The Spirit of Purpose: An Audio Interview with Faye Fitzgerald

Spiritual teacher Faye Fitzgerald is never one to shy away from the big questions of life. She has a knack for bringing big lofty concepts down to earth in a way that makes them tangible and easy to understand.

In this interview, we tackle the big topic of capital “P” Purpose: What is it? Where does it come from? And how do we as spiritual seekers make it a part of our lives? Faye doesn’t disappoint with offering her profound, yet practical view of the nature of Purpose, while sharing some of her personal story along the way.

While this isn’t the first interview we’ve done with the founder of the Training in Power Academy, this time we decided to take different approach and create an audio podcast for your listening pleasure. Enjoy and please share!

Survival of the sisterhood: working from the inside-out

Women’s march on Washington. Photo credit: IB Times UK

After the historic women’s marches that took place across the world on January 21, 2017, the global consciousness was reminded of what women, when united, can achieve. For those who participated, there was a palpable power, a healing quality to the experience. It was a macrocosm of what many of us feel when we come together as women on a day-to-day level.

This is the sisterhood, a timeless force that draws women together to build communities, nurture each other and stand up for injustice when the need arises.

Despite their power, sisterhoods are also vulnerable to infighting, division and attack from external forces. Since the January march, the question has been asked: how to we keep the momentum moving forward? How can the sisterhood continue to be an effective collective voice and not scatter or become distracted?

Divide and conquer

Studies have shown that women not only enjoy the bonds we form with other women, but they are intrinsic to our health and wellbeing. Yet, there are many pitfalls that are prevalent within female relationships that can make women cautious and mistrustful of each other. Competition, betrayal and soldier gathering are all part of bullying behaviours that occur in groups of women. There is no girl who hasn’t felt the sting of backstabbing friends in middle school or popularity contests that invite you into the ‘in’ one day and abandon you to the ‘out’ the next.

Some of these dynamics are a result of living in a patriarchy where, in the past, we would need a man to survive or have status. Women have been socialized to compete for male attention, stepping over our bonds with each other to secure a social position. While modern life, to some extent, offers us independence in our power, many of these attitudes prevail. Though we know ourselves to be free of the restrictive social rules on paper, many of them still run freely within us on a subconscious or semi-conscious level.

Internalized misogyny

In her bestselling book, Lean In, Sheryl Sandburg talks about how women have internalized the glass ceiling, we don’t even need the bullies to do the work for us! We have learned from years of subtle (and not so subtle) cultural messaging to second guess ourselves, hold ourselves back and not act until we consider ourselves to be ‘perfect’ or good enough. We are our worst enemies, keeping ourselves from success while our male counterparts climb the ladder in the workforce, confident and without any doubt that they have the right to do so.

In our work at the Training in Power Academy, starting with Level 1, we work by the philosophy “heal thyself, heal the world.” This means you can’t really start fixing the world, or anyone else for that matter, until you address your own issues. So when it comes to our relationship to each other, women have to ask some difficult questions of where we play out the negative relationship dynamics with ourselves. This could be defined as internal misogyny: where we dislike, mistrust, judge and malign ourselves because we are women. It may be so habitual and subtle, we are not even aware of it.

Love the woman in the mirror

Maybe it began with messages you absorbed from home or school about being a girl. Maybe it’s from years of viewing disempowered versions of women and their relationships in the media. Maybe the first time we are betrayed in a female relationship, you blamed yourself for being open to it in the first place. Where did you close yourself off and learn to be guarded and watchful of not only other women, but also the female portion of yourself?

Without having a conscious awareness of it, many women will walk into a group of women expecting to be judged. So the question would be, where do you judge yourself? When you look in the mirror, what tone of voice are you using? Who do you perceive looking back? Is your relationship with yourself, as a woman, a safe, nurturing place? Or is it something you struggle to uphold without self-betrayal, judgment and pettiness?

Because of the healing nature of this reality we live in, if we don’t address our internal dynamics, we will feel compelled to play them out with others again and again. So if we want the movement of the sisterhood to sustain and thrive, we must start by fostering a healthy connection within. We need to start honoring and loving ourselves as women and seeing our own innate value. We can use our community as a platform for this process, but knowing that we must be accountable for our own wounds that we seek to heal.

So I present this final question: What if the real fight towards the injustice that threatens our world starts by facing our internal negativity? Imagine the collective strength of a group of women who know themselves and love themselves. And then support each other to become even stronger! After centuries of being kept from our power individually and collectively, it’s time for us to become the resilient force that we know we can be. The world needs the sisterhood and the sisterhood needs each other, may we keep up the good fight and continue striving forward!

 

Elinor Svoboda

Level 1 and 2 teacher

 

Solstice: A Universal call to the Light

picture1Solstice is coming.

I get so very excited these days when the great wheel of time swings around to mid-winter’s eve. Let me preface by assuring you that I was once a tremendous humbug about Christmas time. I felt like there was magic happening but somehow the stories I was being told about the reasons for this magic fell short for me. So I started to research the origins of Christmas.

That’s when I discovered this amazing thing. This amazing truth that binds us all in an undercurrent so powerful that we are swept out of our routines by it. All the seasonal traditions – wreaths, candles, bells, bonfire, gift-giving, gathering with your loved ones – all of them are born of ancient rituals once used by our ancestors to call back the sun.

I do say ‘our’ ancestors, and I do not need to know who your ancestors are to say that. Look it up. I don’t care if you are Lebanese or Latvian, Irish or Icelandic, Japanese or Javanese…look into your myths for the story of the departure of the sun, for the waning of the light… and you will find it. Look into the history of your peoples and you will find that they did this.  Jewish folks may be thinking that Hannukah is a celebration of a historical event so does not fall into this category, but many scholars believe that this holiday of light replaced an older Solstice celebration in the Jewish calendar.

Sunwatchers or stargazers of ancient times saw the sun stand still. That’s what Solstice means: “Sun stands still”. Y’see, as the year goes along the sun can be seen rising and setting in a southerly trajectory along the horizon.  Ancient astrologers and sunwatchers marked that passage so they could predict when to plant and when to harvest. What they saw, all of them, in every country, was that during the 6 days around winter solstice, the sun stops travelling along the horizon. It stops in one place, rising and setting there for nearly a week. And every one of those days, the sun rises lower in the sky, making the daytime shorter.

Our ancestors worried that the sun was losing some celestial battle for its life, or that it had lost interest in caring for the people of the world. Every culture on the planet created a plan to call that sun back. Among many Aboriginal peoples,  the Raven was called upon to steal the sun back from the evil wizard Tupilak once again. Goddess Beiwe was summoned by the Saami to bring back the sun and the sanity and hope of light. Mesopotamians took to the streets to act out the eternal battle between their god of fertility and the dragon of the underworld. In Japan, Ameterasu had to be coaxed from the cave of her self-imposed exile. The Bushmen of Africa tossed their Sunman into the sky so that all could share his light. The Kachinas were called back from the sacred mountains to bring the magic of all life to the Hopi.  The Oak King rose to kill his brother, the Holly King, and take back the throne in their eternal cycle of rising and falling to each other at the solstices. The Incans tethered the sun to specific ceremonial stations to keep it from wandering off.

Think about it. Before there was even any contact between these ancient cultures, each one of them performed some kind of magic to call back the support of the sun. From isolated pockets of civilization, this magic of hope and renewal stretched up from all corners of the earth, in unknowing synchronicity, to pull the sun back from the brink.  This simple magic of Solstice united every human on the planet, at a time when some did not even know there were other people. I can get pretty verklempt about it when I really imagine that unified intention.

I often think, if only everyone knew this.

We really have an opportunity to take down some cultural walls here and join together knowingly in this old tradition.

That’s my Solstice wish for all… a sense of unity and belonging to something greater than your human self.

As the Romans used to say,

“Sol Invictus”

(Hail the Return of the Invincible Sun)

Shaughna Born is an author, storyteller, researcher and spiritual teacher. She is a longtime member of the Training in Power Academy Faculty where she specializes in the Archetype and Alchemist classes. If you live in the Vancouver area, you can join Shaughna at the Secret Lantern Society’s festival as Solstice Historian at Granville Island to hear “Solstice stories- a sample of myths from all around the world”. Take a look at Shaughna’s website The Solstice Lady to see how our ancestors marked this time and read some of those myths for yourself.
Shaughna will be doing an online presentation of her talk “Return of the Light: One Woman’s Journey from Christmas back to Solstice” on Monday Dec 19th at 7 pm PST. 10$ per person. Email her at Shaughnabis@gmail.com for more info and to register.

Finding the Yin-Yang balance in relationships

Be it romantic, friendship, family or business, relationships are a cornerstone of the human experience. We are all made up of male and female energies, described in the East as Yin and Yang. We reached out to Faye Fitzgerald, founder of the Training in Power™ Academy to chat about how we can better understand Yin and Yang to bring more health into our relationships.

yin-yang

The Eastern concept of Yin and Yang is a well-known method of explaining the two opposing energies in nature and in ourselves. It is often used to describe the unifying or polarizing forces of female and male energy. What is your perspective of these two energies?

Yin is of the non-matter position or spirit frequency and the Yang is the matter position. This includes the bio-matter, which is your own physicality. So you are always both.

We have the symbol of Yin and Yang: Yin is dark because it encompasses the unseen portion of things. Consider the Buddha who described our thoughts as being ‘subtle matter’. This unseen portion is the area of will, which forces our existence to produce or manifest.

This concept of Yin and Yang can easily be applied when dealing with relationships. This includes a male-female dynamic as well as same-sex relationships. The ultimate goal is to find a energy balance between the two individuals.

Sometimes when you have a partner who is only on the Yang, then you’ll have them coupled with someone who is only on the Yin. A classic picture might be a huge, loud guy and she will be small, quiet female. He just finds her lovely and everything she wants to do is just fine by him because she’s Yin and he’ll never understand her because he’s so Yang.

You have counselled many couples and have developed 2 ground breaking relationship courses. What has been some of the key observations you made with how Yin and Yang plays out in relationships?

Every person is a mixture of both energies, but when you have two predominantly Yang people together it can be dramatic and often stressful. That’s because they are butting heads and they act everything out on the external level. For example, a Yang man would be wise to not compete with a Yang woman, but rather give her room to pursue her ambition. She in turn would benefit from not being overbearing or controlling with him. The best position for the Yang dominant relationship is if they join forces and support each other in their respective intensity.

On the other extreme, you can get two Yins together too. That is interesting, because they are both full of ideas, but they keep waiting for the other to take the action. If they don’t take action they will lose respect for each other and it can build resentment between them. If they decide to work together on a creative project and go into action-mode, they are often very sensitive in their approach and can be very successful.

What are some classic archetypes that you feel describe a healthy Yin and Yang placement?

Apollo and Artemis, by Gavin Hamilton (c) Glasgow Museums; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Apollo and Artemis, by Gavin Hamilton (c) Glasgow Museums; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

I think Apollo is a wonderful Yang archetype. He shines the sun and brings fertility and love. He is the beauty of the creative male who understands himself and doesn’t need to berate or belittle anyone to be strong. He is the Yang who comprehends his aggression is for protection, not to harm the beings he supposedly loves.

I would choose Diana, the Goddess of the moon for a healthy archetypical Yin. She is known as Artemis in Greek mythology. She is the huntress and a warrior. She is independent and connected to the mysteries of the universe. Her internal motivation creates a sense of trust and self-sufficiency, so she is not at risk of submitting or buckling to anyone else.

How would you then describe a healthy relationship dynamic?

I would describe it as mannerly, polite and formal. This means being mutually supportive and willing to divide areas of strength and cover areas of weakness. The 100% required for a relationship is required from each party. If you’re only willing to give 60% that leaves 140% on the shoulders of the other partner and there will be a gap. When there is a gap, it tends to widen as time goes on. You can’t owe, otherwise you’ll have resentment and cheating, so it’s best if both parties find a way to give equally to the relationship.

How do you counsel people to get in touch with their Yin and Yang in a healthy way?

An imbalance of Yin and Yang will often show up as the need to control. If people are over controlling on the external, chances are they feel out of control on the internal. The Yang controller will focus on a need for dominance and their behaviour will be visibly dominating.

In contrast, the Yin controller is the one who will “tsk tsk” under the breath. They will give you approval only when they get what they want and there is a passive aggressive dynamic rather than the aggressive of the Yang.

On either side of the spectrum, they’ve got to move out of their fear and find the courage to go inwards. That is a lot of what we teach in our training – the journey inward – where all the answers really are for your life. Of course, if you are busy having all the answers for everybody else’s life, you might be missing out on a couple of things on your own. You’ve got to be conscious, which is what we try to offer our students, a clear path to that conscious living.

Faye Fitzgerald is the founder of the Training in Power Academy, a spiritual education system that offers over 20 courses in meditation, spiritual healing and self-empowerment. She has been teaching and counselling people to their spiritual wellness for over thirty years. Find out more at www.fayefitzgerald.com

 

 

 

 

 

A new world vision: School replaces detention with meditation

A Baltimore elementary school has been getting a lot of praise and web-traction lately for their use of meditation instead of detention. For the past year, children are sent to the “mindful moment room”, when they have misbehaved or need to wind down. Here they are coached to breathe and reflect on their feelings and actions. The school has also integrated Yoga into their holistic program and as a result of their new approach, there have been no suspensions in over a year.

 

This news led me to reflect, how would have things been different for me if I had been given this knowledge as a child? What if punishment was replaced with an opportunity for self empowerment?

While I was generally a well-behaved student, I was a very sensitive and high strung child. I dreaded going to school most days. I had a hard time sitting still in class. Eventually, my mother sent me to school with a “doodle book” every day to keep my hands busy, where I would scribble and draw while the teacher spoke. This habit followed me all the way until university, until I learned to meditate.

As I learned to be comfortable in my body, present in the moment and focus from a greater part of my mind, the need for constant distraction disappeared. That’s not to say I stopped drawing, this was a constructive outlet that eventually enriched my creative life, but I stopped needing it as a coping mechanism.

In many ways, I believe children are naturally built for meditation. Although most kids are busy and sometimes frenetic, if you watch them when they becoming engaged play and imagination, the same kind of focus is engaged as we use in meditation. Clinical psychologist Dr Lee Pulos has done extensive research on brainwave patterns and has proven that young children live primarily in the Theta and Alpha brainwave patterns, until they are adults when they move more into the logic-based Beta pattern. These Theta and Alpha patterns are the same states that artists, well-practiced yogis and practitioners of meditation achieve in their practice.

If we can catch children early on and give them the scientifically proven benefits of meditation, then imagine what kind of foundation of emotional health, inner wisdom and personal strength they could develop! If we did this as a society, what kind of world might we build? Something to meditate about, no doubt.

Read the full article about the Robert W. Coleman Elementary school here.

Resistance: Know your Enemy!

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Waboom! The epiphany descends, a glorious new creative idea. In a Technicolor flash I see the spectrum of my next great screenplay, sure to be success, the best I’ve ever done. I scribble down the first few lines and resume my day, satisfied I’m still on track towards my dream of becoming a filmmaker of fame and fortune. Then, as usual, life gets busy. A few days pass, I keep telling myself I’ll wait for the right moment to sit down with the project, to devote some real time to developing it. A week passes and then another, I start to doubt that the idea is even worth it. A month later, I find the scribbled page of my notebook with the original flash. Damn, this is an awesome idea. I’d been had, and it wasn’t the first or the last time…

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance”.

Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art

You’re too tired, too busy, too distracted. The idea is so good that you need to just do one more thing before you really really start. It’s too noisy outside, you’re suddenly hungry, the fridge really needs to be cleaned and oh wait, your pants are too tight.

Sound familiar? These are all symptoms of resistance, and you are wise to get to know your foe before it totally derails you from ever knowing the feeling of realizing your potential.

Resistance is an unconscious mechanism that will do anything to stop us from achieving our evolution, be it spiritual, creative or making our mark on the world. Stephen Pressfield’s creative handbook, “The War of Art” goes into great depth of exploring where and how this nemesis plays out. He describes creativity as a war, and as his 5th century predecessor, military strategist Sun Tzu states in “the Art of War”, it is always wise to both know your enemy and yourself before going into battle.

The Many Faces of Resistance

Remember, Resistance is unconscious. Would we stop ourselves from achieving our true potential? Nevertheless it is a worthy opponent and is often fueled by our underlying fears. The antidote? Do it anyway! Call the job lead, go to the event, take the singing lessons. No one is immune to resistance; those who succeed in achieving their goals have often built the strength to forge ahead, to know the many faces of their enemy.

Procrastination, self­doubt, fatigue, drama (getting pulled into yours or others) are all familiar tropes of resistance. It can get tricky sometimes, like when resistance often tells you that it would be easier NOT to do the task at hand, which is probably true. But is life most satisfying when it is easy? Do we grow and thrive when everything is a mouse click away?

And how about when reality doesn’t behave? You finally psych yourself up to go to the gym and a massive rainstorm comes down as you go to catch the bus. Or your computer crashes when you sit down to write the first draft of your book. Is this the universe giving you a sign that it’s not meant to be, or is it resistance? The answer: Get wet and start your first draft on paper. i.e. Do it anyway and see how good you feel on the other side!!

Get Smart

We all have our weak areas that the opponent will seek out. Get to know how resistance shows up for you and what it feels like when you are in it. I know that resistance comes in as fatigue and even physical pain for me. My strategy: take little bites everyday. I won’t let resistance take a day of writing from me, even if it’s just 20 minutes at a time. And if I miss one, I am more ruthless to make up the time the next day. Know your blind spots and make a plan. I had a friend who was always late for her meditation classes. Her approach? Leave an hour earlier.

Ultimately consider Pressfield’s suggestion to “use it as a compass.” When resistance shows up, it means you’re onto something really good. If it persists, you are really going strong! As you continue to build up your ability to face it and conquer its temptation, the more you will be able to feel your Genius and follow her guidance.

For more tips on living spiritually strong, check my post The 5 keys of the Spiritual Warrior.

Elinor Svoboda

~Level 1 and 2 teacher

 

 

5 essential keys of a Spiritual Warrior

 

Archetype

“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is 
that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary 
man takes everything as a blessing or as a curse.”

Don Juan, the Carlos Casteneda series

As a teacher of Level 1, I always welcome my new students by congratulating them for having made it to the first class. They often nod in appreciation; surprised I acknowledge how hard it is to arrive to the threshold of a quest towards self-awareness. But there is a reason that everyone doesn’t choose to pursue a spiritual path in today’s world. They may not be ready or interested, but they may also know that it requires a level of effort and dedication.

The concept of the Spiritual Warrior is not new to the modern-day spiritual seeker. In fact it has been around for thousands of years in martial arts and many ancient traditions. In Buddhism the spiritual warrior fights self-ignorance (avidya), who is the ultimate source of suffering. The Spiritual Warrior acknowledges that the greatest battle is within, be it between good and evil, or simply towards a state of enlightened awareness.

So how is this relevant to our day to day lives? In the West, we rarely place ourselves in cloistered situations, where can we devote our life to spiritual training. And yet if your goal is to live consciously, it is a commitment that must come from your full self, like a noble soldier takes on battlefield.

In my many years of spiritual training, I have learned there are a few traits that make up the Spiritual Warrior’s armory. As you unlock the path for yourselves, here are 5 few keys to consider:

1. It’s all about you.

The Spiritual Warrior fights their battles on the inside first. What are you fighting? Whatever keeps you from your Spiritual connection. Sure, the conflict can appear to be from the outside world: A tyrannical boss, a demanding schedule or overdue bills. But a Spiritual Warrior realizes they are at the center of their reality, so anything that comes at them has to do with what they are putting out there, conscious or not. If you want real change in your life, it has to start with you. The Spiritual warrior is never a victim; they take responsibility for their part in any of life’s dramas and meet it from their spiritual center within.

2. It’s not all about you.

Many spiritual truths are rooted in paradoxes. Once we address our internal battle-field, we realize our external is full of factors that have nothing to do with us. Our relationships, small and large, challenge us to hold our internal love and awareness steady. Yes, we have our part to play in any dynamic, but once we know what that is, the Spiritual Warrior realizes that there is another Warrior on the other side of the table, with their own battle to fight. It is not up to us to save others or take on their negativity. Through forging our own path, we set an example of love and kindness to the self that radiates to others. It would be wrong to do their battle for them, so it is helpful to remember, their struggle is not always your struggle, even if they try to make it that way!

3. Focus, focus, focus.

How can you know if it’s about you/not you without developing an ability to see through the drama of life? When we imagine a true Spiritual Warrior, they stand with some badass weaponry and look sharply ahead, staring their opponent directly in the face. How do they do that? They don’t have superpowers, they have focus. A Spiritual Warrior trains to hone their perception, to see through distraction and deceit so they can know the nature of their battle. Through the internal practice of meditation and building focus, like an internal muscle, you can hold your inner knowledge steady in the storm of life.

4. Courage

The Spiritual Warrior draws their sword and trudges into the unknown of self, for they know that there is no growth in what feels safe and secure. They crave discomfort because through that tension comes triumph over adversity, and the adventure and fulfillment of self-discovery. It takes courage to go into the dark, to face what is ugly and senseless, to look at the trauma and pain and have the strength to reach for the light. The Spiritual Warrior does not function on bravado. True courage comes from the heart and their connection with the Divine Self for which they fight.

5. Discipline of Love

The Spiritual Warrior fights for consciousness, healing, truth and ultimately, Connection to their spirit. This requires a discipline to maintain that divine connection. As discussed in my previous post, Why is Self First so hard? Tending to the Self first is of upmost importance to creating a sustainable spiritual practice. Another aspect of the discipline of love is to know when to ask for help. Sometimes Spiritual Warriors get knocked or wounded on the battle-field and require assistance from their teachers and fellow Warriors. Be humble and know when to reach out for support, your vulnerabilities are part of your strength. When you reach out for others, then they may feel safe reaching out for you next time they need help.

 

“For the average man, the world is weird because if he’s not 
bored with it, he’s at odds with it. For a warrior, the world is 
weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable. 
A warrior must assume responsibility for being here, in this 
marvelous world, in this marvelous time.”

Don Juan, Carlos Casteneda series

 

Go forth and fight the good fight Warriors!

 

Elinor Svoboda

~Level 1 and 2 teacher

 

Reflections on Being Highly Sensitive

I recently read an article on the Quiet Revolution website that prompted a cascade of reflection on my own highly sensitive nature. It brought up a lot of emotion as I recalled various experiences in my childhood.

For instance, I have a vivid memory of my first day at Kindergarten. I cried in the cloak room for hours, terrified to go into the classroom. My mum left me thinking I would adjust better on my own. The noise from the classroom froze me to the bench. Sometime after the first break, someone coaxed me into the classroom. I stayed by the door beside the wall for what seemed like a very long time before joining the story circle. I liked the story but I was utterly uncomfortable with all those other kids so close, all talking and smelling and invading my personal space.

sensitive

I’ve always been affected by things that others didn’t even seem to notice. I was often overwhelmed emotionally. The noisier the environment, the harder it was for me. And I learned to interpret all this as meaning there was something wrong with me. And too often to count, I was instructed by my parents to be other than I am – “don’t be shy”, “be more assertive”, “you should have more friends”, “you just need more practice”. The end result was dozens of coping mechanisms including many ways to hide in plain sight. Once I was an adult, I would joke about being the canary in the coal mine. Except it was no joke.

As an adult, I’ve done a lot of personal work. For years I searched for ways to accept myself as I am. I tried many systems and methodologies, both ancient and modern. Until I found Level 1, I searched all the time. Then I was gifted with these beautiful energy tools and everything changed. It wasn’t like flipping a switch and all was perfect. It was more like someone showed me where the switch was so I could learn how to use it. The more I practiced the active meditation techniques and used my energy shielding system, the more I was able to move toward that self acceptance I was seeking. I learned to build my focus enough to protect myself without completely shutting off from the world. I could see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Now I see my experience in Kindergarten for what it was – the strong reaction of a highly sensitive child thrown into a noisy, crowded, strange smelling and bright environment without any boundaries or ability to protect myself. My mum tells the story quite differently – but then how could she know what it was really like for me? I wonder how my life would have been different if my mum and dad had recognized me as highly sensitive. What if they had accepted me as I am and provided me with more understanding and support?  I realize I wouldn’t be the same person I’ve evolved into if I had not had those experiences. More importantly, I can now give to myself that understanding, acceptance and support.

So when I read the article that prompted all this reflection, the words spoke directly to my heart.  Daisy Gumin, the author, has graciously permitted me to repost her words here. I share this in the hope that it will speak to you too. And I invite you to remember that each of us, no matter where we fall on the spectrum of sensitivity, has the right to be loved for who we are. Thank you Daisy for sharing.

~ Nancy Marsh, Level I Teacher

This article first appeared on January 23, 2016 on Quietrev.com

Advice for Parents of Highly Sensitive Children

By Daisy Gumin

Dear Parents of Highly Sensitive Children,

There is nothing wrong with your child. Both you and your child need to know that— really know that. Below are the six things I think a highly sensitive child might need from you the most.

1) Love us for who we are.

We actually feel things more deeply than most of the population. High sensitivity is a biological trait, not a choice.

Don’t assume that we’re just like you and that what worked for you will work for us. We can’t control how deeply we feel. We can’t decide when to stop feeling or which feelings not to have even when it appears as though we’ve got them under control.

When we try to suppress what makes us who we are, we risk losing the gifts that come with our temperaments.

Highly sensitive does not mean overly sensitive. What is normal, anyway? We know you want us to be happy, but trying to stop us from feeling badly is only a temporary solution. Where are all those feelings supposed to go?

If we’re fed the message that there’s an easier, better way to be, we’ll believe you and feel like something needs to be fixed. Help us embrace our “thin skin” and recognize that there’s nothing wrong with having it.

2) Listen to your intuition and not the “experts.”

Experts might tell you that we need therapy, or psychiatry, or that we’re bipolar, or have ADD, or need medication, or more medication. We are often misdiagnosed.

Consider that the experts may be wrong and that there’s nothing to cure. Experts are trained to psycho-pathologize. They look to label.

The experts we rely on to decipher our symptoms cannot possibly understand who we are in a one-hour consultation. See us with compassion, and then help us see what you see.

3) Teach us boundaries.                         

We are nurturers by nature.

We tend to the feelings of others while ignoring our own. We can give more than we have.

We need to hear that it’s okay to put ourselves first and that setting boundaries does not make us selfish.

4) School and group activities.

If we tell you we don’t want to go to school or to a group activity, try to find out why. Assume there is more to the story than what we’re telling you.

School is loud. Kids can be mean. They can betray, gossip, and exclude. School can be excruciatingly overstimulating. We are deeply affected by our surroundings and living in a culture that can be relentlessly aggressive.

Highly sensitive children sense the injustices and cruelties all around them. Trust that we must be experiencing something painful enough to ask you if we can stay home.

Consider that we may be the canaries in the coal mine.

5) Just listen.

Sometimes we don’t need advice, and we don’t need to hear why we shouldn’t feel the way we do. Sometimes, we just need you to listen.

6) Keep us close.

You are the North Star.

This is YOUR 2016

A few years ago, instead of New Years resolutions I started to make a yearly intention for manifestation. This is a magical way to start the year and a very empowering exercise to make this year YOURS.

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Here is a formula I like to use on New Years Eve. It can be a personal exercise to do in a meditative space with you and your journal. It is also can be part of celebrating the New Year with your partner or like-minded friends. Either way, saying your intentions out loud will help your manifestation thrust. Writing them down is even better!

  1. Take stock of the past, land into the now.

Setting intentions is most powerful when you are fully in the present moment. Take time to acknowledge the year you’re leaving behind. Celebrate your achievements, challenges and mistakes -Yes, mistakes! On a path of personal growth, there will be inevitable bumps in the road. See the year as a whole, like a chapter in the book of your life you are now ending. High points, low points, honor them all. Be grateful for where you are now and then release it to the past where it belongs.

  1. It starts with a feeling.

New Years resolutions often stem from issues that we think we need to fix. But thinking won’t get you very far when you are getting into the drivers seat of creation. Manifestation starts with a feeling.

Picture this: You are leaning back into a comfy leather bucket seat in a sweet purring sports car. You are on the highway of 2016. Take a breath and open your heart, connect with your inner wisdom or higher self, that compass that guides your path toward your self-realization. Feel what your heart desires for 2016. What do you crave? What do you need? What is your next step of growth? Find a few key words that describe these feelings and write them down.

  1. Visualize

With your key words in tow, now comes the detail work. Studies on visualization have established that visualization, with all 5 senses, activates the same functions in the brain as action or result. So step into the reality right away! How does your mind buzz with the development of your creative practice? How does it taste when you are eating healthier? What does it feel like in your body when you love yourself more? Amplify this process by describing your reality through writing or by talking about it with someone as if it is already happening. Remember, this is your road – just tell your car where to drive.

  1. Commit

These ideas and visions wouldn’t come to you unless they were, in some way possible. Now is the time to commit to this path and whatever surprises lie ahead. There will be inevitable twists and turns in the journey, challenges that will make you question and even doubt yourself. Connect to the greater sense of purpose that drives your visions. Know that your Spirit will guide you along the way. Take your key words and make them a part of your everyday life. It may be a sticky note on the bathroom mirror or your computer, or daily reminders in your phone, whatever it takes, commit to reinforce your 2016 vision every day.

5. Surrender and Receive

You’ve set the tone and are cruising on your road, now it’s time to let it go. While it is good to be specific when setting a manifestation, it’s better not to try to control how it’s going to play out – you’ll likely encounter frustration and disappointment. Instead open your heart, be grateful for what is emerging day to day and receive the adventure and the gifts ahead.

To a joyous, prosperous 2016 to you all! Keep us posted on how your manifestations are revealing themselves in the New Year!

~ Elinor Svoboda
Level 1 and 2 Teacher

Past Life Work and Healing

In the depths of grieving, we are brought back to fundamental questions. Does part of us live on, even come back? Can we use this perspective to create and built our lives now, with care for future generations and the beings we share the planet with? Here we continue Laura S’ Journey into Past Lives…

When you are first beginning to work with yourself and learn about Past Life Work, you might remember a déjà vu experience of some kind. For example, I had a woman tell me that she travelled to England for the first time on vacation. Upon arriving at her final destination, she had an overwhelming feeling that she had been there before. She went to a small town outside of the city and actually pulled up in front of a pub that she was convinced she had lived above. She knew her way around the town without a map. She remembered, through feeling and knowing, a close connection with that area.

Another woman told me once, that as a child she visited Delphi in Greece. Which is historically known as the place where heaven and earth meet. She said that when she and her family arrived at the ruins she immediately told her parents, “I remember when these walls were built.”

  • Do you have challenges with money? Maybe you took vows of poverty in a past incarnation.
  • Do you have trouble finding love? You could have been a monk in a past life.
  • Do you struggle with weight? Maybe you starved to death in a past life.

Children and Past Lives
Many children remember their past lives spontaneously, without hypnosis or prompting. Some as young as two and still in diapers blurt out, “I remember when I died before” or “My other mommy had curly hair”. They often describe details that they had no way of learning in this life. Some remember startling personal details of relatives who died before they were born.

Past Life Work and HealingOnly recently here in the West have children’s past life memories been researched and documented. These memories have long been accepted in other cultures. Now we know that these memories happen naturally to young children in all countries of the world, regardless of the beliefs of their parents. They can happen any time to any very young child, but parents often don’t notice because they don’t know it’s possible or don’t know what to look for.

I believe that children and the elderly are the closest to those realms of holiness. Who better to listen to around this area. I had a child tell me once that she remembered Bunker Hill vividly. That when her teacher showed her pictures of the red coats, she could remember seeing them and all of the sights and sounds of that time. She said she remembered being “pushed around.” I knew that in this young one’s life it was very important for her to “stand her ground” and not let anyone “push her around.” She said she remembered as if it were yesterday, the phrase shouted “don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes.”

Past Life Healing
I have seen many untrained psychics attempt past life healings on clients. Just because a metaphysician might have the vision to relay a story does not necessarily mean that they are trained to deal with all that might come up around that type of reading.

It is my experience that if you want to delve in to this area you can be trained properly in the reading and clearing not only of others’ past lives but of your own. With the proper training and a raise in vibration you can safely move through this type of work and you will become a great gift to not only yourself but those that need your assistance.

​Being a psychic comes with great responsibility and requires a tremendous maturity and detachment. You can be trained in to this place of opening all of your gifts so that you can share them in the world, safely and with integrity.

~ Laura Stanley, Level II Teacher