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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

 

 

Sensitivity? In this harsh world? Why?

Students who are drawn to spiritual study often find themselves to be coined “too sensitive”, which can feel like both a blessing and a curse. We reached out to Faye Fitzgerald, founder of the Training in Power Academy, to gather her unique perspective on how to manage our sensitivity while opening up to our greater gifts.

Were you a sensitive child? What was that like for you?

I could see energy flows and I knew things, though I couldn’t always explain why or how. And then people began to know I knew things, like my 4 older brothers would be fixing something and if they couldn’t figure out what was wrong they’d say, “Go get Faye”. And I would come out and say, “It’s that” and point at something. I didn’t know the thing-a-ma-gig’s name, but it was a thing-a-ma-gig! (laughs) I think I’m still a bit like that.

It’s very difficult for those of us who work in what would be considered Law or Power to live without Truth, even as children. You can’t walk around lying to people so you just learn to be quiet and I was extremely quiet. I had a stepfather who made sure we had no opinion, so I didn’t talk for years. I cultivated my own inner world and grew up in a very tough environment. So while I was very sensitive, on the flip side, I would say I was numbed, dumbed down and broken in so many ways, including a broken skull. I lost certain abilities to feel other people’s feelings because it was so violent and dangerous. The irony of it is as a psychic, I don’t think you can avoid knowing things, but do I have to feel everybody’s feelings to know that? I don’t think I could.

So I don’t think one can afford to live a life of being sensitive to the point of breaking yourself. Because I believe that has already been done to us for the most part, or else the world would be more sensitive. I think you have to get to the point where you recognize that sensitivity is a tool and a powerful force of intuitive knowingness.

What I’m hearing is that you’re talking about a balance of not collapsing into the sensitivity, but being able to navigate it.

That’s right, finding a balance rather than being overcome with emotions and feelings to the point where you are paralyzed and you can’t function. I see this with people who deal with anxiety, depression or phobias where they’re really just stopped because the emotion is so magnified. People become so angry because they really think they should be able to control everything from their intellect. What I try to teach them is that there is a correct message in all of these feelings; they just need to learn how to interpret the information.

How did you find that balance for yourself? Coming from the extremes of your upbringing?

I went to God. We refer to that force as Source and I’m starting to call it the ‘Source Dimension’ now because I understand the vastness of this area of sensitivity. I looked at the tough love of this area and the level of sensitivity to feel all and know all, and I learned. I learned to embrace the power of seeing all and knowing all and I also learned how to manage that sensitivity.

I don’t know that humanity really understands how vile humans can be to each other, and it’s always a big shock when that awareness comes home. When you see the concentration camps of World War II or the killing fields of Cambodia, it’s a sickness that pervades our species that I believe we are attempting to cure. I sometimes refer to this earth as the ‘hospital plane’.

What have you built into the foundational course work you teach in order to help people come to their sensitivities in a healthy way?

We are in the business of souls. We work with people at a soul level, that they will come on board and start to get well. By that I mean that they start to perceive the areas where they really are dysfunctional. This occurs when people start to realize who they really are and that they are not the patterning or trauma that has been imposed on them.

From here they start to recognize they have a nobility of nature and that puts them in a position to be able to heal themselves. With that, they come into a Lawful position of Self First. Some think this sounds selfish, but what we mean is that one must tend to their own self before helping another, so you are not a leaky bucket anymore.

Once you are filling yourself with light and power, you are going to learn how to wield this power and heal with it. So as you go along you heal more and you have more power and light, which gives you more power to heal. This creates a great strength and wellness in an individual who is willing to do this work.

How can we be more sensitive to each other as on this ‘hospital plane’?

There can be a double standard sometimes, we look at our artists and we expect them to be sensitive and then we look at someone like a truck driver with the expectation that they’re not. And they get mad, because they want to be treated with sensitivity and respect and yet they have to put on this obnoxious show that they’re not sensitive. It’s a delicate ride through humanity.

I’m very loving with people, but I tend to be very formal. I’m very respectful and honoring of people and I’ve never gone wrong with it. This means there is no contemptuousness or people taking advantage of each other and respecting each other’s differences. Formality, sincerity, respect and honoring are all signs of you honoring and respecting yourself, which is important. Give it to yourself and then you can give it to another. That is the key to guarding the sensitivity of others.

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

Faye Fitzgerald Header 1

Finding your Silence: A natural balance

Past Life Work and Healing

In Silence there is eloquence. Stop weaving and see how the pattern improves – Rumi

“Inner silence” is a well-used catch phrase relating to the core of most spiritual practices. The idea has become so commoditized that we don’t blink if we see them on a cream cheese commercial and yet, what does it mean? How do we achieve it? For many of us, it is a tall order to stop life so we can find a serene mountain to hike, or shut off the world we don’t hear a sound. And even if we manage to be in a place without external distractions are we able “be” quiet?

As a meditation teacher, I’ve discovered it’s a lot more complex then people realize, a dance within our nature to find what we define as silence. People are often discouraged in early attempts to meditate because they can’t “turn off their thoughts”. In the Western world, we are cultured to value an active mind, based on stimulus. It can be very difficult for us to achieve the form of meditation that seeks to empty the mind. This doesn’t mean you can’t meditate. This means an active style of meditation is better suited for you, a discipline that fills the mind with purposeful activity.

So if we stop fighting the way our brain works, where do we go from there? First, start by acknowledging the intrinsic value of your inner world; it’s what makes you unique, where the treasure box of you is hidden. From there, foster time in your life to be still enough to become aware of what is actually going on inside. This in itself can be a tall order to fill, especially on a consistent basis. Part of the secret is to treat this aspect of yourself like a friend you want to be closer to, all the while knowing it’s you. This silence is yours, an inherent and beautiful part of your complex human nature.

As someone who has had a devoted meditation practice for over 15 years, I can easily say I am not a dew-drop serene picture of peace at all times. I live in a dynamic state, that is both driven and contemplative, riddled with the challenges of everyday life. What I’ve learned is that I can’t shut the busy, ambitious aspect of my nature in order to achieve calm. Rather I need to respect a balance between these two energies and work to make space for both of them: Active and Receptive, or as described in eastern medicine, Yin and Yang.

Think about how calm your body feels after a rigorous workout or how still your emotions feel after a good laugh or cry. It is our ability to move between action and reflection that allows us to live consciously, through building the inner awareness to enjoy the balance.

We need to move in order to be quiet. And we need quiet in order to move with a purpose.

One thing I’ve learned about inner silence is that you have to be present in order to notice it. You have to be present in order to call it forward. So connect with yourself and consider what you need to find your peace? Will movement or creativity bring you there? Perhaps a conscious walk in the park or listening to some music. Find your balance and then reach within to connect with yourself, take some time and foster an awareness of what this peace feels like to you, so it is yours and not someone else’s idea of what it should be. In a focused state, try this meditation:

Take some deep breaths and settle into you body. Connect to what you know as the divine. With this connection, acknowledge the truth that calm is part of your inherent nature, no matter how buried. Remember moments in your life where you felt the most quiet. Feel it, see it, smell and hear it. What stands out the most? Bring those feelings into the moment and then build on them. Create a new place inside you where you can find that peace. Give it an image, sound or color-tone you can remember and find again. Connect with the divine and know this feeling is your innate right.

The more you make time for this time with the silence of you, the less you will have to chase it. Be it at a coffee shop, in a meditation or while taking your daily run, your precious friend will come upon you and integrate more into your life. Remember it’s all about balance!

Elinor Svoboda

~ Level 1 and Level 2 Teacher

Anxiety and Depression: What is Your Spirit Saying to You?

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 counseled and worked with hundreds of clients over the years and recognizes the common struggles that many have with anxiety and depression. Recently she launched a day-long workshop regarding the topic in Toronto. We sat down with her to find out more about her unique perspective on anxiety and depression.

Anxiety and depression is something that most people, on a spectrum, deal with in their day-to-day lives. As a spiritual healer and teacher, what is your perspective on these two dynamics?

I think anxiety and depression are a call from the spirit, a call to be more and live more than just our human life. We may be successful in our human lives, but spirit must take precedent. It’s a tough go when we are not trained to even look to the spirit, other than maybe in church or something, and that’s just for when we are there. Sometimes, our sense of self is very compartmentalized. What starts happening is this flood of anxiety or depression can sweep through all those compartments, until those false divisions melt away and people start taking stock of what is actually going on inside themselves.

So when you say it comes from spirit, is that to say that anxiety and depression is caused by spirit? Or is it a symptom of a disharmony within?

It is treated as a symptom of disharmony, when we are not functioning optimally. We are then medicated and it’s called an illness and there is still no recognition of some of the deeper causes, which can be from dynamics of childhood that are of a traumatic nature.

When we are traumatized as children we are thrust too soon into our spirit, into that other side. It can come from being harmed and betrayed. Somehow there was a breaking of a greater divine Law toward the child. The child then becomes prone to the touches of the other side, which can cause both depression and anxiety as they go hand-in-hand.

While you say depression and anxiety go hand in hand, how would you describe either side of the dynamic?

The depressive side of things is the recognition that the only way to get over to the other side is through death, so it involves an element of death energy. The death energy then creates anxiety. If there is depression going on, then anxiety immediately follows. Most of us can’t go into a hospital without a little bit of a twinge of anxiety, so it is a natural response.

If anxiety is the beginning and there is no sign of depression, then there is a touch from the other side that is a demand that you pay attention to your higher calling. You are somehow being called into service, toward your noble nature.

For those people who have anxiety come upon them during the day and they don’t know why, or those who wake up in a depression and struggle all day to get out of it, how would you advise them to find their way through it?

When those touches come, when anxiety comes, it’s when we know we are going to take a false step or we know we are going down a road we are going to regret. We know that we are not seeing the full scope, the ‘third choice’ if you will. Most people live in an either-or world. It’s pretty much in a demand-ultimatum and even if you don’t make a decision, the decision is often made for you.

Whether it’s conscious or not, people can put anxiety onto issues of their survival, like food, shelter or genuine human need, but that level of strife really isn’t true for most people. So we have to start looking at – what is the call? What is this anxiety? Rather than running from it, embrace it and really overcome it by facing it and becoming conscious.

You say, “OK I have anxiety, I’ve been triggered, is there something that is stimulating this extreme response?” If so, the more you are conscious of the initial trauma, the more you will heal. The truth shall set you free.

Your suggestion is ultimately, that anxiety and depression can be used as a tool.

It’s part of the grand design of who we are. You’re not really going to be rid of that mechanism, so it’s better that you understand that it’s sort of like a teeter-totter. The more you can come toward the centre of a teeter-totter, the more you are in balance. Lots of us used to do this as kids on the playground. We’d stand on either side of that balance point and run that empty teeter-totter up and down.

When we are way out on the extremes of anxiety and the extremes of depression, it feels much like that teeter-totter: when the depression is up then the anxiety is lowered, and then the anxiety kicks in because there is a death energy then the depression gets lowered. And it goes up and down and down and up, and so on. Until there is a non-understanding and you just feel overwhelmed, victimized, or caught.

The more you can really face these things, you’ll drive them inward toward that balance point, the fulcrum point of the teeter-totter. So you’ll stand there and you might feel a twinge towards depression or anxiety, but you’ve already got the mechanisms underfoot to balance you, so to speak.

Faye biz shot

Find out more about Faye and her work at www.fayefitzgerald.com.

An anxiety and depression workshop will be offered in Summer 2016 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Find out more at www.traininginpower.com.

 

 

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.

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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