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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.

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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.

Why is “Self First” so hard?

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One of the key concepts that we cover in our foundational course Level 1: The Prophet, is the Divine Law of Self First. Self-First refers to the fundamental importance of taking care of your self, before tending to others or all the other demands that come from the external world.

Simple, right? They even tell you to do it when riding on an airplane, if the oxygen mask drops down, you put yours on first and then help someone in need. I often use this example when I’m teaching and when I ask the students why, there is always a long pause.

And then…

“Because you can’t help anyone else if you can’t breathe?”

YES! Sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? Yet why does it feel so complicated when it comes time for us to apply Self First in our lives? Why do we often leave our own needs until last? Why do we wait until we are over-tired, over-extended or even physically sick to finally address what we need?

“Self First is selfish”

There is a big difference between Self First and being selfish aka narcissism. If you’re not sure, let’s look at the psychological definition:

nar·cis·sism

noun

Extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.

Not taking a business call on your break so you can have lunch, arranging childcare so you can get a massage or taking a moment to decompress your own stress before hearing about your partner’s crazy day….is this really selfish? A desire for admiration? Yet, this message is engrained in us from an early age.

Of course, considering others is an important lesson that we must learn as children, when we think everything in the world revolves around us. And you may have been well praised when putting others first. But it is so easy for that healthy consideration to move into leaving our own needs until last, especially if you are someone who derives a lot of joy and satisfaction from helping others. It’s instant gratification when you give or fix something on the external, and yet the gesture will become empty if you don’t pause to recharge your battery.

So in truth, it is irresponsible NOT to tend to yourself first. If you empty your internal wellspring of love, joy and healing on another and don’t take the time to fill it up, then you’ll either burn out, or become needy to get it from others and THAT can seem, well…selfish. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

“I don’t have enough time”

No question, modern life is busy. It is all to easy to fall victim to what seems out of our control and get sucked into a life of schedules, to-do lists and unanswered emails. Many people don’t find a way out until they burnout, get sick or have a dramatic life event that makes them realize they need to start taking care of themselves. Then Self First becomes a monumental task that can take days, weeks and even years of focused repair work. If you leave it that long, then yes, Self First does take a lot of time.

But consider this: What if it were to be one minute of every hour, or even 10 minutes a day to tend to our own needs? Small bites, little moments that build into a sustainable routine which can connects us to our internal voice, who guides us to what needs attention before it becomes an issue.

In our work at TIPA, meditation is where we take the time daily to fill our buckets and replenish ourselves. We use that internal communion with the divine principles of love to deepen our relationship with Self. What might work for you?

Consider taking those moments to address yourself and watch what happens, see how life becomes less stressful and more focused. Notice how much more effecting and helpful you are to others when you put your mask on first. Oxygen matters! And so you do you!

 

~Elinor Svoboda

Level 1 and Level 2 teacher

 

 

 

 

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

Letting Yourself Play Too

“Joys of the season to you and all you love!”

We do so much for others at this time of year, and for the outward displays of spirit. Whether celebrating the return of the sun, Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, or others, festivities and events call us to service. And sometimes, as adults, the little person inside the grown-up starts to act out. The office parties, holiday gatherings, gift shopping, all take energy and are fraught with expectations of ourselves and others, and something snaps.

I wacandles, festive, play, child withins volunteering at a community festival. I’d helped with set-up, the stringing of lights and banners, and at the event I was greeting people at a door, taking donations, giving directions. Yet eventually, I started to notice I wasn’t getting to participate in the fun part. Everybody was having fun, except Meee.

In earlier days, I would ruthlessly squelch that plaintive childish voice and keep on, smiling cheerfully and pretending it was alright, better to give than receive. But as a person of spirit, I need to take care of myself too. So I took a breath, checked in with the increasingly frantic tone of my inner self and realized she was right. It was time to take the help that was offered, let go of my self-appointed martyrdom and pass the torch to another person. So I asked, and another woman arrived at the post, and she was lovely, kind, smiling. I felt good leaving it in her hands.

As I remember this, I realize that she was showing me what I had contributed, all unknowing, to the event. Steadiness, good humor, unflappability. And now she could also bring those beautiful qualities to the world. And as I allowed myself to go and have fun, I will have that happy memory to add to all the reasons I volunteer here.

So, as you find and create the special places of light inside you and out in your world, remember that child inside of you. You also need to play, and it’s a different kind of sharing, to ask for help so you too can relax and join the fun. And then when you step back in to help, it will be even more a gift from the heart.

Sending wishes and light for joy and love, peace to the world and happiness to all that you are.

~ Lori Fuglem

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

A Journey Into Past Lives

I’m Laura Stanley and I want to share what I have come to know as a “Journey Into Past Lives.” I am a psychic, a metaphysician, and a healer. I receive my intuitive information primarily in visions. I also am communicated with through feeling, hearing and sometimes just “knowing”.

I am a faculty member of the Training in Power Academy where I teach a class called Level I – The Prophet and Level II – Ancient Shamanism. We teach students about energy healing and meditation as a way to maintain higher levels of vibration and own their own power as psychics, metaphysicians and healers.

Introduction to Past Life Work and the Time In Between

It is my opinion that our past lives may cause us to play out subconscious themes. For example, if in a past life you were pushed off a cliff by a lover, you might have a fear in this life of love or heights or both. It may be something that you have never been able to understand this time around. Or something that you have struggled to heal but have never been able to because it feels locked on to you in some way.

I believe that we bring these tJourney into past liveshemes into our current life to heal them. That no one is torturing us in this life but rather we, in our spiritual brilliance, have conceived these stories or dramas for ourselves to play out on this plane to heal. So that we can finally be free of all of the elements that do not represent who we truly are as beings of light. In my meditations as a young girl, I would ask God “Why have you put me in this situation? Why is there so much suffering?” And over the years, it has been explained to me this way in my meditations and dream time:

“when we leave this place or what we call “death” we find ourselves in a place called “the land of in between”. In this place, we are bathed in light and slowly our vibration is lifted so that we can move in to the next realm. The spirit that I work with calls it “being souped up” or “the re-categorizing of the mind.” Sometimes if this earthly realm is particularly traumatic, we might spend more time in that place of the in between. But it is of no matter because once we are moved in to this land there is no time or time is quite different and moves much quicker.”

This is how the way out has been described to me. Of course, I interpret within the confines of my own religious and social background. If you were Hindu or another religion this place might look or be completely different to you.

The way back in to this reality, this time, has been told and shown to me in this way…

“I spend time in a garden, a flower covered arbor way with a spiritual being that is associated with or assigned to me… a trainer of sorts. This is the last being that I will be in contact with before I leave this vibrational realm. I am telepathed about this life that I am about to enter. I am spoken to about various themes: sacrifice, victimhood, etc. As soon as we tune to the vibration of healing on the female, I am moved in to the womb and the entranceway is sealed. The next thing I can remember is hearing a conversation in the womb about how a boy is desired rather than a girl. Hence, the holiness or a lifelong healing between myself and the feminine proceeds in this lifetime. It is that simple and that complicated. The commencement of the healings on this earth plane come rushing in and the memory is lost.”

The trick is to move in to a vibration where you can know these things for yourself and then to begin to learn the healing of these behaviors. In that way, you can begin to release all that is holding you back from your higher self. I don’t believe anyone wants to punish us but rather we have a certain energy field around us and it carries a frequency that travels out and attracts others that have a similar frequency.

For me, to know about a story or a “past life” is of no use on its own. I do not promote fascination around this type of work. I have done hundreds of past life readings and have received hundreds and I know that the only benefit of doing that is to remove where it keeps us caught in this current life. This is our physical vehicle right now and how we experience this process on this planet. If we could all clean it and make it as pure as possible there is no telling how we could affect this place for the better.

~ Laura Stanley, Level II Teacher

Are You First in Your Own Line?

When I was growing up, I had two homes.  In my first home, my every movement was controlled and I had to follow many rules. In my second home, I had freedom and I was loved.  This one was hidden deeply within myself.

While the outside world kept pushing me to become useful, I daydreamed a lot. I learned to lock myself away in a bathroom to create space and time for me to read and dream.  But over the years, I had such intense training to become useful to others that others became the priority in both my homes – both my external and my internal world.

I became almost obsessed with mastering skills to help others in better and more efficient ways.  My focus in training, schooling and a variety of courses was to perfect myself for the world.  It took me 48 years to discover that I had totally lost myself in other people’s lives.

During a workshop that I was taking, all the students were asked where they stood in the line up of their personal priorities.  For me, the idea to be the first in my own line never occurred to me. I found myself unconsciously stepping into space number 21 in my line.

To my surprise each participant was asked to openly tell the class each of the people in their lives that took priority. And I found I didn’t have any difficulty naming those people whose needs were more important than mine.

This experience was an eye-opening process for me. I could not hide from this knowledge any longer.  It was then that I decided to put my needs and myself first on my own to-do list.

But now I had a dilemma – how could I be first in my life? How could I be good to myself for a change? I had no clue.  I knew that I liked to be liked, appreciated, useful – even if that meant loosing energy, health and time.
Ania
So I read more books and took more workshops. But I found myself still following the same pattern of always putting others first before me. I was unable to shake off the responsibilities that I believed were mine to carry. By this point, I was exhausted from a combination of stressful work situations, dealing with dying patients, and being the main caregiver for a seriously-ill family member.

One day, I heard an announcement at work about a meditation course.  It was offered by a nurse who was doing research for her Masters thesis at UBC.  I signed up.  It felt like this course would offer me the assistance that I desperately needed. It felt like this was a way to rediscover myself.

During the course, my journey back to myself began.  I learned wonderful tools. I learned “how” to put myself first. And I now had the help that I needed when challenges arose. Most importantly, I started developing a true relationship with myself. It is an ongoing process. But I am now first in my own line.  I still care for others, but after caring for myself.

Now, I teach this meditation course. If you desire to be good to yourself, to be first in your own line, welcome.

~ Ania Jasiak
Level I Teacher, Artist, BC Therapeutic Touch Practitioner, BC Instructor, BC Health Clinician BSN

Six Ways Meditation Can Make You a Better Writer

Ever since I printed my first letter “A” while watching Sesame Street as a toddler, I wanted to be a writer. I spent a good deal of my childhood and teens expressing my innermost thoughts and feelings through stories and poems. Once I reached a certain age, however, my yearning to write became more of a problem. According to my parents, it would get in the way of my earning a real living.

So, over the years, I tried to find a middle ground. I gave up fiction for a while and became a technical writer. It wasn’t until I learned to meditate, over a decade ago, that I realized I owed it to myself to pursue my dream. This article talks about how meditation made me a better writer, not a better writer than other people, but the best writer I can be.

1. Meditation allows me to get a different perspective: 
First of all, meditation is a spiritual practice that teaches us to seek within ourselves for guidance. When I meditate, I can get truly free of not only the perspectives of other people or what’s been done before. I can tune into my inner wisdom pull myself out of any problem. This different perspective really assists me in writing. I can use it to get to know my characters, to hear their voices. I can also use it to try to figure out how they would solve their own problems. If I get caught in a story idea, or character’s problem, I meditate until I find the answer. And I trust that the answers will come.
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2. Meditation allows me to find inspiration: 
Similar to the way meditation allows for a different perspective, it’s also a wonderful way to attain creative insight and inspiration. I can tune into different worlds, allow myself to dream, and try out different story ideas until I find the one that calls me to write it. In fact, one of the courses I teach has an amazing tool for using your dreams or meditations to problem solve.

3. Meditation teaches me not to compare myself to others, to anyone else’s journey or achievements: 
One of the most difficult things for writers to do is not compare their successes (or challenges) with others. It’s so easy to get bogged down in other people’s opinions, or why one person is more successful than you are. When I meditate, however, I am reminded of the infinite abundance of spirit that connects us all. My spirit is working for me. My journey is different than other people’s but it’s perfectly tailored for my learning at this time. A friend once said to me, “Don’t give up your insides for someone else’s outsides.” I’ve come to realize that my life is a gift, just the way it is. And what other people have in their life does not matter. This is a discipline I’ve cultivated through a meditation practice.

4. Meditation keeps me humble, out of ego-first thinking: 
As with comparison, meditation allows me to see myself as I truly am: a spirit having a human experience. If I forget that, I can be led around by my ego, needing everyone to like me and my writing. It has been my finding that if I need anything from others, my neediness can push that very thing away. Ego can make us quite needy. It is only when I am humble, and out of ego, that I can open to my true potential.

5. Meditation assists me to move out of blocks – writer’s block or otherwise:
As part of my meditation practice, I have cultivated a life of truth. This means telling myself the truth, feeling my true feelings, and being willing to face my spirit no matter what. Every block I’ve experienced in my life stems around a feeling that I’m afraid to feel or a truth I’m afraid to face. The same is true of writer’s block. It’s simply another area where fear has me in its grip. I meditate to ask my spirit “what am I truly afraid of?” Once I face that fear, the block lifts.

6. Meditation gives me patience that sustains me when the path is long and arduous: 
Fulfilling any dream takes time, be it becoming an author or poet, or finishing medical school. There’s a discipline involved in studying and learning to get better at your chosen craft or profession. Meditation teaches me patience. It re-energizes and rejuvenates me to keep me focused on the long haul.

Though these are listed as six ways meditation has made me a better writer, truth is, I believe these lessons apply to any and all areas of life. If you have a particular meditation practice, keep up the good work!

Namaste!

~ Lisa Voisin,
Level 2 Teacher

Reprinted with thanks from Lisa’s blog,
https://lisavoisin.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/six-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-better-writer/

Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Cake

This is a modified version of an old family recipe for Sicilian breakfast cake that I originally got from Georgia Colton. I’ve experimented with it a bit, and the chocolate is still my favourite.

Here’s the basic recipe first and then the modifications for the:

Infamous chocolate version

7 eggs
1 1/8 cup maple syrup
½ cup oil
1/3 cup water (or other liquid – cold coffee, juice, etc.)
3 ½ heaping tsp. baking powder
2 cups gluten-free flour (I prefer 80% amaranth, 20% buckwheat, or you could use rice, bean, or any commercial blend of gluten-free flour.  If using coconut flour, you’ll need to adjust the amounts of liquids and flour.)

  1. Separate the egg whites from yolks. Blend together the egg yolks, maple syrup, liquid and oil.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.
  3. Fold one tablespoon egg whites into other liquid ingredients, then blend together.
  4. Add the rest of the egg whites to the liquid ingredients, and blend together, slowly adding the baking powder while blending.
  5. Fold/sift the flour into the mixture gradually, mixing with a whisk only until all flour lumps are gone.
  6. Pour into a buttered angel food cake pan, put into COLD oven, closing oven door gently.
  7. Turn oven to 300 degrees, and bake for one hour (use the standard fork/toothpick test)

cake_Lori F_blogOptions:

      • If you want to add flavouring, make the flavouring part of the liquid ingredients (e.g.: vanilla, lemon extract, coffee, etc.)
      • Add chopped nuts, fruit, poppy-seeds or chocolate chips while folding in flour.

For a deluxe triple chocolate mocha cake:

  • Substitute ½ Dutch Cocoa for flour in the flour mixture
  • Use cold espresso instead of water
  • Add about a half-cup of finely-shaved dark chocolate (the darker the better, preferably at least 70% cocoa, the less sugar the better).
  • Sprinkle a handful of dark chocolate chips over the mixture in the pan.

Because the chocolate is so rich, it may take an extra 10 minutes of baking time depending on oven, altitude, etc.

Enjoy!

~ Anna Melnikoff,
Teacher, Level 3

Who Do You Think You’re Fooling?

Did the title spook you? It was meant to.

A friend of mine had done the work of putting together a comprehensive resume listing all her skills. She confessed to me that when she read it back over, it was so impressive she couldn’t believe the resume was her own. I asked her if she lied or exaggerated. She had not lied.

I shouted “Then, snap out of it, woman!” and we had a laugh.

In truth, though, this is no laughing matter. We are talking about an inability to see the self in truth. It is said that butterflies can’t see their own wings and likewise humans seem to be afflicted with an inability to see the ways they are magnificent. The term that is being used to describe this affliction is “Imposter Syndrome”, an irrational fear of people finding out that you’re a fake or that you’re just making it up as you go along. In my lexicon of naming, I refer to this dynamic as “waiting for the tap”. I’m just hanging about here with these creditable experts, these responsible adults, these lovely people….until someone notices I am in the wrong place and comes over to give me a tap on the shoulder and tell me to move along.

Meryl Streep, a veteran actor who holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations (18) demonstrates her own susceptibility to this syndrome in this quote: “You think, why would anyone want to see me again in a movie? And I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?”

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An “Imposter” has an impossibly high standard set for their expertise. They often have an unreasonable expectation of infallibility which does not allow for them to make a single mistake. This attitude makes learning a new skill torturous as the Imposter is highly critical of their lack of coordination. The fear of appearing foolish or ignorant may prevent a person with Imposter Syndrome from learning new things.

Dr. Valerie Young, who has made a study of this syndrome, says that, “The thing about impostors is, they have unsustainably high standards for everything they do. The thinking here is, if I don’t know everything, then I know nothing. If it’s not absolutely perfect, it’s woefully deficient. If I’m not operating at the top of my game 24/7, then I’m incompetent.”

It’s an all or nothing at all world for the imposter who suffers their fear of inadequacy alone, anxious that everyone will know the true depth of their incompetence if they make one little slip. All their years of credibility and good faith could be swallowed up by a single mistake. They exaggerate internally, the level of risk represented in any new venture, often talking themselves out of new experiences for fear of showing themselves unsatisfactory or proving themselves to be charlatans.

Tara Sophia Mohr suggests in her article “Understanding How to Frame Your Creative Expertise”, that there are 4 types of experts. The Survivor has experienced something and now is moved to share that experience with others. The Cross-Trainer has a passion for more than one thing and is able to create conceptual bridges between their areas of expertise that help make sense of one or the other of those specialties. The Called are people who are deeply moved from within to bring their vision or knowledge to the rest of the world. Finally there is The Academic. This expert may have written a book or two and has academic credentials.

Imposters inevitably compare themselves with the Academics, feeling that they are not as qualified as Dr. Expert and therefore their position must be inferior. Setting that high standard, the Imposter disregards the wisdom of experience offered in the Survivor’s expertise, questions their own perceptions of their field when faced with a scrappy Cross-Trainer, or may be disdainful of the knowledge brought forth by the one who is Called.

The truth of it is that most people are just out there flying by the seat of their pants, weighing instinct against imprinting to make decisions, and learning all they can tolerate about the law of cause and effect. What all four types of experts have in common is that they believe in themselves enough to share their wisdom, skills and insight, be that by humorous observation, epiphanies, or revelation.

No fast remedy for the newly hatched syndrome but to set an intention to view the self with greater respect and kindness. Make a resume if you must, to list your assets. If you struggle with that, ask a close friend to extol your virtues. Your task will be to receive every compliment your friend speaks without bounce-back or denial. It may so happen that you, like my friend, are not an Academic style expert. Surprise! You don’t have to be. You just have to believe in yourself and the inspiration that moves you.

My point here is, “Snap out of it!”

~ Shaughna Born
Teacher, The Archetype and The Alchemist courses