You feel you have a calling to do something–maybe you are longing to help people in profound ways, maybe you feel a strong desire to express your creativity  maybe you are deeply committed to your family and want to provide abundance for them, maybe you want to serve your community, maybe you aspire to be in a loving, mature, authentic, intimate partnership.  Maybe all of the above!

You feel very passionate about want you want to bring to the world.  Your dreams are BIG.  GRAND.  You sense some urgency.  You feel some anxiety.  You sense the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.  You want to zoom to the part where you are living to your fullest potential, doing what you know you do best, doing what you know you are here to do, living in your full presence and power, having a life of abundance, fulfilment and joy!

And yet there is something holding you back.  What is it?  You are struggling to move forward but it feels so slow, frustrating and sometimes agonizing.   You ask yourself.  “Am I ready for it?”  “Can I really reach this dream?”  “Can I handle it?”

How do I know this?  Because I am you.  I have been wanting something more in my life for the last few years and it is coming together, gradually.  I love where I’m living.  I’m building new friendships.  I’m enjoying my work as a nanny.  I am finding my studies in Life Coaching so fulfilling!  And yet, after the breakdown of my marriage, I felt like I was scrambling to put all the pieces back together.  I wanted more work, I want financial stability, I wanted more satisfying relationships and most of all I wanted to serve this world with my unique talents and gifts as a healer, teacher, speaker and leader.  And…I wanted it all NOW!!

Does this sound familiar to you?  We are people who are not willing to settle for mediocracy.   We intuit our own greatness.  Yet we still have these nagging thoughts that something is lacking, that we could be doing more and hence, the anxiety.  No need to hate the anxiety.  I say, congratulations for having the fear!!  It means you’re not willing to be complacent.  It means you ARE dreaming big and expecting wonderful things for yourself.  If you’re playing small and safe, you probably won’t have much fear because you are staying in your comfort zone.  But be compassionate with yourself if you are playing it safe in some areas because you are always doing exactly what you need to do and growing at the exact right pace for you.  We need to respect the fear and have tea with it but not invite it over for dinner if you know what I’m saying!

I have had a few realizations and AHA moments in the last week or so.  I have worked through the anxiety and am cultivating more and more serenity.

  1.  To quote Lisa Nichols, “You woke up ENOUGH!!”  You are not here to prove how worthy you are.  You are not here to prove anything.  You don’t have to become anyone.  And the freeing thing is, once you really feel this with every cell of your body, the pressure to do more and be more is gone!  I know, you will say, “but I really should be more assertive, I should be doing my work as an artist, I shouldn’t still be in this job/relationship/situation.”  But did you ever create change in yourself by beating yourself up!?  The truth is you are perfect, whole and complete…always!!  And knowing this, you can really begin to look at yourself in an honest and kind way and see where there is room to grow and evolve.
  2.  To quote Tara Brach, “Isn’t what you are longing for already here?”  Wow!  This one really got me.  I was like, “Yeah, my contribution to this world doesn’t exist in some imaginary future, it is here in this moment!”  The other day, I went to the bank and chatted with the security guard at the door and he shared with me his passion for trains and snow.  Yesterday, I was talking with one of the kids I take care of.  I simply said, What’s going on in your world?  And that opened the conversation for her to speak of the writing contest she was in.  Those were simple, beautiful moments.  I was being a Life Coach right there!  I didn’t have to wait until I had built up a thriving business.  The opportunities to connect and contribute are everywhere!  Whatever you think you’re missing out on
  3. Sylvia Boorstein said,  “There really isn’t some way to get everything right and keep it that way.”  As you read in my last post, I realized that it was time to take it easy.  Expecting my life to suddenly all be “perfect”  was totally unrealistic.  I was jumping into this fantasy future and stressing about how I was going to make it all happen.  It’s really pretty crazy!  But we all do it.  We plan, we worry, we strategize trying to get somewhere, trying to make things better, more comfortable, more satisfying.  And yet, do we ever get to this place where we feel totally happy with everything?  No.  We are always wanting more.  And this is not the problem.  The problem is getting caught up and lost in this wanting.  Notice the wanting and give it attention.  Then think, talk, write about all you are grateful for right now!
  4. THIS IS IT.  Life is happening Right NOW.  Life doesn’t begin when you have organized your wardrobe or found that “perfect” job.  It is here right in front of your nose.  It’s the smell of jasmine in the pre-spring air.  It’s the birds chirping.  It’s a child telling showing you her dance routine.  It’s laughing with a friend.  When we really get this with every bone, tissue and fibre of our being, life becomes fresh and alive.  We notice things we didn’t see before.  We are not so busying trying to get to the next thing.  We relax and look around.  We respond creativity to our life.
  5.  “It’s all changing all the time!  Think of where you were 6 months ago or 6 years ago.  It’s probably very different from where you are now.  And 6 months from now, your life will be different again in some ways.  Open up to possibility.  This is just the way it is right now.  Don’t panic.  Keep focusing on what you want but stay grounded in the present.  Trust that everything happens in perfect timing.
  6. Will the real ___please stand up?  (fill your name in the blank)  I heard/read this recently.  I put up a bunch of pictures on my wall from when I was in my 30’s, pictures where I was smiling, happy, radiant, confident, powerful.  A woman I thought I had lost for a while.  I realized that I CAN be the person I want to be right NOW!  It certainly hasn’t happened over night but I see that I have been growing into the woman I imagined myself to be.  She didn’t go anywhere.  I simply need to embody those qualities that I want to have.  What does a confident, happy, relaxed person think like, act like, talk like?  What does her inner voice tell her?
  7. Take action to create something positive in your life TODAY.  This quote came from my “Courage to Change” today which so often seems to have the exact message I need to hear.  I know so many time I have gotten lost in thinking of all the big things I want to do and have forgotten about the small simple steps that I need to do to get there.  Creating a Life Coaching business seems like a gigantic task but now that I am following my intuition and simply taking the next step forward, it has become so much easier.  This is a project that will be continuously developing.  There will be a lot to learn along the way.   I can see it as an fun adventure rather than a daunting task.  Nothing is impossible when you break it down into bite-sized pieces.
  8. Say YES!!! OOh, this was a really juicy one for me.  I realized how often I was shrinking and contracting away from my life.  I would look at something I needed to do and put it off.  I would stay in my bed until I felt calm enough to get up.  I would be telling myself in subtle ways that I couldn’t really handle life on my own.  It was showing up in my body language and how I was speaking.  But something changed when I said out loud,  FEAR, I’m not afraid of you!  I look forward to seeing you again!!!  I said YES!!  And I started to say YES in other ways too.  I started to talk with my ex differently.  I started to get those little things done.  I started to wash my dishes right away.  I started thinking about who my ideal client is.  Instead of buying into that background noise of, “Oh no, this is too much for me to handle!”  I can start to tell myself a new story.  I can replace that timid voice with a voice that is confident and powerful and ready for anything!! “Yeah, I got this!  I am looking forward to today!  Something amazing is just around the corner!” Say YES to whatever is in your life.  If something annoying happening or something seems difficult, say YES!!(either in your head or out loud), and see a noticeable difference in how you feel about the situation.
  9. SERENITY, WELL BEING AND JOY IS MY NATURAL STATE.  Know this.  Repeat it often to yourself.  Even if you are suffering, angry, scared or sad, remember that there is an end to suffering.  We can find our way back to a state of peace and ease.  It will take effort and probably some time but you can get there.  If you’re feeling anxiety, tell yourself, “Even though I am experiencing fear right now, I love and accept myself fully and completely.”  No need to compound your suffering by hating whatever difficult emotion is arising.  Love wherever you are at this moment.   Peace is possible.


I dreamt of otters last night.  They were playing in the water and I was rushing by in a boat.  I tried to tell the boat driver to slow down.  I wanted to enjoy the otters.  I woke up feeling very calm and clear.  I realized that I have been trying to push myself forward in so many ways–expecting myself to get more done, move faster, get over this loss and have it all more together.  I realized another truth–that there isn’t something wrong with me.  I am moving slow right now.  I am taking time to process my emotions and reflect on things.  I am not feeling energetic and motivated every day.  I am sometimes sad and scared.  ACCEPTANCE.  This is how I move forward.  “Shoulding” myself is not effective!  It’s funny how easily I fall back into this pattern.  If I am just hard enough on myself, then I’ll get more done and progress more quickly.  It’s an insane way of living!  And most of us live in this insanity on a regular basis.  I realize that I am shifting myself into a whole new paradigm.  Old models are not working for me anymore.

I had been noticing low energy since last Friday.  On the weekend, I very consciously decided that I was going to take it easy.  I wasn’t going to push myself to “get things done”.  I went to laugher yoga knowing that this would lift my energy and it did!  I felt like a kid–just enjoying the moment, being spontaneous, imaginative, laughing!

Yesterday at my Tuesday family,  I fell into “shoulding” again.  Having troubles with boundaries last week I was thinking that this week I should be more firm, more strict.  The boy was stalling getting into the bath and I could sense my frustration and impatience.  He wasn’t following the schedule!  It was almost 7:00.  He should be in the bath by now!  What if the parents could see this now!  Being firm and strict didn’t work and didn’t feel good either.  Accepting what was happening in the moment and going with the flow would have been more effective, I’m sure.

Today, I have a list of a few things that I “should” do and all I feel like doing is writing and going for a massage.  It’s can be tricky sorting out the “want tos”  “need tos” and “shoulds”.  There is so much conditioning!

My train of thought feels a little scrambled today.  Maybe there is another should in that!  That I should be writing in paragraphs that make sense and follow a logical order.

When I was doing the business with my ex-husband I felt that same sense of “I should be more;  doing it differently.  Things should be different.”  It caused me so much suffering!

I had another dream about slowing down a few weeks ago.  I had been “trying hard” to find a nanny job.  In my dream, I was at a bus stop and as the bus came speeding by I hid under the bench.  I realized I was really terrified of getting into working a busy schedule.  I didn’t want to lose myself again.  I didn’t want to abandon myself again.  The thought of running around and not having time to connect with myself was really scaring me.  Was this a limiting belief?  Did I simply need to recognize that the thought that I couldn’t pick up my pace and do at the speed that most of our society does was holding me back?

But after this second dream of the otters, I wondered if there were more to it.  I really sensed that my inner being was wanting me to SLOW DOWN!  Everytime I started trying to get ahead, writing lists of what I needed to do and trying to tick them off–feeling like YAY!  I am moving forward!  I’m getting somewhere!  There was a part of me that became tight.  Even as I sat this morning and wrote out my list of “shoulds”  I could feel my heart starting to beat faster.  As I sit here writing that same feeling of contraction comes up, too.  Trying to get it done!  Looking at the clock and wondering if I will say everything I want to say before I need to have lunch and go out.

I realized too how much I have been getting attached to my “wants” and “don’t wants”.  I didn’t simply want to become a Life Coach and build a successful business, it became a “must have!”  And then that tight, contracted feeling comes up.  And wanting to be really healthy and energetic all the time is another “must have!”  I realized at a deeper level what the Buddha was talking about.  It’s not the wanting that causes us suffering.  It’s the “must have it” (or absolutely don’t want it)  In my dream there was also a scene where I going to give away a piece of black fabric was saying that I was less attached to my clothes now.  It’s great to have goals and direction but then it’s time to let go!

Let go!  Ahhh!  This is a very difficult one for me.  I want to control it;  have it go my way!  What does it even look like to let go?  How would my life be different?

What I know is “hard” doesn’t work.  Pushing hard, working hard, trying hard are not effective.  Going “fast”  doesn’t work either.  Hurrying up, speeding along rarely help.  I want to live in a SOFTER way.  I want to be gentle with myself.  I want to take my time and find moments in my day among the activity where I can pause.  I want to figure out how I can create abundance in my life while still maintaining balance.  I want to feel energized and exuberant yet still be grounded and centered.

I looked up the spirit animal otter and it said–“The power of otter is in the knowing that you have to take care of yourself first in order to be of use to others.  Go with the natural flow and ebb and tides of your life and find joy and wonder in the small things that give you pleasure.”  The otter may be reminding you “that universal acceptance of ‘what is’  in your life is the only way to move forward. “Embracing the good with the bad and seeking out the joy in the moment will manifest a new freedom of love and acceptance. Honour the right of everything and everyone to be as they are.  Simply allow things to unfold in your life.”

Children, like otters, don’t have a concept of time or of “getting things done”  or “becoming something/someone”.  They live spontaneously, creatively, playfully, joyfully with curiosity moment by moment.  It’s not until we get into school that we start to learn idea that our value comes from how much we accomplish and how well we do it.

When we honour ourself and our needs, I believe a whole new world opens up.  Instead of living from “shoulds”, we start living from our hearts and souls.  (Funny, the word soul is in the word should)  In my daily reader, Courage to Change the quote was one by Shakespeare–“This above all:  to thine own self be true.”  Living in a world of shoulds is suffering.  Living from our own truth is liberation and joy and ease!!  If things are feeling like a struggle, take a look at what “shoulds” are going on in your head.  Take it easy and dare to simply be yourself as you are right now!










I have been practicing forgiveness for the last few weeks–mostly forgiving myself.  Out of my pain, confusion and ignorance, I hurt myself in the past.  I abandoned myself at times.  I denied my feelings.  I ignored my intuition.  I didn’t pay attention to my body.  I made some not-so-wise choices.   I said “Yes” when I wanted to say “NO”.   I failed to set healthy boundaries.  I stayed when I wanted to leave.  I criticized myself.

Before the forgiveness, I was holding onto shame and guilt.  They kept me locked in a story of someone who did something wrong;  someone who was fundamentally flawed.  Perhaps it seemed easier to feel guilty and victimized, hoping to gain some sympathy.   Maybe it seemed easier to stay in the –I’m trying so hard but I just keep screwing up.  What’s the point?–story than it was to really admit to what I had done and own up to it.

Owning our mis-takes is hard;  very hard.  It means coming face to face with the ways in which we have lived in a trance, sold ourselves short, or otherwise betrayed ourselves.  For me there have been waves of sadness, grief, guilt and shame over what I had done and what I had lost.  Ouch!  But I know feeling the pain of these feelings will be better for me in the long run–certainly better than to continue to live from a small, contracted place with tightness in my chest.

I realized that by feeling ashamed of my mistakes and not owning up to them, I was continuing to feel bad about myself which in turn was often leading to making similar mistakes.  Then the story of what a terrible and incapable person I was could go on.  I think I made a mini-breakthrough this week when I just thought, “Ok, I had a moment where my judgment was not very sharp.  I can spend the rest of the evening beating myself up about it or I can take responsibility, learn from it and move on.”  So much more freeing!

I think having humility is key–seeing my humanness and realizing that I am not perfect.  I don’t get it right all the time.  No one does.  This might seem small but for me it is a huge relief.  For most of my life I have been set on getting it right, doing it perfectly and also wanting everything around me to go perfectly smoothly.  A pretty tall and impossible order!  I really thought that everyone else knew some magical formula that I had missed out on!

Getting stuck in perfectionist thinking can be paralyzing–it literally keeps us from moving forward because we are so afraid of making a mis-take.  (I say mis-take because it really it just that:  like an actress, we sometimes need to it over and over until we get it right)  For me, it often shows up as a lack of motivation, a tiredness.  In the past, I think I didn’t give it my all because I thought if I failed I would not have an excuse.  If I only did 80% then I could always secretly think that I didn’t succeed because I didn’t really try my best.  But of course, this only leads to mediocrity.  Now I want to reveal my greatness!

Taking the mind-set of a learner is liberating, too!  Instead of believing that I need to know how to do everything the first time, I can become curious and objective about the results of my actions.  I can course correct without the whole–Oh, I’m so bad!–story.  I can simply say–I’m trying something new or I’ve never encountered this situation before and I’m not sure what to do.  I wonder what will happen if I do A.  Maybe B would have worked better.

None of us got the manual on how to live life.  We are all playing it by ear as we go.  Sometimes succeeding and sometimes feeling that we didn’t get the outcome we wanted.  When I am humble and open to learn, there is a lot more ease and a lot less fear.  I’m am not wound up tight, bracing myself for my next error or dreading the next thing that might go wrong.  As I write this, I realize I still have work to do in this area.  I’m seriously considering plastering a large poster on my wall that says–I ALLOW MYSELF TO BE IMPERFECT.  I AM AT PEACE WITH THE WAY THINGS ARE.

I think expecting perfection from myself and from life ironically led me to go to extremes–searching for some sense of control.  Now, my goal is balance, harmony and forgiveness rather than perfection.  And the more I am able to forgive myself, the more I am able to forgive others.  I notice when I am judging someone, it’s always something that I am judging myself for.  A common one for me right now is judging people for not doing enough or not getting it right.  But it doesn’t feel good to judge myself or others and I WANT TO FEEL GOOD!  (feel GOD!)

I feel so grateful that I can spend time with children.  It has truly been a healing experience for me.  They are so pure.  More and more I realize I would never ever talk to them the way I sometimes talk to myself.   Children, I believe are closer to God because they haven’t yet been covered up in layers of conditioning.  It’s beautiful to watch them playing in the moment, moving from one activity to the next in a natural and spontaneous flow.  A huge contrast from the way most adults (including me!) go about their day with schedules and goals, trying to achieve and perform, wishing something were different, wanting more or less of something.

For a long time, I have not believed in God.  I didn’t like the word.  (Nor did I like the fact that it was sexist!)  I always imagined some old guy with long, white hair looking down from the sky, judging my behaviour and determining if I am good enough to go to heaven.  This is definitely not the kind of God I now believe in.  To me, God, or the Universe, is within me and is everywhere.  God is everything.  We are all connected.  We are each a unique expression of the greater whole, a wave in the infinite ocean.   There is no judgement or condemnation.  There is grace–nothing to forgive.

Note that by not forgiving yourself, you are essentially disempowering yourself.  Our ego will trick us, making us think that if we forgive ourselves, we will go soft and surely mess up again in the future.  The critic wants us to hold on to that guilt and shame with the intention that it will keep us in line.  However, as I have pointed out, this only keeps us in the loop of shame and fear followed by more unwise actions to prove that we were right–the ego waits in the wings for it’s chance to speak up and say, “Ah ha!  There IS something wrong with me!  I am a total failure! I knew it all along!!”

Forgiveness get us out of that loop.  It breaks the chain of shame.  It holds us in the warmth of compassion and kindness.  It says softly, “It’s ok, sweetheart.  You were doing the best you could at the time with what you knew.  It wasn’t your fault.  There were so many causes and conditions that led you to do that.  Forgiven.  Forgiven.”  And as with many spiritual practices the paradox is that when we recognize it wasn’t our fault, we can begin to take responsibility for ourselves, our choices and our lives.

Forgiveness EMPOWERS us to make more skillful choices the next time.   It gives us a second chance.  It allows us to have a future where we are responding from our loving, wise SELF rather than repeating patterns than are based in the conditioned ego self.

Forgiving yourself may take time and patience.  Acknowledge the courage you have for even wanting to be willing to forgive yourself.  Keep in mind that you are a human, not a robot! (and even robots make mistakes, I’m sure).   If you feel you are not ready yet, then simply bring some compassion to yourself for the suffering you are experiencing.   And keep in mind that you WANT to feel good.  Letting go will happen in it’s own time, at it’s own pace.  (We can easily get caught up in wanting this to happen within a certain timeframe so be aware of this, too!)

A beautiful Deva Premal song I heard this afternoon said in the lyrics–This is your second chance.  Be open to receive it!–In fact, we do all get a second chance–every day can be a fresh day to start over with a beginner’s mind.  Forgive yourself and others regularly and I believe your heart will open and be filled with so much JOY!  Allow yourself to become a humble learner of life.  Feel the possibility of that!!  Wow!  I can actually sense a difference in how I am feeling as I write this!  From a small insufficient world of “should be’s and should have’s”  to an abundant world of new chances and possibilities!  That’s something to get excited about!  Forgive and set yourself FREE!!!




It takes a lot of courage to step out of our comfort zones and into our greatness.  I am reminded of the quote by Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?

Yesterday morning I went to this amazing yoga-dance party.  I knew that feelings of inadequacy were bound to pop up so I set the intention to remember that I was just like everyone else and to have fun.  I felt really happy when I saw two women that I knew.  One of the last songs inspired me to really let loose and I held nothing back.  It felt so good!  I think part of me longs for the attention, too.  Like, Hey, look at me!  Aren’t I cool?!

After the event we stood and talked about our intentions for the new year, our passions, our dreams and our challenges.  I notice the jealousy arising.  I was thinking they were younger than me and doing so much more than me.  One woman was working on an album and going on a world tour and the other was into acting and looking to take on bigger roles.  I think I literally felt myself shrinking but did my best to acknowledge their greatness.  When it was my turn to talk, I spoke with passion about the things I was doing and tried to make it sound as glorious as possible but somehow I still felt like I wasn’t measuring up to these two seemingly accomplished women.

Funny, how the ego will, at one minute be feeling bigger and better than everyone else and the next be feeling like a total shmuck.  When I compare myself to others, I inevitably end up feeling separate, isolated and fearful.  When I accept my imperfections and see the humanness of others, I feel connected and safe.  I see that we are really all the same–experiencing the same feelings and suffering in similar ways.

What I see now is that I was drawn towards these two women because we all were stepping out of our comfort zones and stepping into our greatness.  We had taken risks, we had felt the pain of loss AND we had reclaimed our power, rediscovered our creativity and reconnected with our intuition.  We were living with PURPOSE.

I used to just kind of drift along a little in life.  I had followed my intuition when making some big decisions for sure but many of my day to day choices were on automatic.  I don’t think I really believed that there was greatness in me.  Not in an egotistical “I’m-better-than-you” way but in the sense that I am a unique creation of life and I have something unique to offer this world.  No one else dances like me.  No one else sings like me.  No one else writes like me.  I am a one-of-a-kind.  I have a unique combination of special talents and gifts that NO ONE ELSE has.  My self-expression is different from everyone else on this planet!

I truly believe that we are all here on this earth to express our unique SELVES to the fullest!  We are not here to play it small and safe.  We are here to LIVE LARGE!

So these limiting beliefs of mine keep popping up but I do believe they are loosing their power.  It’s weird that some of them can feel really true though.  Damn, they can be tenacious!  It’s like a broken record playing over and over–You’re not as good as they are.  You’ll never catch up.  You’re not healthy enough, energetic enough, strong enough, creative enough, confident enough, capable enough, blah, blah, blah…

So I ask myself, what is stopping me from completely letting go of these limiting beliefs?  Even though they make me feel bad about myself there is something oddly comforting about sticking to what I know.   It seems the more I step out and take risks the more that old record plays.  You can’t really do that!  You really think you are going to make a living being a Life Coach, a writer and a motivational speaker?

I think people who step into their greatness are often feeling anxious and uncomfortable because so much of the time, they are going out into unchartered territory.  The ego senses danger and no doubt puts out it’s alerts!  Danger ahead!  Don’t go there!  Perhaps the trick is to get used to this feeling;  this feeling of uncertainty and possible failure.  Maybe the trick is to get comfortable in this gap of discomfort.  When we begin to leave the person we once were behind and move ahead into unknown areas, it’s scary.  Not only because of the uncertainty of where we are going but the uncertainty of WHO we will become.

Things in nature, do this quite naturally–Imagine a caterpillar that becomes a butterfly or a snake that sheds it’s skin over and over, continually becoming something new.   For humans, our identities become quite sticky.  We like to hold onto our familiar ways of being.  We like to be liked and accepted by our tribe.  We like the tried and true.

But have our old ways REALLY been effective?  This is where the deep exploration is.  We need to dig deep and uncover the ways that these beliefs have served us, even if it’s in a dysfunctional way.  Has believing these beliefs gotten us sympathy, attention, acceptance or kept us from the pain of failure?   Or are we waiting until we are more perfect to make our move?  Are we thinking that because we have screwed up in the past that we are bound to screw up again?

I heard a poem yesterday:  Why Wait For Your Awakening, by Danna Faulds

Why wait for your awakening?

The moment your eyes are open, seize the day.

Would you hold back when the Beloved beckons?

Would you deliver your litany of sins like a child’s collection of sea shells, prized and labeled?

“No, I can’t step across the threshold,” you say, eyes downcast.

“I’m not worthy” I’m afraid, and my motives aren’t pure.

I’m not perfect, and surely I haven’t practiced nearly enough.

My meditation isn’t deep, and my prayers are sometimes insincere.

I still chew my fingernails, and the refrigerator isn’t clean.

“Do you value your reasons for staying small more than the light shining through the open door?

Forgive yourself.

Now is the only time you have to be whole.

Now is the sole moment that exists to live in the light of your true Self.
Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.

Please, oh please, don’t continue to believe in your disbelief.

This is the day of your awakening

Do yourself a huge favour today and acknowledge the amazing and great being you already are!  Make a list of all the things you like about yourself as you are now.  Make a list of all the things you have done that you are proud of, big or small.  Make a list of the ways that you are unique and and the special talents and gifts you have, even if you think they’re silly.  Make a list of all of the skillful choices you’ve made.

So often our mind will focus on all of our flaws, the “mistakes” we’ve made and all the ways in which we have “failed”.  We need to intentionally bring our attention to the wholesome qualities we have, to the victories we have had, to the goals we have reached.

And not only can we do this for ourselves, but we can do it for others, too.  Acknowledging your friends, family and loved ones for their special qualities and accomplishments is a powerful thing!  It builds connection.  It helps people to feel SEEN which is such a basic human need.  It’s just like saying, I see you.  I see who you are.  I see your efforts.  I see how far you’ve come.  I see where you’re going.  I see what you’re passionate about.  I see what makes you come alive!

You don’t need to do or be anything more than you already are.  Your GREATNESS exists right here, right now!  Once you see that you are already enough, the fear, the disconnection and the striving for perfection can end and you can simply be free to be authentically YOU!  Forgive yourself.  Release the past.  Wake up and step into your full power and greatness today!!








We all have an inner critic.  It sometimes goes something like–You’re not smart enough.  You’re not capable enough.  You’re not good enough.  You should be stronger.  You should be thinner.  You should be more successful.  It’s says–Don’t do that!  It could be dangerous.  Oh, you shouldn’t do that.  You could fail.   I can’t believe you made that stupid mistake!  You are such an idiot!

Believe it or not, this voice in our heads, which is often labelled as our ego, has good intentions.  It wants to keep us safe.  It wants to protect us.  It want to make sure we don’t get hurt.  It wants to make sure we don’t feel the pain of rejection and failure.   But when we are not aware of it, it can rule our lives, keeping us small;  keeping us from being as magnificent as we really are.

My inner critic has been working extra hard lately.  It has been telling me that I’m not capable enough to make it on my own;  that I can’t handle it.  It tells me I’m not smart enough, not tough enough.  It tells me that I’ll never really make my reach my goals.  It tells me that I can’t.  It says–Who do you think you are, dreaming big!?  You’re a loser and you’ll always be a loser.  You’ll never succeed.  –Sounds extremely harsh, doesn’t it.    When it was just in my head, it still had power over me.  If felt like they were true statements.

So for a while now, I have been talking to my inner child, giving it attention, comfort, love, empathy and compassion.  It’s the part of me that it sometimes crying out–I’m scared!  I feel sad and confused.  I feel lost!  I don’t know what to do next?  Help me!–I talk to her from my wise and compassion self.  I don’t just reassure her that everything will be ok but I try to really listen to see what she is feeling and needing.

Yes, I feel a bit like a crazy person these days, talking to myself.  But it has brought me so much healing that I feel I need to pass it on.  The real breakthrough came when I had the critic talk and inner child have a conversation and then have the compassion one talk to both.  This is when I really let it rip!  Although, I was kind of aware of the negativity in my head, I had never really allowed the critic to speak.  And when I gave it permission–Whoo!  It was some pretty dark stuff.  Is this really what’s in my head–Yikes!  I would never talk that way to anyone else!

Before we go on, I want to tell you that this is perfectly normal!  This is actually the way our mind works.  We sway towards negative thinking in order to protect ourselves from perceived dangers.  We shame ourselves to keep us safe!  Sounds bizarre, doesn’t it?  But take public speaking for example.  Our critic comes out in full force saying–You can’t do that!  You’ll make a fool of yourself.  You’ll forget what to say.  Everyone will see that you’re a fraud!  You will be totally humiliated.–Yup, that’s why public speaking is such a huge fear for us.  Take another example–going to the dentist.  I don’t know what comes up for you but for me it’s fear of pain, shame, fear of lack of control, fear of the unknown.  (I just had a gum graft done–perhaps I’ll tell you in the next post!)

When we are feeling some strong emotion like fear, shame, anger, disgust, we can be sure that the critic is there, filling our heads with limiting beliefs about ourselves (or cutting down someone else to make us feel better).

So back to the conversations between my critic, inner child and compassionate self.  I was amazed at how this brought me inner peace!  It was like ending a war.  Seriously.  It was like the compassion self was mediating the other two.  Pretty wild, right?!  The compassionate self acknowledged what the critic was thinking and feeling and also empathized with the inner child.  Then it reasoned with the critic, giving it evidence to the contrary, showing it how much I have changed.

I realized at an even more profound level what healing really meant.  I was an integration of all the parts of me.  It was loving and accepting it all.  It was bringing wholeness to my being.  It was being friendly to everything!!  What a revelation!

I find myself saying as I often do–Why can’t children be learning THIS in school?!  Why aren’t more adults learning this and sharing this?  Imagine a world where people had peace within themselves!  Outer peace would be the beautiful result!

I was just watching a Lisa Nichols interview and she had a great idea for getting in touch with our limiting beliefs, the lies we tell ourselves.  She said, write down all of your lies in pencil, leaving space to write underneath each one.  Then under each lie, write the TRUTH in red (or I suppose any bright colour!)  and say them together each day.  Finally, when the truth feels true, erase the lies.  Brilliant, I thought.

Another wonderful technique I have heard comes from Tara Brach.  She says if you are in suffering (confusion, worry, resentment), ask yourself–What am I believing?  Investigate and find out what limiting belief is there.  Do some digging.  Bring some compassion to it.  You can also ask–What would my life be like if I didn’t have this belief?  Who would I be without it?  Then realize that it is not you.  Release your identification with it.

Byron Katie has an amazing method that has really worked well for me.  Simply write down the judgements you have about another person.  Change it into a “should” statement.  For example, My partner is always late! –My partner should always be on time.  Then ask yourself–Is it true?  Is it true that your partner is always on time–NO!  The reality shows you that it is not the case…Your partner is often late.  (noticed I changed “always” to “often”.  Words like “should”, “always” and “never” indicate a judgment)  Now you know the truth and you can take action!  How freeing is that?!

In my Life Coach course we learned a way to delve into limiting beliefs, too.  Basically, you write (or say) a sentence that expresses your strong emotion about something.  For instance, I was really angry when my partner showed up late for dinner.  Then find out more about the anger:  I was angry because I had to wait and I wasn’t sure if he was going to show up.  Next uncover what that means for you:   It means that he doesn’t really care and doesn’t respect me.  And you can continue asking what that means to you until you get to the root belief.

Be gentle with your ego critic.  It is really doing the best it can to keep you safe and insecure.  Talk to it.  Let it know that it’s ok to make mistakes;  it’s ok to “fail” and let it know that you will get up again.  Show it all the times you have been resilient and strong.  I do believe that the voices will dissipate and lose it’s power over you.  It’ll certainly come up again.  But you will be prepared!  You will be ready with your tools!

Also, let your critic know that it’s ok to SUCCEED!   That you will be able to handle that, too!  We are not here on this planet to play it small and safe.  We are here to THRIVE–to live abundant, joyful, uninhibited lives!!!  I truly believe this and I will make it my mission to share this message with the world–There is nothing wrong with you.  You are absolutely okay!  You are enough!  Allow yourself to SHINE and be the RADIANT, POWERFUL being that you are!!  RISE UP!  See that you can be so much more.  Believe in POSSIBILITIES and MIRACLES!!






Compassion & Empowerment

I want to speak what is true for me.  I want to say what I am really experiencing.  I want to express myself fully and freely, no holding back.  I don’t want to create a drama or wallow self-pity nor do I want to wear the mask of, “I’m fine!  I’ve got it all under control.”  This morning in my bath, I reflected on a conversation that I had with  woman from my meditation group and she commented on how exciting it must be for me.  I was like “yeah, it’s so exciting”  but wasn’t really feeling that way.  Yes, sometimes I am feeling excited, sometimes, I am feeling inspired, sometimes deeply connected, sometimes joyous and I’m also sometimes feeling sad, scared, lonely and hopeless.  I just don’t want to pretend anymore.  This is the full range of what it means to be human and it’s ALL ok.

Leaving Shogo was the hardest decision I have made in my life.  It has been incredibly painful to separate from someone I truly love and spent 14 years of my life with.  We had so many great times together in Japan.  In Canada, things were just falling apart and I couldn’t deny the lack of connection I was feeling with him anymore.  I needed to leave for the sake of my own mental and emotional well-being.  On the last night of my personal retreat, I had a dream and it said, NOW!  I knew that I needed to go straight from the airport to my friend’s place.

For the first couple of weeks after going to stay at my friend’s house, I guess I was feeling like a powerful woman, like “Yeah, aren’t I strong and independent!”  Then I went through a period of regret and panic where I thought, “What have I done?  I’ve made a mistake! This is all wrong!!!  I want Shogo back!”

Then the anxiety started to set in–tense neck and shoulders, mind racing.  It was hard getting myself calm enough to get out of bed in the morning.  I was overwhelmed with emotion and had trouble focusing on what my friend was cheerfully saying at 8am.  She had been so generous and kind and yet I knew I needed to look after ME.  I set boundaries–telling her I didn’t want to talk in the morning.  I put in my earbuds and listened to guided meditations or soothing music and mantras.  I started talking to a picture of myself as a 5-year-old.  Instead of trying to make the anxiety go away, I would ask her how she was, I would ask her what she was afraid of and tell her it was okay to be scared.  There was some relief.

For a while, I frantically went about my mornings looking for a job and place to stay.  I must have sent out thirty emails and messages to people on craigslist offering a room.   I thought I had finally found a place–the cost was low, it was pretty near my work and the room was big and bright.  On paper, it sounded pretty good.  But when I met the landlord I felt completely turned off and scared.  I literally wanted to run out of the house!  When I got home, I convinced myself that I was overreacting and decided to take it.  I went back and put down the deposit.  The next morning when I woke up, I knew without a doubt that I had made a mistake.  My intuition was shouting NO!  And so, I called him and turned it down, without guilt.  A week later, I saw the ad for a Bachelor Suite in the same building my friend was living!  I couldn’t believe it.  I went down right away to put in my application.  When I received the phone call that I had got the place, I was overjoyed and slightly in disbelief.  I went back to put down the deposit and told them when I was moving in.  This was really happening.  It was a huge validation of my intuition.  I was learning to trust myself.

For the rest of the month I went back and forth, going to our old apartment to sort, pack, get rid of stuff and clean.  I did it in manageable short chunks powered by Kombucha tea!  There were moments when I felt so competent and capable and surprised at myself for really handling this all.  I was so excited on moving day! I was so looking forward to having my own place and to not have to worry about listening to other people talk to me.   I needed my space so I could think, reflect, heal and figure out my life!  The moving day went so well and I was on a bit of an adrenaline high, I think.

For the first week, I eagerly went about setting up my place and getting some of the things I needed.  I had my profile up on a couple of nanny sites and I continued to look for work.  One day, I got a message from someone who said they needed a nanny from 10am-4pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday to care for their twins.  It would pay $25 bucks an hour.  WOW!  I was so excited!  I really thought that I had manifested my perfect job just I had manifested my perfect apartment.  Everything really was coming together!  It was working out!  Yay!  I sent my resume and arranged when to start.  Then came the message from the site that this person was a scammer.  I was completely deflated.  I felt so ashamed and stupid.  How could I have not known this was a scam?!  For a day or two, I felt horrible.  It fed my story that I wasn’t smart enough to make it on my own.  But then I thought, ok, this is a lesson.  I need to be more careful when dealing with people online.  I need to protect myself and my identity.  Funnily enough, I realized I was having a bit of an identity crisis.  Who was I without Shogo?  It felt so sadly strange to not have him by my side anymore.  It wasn’t Donna & Shogo anymore.  It was just me. There was a constant nagging feeling like something was missing.

One of the first weekends after moving, I went to a painting workshop that was being offered for free.  The theme was happiness and we painted our image of what happiness was and then wrote letters to “happiness” to ask it questions.  It was exactly what I needed.  I felt so grateful and thanked the woman who held it.  Later I emailed her and she suggested that we go for tea sometime.  Wow!  I had just moved into the area and already I had made a connection with someone who lived just blocks away.  And as it turned out, she was also dealing with grief.  It seemed that I was being supported through all of this.  Thank you, universe!!

The next couple of weeks, were a little tough.  I felt sad and unmotivated.  I felt very alone.  Even my friend who lives in the building had not come by say hello.  I as beginning to wonder if I was expecting too much from people.  I knew they had there own struggles to face.  Yes, it was sad, yes it was tough.  But I wasn’t just a little sad, I was grieving a significant loss;  the death of a relationship.  Some days it was hard getting myself out of bed.  I felt overwhelmed simply with going to the grocery store and cooking myself something to eat.  One morning, I wondered if I should quit my nanny jobs, fearing that I couldn’t handle it.  But that day, I got myself going and caught the bus as usual.  As I looked for a seat, a woman said, “Donna!”  It was another mother from the same school the kids I look after go to.  We sat and chatted and she asked me why I had moved.  I explained that I had left my husband.  She told me her story and said that she had divorced her husband due to his addiction problems.  She had gone to Alanon as well.  She seemed to really get it.  I thought, wow, this cannot just be a coincidence.  She said, “You are not alone.”  And I think that’s exactly what I needed to hear.

Some days I felt a wave of hopelessness and went about my day in a slightly dissociated, state.  I would forget things.  My brain felt like it wasn’t working properly. Kind of in shock, I think.   One Saturday morning, I got up, determined to go to the Laughter Yoga session.  As I walked I cried, thinking of the impermanence of everything.  Nothing lasts.  “What’s the point?”  I thought.  It was over, like it had never really happened.  I realized that the only way to deal with the pain was to move through it.  I could only think, “Let this serve Awakening.”  I went to the Laughter Yoga and soon after letting the laughs come out, I started feeling more present and open.  I sensed that allowing myself to laugh was bringing some deep healing to my heart.

For the rest of November, I put away my to-do lists and just focused on a few things to do each day, giving myself time to reflect and cry and heal.  I continued my inner child work, speaking to little Donna;  comforting her, letting her feel whatever she felt, letting her know that she was okay.  I also wrote letters to myself from my higher self, offering the compassion I was wanting.  I was realizing that I could take care of myself emotionally, that I didn’t need to depend on others to empathize or understand.  I could do that for myself.  I also realized, though, that I wanted to develop deeper kinds of connections with people;  relationships built on vulnerability, openness, empathy and compassion.

My Life Coach Course provided me with that.  Not only was I learning how to be a coach but I was learning what it was like from a client’s point of view to be going through a major life transition and transformation.  What I was experiencing would help me to understand my clients down the road.  I was learning a new way of relating to people.  Not judging, advice-giving, minimizing feelings or reassuring but really trying to put myself into someone else’s shoes and imagine what it was like being them.   Each week,  I listened and I shared.  I grew and expanded.  Everything about it felt right.  Everything I was learning related what I had been contemplating for the last few years.  I knew this is what I wanted to do, what I would be great at doing and what would fill me up.  I am so grateful to ME for making the choice to take the course at the time I did and so grateful for my classmates who are on this journey as well.

I found an Alanon group just a couple of blocks from my house.  Again, I felt so grateful!  It was a very small group;  only 6 or 7 people showed up.  But it was a room where I could be real;  where I could speak in an authentic way;  where I could let down the mask and just be myself and “tell it like it is”.  It was an anchor I knew I could count on every Friday night.

Other feelings that were showing up were inadequacy and shame.  Particularly at work, I sometimes felt this sense that I just wasn’t doing it right, that I somehow was lacking the capability that other people had.  When I did well, it seemed to bolster my self-worth but when I felt like I had made a mistake, my self-worth plummeted.  How did people work full time jobs?!  I often asked myself.  How did they do it?  How did they handle it all while appearing so confident?  Was there something fundamentally wrong with me?  It was taking me half the day just to get going sometimes.  Or was this just part of the story I told myself?  What was I really scared of?  What was holding me back?  I continue to dig to unearth my fears, my comfort with mediocracy.

I began doing affirmations more.  While I was walking or working out I said to myself or out loud, “I am healthy.  I am strong.  I am enough.  I am powerful.  I am capable.  I trust myself.  I trust my judgement.  Life is getting easier.  I am always succeeding.  I release anything that no longer serves me.  I invite joy into my life.  I am a beneficial presence on this planet.”  Most times, after one of my physical/mental workouts, I feel amazing, like I can take on the world!

I also have been listening to guided meditations before I go to sleep.  It seems I always find just the right one to make me feel better.  I feel so grateful for the people who have uploaded these because they have made such a difference in my life.  There are guided meditations on so many things–healing, self-love, being present, bringing compassion to feelings like anxiety.  These have been treasures to me.

I’m starting to focus on abundance.  I”ve started to study the law of attraction more. I’ve been watching Lisa Nichols.   I started to focus my mind on what I wanted.  I want to have all the energy and stamina I need to support myself financially, emotionally and spiritually.  I want to bounce out of bed, excited and eager to start my day!  I want to earn a good living for myself doing what I love AND have time for self-care and relationship building.  I want to feel enthusiastic, passionate and joyous.  I want to feel confident and boldly follow my dreams!!!  I want to live life FULL-ON!!

It’s scary stepping out of the old stories.  It’s scary to leave the “small me” behind and begin to live from a larger sense of Self.  I feel my compassion growing.  I feel my sense of purpose getting stronger and clearer.  I want to help heal this world.  There is suffering and I want to help ease the suffering that we, as humans, face every day.  I mean the suffering in our minds–the fear, the hate, the jealousy, the judgement, the shame, the guilt, the despair, the resentment, the resistance.  To me, a spiritual path is not about angels or soul mates it’s about EVOLVING.  It’s about LETTING GO.  It’s about empowering myself to choose my own thoughts and to RESPOND to life rather than live in a reactive way–blaming, complaining.  It’s about having the courage to take responsibility for my life in every way and to have for compassion for myself when I am suffering.

I want children to know that they are okay just the way they are, that they are enough, that they are worthy and that whatever they are feeling is perfectly normal.  That they don’t have to “be good” to be accepted.  Working with children has been such an incredible healing experience for me.  Seeing the innate goodness of children has enabled me to see my own Buddha nature.

With one family, I see how each child is already suffering.  The older child reacts to her brother’s teasing.  The youngest child gets upset when he loses at something.  The middle child worries when she needs to make a choice or do something new.  (And the second arrow of shame comes when they are told they are overreacting.)  I could so identify with the middle child and her anxiety rooted in her desire to do things perfectly.  Spending time with her helped me to have more compassion and understanding for myself.

I aim to have compassion and acceptance of myself and all of my emotions, to stop the labelling of “good” and “bad”, to not take things personally and to reduce the victim language I use like–He made me feel angry!  Because another person’s behaviour really isn’t about me at all.  They are busy trying to protect themselves just as I am!  What a crazy world we live in!

I know always have a CHOICE!  I have a choice about what I think, how I feel and how I  respond.  That being said, I am also human which means my brain is wired to judge and find error.   I have the inner critic, as we all do, that is constantly on the look out for anything that seems like it could be dangerous.  It does this to protect me, but in the mean time I hear things like–You screwed up again!  You should’ve done A instead of B.  You’re a failure.  You shouldn’t try that, you’ll make a fool out of yourself–Or I am judging my loved ones, “He shouldn’t be so critical.  Oh, my God, how can she be so annoying!  Why can’t he just listen to me!  If only she would be more empathetic.”

In our culture, we are taught to be hard on ourselves and to be hard on each other.  We think if we aren’t, we’ll be lazy and get nothing done.   In my experience, the more compassion I bring to myself, the more self-worth and self-love I have.  And the more I love and value myself, the more I have to GIVE and the more I WANT to give!!  I realize that I am POWERFUL and that in itself is frightening.  I DO have an effect on the people who cross my path.  I do have an influence in this world.  When I am kind towards myself, I naturally want to offer that kindness to others.

I talked to a person on the street today who was playing her violin in trying to get money.  She said she had lost her home and had been kicked out of her car.  Homeless people litter the streets here in downtown Vancouver.  I sometimes think to myself, “What the heck is wrong with this city?!  Why isn’t anyone helping these people to get a home and get employed?”  But this is the reality.  I want to find a way to bring about some change… I don’t know what I can do yet but I will keep my mind open for answers.

I did my laundry today and as I was heading down to the laundry room I was thinking that I would like someone to meditate with.  I thought of putting up a notice.  A woman was in there folding her clothes and she said hello.  As I was about to leave, I asked, “Do you meditate?”  and she said “yes, a little, why?”  And I explained to her that I was looking for someone to join me in meditation.  She was open to the idea and as it turns out she lives on the same floor as me.  I will talk with her more Monday morning!

These amazing things keep happening!  I seem to keep meeting the people I need to meet at the exact right time.  I do believe that I am exactly where I need to be.  I will likely fall into suffering again and again.  I will miss Shogo, I will worry, I will doubt myself, I will lose motivation, I will tell my old stories of how I’m not capable/strong enough. AND I will keep bringing myself back to my breath, to what is true, to what is really going on. That is the endless practice of mindful living.  That is why I meditate.  So I can remember to be present.  So I can connect to myself.  So I can hear that voice of inner wisdom underneath all the other chatter.

I will live with gratitude and compassion.  I will act with integrity.  I will keep waking up, remembering what is really important to me.  I will empower myself and others as often as possible.  I will be vulnerable and open-hearted.  I will welcome abundance into my life knowing that I am worthy!!  And I will write, expressing my uniqueness and my truth!!!


Thank you for listening!








From Pain to Power

I have been reflecting on my expectations of people.  I suppose going through a separation, I am a place where I am wanting support from those around me.  My first disappointment was a friend who suddenly expressed that she wanted to do her own thing and she stopped contacting me.  Another friend, who I was sure would be there for me (I now lives in the same building as her) hasn’t come to visit since I moved in two weeks ago.  Other people kind of gloss over it saying–that must be sad, it’ll get better, you’ll get through it, people change…I’m sure all with the good intention of giving me encouragement.

The person who I loved more than anyone and had not lived up to my expectations was my husband.  A man I had expected birthday presents and anniversary celebrations from.  A man I had expected to be there for me for emotional support.  A man who I had expected physical touch and connection with.  A man who I had expected to hold me when I cried.   These were the deep hurts that I felt.  The pain of not getting what I wanted in relationships.

As I investigated these feelings more deeply this morning, I realized how much sadness was under the surface of the disappointment.  I listened to a guided meditation, fell back asleep and the awoke to weep and release these emotions.  I also realized that these feelings led back to a familiar story that I had been telling myself for years–“People just aren’t really there when I need them”  And perhaps under that–“I am somehow unworthy of being loved”.  And also tied into my need to prove that I can make it on my own.  Our stories can be twisted and tangled together forming a false identity that we desperately cling to.

Last week, after a Life Coaching class, I became more acutely aware of the expectations I was placing on the people in my life.  I was reminded that in reality people are just struggling and trying to find their way through their own difficulties, hurts, confusion and pain.  This morning I thought again about my friends and family (and my work as a nanny, too) and how lucky I really am to have all of their love and support.  Family members have called and offered their words of concern and empathy, people in my coaching class have listened with attention and care, and the woman who let me stay at her place stood by me through all of my tears and fear and freak outs.

A deep wave of gratitude came over me.  How truly fortunate I am! Their are people out there who have my back.  They are not perfect and neither am I.  This is where understanding and forgiveness comes in.  If I can forgive myself for my imperfections, than I can extend that forgiveness to them.  For how many times have I disappointed someone?  How many times have I glossed over someone’s emotions or made it all about me?  Seeing it from this perspective, I can drop the old stories.  the “Oh, poor me” story doesn’t hold up anymore.  From this point of view, I can take my power back and make some choices.  I can choose to accept people as they are, I can choose to voice my needs or I can choose to let them go.  It’s up to me.

The reality is that people will not always way what I want them to say or do what I want them to do.  I only have control over myself and my own words and actions.  And the truth is I can’t fully trust another over time–people do change.

What I have found deeply empowering is being vulnerable.  In our culture, we hear the word vulnerable and think, “weak”.  And perhaps it can be confused with feeling vulnerable such as when someone speaks to us in a harsh way or we are alone on a dark street.  Being vulnerable is a conscious decision to be open-hearted and authentic.

Being vulnerable starts with myself.  I realize that the person who always has my back now is ME!  It comes hand in hand with developing a deep trust in myself;   trusting that I can BE open and real with myself and that I will be there for myself.  I think for the first time in my life, I am being my own best friend–listening to myself, empathizing with myself, offering myself compassion, forgiveness and grace, being patient with myself and even hold myself when I cry.

So, I think a few really important insights have come out of all of this.  The first one is moving from disempowering victim language to the powerful language of a person with freedom and choice.  For example:  He disappointed me./ I was disappointed by him.  He broke my heart.  He made my feel angry.  –We use this language so commonly in our everyday lives.  We hear it in pop songs on the radio.  To me, these are the surface feelings, like a scratch on your arm.  We have learned through our culture to blame other people for our feelings.  I believe we do this to protect ourselves.  We have learned that it is easier to point the finger than to look within ourselves for the roots of the emotion.  It can be blatant or very subtle if we are not aware of it.

I think that feeling words like:  disappointed, disrespected, ignored, neglected, betrayed, are all subtly pointing the finger of blame.  To really get past the judgement, blame and victim mind-set, we need to dig deep.  We need to dive into our inner worlds, into our bodies, into our hearts and see what’s there;  the bruises, the pain in whatever raw form it takes–sadness, anger or fear.  It’s not easy to do this.  As humans, we naturally want to avoid these more difficult emotions.  We have been conditioned to escape the present, run away from the truth and leave our bodies.   Doing the opposite, turning toward our feelings and befriending ourselves takes effort;  a lot of effort, compassion and patience.  And in our rush-rush world, how many people can find the time to meditate, investigate and go within.  (Well, that is for another post!)  It seems difficult but I would argue that it’s easier to feel the feelings than to hang on to worry or resentment.  As the saying goes–the only way out, is through!

What other strategies, besides blaming, do we use?  We numb out.  My two common ways of numbing out are under-eating and buying stuff.  I noticed yesterday my resistance to eating as much as I need to.  Last night as I was going to bed, I was already slightly hungry and yet I didn’t feed myself.  Don’t eat, don’t feel.  Sometimes it is still tempting for me although I am aware of this as it has been a pattern with me for years.  So I can usually get back on track after a day or two.  My other recent avoidance technique is shopping.  I search the internet for the perfect desk, I go shopping for a parka, I look at a bunch of shower curtains before finding the one I want.  I have found it interesting that sometimes what I am shopping for is symbolic of the emotion I am not expressing–like the shower curtain that catches water and keeps it from spilling over the tub (sadness, tears, loss of control)  or the down-filled parka that protects from the cold (feeling vulnerable, unsafe, wanting protection)  Don’t beat yourself up if you catch yourself numbing out in some way.  We all do this.  We drink, we smoke, we overwork, we get caught up in obsessive thoughts.  Be aware of it and be gentle with yourself.  When you are ready to face the feelings, you will.  Trust your inner wisdom.

Another big insight has been that people can only connect with others at the level they are connecting with themselves.  I realize the more connected I am with myself and my feelings, the more I am able to be vulnerable with others.  Again, it’s the vulnerability that leads to this deeper connection.  And I believe we all want this kind of deep connection with others.  We just haven’t been taught how to do it.  This understanding also helps me to be more forgiving when someone isn’t empathizing or connecting with me the way I want them to.  They are at where they are at.  I can see through eyes of love and appreciate what they are offering rather than on focusing on what they are “doing wrong”.  Really, they are just being themselves and when we can accept this in a profound way, there is no pain.

To move from a place of pain to power takes courage and kindness, no doubt about it.  Notice the language you are using.  Are you saying, “She is really annoying!”  or are you looking inside to investigate your anger.  Are you blaming or taking ownership of your feelings?  Notice the stories you are telling.  Does anything ring a bell from your childhood?  Do you see any patterns?  Notice your numbing out strategies.  What are they protecting you from?  What emotion might you be avoiding?  Take time to be with yourself in an intimate way.  Get naked emotionally.  Show yourself that it is safe to explore these feelings, that you can be fully present with them.   And another big thing to remember:  self-care!  That might mean cooking a meal for yourself, taking a day off, standing up for yourself, setting a boundary, spending time doing something you love, buying a parka!  The more you care for yourself, the more your self-worth will grow.  The more your self-worth develops, the more you will genuinely love yourself.   Then it will become clearer that you ARE worthy of love, care and deep connection!!  Start giving it to yourself and see what happens!  Take it easy, take it slow and love yourself no matter what!