there to start my own business. Where will my clients come from? Who would really want what I have to offer? It’s all just too risky.
  • I have invested so many years into this career. To walk away now would mean failure.
  • I want to get to the top, even if it means I sacrifice some happiness every day. The stress is worth it in order to achieve my dreams.

 

 As awakening coach Isabella A. Greene says, we humans are waking up to “a new paradigm of purpose and sharing our gifts.”

 

Indeed, humanity is evolving to understand that we are in this together. Truly, there is no such thing as competition—there are only our brothers and sisters. We can take each other’s hands, and walk this exciting path of work—together.

 

As we wake up, as we find our true selves on our spiritual path, we realize that we are stronger than the 1% elite, because our powers are the powers of love and sharing. We have the power of the entire Universe behind us!

 

As we share, we infinitely multiply the resources that exist. We see that resources are not scarce when they are shared sustainably and equally. For example, programs like regenerative agriculture show us that the concept of abundance is not just a silly new-age pipe dream, but an actual concrete reality that can be manifested.

 

Currently, the world economy produces enough food to feed every single person on the planet. If this is so, then why the heck are people still starving? Why are women, children, indigenous peoples and minorities struggling to make ends meet? The answer to this vexing question is simple: Humanity as a whole is still running the old programs of scarcity and competition. These programs keep us enslaved: sad, desperate, and in poverty.

 

In this New Earth paradigm we are co-creating, we share light (knowledge) with others, and then they share it with others … and then they share it with others … and so on and so on …

 

We are so powerful! The process of awakening has begun, and it cannot be stopped!

 

If we consciously change our ideas about work, the consequences will have a ripple effect that will, quite literally, change everything in humanity.

 

As the old systems fall apart, we can, finally, begin to free ourselves from the mentality of competition and see our brothers and sisters as allies. We are in this together. Each of us has a unique contribution to share: a contribution that will leap us out of bed every morning—excited to share, learn, grow, and discover, together.

A New Vision of Work for the New Earth (Part 1)

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What is “work”?

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If you’ve found this blog, chances are, you’ve been asking yourself this question a lot lately.

 

Well, you’re in good company! Welcome to the deep question zone. These days, so many of us are asking deep, profound questions about what it means to live with purpose and passion.

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As we wake up to the joy of living, as we awaken to our true identity in this time that many of us call “The New Earth,” we realize there are some old ideas about work that we no longer wish to support. We realize that it would be in our benefit to release these old ideas and adopt new, more empowering beliefs in their place.

 

It is indeed time for a radical restructuring of belief about work!

 

In this post, I’ll debunk one of the major myths about work from the old paradigm. (In my next post, I’ll debunk the second major myth. Stay tuned!)

 

These myths are fear-driven and energetically keep us stuck in patterns that do not allow for us to live our lives to the most beautiful fullest.

 

Once these myths are cleared from our minds, we can begin to truly plan for our beautiful future—for what truly excites us!

 

 

Myth #1: Work is hard.

 

Did your parents ever tell you that work is hard? I bet they did. For most of us, our parents, grandparents, teachers (and pretty much everybody else!) told us, over and over and over again, that work is hard, that work sucks.

 

The idea that work sucks is so prevalent in our global human society. However, we are beginning to question it. We are beginning to break free.

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As we question it, we ask ourselves: Whom does this myth really serve?

 

Well … this myth serves certain people, but it certainly doesn’t serve you or me!

 

To put it simply, the myth that work is hard serves a wealthy elite: the tiny sliver of population (“the 1%”) who control the financial systems and wish to keep you enslaved in subsistence/survival living.

 

If we believe the myth that work is hard, then we will sheepishly slave away, plugging away at work we dislike, for crappy pay—while their pockets grow ever-fuller.

 

This myth keeps us trapped.

 

If we believe that work is hard, then our standards for how employers treat us is going to be low.

 

If we believe that work is hard, then we won’t ask ourselves if we truly enjoy the work. We will just do it, like a robot, because … well, we gotta earn a paycheck, right?

 

Wrong!

 

In truth, work is meant to be a beautiful, life-giving, nourishing experience! Work is meant to be serve others in their awakening and healing process, as well as serve ourselves, serve our own curiosities and passions and learning goals.

 

In the New Earth paradigm, the giving and the receiving are One. There is equal joy in both.

 

I remember the first time I ever got paid for giving a Reiki healing session. I remember the woman handing me the cash. I stared at it for a long time, in nervousness and disbelief. I thought: “Wow, I’m actually getting paid to do this???”

 

At that time, I actually felt quite a bit of guilt for accepting money for doing something that was easy and that I actually enjoyed. Back then (this was about 7 years ago), there was that old programming deep within me that said, “Hey, work is supposed to suck. You are only supposed to get money for doing things that you dislike.”

 

It’s taken me a few years of intentional self-work and deprogramming to unravel the myth that work is hard. I’m currently in the final stages of learning this lesson.

 

I realize that not only do I wish to receive money for doing what I love—but that doing so is a requirement for the kind of life I want to create! I want my life to be a testament to others for how life can be in the New Earth paradigm. I want my life to be an inspiration.

 

In this new age, we are coming to see work as an expression of one’s unique soul signature. We each have particular inclinations, passions, and areas of interest that we incarnated to Earth to explore. Work is a major aspect of a human lifetime.

 

As we wake up out of the fear-driven old paradigm, we gather the courage within ourselves to take leaps of faith. We start our own business. Or we join an intentional community. Or we buy a cabin out in the woods and go off-the-grid.

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Whatever we choose, we do it courageously, knowing that life is meant to be joyful and that the work we do is meant to feed not just our belly but our soul.

 

Indeed, rather than being overly difficult, work is meant to be a fun, flowing, uplifting experience. A way to invest our life force for the betterment of all.

 

When we are exploring our own unique passions through work, everyone benefits—because the quality of service, then, is naturally going to be higher when it is performed by those who love doing it.

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Yes, of course, there’s still going to be routine, “mundane” tasks that need to get done. We’ve got to wash the dishes, chop the firewood, and clean the toilets. Fine. We can certainly work out fair, sustainable ways to share that labor. Of course! But the key is that, in the New Earth paradigm, a majority of what we’re doing on a daily basis is suited to our own unique soul. We are living out our dreams.

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In the old paradigm, work is shit, and we are all expected to cram ourselves into uncomfortable little boxes in exchange for some dollars so that we can pay some bills. We drag ourselves from Monday through Friday and then fall into an exhausted heap on Saturday. Why? Is this really living? Is this really what we really came here to do?

 

In the new paradigm you and I are currently building, more and more of us are rising up and saying NO to the myths of the old system. We understand that what we offer to the world in exchange for monetary (and other types) of abundance are, truly, works of art.

 

Through our awareness and joy, we become a channel for the Divine, and birth our own unique manifestations into the world. In this way, work is never drudgery, but always an ecstatic adventure into the sacred unknown.

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Welcome to the future my friends!

Dance the Fear Away! (or, How to Heal Yourself with Dance)

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A few minutes into the dance, and my eyes begin to burn with tears. My breath comes faster and faster.

 

This is the moment of the dance. Here it is: the moment of the unveiling. Today, the act of dancing is like looking into a mirror after rolling around in the mud. It’s a bit scary.

 

This is the moment of the dance; the time when the fear is released. There is a gorgeous song playing, haunting female vocals. I am allowing every note of it to invade the universe of my cells. I am one with the song.

 

Sometimes, as I dance tonight, I am a soft and subtle priestess: swirling, delicate, my wrists articulating the swoosh and grace of my subtle gossamer being—and, at other times, I am a forceful, angry, ferocious masculine beast: my feet kick and stomp, my fists pump and punch the air. I am hungry; I want blood.

 

The tears come faster now. Wet and thick like sludge. Some of these tears fall onto the carpet underneath my feet, and some of them fall into my open mouth and I digest them. These tears are primal and necessary. I must release them.

 

These tears let me know that I have accidentally taken on too much weight, lately, from the world. I have absorbed too much from the (seeming) brokenness around me: the poverty, the violence, the hatred, the fears. The bruised woman, tattooed from head to toe, who came to me for counsel, her traumatized child at her hip, who barely made eye contact. The friend who I watch killing himself with every cigarette. The glaring president on the television screen who says “build the walls”…

 

… somehow, somehow, in these past few days, since my last dance, that woman with the tattoos, that friend with the cigarettes, and that president have somehow broken my heart. I have allowed them to. I have forgotten who I am.

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HOW TO DANCE

 

The dance doesn’t have to be pretty today. The dance doesn’t have to be perfect.

 

These are the words I tell myself on the days when it’s tough to get off my couch. These are the words I say when I feel lazy.

 

The dance can be whatever it is, Anya. It can be slow or it can be fast. I can spit or I can smile. I can be wild and mean or a delicate beauty. Whatever. Just dance. Just do it! Just do whatever comes … 

 

For no matter how awfully, no matter how awkwardly a dance might begin, it will always always end in joy—if you give it enough time.

 

Yes, the secret of dance is to give it enough time. Give it as much as it takes. Stand up, turn on the music, turn off the clocks, and dance. Allow the dance to feel weird or laborious until the precious moment comes when the dance is a true dance. When all the fears are gone, and the music possess you.

 

For the past few years, I have made the commitment to myself to dance two or three times a week. And, recently, I have just completed a 30-day dance challenge—where I danced every single day, no matter how tired, no matter whether I was in the mood.

 

It was incredible.

 

So, what have I learned about dance?

 

I have learned that dancing is one of the most freeing things a human being can do.

 

And I have learned that I, personally, love to dance alone. It has become a sacred ritual for me. I do also love going to my weekly dance class when I can, but my home dance practice is deeply fulfilling.

 

When I begin my dance, in my humble living room, on freezing winter nights or on sumptuous summer afternoons, I begin with a prayer and I end with a prayer. At the beginning I say, “Please make me a vessel for the divine light to dance through me.” At the end I say, “Thank you; I am so grateful for this dance.”

 

Yes, friends, I dance with intention; I dance as a healing art. I dance for my own sanity and for my own self-compassion. I dance to fall in love with myself.

 

I dance freeform. No memorized steps. Just feel what emerges.

 

Some days the dancing is short: ten or twenty minutes is all I need: it’s a full busy day, and I’m already feeling good.

 

On other days, however, the dancing is a long and twisting journey: I turn off the phones and the clocks and everything else that beeps and I promise to dance until that blessed moment comes when I begin to feel good. I wait for the serotonin; I wait for the sigh of relief and the smile. On those rather rough days, I know that nothing else is as important as my empowered decision to dance.

 

Dance is a commitment I have made to myself.

 

It is a commitment to my own evolution and healing.

 

On the tough days, indeed, the dance is absolutely imperative to my wellbeing. I know that until this fear departs, I am utterly useless. I cannot serve myself, let alone serve others. Until this fear subsides, what can I possibly do?

 

So, I dance. I dance the fear away.

 

I choose to dance and I come alive within the dance. I lose myself, my typical notions of what “me” is.

 

I blur. I become a goddess and a god when I dance: I reach both, the place where gender has no meaning. I put on my comfiest sweatpants or my sexiest skirt, and I dance until the time comes when sweat slides down my neck and I am intoxicated by the smell of my own armpits as my head thrashes from side to side. I find I actually like this smell.

 

And now comes the moment when I strip. I peel off all my sweaty clothes, throwing them triumphantly onto the carpet in a beautiful, crazy heap. My roommate is not home. At this moment, I am naked and dancing. At this point, I have reached ecstasy. No drugs needed, except the delicious batch of chemicals my brain has made, especially for me.

 

 

HEAL YOUR BRAIN AND YOUR BODY WITH DANCE

 

Where does anxiety come from?

 

From whence does fear originate?

 

Why are some people able to cure their depression while others commit suicide?

 

Where does the darkness come from, and how can we bring in the light?

 

These profound questions about what it means to be a human being are no longer simply relegated to the province of priests—now, in our modern age, scientists, sociologists, and psychotherapists are joining the dialogue.

 

In the holistic community, dance is being used as a treatment for depression, PTSD, autism, eating disorders, and many other conditions. There is much research out there now, showing how dance is an extremely effective healing tool.

For example, Christina Devereaux, spokesperson for the American Dance Therapy Association, describes dance as a way of shedding light upon what’s hidden within the psyche, as a way to explore, purge, and clear painful emotions. “We really believe in the body/mind connection,” she says. “Dance is a way for people to use what’s happening inside them and express it in an external, expansive way.”

 

In a 2015 peer-reviewed study, neuroscience researchers found that dancing boosts self-esteem, lowers anxiety, and increases psychological wellbeing.

 

And at the Stanford Neuroscience Health Center, for elders with Parkinson’s meet weekly to dance to live music and spoken word poetry. This “Dance for PD” class is a truly holistic therapy: it heals on the physical as well as the emotional and mental levels as well. Incredibly, the program was launched 15 years ago in Brooklyn, New York, and is now offered in 16 countries around the world!

 

 

MY OWN DANCE JOURNEY

 

For over three decades, I struggled to live. The combination of undiagnosed PTSD (derived from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as a child) plus being gifted with a number of intuitive gifts and sensitivities (gifts not recognized as valid by my culture) left me disabled and suicidal. I simply couldn’t figure out how to function in the world.

 

In my early thirties, I had no choice but to leave behind a promising academic career, shortly after earning my PhD, due to my rapidly-disintegrating immune system and an advanced case of adrenal fatigue syndrome. (These are, unfortunately, quite common issues for those with unhealed trauma.) For a while, my friends and intentional family had to take care of me. I intuitively knew that if something didn’t shift soon, I would die.

 

Today, my life looks so radically different that sometimes I shake my head in grateful disbelief. I am healthier now in mind, body, and spirit than I ever have been in my entire life.

 

In my healing journey, I have been blessed to receive help in many beautiful forms: a highly-intuitive counselor, trusted spiritual teachers, a community of loving friends, and daily holistic practices such as reiki, raw juicing, yoga, and meditation. All of these tools greatly aided my recovery.

 

And it was that the final, powerful piece of my healing puzzle clicked into place a few years ago, the moment I discovered dance. It felt like nothing short of a miracle. A way to radically rewire my brain and detoxify old, clogged-up emotions.

 

A way to experience pure joy!

 

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my weekly Sacred Dance class at The Space

 

DEFINITIONS OF DANCE

 

Dance is moving faster than the speed of thought.

 

Dance is immersion in sound.

 

Dance is instinctive. It connects us with our ancestors, the ancient tribes who danced for rain and to celebrate the hunt.

 

Dance is primal and sacred. It’s an opening of the heart. It’s a healing space where we feel the music so intensely, so fully, that our bodies cannot help but move.

 

Dance is being possessed by the dance. The dancer becoming the dance. The body becoming a channel. A vessel of light.

 

Indigenous cultures throughout history have practiced dance as not only a celebration, but also as a divine healing art. During the height of my healing crisis, about six years ago, my friend Pattie, a Native American medicine woman, began to teach me how to dance. Her lessons were not formal nor were they complicated. They simply arose, organically and simply, because I was ill and she loved me.

 

We sat by the fire in the open air. Barefoot. Summer evening, fireflies. She began to drum. And she asks me, before the dance, “Are you finally ready to let go of your fear?”

 

I remember her watching me. I remember melting into the realization that she knew things that I did not. She possessed a knowledge deeper and truer than could be expressed in logical language. As I began to dance around the leaping fire, my feet stomping and grinding with Mother Earth, I wept. I moaned and sighed: anger that had been bottled since my childhood was finally leaving me.

 

In those beautiful moments with Pattie, I felt all the benevolent spirits who guided her nod their silent, loving assent. (Maybe those spirits were my friends, too?)

 

On those blessed summer evenings, I danced. I finally felt connected: to her, to her Ojibwa tribe, and to all the people of the Earth who understand the simple ways of healing.

 

We humans in modern cities lose a bit of life energy every day. Pollution, noise, stress, crappy jobs, poisoned food, living in squared-shaped boxes made of toxic materials. Our feet rarely touch the Earth.

 

Indeed, we lose our balance in one thousand ways and we become ill. We forget our connection to Source. Through sacred dance, however, we bring our awareness back into our bodies, back into our holy temples. We get our blood flowing again. We turn off our gadgets and our thinking minds, and we return to a simpler, more loving way of being.

 

What is dance, you ask?

 

Dance is a mode of reconnection. A testament to the truth that: every body, no matter how seemingly damaged, wants to heal.

 

Dance is a mode of evolution.

 

When we are dancing, we forget our stories. We forget our successes, our failures, our labels, our concepts, our To Do Lists…these all vanish, in the glory of the dance. The story of “me” dies.

And what remains? The true self. The healed self.

 

 

 

THE UNEXPECTED MIRACLE OF DANCE

 

 

Dance is a miracle. And we don’t even need music to do it.

Next time you’re in line at the grocery store, try and see what it feels like to gently sway your hips back and forth. Or, when you’re talking to the teller at the bank, what does flexing that smile on your face feel like? When you’re at home washing dishes, what does the soap and hot water feel like as you move your hands in rhythmical patterns across the glistening porcelain?

 

Can you feel the movement and graceful shapes of your body as you go through your daily life?

 

Can you make a game of it?

 

Can each moment of physical expression in this incarnation be an art form unto itself? Can life itself be a joy?

 

It’s time to turn up the music, my dear friends. Transport yourself to a miraculous place, beyond time and logic. No need to plan, no need to think. Just be. Just be you.

 

Feel the grace and splendor of your limbs, and breathe in this beautiful thing called life!

 

 

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

What would our world be like if we all felt the freedom to express our authentic selves, in each moment?

 

Dear friends, let’s imagine such a world.

 

 

SHIFTING TO A SELF-CARE PARADIGM

 

How do we create this new world?

The journey begins with each one of us.

 

If you’re sad, simply sit with your sadness. No need to smile. No need to run to addictive behaviors. No need to lash out and point the finger of blame at someone else.

Just sit and breathe.

 

Just be sad. Don’t worry about doing anything 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 that 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 some of us who hold the martyr archetype or those of us who tend to over-carry for others.

 

Indeed, I believe that we can go overboard on always feeling the need to smile. 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 every person 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 everybody without a word or even a glance.

 

This realization—about wanting to be real in public—is something that many of my friends and clients are realizing, too. There seems to be something in the air, at this time on our planet, about wanting to make peace with our emotions.

 

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

 

I desperately 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, clients, 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 of this?

 

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

 

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 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. Sometimes I cannot comprehend 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 they sometimes send my head into a worried, tired spin.

 

Sometimes … the truth is … living on this planet just seems like too much. And 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 all that 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