Tag Archives: mental health

A SPIRITUAL REFLECTION ON BOUNDARIES

18wf3m1m6b4wwjpg

“I just think that boundaries are the most amazing, wonderful and difficult things to implement. They are beautiful tools that we need to use in our life to create intimacy, not to block it. A boundary doesn’t keep people out of our lives. A boundary just keeps people from violating important spaces in our lives; and when we have boundaries, the intimacy is increased, not decreased.” — Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School

There are many people in the spiritual world who romanticize the idea of dissolving or shedding personal boundaries . . . of being One with all beings, or most titillating, with an intimate partner. This is a wonderful ideal, but unfortunately, since many of us have an unclear understanding of boundaries in the first place, we end up mistaking unhealthy connectedness with others (fusion) for true communion with them.

Oneness and individuality

Confusion about the spiritual notion of Oneness most often manifests in our relationships with other humans. Most of you reading this are people who highly value peace and calm in your lives, and uphold the virtue of compassion. Some of you might believe that if we are all One, we should understand the pain of others and not judge them, even when they cross our boundaries. You may believe that being kind to others means flowing like water around them. You may believe that we ALONE must take responsibility for all of the difficulty in our lives and deal with it by ourselves, because it’s ultimately saying something about us, not others.

NO. NO. NO. (And yes, sometimes.)

This is the paradox of spirituality. While the above statements indeed have deep truth to them, they often times cannot, and should not, be applied without discrimination to our lives as humans on Earth.This is where the Buddhist notion of TWO TRUTHS or Two Realities (ultimate reality and relative reality) can be useful. Both realities co-exist, and it is part of the human journey to learn how to skillfully dance between them. Yes, from the perspective of Source we are One (or as Buddhists might put it, we all share the ultimate nature of Emptiness), but we are also unique individuals who have our own needs, preferences, and desires. We have our own complex emotional world, which it is our personal responsibility to take care of, so that we can be happy and healthy.

“Boundaries allow differences to play their essential role by preserving our autonomy and making healthy interrelatedness possible — a fact clearly illustrated in mature relationships, in which there is deep communion without any dilution of one’s sense of self. In such relationships, we don’t discard our boundaries to make meaningful connections; we expand our boundaries to include the other without short-changing ourselves.” — Robert Augustus Masters, author of Spiritual Bypassing

What are boundaries for?

When other people come into our personal space and violate it, physically or emotionally, it is appropriate to set a boundary in order to take care of ourselves. (Remember, people don’t know where our boundaries are unless we clearly make them known.)

Boundaries are not about controlling others, or blaming them for how we feel. They are about taking full responsibility of our own safety, well-being, and happiness.

A boundary is a request you make along with a clear consequence regarding what you will do if the request is not respected.

For example, “If you don’t stop with the name-calling, I will leave the room.” Or “If you keep coming home drunk, I will move out and not consider returning until you are in a rehab program.” Or, “If you keep bringing up my ex, I will stop engaging in our conversation.”

Some of us tend to go a little wild when we first start to take boundaries seriously. But remember, a boundary should only be made when there has been a violation of your physical or emotional space (like your boss raising his voice at you or someone smoking in your home). It’s not a tool to be used when you simply don’t like someone’s words or behavior but they are not actually doing anything to or toward you. It’s not a tool for controlling other people. For example, it’s not a boundary if you try to use it to get your husband to take out the garbage or get your girlfriend to call you more often. That’s called manipulation!

Following through on boundaries

One of the most important but difficult things about setting boundaries is actually following through on the consequences you have stated. Sometimes we try to use aboundary as a threat, with no intention of actually following through. We’re afraid of others getting angry or feeling hurt, or we just find it very difficult to assert ourselves. So instead, we set a boundary with the sole desire of forcing the other person to change. Again, this is manipulation. If you want your boundary to be taken seriously (and if you want to take yourself seriously a.k.a. trust yourself), you have to do what you say you will do.

“When we begin to set boundaries with people we love, a really hard thing happens: they hurt. They may feel a hole where you used to plug up their aloneness, their disorganization, or their financial irresponsibility. Whatever it is, they will feel a loss. If you love them, this will be difficult for you to watch. But, when you are dealing with someone who is hurting, remember that your boundaries are both necessary for you and helpful for them. If you have been enabling them to be irresponsible, your limit setting may nudge them toward responsibility.” — Henry Cloud, author of Boundaries

Boundaries ultimately come from a place of compassion and respect for yourself. You may be frustrated and angry with others, but the reason why you’re experiencing this is often because you don’t have proper boundaries and you haven’t been SPEAKING YOUR TRUTH. Once you take full responsibility for your happiness, you can set boundaries with others from a place of calm, empowerment, and love – not anger or resentment toward them.

It can be helpful to explain to the person you’re setting the boundary with that this isn’t about them or about them doing something wrong, it’s about you, your truth, and your needs. If they choose to be offended by your truth, that’s their choice. When setting boundaries, you have to be willing to accept the response of the other party. You’re not demanding that they change; they are free individuals. It’s just that if they don’t change, you’ll follow through on the consequence you described.

Mastery takes practice

Boundary work takes a ton of practice, so no worries if you don’t get it right on the first few (hundred) tries.

I think part of the reason boundaries are such a difficult thing to apply to our life is because it highlights the spiritual paradox I mentioned earlier: We’re all born of same Source (and thus have this beautiful “urge to merge”), and yet we’re also unique, distinct streams of consciousness having our own experience of life on earth.

It’s a challenge to fulfill both our spiritual desire to connect with each other AND our human drive to express and experience the fruits of our unique needs and preferences.

Learning to do this is a sign of true mastery.

Keep on keepin’ on, friends!

http://www.stephanieylin.com/spiritual-reflection-on-boundaries/

Advertisements

How to Let Go and Forgive

7b028130a6a3939cbd02988cc182abab

We’ve all been hurt by another person at some time or another — we were treated badly, trust was broken, hearts were hurt.

And while this pain is normal, sometimes that pain lingers for too long. We relive the pain over and over, and have a hard time letting go.

This causes problems. It not only causes us to be unhappy, but can strain or ruin relationships, distract us from work and family and other important things, make us reluctant to open up to new things and people. We get trapped in a cycle of anger and hurt, and miss out on the beauty of life as it happens.

We need to learn to let go. We need to be able to forgive, so we can move on and be happy.

This is something I learned the hard way — after years of holding onto anger at a loved one that stemmed from my childhood and teen-age years, I finally let go of this anger (about 8 years ago or so). I forgave, and not only has it improved my relationship with this loved one tremendously, it has also helped me to be happier.

Forgiveness can change your life.

Forgiveness does not mean you erase the past, or forget what has happened. It doesn’t even mean the other person will change his behavior — you cannot control that. All it means is that you are letting go of the anger and pain, and moving on to a better place.

It’s not easy. But you can learn to do it.

If you’re holding onto pain, reliving it, and can’t let go and forgive, read on for some things I’ve learned.

1. Commit to letting go. You aren’t going to do it in a second or maybe not even in a day. It can take time to get over something. So commit to changing, because you recognize that the pain is hurting you.

2. Think about the pros and cons. What problems does this pain cause you? Does it affect your relationship with this person? With others? Does it affect work or family? Does it stop you from pursuing your dreams, or becoming a better person? Does it cause you unhappiness? Think of all these problems, and realize you need to change. Then think of the benefits of forgiveness — how it will make you happier, free you from the past and the pain, improve things with your relationships and life in general.

3. Realize you have a choice. You cannot control the actions of others, and shouldn’t try. But you can control not only your actions, but your thoughts. You can stop reliving the hurt, and can choose to move on. You have this power. You just need to learn how to exercise it.

4. Empathize. Try this: put yourself in that person’s shoes. Try to understand why the person did what he did. Start from the assumption that the person isn’t a bad person, but just did something wrong. What could he have been thinking, what could have happened to him in the past to make him do what he did? What could he have felt as he did it, and what did he feel afterward? How does he feel now? You aren’t saying what he did is right, but are instead trying to understand and empathize.

5. Understand your responsibility. Try to figure out how you could have been partially responsible for what happened. What could you have done to prevent it, and how can you prevent it from happening next time? This isn’t to say you’re taking all the blame, or taking responsibility away from the other person, but to realize that we are not victims but participants in life.

6. Focus on the present. Now that you’ve reflected on the past, realize that the past is over. It isn’t happening anymore, except in your mind. And that causes problems — unhappiness and stress. Instead, bring your focus back to the present moment. What are you doing now? What joy can you find in what is happening right now? Find the joy in life now, as it happens, and stop reliving the past. Btw, you will inevitably start thinking about the past, but just acknowledge that, and gently bring yourself back to the present moment.

7. Allow peace to enter your life. As you focus on the present, try focusing on your breathing. Imagine each breath going out is the pain and the past, being released from your body and mind. And imagine each breath coming in is peace, entering you and filling you up. Release the pain and the past. Let peace enter your life. And go forward, thinking no longer of the past, but of peace and the present.

8. Feel compassion. Finally, forgive the person and realize that in forgiveness, you are allowing yourself to be happy and move on. Feel empathy for the person and wish happiness on them. Let love for them, and life in general, grow in your heart. It may take time, but if you’re stuck on this point, repeat some of the ones above until you can get here.

5 WAYS TO HAVE A RIDICULOUSLY AMAZING LIFE- Richelle Morgan

images

I used to dream, wish and hope for an amazing life—not just an okay life, but a ridiculously amazing life.

When I was younger, that dream had me rolling in style, of course, with fabulous clothes, a big house and a fast car.

As I grew older and wiser, the material wants and needs of my dreams changed—I simply wanted to be inspired and excited to get out of bed.

But that wasn’t happening…I was living within a shell of myself.

Sleep, wake, crawl out of bed, work, eat, sleep and repeat. And repeat. And repeat again. Snooze alert.

I found myself caught in a vortex of boredom with my dreams of a different life on hold. I was stuck. Not unhappy, just stuck, like a pot of overcooked pasta, heavy, uninspired and pasty.

That heaviness was not only settling on my ass, it was finding its way into my heart. And, all I wanted to do was sleep. And eat. And then sleep some more.

The problem was that this wasn’t the first time I experienced this; it was not a new story I was creating where I could put the blame on all the supporting characters. This was my own fault; I had built a decently successful business, had wonderful clients, friends, family and all that fun stuff. I was living in suburbia heaven with a nice car, good home and it was killing me.

Slowly and surely, I was dying inside.

I had worked myself into exhaustion and the stress I put on myself to succeed gifted me with a lovely autoimmune disorder—which was ironic, considering my business was teaching others how to create healthy lifestyles.

I was unmotivated, uninspired and unfulfilled; a walking, talking empty shell. Like a pretty puppet, I moved, acted, responded, but if you had taken the time to knock on my shell, you would have heard a resounding echoing emptiness inside.

So what did I do?

I woke up, took a hard look at my life and told myself to snap out of it. I made the decision to step back into my life, to take the bull by the horns and take charge of myself. No more excuses. No more blame.

It was time to start living from the heart…and it was then that my life started to become a bit more amazing.

It was then that I started to become a bit more amazing.

And, yes, it was that simple. The decision, that is.

I realized that the only way out of my spiraling vortex of un-fulfillment was through me. In order to create the life I dreamed of, I had to be the one to change. I couldn’t blame anyone for my choices, my dissatisfaction or my growing ass. I had to turn the mirror around and face myself.

And at first I peeked, not wanting to face myself. But, as time went on and I did the work needed, that mirror started to shine and reflect a happier me. And now, I can proudly say that I have fully and completely stepped into my life. And I try to do at least one thing to make my life ridiculously amazing each and every day.

Five ways to step into your life and make it ridiculously amazing:

1. Move.

As in, move, breathe and sweat.

You can’t be ridiculously amazing burrowing a hole into your couch or glued to your computer screen. (I know this because I tried. Massive fail! And what makes matters worse, that decently successful business I ran was a fitness business. How sad is that? I was inspiring others to move but couldn’t get myself on board!)

You have to get up and get your ass moving! Get the blood flowing, muscles fired up and the energy levels inspired. And the million excuses you have will come up, shelf them. If you can walk to the fridge, you can move.

I’m not asking you to hop off the couch and run a marathon, go for a walk, dance, do yoga, something. Just move. While you’re at it, move on to number two.

2. Check in and take notice.

One thing that is consistent is that life is continuously changing—and it will pass you by in the blink of an eye if you don’t take notice of it.

Start by checking in and paying attention to the little things that happen on a daily basis. I take the same route everyday to teach and each time I notice something different; it didn’t used to be that way. I used to drive mindlessly to client’s homes or to appointments and find myself 10 km down the highway with no recollection of what just passed me by. I had created a cozy vacuum of numbness that had me periodically checking out of life.

Now, I pay attention. I check in and stay present. Even when I’m doing something I do everyday, it’s become a mini adventure. I’ve noticed that anything can and will happen, but it’s up to me to take notice. So open your eyes, ears and mind. Rediscover your senses.

When you pause and actually notice the little things, what you see might surprise you.

3. Love.

Sweet, juicy, love.

Get the love juice flowing for your friends, family, partner and pets. Basically, anyone or thing that shares your space. Try to sweeten the pot with some unconditional love. Pets, easy. People; maybe not so much so try to practice first and foremost on yourself. Drown yourself in a giant pot of love juice. Be kind and nourishing to yourself in deliciously healthy ways because when we start to treat ourselves as though we are worthy, we set amazing things in motion.

After all, we can’t tap into love if we don’t love ourselves first.

4. Play.

Remember that four letter word?

If you don’t, seek out a niece, nephew, your child or a friend’s child. Watch, listen and learn. Life has enough serious moments without us purposely adding to the mix.

It’s okay to let loose and let your inner child come out and play once in a while. Be silly, dance, sing and laugh a lot. Don’t let anyone dampen your silliness. I did that and it wasn’t fun.

Now I play, a lot, everyday, with my crazy dogs, in the beautiful sea, on my yoga mat and with my boyfriend. They nourish my quirky side and allow me to be me. Which makes me smile a lot.

As a bonus, they’re helping me develop gorgeous laugh lines… much prettier than the frown lines I was working on before.

5. Leap outside your comfort zone.

Don’t think. Get like Nike and just do it! Leap, jump or dive into something that takes you outside your comfort zone, something that scares you a little or a lot.

I did this when I first arrived in Tulum. Shy, deathly afraid of house parties, I became a bit of a hermit back home. Once my shell started to crack open, I forced myself to do things that took me way outside my comfort zone.

The end result was I became more social, less afraid to attend parties or events solo. And it was so extraordinarily freeing, terrifying at times, but once the sweat stopped pouring, I noticed that I was not alone. And no matter what the outcome, I embraced every experience as an opportunity to spread my wings and grow.

Amazing things happen when we open the door to life and let our senses explore. When you step outside your comfort zone and try new things, visit new places, create new adventures, you give back to yourself ten fold. Embrace what comes up when you take a chance on life.

The good with the bad because it will help you grow as a friend, lover, mother or father.

71586.original-4328

Take charge of your life.

If you’re unsatisfied, do something—your life won’t change unless you create the change.

So get things moving, go dance in the rain, kiss your partner deeply, try a new taste, take the road less travelled, open your eyes and drink in the sights.

There’s beauty to be found in simplicity.

Make the choice to step up to the bat and hit a ridiculously amazing home run in this fabulously messy thing we call life.

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/05/5-ways-to-have-a-ridiculously-amazing-life-richelle-morgan/

Thich Nhat Hanh on Loosening the Knots of Anger

Kao_K'o-kung_001

Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us how to relax the bonds of anger, attachment and delusion through mindfulness and kindness toward ourselves.

url

To be happy, to me, is to suffer less. If we were not capable of transforming the pain within ourselves, happiness would not be possible.

Many people look for happiness outside themselves, but true happiness must come from inside of us. Our culture tells us that happiness comes from having a lot of money, a lot of power and a high position in society. But if you observe carefully, you will see that many rich and famous people are not happy. Many of them commit suicide.

The Buddha and the monks and nuns of his time did not own anything except their three robes and one bowl. But they were very happy, because they had something extremely precious: freedom.

According to the Buddha’s teachings, the most basic condition for happiness is freedom. Here we do not mean political freedom, but freedom from the mental formations of anger, despair, jealousy and delusion. These mental formations are described by the Buddha as poisons. As long as these poisons are still in our heart, happiness can not be possible.

In order to be free from anger, we have to practice, whether we are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish. We cannot ask the Buddha, Jesus, God or Mohammed to take anger out of our hearts for us. There are concrete instructions on how to transform the craving, anger and confusion within us. If we follow these instructions and learn to take good care of our suffering, we can help others do the same.

images

The Knots of Anger

In our consciousness there are blocks of pain, anger and frustration called internal formations. They are also called knots because they tie us up and obstruct our freedom.

When someone insults us or does something unkind to us, an internal formation is created in our consciousness. If you don’t know how to undo the internal knot and transform it, the knot will stay there for a long time. And the next time someone says something or does something to you of the same nature, that internal formation will grow stronger. As knots or blocks of pain in us, our internal formations have the power to push us, to dictate our behavior.

After a while, it becomes very difficult for us to transform, to undo the knots, and we cannot ease the constriction of this crystallized formation. The Sanskrit word for internal formation is samyojana. It means “to crystallize.” Every one of us has internal formations that we need to take care of. With the practice of meditation we can undo these knots and experience transformation and healing.

Not all internal formations are unpleasant. There are also pleasant internal formations, but they can still make us suffer. When you taste, hear or see something pleasant, then that pleasure can become a strong internal knot. When the object of your pleasure disappears, you miss it and you begin searching for it. You spend a lot of time and energy trying to experience it again. If you smoke marijuana or drink alcohol and begin to like it, then it becomes an internal formation in your body and in your mind. You cannot get it off your mind. You will always look for more. The strength of the internal knot is pushing you and controlling you. So internal formations deprive us of our freedom.

Falling in love is a big internal formation. Once you are in love, you only think of the other person. You are not free anymore. You cannot do anything; you cannot study, you cannot work, you cannot enjoy the sunshine or the beauty of nature around you. You can only think of the object of your love. That is why we speak about it as a kind of accident: “falling in love.” You fall down. You are not stable anymore because you have gotten into an accident. So love can also be an internal knot.

Pleasant or unpleasant, both kinds of knots take away our liberty. That is why we should guard our body and our mind very carefully, to prevent these knots from taking root in us. Drugs, alcohol and tobacco can create internal formations in our body. And anger, craving, jealousy, despair can create internal formations in our mind.

Heiji_no_ran,yoshitomo&yoritomo

Training in Aggression

Anger is an internal formation, and since it makes us suffer, we try our best to get rid of it. Psychologists like the expression, “getting it out of your system.” And they speak about venting anger, like ventilating a room filled with smoke. Some psychologists say that when the energy of anger arises in you, you should ventilate it by hitting a pillow, kicking something, or by going into the forest to yell and shout.

As a kid you were not supposed to say certain swear words. Your parents may not have allowed you to say these words because they are harmful, they damage relationships. So you went into the woods or to an isolated place and shouted these words very clearly, very strongly, in order to relieve the feeling of oppression. This is also venting.

People who use venting techniques like hitting a pillow or shouting are actually rehearsing anger. When someone is angry and vents their anger by hitting a pillow, they are learning a dangerous habit. They are training in aggression. Instead, our approach is to generate the energy of mindfulness and embrace anger every time it manifests.

K'un-ts'an_001

Treating Anger with Tenderness

Mindfulness does not fight anger or despair. Mindfulness is there in order to recognize. To be mindful of something is to recognize that something is there in the present moment. Mindfulness is the capacity of being aware of what is going on in the present moment. “Breathing in, I know that anger has manifested in me; breathing out, I smile towards my anger.” This is not an act of suppression or of fighting. It is an act of recognizing. Once we recognize our anger, we embrace it with a lot of awareness, a lot of tenderness.

When it is cold in your room, you turn on the heater, and the heater begins to send out waves of hot air. The cold air doesn’t have to leave the room for the room to become warm. The cold air is embraced by the hot air and becomes warm—there’s no fighting at all between them.

We practice taking care of our anger in the same way. Mindfulness recognizes anger, is aware of its presence, accepts and allows it to be there. Mindfulness is like a big brother who does not suppress his younger brother’s suffering. He simply says, “Dear brother, I’m here for you.” You take your younger brother in your arms and you comfort him. This is exactly our practice.

Imagine a mother getting angry with her baby and hitting him when he cries. That mother does not know that she and her baby are one. We are mothers of our anger and we have to help our baby, our anger, not fight and destroy it. Our anger is us and our compassion is also us. To meditate does not mean to fight. In Buddhism, the practice of meditation should be the practice of embracing and transforming, not of fighting.

Using Anger, Using Suffering

To grow the tree of enlightenment, we must make good use of our afflictions, our suffering. It is like growing lotus flowers; we cannot grow a lotus on marble. We cannot grow a lotus without mud.

Practitioners of meditation do not discriminate against or reject their internal formations. We do not transform ourselves into a battle field, good fighting evil. We treat our afflictions, our anger, our jealousy with a lot of tenderness. When anger comes up in us, we should begin to practice mindful breathing right away: “Breathing in, I know that anger is in me. Breathing out, I am taking good care of my anger.” We behave exactly like a mother: “Breathing in, I know that my child is crying. Breathing out, I will take good care of my child.” This is the practice of compassion.

If you don’t know how to treat yourself with compassion, how can you treat another person with compassion? When anger arises, continue to practice mindful breathing and mindful walking to generate the energy of mindfulness. Continue to embrace tenderly the energy of anger within you. Anger may continue to be there for sometime, but you are safe, because the Buddha is in you, helping you to take good care of your anger. The energy of mindfulness is the energy of the Buddha. When you practice mindful breathing and embrace your anger, you are under the protection of the Buddha. There is no doubt about it: the Buddha is embracing you and your anger with a lot of compassion.

Giving and Receiving Mindfulness Energy

When you are angry, when you feel despair, you practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, to generate the energy of mindfulness. This energy allows you to recognize and embrace your painful feelings. And if your mindfulness is not strong enough, you ask a brother or a sister in the practice to sit close to you, to breathe with you, to walk with you in order to support you with his or her mindfulness energy.

Practicing mindfulness does not mean that you have to do everything on your own. You can practice with the support of your friends. They can generate enough mindfulness energy to help you take care of your strong emotions.

We can also support others with our mindfulness when they are in difficulty. When our child is drowning in a strong emotion, we can hold his or her hand and say, “My dear one, breathe. Breathe in and out with mommy, with daddy.” We can also invite our child to do walking meditation with us, gently taking her hand and helping her calm down, with each step. When you give your child some of your mindfulness energy, she will be able to calm down very quickly and embrace her emotions.

Recognizing, Embracing, Relieving the Suffering of Anger

The first function of mindfulness is to recognize, not to fight. “Breathing in, I know that anger has manifested in me. Hello, my little anger.” And breathing out, “I will take good care of you.”

Once we have recognized our anger, we embrace it. This is the second function of mindfulness and it is a very pleasant practice. Instead of fighting, we are taking good care of our emotion. If you know how to embrace your anger, something will change.

It is like cooking potatoes. You cover the pot and then the water will begin to boil. You must keep the stove on for at least twenty minutes for the potatoes to cook. Your anger is a kind of potato and you cannot eat a raw potato.

Mindfulness is like the fire cooking the potatoes of anger. The first few minutes of recognizing and embracing your anger with tenderness can bring results. You get some relief. Anger is still there, but you do not suffer so much anymore, because you know how to take care of your baby. So the third function of mindfulness is soothing, relieving. Anger is there, but it is being taken care of. The situation is no longer in chaos, with the crying baby left all alone. The mother is there to take care of the baby and the situation is under control.

Keeping Mindfulness Alive

And who is this mother? The mother is the living Buddha. The capacity of being mindful, the capacity of being understanding, loving and caring is the Buddha in us. Every time we are capable of generating mindfulness, it makes the Buddha in us a reality. With the Buddha in you, you have nothing to worry about anymore. Everything will be fine if you know how to keep the Buddha within you alive.

It is important to recognize that we always have the Buddha in us. Even if we are angry, unkind or in despair, the Buddha is always within us. This means we always have the potential to be mindful, to be understanding, to be loving.

We need to practice mindful breathing or walking in order to touch the Buddha within us. When you touch the seed of mindfulness that lies in your consciousness, the Buddha will manifest in your mind consciousness and embrace your anger. You don’t have to worry; just continue to practice breathing or walking to keep the Buddha alive. Then everything will be fine. The Buddha recognizes. The Buddha embraces. The Buddha relieves, and the Buddha looks deeply into the nature of anger. The Buddha understands. And this understanding will bring about transformation.

The energy of mindfulness contains the energy of concentration, as well as the energy of insight. Concentration helps you to focus on just one thing. With concentration, the energy of looking becomes more powerful.

Because of that it can make a breakthrough that is insight. Insight always has the power of liberating you. If mindfulness is there, and you know how to keep mindfulness alive, concentration will be there too. And if you know how to keep concentration alive, insight will also come. So mindfulness recognizes, embraces and relieves. Mindfulness helps us look deeply in order to gain insight. Insight is the liberating factor. It is what frees us and allows transformation to happen. This is the Buddhist practice of taking care of anger.

Every time you give your internal formations a bath of mindfulness, the blocks of pain in you become lighter and less dangerous. So give your anger, your despair, your sorrow a bath of mindfulness every day—that is your practice. If mindfulness is not there, it is very unpleasant to have these seeds come up. But if you know how to generate the energy of mindfulness, it is very healing to invite them up every day and embrace them. And after several days or weeks of bringing them up daily and helping them go back down again, you create good circulation in your psyche, and the symptoms of mental illness will begin to disappear.

Mindfulness does the work of massaging your internal formations, your blocks of suffering. You have to allow them to circulate, and this is possible only if you are not afraid of them. If you learn not to fear your knots of suffering, you can learn how to embrace them with the energy of mindfulness, and transform them.

Reprinted from “Anger,” by Thich Nhat Hanh, with permission of Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 2001 by Thich Nhat Hanh.

http://www.lionsroar.com/loosening-the-knots-of-anger/

The Formula For A Spiritual Relationship

11935096_875740059141055_1744071727316445978_n

Something exciting occurs when you decide to pursue a SPIRITUAL relationship. I can recall the exact moment Salle and I decided to work towards this deeper connection together. One year we found ourselves regularly arguing over small things.. It didn’t help that we’d been cooped up through a period of cold weather, and tensions were high as we were beginning to feel a little stir crazy.

The arguments usually looked like this one: I would want for us to go out and watch my favorite football team, and she want us to go to a nice dinner. While standing in front of our fireplace, with a roaring fire flickering shadows across our faces, our disagreement got past our self-control and rose to a point of angry shouting. When we “remembered ourselves”, it ended in a fit of laughter. We realized how silly we had been by letting ourselves become selfishly wrapped up in our wants, rather than remembering to think about one another first. We decided that this was the time for us to work together on developing our deeper Spiritual connection. These simple relationship disputes are normal. Developing your Spiritual bond together will freely build healthy communication and allow you to be conscious of your significant others’ needs.

Remember You Are A Soul Living A Human Life

Connections through conversations with another person is a basic human need, and the desire to create a romantic connection, may be the strongest one of all. With the rate of divorce reaching alarming heights, it may seem that loving relationships are destined to fail. However, it doesn’t have to be that way, especially if we apply some Spiritual principles to our romantic partnerships. It’s important to remember how you speak to your loved one. What are you trying to convey to them? How is your tone being taken? We all have moments where we “lose our heads.”  However, practicing thoughtful, non-defensive, vocal etiquette can provide you with results that not only benefit you both, but also help you grow your communication skills. In this way, each person feels more comfortable speaking from their hearts and exposing their soul to one another. Being aware of how you express yourself, especially under stress, is a fundamental aspect on the path of your Spiritual relationship together.

Your Soul Desires Another Soul To Share Your life With

God wants us to thrive in a life of abundant joy. Profound love and healthy partnerships unite in His destined plan for each of us. Our relationships shouldn’t befall to grief and pain. By evolving to your highest, Spiritually conscious form, you discover you’re greater ability to have happy, fulfilling relationships. You can practice the principles of THE 12 INSIGHTS in your relationships. Praying together, trusting your INTUITION, and following the SYNCHRONICITY in your life will ultimately allow you to find the healthiest form of your relationship. Developing your deep Spiritual awareness and sharing this with your significant other, will positively lead you both to the higher divine plan for your life and your relationship. When you have a Spiritual foundation (Faith in God), at the center of your relationship, you will uncover the richest form of energy and joy.

Celebrate Your Differences

Partners come from varying backgrounds and have a lifetime of vast experiences prior to meeting each other, so they may have differences in their individual outlook and needs. Holding a higher Spiritual consciousness provides each person the inner security to explore their differences openly. In fact, each should view the differences with their partner as growth opportunities. For instance, one person may love outings in nature, and over time, the other person may learn to love the outdoors as well. While you both do not have to love doing all of the same things together, it is still important to try and be there for the other one in the moments they truly enjoy experiencing. It creates a meaningful respect and shows that you care. When the other can see you trying to be there for them, even when it may be something you don’t like to do, your efforts will be appreciated.  Acts of selflessness do not go unseen.

A trust built on Spirituality allows a full discussion of other issues as well. All of us have particular behaviors and habits that make us unique, and I have seen many expressed in several, different ways. Sometimes, in stress, people lash out or use harsh words that hit below the belt. While others, myself included, shell up or retreat into their minds. Some people like to communicate heavily under stress, whereas, others ignore stress completely, behaving as if a dream world will solve the problems they face. With so many various forms of stress management, it is only natural you may find yourself paired with someone who handles tough times very differently than you.

An inner, Spiritual security helps both parties feel open enough to explore their behaviors, and be honest enough to ask for their partner’s help in overcoming these patterns, should they be unhealthy habits to have. Remember to be understanding and supportive when your significant other comes to you for personal growth. You can support them by discussing the habits that feel hurtful to you. Then share your inner thoughts (Intuitions) of how to approach the more stressful times as they feel healthy for your relationship.

Understand Each Others’ Love Language

Discussions of Spirituality make it easier to discover each others’ emotional needs, and to create an ongoing dialog about whether these needs are being filled. People feel loved in different ways: some individuals want compliments or verbal reassurance, others want little acts of kindness, while others need larger, planned events and gifts. Again, take time to examine one another’s childhood and past romantic relationships. From a Spiritual perspective, this allows both partners to gain insight and awareness on each other, as well as having their needs met in a positive way.

Willingness To Accept Responsibility

Even with a firm, Spiritual foundation in place, disagreements will still occur. Be willing to accept responsibility when you inadvertently overlook your partner’s needs or feelings. Having a Spiritually-based relationship means not always having to win. Forgiveness is crucial, but be patient if the other person doesn’t immediately reconnect. Establish the Spiritual value that, given enough time and effort made, everyone can self-correct.  Let the other person come to a place of resolution with an issue in their own time, even if it takes a while.

Don’t Wait Too Long To Make Up

Having a Spiritually-based relationship means the relationship bond exists at the soul level. Therefore, resolve to give each other another chance. Holding grudges or being resentful due to unfinished or unsettled arguments, can push your relationship in a very damaging direction. So make an agreement up front that you will never go to bed mad, or holding onto negative feelings. Remember, tomorrow is not promised.

HEALING ANXIETY OR BROKEN HEART- Jenine Durland

rest-yoga-savasana

We are lying in savasana—corpse pose—legs splayed wide, arms flopped down, palms facing the sky, and I close my eyes.

My friend is beside me; my yoga teacher has come to crouch at my head.

“Do something for me,” Pete says, pausing with his hands on my shoulders, “do this for yourself,” and I nod, eyes still closed.

“Bring one hand to your heart and one to your belly,“ and I do, slipping my left hand onto my chest and resting the thumb of my right hand in the hollow of my belly button.

I take a deep breath and feel my stomach rise, willing my body to relax.

The thing about anxiety attacks, I’ve come to learn in the last couple days, is that you can’t reason through them. And they can leave you, out of nowhere, fainting out of mountain pose or crawling across your floor.

You tell yourself it’s all in your head, but then you put your head down on the pillow alone in your apartment, and feel this tingling sensation spread out across your skin and every siren in your body goes off, telling you that there is a problem, an actual physical problem requiring god-knows-what emergency-care.

And then you laugh and cry all at once, seeing the absurdity, scared shitless of trusting your body, even your breath.

And so, it took a lot to get me to come back to class. Even as I rolled out my mat, I feared passing out, had vivid images of blackouts in my head, but my friend, who is also a nurse, promised to practice beside me, and when I told my teacher what was going on before class, Pete gave me a rolled up yoga mat to place under my belly.

I spent most of the class in the corner lying on my stomach while everyone rose up and down in warrior poses around me, feeling the rolled up mat push into my body every time I exhaled a breath, comforted to be held in community.

Now in this final pose, the one where we practice for our ultimate surrender, Pete is holding my head.

“Whether healing anxiety or a broken heart,” he says quietly, running his thumb and forefinger from my third eye down to my temple, “the tools are the same.”

I open my eyes just long enough to catch his eyes, full of compassion, and there is that moment of feeling really, truly seen: All of me acknowledged, accepted, okay.

“We hold our anxiety between our stomach and our chest,” Pete says, “and I’ve often found that we have some shame wrapped up there, a sense of not being enough. Breathe into that.”

And then the tears come, warm and sort of glorious, like sweat running down my cheeks while Pete rubs the back of my neck, and laughs. It’s the kind of laugh that comes out when you’re holding a baby and they curl their tiny fingers around your pinky. It’s the moment I knew, because I had gotten myself here to this mat and this teacher and this community, that I would be alright.

It’s also the moment I truly understood the power of a healer. There is yoga, yes; there is meditation, yes; but there is something profound and deeply human in seeking wise counsel in the overlap there between, in matters of the heart and soul.

After almost a year of practicing with Pete, of accepting his invitations to shine light into our dark places, of feeling awe at his capacity for love that seems to grow exponentially with each hug he gives his students, I have come to recognize how important it is to find teachers we connect with—those special people genuinely invested in helping others heal, the ones who can hold that kind of sacred space.

As the great Sufi poet Hafiz once wrote, “That is what greatness does: kindly leaves a shelter for us to gather under, where more nourishment can be offered to all things.”

And so, in just over a month, I’ve accepted yet another invitation from my teacher, and will be heading out on a new journey, one that takes this place of love and light and suffering—the heart center—as a starting point, and charts the course of movement, breath, and awareness into a realm of unknowing.

Most people call this “Teacher Training,” but Pete calls it “Lighting the Path,” and I can think of no better words…except perhaps those, again, of Hafiz, who writes,

“Strange the way my shadow began to fall. I
was standing in a field helping the dawn

appear, and when its body, the sun, was fully
lifted into the sky

I was amazed to see my shadow in front of
me as I faced that luminous candle we all know.”

Hafiz poems

7 Steps To Wholeness

tumblr_m9dpclMEaM1qhtuebo1_500

Everything living dreams of individuation, for everything strives towards its own wholeness

~ C.G. Jung (1875-1961), Swiss depth psychologist, from The Wisdom of Carl Jung,

It seems that it is the purpose of evolution now to replace an image of perfection with the concept of completeness or wholeness. Perfection suggests something all pure, with no blemishes, dark spots or questionable areas. Wholeness includes the darkness but combines it with the light elements into a totality more real and whole than any ideal. This is an awesome task, and the question before us is whether mankind is capable of this effort and growth. Ready or not, we are in that process. ~ Robert A. Johnson (1921-present), American Jungian Analyst, from He

The work of healing and returning to our wholeness is indeed “…an awesome task,” and I believe we are absolutely capable of progress and growth. The first step in embarking in this sacred journey is our willingness to make it a priority. Are you willing to grow and expand?

The truth is you are already whole.

The work of healing is simply undoing the false conditioning, limiting beliefs, and dysfunctional patterns you’ve picked up along the way (as a result of living on planet earth and likely around people who were unconscious.) The work of healing is remembering. Remembering who you truly are.

You are whole. You are beautiful. You are magnificent. You are a spiritual being. You are a human being. You are powerful. You are perfect and imperfect. You have potential for great good as well as destructiveness. You have a dark side and light side. All of this is you and it is all acceptable and wonderful.

“So why do I continue to struggle and suffer?” you ask.

The short answer is that you have forgotten how powerful you are. You have bought in to many lies you’ve been told by others who did not know who they were. Being born in to this “spiritually hostile environment” we call home you’ve developed certain coping mechanisms that allowed you to survive.

However those same mechanisms that have allowed you to survive have become obstacles. As an adult (often still a child in an adult body) you have felt lost, and confused. You have attempted to find yourself in all the wrong places. All in things outside of yourself.

03-John-Bauer---Lithograph-5-(1915)_900

Finding your way HOME is the “awesome task”…This is the work….

I believe in a holistic approach to healing. It is critically important to combine conventional treatment with complementary and alternative healing modalities. Medication and therapy alone are not going to “fix” you. I believe there are 7 steps to creating effective and lasting treatment of mental illness and addiction.

These are the steps I take my clients through as I support them in their journey of healing and returning to their wholeness.

tumblr_nsqqyhi11B1tbgw06o1_540

Step 1

Learning Self Acceptance, Self Love, Positive Coping Skills while Processing Past Unresolved Trauma and effects (Shame, Anger, Guilt)

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you. ~ Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas, translated by Elaine Pagels, scholar, from Beyond Belief

Real liberation comes not from glossing over or repressing painful states of feeling, but only from experiencing them to the full. ~ C.G. Jung (1875-1961), Swiss depth psychologist, inCollected Works, Vol. 9, edited by Edward Hoffman, Ph.D.

Accepting the whole range of one’s feelings, expressing them and gaining self-possession are the signposts along the road one travels on the voyage of self-discovery. ~ Alexander Lowen, M.D. (1910-2002???), American founder of Bioenergetic Therapy, from Joy

e8865d1e9cfa68d804729f5d7a069ce6

Self acceptance and self love as well as processing past unresolved trauma are the cornerstones of the work of healing. As far as I’m concerned trauma is the only real diagnosis. Everything else is an after effect. Trauma is also the one thing that is not addressed within families, society, and in psychiatry today.

Ignoring people’s past, the traumas they’ve suffered, and the impact of those traumas is revictimization. It is simply ignorant and unethical. For those who carry the burden of past unresolved trauma, nothing is as toxic and draining as carrying the effects of trauma – chronic shame, anger, guilt, self loathing, self hatred, and a host of other destructive emotions and behaviours.

In my work with clients addressing past trauma is always the first order of business. I do this through very simple and natural techniques called “focusing” as taught by Eugene T Gendlin, PhD and “Somatic Trauma Resolution” as taught by Peter A. Levine Ph.D.

Processing past trauma is always done at the pace of the client. You get to set the pace at which you want to work on your healing. At the same time we will build your positive coping skills and on learning to accept and love yourself. This is the first step.

When you face your past and release those energies you’ve been carrying for years you are going to feel so much better. It will be like having a huge burden lifted from your shoulders. You’ll then have more energy to start tackling the more pressing matters in your present reality.

il_570xN.361231240

Step 2

What are subconscious limiting beliefs?

I’m going to let the brilliant Bruce Lipton explain this one to you. I believe it is critically important to work on identifying and replacing your negative subconscious beliefs as these beliefs/tapes are what run your life and what create your reality.

Working with the conscious mind alone (as is in the case of the many of the therapy modalities in psychiatry today – ie: CBT, MI, Solution Focused therapy etc.) is simply not enough nor effective. Our subconscious mind is far more powerful than our conscious mind.

The ability to work with the subconscious mind is critically important in allowing you to change and replace your limiting beliefs about yourself. This is what will unleash your true potential. This is what is going to allow you to truly achieve your highest potential as human being.

03-nikolai-lutohin-yugodrom

I could not emphasize further the importance of this step.

Tapping in to the power of your subconscious mind is essential to your healing. It is also closely related to the first step in that along the way you have picked up many dysfunctional and unhealthy beliefs about yourself and the way the world works.

http://www.neseret.com/7-steps-to-wholeness-holistic-approach-in-treatment-of-mental-illness-and-addiction/

10 Essential Qualities of a Real Man Worth Dating

FB_IMG_1430653732079

I was recently wondering what I wanted in a relationship? This article really shed light on my own personal needs as a woman. This article relates to men and women in my perspective. Each human being wants to be treated with integrity and respect, no matter what gender they are.

In my recent relationship, it was very difficult to be praised or acknowledged for my work, my passions and my success. Nothing was ever said when I achieved something. In my heart, whether it’s a friend, a parent or a romantic relationship. It’s always such a gift and an honour to share accomplishments, life is not always easy and accomplishments do not fall from the sky.

When someone I love and care about shares some of their life’s victories and down falls on their own personal journey. A great deal of feeling and heartfelt emotions come up; from feeling humbled that the other has shared with me some of their most intimate moments on their journey. Knowing they have crossed onto the other side as a stronger and wiser person and have achieved the confidence and the courage to walk on their path, no matter how many personal fears they needed to confront. Being the hero in their own life!!

Being proud of the other is an emotion that comes from the heart and it is a good feeling. We are the other and the other is us. Let’s celebrate together! Isn’t this love?

No matter where I am in any relationship, I take great care and pride in celebrating accomplishments and dreams. It’s empathy towards the other to share your love and your support towards the relationship because it’s saying ” Hey, I know it took work, I know it took time, I know it to strength and you persevered. I am so proud of you! “.

Celebrating and praising the journey and the outcome are important and meaningful when you are in a healthy relationship. 

Thank-you

Love love love

Melika Emira Baccouche

10 Essential Qualities of a Real Man Worth Dating

1. A real man is responsive to your needs.
Real men don’t merely care about how you fit into their world; instead, they care about your individual needs. If your partner gets upset just because your needs interrupt his day or cause a minor inconvenience, then you should find someone less selfish to share your life with.

2. A real man would never project his faults onto you.
Real men don’t automatically assume a relationship’s problems are caused by you; instead, they take an honest look in the mirror before speaking up, because it can be easy to project your own problems onto another person. If your partner always points the finger at you instead of working together with you as a team, then he isn’t worthy of your companionship.

3. A real man is willing to take action without hesitation.
Real men don’t seek approval for every thing they do; instead, they are confident enough to take action without hesitation. While your partner should consult you about major life decisions that you deserve to have a say in, he shouldn’t be so hesitant that he seeks your permission for every single thing he does. If your partner is unable to exercise anything resembling independent thought, then he will become so clingy that you’ll want to scream.

4. A real man is passionate about something besides his relationship.
Real men don’t consider their relationship to be their one and only interest; instead, they have passions that don’t involve you. If your partner pitches a fit any time you make plans that don’t involve him, then you could be dating a person who is severely lacking in ambition.

5. A real man isn’t suspicious or paranoid without cause.
Real men don’t accuse you of cheating without cause; instead, they only speak up if they have a concrete reason for having a suspicion, and even then they do so in a way that doesn’t involve wild accusations. If your partner gets paranoid just because you happen to have male co-workers or friends (crazy idea since that is approximately half of the population), or if he is so suspicious that he snoops your texts and Internet use behind your back, then you might be dating Mr. Wrong.

6. A real man can stay calm and cool during a confrontation.
Real men don’t resort to insults, judgement or violence during a confrontation; instead, they are willing to talk through the issue without devolving to personal attacks. If your partner explodes in anger at the slightest provocation, then please tread cautiously for your own safety.

7. A real man cares about his appearance.
Real men don’t “let themselves go” just because they are married or in a sustainable relationship; instead, they continue to take care of their body. Physical appearance isn’t the most important thing in the world, but there is no denying that sexual attraction is a necessary ingredient of any healthy relationship. If your partner can’t be bothered to exercise or practice basic grooming habits, then expect your intimacy to die a slow and painful death.

8. A real man doesn’t add insult to injury.
Real men don’t proclaim “I told you so!” after winning an argument; instead, they let the issue go as if it didn’t even happen. If your partner makes you feel like a bad person just because you were wrong, then you might be dating a man who isn’t emotionally intelligent.

9. A real man is happy to bask in the present moment with the love of his life.
Real men aren’t so consumed by their work that they can’t be bothered to spend uninterrupted time with you; instead, they are happy to turn off their phone so they can focus on enjoying the present moment with a partner they know they are lucky to have. If your partner can’t turn away from his work, even for a moment, to express how much he loves and appreciates you… then he isn’t going to be capable of providing you with the romance and attention you deserve.

10. A real man isn’t concerned with fitting into societal stereotypes.
Real men aren’t spineless conformists; instead, they exercise independent thought to make their own decisions, with no concern for what “society” or “the guys” have to say about it. If your partner is always consumed by what is the “manly” thing to do, then you might be dating a man who isn’t capable of thinking for himself.

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/10-essential-qualities-real-man-worth-dating.html

FINDING INNER BALANCE THROUGH LOVE!

Anime-image-anime-36425632-2560-1600

How to cultivate a healthy mind?

A healthy individual whose mind is healthy and sane is capable of looking at himself without judgment, criticism, and without listening to others. When the essence of your mind is pure and healthy, it is fully connected to the source and you are fully connected to your self.

This brings the mind and the individual in a place of health, compassion and spirituality. Compassion is the fruit of perfect health and a peaceful inner life. Logic has no compassion but compassion can use logic. Logic has no wisdom but wisdom could use compassion. We need logic and we need intellect. We also need love and compassion. According to Ayurveda, we must use our intellect and our knowledge with love. Ayurveda is the science of love, intuition and intellect. To have a healthy mindful essence, a person must maintain a balance between the physical realm and the spiritual realm. Why be present on the earth if you simply want to be spirit. Connecting with your mind, body and spirit is the base of Ayurveda and the base of enjoying our lives as human beings.

There are tools to achieve a feeling of balance and inner peace no matter what is happening in your life. Practicing self-love will bring you into a state of love and bliss, which is your true nature. The molecules of bliss will start flowing into your body and into your life. Love is profound because it has its roots in the universe and its fruit in the heart of every human being. When your heart, love and the intellect merge. You allow your true self to bloom like a flower.

Learn who you are. Learn not to imitate other’s, imitation is a lie and it is going against your true nature. Let go of expectations and self-judgment! When we begin allowing our true nature to come out and shine bright like a diamond with all our faults and all of our qualities, we become whole! To know happiness, is to know sadness, to know sadness allows us to experience happiness. In other words, our duality is a gift, we would not have our qualities if we did not have our faults. Always remember that everyone in this world is not perfect, even a Saint.

This to me is true beauty, beauty is simply a perception. We need to unlearn what we have learned to grow in life. Our race to perfection creates great discomfort because it goes agains all the rules and laws of nature and the universe. We must unlearn what we perceive as perfection, this will create space in our minds and in our hearts to be the perfect-self that we are with all of our beautiful imperfections. Learn to take all the good with all the bad. This is living in humbleness and truth.

Live you life! When death comes you will be happy to not have lived YOUR LIFE for others. As long as the intentions are good and you are not hurting anyone! Strive and never be afraid of change, never be afraid of fear. We our the heroes in our own lives and a hero is not someone who does not feel fear but surpasses fear by facing it.

Self-love is the key to a healthy mind. Observe your mind and when negative thinking comes up, allow a space and fill this space with compassion towards yourself. Your are not the mind, your are not your thoughts and you are not this body. Take the thoughts from the mind and filter them threw your heart. The heart is the root of all unconditional love. Ask the pain or the anger, the emotion your are feeling and transform it into love and knowledge. Life is a flow of energy and if the flow is present between your mind and your heart, unconditional love will poor out and a deep feeling of inner balance will become your inner world.

LOVE LOVE LOVE

Author: Mélika Emira Baccouche