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Loving Your Inner Critic

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Love your inner criticDo you know your inner critic?

The inner critic is that voice in your mind that tells you the irrational, fear-provoking thoughts that you’ve been rehearsing much of your life. This inner critic can shake your foundation with statements such as:

“You can’t do that!”
“That’s too scary. Better not go!”
“You’re not lovable!”
“Shut up! You don’t know what you’re saying”
“Don’t do that! It’s selfish!”
“You better be productive or you’re worthless!” and the self-destructive, “You’re so stupid!”

If you look at these statements, which can vary depending on your particular experience, you may be able to remember where they came from. Frequently, they come from parents, family members and teachers, or people who were authority figures for you when you were younger.

As children, you accept what these authorities say. Statements such as these then become part of who you think you are.

As we grow up, we find out that we are much more than our minds. We are multifaceted beings. We come to appreciate more parts of ourselves, like our emotions and our talents. But we can still feel imperfect in some ways, like we have missing parts of ourselves, places where we don’t measure up. This can be likened to feeling like a piece of Swiss cheese looks; the holes being the parts of us that we may feel are totally lacking, even causing a feeling of being incomplete.

Hidden Triggers

We may just feel bad at times, unaware that the inner critic is actually telling us something that has become so internalized that we can’t even hear the emotionally triggering statement anymore. Tracing the feeling back, and looking at the context of when and in what situation the bad feeling arises, gives clues to its origin. Most of the time, the situation mirrors another traumatic experience from earlier in our life, and the feelings arise again, just as they did the first time.

As an example, Maria is 10 years old, and she’s scolded severely by both parents because she received a mediocre score on her school essay. They seem furious because, as they say, she didn’t try hard enough. As an adult, she gets very anxious whenever she needs to turn in the news articles that she writes, to her editor. She has no idea why. She has always been a great writer, ultimately excelling in school and winning writing awards. Despite all her meticulous, top-notch writing, she experiences anxiety as she approaches the end of each writing assignment for the newspaper, sometimes needing to push through procrastination to finish her work.

At a family picnic, Maria’s older brother reminds her of the time she was reprimanded by both parents for that poor grade on her essay when she was 10. It triggers her memory, and she re-lives the pain of that encounter. A day later, back at work, the pieces come together for Maria, and she understands why she reacts with so much anxiety to having her articles edited. She has come full circle.

Sometimes, realizing the connection to the traumatic event is all that’s needed to disrupt the stimulus/response mechanism. Sometimes, there’s a bit more work to be done. But the circle can be broken, and healed.

Love Your Inner Critic

One way to deal with the inner critic, once we are aware of the connection of the present event to the original trauma, is to love it. Yes, LOVE the inner critic. Why? Because the inner critic is part of YOU. It’s the part of you that is watching over you so that you don’t get hurt again. It’s the part of your mind that remembers the painful things of your past and, for self-preservation, reminds you to look out for them again. And it doesn’t just grow up and stop warning you when you learn to care for yourself! Sadly, those inner recordings keep right on offering their “guidance.” They become habitual thoughts, tormenting some people more than others.

So how can we love our inner critic, when it’s being such a bully? When it shouts an untrue or fear-provoking statement at us, we can say, “I know you’re trying to protect me. Come over here and let me love you.” Then imagine hugging it, and say “I love you, inner critic. You’re trying so hard. I love you.” Put your hand on your heart, if you’d like, while you say it. It really works. And with consistent use, you will have less of these intrusive, critical thoughts. Love truly does conquer all.

This Valentine’s day, I invite you to fall in love with all the parts of you, and find more inner courage and power.  I have done this inner work on myself and with my clients. It’s healing and I love it!

Feeling Feelings? The Plight of Empaths

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The Plight of EmpathsBecause many Reiki practitioners are empaths, a common discussion among practitioners revolves around the suffering that is felt when a friend or client has an illness or is going through a situation that seems sad.

Events Can’t Be Judged

As an empath, I always try to remember that what others are experiencing is not random and cruel. I have found, paraphrasing Buddhist thought, that there’s no reason to judge every life event as either good or bad. When we see everything as good or bad, we are forgetting that whatever happens is ultimately to help us all on the path to our unique wholeness. That is, life experiences cannot be relegated to a simple judgment. Life is so vast, experiences so nuanced and varied, like multifaceted gemstones, that they need to be examined and appreciated from a deeper perspective. And that examination is the job of the experiencer, not the observer. In fact, it is utterly impossible for me, as a different person with a different past history, to truly understand how my friend is experiencing that challenge!

Everything Happens for Our Highest Good

A good question that I ask myself, when confronted with this type of situation, is if I really believe that everything that happens to us is for our highest good. If my answer is yes, that means the “bad” illness or event happening to my friend isn’t actually “bad” after all. It’s ultimately for their highest good, for their growth into wholeness. Furthermore, getting really tough with my self-questioning because I can, I ask myself, do I really believe that we have angels and spirit guides helping us? Yes, I know and have experienced the fact that nobody is exempt from that help, so even my friend who is going through the tough time, has help. I trust that.

Let the Angels Carry That Empath Weight

I then give my friend and/or client, and her situation, over into the hands of her angels, taking her off my shoulders. I have to stop carrying her because she is too heavy! Thankfully, my friend and her illness are not my responsibility. Each time I feel the burden in my heart, of another friend who is going through a challenging life event, my spirit guides show me that we were never meant to carry others in this way. So I decide to honor each person’s life process by allowing them to go through their challenges as they see fit. I can offer support and Reiki, with no expectation of resolution, just for their highest good. They do the healing themselves, in their own time, and in their own way.

Your Cup Runneth Over with Love

As you honor the unique path of others by allowing them to have their challenging life experience, without judging it, you can offer love and help without becoming overburdened yourself. You can let the emotions go through you and send love. It works! As I have done with those I love who are suffering, you may find that you need to give them over to their angels again and again, as you find yourself carrying them, because you love them. But releasing them is so worth it. Your suffering will be lessened and you’ll find an ability to stay balanced and centered. In turn, your cup remains full so you can share the support you enjoy yourself.

What Holds You Back Isn’t Real

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Truth is attainableWe tend to see yogis, lamas, and other spiritual leaders as being in a class all their own. “That level of spirituality is unattainable for me!,” we may think. We may feel “less than” and unworthy. We lament, “For God’s sake, the sheer amount of work involved to get there must be an insurmountable amount of sweat and sacrifice!” We have so many issues and ideas that stop us dead in our tracks from traversing our path of heart, our own spirituality.

Just Step Forward

What if I were to tell you that all that holds you back is baloney? What if you were assured that all those ideas about spiritual attainment were false? What if that lama, yogi or spiritual leader gave you a pass to all that awaits you as you step forward into your own wholeness? “Just step forward,” the spiritual leader says. “Step.” That’s it.

Why do we believe that coming into our innate wholeness and balance in our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being, is hard? Who told us that? Who told us that we don’t have the power within ourselves to evolve in every area of life, naturally? Who said that our spirituality can be found only from meditating for hours, for years? Who said you were less than or unworthy? Why do you feel your depression, anxiety, or physical illness stops you on your path? Why are all the answers offered us to help us walk our path, costly and difficult? Who benefits?

Hmmm, maybe we all were sold a bill of goods. My guidance has shown me that our answers are within each of us. We all have access to that guidance and life direction.

Your Body Holds the Truth

Let’s try an experiment. Below are some statements, which I ask you to check for truthfulness by saying them to yourself and seeing how your body responds. After each statement, if your body gets tight or tense and uncomfortable, it’s baloney, or not true. If it feels neutral or good, and you have tingles or feel relaxed, that’s your body saying it’s a true statement.

  1. My natural way of being is whole and healthy.
  2.  I don’t have the answers. Other people have the answers for me.
  3. My loving heart will lead me to my health. My body and spirit have my answers.
  4. I am unable to access what’s good for me and what my body and soul need.
  5. I am capable of finding what I need to thrive.
  6. I am not connected to spirit, and I need someone to connect me to spirituality.
  7. I am connected to Life and Love.
  8. Spirituality is all about love, and love is my natural, core way of being.

I have experienced this, that our bodies hold our truth. We feel good when we are on the path of heart. By doing exercises such as this one, we are tapping into our own spiritual and innate intelligence by listening to our bodies. Our bodies are connected to our spirits. Our spirits are connected to the eternal fountain of Life, which is an integral part of who we are.

May you find your truth in the silence of your own innate knowing.

Namaste!

All You Need is LOVE!

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All you need is love by Chris LiveraniWhat is Love?

We expect that with our loved ones, we’d have deep, warm and fuzzy feelings coming from mutual unconditional acceptance and preference for each other.

When those feelings are absent from our hearts, we may question if we truly love them. However, by that definition, we may not love very many, except perhaps our immediate families and cute baby animals.

Emotional vs Expansive Love

Does love need to have emotional feelings or ties to exist at all? Does the heart need to be tugged at, for love to exist?

What if we practiced love as an expansive openness and patience with all beings, an inner tenderness towards everyone and everything? Can love actually be a natural warmth that emanates from the heart outwards, not making the distinction between “other” or “I,” as love is naturally inclusive?

Can we practice love with equanimity and caring, with an acknowledgment that love lives deeply in those eyes you’re peering into, just as it exists within you?

Service-mind Can Bring Us to Love

When we live from a spirit of service to whomever appears before us through our day, all the mental classifications in our minds — all the distinctions between others out there and beloveds close to us — tend to disappear. Indeed, even our feeling of “me-ness” can melt away while operating from an intention to serve all who appear before us. This is because service, by its very nature, is not about our egos needing protection, or mine vs. yours. Service is about love.

What if we lived in the head space of “How may I serve you?” It’s like asking, “How can I love you more? What can I do to bring you further along on your all-important, sacred life path?”

Mine the Depths of Love

Do you want to connect more deeply with your inner life? The way of service naturally dissolves self-directed thought into the calm waters of truly living from the heart. It immediately connects the mind with the true innocence of your precious heart. It lifts you up. It allows you to truly live in love!

May we each choose love over fear. May our world thus change, one decision at a time, to love and serve.