Friday, February 26, 2016

Are You a Helper, Server, or Fixer? And Why it Matters

If you're like most people I know, you have a job, career, or important role (such as parent) in which you function as a helper, server, or fixer. Maybe you're a doctor, mechanic, lawyer, house cleaner, therapist, waiter, engineer, bookkeeper, realtor, chef, handyman, hairdresser, or assistant. Regardless of the job, you're serving in some way, and the spirit in which you do this can make all difference in the world.

I recently came across a brilliant article, Helping, Fixing or Serving?by Rachel Naomi Remen, author of Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal. Remen writes:

Helping, fixing and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul.
This reminded me of my younger days as a misguided rescuer. I don't know why I did it, but I'd seek out people who I perceived to be incompetent to run their lives, and then spring into action to help or fix them, sometimes at great personal sacrifice. Did I see them as weak, and myself as strong? Yes. Did my "help" ever really benefit them? No. Why? Because they didn't want to be helped or fixed, and they certainly didn't want to seen as weak or incompetent.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to help one's fellow human. That's a beautiful thing. The problem we run into, though, is that the energy behind helping/fixing is often one of inequality. "You need my help," or "Please fix me." This is very different than the spirit of service that occurs when we see someone as whole while offering a helping hand or kind word. It's the smiling waitress who warmly asks, "What can I get for you?," or the therapist who assures his client, "You're not alone..." Service doesn't exclude helpfulness, but it implies and conveys respect and a much more level playing field. 

To me, the distinction between helping/fixing and serving is like the difference between feeling sorry for someone and feeling compassion for their situation. In one, there's a looking down quality or separation between us, and in the other there's a heart connection and understanding of the shared human experience. This concept is, perhaps, best communicated in the Sanscrit greeting, Namaste, which translates as "the divine light in me acknowledges the divine light in you."

This week, I invite you to notice the situations in which you find yourself acting as a helper, fixer, or server. It may vary quite a bit from relationship to relationship and from role to role, but you might notice a theme or pattern emerge that needs to be addressed (as I did with my former tendency to rescue people---from themselves, and against their will!).

Enjoy this shift in perception, and have a wonderful week.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Best Use of your Imagination is Creativity. The Worst Use is...

The other day, I heard Deepak Chopra speaking about the way we use our human minds. Wisely, he said, "The best use of your imagination is creativity. The worst use of your imagination is fear."

My mind instantly switched the word "fear" to "worry," because worry is truly about letting our imagination wander down a dark street and conjure up images of all the dangers that might lurk there. "Fear" implies many things, some real and some imagined, but worry is when we spin a yarn of gloom and doom---and that requires a vivid imagination!

Hearing Deepak's words reminded me of the advice a friend gave me decades ago. She said, "Jill, you are a very creative person. Make sure you always have a creative project going so you don't get bored and start looking for trouble." It wasn't until I heard Chopra's statement that I realized what she meant. Mentally (or emotionally) creative people have to maintain a healthy exercise program for their imaginations---or they start creating internal dramas.

This week, I ask you to consider your use of imagination. Are you a particularly curious, creative, or theatrical personality? Do you tend to be anxious? If so, you might be more likely to fret than a practical thinker or someone who takes life as it comes. No worries---here's what you can do:

1.  Evaluate whether the fear is justified, or if you're in an unproductive worry cycle.
2.  Decide if any real-world actions are called for. If so, take them. If not:
3.  Stop for a moment and feel the actual fear, instead of keeping it at bay in the form of nagging, low-grade worry. Have compassion for yourself.
4.  Remind yourself that the worry is not helping, and that it's putting an unnecessarily negative spin on the situation, and on the future.
5.  Decide to use your imagination super-powers for good, and deliberately dream up a fantastically unexpected, desirable scenario to replace the scary, depressing one.
6.  Thank your imagination for this new (better) creation.

Good luck, and I hope you have a stress-free week!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Join the Global Chorus: Sing (and Play) C-F-A on New Years Day

Global Harmony Project: Sing C-F-A on New Years Day
by John Shinn, musician and sound healer

Please join us in a global movement to sing together in harmony to bring in 2016. A simple idea with earth-changing possibilities. People all over the world purposely making music together. We'd appreciate it you'd spread the word through social media, word of mouth, and other sharing.

The specific idea is this New Years Day (January 1st, 2016), everyone who wants to join in can sing and play instruments in any manner using the notes C, F and A to create together a global song that is based on the musical F chord (known to many as the heart or care vibration). Anytime New Years Day would do, but imagine the effect if some people in each time zone did this during the first minute of New Years Day (creating a global harmony wave as the New Year came in).

Why C-F-A? This combination of notes makes the F chord in the simplest of harmonies (known as 5-1-3) with the F note in the middle. The F note and chord for many who work with sound is the vibration that activates the heart. So we are seeing the global heart activated and the world singing together in harmony. Of course, anyone more sophisticated musically is invited to add to this harmony according to their capabilities and guidance. For the technical sound and music people, we are specifically asking for C-F-A in the A=440 Hertz music system (because the largest portion of the global music world uses this system).

Join the global chorus - sing (and play) C-F-A on January 1st, 2016. Thank you, and have a fantastic New Year!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Making Sense of What Scares You

What are you afraid of? I just googled "fear of the unknown" because I had read that all fear is basically fear of the unknown. Hmmm. I wasn't sure about this statement, because it's pretty clear to me that my fears revolve around suffering, and the vast unknown is clearly made up of all kinds of experiences, including happy surprises, future successes, new and delicious tastes, etc.

This business of the unknown reminded me of my friend describing her gym "boot camp," and how she loved it because it was different every day. She never got bored because they were always mixing it up. Various, random people ran the class, and the goal was to keep it new and fresh---every day.

I frowned. I realized I wouldn't like that because I want to know what to expect. Not in all situations all the time, but regarding exercise, I would prefer to know what's going to happen and what's to be expected of me. If I've been to a Pilates or yoga class before, I'm likely to return, but getting myself there the first day demands courage. Why? I'm not sure---it's just the way I'm wired.

You might be thinking, "Wow. Not an adventurous bone in that poor woman's body!" But you'd be mistaken. Interestingly, if you told me, "Hey, I'm a hypnotherapist, and I'd like to do an experimental guided visualization on you where you go out of your body and explore parallel lives and alternate universes!," I'd be closing my eyes and deepening my breathing even before you could finish the sentence. I'd be all over that.

I guess you could say that we each have our strengths and weaknesses. As a psychotherapist, I think of human beings as having four main aspects to their lives: mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. Most everyone would agree that the first three are universal, while some might argue they are not spiritual, or that this is not a part of their experience. But I define "spiritual" as simply how we each see ourselves fitting into the bigger picture, and everyone (hopefully) knows there's more to life than just self+cell phone, which means we each have a spiritual component to our life.

Just as with subjects in school, you're stronger in some areas than in others, and that's normal. You might be robust in two or three areas, and weaker or more vulnerable in one (or two) of them. This is likely where your fears crop us, and it can be helpful to to see these fears within a context, so that you can address and get extra attention or help where it's needed.

For instance:
  • Those who experience vulnerability in the mental or cognitive realm might lack confidence in their ability to cope with everyday life, decision-making, and feeling like a competent and contributing member of their family or society.
  • Emotionally skittish folks may avoid intimate relationships and/or revealing too much personal information. They may even sabotage good relationships or shut people out because they can't cope with the emotional demands. 
  • Those who don't relate as much with the physical aspects of life may be overly cautious about their movements, being seen, visiting new places, or the physical safety of themselves or their loved ones. 
  • And people with an aversion to spirituality may be afraid of the great unknown or having faith in something outside of themselves. They may lack the hope and faith that makes others' lives rich and meaningful. 
This week, I ask you to look at what scares you. Try to see it from a larger perspective, and consider what you might be able to do to reconcile or remedy the fear. From this new vantage point, you might feel compelled to work on strengthening the muscle that's keeping you feeling weak.

(Note: If you have a major phobia, you are probably either dealing with a particular trauma---from this life or beyond---or you are channeling all your free-floating anxiety/fear into one neat, but miserable, package. It's the psyche's way of trying to contain and control our fear. This might require therapy or other outside help, so please do what you need to do to address the phobia).

Friday, November 20, 2015

Making Peace with the Changing Times

Have the last two or three years been intense for you? For myself and many people I know, it's been a period of deep reflection, emotional housecleaning, endings/new beginnings, and a high degree of motivation to clarify core values and purpose. For many of us, it's no longer an option to hide from ourselves, live in denial, do meaningless work, or continue running away from what we don't want to see in ourselves or our environment.

The veil between our physical existence and that which is unseen has been thinning for a while now. The nature of time is changing. Our dreams are more vivid, and our life purposes more urgent. We're more open to spiritual messages and less tolerant of thoughtless words and behavior. It used to be normal to waste water and throw paper in the garbage, but now it unsettles us.

We are between worlds---an old world where we were unaware that smoking and unsafe sex would eventually catch up with us, and a new emerging world where millions of people are busy at work creating heaven on earth. If it sounds confusing and science fictiony, it is.

What to do? There are no quick fixes. Transformation is a process, and we really have no choice but to hang in there and work things through as they present themselves. That said, here are a few things I've learned over the years about managing stressful change and emotional unrest:

What usually doesn't  help:
  • Running away from, denying, or "medicating" your feelings
  • Rejecting, controlling, or trying to eliminate parts of yourself that you don't like
  • Getting sucked into the abyss of old, repetitive patterns 
  • Trying to think your way out of problems created by your best thinking!
What usually does help:
  • Breathing, and calmly allowing your emotions (without dramatizing them)
  • Working with and befriending all of your (ego) parts
  • Releasing limiting beliefs that no longer serve you
  • Calling in your Higher Self and other spiritual support through journaling, prayer, surrender, etc. 
  • Uncovering and implementing your life purpose
  • Being compassionate, nurturing, and forgiving toward yourself and others                                         
This week, I invite you to relax and make peace with the changing times. I know that things aren't perfect, but I've been around long enough to observe that life is gradually getting better all the time, even if it doesn't seem that way sometimes. It's an exciting time to be alive, and I encourage you to do your unique part as we co-create a new and better world.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Do You Want to Create Heaven on Earth?

A few months ago, I started noticing people talking about their dream of experiencing or manifesting "heaven on earth." As I listened, I heard some other versions of the same theme:

  • "Ushering in a new, golden era"  
  • "Installing the new paradigm"
  • "Bringing in the new golden age" 
  • "Creating a new earth"

I was fascinated by the coincidence, so I googled "creating heaven on earth," and learned that this mission conciousness was a movement that seemed to be shared by many, many people! Who knew?

Two weeks later, I received an email announcement from The Shift Network for a free tele-summit called Co-Creating Heaven on Earth: Practical Strategies for a World that Works for All of Us, so I signed up. It started yesterday and lasts three days, but you can still register and get the recordings. I have to say that I am blown away by the list of speakers, who are some of my very favorite authors and visionaries, truly world-class change agents and messengers.

Here are a few of them:
Barbara Marx-Hubbard (Evolutionary leader)
Don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements)
Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul series)
Anodea Judith (The Global Heart Awakens)
Marcia Weider (Dream University)
Patricia Albere (Mutual Awakening)
Eben Alexander (Neurosurgeon who wrote Proof of Heaven)
and my personal favorite, Tim Kelley (True Purpose Institute/True Purpose)

Since I'm excited about this co-creative movement, I thought I'd share it with you. If you're interested in catching the live talks or listening to the audios at a later time, you can register by following this link, Creating Heaven on Earth (free Summit), and enjoy joining those of us who are busy at work tranforming our world into a brighter place. Blessings to you.

(hands photo: Pixabay Stokpic)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

How your Worst Problem could turn out to be your most Welcome Gift

Whatever it is (illness, heartbreak, compulsive behavior, betrayal, loss), if it's IN your way, it IS the way. It's the very path to healing you signed up for. What does that mean?

We 21st century humans are currently swept up in an evolutionary whirlwind, and it's not particularly easy on any of us. Sure, some people are moderating and navigating change more peacefully than others, but wherever you are on the spectrum, you're being prompted to advance on your purposeful path NOW! If you're clinging to the past or the old ways, you will feel as if dragged, kicking and screaming. But there's an easier way.

There are infinite mental, emotional and spiritual techniques to help you fall in line with the growth that's being asked of you, but I'm going to invite you to focus for a moment on one thing: that which feels like your biggest challenge. Whatever it is, no matter how aggravating, persistent, or acute it may be, consider it a divine wake-up call and a gift from heaven.

You see, we didn't come into this life at this magical time in the world's history to continue spinning our wheels, be bored, or continue to languish in blame of ourselves or others for our situation. It's time to get serious about moving forward. Do what you need to do: get into therapy, go to rehab, walk away from toxic situations, forgive yourself, forgive others, commit to self-care, and face down your challenges, knowing that you agreed (on some soul level) to experience them for your growth.

Most people, if pressed, can see the silver lining in what they've been through (and sometimes in what they are currently going through). They can see that their childhood, work, or health issues made them stronger, braver, or more compassionate. Maybe growing up in an abusive family helped them later cultivate deep self-love. And most people who have been seriously ill or injured, can tell you how they were positively transformed by that experience.

So this week, I ask you to imagine how your "worst" problem might just be a portal into profound growth and healing for you. What have you learned already, and how might you face it and embrace it as the gift it will inevitably turn out to be?