Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Cleansed...Now What?

Doing some personal journals more thoughts came to me that warranted sharing here. Recently (over the last two days) I've had very rough mornings. However, I couldn't figure out why. After all, I do a basic cleansing of myself and my space every morning.

Then it dawned on I said in a previous post, when you get rid of something negative, you need to replace it with a positive. Otherwise you'll have a relapse. (And you can look to this fact for why going cold turkey, among other reasons, isn't really effective as well as why so many people "fall off the wagon" with various things.) When you get rid of something, particularly something you're use to having around, doing, or being you often leave a void. The longer you've had this a part of your life, the larger and more concrete the void is. And the easier it is to fall back into whatever bad habit you were trying to shake.

The same thing goes for energy. If you have negative feelings in your home eventually they start to grow there. While originally they may not have anything to do with you or your home life, like seeds being carried by a pollinator you track them into your space where they take root. Doing this over a period of time and you'll notice you have a "garden" of negative energy within your home. For those who are less obviously energetically sensitive you can notice this in other ways in the form of your home seeming to suddenly become cluttered physically, and through having bad feelings frequently while you're at home. (These apply if you already did not have these things going on.)

I often have people come to me asking about healing and feeling better and one of the first things I say to them is, "When was the last time you cleansed?" Most people are taken aback by this question as it is not something they considered would be any part of the problem. All too often it is one of the root causes. Like a media vampire, you've invited negative energy into your home and now, like a freeloader, it won't leave!

But, in serious cases, it's much deeper than that. What we address here is when you have realized this fact, started cleansing (over a reasonable period of time) and notice that while the air seems to clear, it comes right on back. Part of this is that with longer held thoughts and beliefs it takes longer to dispel them. You also need to look at whether you are consciously or unconsciously contributing to this negativity (this may take time and meditation to determine). But finally you need to realize that after you have cleansed, you need to invite positive energies into your space to continually displace the negative ones. Referring back to a course I participated in about "Raising Your Psychic Awareness" with Susan Hughes, I suggest burning Frankincense, Rose, or some other uplifting incense or oil after you've cleansed an area. Experiment with what you like and smells pleasant to you (as you will defeat the purpose if you can't stand how it smells while it's burning!)

While most of us within the healing community are taught the basics of cleansing, the need to uplift the energy afterwards is often not taught and then taken for granted. If you can't get ahold of a scent you can also try letting more natural light into you home or playing upbeat music. Whatever method you try be sure to hold the intention that this is what that action means - "you are raising the vibration of the space". After awhile you will consciously associate the actions with that thought and it will do the work for you.

Perfect by Comparison

If you're like me and so many others you know all too true that old habits really do die hard. As a woman in our society it becomes especially difficult to get over one trait in particular - comparison. But this trait isn't by any means unique to women only. People in general tend to compare, if not themselves, then what they have to that of others. For Christians out there there is the commandment to "not covet". But knowing you ought not do something and actually stopping yourself from doing it are not the same thing.

Take into consideration for a moment that all around us are examples of what society tells us we should be and have. Why aren't you happy? There is no surprise if you find yourself struggling with it if you take into consideration that we are literally inundated with reminders of what we don't have. How often have you seen a commercial or other advertisement that ever exalts the appreciation of what you do have? With the exception of charities and funds that tell you you have more than enough compared to some, now hand some of it over. (Yes that does sound a bit harsh, but that's essentially what is being said.) All commercials do is tell you what you don't have, what you should have, and list reasons (which may or may not be valid) of why you can't be happy, whole, or complete without what it is they are selling.

First off, know that this is normal and that it's okay. Congratulate yourself on seeing the behavior and habits for what they are and release them. Now with any addiction, behavior, or otherwise repetitive action you can't just stop it and expect it to never rear it's ugly head again. So part of many therapies that are affective is the replacement of the negative action with a positive and/or differing action. For your own good though, you want to make sure that the action or behavior you are replacing it with is actually a positive one rather than just another habit you'll have to kick later! Gratitude is a great place to start! Instead of thinking and dwelling on what you don't have turn your attention to what you do have. What are you grateful for? What positives do you have in your life right now? Focus intently on these things and how they make you feel. Do not entertain any thoughts of, "well I would be happier if I had this". If you don't like something in your life get rid of it. Give it to charity or throw it away - this applies to intangible things as well - such as negative or limiting beliefs.

In the case of the intangibles you can use a simple grounding exercise to let go of these things anytime they try to crop up. Envision yourself from the perspective of someone outside looking in. With your visualized self's eyes closed see the negative thoughts and energy that surround and permeate your aura as a kind of dark cloud. Then watch as they drain away, like water down a sink, into the earth. Know that this action is effortless and there is not strain or drain on your energy when you do this. Then see lighter, brilliant white (or any color that is suitable to you) light rise up from the earth, through your feet, energizing you. See your visualized self smile as you feel energized yourself. Take a few deep, even breaths and bring your awareness back into your body.

Repeat this grounding exercise, or any other that suits you, when you feel depleted, angry, sad, or want to let go of something negative.

Maintaining Mindfulness

While engaging in my yoga practice this morning I noticed a lot of "buzzing" in our mind. You know, those constant thoughts that flit from one thing to another rather than focusing on the task at hand. I found myself thinking of the next pose, thinking about how rough and unpleasant my morning started out, what was the pose after the next, and so on. This buzzing called me to attention as I realized that I was not focusing on my yoga practice, instead I was feeding distractions attention and merely making it worse. At the point that I got to my rotation of Tadasana into Trikonasana & Chandrasana (on both sides) I decided to take some meditative action to bring my awareness back to the present moment and on what I was doing. Since my mind was buzzing and focusing on unpleasant things the imagery that came to mind was the top of a pond that had a sort of scum on it. I mentally skimmed the surface and then threw a rock into the pond to disturb any remnants of my "scummy thoughts" and clear the surface. The rock sank down to the pond's bottom and the ripples subsided. I felt my mind calm a bit.

Focusing on small meditations to alleviate "mental buzzing" can be affective, but sometimes it still pulls us away from the "here & now" (which is the only place we are ever truly at, and thus is a place we need to actively be a part of!)

As I found my mind buzzing again, though not as much as before, I pulled my awareness "into" the pose I was doing at the moment. For example, I got to Viparita Karani (my second to last pose) and focused on the sensation of my legs against the wall, of the blood feeling as if it was receeding like a tide, my head on the pillow, and my arms gently relaxed at my sides. Pulling one's awareness into what one is doing to really "feel" the moment brings awareness and a greater sense of peace. The key is not to interfere, but to observe. As I moved to a variation of Savasana, which is a restorative pose, I noticed my heart rate was much quicker than it normally was for this posture. I considered the fact that I had just gotten up and moved across the room from one asana to the next and instead of remaining alarmed at my "doing the pose wrong" I chose to merely observe and allow it pass. I took a few extra seconds in the pose facing both directions and found myself and my heart rate back to where it usually was at the end of the pose.

Control is a dangerous thing and often inhibits us from really "being" in the moment. We wish things to be a certain way because of expectations rather than allowing things to just be. This control causes a struggle with us against the world, and we go from being and existing to pulling and pushing. This causes mental as well as physical strain on our minds and bodies and depletes our energy stores. So next time you feel flustered or frustrated that things are not going as planned. Or you find yourself endlessly running through thoughts and lists as you perform some task take a mental step backwards from yourself. See what you are doing mentally versus physically and let them re-integrate so that you are focusing on the task at hand and being present.

Monday, February 14, 2011

When to Say "No"...

We all know them, they are dear friends, family, co-workers, and sometimes even ourselves. They are not necessarily any type or sort of person in general, and they may be old or young, male or female. These people always have "something" going on in their lives. And not just something, but something awful, negative. Something bad has befallen them at all times. These people are draining to be around to all around them.

The problem is that despite this fact they are generally not bad people. They may even wish to have a better life, but they repeatedly pull themselves back into the mire and do the same to others. They actively choose to only see the negative in their lives. When you speak to them and interact with them, despite all your efforts to be positive with them they continue to hold on only to the negative.

A simple fact of life is that we all choose what befalls us. Many people do not like to think about this or believe it. They feel that the negative of their lives are merely misfortunes and they may have no part in the direction their life takes. This is far from the truth, for even if we are not aware of the choices that we are making we are making them nonetheless. Regardless of our awareness we make choices subconsciously everyday. Even more than this we have made one ultimate and all important choice, and that is our life lesson before we come to the plane and inhabit this body. It colors our lives from start to finish for our entire life has strands within it at all times. But regardless of whether you hold this truth as your own truth, the basis of it is always there. That of choice.

We choose to see the events and circumstances in our lives in a certain light. We choose to label things as "good" or "bad". Instead of seeking the positive actively, consciously as well as unconsciously, we focus on our inability to control all aspects of our world around us. Choice is always in our power however. And when we relinquish that power we fall victim to the choices of all others around us. So take back your power today by choosing to see what is good and worthwhile in your life - be they people, circumstances, tangible or intangible. Actively put your intentions out there of what you want and move towards it purposefully with every step.

For those in your life who prefer to stay victims have caution around them and know when to say "No." Know that in saying "no" you are not being mean or a bad person, but you are doing what is right for yourself. Understand that in allowing yourself to feel responsible for this other person you enable them to continue along the path they are choosing. While walking away from them and telling "no" may not be easy, it is the only way for you to really help them.

If you are a healer, in any respect of the word (energy worker, counselor, clergy, etc), you likely attract these kinds of people. They say they want your help, they come to you forlorn and downtrodden but they never really take responsibility for their lives. You will see them time and time again and if they are not suffering the same problems, they are suffering something else. It is a neverending cycle that they perpetuate actively (consciously or unconsciously). At the point that these people return to you and you feel them draining you (whether you are a healer or not) they are active as energy vampires.

To combat their influence over you you need to examine your association with them. You may need to simply cut ties with them, if they are not someone you are close to or deal with on a regular basis. This will likely need to be done both physically as well as mentally. It will not necessarily be an easy task, but it will be a necessary one. If you know this person personally and on an intimate level there will be that much more to work through to separate yourself from them. You will need to cut your ties, but you will need to strengthen yourself again further involvement with them. If you know and care about this person you may feel as though you are abandoning them, but again all of your involvement in their life serves as reinforcement to them that what they are doing, how they are living is okay. You will need to shield yourself from further influence from them, and may need to perform the "cutting" of your ties several times over to establish this.

Dealing with energy vampires and other emotionally or mentally draining people:
  • Establish good shielding techniques to prevent ties from being formed.
  • Learn to say "no".
  • Cut ties with those who are draining you. Repeat as necessary.
There is no set way to to shield or cut ties with others. You should follow your intuition in what suits you best. Some people are visual and can successfully visualize things. Others need a more physical impetus, such as a set ritual with gestures and motions to go through. Try suggestions of others over a period of time to see what works best for you, but do not be afraid to alter things to work better for yourself.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Importance of Knowing Your Limitations...Part 1?

Whether this will be a multi-part entry or not is uncertain, what is certain is the importance of it's message. I sit here finishing up an article concerning teaching yoga and some things it calls upon you to consider and I find myself reading some wonderful quotes that any teacher in any field can benefit from:

"But teaching is a tapas—a fire that burns away impurities. It can burn away your impurities, particularly in the realm of relationships with others. You can no longer remain blind to how your attitudes prevent openness and trust. You learn to see, care for, and appreciate your students as individuals with struggles and questions not unlike your own. Teaching can help you become a better person."

As a teacher I deal with communicating healing as well as working with occult practices, such as Tarot, Astrology, and Numerology. In teaching I agree very heartily that it takes all kinds, but as much as it does, it takes a certain kind. A good teacher listens as much, if not more than, they speak. They know as much how to read between the lines and to effectively direct students as they do to note subtle cues in tone, mannerisms, and body language.

When I teach I try my best to be thorough, to anticipate the questions and to as fully and capably explain things before questions are dealt with in order to minimize them. But teaching is about communication, interaction, and how you do this is as important as how you choose to teach. Being flexible is key, knowing your limitations is also key. You may prefer to work with a particular group, you may have issues working with another. While it's always your prerogative to teach as you will to whom you will, analyzing these pitfalls and shortcomings is a learning experience necessary to become an even better instructor.

It's okay to have trouble, and it's even more okay to share those troubles with your students. Showing that you too are human and make mistakes will often make others feel at ease. Many teachers may feel that they need to live up to a certain "high and mighty" ideal. That they should be the perfect embodiment of what they are teaching or what their knowledge displays. But as is said, "the very wise know they know nothing". In regards to teaching meditative topics, healing, and certain metaphysical subjects it is imperative that you continue your own self study in the process. You should get something from your students and your teaching of them, just as they (apart from the knowledge you are trying to disseminate) should get something from learning with you.