Sweet feet visiting me before bed…❤️
Where do I go from here?
Musings on a well intented life
The repetitive, regular tendencies or practices in daily functioning, those often eliciting our involuntary participation, are known as habits. They become an integral part of our lives as helpful, as well as limiting, entrenchments; the self-care habits that support the health of our physical form stand alongside the pesky, self-sabotage of stress-induced or reactive patterns that become the hard-to-relinquish ruts of daily life.
Habits manifest in all shapes and sizes and are often thought of as an observable behavior. Frequently, our existing habits occur automatically without our consistent or conscious participation, mostly because we lose the need for active focus. Take driving, for example. Once we learn to drive, the methodical thinking through every step to execute the mechanics of operating our vehicle becomes unnecessary. It just organically happens because a habit was formed.
We all have habits of various purpose, creation, and strength – some, borne out of a need for safety, others devised for ease, efficiency, or to fulfill rules or norms. Brushing and washing, for example, live alongside cleaning our room and tidying our home, as well as the larger community care of recycling and maintaining our dwellings and/or properties. Kept in balance, these habits serve to honor our physical temple and proverbial home. Both witness the Divinity within us and all things by loving ourselves, others, and Mother Earth.
As we move beyond our perfunctory and reflexive world to engage in self-reflection, personal growth, and spiritual development, the life of many habits comes to the fore. Some may be easily seen, while others remain an elusive part of our day-to-day operations and reactions and are a bit trickier to detect. Many have their roots in thought or emotional patterns, like the knee-jerk reaction to a perceived negative comment or our slide into self-criticism when we feel we’ve done something wrong.
Taking a closer look at the vast array of habits in our life, their origin is one aspect all hold in common; we can trace our habits’ literal birth from the womb of our beliefs – a belief about ourselves and/or our world. Returning to driving, for example, the proverbial fuel for this American activity lies in the belief in independence, a teenage rite of passage and an alignment with societal norms. Looking deeper into the habits within habits, we might also discover nervous navigation, road rage, or a compulsion to speed fed by corresponding beliefs in danger, others’ wrongdoing, or hurrying through life.
So how can we work with the habits we’ve developed, especially addressing those that don’t serve our highest good? Traveling on the road to discovery and change, we can free ourselves from old habits through examination and relinquishment. Other interventions require intentional re-patterning. Calling, for example, on the Japanese practice of datsuzoku – the freedom from habit, daily routine, or the ordinary – opens us to the new by transcending convention and our personal ruts. Applied, it is the choice to “do something differently”, to break the steps of our routine, or think out of the box in an innovative way and move past our typical ways of operating.
Working at a deeper level we can examine the belief that created our habit in the first place, asking if the habit serves us or we’re serving it. As beliefs that find voice through the patterns of our limiting attitudes become discovered, we can intentionally allow them to fall away because we see how they block us from living freely in alignment with our True Nature. And while releasing these kinds of beliefs moves us forward on our path, the accompanying patterns and habits often remain scored into our psyche like a well-traveled hiking trail until we re-pattern or completely release them, too. In other words, as we liberate ourselves from constraining beliefs, it’s often the habits and patterns that remain intact to plague us, feeling as if they pull our mind and heart back to the ways we left behind, though not nearly as potently as when the attached belief remains active. As we invest energy into new, healthy behaviors instead of our outdated habits, the heavily worn trail of these entrenched neural patterns grows grass again to blend once more with the mossy forest floor of our psyche. Removing all energy from old habits or merely acknowledging any diversion as a tug in the “old direction”, we also practice datsuzoku to move forward on new and exciting paths.
Changing habits, because of their nature and ours, often feels challenging and uncomfortable. But know that discomfort serves as a marker to demonstrate our progress, a sign that we are just where we need to be, even in the midst of change. So hang in there! Remember that habits take approximately eighteen months to form, so their dissolution and/or re-patterning takes time, too.
Listed below is a partial inventory of behavioral, thought, and emotional habits. Those that appear helpful, sustaining, or growth-enhancing remain alongside those that may not serve our highest good. While incomplete, this list shines first light on that which we tend to ignore or do automatically, demonstrating that nearly any behavior, thought pattern, or emotional recurrence may indicate a habit needing our conscious attention. Because we tend to categorically label patterns or habits as “good” or “bad” influenced by our judgment-driven world, in the journeys to come, let’s broaden our scope and instead consider how each habit may be serving our highest good. Are they growth-promoting, health-based patterns, which demonstrate our self-love? Or are they a call to examine what is unhealthy or inhibiting – a notification to shed light on the work yet to be done? For a deeper look, we revisit this topic in Letting Go in Volume IV.
Here lies the opportunity to witness whatever the Universe calls us to observe, re-balance, or shed to be the master of our world, lovingly caring for ourselves on this big, beautiful rock floating in an infinite sky.
“Seeing” a silver lining
Driving a car
Assuming “bad” outcomes
Looking for “the culprit”
Defaulting to frustration
Needing to be right
Doing, doing, doing
For journaling exercises linked to this chapter purchase Volume I of The Soul-Discovery Journalbook Series by visiting www.pathways2innerpeace.com.
Many of us in the healing arts have a magnetic pull to be of help and assist. The vision of seeing/feeling a sentient being suffer, a vision that occurs through our perceptions, can be uncomfortable to say the very least, especially for us empathic folks. That’s not to say that what we witness around us - in our family, our community, or our world - isn’t a call for help. War-torn countries, people racked with famine, homelessness, animals not cared for all exude a level of pain and strife that is difficult to see. We want others happy, healthy, and thriving. Yes?
The great volume of others’ challenges can overwhelm many of us, pulling our heartstrings to ways of helping, consoling, nurturing, and serving. And without this kind of generosity, no doubt, many more may fall into deeper despair and hopelessness. These are the earth angels that donate their time, resources, homes, loving energies, and talents.
If you find yourself in this group, good for you! The world needs your help. Here’s my cautionary note, however. Many helpers, in fact, are rescuers - individuals driven to save the world one person, animal, or plant at a time. Driven is the operative word here…think compulsion and need. As a recovering rescuer, trust me when I say that I know the need (born from my own trauma) to help others out of their pain, especially those with emotional turmoil.
The big challenge of helpers who operate as rescuers is a mindset predicated on the belief of “I’m OK. You’re not OK.” in alignment with the Drama Triangle of Dr. Karpman. Through this role of Rescuer, others are seen as needy, incapable, challenged, at risk, etc. As such, Rescuers attract more responsibility and people in crisis - those lacking maturity or skills to manage their lives. Rescuers often feel the need to put out fires, manage problems, and heap onto their plates more than what is mentally/emotionally/physically healthy, which results often in feeling depleted, unnurtured, and stressed. If this is sounding like you…read on.
So how might we illuminate this pattern in us and the drama it creates in our life? The first step, as always, is to identify how we operate in our lives, making what is subconscious conscious, and bring it fully into our awareness. Here’s a few questions that may help:
1. Do you feel the need to solve others’ problems?
2. Do you attract people or animals who need you because they’re dependent, crisis-oriented, sickly, overwhelmed with drama, or have difficulty function in the world/life?
3. Do you feel highly responsible for others (especially those who by age and functioning could be doing more for themselves) or tend to dive right into people’s problems?
4. Do you pile more and more responsibilities on your plate? Do you have difficulty asking for help?
5. Do you experience fear at the thought of a person in your life managing their own challenges without you?
6. What do you gain from rescuing others - a sense of accomplishment, relief of your own anxiety/grief, etc?
7. What do you fear losing if you stop worrying, managing, and over helping?
8. What fear might rescuing another alleviate in you?
One very important reflection that helps us recognize our rescuing tendencies is to identify the feelings/thoughts in ourselves that become side-stepped because we’ve jumped into over-functioning/rescuer mode to help others, ignoring their innate skills and the opportunities they manifested to grow. Many times, our disproportional focus on others’ problems alleviate the stress and/or pain we need to heal in our own lives. In the words of Greek playwright Aeschylus:
Medice, cura te ipsum.
Physician, heal thyself.
Historically, we think of arrogance as a sign that a particular someone is disdainfully self-assured, feeling “better than” their peers or others. This has always been my view of arrogance, too, seeing it as an imaginary step up the ladder of self opinions. Arrogance marks a feeling of conceit, an overly confident air, egotism, or attitude that feeds a sense of superiority. It’s not pretty and we all can fall prey to it.
What if, however, a counter-part to the arrogance we know exists, a sibling hidden behind insecurity. Perhaps it’s even the real face of arrogance? What I’m suggesting is a state that I’ve termed paradoxical arrogance - the harbinger of low self-esteem and self-deprecation marked by self-beating, self-criticism, and unreasonable expectations. Paradoxical arrogance is the “better than” attitude our ego mind presses us with when we don’t perform to its standards. It’s the critical internal voice that says, “We shouldn’t have made a mistake,” taking our inner child to task and berating them for a perceived wrongdoing. Paradoxical arrogance is the superiority of our ego mind against the rest of the self - the idea that we, somehow, should be beyond mistakes, bloopers, or mishaps instead of living with the humility to realize that we’re human, accepting that humans make mistakes.
Paradoxical arrogance is first, then, an internal process; the same one that our ego can carry into the world armed with sharpened, perfectionist-driven bows and arrow to slay our co-workers, neighbors, or partners, because it uncomfortably witnesses the same traits in others. As we take our paradoxical sibling into our relationships, we become critical or arrogant outwardly.
So, the next time we turn on ourselves, diminish our choices, or feel lesser-than because we “should have known otherwise,” tell that arrogant ego voice to #$%* off. Be mindful of its high and mighty air and drop it off at the sewage treatment plant. Our self-esteem doesn’t improve by participating in paradoxical arrogance, self-beatings, or judgement. It does respond to taking risks, changing our behavior, and choosing to be more gentle with ourselves and others.
Energy follows intent and your aura is a projection of your personal spiritual energy molded by your intent.
“Our [energy] field is created a combination of our pure Spirit energy AND what we contribute to the field through interaction with “our world” (as the who, what, and where of our personal universe) through our inner climate (beliefs, reactions, attitudes, thoughts, emotions, and feelings).”
What shape is your aura? What are you creating and putting in your world today?
#thesouldiscoveryjournalbook #awareness #aura #innerwork #spiritualdevelopment #bookquotes #higherconsciousness #journaling #bookstagram #bethebestyou
The choices appear to be many in this plane. In truth, though, are simply either aligned with our Higher Self or ego. #thesouldiscoveryjournalbook #chooselove #higherself #soul #healing #higherconsciousness #doingthework
Standing in Our Power
Seeing the Ford/Kavanaugh hearing on the news and catching glimpses of media feeds have given me great pause. I have no doubt that many of you have felt the fear and outrage in the ethers and experienced your own roller coaster of thoughts and emotions. This past week has certainly given me many opportunities to practice everything I’ve been taught.
The path of sexual assault in all its forms is fraught with heartache and one that so many of us have walked. Thankfully these events are unifying individuals and sparking various group movements as people ban together. Others look forward to the future, to insure a that the representatives for the people embody the very character we seek when presiding over the highest court in the land. Certainly, the topic is up close and personal now, being talked about finally in a very open forum.
If you found the shock waves (your own or others) shaking you -reliving old traumas, feeling powerless, or fear of the sense of injustice - you’re not alone. Assault hotlines have exploded and women are coming forward in hoards to speak up - some for the first time, others with a renewed sense of hope that they will be heard.
So what do we do with the thoughts and feelings these recent events may have stirred in us? My answer…don’t ignore them. If we’ve experienced assault or molestation, emotionally charged remnants in our psyche will likely have resurfaced showing us unhealed parts that call for resolution. As painful as this is, it presents an opportunity to find closure, healing, and peace from the trauma. We must remember though, even if we didn’t experience similar events to Dr. Ford, old boundary violations, not being heard, being mocked while in pain, or any number of old situations could claw their way to the surface of our consciousness as we become triggered again by what we witness on the news, in other people’s stories, or in the deluge of media information. Whatever the case, it calls for self-care - kindness to ourselves, seeking support and guidance, and even reaching out for counseling or therapy to bring our own turmoil to a close through healing.
I’m certain we can all see that in the shadow of our current political and social climate, anger and outrage is more and more commonplace. It’s reached a fever pitch as people, especially women, step forward refusing to be mistreated and ignored in their pain. The old urges and/or messages to deny our frustration or swallow the screams of our inner child who needs to be heard will no longer be tolerated - a powerful outcome of our evolution.
Anger is a powerful motivator, one that can move us forward on our path when used with discernment. It can help us out of abusive situations, urge us to set boundaries, and burn away the feelings of injustice. Anger, however, is not where we want to stay because it becomes a corrosive demon, eating us alive from the inside out if left untended.
In navigating these times, honoring where we are is necessary, as necessary as raising our consciousness past all the chaos into a state where we can see beyond appearances. This remains a challenging task when we are hurting. However, when we use whatever lies in front of us or what surfaces in us as an opportunity to heal, we get more adept at getting up and out of the surrounding chaos to stay centered. The more we address our pain and shed it, the more we learn to come from a place of power and not force, two states of consciousness often confused for the other.
What is power and what does it look like? From the teachers of Sacred Garden Fellowship, power is a deep, velvet-covered inner knowing - soft, compassionate, clear, and centered. During the hearing Dr. Ford was a vision of a woman in her power - knowing who she is, speaking with clarity and kindness, owning her space, and standing strong in the den of opposition and mistrust. Through true power, soft and compassionate remain intimately bound with strength and conviction. True power doesn’t scream or demand. It executes with precision and clarity. It flows like water, filling the space where it’s poured, strong and soft. Grain by grain, true power washes the hard, unyielding stones of ignorance and injustice until nothing is left but sand.
Be kind to yourselves, nurture your inner child, and stand together in love.
Looking at our values helps us grow as we take the time and space to explore what doesn’t serve our highest good and authentically shed it. “Like a beacon that illuminates our ways of being, shining a light on our values offers more opportunities for growth.” #thesouldiscoveryjournalbook #grow #lookinside #attitude #values #healing #bookstagram #journaling #bookquotes #evolve #higherconsciousness #bethebestyou
Practice gratitude…change your attitude. Volume II:Constant Companions #thesouldiscoveryjournalbook #soul #healing #selfhelp #mindfulness #challengeyourself #journaling #lookinside #bookstagram #grateful #gratitudejournal #bethechange #bookquotes