Tag Rivellations blog

Tag Rivellations blog

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!

Silence is golden

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The Portuguese Man O’War has no propulsion system of its own. Its top looks like a Portuguese war helmet. It moves with the flow of the ocean. It eats what comes into its path. It’s the perfect zen master of the sea, powerful and silent, floating freely.

I saw a few of these last week while kayaking among the mangroves in Key West, and I became obsessed with them. Colorful and tiny youngsters, at about two-inches long, these colonies of creatures pack a big venomous punch! So as much as I wanted to touch them, I didn’t, because I didn’t want to end up in the hospital, or worse.

However, I couldn’t stop thinking about them throughout the rest of my journey last week to visit family. It wasn’t until the end of my visit that I saw the symbolic significance of the Man O’War!

Order is comfortable

Sometimes the things I hear, especially from those I love, press a hot button in my psyche, and I can feel uncomfortable emotionally or even physically. I just want to restore order to my perception of the world, and feel comfortable again, by correcting or giving the facts. We think if they would just hear the facts, they would realize how ignorant their comment was, and recant. Universal order would be restored. Ha!

Or perhaps we want them to take back their comment, or at least consider our point of view, so we can feel good about our relationship with them again. The reasons that we have for “correcting” people’s misconceptions are endless.

This was my experience while visiting my family. Wow, can they push my emotional buttons!

I had previously decided to say nothing — no correcting, no presenting scientific facts, and no sociological insights. I bathed myself in my inner light. Watching my breath flow in… and out. In… and out. Staying present and alert, yet quietly calm and at peace.

Answer a fool… or not?

I went home that evening and read a wise quote, that said that discussion and convincing others doesn’t change them. That it’s better to simply be silent.

Now, I think there may be a time to speak up, of course, but it depends on your goal and the openness of the person with whom you’re talking. I remember the Bible verse from the book of Proverbs that states, “Answer a fool according to his folly”. There’s another verse, also in Proverbs, that counters, “Don’t answer a fool according to his folly”. So which one is correct? Both. We need to discern when it’s wise to answer a fool at all, and when it’s a useless or counterproductive endeavor.

Only love heals the heart

Ultimately, my goal is the spiritual well-being and blessings of everyone, especially my own and those of my family and friends. This decision that I made, to be calm and silent no matter what arose in conversation that I judged as “wrong thinking,” brought home to me the realization that true change is an inside job, and that I cannot control this change in others around me. I realized that fixing people’s perceptions about life, does not change the heart. Only love heals the heart. And we know that when our hearts truly soften with love, so do our ideas and beliefs.

There is power in silence

I experienced a calmness that I had never felt at previous family gatherings!  The Portuguese Man O’War energy was at work in me because of my decision to be silent and not get involved in arguments. I felt victorious.

You may be wondering how it all ended. Well, the end result of this family reunion was loving embraces. I could see the divine shining out from everyone’s eyes. Good feelings were enjoyed by all, and expressed in heartfelt goodbyes. This time, nobody truly got stung, despite hot buttons being pushed.

Happily, I left with my inner peace intact. This Portuguese soldier’s mission was accomplished.

Feeling Feelings? The Plight of Empaths

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Because 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!

Be a Blessing to Yourself 

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Be gentle

Tread lightly

Walk slowly

Savor

A soft hand leads you.

 

Let love be your guide

your only guide

your one and only guide.

Love’s words are not heavy, scary or burdensome.

Love’s words come packed with nurturing feelings.

These feelings feel safe, protected and caring.

 

So when you wake up, remember love.

Reminisce on past joys

And let these joys hurl you into your bliss

That already surrounds and holds you.

 

The thought machine of mind is a two-edged sword.

Casting blame and doubt, it remembers

What is no longer valid and true.

Each day is new with possibility to pursue

Use the sword’s edge to sever what no longer serves you.

Let the present newness awaken

so the past can be put to rest.

 

Open to your greatness within.

 

And remember this…

Your inner being is like a lush, English garden.

Tend it well to allow the natural beauty to overtake the grounds-

Bunches of bright colors warm the soul

and brighten the mood-

Your inner kaleidoscope, your inspiration!

 

Today, be a blessing to yourself.

 

 

Incapable

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AnxietyHello Anxiety, My Old Partner

I awoke this morning with a pain in my upper belly. I am on vacation with a friend, about to discover the joys of Sedona. I have no apparent worries, nothing I have to do, nowhere I have to go! Yet, I awoke with this pain. Diving into the pain, I realized it was linked to anxiety, that old sidekick. Even after all these years of learning about myself, and especially all the work I’ve done around the anxiety, it still rears it’s annoying and sometimes painful head in unknown situations such as this.

When I planned this trip, it was with a bit of trepidation. I frequently feel fear when scheduling new things, and especially when a different locale is involved. But I felt ready for the challenge and eager for the experience of exploring beautiful Sedona!

Today, after a minute or so of feeling the stomach ache, and realizing it was related to anxiety, I asked my spirit guides, “What is this?” And their response was “You feel incapable.” Yes, I feel incapable of any and everything! Thankfully, I had a concrete answer! There have been times when I’ve felt so anxious, I couldn’t hear myself think, let alone hear an answer from my guides! This time was different.

Dive Into the Feeling

I knew what to do. I dove into the feeling again. I said to myself, over and over in my mind, “I don’t feel capable. I don’t feel capable. I don’t feel capable…” and my body relaxed. Why, you may be wondering, does this work at all?

The body and the mind want acknowledgment. What am I feeling? The truth, to my physical and emotional being, is that I feel incapable. It’s a matter of stating the obvious. If I deny my core feeling of being incapable, nothing happens. That’s a form of inner resistance. I know that the deep feeling of being incapable, that harkens back to much earlier times in my life, is the next part of me that needs acceptance.

You may also be wondering, “What about using positive affirmations?” Yes, sometimes affirmations work because they distract us from the uncomfortable feeling. But in my experience, affirmative sayings don’t work as well or as fast to calm me. And the fact that I have secreted cortisol, which makes the feeling more intense, and makes me want to run away from the “saber tooth tiger” of my mind, doesn’t help. Cortisol is a fight or flight hormone that, once secreted, takes about 20 minutes to dissipate in the body. Affirmations have a hard time cutting through physiology!

Acknowledge the Feeling and Set Yourself Free

So I stated the obvious to myself. I don’t feel capable. And what happened within a few minutes was that my pain disappeared and I fell back asleep. I know this because a few minutes later, due to the initial cortisol spurt from my adrenals, I woke up again, and my pain was gone. I was so glad. And I kept repeating how I felt, “I don’t feel capable.”

After about a minute or two of stating the obvious feeling of being incapable, and because I felt so good now, I decided I was ready to switch over to a positive affirmation that resonated well with me. What came into my mind was “I am full of Light. Light fills every part of my being. I am a being of Light and Love.” I repeated that affirmation and took the healing to an even higher vibration, to joy. And then the thought came to me to share this experience with you.

I look forward, now, to a day of joy and discovery. I feel excited. And I hope, in my heart of hearts, that this experience of mine helps you, too, to treat yourself with gentleness.

Namaste.

Acceptance — A Gift from the Universe

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Acceptance leads to peaceWhat if you accepted everything that came your way as if it were a gift from the Universe? What would your life look like, if you made this your daily practice? Imagine being thankful for the cold you got, that slowed you down enough so that you could rest. Imagine responding to a diagnosis of illness with a palpable peace. You’d be able to make decisions for yourself with much more clarity.

We resist unpleasant things to protect ourselves from what we perceive as bad or threatening. Because of our judgment of the experience as bad and something to resist and fight, we suffer fear in the process. We may then try to cure, medicate, or numb ourselves, as long as the pain and the fear wrapped around it go away. What if we chose to accept what happened to us instead?

The Universe Works on Our Behalf

During a time of sadness or chaos, have you ever experienced the feeling of having everything work out, as if it were orchestrated for you to learn an important life lesson? This is not a random occurrence. This is the Universe working on your behalf. You can experience this more and more, through a basic attitude change. Complaining is a victim’s game, and it doesn’t feel good. Consider the idea that you can regain your personal power through acceptance.

Choose Acceptance

With practice, acceptance can become a bigger part of your life. Work on developing the habit of being grateful for all your life experiences, as if you chose them. And imagine how you can glean the wisdom of your unique past through this process.

What I’m describing is not a departure from seeking medical care when it’s needed. It’s a mindset. It’s a way of seeing your world that is helpful and health inducing. And it works.

Your Life is a Treasure

Your body is a finely-tuned antenna for what is happening in your psyche. It can even alert you to when an emotional upset is skillfully buried deep within the mind. Your body can help you in your quest to live a full life and accomplish your goals and dreams. When you respect your physical and emotional processes, you give yourself space to heal. And more importantly, this acceptance heals the heart.

Peace,

~Maureen

Eye of the Storm

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Eye of the Storm - dealing with an emotional storm

We frequently find ourselves in the midst of an emotional storm. It can be through our own doing, or other people’s dramas that affect us. I’m going through one right now.

Cleaning up a hoarder’s house is a disgustingly horrible task. Due to a death in the family, we find ourselves cleaning up the mess amassed over years of mental illness and physical debilitation.

This deceased person had been a challenge to deal with for many years. Cleaning up this hovel brings up emotionally charged grievances for many in my family. Their challenge is to see it for what it is and constructively integrate their past experience, and their issues with this family member, into their psyches. My challenge, however, is to see their distress and help where I can, knowing the process is important for their growth, while not trying to make it all better for them. How do I do this?

Be a Witness

I repeatedly, on good days, draw myself into the center, or the eye, of this storm by remembering who I am and standing back to watch the storm swirl around me. It seems that if I take one step into the swirling debris of emotional upheaval affecting my loved ones, I begin to spin. This spin cycle results in feeling bad, forgetting my inner core being and my connection to Source, and forgetting that I am in the arms of the loving Universe. That feeling inevitably leads to anxiety. So, step one is to go into the eye of the storm by becoming a witness instead of a participant, and stepping into my heart of love.

Observe and Process with Love

The next part of the equation is to sit quietly and look at this turmoil. I ask myself what, in particular, is most distressing to me. I ask myself what, about this situation, brings up feelings of any past traumas in my own life. The part of me that was not able to fix hurtful situations in the past – in this case, my experience of being bullied as a child, is what came up for me. So I give that part of me, that innocent part that suffered that trauma, love. I do this by putting my hand on my heart and giving myself love and Reiki. It calms my inner storm.

Regardless of whether I can figure out the answer to my triggered emotion right away, this process allows me to get back to my core self, my heart of love, the Eye of the Storm. I know that from this vantage point, I can see clearer what’s in front of me, and what’s affecting me. This act of loving my heart, gives me the feeling that I can now move constructively in a positive direction from my center.

Define and Confine

From this place of watchfulness and self-love, the storm around my loved ones seems more defined, instead of feeling like a huge cloud of despair with no way out. The witness, which I become, can watch the sadness and anger of others and send love into the situation. More importantly, the witness who is present with the moment can have peace.

Embrace the Freedom an Emotional Storm Delivers

Now I find myself standing inside the storm, watching it, and at peace. I know from my own experience with emotional challenges, that all this is as much for the healing of each of my family members, as it is for me. I know that the challenges of life are here, ultimately, to free us from our own past traumas and fears. Weathering an emotional storm in this way, brings inner freedom.

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.

Surrender

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Surrender your heart

Surrender and grow

What would life feel like if you knew, deep down in your bones, that everything that happens to you is orchestrated specifically for your growth? If you really KNEW this, would you be upset when things don’t go your way? Would you feel the need to put up a fight against each
perceived injustice? Would each illness be something to resist and eradicate post haste? Would all your struggles and hurts of the past be relegated to the “I’m trying to forget that ever happened” trash heap of the mind?

Trust that everything happens for the highest good

For me, anxiety has been the default emotion much of my life. If I wasn’t happy, I was probably feeling some amount of anxiety. I know now that I would not be anxious at all if I trusted that everything is here for my highest good. Happily, I’m here to say that it’s getting much better for me, as I process and release fear, and love my innocent and vulnerable heart. As I become more aware of how I’m held by Spirit in an embrace of love, anxiety has no hold. It’s a process of learning that I can trust in each situation.

Freedom from victimhood

The frequently asked question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?,” can be answered with another. I would ask, instead, “Why judge if what has happened is good or bad?” Do we really know, ultimately, what is good and bad for us? Haven’t the trials and tribulations in our lives been our biggest teachers? Is anything ever totally bad or totally good? When something is judged as bad or negative, does that help us deal with it better? As Matt Kahn says in his book, Whatever Arises, Love That, A Love Revolution that Begins with You, “…the heart of surrender frees you from viewing your life through the eyes of victimhood.”

What does your heart want to surrender now?