Sunday, November 25, 2007

Facing Fears

What value is there in facing your fears? What is there to gain in reliving painful experiences? Does it change anything to acknowledge you have been hurt?

The point of facing your fears is that it allows you to eventually move through it. But before you move through it, you have to acknowledge the pain. You have to allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. You have to allow yourself to feel all the emotions that come up for you as you face your fears. No matter what those feelings may be. Usually there are a myriad of emotions to deal with when you confront your fears, especially if you have avoided dealing with them for years. You may have feelings of anger, resentment, frustration, helplessness, vulnerability and rage. It may be helpful to remember this phrase,
“ If it is coming up, then it is on its way out.”

So how do you begin to face your fears? You do it by to telling your story. Write it out. Chronicle exactly what happened. At first you may think you are unable to recall all the details, especially if it happened a long time ago. However, as you write, you may recall memories long forgotten. It is also important to describe how you feel or felt about what happened. Describe in detail what emotions come up for you. Once you allow yourself to feel what you are feeling, you can get to the other side.

The story I had to tell to face my fears was about my dad. After he passed away I came to realize that I still struggled with facets of our relationship. Initially, I really did not see the point in relieving all the ways my dad disappointed me. He was dead now. What was the point? What could be the benefit in reliving those painful memories? Despite these objections, I began to write my story.

I recounted the countless times my dad did not show through, as promised. It was a hard story to tell even to myself. At times I wept uncontrollably. At other times my rage was so intense it was palatable. It was incredible to me how many different emotions I felt and how real they all were, as if the events I was retelling had just happened moments ago instead of over a decade ago.

What was the point in that painful exercise? I did indeed move through those feelings and came out on the other side.

On that other side I had some new insights. One insight I discovered was how stuffing those feelings about my dad, over time, impacted my personality, my choices and my relationships. By retelling that story I also gained an entirely new perspective on that painful experience. Eventually, after allowing myself to feel all those emotions I had been stuffing for so many years, I began to feel lighter like a weight had been lifted.

What happened next was really unexpected. I found that I had transformed into a higher version of myself, a more authentic version of who I really am. This new insight even made me feel grateful for that painful experience because I liked who I grew to be because of it.

Facing your fears enables you to rid yourself of buried emotions. By coming to face-to-face with what you are afraid of, you are able to free yourself. You also offer yourself an opportunity to grow from the experience. In the end, you may discover you like YOU not in spite of what happened to you but because of what happened to you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Law of Attraction - 4 Daily Strategies

You may have become familiar with the universal principle, the Law of Attraction, through the hit DVD, The Secret, or perhaps, like myself, you have be on a road to self-discovery and spiritual awareness for some time and know first-hand how your thoughts can create the world around you. How ever you came to know the truth that you can deliberate create your life by the images and thoughts you hold in your mind, you know how important it is to keep your vibration positive and high. Yet on a day-to-day basis it may be quite a challenge to do so.

It is so easy to slip into a low vibration. It takes concentration to keep your focus and energy on what you desire in life instead of what is lacking in your life. You need strategies for maintaining a high, positive vibration. These strategies for keeping you on course must be practiced daily. Without clearly defined strategies to keep your attention on the good you desire, you can easily be pulled off course by the barrage of images and sounds in your environment that carry the message such as, “Life is hard.” “The world is violent.” “Following your dreams is impossible.”

For me, these strategies are multi-faceted. Journaling is strategy #1. It is both my greatest escape and my most powerful tool for making sense of my world. (For more on journaling see my post Journaling Tips for the Journey of Life)

Strategy #2 is meditation. I call my meditation period my Stillness Ritual. (For more information on my stillness ritual, see my post Making Time to be Still)

Strategy #3 is to write out exactly what I want in each area of my life. I keep this list by my bed and read it every morning and every night. I have read it so much that I have it memorized. Reciting in the mirror helps me to prevent the reading from becoming rote. It is also imperative that I really feel the emotions of having the things on my dream list. As I look into my eyes and recite the words, I also visualize what I am saying. By visualizing the things I desire, I am able to feel the feelings of having those things now. The imagination is a powerful thing!

Strategy #4 is to be mindful of what I ingest throughout my day. I am not talking about food (although healthy, nutritious food can certainly impact your state of consciousness). I am speaking about being mindful of what I read, listen to on the radio, watch on television and what types of conversations I allow myself to be engaged in.

I rarely watch the news. The day’s headlines are not often about anything uplifting that will help me maintain a positive vibration. Any information I read will come to me when I need it. I firmly believe that to be so. Someone will call me or I will hear what I need to know in passing. Occasionally, if I feel I want the news of the day, I will read it online. Reading it on line gives me the power to choose what information I want to read. Online news reading is far less jolting then watching television news.

Most people in my life do not engage me in conversations about the terrible, horrible events of the world. If I find myself in such a conversation, I try and redirect that person to a more uplifting topic. If redirection does not work, I excuse myself from the conversation completely.

Journaling, my stillness ritual, reciting my dreams aloud and being mindful of what I ingest are the strategies I employ daily to keep my vibration high and positive. Each day I want to takes steps to realizing my dreams, being of service and living peacefully and joyously. These strategies help me to do that. Days when despite my best efforts I do slip into the valley, I know that it still is all good because in the valley is where I gained some of my greatest lessons. While in the valley I also know that on each side of the valley is a mountain. Getting back to the mountain top is what this journey called life is all about.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Journaling Tips - For the Journey of Life

The best way I know how to navigate this journey called life, with its ups and downs, is to journal. Since I was old enough to hold a pencil I have escaped to the page. Writing is my spiritual companion. In my valley experiences and during my mountaintop highs, writing is there to sort things out.

For example, through writing I am able to move pass anger to uncover the authentic truth. I may start off my journaling by complaining about who has done me wrong but my Inner Wisdom will not let me stay in anger very long. Soon, I uncover how I put myself in the position to be victimized.

When I am on top of the mountain, journaling helps me appreciate the beauty of the landscape even more. Through writing, I notice the brilliance of the colors on the mountains. Capturing the words on the page, I am able to hear harmony in the songs of birds. I have even found parts of me on the page that I did not know existed and some parts I wish no longer existed. Yet still, I find other parts I thought were long lost.

In her book The Right to Write, Julian Cameron says, “We should write because humans are spiritual beings and writing is a powerful form of prayer and mediation, connecting us both to our own insights and to a higher and deeper level of inner guidance as well.”

If you want to use journaling as a tool to navigate through your journey of life, there are easy ways to get started. A blank page intimidates some people. If you find you come to the page and have nothing to say, then take one of your affirmations and write it over and over for the 15 minutes. You are likely to find that, as you are writing the affirmations other thoughts come to you. Get those thoughts down no matter how disconnected, obscure or nonsensical they may be. Get it down! It might be the grocery list. It does not matter. GET IT DOWN. Remember this writing will not be graded ;-).

Journaling does not have to be a daily account of what is happening in your life - but it can be. You may find that detailing what happened yesterday or what your plans are for today is a good place to start your brain dump.

If writing an affirmation repeatedly or writing a daily account does not get your thoughts flowing, use one of these starters. (You may want to write these on the inside cover of your journal for a quick reference should you need them.)

• If the desires of my heart were evident to the world people would know that I am_______________________________.

• What frightens me most is ___________________________.

• If no one were to ever find out I would __________________.

Whichever way you start does not matter. What matters is that you go to the page. Writing is the best brand of therapy for me. It holds my confidence. It is unrelenting when it has to be and gentle when it needs to be.

Check out My Book: Journey to Purpose

Monday, November 5, 2007

Making Time to Be Still

The only way I can effectively manage the demands of running my own performing arts company and the demands in my personal life is to allow time to be still. Being still enables me to recharge my battery and have the energy I need in the multiple areas of my life. I call it my Stillness Ritual.

Do not let the word ritual scare you. To set aside any concerns, let me be clear. A ritual is a series of acts you perform for a specific reason. My Stillness Ritual is taking time to listen within. Susan L. Taylor, editorial director of Essence Magazine and author of In the Spirit says, "The wisdom and strength you seek await you in the silence within."

I usually do my Stillness Ritual as soon as I awake. I take a few slow and deep breaths and focus on a few simple words such as, “Peace be still.” I say that phrase repeatedly to myself while remembering to concentrate on my breathing.

Some times my mind does wander which is natural. To get back in focus I simply put my attention back on my breathing. My Stillness Ritual usually takes only 5 minutes but the benefits are felt through out my day. When I am done my ritual I feel ready to greet the world.

If I fail to take time to be still I pay the consequences. I am less focused in my day so my thoughts are scattered. My energy is depleted more easily. My patience is short.

Just taking five minutes for myself each morning allows me to be more effective in all areas of my life. In the day-to-day fast pace of the world many may say they cannot find the time be still even for five minutes. For me, it is simply a must if I am gong to be fully present with the people I love and the work I love to do.

My Stillness Ritual is one of the most important tools I used to maintain peace and joy in my journey of life. If you would like to learn how to incorporate a Stillness Ritual in your life check out my article Make Time for You: Create a Stillness Ritual.

Check out My Book: Journey to Purpose