acceptance

Practicing acceptance and making way for self-love

Have you ever learned something about yourself that felt soul-shifting?

And once you learned that thing it cleared the way for so much goodness? Welp, that happened to me this past month - hard and fast.

I’ve been focusing on practicing acceptance in the Live Your Inner Power (LYIP) program and wow has it created some huge shifts. Accepting in this sense is all about acknowledging where you’re at...

In life
In work
In relationships
In your body
What’s past
What’s present
All of it

...and accepting it for what it is without resisting or trying to change it. When you’re able to take a step back and become a witness to your life it’s totally groundbreaking.

My goal for this program is to shed my fear of judgement and I’m already well on my way after learning this practice. As I was learning and working my way through the journaling questions for this practice it became clear that I’ve been judging myself all along - it hit me like a freight train. For doing too much, for not doing enough, not being productive enough, wanting to do this or that differently, wishing for more of this, wanting more of that.

As women we are always judging ourselves, our bodies, our friends, our lives, every little facet of it and when I was able to step back and see that my fear of judgement came from how I’ve been talking to and treating myself...whoa, that was big.

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After I uncovered this, I was able to consciously try to move past it towards what I truly desire which is more authenticity and vulnerability, allowing myself to be seen in all my beauty and imperfections by others. Whenever I felt myself resisting or assessing how things were in a good or bad way I would stop and simply accept them as the reality of what’s happening in my life. That’s all. No judging, no resisting, just being.

I found that after I started doing this I had more energy and more clarity about my direction and how I wanted to spend my time. I’m able to arrive in each moment more fully and see the abundance that I already experience in my life with the knowledge that I created that. I’m able to love myself even more now because I’m not resisting or judging anything that happens but instead recognizing right where I’m at and how amazing that truly is.

Setbacks are Learning Opportunities by Pixie Hamilton

My friends and work colleagues say I have an uncanny ability to concentrate.

So, I sit and wonder what that really means?

In the past I would have linked that to self-discipline and self control.  

Today, I link concentration to bringing myself to a common center and putting my attention, intention and emotion to what I want and who I am becoming in this world. My concentration is more linked to a higher power or guidance system, rather than self-discipline.

Just for an hour…this next hour I determine what I want to think about. I hold onto it, letting my mind and heart concentrate from my core, moving along my path of higher consciousness.

I relax my body because this is now only a mental and emotional exercise, which quickly becomes part of my soul.

I am in a state of harmony.

I vow NOT to walk downstairs and practice any type of fear, self-doubt, anger, gossip, or disappointment today…because I know that then, I will introduce disharmony into my state of being. My subconscious mind will become confused and my day will take on an increasingly muddled state.

My desire is that my prayers, thoughts, words, and deeds reinforce one another because the effect in my day will be glorious and powerful. Where they are not in accord, they will cancel out, leaving me where I started, or even worse off.

I start to lose it a little. I instantly sense frustration because I didn’t (can’t) hold onto the harmonious state I achieved in that hour of concentration, meditation and prayer.

It’s ok. I am human. I am reminded that spiritual growth is not a steady upward line. I accept that I will not have a path of unbroken progress in the attainment of happiness and fulfillment every day. It’s ok to move steadily for awhile and then have a setback.

I stop beating myself up. I forgive myself and know that I will learn from the setback. I realize that my setbacks are not important as long as the general movement and desire for fulfillment of my life purpose is forward.

 

“Keep on, keepin’ on” comes into my head. I smile. The Divine is always leading me in the most perfect of ways.

How Is Life Calling You – Don’t Resist – Be Present for the Truth

Life has been calling me ~ Grandmother. Elder. Crone.

I am looking in the mirror. Yes, I see her.

Inside I am still me, a young woman who wants to explore life with others. I want intimacy, I want truth. I want to love openly and with wild abandon.

Why was I resisting grandmother-hood inside? It was a subtle, deep and unwanted feeling, this resistance. It was there, I didn’t resist it or ignore. But I also was uncomfortable with it.

I discovered why. Suddenly. Without struggle, without being in the story of my life. It came as a quick ah-ha as I sat at the edge of the bay with my adoring husband sipping a glass of wine on my birthday.

I was resisting the experience because I was afraid of it. I was afraid of less free time. I was afraid of losing the ground I gained in my work life this past year. I was afraid of being ME. The Mother who loves babies and bonding, who wants to be there for her loved ones. Who will sacrifice herself for the child that needs her.

And now another one? Oh right, I am not this baby’s mother. But maybe my daughter will need me :)

How am I going to fit this new experience, this new pull, into my bulging life of goodness? Oh poor me. I know - you feel so bad.

But this is the truth of life. Life comes and we need to respond. How will I respond?

I will respond gracefully I hope. Now that she is here, she and my daughter are well, and life is flowing onward. I am returning to my centered self. It will all work out. I do trust life.

Fear visits in transitions, when we don’t know, can’t predict, when we have to learn and grow. It’s just life.

Be present for your truth today. Is there something you are resisting, something that feels uncomfortable, something that is really fear but is showing up with a different emotional face?

How will you respond to your uncertainty, your call to grow today? I’d love to hear what your being is working with and where you want to go with it. Post a comment below and let’s allow resistance and fear in to the light where we can transform them. 

Surrender and you will receive – really? That’s a surprise ☺

What are your big stressors?

Time - it's the top complaint I hear from stressed women! Relationships - women orient their lives to relationships, of course this is big stuff for us! Love and the desire for good loving - who doesn't want this if we don't have it? 

It's time to surrender...

Do you connect the word surrender with loss? I did for a long time. I have learned, gratefully, that surrender means gain in so many ways. Let me give you some examples ~

When I surrender to my need for self-care, I replenish my energy to give easily and freely.

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surrender-difficult relationship
surrender-time
surrender to love
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If you are struggling with anxiety, stress or fatigue, my guess is that mastering the art of surrendering could become your great healing agent.

If you looking for relief from anxiety, stress or fatigue, I am here to help you live your inner power and find that relief.  

What is your great stress? Did you like this blog? I'd love to hear from you :)

Are you practicing acceptance?

Acceptance is an art ~ a craft that you get really good at with practice. The life shifts that occur when you become an artist in the practice of acceptance are often unexpected, but always welcome. You will stop judging.

You will move toward self-love, exactly where you are in need.

You will let go of trying to control the world around you.

You will be a peace generator.

You will discover new perceptions without effort.

JustBeing

What do you need to practice acceptance with? Anything that causes a disturbance within you. It's the foundation of all positive change. It's the first step in building just what you want. I'd love to hear what you will commit to practicing acceptance with.

In my book, Courageous Woman, Live Your Inner Power, I describe the Inner Power Wheel. This wheel is a medicine wheel of eight practices that allow you to master your inner life and manifest the conditions you want to experience. 

Acceptance is one of these foundational practices. The wisdom of acceptance is a transformational energy that is difficult to describe and must be experienced.

When we accept the truth of the present moment, and surrender to it's information, we bring both outer and inner conditions into our field of perception. We acknowledge the fullness of the multiple dynamics of the present moment. Sometimes these are conflicting and complex, requiring some time to understand. Acceptance must not be rushed.

In order to gain the wisdom and insight you need to navigate your life optimally, acceptance of all conditions is a must. Answers emerge, paths open and dynamics shift as you accept fully. I'd love to hear how life shifts as you embody the wisdom of acceptance.

Sending you love and gratitude,

Laurel

Are you at War?

I tiptoe through the house shortly after 4 am. I put on the teakettle, straighten the kitchen a bit, start the dishwasher. Remembering last night and falling sound asleep on the couch then making my way quickly into bed, I consider the disregard for a tidy kitchen upon awakening. Sometimes you let go. The body tells you to. I take my tea into my meditation space and sit. Such gratitude floods me as I realize I can sit today without the pulling fatigue of my body, without the deep desire to just lay down. Enjoying the next half hour, I simply am aware of the difference of feeling a sense of wellness within. Prayers of thankfulness arise.

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Work calls me forth. Three days of letting it go, being mostly still and resting. Taking care of my body with regret and inner resistance. I see it more clearly now and I am sad.

I walk to the kitchen and refill the mug. I step onto the deck and feel the lingering warmth of the night, before the cold front comes in later. The early rain begins, light drops fall and I lift my face to the sky to feel them, to welcome the renewing water that falls toward me. Tears spring forth, and I want to forgive myself.

  • I forgive myself for becoming impatient and judgey as soon as I feel unwell.
  • I forgive myself for wanting antibiotics so that I can feel better in a snap and get on with my work and feelings of productivity.
  • I forgive myself for still having an inner critic that wants me to be well, all day every day.
  • I forgive myself for not appreciating all that my body does for me, every day – I breathe, I release, I walk and talk, I hug and write, I sleep and eat, the opportunity to feel love.
  • I forgive myself for feeling such disappointment at losing days of accomplishing effort toward my goals.
  • I forgive myself for not readily allowing the need my body has right now to restore its balance, to regain an alignment, perhaps growing in ways I cannot understand.
  • I forgive myself for still working with these old patterns that work hard at holding on and not allowing a more consistent peace within.

The war is over. Peace descends and I am grateful. This is the practice of learning how to end a war from within. Peace is a practice, often of deep forgiving.

What are you at war with inside? I’d love to hear your challenges. I hope you are inspired to forgive today. What needs forgiving?

Don't Wait for Death

What you don't deal with in life comes to visit at the end of life. NOTE - What you DO deal with frees you to live wholly, honestly in this life. 

When my dad passed last month, I became acutely aware of the gifts of dealing directly with old hurts, forgiving and letting go. My healing journey began 26 years ago. I spent many hours in self-reflection and in healing spaces with loving support that helped me grow into the strong and clear woman I am today. I worked hard and made a very deep commitment to myself to heal all that I can in this lifetime. I continue that commitment. It no longer feels like work, it feels like loving service to myself and others.

I felt very disappointed and frustrated with my relationship with my father for a long time. With persistence and the right kind of help, I came to accept my father for who he was and allowed him to be just that without internally anguishing about what I didn't care for. I also came to know who I am, allowing myself to be all of Me! My dad loved me in his way. I wanted more intimacy and connection in my relationships than I experienced with him. I want to feel known and heard and understood. In time I gathered a beautiful support circle (that grows and changes with life changes) that nurtured me into a true sense of wholeness. These people know me, understand me and listen well to me. They are my chosen tribe. I let go of the need to have a quality of relationship with my Dad that I had wanted but couldn't cultivate without him wanting those same things. I let it be. My gift was that I experienced wonderful love and support from others, and also found peace inside to let my Dad be who he was  - less able to navigate and cultivate intimate relationships.

Circle

During his last week of life I held space from afar. My youngest sister and dear niece, who is a nurse, tended him at his bedside. I sent loving prayers and attention and intention for him to have the end of life experience that he desired. I lit candles and created an altar that I could look at, reminding me to send peace and love their way consistently. This allowed me to feel like I was participating in a valuable way. I checked in with myself daily to make sure I didn't "need" to head north to see him one more time. I made sure he was asked if he wanted me there. He said,"Laurel knows".  We were at peace with one another.

We were at peace with one another because I wanted nothing less than peace and dedicated myself to the cause. I believe he wanted the same. So it was. But in order to get to that peace I needed to feel all the other heavier feelings that came earlier in life with the disappointment and lack of connection. I needed to cry those tears of loss, say what I wanted to him, voice the disappointment and then, Let it Be, release. And in doing that I opened a space within to become peaceful. I gained freedom from the old relationship of little girl and emotionally unavailable father. The relationship became spiritual seeker and spiritual seeker. I could tell him what I thought and not hold back. And that felt good because I like to think (I hope this is true) that I did so compassionately, boldly and clearly. I have my thoughts, opinions and path to walk Dad, and I am doing it.

Sadly, others in my family have not walked this healing path. My Dad did not know how to navigate that space with them and lead them along. The end of my Dad's life brought drama in this circle. Because at the end of life, what wasn't dealt with in life comes to visit. I am saddened by these new family dynamics, but I accept that this is the consequence of not doing the work while we are alive and able to make that conscious choice to create more healed, harmonious and loving relationships. We all have the opportunity to seek inner peace and healing. When we take that opportunity and run with it, everyone around us is served. We contribute to global harmony in our most powerful way. By creating it internally and in all the relationships we engage in as best we can.

ExamineWhat have you been avoiding, what creates conflict for you inside? Now is the time to learn to navigate those difficult waters, while you have time to create the peace you desire.

Acceptance = Peace by Kelly McCoy

michael-suit-1A few months ago, I came across an article about Actor Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future, Family Ties, Spin City). In it, he talked about his family, his new television series and his challenges with Parkinson's disease. His story was funny, scary and inspiring. I walked away unable to stop thinking about one of his comments. When asked what he has learned from his disease, he said that he has recognized that his happiness increases in direct proportion to his acceptance and his happiness decreases in direct proportion to his expectations. Read those two sentences a few times and let them sink in. Happiness decreases in direct proportion to expectation.

Happiness increases in direct proportion to acceptance.

I found these thoughts about acceptance, expectation and happiness fascinating and started trying them on for size in my own life. Does this mean anything to me? Is that how it works in my life? As I examined my responses to life I found that when I expect something and it doesn't happen, there is disappointment or stress or anxiety. When I accept whatever comes along, whether it meets my expectation or not, I feel calmer, less stressed, more...at peace.

Michael's magazine revelation seems so simple, yet so profound. It has become a private litmus test for me in many situations. When I expect a client to like a draft of an ad, a letter or a brochure that I've created, their reaction holds power over me. If they don't like it, I often feel defensive, insecure, even guilty, that I was unable to give them what they wanted. Yet, when I enter the same meeting consciously, knowing why I have made the creative choices I have and leave myself open - and accepting - of whatever their reaction is, I feel less stress. If they aren't happy with what they see or read, I am open to the comments and ask questions about how we can better meet their requirements. If they love what they see, all the better.

I am continuously reminding myself that it's not all up to me. Every human interaction is just that, a relationship, a collaboration. I should not EXPECT to have it all right all the time in the eyes of another. I can ACCEPT that things are not always what I EXPECT them to be. This makes everything okay. We're all just doing what we think is best at the time. Perhaps there's another way to look at the situation or challenge and reach a peaceful solution in which both parties reach acceptance - and feel good about - the outcome.

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This is wrapped up in the concept of not taking things personally. It's not all about me. However, for those of us who were raised to BE RESPONSIBLE, this can be a challenge. When I enter into a situation with my husband, one of my children, or a client, I feel responsible for the outcome. That feeling has been cultivated in me since my childhood and it's not easy to release. However, when I consider the honest intent of what my mother and father insisted on from the time I can remember, it was "be responsible for yourself." They never told me to be responsible for another person's happiness, reactions or feelings. They taught me to be kind, to finish my homework, to clean up my room. In hindsight, I understand that these simple things were designed to keep my own life moving forward in a positive way.

When I really consider the intent...they were saying, "Always do your personal best so that you can be comfortable in any situation." The key is to be comfortable with yourself, not to be right in the eyes of anyone else. If you are comfortable inside your own skin, then it is much easier to ACCEPT whatever comes your way. If you know you have done everything you can...open, let go, accept. This lack of tension and anxiety is a magical thing.

peaceThe only place that I differ with Michael is in the word "happiness." In examining his words of wisdom, I prefer to insert the word "peace." I am more peaceful when I accept what comes along and less peaceful when I expect anything. I find that to be less qualitative than "happiness," which I've been somehow trained to think is a good thing. Peace, for me, is simply a state of being in which you experience less conflict and less struggle. Peace is possible when acceptance happens and expectation ceases. What a powerful thought and lovely way to be.

So, in the future, perhaps I can sit with Michael J. Fox to tell him how much his words impacted me and to debate semantics on this. I will never expect this to happen, however if the opportunity presents itself, I will definitely accept.

Be well and revel in the peace you can create for yourself each moment of the day.

The Path of Change and Self-Trust by Dawn Holland

After a very short time of living in Virginia I have chosen to return to Maine, to begin a new relationship with my ex-husband and to go back to my work at my office in Franklin County Hypnosis. This may seem a quite rapid turn of events. I made some drastic changes in my life over the last year and then moved to Virginia thinking I would be starting over in a new state. Instead, I realize that I have learned what I need and am deciding to return to the place and person I love. Yes - to go back - even though it feels like forward movement. I am a changed woman, stronger and more independent than ever before. This recent “journey” has been about inner changes, a journey I take alone. Although I realize that my change not only affects myself, but also touches the lives of others in many and varied ways.

change imageSome people might find my stay brief. Therefore, the ability to create true change in a short period of time may appear questionable, especially in order to learn such powerful lessons. But I believe that change can happen in an instant. After all I am an expert in the field of rapid change and I have been doing inner change work for more than 20 years! Why wouldn’t it be possible for me to focus deeply on my experience and gain clarity about what comes next, at whatever point that happens to occur? I offer these thoughts to you as a consideration for hope. You too can make desired changes in your life with focus, intention and commitment.

My work of self-change in regard to creating new patterns of response, instead of using my old ways of behaving, didn’t begin on May 13th of 2013 when my move to Virginia took place. The identifying and replacing of unhealthy response patterns started the moment I was honest with myself in acknowledging those patterns were ruling my life. As I brought full awareness to these unwanted behavior responses I could then work on changing them. For me this required a number of courses of action.

The most dramatic was divorce and moving away from my home. In doing this I had the space I needed to be alone with my self/Self and use all my tools of change to face the old patterns, and replace them with new behaviors. I used breathing, meditation, journaling, tapping, prayer, self-hypnosis and talk therapy. I left no stone unturned. It was a committed 24/7 job. Why? Because I wanted to change. I wanted to be self-sufficient and love the woman I truly am inside. Yet somehow that woman had become deeply buried along the path of my life journey. I wanted to find her, free her - and I did!

I truly believe that there is no one particular “thing” that creates or “fixes” what was and now what is. For me it took self-faith and self-trust to move forward through the pain and loneliness of my change-work and in some ways also in my decision to now go “home.” Only I could face my fears from all angles, sit with them - or even walk with them, until they no longer had power over me. This has been my experience of the last 3 months.

I wish I could tell you that I discovered a magic wand or some sort of magic phrase that can be used as we all heal and move forward in our lives. The best I have to offer is this, “Be true to yourself in spite of the well-meaning advice of others.” If you do choose to trust others’ offered feedback, choose carefully and wisely. I say this because deep within you is a Wise Self who knows how to help you gain clarity and understanding. Sometimes we reach for that part of us with the help of others, sometimes it is found alone.

Now begins the work of walking my talk and living my “new life.” I am prepared for the old habits and patterns to come knocking on my door as I return to Maine. I have awareness and self-respect to greet them. I know how to sit quietly, walk thoughtfully, and wait them out. There was a day when they may have served a helpful purpose in my life. But that day has come and gone. Now I am free. I plan on enjoying my newfound ability to soar like a bird to new adventures and destinies. And best of all I am filled with happiness and peace because I found me.

An invitation from Dawn: As I read over my writing, I reflect on the sharing of my journey with you. In this recent blog contribution I have done my best to share a summation of what has occurred since the last time you heard from me. As you have just read, there has been a lot of change! I welcome your questions and wonderings as possibilities for future writing. Feel welcome to put them in the comments section (be as brief as possible please) and I will consider them, or try to briefly address/answer them. I have enjoyed sharing my life experiences (as well as the tools of my practice) and look forward to more writing contributions.