My Heart Hurts

As I was signing on to my email a few days ago, a story caught my eye about a shockingly heinous crime. Usually I’m able to ignore those types of stories – but not this one. A precious 7-week-old baby girl had been severely beaten by her parents and had been on life support for 3 months due to a brain hemorrhage and numerous broken bones – until a few days ago when she was removed from that support. A photo was shown of her before the beating and she was so beautiful and innocent. It broke my heart.

Most of us have instant reactions of shock, horror and rage when we read about such a crime – especially against a child, in this case a baby. It’s good we feel that way; it shows we’re human and capable of empathy for the victim of such a brutal attack. We ask ourselves how such a tragedy can happen to an innocent baby.

It’s apparent to me as I see increasingly horrific events occurring in the world today, that we’re facing an existential crisis of monumental proportions. Murder; rape; sexual, physical, emotional and other abuse of children; racially-motivated murders – often by law enforcement; child pornography; children sold into sexual slavery; children forced to work long hours in an unsafe factory building; terrorist attacks that kill hundreds of people; spousal and child physical abuse – the list goes on ad infinitum.

What is disturbing and heartbreaking to me is that more and more people are turning blind eyes and deaf ears to these tragic events because the pain of their own unresolved issues and experiences is triggered. Even now, as adults, they don’t know how to deal with that, to be happy and create lives they love. And so it escalates. The suffering continues because most people cannot bear to feel their own misery – and seek to numb it in various ways, to distract themselves from feeling it. I won’t list them here; we all pretty much know what they are.

Through my own personal experience of feeling and healing these emotions, I’ve come to see that the core emotion we can’t bear to feel is unworthiness. We’ve all been conditioned from a very early age about how life “is supposed to be” and what is “acceptable” or “unacceptable” to feel and express. Common variations on the theme of “unworthiness” are “I’m not important,” or “I’m not good enough.” Not all of this programming has been verbal – a lot has been nonverbal and hard to access with our conscious minds because we were so young when we received it. Those messages became part of our “implicit memory.” The impact of this conditioning – whether conscious or unconscious is huge! We start believing it’s true. Self-doubt creeps in and we start believing that what we want is unattainable and thus, why bother – and on it goes. So we’re walking around with an empty feeling inside like a big hole that we can never fill no matter what we do or how hard we try – because we’re trying to fill it with something outside ourselves. I’ve never known that be successful – for me or anyone else. I’ve learned on my own journey that true peace and happiness are sourced from within – never from without.

Some of you may be tired of hearing me write or talk about “shadow emotions.” You say things to yourselves like, “Why does she keep “harping” on this? That’s the past and nothing can be done about it.” That’s only partly true – we can’t change the events that occurred, but we CAN experience and release the emotions and memories that still have such a huge impact on our ability to live happy and fulfilled lives.

So why do I keep “harping” on shadow emotions? Because a precious 7 week-old baby was beaten to death as a result of her parents’ unresolved shadow emotions. My heart hurts for EVERYONE still trapped by them.

 

 

 

 

 

World in Existential Crisis

It’s pretty obvious that this country is in an existential crisis – as is the entire world, really. It seems we are traveling the same path of civilizations before us, i.e. the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, Constantine’s Empire and others. Unfortunately, it appears we haven’t learned much from these predecessors. Hate – and its catalyst, fear – are still running rampant in the world, seemingly more so than ever before in recent history. We see everywhere the havoc wreaked by unidentified and unreleased shadow emotions on a national – and even global – scale.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people on this planet are unaware of the ramifications of this state of affairs which threatens the very existence of life on this planet. Deepak Chopra recently published a blog post about what he called the “collective shadow” that appears to have escaped its normal constraints and is wreaking widespread havoc. Although he is referring primarily to its impact in the U.S., it’s by no means a stretch to see evidence of it in the rest of the world. Following is an excerpt from that blog which clearly describes the shadow:

“The shadow compounds all the dark impulses – hatred, aggression, sadism, selfishness, jealousy, resentment, sexual transgression – that are hidden out of sight. The name originated with Carl Jung, but its basic origin came from Freud’s insight that our psyches are dualistic, sharply divided between the conscious and unconscious. The rise of civilization is a tribute to how well we obey our conscious mind and suppress our unconscious side. But what hides in the shadows will out.” Here’s the link to his blog if you want to read it in its entirely. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/americas-shadow-the-real-_b_10319848.html.

On a personal level if enough people face, feel and heal their shadow emotions, the accumulated power of freeing ourselves from their impact WILL make a difference in the world. Most of you know that I am a Certified Professional Coach (“life coach”) specializing in helping people identify and release their own shadow emotions. Massive damage can be caused when they remain unconscious. However unconscious doesn’t mean inactive. Some examples are: wrecked relationships with spouses, family and friends, self-destructive behavior – and even self-sabotage – in careers, health, finances, etc. Most of us have experienced the impact of our shadow emotions in one or more of these areas whether we knew what was causing our reaction or not.

What many people don’t realize (I sure didn’t until I couldn’t stand the pain any longer) is that we cause ourselves FAR MORE pain by avoiding the original pain we stuffed into our unconscious than we experience when we finally decide to face, feel and release those emotions. I’ve seen this time and time again with my clients.

I invite you to courageously step into the unknown territory of your shadow emotions and set yourself free. Doing so will enable you to create the life you’ve always longed to live.

 

Celebrating Our Personal Independence/Freedom Day

July 4th is the 240th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the New World colonies from English rule. Now is a perfect time for us to declare our personal independence from the inner tyranny we all experience – or have experienced – from our disempowering beliefs, parental, cultural and religious conditioning, and our repressed emotions which still have a powerful effect on us even though we often deny them. I call this our “shadow” (the “storage room” in our unconscious minds where we’ve shoved those feelings and kept a tight “lid” on them for years, even decades) until we believe we’re safe enough to feel, express and release them. This “emotional density” is stealing our peace, power, love and joy, blocking us from creating and living the lives we long for with all our heart.

I encourage you to take that first courageous step to free yourself from the tyranny of those repressed shadow emotions. The first one is the hardest as we are breaking through the inner barriers we erected to protect us in our belief that we wouldn’t be able to “handle” them. Well, we couldn’t at such a young age so our bodies stepped in to protect us until such time as we could. I’ve learned that the most effective path to freedom from their destructive effects is to turn around and face them, knowing that the memories and emotions associated with them can no longer hurt us. They are “smoke and mirrors,” really – we already survived the events. In truth, our continued denial of them is hurting us more.

Believing we are limited in any way, that we are anything less than unique and beloved expressions of the Divine, God/dess or whatever name we choose, prevents us from knowing and expressing our most authentic and beautiful selves. I invite you to create a relationship with yourself unencumbered by these memories and emotions. Embrace the Light that you are at the deepest core of your being. Claim the freedom, love and joy that are your birthright – as they are for ALL of us.

 

Control or Surrender

 

Are we embracing life – all of it – with open hearts or are we just plodding along experiencing it as a burden, something to be endured rather than accepted as is and sometimes even enjoyed when we allow it? I’ve “held my breath” through most of my life as I definitely did NOT want to feel the teeming snake pit of emotions I’d suppressed. Holding the breath is very effective in keeping those emotions from conscious awareness – for a time – but at a high price.

We can’t CONTROL life – it will unfold per the agreement our souls made with the Divine and the script we wrote for each lifetime. A lot of us damn sure try to control it – I know I still do at times. I have spent YEARS of my life in fear/terror trying to “make” something happen that I wanted or prevent from happening what I didn’t rather than trusting that whatever life brings is for my greater good.

Basically, I feel it comes down to controlling life out of fear – or trying to – or surrendering to life with trust and love. I don’t have to be a victim of fear – I can surrender to the Divine and trust that only my highest good will come to me, whether it’s “comfortable” or not.” What’s amazing is that I experience more comfort since trust and love “vibrate” at a higher “frequency” than fear and therefore attract more of what I want than what I don’t. Correct me if I’m mistaken, but Law of Attraction 101 teaches us that our vibrational frequency is the magnet that draws to us what we actually receive and experience. We have mistakenly been taught that it’s our thoughts alone. It’s not; it’s our VIBRATION and what fuels that is EMOTION. Try an experiment for yourself: concentrate really strongly on what you want with your thoughts alone. When it doesn’t show up in your experience, add some strong emotion into the equation (best that it’s positive so you don’t inadvertently attract something negative; we do that enough unconsciously). Then watch what happens.

I’ve come to feel that most of us either try to control life out of fear, or surrender to it with trust and love. Which is it for you?

The Collective “Shadow” Run Rampant

What we’re witnessing in the world today – and specifically in Orlando, Florida – is our unconscious “shadow” run amok. When we “stuff” our anger/rage, sadness/grief, fear/terror, etc. into our unconscious mind and mistakenly think we are “controlling” it, events like these occur and we’re left “scratching our heads” in shock and bewilderment and wondering what happened.

Picture an iceberg. The vast majority of its mass is BELOW the surface of the water and about 10% is above – and so it is with our mind. And we’re trying to control the 90% that’s hidden, usually by stuffing those emotions into our unconscious mind hoping they will just go away. How’s that working for us? Given today’s tragedy in Orlando – and other similar tragedies in the past several years – I’d say it’s not working at ALL.

Another part of this equation is that when we suppressed those emotions into our unconscious, what accompanied them was the fear we had as small children that we “couldn’t handle them.” That fear was very real – then. When the repressed emotions begin to surface as adults, what arises with them is that fear, except that we can handle it now.

So what’s the answer? Well, one answer (and one that seems to work quite well for many people) is to identify, feel and release the emotional content we’ve denied. As many of you have already experienced, something will “trigger” you and all that suppressed emotion will come roaring up to “bite you in the ass.” Aren’t you tired of that yet?

What I learned on my life journey – and it was a painful lesson – is that I caused myself much more pain by running away from the original pain I had stuffed into my unconscious. Given that I can be pretty stubborn, it took quite a number of “smacks” from the Universe before I got the message and began the process of acknowledging, healing and releasing that pain. My experience was that at first the Universe’s reminder was a gentle tap on my shoulder, then a stronger one, then an even stronger one. I still didn’t get it so I received the “2 x 4” reminder. THEN, I got it!

I strongly encourage you not to wait for that 2 x 4 from the Universe. Deal with the unfelt and unprocessed emotions in your unconscious mind NOW and save yourself additional pain.

There’s a quote from Carl Jung that expresses what I’m referring to very eloquently and may be of help to you: “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek” – the “cave” being those denied emotions and the “treasure” the relief and healing in expressing and releasing them.

For those of you interested in knowing more about the “shadow” and how it expresses individually and collectively, I recommend you read Deepak Chopra’s article in the Huffington Post where he discusses its impact. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/americas-shadow-the-real-_b_10319848.html. You can also read some of Carl Jung’s writings on this subject.

 

Triggers

We’ve been conditioned in our culture to blame the other person when s/he says or does something that “triggers” an unwanted emotional response in us. Unfortunately, when we do this we miss a “golden opportunity” to see and experience what we’re carrying around inside that’s still causing us pain. Some examples in my own life are feeling (1) “not good enough,” (2) unlovable, and (3) my needs aren’t important.

I just experienced a painful trigger a few days ago. After a very brief (thankfully) visit with blame, I was able to see that what this friend had “done” brought to my awareness feelings of abandonment. Let me emphasize that these feelings were already inside menot magically “slipped in” by the other person. Whatever we feel is NEVER about the other person. I’m so grateful that most of the time now I’m able to stop the automatic “blame response,” look inside and allow myself to feel all there is to feel about what happened.

Please understand that it’s only been in the last 7 months or so that I’ve allowed myself to feel those emotions that I have so not wanted to feel and kept “stuffing down” for many years. I still don’t want to feel them − and I’m so relieved afterward when I allow myself to cry, shake or get angry − whatever needs to be experienced and released, and have done it without lashing out at and hurting the “triggerer.”

So how do we do that? For me, I’ve learned to stop, slow down and take a deep breath (perhaps several) before I say or do anything. Breathing helps me calm down and not feel so overcome by emotion, to identify what’s upsetting me, then feel and release it. And most importantly, not blame anyone for what I’m experiencing.

Try it. What have you got to lose? When we experience the people, places and situations that come into our lives as gifts and fully accept them as such, then we’re living in peace – with ourselves and others.

 

“Making” What You Want Happen or “Allowing” It to Happen In our culture, we’re conditioned to believe that we can make anything happen that we want – we just have to try hard enough and persevere long enough. To a very limited extent that’s true; but not always and, besides, that’s the HARD way. It’s much easier to create and have what we want than we believe, whether it be a dream career, friends, romantic partner, prosperity, etc. In truth, it’s virtually effortless. However, effortlessly having what we want is a very “foreign” concept in our society. We’ve been taught that we must “work hard” for everything we have, that whether or not we achieve that is completely due to our own efforts, that we alone are responsible, exemplified by the words of the poem Invictus: “I’m the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.” Perhaps to a certain extent that’s true, but that path has its limits and requires a lot of struggle – and we were not designed to struggle. What if we could have what we want by allowing ourselves to receive it? This goes beyond the conscious mind — which we mistakenly believe is “in charge” – into the unconscious mind which is the true source of our creative power. Allowing also eliminates struggle. Unfortunately, we’ve been conditioned to ignore the unconscious mind in the false belief that the conscious mind is the sole creator of that which we desire. Not so. Then what’s the block to creating what we want? Most often it’s because what we consciously want is in conflict with what we believe we deserve. All the beliefs, “shoulds” and rules we’ve accumulated throughout our lives reside in our unconscious mind and we live as if they are all true. These beliefs that we’ve been “bad,” have “failed” or otherwise not been the kind of person we “should” be blocks us from allowing ourselves to receive what we most desire. So, here’s the good news: it is completely up to each of us as to what we have or don’t have in life. What’s essential, however, is that we be willing to face and release our unconscious beliefs, judgments, and emotions we haven’t allowed ourselves to feel. Most of us are terrified of doing this. I certainly was. I ran as fast as I could for many, MANY years – until I realized I was causing myself MORE pain by running than if I turned and faced whatever I was running FROM. For me, it’s been the most direct way – and maybe the only way for me to experience emotional freedom and happiness in my life. Am I “done”? No. Am I “perfect”? No. And neither you nor I – anyone for that matter – is required to be perfect. It’s much more liberating and satisfying to simply be authentically ourselves. I invite and encourage you to take this journey and discover what’s possible for you.

 

In our culture, we’re conditioned to believe that we can make anything happen that we want – we just have to try hard enough and persevere long enough. To a very limited extent that’s true; but not always and, besides, that’s the HARD way. It’s much easier to create and have what we want than we believe, whether it be a dream career, friends, romantic partner, prosperity, etc. In truth, it’s virtually effortless. However, effortlessly having what we want is a very “foreign” concept in our society. We’ve been taught that we must “work hard” for everything we have, that whether or not we achieve that is completely due to our own efforts,  that we alone are responsible, exemplified by the words of the poem Invictus: “I’m the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.” Perhaps to a certain extent that’s true, but that path has its limits and requires a lot of struggle – and we were not designed to struggle.

What if we could have what we want by allowing ourselves to receive it? This goes beyond the conscious mind — which we mistakenly believe is “in charge” – into the unconscious mind which is the true source of our creative power. Allowing also eliminates struggle. Unfortunately, we’ve been conditioned to ignore the unconscious mind in the false belief that the conscious mind is the sole creator of that which we desire. Not so.

Then what’s the block to creating what we want? Most often it’s because what we consciously want is in conflict with what we believe we deserve. All the beliefs, “shoulds” and rules we’ve accumulated throughout our lives reside in our unconscious mind and we live as if they are all true.  These beliefs that we’ve been “bad,” have “failed” or otherwise not been the kind of person we “should” be blocks us from allowing ourselves to receive what we most desire.

So, here’s the good news: it is completely up to each of us as to what we have or don’t have in life. What’s essential, however, is that we be willing to face and release our unconscious beliefs, judgments, and emotions we haven’t allowed ourselves to feel. Most of us are terrified of doing this. I certainly was. I ran as fast as I could for many, MANY years – until I realized I was causing myself MORE pain by running than if I turned and faced whatever I was running FROM. For me, it’s been the most direct way – and maybe the only way for me to experience emotional freedom and happiness in my life. Am I “done”? No. Am I “perfect”? No. And neither you nor I – anyone for that matter – is required to be perfect. It’s much more liberating and satisfying to simply be authentically ourselves.

I invite and encourage you to take this journey and discover what’s possible for you.