On a recent hike in the mountains, I saw with great pleasure the abundance of wild flowers, blossoming trees and plants. Some were tall, some short, some were colorful, and some were many shades of green.
Nature has an infinite capacity to create and restore. Each plant has a unique niche in the greater ecosystem, and each has its own purpose in order to maintain the balance of life. We human beings have much to learn from nature.
We are each the same as all other human beings physically, mentally, and emotionally. We are the dust of creation. We share DNA with everyone else. We have the same body organs, arms, legs, ears, and toes. As human beings, we even share 42 common viruses in our bloodstreams.
Who is Byron Katie? I personally love her healing method, which teaches us to question and challenge our thoughts and beliefs. It’s what she calls doing “The Work.” I find myself using her turnaround method daily, especially with all the issues coming up and being triggered, both personally and also globally, where we are presented with so many opportunities for both our individual and collective healing. The Work is a method I prefer to use in place of the old and archaic coping strategies that sadly tend to add to, rather than heal, life’s cumulative pain.
Katie teaches that our triggers, activated by situations or others, are really disguised “mirrors” for us, that reflect back to us our own “shadows,” which point out our (often similar) unhealed pain. This often takes much courage, first to even see, and finally to be able to “sit with” (versus numbing and resisting) these unhealed wounds. Before we had access to these tools, we would get triggered and then act out their feelings in negative ways, or used other coping mechanisms to avoid facing them. None of this brings true and deep healing to our “earlier similar” pain or past trauma.
One cold night in January, I was driving home and listening to the last part of a radio interview of a mother and her son. The mother has muscular dystrophy, which is a degenerative disease of the voluntary muscles that control movement in the body. She talked about making “choices” in life. She said that everything we do or don’t do is a “choice” and has a consequence.
This mother is in physical pain much of her day. She makes a conscious choice every morning to get up, to make a cup of coffee, and to go through her day in physical pain. She said she is very aware of each choice she makes. Her muscular dystrophy is slowly worsening, but she appreciates all the medical help and medications she receives.
Her eleven-year-old son, who was born with muscular dystrophy, was also interviewed. His health and ability to live is more precarious. He struggled to breathe and talk during the interview. He had two siblings who were also born with muscular dystrophy, and they had died. The doctors told his mother that he would not make it past one year. He did. They then predicted he would die by age two. He didn’t. The doctors are amazed he has made it to age eleven.
During a recent Quantum Healing Hypnosis session, a female client viewed a past life as a medieval soldier. The man’s name was Banyon, and he was incredibly strong and courageous. He exuded confidence, as he confronted a mad king about the impending fall of his kingdom due to the dictator’s own greed, gluttony, and incompetence. As conquering forces encroached the village, Banyon led the townsfolk to safety and left the king to his demise.
Years later, Banyon, living peacefully in a small mountain cabin, was approached by the soldiers of a new king. They asked him to fight for them, as his valor in battle was renowned throughout the land. Once again, Banyon displayed his confidence, as he spoke with this new ruler and declared that he would only lead the soldiers of a monarch who put his subjects before himself. Only after the king proved himself to be loyal to his people did Banyon go to fight for him.
Here we are already making plans for the upcoming holidays, especially Christmas. Some of us have already stashed presents away, and some of us will be last minute shoppers. The spirit and joy of the holidays is infectious, and we all want to be a part of it one way or another.
One of the main themes at this time of year is giving gifts to friends, family, and others. Some of us worry about finding the “right” gift for each person on our list. Will it be a good color or the right size? Will it be “enough” for a certain person? If it is not well received or valued, what should I do? How can I afford all of the gifts on my list?
These kinds of questions and concerns create tension, worry, and frustration inside of us. We seem to have lost the real value of giving. Maybe these two stories will help us remember the essence of gift giving in the days ahead.
Here we are at the beginning of a new year. In our culture it is customary to reflect on the past year and set some goals and priorities for the coming year. We are leaving a year that was filled with excess and inundation—political commercials spending excessive amounts of money. We are inundated with all the pressure to buy things over the holidays, with the emphasis on “things,” not relationships. We are bombarded with excessive amounts of information in the media, on our computers and cell phones. Endless kinds of entertainment are available day and night. Many of us are distracted, mesmerized, overwhelmed, even addicted, to looking at the little and big screens in our world of technology. More and more of us, adults and teenagers, look like cell-phone zombies as we walk down the street totally focused on their gadget. Some of these individuals trip and fall; some forget where they are; some get hit by cars!
It’s interesting to note that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were both very restrictive about the use of technology for their children and teens. There are recent reports from veterinarians that our domestic animals are suffering from depression because their owners are not paying attention to them. Another factor to examine is the high rate of suicide in the US, and especially in Montana.
Somewhere deep, very deep inside us is a need for safety in our lives. Perhaps it is in our DNA from living thousands of years on planet Earth. We believe that our safety is determined by our family and our “tribe.” Our ancestors survived trusting that membership in the tribe would help to keep them safe from harm, from attack, from hunger, and so much more—and it often did.
Strangers were suspect. They might be enemies, invaders, or potential conquerors capable of causing the death and destruction of our loved ones. The strangers might have looked different. Maybe they spoke a foreign language, dressed strangely, or had different values. In essence, the thinking was: if you don’t look like me, or talk like me, or believe as I do, then you are my enemy.
Let’s look at how much our inner emotional world colors our perceptions and our relationships in the outer world. Several years ago, I attended a workshop and the instructor placed a large amethyst quartz crystal in the center of our small circle. Our task was to connect with the crystal and share a few words about what we experienced. I was surprised at the diversity of what people saw, sensed, and felt. The crystal evoked different emotions, different qualities, and different memories and images for others.
In sum, the exercise helped me to appreciate how our perceptions and our relationships to the “outer” landscape are determined by our “inner” landscape. Our inner landscape holds our emotional history, good and bad memories, our cultural and religious beliefs and so much more. Each one of us has his or her own unique inner landscape beginning at birth. Here’s another example…
Dear Dr. Sophia, My friends tell me that I put myself down all the time. I have finally realized that, not only do I talk badly about myself to others, I also say mean things to myself in my head! I’m 36 years old and I’ve been doing this for probably 25 years. I want to stop being so self-critical but I don’t even know where to start. —HC
Dear HC, It’s absolutely possible to stop negative self-talk! We all have an inner voice but some of us have one that’s more critical than kind. Not only can you learn to silence your inner critic, you can learn to say kind things to yourself (and believe them). What’s challenging is that it’s an ingrained habit. We get so used to our thoughts, we barely notice what we say to ourselves.
At the age of 49, I was desperate for a new career. I had been working in the mental-health field for over 30 years. You could say I was a little burned out. I live in the mountains and wanted a home-based business so I could kiss my commute goodbye. I also wanted a career where I could use my hard-won mental-health skills.
I also wanted a career where I could use my hard-won mental-health skills. Previous jobs had me working with clients who were not voluntarily seeking help. This time, I wanted to help people who truly desired change and were motivated to take action towards their own success. I hoped and prayed I wasn’t asking for too much. Lo and behold, I actually found what I was looking for—life coaching! It has met all my requirements and more.