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Love Yourself & Reclaim Your LIfe: Breaking the Chains of Dysfunctional Motherin

 

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p<{color:#000;}. [_ _
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This is the Journey One Woman Took to Heal Her Childhood Wounds,

Release Herself from Depression While

Cultivating New Awareness about Herself

 

Let this be a resource for your journey, moving from wound to well-being.

 

 

Marla Hickerson

Copyright 2013

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Disclaimer

This publication contains the opinions and ideas of the author. It is intended to provide helpful and informative material on the subject it addresses. It is sold with the understanding that the author and publisher are not engaged in rendering medical, health or any other kind of personal professional services in the book. The reader should consult his or her medical, health or other competent professional before adopting any of the suggestions in this book or drawing reference from it.

The author and publisher specifically disclaim all responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, that is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the concerns of this book.

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The Reveal:

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Page

3, 4 The Story of My Life

5-7 Slam that Emotional Jail Door Behind You

8 It is Time to Embrace the Force Within

9 Wipe the Scum off the Filters

10 The Truth, and Nothing But the Truth

11-13 That is B.S.!

14 Raise Your Emotional Energy to Thrive

15, 16 Postponing the Guilt Trip for a Trip in the Sunshine

17-20 Release Me, Ego

21-22 Cut the Chains That Hold You Hostage

23, 24 Cease Control; Let Life Flow

25, 26 Shatter the Self-Imposed Glass Ceiling

27 Share Your Inner Most Secrets

28 Awaken the Tigress Laid Dormant

29, 30 Baby, Bring Your Body Over Here!

31 This is the Beginning of the Rest of Your Life

32 A Guide to Resources

33 About the Author

33 Dedication

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The Story of My Life

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We would all like to live happy, healthy and fulfilled lives, yet few of us seem to be able to do just that. We want to be secure in a loving relationship, satisfied in a job that provides a good income, and relaxed in our leisure time, yet, we seem to face so much suffering, failures and disappointments throughout our day.

We find ourselves in broken relationships, job dissatisfaction, money problems and a joyless life. How is it that we can feel so comfortable in our struggles and yet, so unhappy when we seem to have everything? We feel envy when others succeed, hopeless within the world’s chaos, depressed with life as we currently experience it, and resentment with failed opportunities. How has it all gone wrong? More importantly, how can we make it alright?

We can have the happy, fulfilled life as desired; it starts with a decision to want something different from the comfort and reliability of that which we already know. To bring about positive change can bring about challenges but each day will bring new hope and discoveries within our self if we stay on the journey. It doesn’t take willpower and determination but the support of someone who cares unconditionally (a friend, a mate, a coach, and a support group) can be the step in the right direction to bringing us to authentic living. All it takes is the willingness to change, to open up to others for support and then to take the first step in the direction of inspired choice.

Our minds are empty slates when we arrive into this world. Over time, like a computer, our empty minds become ‘programmed’ by everything that went on around us, but especially by the way our parents talked to us and to each other, by the way they felt and reacted and by their interactions with our siblings. We became programmed by observing and imitating our role models as well as absorbing their responses to us. As the years go on, the influence of our peers, adults in authority, marketing, societal views, religion and the education system bears a weight on how we perceive ourselves through the view of the larger world around us.

If we were lucky and grew up in a family that provided sufficient nurture and structure during this time, we probably built a strong foundation, an inner program that makes it easy for us to lead a happy life in a loving relationship. If, on the other hand, there was much worry, anger, resentment, criticism, betrayal, abandonment and other negativity in our childhood, chances are that we are struggling being happy and loving as adults. Most of us are victims of negative programming during childhood and we carry that same programming with us into adulthood. It’s easy to fall back into old patterns of childhood. Adult frustrations are a repeat of childhood ones and we get stuck trying to repair but not knowing where to start. This is the time to go through the journey of replacing a created childhood identity with the Truth of who we really are and what we deserve. This is not a race to get to a certain outcome. Through time and practice, a new paradigm of relating with our self and our life will evolve. We will notice changes in our thinking and behaviour, lightness in our body and mind, as well as a noticeable difference in how others respond to us and how we respond back.

Let’s go back to our infancy days and see how the journey began. A baby gets a sense of their surroundings by the energy that the others in the household give off. Is the energy hostile or loving; or, of holding back attention or of giving acknowledgment? A word does not have to be spoken for the baby to get a sense of the energy in its presence.

As an infant, its first form of communication is made through movement and non verbal sounds. Baby conveys its wants and needs by crying, flailing arms and legs, smiling, cooing and snuggling. If the caregiver takes time to understand the baby’s signals, and then responds with appropriate nurture, the baby will feel safe and secure and an attachment forms. These nonverbal forms of energy and information (tone of voice, touch, smell, facial expressions, body posture) become the emotional backdrop on which baby will build its story, which consist of beliefs, points of view, prejudices, expectations, and imaginings about how life is going to be or how they are going to be.

Example:

[_ Breast feeding- mom smiles at baby, baby feels love/safe/trusted _]

[_ Bites the breasts- mom looks stern, baby feels scared _]

[_ Learning to walk- dad smiles at infant, infant feels love/ safe/trusted _]

[_ Drop a cup of milk- dad looks stern with arms crossed, toddler feels scared _]

[_ Learning to fold clothes- mom smiles at child, child associates that smile with security and appreciation _]

[_ Didn’t finish homework- dad is stern with look, pointed finger and words; youth associates that demeanor with disapproval; feels guilty. _]

The child is older; has it experienced enough display of love, security and appreciation to form a strong attachment of trust; or, has it experienced more anxiety, rigidity, criticism and fear to form an emotional background of distrust and uncertainty?

With having their emotional needs meet, the child forms a view that their world is a safe and consistent place for them. But, if the child experiences emotional disconnect or injury, the child grows up and forms a distorted view of who they are and what they can expect to receive from this world. This view and emotional backdrop that they have acquired follows them everywhere. This view is how they will perceive their everyday world; and, they will only take in information that fits within this internal view. Meaning, you get from life what you unconsciously expect to receive through your VIEW. And you react to life based on your emotional backdrop.

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Children lack the ability to separate their perceptions of themselves based on how they interpret their parents’ responses as they lack the ability to rationally think and reason. Everything revolves around the child and its internal revelations/view which arise from their emotional backdrop. If the child associates mom’s disapproval with insecurity, they will internalize it and start to believe that there is something wrong with them, as it is all about them in their own mind; this is all happening on a subconscious level. If another circumstance happens in which these same emotions are triggered, subconsciously, the belief that something is wrong with them resurfaces.

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If we really want to be happy, there is only one thing to do: we must change this subconscious view from a negative perception of ourselves and our lives to a positive one. Unfortunately, we cannot simply decide that from now on we will be happy and loving because we are dealing with a view(s) of limiting, deep-set beliefs and attitudes formed throughout our childhood. But, we can decide to throw the old view out and devise a new one that will allow us to be as we really are designed to be.

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Slam that Emotional Jail Door Behind You!

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Our emotions, derive from our emotional backdrop, drive our beliefs; with our feelings and emotions we experience ourselves in this world. They are the driving force, the power, and the motor of our life; we make our daily choices based on how we’re feeling at any given moment. Without feelings and emotions we would be like a robot, a computer operating a body. They are the feelings and emotions, our likes and dislike that give our life meaning, that make us happy or unhappy, fulfilled or dissatisfied. (This is the childhood VIEW that you are coming from.)

Feelings are a sense of what we may feel in any part of our body. These may be simple body sensations or vibrations, such as hot or cold, pain, tingling, or stiffness. A feeling is the inner body experience that we have if we can directly feel the energy associated with an emotion. Every emotion has feeling (energy) to it; it’s to what degree (neutral, mellow, strong) that it’s felt.

Emotions are reactions about someone or something, and usually involve the program/ ego (more on that later). We can find ourselves angry about someone or something, afraid of something, or in love with someone. An emotion is a learned reaction (based on our emotional backdrop) we experience to how strongly we’re relating to our internal world.

When we are young, we are full of emotions; we experience them strongly. We are sensitive and react immediately and directly to our social and physical environment. Suppression of our feelings starts as infants when we are trained not to cry when we are unhappy. And it follows us into adulthood when we judge our feelings as ‘bad’, and if the feeling is labelled bad, then we assume that we are bad for feeling them so we shut down to them. We start to view the world as being unsafe and believe that we are alone in our struggle to find peace and happiness. When we start to age, our emotions and feelings greatly diminish because we have learnt over time to protect ourselves from getting hurt.

Our first failed relationship can tear a piece of trust away from the vulnerable heart, leaving the next relationship to close down long before it gets hurt. By walking into a relationship with our guard up, we automatically believe that hurt is around the corner and that, in the end, opens us up to loneliness and pain because we have shut ourselves down to intimacy.

More and more our life becomes robotic with compulsive and self-absorbing habits; living only in our head, separated from our body and life’s source, our heart. Emotions can provide us with the greatest pleasures in life, but also with the greatest suffering. We do not want to suffer, so we intentionally diminish our feelings in order to diminish the amount of emotional pain that we think we will feel, but by closing down, this also reduces the amount of pleasure that we can experience.

By reducing the suffering that we think we might feel, we also reduce our feelings in our body, unable to be in tune with how it is trying to communicate to us. Our vitality and enjoyment of life are weakened. Our increased susceptibility to chronic degenerative disease is a result of the body’s cells hanging onto unprocessed emotions (considered the Emotional Body in which the emotional backdrop is laid), a high price to pay for reducing the suffering that we think we might feel by expressing our emotion. What we don’t understand is that we could experience intense suffering for a short term and have it dealt with but instead have agreed to low-key, long-term suffering in which more of our life and body could be affected. We need to realize that as soon as we name the emotion, we can tame it, but as long as we ignore it, it silently grows and settles inside our body, wrecking havoc on us and our lives.

The goal is not to show our vulnerability of the heart and body because in our culture, that shows weakness. But if we want to get free of our emotional jail, then we have to dare our self to open up to the pain of rejection. We aren’t opening up for the benefit of the other; we are opening up for the freedom of our soul’s expression.

It is never appropriate to suppress or disregard how we are feeling. If we don’t know how we feel, we cannot challenge those aspects, energies and views that do not serve our development.

“ We are always trying to get out of our emotional jail….mostly we try by begging, threatening, or pleasing other people, trying to get them to do it for us.” Virginia Satir, Ph.D

Where we feel guilt, remorse, anger, judgment and sorrow, we will find an opportunity to heal. Pain happens when we close, stuff down, identify with, act out or shame the emotion. Emotions are neither good nor bad; they are a guiding tool to show us how we think about our self and our life. When we feel strong emotions, this can be a signal for us to pay attention to what views we are thinking through in the moment.

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For Your Reflection:

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p<>{color:#000;}. How are you thinking in any moment? Are your thoughts harsh and judgmental or kind and curious? Your thoughts are running a story line of their own, 24/7, until you consciously stop and pay attention to what it is that is taking over your awareness.

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p<>{color:#000;}. When your mind starts running in circles, gently remind yourself that you are more than mind; you can quiet your mind chatter. Be kind to yourself – welcome the chatter in, accept it with love and then let it go. Practice this whenever you find your mind starting to spin and soon your mind will begin to quiet. You will become much more present in the now, able to make decisions with clarity.

“If we cannot understand ourselves, we can never hope to understand what we are doing; we can never hope to solve our problems; we can never learn to live rewarding lives. However, such understanding of us involves more than the usual intellectual understanding; it requires feelings and sensitivity too.” Fritz Perls

When we are not accepting of our self, when we feel like a victim, which is a mental state of believing we have no personal power or choice, we project our pain onto others because the ego thinks it’s protecting us from pain. As a child, our ego/mind programming was like a faithful companion and it did form defense mechanisms (ways of coping) to keep us sane against the trials and tribulations of growing up but this way of relating extends into adulthood and it doesn’t serve us anymore. If we haven’t taken the time to reflect and question our childhood views and to slow down to pay attention to how we react to circumstances, then we are living from a reactive state of our past or an expectant state of the future instead of a responsive state of being in the now. By believing we are anywhere but where we actually are, we are viewing our life from a dirty pair of lenses (our past), distorting what is actually being given in the moment; we are not looking at our life with clarity. By living this way, we are living from a false sense of self (cultivated from our view and emotional backdrop) rather than a true, conscious sense of self and society.

“We are being lived by the forces within ourselves.” Sigmund Freud, M.D.

It is Time to Embrace the Force Within

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When we point a finger at someone else (blaming) and shrug off responsibility for our own stuff, we are not treating our self with respect and understanding. If we believe that we can’t solve a problem or make a choice because someone else holds the answer, we are in victimhood. If we think we are owed something of value (example: an apology) in order to move forward, we are in victimhood. When we let our negative thinking take up rent-free room and board in our head and allow it to take over our life and leave us lying in bed, we play victim to it. When life has to be perfect, no, we need to be perfect and in control, we’re in victimhood. If we don’t feel free to express our self, or are unable to consider our wants and needs before giving into the demands and wishes of others, we’re in victimhood.

[_“ Victimhood- Self contempt of blame is different from self empowerment of responsibility.” Virginia Satir. _]

For Your Reflection:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Where in your life are you taking responsibility for stuff that isn’t yours to take on?

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p<>{color:#000;}. Are you trying to ‘fix’ someone or something so that life will be perfect?

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p<>{color:#000;}. Are you angry with a certain person, believing that they hold the key to you finding a resolution?

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p<>{color:#000;}. Where in your life are you not taking responsibility for your own stuff? What are you afraid of happening if you do?

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p<>{color:#000;}. What do you believe about yourself when you keep your voice from speaking its needs?

When we are able to take responsibility for our own life, the expectations to find answers and happiness through someone else or somewhere else disappears.

The power of choice always lies within.

All problems are a result of certain so called negative emotions (anger, sadness, guilt, embarrassment, blame…) that we have attached to experiences along our journey into adulthood. The experience itself is neutral; a problem arises when we assign negative meaning through emotion to it. Then we form beliefs as a response to the emotions that we’re feeling and then we believe those emotions which are arising from these unconscious set of beliefs. (Example: husband doesn’t put the toilet seat down; you get angry and think he doesn’t listen; you unconsciously believe that he doesn’t care about you and you start getting angrier, feeling hurt even more so. The next time, he leaves the toilet set up, you automatically go to shame, that you are not worthy enough to be cared about.) The way we feel in any moment, reflects to us how we are thinking about ourselves and our lives. Emotions underlie every choice, decision and every belief we demonstrate for our self. Which emotion is attached to a present experience is generally a result of our perspective that we derive from our past experience. What we “see” depends on what filters we have operating in our lives.

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Wipe the Scum off the Filters

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Social and familial filters colour our personal way of interpreting data we receive from the world around us. These filters gradually build up together with our life experiences, accumulation of knowledge and system of references. The filters create an unconscious prejudice that goes unnoticed in our overall view of the world. Filters evolve considerably during the first few years of one’s life, and stabilize as one reaches adult life.

[_ Filters are the guidelines of how we are trained to behave: what to believe/ not believe; what’s acceptable/not acceptable; what is bad/good; beautiful/ugly; right/wrong; black/white. This is how we learnt as a child; the law was set and we were expected not to question our parents, we trusted that they knew best; and with any law, there is a punishment and a reward system. We’re afraid of being punished but we are also afraid of not receiving the reward which is attention. To belong, we need to surrender to these guidelines/ the family law and later on, society’s law. As an infant, we moved away from the security of feeling safe and protected, and moved towards dependency on others to make us feel whole. The reward of attention became the main goal. The search for love and approval had begun- the search for ‘more’ and it can only be found “out there, somewhere”. “There’s not enough of whatever it is that I’m searching for” mirrors the belief that “I’m not enough.” And so the search for happiness keeps us looking outside of our selves; we start accumulating materialism, knowledge and labels to fill the void. Or, we make rules, demanding that our expectations be met for us to feel loved. To see the world as it really is, with an objective view, the filters should be recognized and then removed. _]

For Your Reflection:

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p<>{color:#000;}. What attention did you desire from your parents? Did you receive it? If not, what attention did you actually receive or not receive? How did this make you feel? How did this make you view yourself? Dig! Dig to get to the core message! Connect the story in your head with the emotion in your body and the belief that is attached to it and you will have dug up a childhood view.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Once you dig up this view and bring it to the light, it loses its power to control your life.

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p<>{color:#000;}. What are you searching for today? What needs are not being met? How do you feed your unmet needs? What rules have you put onto others to have them meet these needs?

The Truth and Nothing but the Truth

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In order to successfully communicate with others we must first learn to communicate with our self. Intrapersonal communication is the most basic level of communication; it is an activity that occurs within our own body. Our emotions are the first indicator that we are thinking thoughts that are being unkind, judgmental or thinking lack, meaning that we don’t have enough of whatever we think we need to be happy. When we understand the identity we have taken on, our belief system changes, our thought process improves and we are able to make better life choices for our self. As most of us have learnt to ignore what is happening within our internal environment, journaling can be a perfect companion for intra-reflection as it gets us to slow down and settle into whatever it is that is trying to rise from within.

Developing effective intrapersonal communication takes discipline and a willingness to slow down our day enough to hear our own thoughts. By first understanding how communication relies on our own particular perceptions, will we then be able to fully understand the way that society communicates in our daily lives. Our intrapersonal communication reflects in how we think things through, interpret events, interpret messages of others, respond to our own experiences and respond to our interactions with others. People seldom share precisely the same perceptions because no two people have the same filters of how to relate and respond. Two people in the same room can have completely different perceptions of the same event. Each sibling as well as the parents of a family has their own take on what their experience was growing up together. These varying perceptions can cause conflict and misunderstanding. To overcome this we must continually check our own perceptions and make sure they are accurate and valid.

[Never assume that what you perceive as the truth is the actual, absolute truth.]

For Your Reflection:

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p<>{color:#000;}. For an intrapersonal perception check, question what you are sensing in your body, what information could have been dismissed, as well as your personal understanding of what you perceive to be true. For an interpersonal perception check, ask the other person if what you heard was what they were trying to convey, and analyze their point of view to see if there is a place for you to take responsibility for how you are perceiving things.

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p<>{color:#000;}. When you want to share significant information about yourself, consider the purpose of the self-disclosure and your communication goals. What do you hope to gain? What is your intention?

That is B.S.!

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[_Over time, a belief of self (B.S.!) transpires out of the fabric of your life; usually something traumatic happens around age 11-15 that will solidify this main belief. You’ve taken this B.S.! on as a negative part of your personality because as a child, you were a linear thinker; and you couldn't fully grasp the process of cause and effect. You assumed everything was about you: “It must be my fault. It’s about me. I need to be better.” And if I do not feel loveable, then it is hard to believe that anyone else loves me. And this B.S.! becomes a common thread weaved through your childhood into adulthood- until it is acknowledged. _]

For your reflection:

Breathe. Don’t beat yourself up but instead, take this journey as an adventure into discovering what the past holds so that you can find the healing and wisdom in it.

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p<>{color:#000;}. On a time line, ages up to 9 years, 10-14, 15-19, young adult; adult; write out your life’s significant experiences, and YOUR accompanying feelings, emotions, associations, or assumptions (the VIEW) that you attached to each experience.

-What are the connections? What are the themes?

-What are the beliefs found about how you view life and yourself within those connections?

Do you struggle with receiving positive attention from others? Do you fear being judged and it holds you back from revealing much about you? To some degree, we all have a fear of punishment from others (judgement, discredited, teased, criticized) so we are cautious about what it is that we will actually share of ourselves to others. Often, we wear a different ‘mask’, revealing certain aspects about ourselves that we feel safe to share and this depends on how we perceive what the situation warrants.

Through our Views, internally, we develop one or more underlying fears:

Fear of rejection

Fear of criticism

Fear of abandonment

Fear of aloneness

Fear of failure/ success

Fear of exposure/ embarrassment

Fear of being wrong

Through this fear, we form patterns of social coping behaviours

Unsocial/ withdrawn

Resentful

Suspicious

Fearful/anxious

Easily discouraged/ procrastinate

Overly critical of others

Sensitive

Suggestible

Controlling/ dominate

Laziness

We form Defence Mechanisms:

Deny, rationalize, blame, compliance, submission, scapegoat, manipulate, punish, and dominate

And Emotional Coping Mechanisms:

Range from being clingy to keeping a safe distance (emotional withdrawal, collapse or detachment)

And Start Making Rules:

If you loved me you wouldn’t….!!!; If you loved me, you would….!!!!! Prove that you love me (because I don’t believe I am loveable)

“If you are not eternally showing me that you live for me, then I feel like I am nothing.” Virginia Satir

The Outcome is:

[_ Control- we try hard to control self (emotions), others, & environment (God)_]

The Results are:

Dependency on others and circumstances to provide prestige, security, and love.

We try and have a sense of security and safety by regulating how we think others should treat us. But as long as we are emotionally dependent upon someone, we will never view the world as a safe and supportive place. By waiting nervously for that one time when the person won’t live up to our expectation, will leave us feeling alone and defeated.

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For Your Reflection:

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p<>{color:#000;}. What pattern of disturbance keeps arising in your life? Peel the layers; what is the underlying limiting belief? Note that it isn’t the disturbance that affects you as it is the filter in which you are viewing the disturbance. Change your inner filter and your view of the disturbance will change.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Through this belief, what fear keeps holding you back from living with an open, full heart?

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p<>{color:#000;}. What defence mechanisms are you utilizing to hide your fears?

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p<>{color:#000;}. What control patterns are being expressed through this disturbance?

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p<>{color:#000;}. How do you perform to gain people’s attention?

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p<>{color:#000;}. How do you compare yourself to others? Do you compare your children with others?

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p<>{color:#000;}. What rules dominate your household? Were they made out of trust and love or doubt and fear?

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p<>{color:#000;}. Admit your emotional dependency. What/who do you need to fill your love tank, & how is that shown? Is the dependency not allowing someone else to fully live their life?

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p<>{color:#000;}. Having a hard time saying ‘no’ to someone’s request? Why? Keep asking why with each answer given until you get to the core of your resistance to loving yourself.

“If we examine every disturbance we have, great or small, we will find at the root of it some unhealthy dependency and its consequent unhealthy demand.” Bill Wilson’s Letter on Emotional Sobriety

Codependency, in broader terms, refers to the dependence on the needs of or control of another. It also often involves placing a lower priority on one’s own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. Codependency can occur in any type of relationship, including family, work, friendship, and also romantic, peer or community relationships. Codependency may also be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, excessive compliance, or control patterns.

Co-Dependents Anonymous offers a list of patterns and characteristics as a tool to aid in self-evaluation of co-dependency. Go to http://www.coda.org/tools4recovery/patterns-new.htm

We are all dependent on someone or something but it’s to what extent that we lose ourselves or stop someone from living their life, which matters.

Raise Your Emotional Energy to Thrive

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Sociologist, Randall Collins, from the University of Pennsylvania has stated that emotional energy is the “main motivating force in social life. It ranges from the highest heights of enthusiasm, to the deepest depths of apathy, depression and retreat. Emotional energy comes from various social encounters such as conversation, sexual flirtation, family dinners and office work.”

[_ Mira Kirshenbaum, author of The Emotional Energy Factor, defines emotional energy as”…how ready, willing and able a person is to LIVE- to take on challenges, to fight for what’s important, to make dreams come true, to care for loved ones, to enjoy life to the fullest in the present moment.” She believes that low emotional energy may make you feel listless and appear to be depression when it is really depletion of your spirit- and not your body.” _]

[_ JoAnne Ceccarelli-Egan from www.tryanewperspective.com defines emotional energy as the “emotions that you feel in your body as a result of your experience of another person’s emotions or given situation. Research has concluded that 70% of total energy comes from emotional energy. Positive energy is harnessed within you by compassion, courage, forgiveness and faith and gathered from outer world by supportive friends, creative work, laughter and movement. Imagine yourself having an internal pitcher; when it is filled with emotional energy, you feel energized about your life- hopeful, positive, charitable, caring, patient, focused and loving. Negative energy depletes your pitcher and keeps you small, unhealthy; it alienates you from your best self. Your emotional energy is depleted when there is continuous criticism, abuse, fear, self-loathing, rage, or shame. You will find yourself feeling inadequate, tired, critical, bitter, withholding and hopeless. Depending on what is going on in your life, the amount of emotional energy you have in your ‘pitcher’ will vary. Just as physical energy comes from physical self care such as exercise, diet, and rest, emotional energy comes from emotional self care such as prayer, living a life that makes you feel inspired, hopeful, self-confident, playful and passionate. Emotional energy is drained when you are constantly giving to others at the expense of yourself, when you are in an abusive relationship and when you disconnect from your authentic self.” _]

As stated in the beginning, our emotional energy is cultivated through our childhood experiences. If we grew positive energy then you will feel a lightness going into your adult life. If you grew negative energy, you will feel heavy going into adulthood. In any given moment, you can change your energy. Adults have the capacity to make a conscious choice. It is a choice.

And it takes action to change it.

For Your Reflection:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Some people confuse being depressed with being emotionally worn out. Is your emotional energy tank full or empty?

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p<>{color:#000;}. When you start to feel really good about yourself and your life, do you sabotage it? Possibly by getting involved with people and activities that drain you? Pay attention to your emotional state and how you behave towards it.(This would be a coping mechanism!)

Postponing the Guilt Trip for a Trip in the Sunshine

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Our level of suffering is as much as the level of our resistance that we are unwilling to give up. Resistance is the internal block that holds us back and keeps us stuck. The basis of all resistance is guilt & shame. Each of us experiences resistance to some degree; if it keeps us from experiencing change, then it’s a sign that we need to learn to open up to it so that we can work through it.

For Your Reflection:

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p<>{color:#000;}. The higher the emotional response you feel with a certain situation or trigger, the higher the degree of healing needs to happen. You will notice that your emotional response will lessen as you deal with the emotional impact your issue has on your life.

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p<>{color:#000;}. What internal emotional blocks are keeping you stuck from moving forward?

Guilt is we did something that didn’t feel right and our inner compass is letting us know that we stepped out of our point of power; as a result, we would think of changing the behaviour. Guilt is also associated with feelings of being a burden or causing an inconvenience and extra stress on others. How many times do we say ‘sorry’ to someone in a day?

Shame is a painful belief that we are defective as a human being; and, we need to pay for our sins so it leaves us living in shame believing that we are unworthy of being ‘fixed’. So women over strive to be the perfect wife, mother and social volunteer, while the men find redemption in their work, their shoulders holding the demands of family and society to be the strong, unemotional man that he is trained to be. To fully thrive, we need to slowly disrobe from these demands, labels and expectations and start to demonstrate our vulnerability to fully show up.

Shame is that we did something wrong and we are wrong for having done it. Shame is about the worth of the person; it makes us feel flawed and unworthy of being accepted. Shame starts in childhood; because children assume everything is about them; they interpret incoming information quite critically and literally, judging themselves in the process. A comment, a look or body language can send an (un)intentional hurtful message that the child takes on as an attack on self. Shame is about being rejected, exposed, feeling like an outsider and of self-loathing. Shame can be quite useful; it can guide us away from behaviours that harm others or make us an outcast in society. But shame through (emotional abuse) humiliation, such as sharp anger, name-calling, rejection, setting someone apart as unacceptable, a searing jab at someone’s very essence, and excessive criticism renders us helpless and pushes us to lash out or hide out.

We find fault with our self because we haven’t yet learnt to find compassion for our own shame so we turn our inward anger, self-judgement or guilt and project it out. We don’t want to feel the pain, so we place the blame elsewhere. Every time we put pressure on our self using comments such as, “I should; I have to; it’s expected that I…” the critical parent that we grew up with comes out and shames our self, expecting perfectionism in all that we do. And we will transfer that perfectionism onto others, expecting them to meet our demands and prove that they love us or that we are okay.

The feeling of shame is a spiral into darkness accompanied with an assortment of critical, judgmental thoughts. Being in this state blocks our capability to process and release of it. We must meet our deep and very painful feelings with understanding and acceptance in order for compassion to eventually heal this toxic reservoir of accumulated shame. To know when shame has taken hold, we need to start to become attuned to the occurrence of the affective states of shame: shyness, embarrassment, chagrin, humiliation, low self-esteem, feeling ridiculous, sheepishness, discomfort, disconcertedness, abasement, disgrace, ignominy, dishonour, mortification, degradation, self-consciousness, disappointment, discouragement, guilt, feeling ‘lousy’ or ‘funny’——and the list goes on (Kaufman, 1989)

For Your Reflection:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Breathe deeply from the belly. Put the judgment and criticism to the side and ask yourself: “How do I hold onto shame? How do I punish myself? What strategies do I use to avoid my shame?”

We’ve been in the mindset that in order to survive we need to search outside of our self for love, approval, search for ‘more’. We are punishing our self. All we need to do is give up our attachments (thinking, seeing, feeling a certain way) and dependencies (to receive validation from others).

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Release Me, Ego

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We need to move from this selfish, habitual, rational mind which I will call everyone’s giant offender or ego for short. Before we can release from the ego, we need to understand it. What is the ego? Through all of our experiences and decisions, our mind built a structure (consisting of our childhood views) that says, “This is who I am.” And out of this identification, we filter incoming information so that it fits with life as we define it. We then react to life based on these filters we guide ourselves by.

The ego relates through patterns of habit; it’s the rational mind that believes it keeps us safe by reiterating the past patterns of coping of which it feels comfortable with. It works to keep us in sabotage mode, judging our self and laying on the guilt trips. It keeps us separated from who we are at the core with our desires, our purpose, our gifts and natural abilities, love and acceptance for one another. It keeps us searching for the answer, or the next best thing that will make us acceptable to our family, friends, & society.

Living through ego….. Living through heart……..

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p<>{color:#000;}. Law of Deprivation Divine Spirit

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p<>{color:#000;}. Fear Love

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p<>{color:#000;}. Choice to suffer Choice to receive

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p<>{color:#000;}. Based on the past ‘Now’ with no judgments

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p<>{color:#000;}. Intellect Creativity

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p<>{color:#000;}. Sickness, disease Health, vitality

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p<>{color:#000;}. Impersonal Makes everything personal

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p<>{color:#000;}. Judgement/ Criticism Acceptance

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p<>{color:#000;}. Fear and loss Faith and Miracles

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p<>{color:#000;}. Control and resistance Allowing, trust

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p<>{color:#000;}. Defiance and attack Forgiveness

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p<>{color:#000;}. Our story- The ‘I’ we believe we are Peace, As One

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p<>{color:#000;}. Suffering/ scarcity Connection, intimacy

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p<>{color:#000;}. Specialness & favouritism Nothing to defend or pretend

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p<>{color:#000;}. Competition Working together, Adventure

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p<>{color:#000;}. Rule making Ease, effortlessness

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p<>{color:#000;}. To have’ to become; to get; to avoid; to protect Thankfulness, gratitude

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p<>{color:#000;}. Shame and guilt Understanding, compassion

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p<>{color:#000;}. Seek and do not find Curiosity, possibility

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p<>{color:#000;}. Goal: separation/ death Goal: to awaken to truth

At the beginning, you will find yourself going through a gradual process of letting the ego go. It will be an intellectual process at first. But the more you question your life and challenge your way of living, the more you will start to relax into it. Your heart will start to open to receive small miracles. The Truth of who you are and what you deserve to receive from this world will begin to reflect back to you in this miraculous transformation in all ways.

For Your Reflection:

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p<>{color:#000;}. What situations in your life are you taking the blame for? What guilt & shame are you holding onto?

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p<>{color:#000;}. How does your ego show up at work, with your family, with friends? (defense mechanisms, social coping skills, rules…….)

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p<>{color:#000;}. What are you willing to let go of and give over to your Spirit?

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p<>{color:#000;}. What are you willing to embrace?

Here is a good affirmation to read and reflect on…..

I am Me

“I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.

Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me.

However I look and sound, whatever I say and do and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me.

I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me.

I am me, and I am Okay.”

Virginia Satir, My Declaration of Self-esteem

For Your Reflection:

When you feel any challenge to release from the ego:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Feel your bodily discomfort, (this feels different for each of us; tight neck muscles? Sore lower back? Clenched jaw? Burning sensation in your belly?) Where do you hold your stress? Put an emotion to the bodily feeling.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Ask it “What do you want me to know?” Be patient in waiting for the answer.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Know what your triggers are. What happens that brings you instantly back to the feeling of insecurity, resistance, self-judgement, guilt……?

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p<>{color:#000;}. Ask yourself, “What am I unwilling to let go of? What am I fearing will happen? What am I afraid of losing?”

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p<>{color:#000;}. Breathe in Peace; Breathe out Pain (Mantra: Breathe,(in) Let Go (out).Your breath is life and where there is life, there is hope. Focusing on your breath brings you into the present; it releases you from the ego and connects you with your Spirit. Spirit is HEART. Spirit is LOVE. Spirit is TRUTH.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Change the false beliefs into new truths. If you are not feeling love/ light/ abundance/ trust, then you are in resistance. Here is an example of the process you can use with ANY resistance or block you are experiencing….

Scenario:

Someone just told you that you’re not doing something right. You feel frustration rising in your chest. Your thought says that you are stupid and can’t do anything right. You want to react by attacking with an insult; but, instead, you look at this situation as a chance to demonstrate acceptance for yourself and the situation.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Step 1: You allow the emotion to rise by feeling it. “I feel tightness in my chest”. Don’t judge it, own it or identify with it; just observe it as an outsider and feel it.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Step 2: Acknowledge the limiting, false belief which is the subconscious program, “I have believed the ego, but I am not the ego.”

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p<>{color:#000;}. Step 3: You replace it with a truthful affirmation of your choice, “I am capable. I am worthy. I am Spirit. And I am not alone in this.”

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p<>{color:#000;}. Step 4: Say with intensity, “Thank you (name), I forgive you for thinking less of yourself, and I love you.” You will feel your energy mellow out. You will feel compassion and this is the space in which healing starts to happen.

Once you find yourself in a space of peace, your next move will be to inquire if there was any truth to the comment. “Was this comment made to show me where I can make improvements or do I think it’s an attack against me?” Now you have some real information to work with. Now you can respond with compassion and respect for yourself, understanding for how you feel and care for you to speak up with self-confidence. “I’m unsure what you meant with your comment so I want to double check to clarify what you where trying to express to me.” By taking responsibility for your interpretation, you will have embraced your power and open the doors to creating a purposeful solution. “I would love to problem solve a way to make this situation work for both of us!”

With consistency, you will change the conditioning that formed the ego and in its place, will input a new program in your brain that will serve you to its fullest.

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Cut the Chains That Hold You Hostage

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What is forgiveness? Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge and accountability. The act that hurt or offended us might always remain a part of our life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on us and help us focus on other, positive parts of our life.

(Note: if you were emotionally abused, the most damaging mistake you can make is to invest in the “rehabilitation” of the abuser. Trying to fix them will likely not change them which will leave you taking on the blame, believing that you deserve no better. The abuser has no ‘right’ to forgiveness; it has to be earned: actions speak louder than words)

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting us, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. We can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps us go on with life. Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for compassion, kindness and peace.

But forgiveness will not be possible until we have compassion in our hearts, and it starts by demonstrating it to ourselves first. By hanging onto this feeling of having been unjustly treated, we end up hurting our self by keeping our anger brewing inside. The worst part is that the person that hurt us has gone on with their life, having no thought of the pain that we find ourselves drowning in. We are hurting our self and giving our power away to the one we think has hurt us.

For Your Reflection:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Step out of the facade; become the observer of your feelings and thoughts. Don’t judge or criticize your thoughts; this keeps you stuck and it keeps the ego in protection mode. Just be in a state of curiosity. Pour a cup of tea and open up a dialogue with your ego; tell it that you appreciate how it has taken care of you and that it is okay to take a break as you are safe and well cared for. When you criticize and judge yourself, your ego acts out even stronger as it thinks you’re being attacked and remember its job is to protect you. But you don’t need the protection of a scared ego; you need the forgiveness of an understanding adult with a compassionate heart.

Power of Forgiveness

“When you hold someone responsible for what you experience, you lose power. You cannot know what another person will do. Therefore, when you depend upon another person for the experiences that you think are necessary to your well being, you live continually in the fear that they will not deliver. When you forgive, you release the critical judgement of yourself as well as others. You lighten up. You do not cling to negative experiences that resulted from decisions that you made while you were learning. That is regret. You lose power when you regret. An authentically empowered person is clear on his/her perceptions and thinking. Clarity is the perception of wisdom. It is being able to perceive and understand the illusion, and to let it play. Clarity is the result from choosing to learn through wisdom instead of fear and doubt. It allows you to see others with compassion instead of judgement. Clarity allows you to see the intentions of the souls that share it. You see the perfection and wholeness in everything knowing it is there to serve the evolution of humans; it sees the hand of God.

Forgiveness means that you do not carry the baggage of an experience. When you choose not to forgive, it is like agreeing to wear dark, gruesome sunglasses that distort everything, and it is you who are forced to look at life through these contaminated lenses because you have chosen to keep them. You wish everyone to see the world that way because you wish to see the world that way, and it is only you who sees it. You are looking through the lenses of your own contaminated love.

Forgiveness means that you do not hold others responsible for your experience. If you do not hold yourself accountable, you will hold someone else accountable and if you are not satisfied with that experience, you will seek to change it by manipulating that person. Complaining is the dynamic of wanting someone to be responsible for what you experience, and to fix things for you. Complaining is a form of manipulation. Move towards perception and sharing. What are at stake are not you sharing, but the intention behind it. It is how the sharing is shaped before the intention with which you share. Before you share, ask yourself. “What is my intention (what am I proposing, planning or hoping?) in sharing this? Am I looking for a particular response?”

Author: Gary Zukav, the Seat of the Soul

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For Your Reflection:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Judging another and judging our self are the same error. Start to demonstrate gentleness and loving kindness towards yourself. Ease back on the self-judgment. As you do, you’ll find you judge others less.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Do you remember a time when you felt a presence within you? Was there ever a time when you knew that no matter what, you couldn’t do any wrong? Sit back and breathe those feelings to the surface; feel them. You are of heart spirit and it connects you with all of life. It is safe to surrender to that power within. When you step out of the ego, become the observer and start to question the collective beliefs and values, you slowly release the binds of distrust and insecurities. You start to allow transparency of the authentic you to shine out. Be as a baby and open up to trust. Love is exposed in trust- as you start to trust in your spirit, your intuition, that instinctive knowledge or insight starts to blossom. And that’s when life really becomes an adventure of discovery and destiny!

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Whenever you question your value, say:-

GOD himself is incomplete without me.

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Remember this when the ego speaks, and you will not hear it. The truth about you is so lofty that nothing unworthy of God is worthy of you. Choose, then, what you want in these terms and accept nothing that you would not offer to God as wholly fitting for him, and He will give you all of Himself in exchange for the return of what belongs to Him and renders Him complete.

Remember always that you cannot be anywhere except in the Mind of God. When you forget this, you will despair and you will attack.

To accept yourself as God created you cannot be arrogance because it is the denial of arrogance. To accept your littleness is arrogance because it means that you believe your evaluation of yourself is truer than God’s.”

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Cease Control; Let Life Flow

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[_What does it mean to ‘let life flow’? A free-flowing mode of being means that we are not caught up in the should have/ could have/ would have mentality. We don’t feel guilty for not having done a specific activity and we don’t try to control an outcome, needing things to turn out a certain way. We learn to let go of our idea of what any given moment is going to be as we allow the moment to unravel before us. We learn to be flexible instead of rigid or demanding. We learn to receive change and uncertainty with curiosity instead of fearing it. As things arise, we adapt, and let go of set plans and goals. We are free to do this because we don’t care where we might end up. We just want to be present in our journey, being compassionate with each step, and possibly learning something about our self along the way. The destination becomes irrelevant. If we are feeling acceptance within the moment, then how can there be judgement or expectation? Each step along the way becomes the destination, and is exactly where we should be. Breathe into the moment and appreciate what it is offering. _
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For Your Reflection:

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p<>{color:#000;}. How do you know if you’ve made the right decision when you need to make a choice over a matter? How are you feeling inside? Do you feel restrictive in your breathing, tight neck muscles, clenched jaw, essentially feeling heavy, unsure, or fearful? Or do you feel light, hopeful, and excited to start with full belly breathing, a sense of optimism or curiosity, wondering “What if?” When you are struggling with something, curiously ask yourself, “How is my ego showing up?” If you aren’t sure what to do with making a decision, put your hand over your heart, breathe deeply through the belly and ask, “Am I making decisions out of love and trust or fear and doubt?” Be careful as the ego can trick you into believing you are doing something out of love; challenge each reason you make; ask “Is it true?” and keep asking until you get to the core reason.

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p<>{color:#000;}. How would you like to feel (your energy level) throughout any given day? Come up with a list of concrete values that will raise your energy (look up their meaning) and then go through them until you have a top 3. How can you live those 3 values in a typical day? What would you have to do to experience those values? Feel light in mood and body by raising your energy through living your values.

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p<>{color:#000;}. When you’re breathing shallow, allowing your thoughts to take control, or talking unfairly to yourself….try the following exercise from the Circle of Life Health & Wellness Coaching:

May you now receive a slow DEEP breath in, expand into a “soft belly” feeling.

[* INHALE... 1 - 2 -3 - 4 ..., hold it for a count of four. *]

As you EXHALE drop the shoulders, relax the jaw & face, heart & solar plexus area & [* soften the belly. Then try to make your exhale just a bit longer or slower --only if this is not a strain... *]

[* EXHALE 1-2-3- 4–5 -6 .Then repeat this three to five times. *]

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[* As you inhale or exhale- here are some examples of what I might say to “anchor in” a word /mantra /prayer/message in my mind: (I am here NOW in the power of present moment / I choose grace / all is divine order) *]

[* I offer up all my ________self judgment / worries /storylines / others / limited perceptions *]

[* I am connected to Source / I allow myself to receive____ / I am being divinely guided / I am grateful for_____ *]

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What this simple mind /body exercise does is allow you to reconnect with the power of your breath… and the more connected you are to your breath, the calmer, more resourced and resilient you become. When relaxed you become more like water and instead of trying to push through, exert effort or struggle to try to change your “perceived” obstacles (ourselves, other people, and situations). You flow more easefully & gracefully…. finding new pathways to “flow around, or over, or even accept” your obstacles… making it easier to reach your desired destination.

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[* Ask “Source”- what else is possible? What could the gift be in this? Or, how can you give yourself more gentle Grace today? Then let go. *]

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Shatter the Self-Imposed Glass Ceiling

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If we learnt to hide or camouflage our abilities as a child, by the time we get to adulthood, we have denied expression of our most unique and passionate parts of our self. We’ve learnt that the ego thinks these aspects of our self threaten our safety and we need to play small, but they are the direct path to love and living out our destiny.

“We must not allow other people’s limited perceptions to define us.” Virginia Satir, Ph.D.

For Your Reflection:

On a piece of paper, draw out 5 columns and under each title listed below, uncover whatever situation it is that holds you back from truly expressing yourself:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Name your issue or pain.

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p<>{color:#000;}. List the negative costs to having your “issue/pain”.

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p<>{color:#000;}. There is a payoff (reinforcement) when we hang onto the pain/ issue. What are yours? List them.

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p<>{color:#000;}. What are your fears of by moving forward? List them.

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p<>{color:#000;}. What can you look forward to by stepping away from your ego/ issue? List them.

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p<>{color:#000;}. What are you willing to let in? Give yourself permission to receive everything good.

When we don’t love our self and appreciate that we have strengths, gifts and abilities to share with each other, we’re left with a sense of emptiness, sadness, loneliness and uncertainty. This learnt shame and fear around our most vulnerable and valuable attributes is almost universal and were formed in our childhood years. The best, sometimes the only way out of this shame and doubt about our self, is through relationships, relationships which support and nourish our most vulnerable self.

For Your Reflection:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Of the people you know, who knows the ‘real’ you?

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p<>{color:#000;}. Who isn’t too envious of your gifts, talents, strengths or personality? Who can encourage you to express the natural you?

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p<>{color:#000;}. If you aren’t sure what your gifts or talents are, try to do something out of the ordinary. Did you pick it up easily? Did you enjoy it? If so, what qualities did you like about it and why do you like them? Keep experimenting until you try something that fits you well.

We tend to choose the people in our lives based on how we think and feel about our self. A simple example: if we smoke and drink, we will find company to hang out with to pursue those activities. If we decide to quit smoking or drinking, we will naturally find new company to hang around with and will pursue new activities to fill the void.

The same goes for making new friends/dating; depending where we are on the self-awareness and trust scale, we will pick a friend/mate who reflects those qualities we think we need and deserve in the relationship. The more we grow as a person, the qualities of our friends/ mate will change. The giving and receiving will naturally flow more balanced as the relationship’s needs and wants balance out. We need to recognize what progress has been made to let these people in and celebrate that.

With the encouragement of those that care and respect us, we will have the freedom to allow our true self to express itself; over time, as we allow our learned shame and fear to fade away, our trust in our gifts will naturally rise to the surface and take shape. As we release the false beliefs about our worth and our capabilities, our deserve level will naturally increase; manifesting our heart’s desires will start to unfold.

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive!” Howard Thurman

For Your Reflection:

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p<>{color:#000;}. What values did your family hold most important; how did they express them? Are you living out those same values? Do they resonate with you, or do you need to replace them?

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p<>{color:#000;}. Do you believe that you need “permission” to move forward with your life? If you do, give it to yourself! Because your permission is the only one you need!

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p<>{color:#000;}. How would you feel if you had more success than your parents- made more money, happier in your relationships, having no limits on yourself?

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p<>{color:#000;}. Where are you holding yourself back from receiving? Have you sat down to clarify what you needs are and how you want to get them met? Do you feel that you deserve to receive positive outcomes?

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p<>{color:#000;}. What parts of yourself are you holding back from showing others for fear of disapproval?

Our Deepest Fear

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, and fabulous?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the World.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Author: Marianne Williamson, a Return to Love

Share Your Inner Most Secrets

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“You’re away from home too much!” meets your mate’s ears when they step in the door from work. His/her ego wants to react one way but hopefully his/her heart knows to wait and translate the accusation by asking for clarification before they respond. Instead of attacking, try voicing your needs honestly: “I don’t like it when you are away from home so much because I feel all alone in my parenting and I really could use some more help. Plus, I would appreciate some more adult time with you. I miss you.” Healthy communication is a way of expressing needs, wants and feelings in a safe and respectful manner. It takes vulnerability to self-disclose something that is sensitive and if we are met with derision or disinterest, something tender shrivels and retracts within us, making us think twice about ever sharing that part again. Deep intimacy can only be bare when both parties risk letting go of the ego to reveal the inner most self of truth. Only when the curtain of judgement, rules and demands strip away, will we find the capacity to open up to really knowing our self and each other. When we don’t take our partner’s behaviour as an attack on our self-worth, we are able to allow them the chance to clearly understand themselves and express their thoughts and emotions in a healthy way. Identifying the real reasons behind complaints and arguments takes a willingness to hear through compassion and understanding. When we open up to being vulnerable in communicating our needs, we open up to embracing love and intimacy. With curiosity, ask yourself……

For Your Reflection:

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p<>{color:#000;}. What keeps me from truly being present to those that are important to me?

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p<>{color:#000;}. How do I demonstrate care and love to those that are closest to me?

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p<>{color:#000;}. What is my childhood paradigm of intimacy? As an adult, what is it? Is it the same or has it evolved?

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p<>{color:#000;}. What am I afraid my mate might find out about me? What am I hiding from? What am I afraid will happen?

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p<>{color:#000;}. What is that I want from my mate to help me feel safe, wanted and respected?

BE TRUTHFUL with yourself and you will be set free.

Awaken the Tigress Laid Dormant

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We’ve been paying attention to what we’ve been taught to think and feel about our self and our life. Our sexuality is a huge component of how we see our self in the big picture of life; as we know now, our view of sexuality has been influenced by our parents, teachers, friends and the media. It is a fundamental aspect of an individual’s personality or identity. Sexuality involves the whole person: body, mind and spirit. The need for love and for close and trusting relationships is fundamental to being human. The key to intimacy is the closeness, acceptance and trust that exist between two people, not whether they are sexually involved. Early in life, it’s important to form close relationships with family members and friends that are emotionally and spiritually intimate, but involve no sexual activity. These relationships will lead to healthy adult sexuality of love and intimacy. Some people describe sexuality as a language of love, a force that draws people out of themselves toward others.

“As we feel more self-assured that we can find a safe haven within our own being, there is less risk and little to lose. Relationships then feel less scary, less dangerous.” John Amodeo, Ph.D. Love and Betrayal

This is for all the females; listen up!

The sexual organ that jump starts sexuality is our brain. Anything can be sexy if our brain is turned on. For a woman, our inner tigress talks from our heart but sometimes our brain can’t and won’t switch from work/mother/friend/ into sexual woman mode. Doing something for our self and making solo pampering time is important. Taking off the many hats we wear in one day and taking the time to discover our inner sensual woman is an important aspect of living free.

Sensuality is, in essence, how in tune we are with our senses. Do we notice smells, textures, and sounds? How sensual we are plays a key role not only in our sex life but in our overall ability to derive pleasure from life as a whole. When we take a deep breath of fresh air as we leave the office or notice the scenery as we drive home, it opens us up to really experiencing our surroundings. Wearing fabric against the body that encourages us women to feel like a woman is accepting our sensuality. Doing the things that will build body confidence like dancing freely to our favourite music, taking an Epsom salt bath (do we know how much fun the running tap can be?), participating in a burlesque dance class, learning how to shoot a gun on the range, or getting a sexy boudoir photo taken in our favourite lingerie, are all ways of embracing our womanhood. All these sort of things build a natural self esteem within our self, which in turn boosts our sexuality. We need to admire our attractiveness and realize that it comes from within. It’s our aura that men find attractive, not the size of our lingerie. The way we undress, the way we smell, the way we lean into him for a smoldering kiss; that’s what a man finds tantalizing and inviting. We can ooze sensuality if we just learn to listen to that soft inner voice which tells us what we like and how we want to feel in any given moment. We need to stop and take a moment to reflect on what it is that we need to fully express ourselves and experience life to the fullest.

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Baby, Bring Your Body Over Here!

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Great sex starts with knowing what it is that turns us on. It’s difficult to express to someone our likes when we aren’t even sure of them our self. Some ladies don’t even know what’s between their legs as they’ve never taken the time or given themselves permission to first, understand their anatomy and second, to accept and even delight in what makes their toes curl with pure pleasure. If we can’t please our self, we can’t expect the men to know what we like. Too many women have learnt to be ashamed of their bodies; men, the caring kind, don’t care where our breasts sit on our chest cavity, they care that they are allowed to touch the breasts and they marvel at the softness that’s cupped in their hands. They love a warm body next to them; they love the touch of the woman they’re with which is YOU!

To deeply enjoy sex, we must unconditionally love our naked body and sexual organs. Guilt and shame about who we are and what we look like do not belong in the bedroom. Even if we know what we like, it doesn’t mean that the sex will be great; we need to be able to express our self in a manner that will signal to our mate that what he is doing is pleasurable or that he needs to take a different approach. Keep the 3 A’s in mind: Acknowledge (what you are experiencing); Affirm (what is going well); and, Appreciate (what is happening in the moment). Open up to receive all the benefits a loving, sexual relationship can provide.

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For Your Personal Reflection:

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p<>{color:#000;}. How was sex and intimacy talked and demonstrated about in your childhood? Were you comfortable going to either parent with any questions, issues or concerns you had?

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p<>{color:#000;}. How do you control how sex will be delivered and enjoyed? Are you closed or open to it?

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p<>{color:#000;}. Are you harboring any guilt or shame with regards to your body, the act of sex, receiving or giving pleasure?

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p<>{color:#000;}. What is your paradigm about love and intimacy?

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p<>{color:#000;}. Don’t expect your mate to automatically know what it is that you are thinking and wanting for yourself. It is your responsibility to take your sexuality into your hands and get your own needs met.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Can you say no to sex? During sex, can you say, “Please stop”? If you shut yourself down but keep going through the motions, the receiver can sense your response and may feel rejection and confusion. You, the communicator, can feel worry over their possible response but if you can’t say “no”, you aren’t fully able to say “yes”. Once you can verbally express yourself, you need to be comfortable in your own skin and confident in your love making to give in return. When your man comes up behind you at the kitchen sick, wraps his arms around you and nibbles on your neck, what do you do? Push him away? No one likes to be dismissed or ignored; these behaviours close down intimacy. Or, do you stop what you’re doing and relax into the moment, taking in every sensation?

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p<>{color:#000;}. Can you let your guard down? Take a risk. Start by going to bed without anything on.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Pay attention to everything, from the scent of his aftershave to the way his fingers run over your back, gently brushing the side of your breasts before resting on top of your buttocks. Feel the sensations; how is your body reacting? Let the judgements go; do you like having your hair pulled or your buttocks slapped? Is your body quivering with goose bumps from him licking your inner ear or pressing firmly on your perineum? Tell your man what you like and what he is doing well. Notice how your body reacts when you’re doing something to him that makes him moan and shake with longing for you. Be in the moment. Allow your inner goddess to flourish!

Take the focus off of the orgasm. Make lovemaking be about the connection. When the pressure or the main focus of ejaculation subsides, we can make sex more of an experience of two bodies, minds and spirits joining together. Rather than focusing on ‘getting off’ physically, we can relax with ‘getting on’ emotionally. When we enjoy the emotional orgasm without the physical release, we can experience a whole other level of connection and enjoyment.

Great sex comes from real connection, open communication, trust and listening to our body at all times. Only then will our body trust us enough to surrender and truly open up to a joyful experience.

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This is the Beginning of the Rest of Your Life

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This is your time to make your life as rich and fulfilling as you think you are worthy of it being. How worthy do you feel? You are the main character in your life story; you have the capability to write a new act that will have you take front stage. Take this time to shine the light on your fears and inadequacies that shut you down from truly living and replace them with forgiveness and acceptance for yourself so that you can live free. Give yourself a hug while you look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love you.

“Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence is the key to unlocking our potential” Winston Churchill

You know in your heart that you deserve to step out of the world of victim, limitation and dependency as you allow yourself to step into the world of health, freedom, possibility, intimacy and prosperity. You are willing to move forward with a sureness that this world you live in supports and provides for you. You do not worry about the “how” of getting what you want as that’s control over the process; you only focus on the feelings of what it would be like to receive the desires you hold in your heart and on appreciating what you have in your life right now. Gratitude brings about more of what you want; what you focus on expands so you place your thoughts on everything that makes you smile with appreciation.

But most of all, you are gaining faith that your efforts of self-discovery are always rewarded. With each step you take towards living authentically, the wider your heart opens to the abundance of love.

And to this I say, “Shine on! Fully embrace your inner powerhouse of possibility to live a life of joyful love!”

Because you are worth it!

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Guide to Resources

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p<>{color:#000;}. Found in: How I See Things

See Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson, Growing Up Again: Parenting Ourselves and Parenting Our Children, Hazeldon, 1998

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p<>{color:#000;}. Found in: My Life’s Interpretation

See website for Nouk Sanchez, Undoing the Ego at www.undoingtheego.org

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p<>{color:#000;}. Found in: Increase Self-Awareness & Acceptance

See website for Bill Wilson, The Next Frontier: The Emotional Sobriety, [+ http://www.silkworth.net/aahistory/emotionalsobriety.html+]

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p<>{color:#000;}. Found in: Increase Self-Awareness and Acceptance

See website of Co-Dependents Anonymous at http://www.coda.org/tools4recovery/patterns-new.htm

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p<>{color:#000;}. Found in: Postponing the Guilt Trip

See Gershen Kaufman, Ph.D., the Psychology of Shame: Theory and Treatment of Shame-Based Syndromes, Springer, 1989

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p<>{color:#000;}. Found in: Forgive to Free

See Gary Zukav, the Seat of the Soul, Fireside, 1990

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p<>{color:#000;}. Found in: Raise Your Emotional Energy

See website www.tryanewperspective.com

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p<>{color:#000;}. Found in: Break Through Self-Imposed Glass Ceiling

See Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles” Harper Collins, 1992

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p<>{color:#000;}. Found in: Awaken Your Sexual Power

See John Amodeo, Ph.D., Love and Betrayal, Random House, 1994

Suggested Reading

For more about cells and their communication, I suggest reading, Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go ° d, by Candace B. Pert, Ph.D), Hay House Inc., 2006

See Candace B. Pert on DVD in What the Bleep Do We Know!? Presented by Captured Light Industries

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h2(<>{color:#943634;}.

About the Author:

Marla is known as a professional cook, a recreationist, a life coach and an author, but, she knows that she is more than those attributes; she is a spiritually feminine powerhouse! Through many years of peeling back the conditioning that has held her captive, she has acquired a myriad of tools and processes to help her live authentically, powerfully. Her intention is to share her gained wisdom with those that desire to live beyond other’s perceptions, labels, role definitions and expectations. She believes everyone deserves to live their life on their terms.

When she isn’t reflecting, she is having fun exploring with her family and friends a variety of adventures that are available in the beautiful surroundings of Thunder Bay, in Northwestern Ontario.

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Personal Note:

Thank you, Jennifer, for your friendship, support of my vision and editing of this workbook.

A heart full of gratitude and love is offered up to my husband for his unwavering dedication through my pain into reclaiming the beauty and power of who I truly am. And to my four children, you are the reason that I started this inward journey of becoming the best parent that I could be for you. Thank you for being my teachers. xoxoxoxo

And to God, none of this would have been possible without you. Thank you for this miraculous life I have the honour of participating and learning through; I truly appreciate every minute of it! What more is to come?

 


Love Yourself & Reclaim Your LIfe: Breaking the Chains of Dysfunctional Motherin

"Love Yourself & Reclaim Your LIfe: Breaking the Chains of Dysfunctional Mothering" is one woman’s journey of facing the consequences of growing up in an emotionally empty household. From hiding in her brother’s shadows to taking responsibility for the family’s breakdown, she had to face her formed inner belief of worthlessness to start the healing process. Through the birth of her first child, she stopped beating herself up to start learning how to re-parent herself so that she could responsibly parent her child. Then came marriage which opened up the well of internal shame; her defense mechanism was to shut down and push love away. To clean out the lies, limiting beliefs, trauma and unresolved emotions that held her back from being able to love and be loved in return, she choose to honor her feelings and release the emotional grief energy that had enveloped her. Through the unconditional support and acceptance of her husband, she was able to build trust, resiliency and forgiveness of self. Happiness was now within her grasp; all she had to do was choose it for herself everyday, in every way. She wrote a workbook, called " Wound to Wellbeing" organizing all the lessons she learnt to be able to take responsibility for her experience and gain her life back.You can access this workbook on Marla Hickerson's profile.

  • Author: Marla Hickerson
  • Published: 2017-03-22 14:35:11
  • Words: 12877
Love Yourself & Reclaim Your LIfe: Breaking the Chains of Dysfunctional Motherin Love Yourself & Reclaim Your LIfe: Breaking the Chains of Dysfunctional Motherin