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.

A Sure Way to Lose Your Zest for Life - Resisting, Clinging and Conforming

When we are growing up and being socialized, we learn how to adapt. This adapting involves three practices that many of us become proficient in – resisting, clinging and conforming. We adopt these behaviors to create relationships, to get through learning experiences, and to find our way to make a living in the world.

Unfortunately these very same practices that help us grow and make our way in the world when we are younger can stifle our fulfillment, peace and joy later in life. It takes awareness and persistence to break those limiting patterns. And the pay-off is huge! 

Resisting

When we are young we are simply alive. We eat, sleep and release. Then we add play and learning. As we age, we are taught how to resist our natural inclinations in order to become socially acceptable, like going to the bathroom, throwing a temper tantrum when we want something, and playing outside when it’s dinnertime. We were taught to resist these inner impulses and instead conform to the “rules” of our home life.  Resisting helps create environments to live in that allow for the collective “peace and orderliness”. This is a good thing.

Once you have learned how to be a “good” citizen (I use the phrase loosely), resisting your inner impulses automatically hurts you in many ways. Deep within your being, your innate wisdom knows what you want and need to create a life of adventure – of peace and joy. Unfortunately, if you become too disconnected from that inner impulse, habitually resisting the inner voice, you create a life of ongoing stress and tension. Your inner voice and impulse is not gone, it simply gets ignored, argued with or dismissed as unworthy of attention. For a fulfilling life, you must become strongly reconnected with your inner wisdom and guidance again.

This isn’t a guarantee that you will never experience stress and tension again. You will, but you learn to use it as a motivating energy to self-create a fulfilling life. Sure, there may be hard work, challenges and more growth when you follow that inner wisdom. But you also experience excitement, passion and joy! And inner peace becomes a steady state deep within- because you no longer resist what is pulsing through your body as Your Truth.

Clinging

Clinging is a form of extreme attachment. Attachment is a good thing because it helps us feel safe at a time when we need others to keep us alive and safe - literally. Think of how helpless a baby and a young child are! We all need trusted others to help us until we can do life more independently. Healthy attachments are formed when we feel connected in ways that allow us to flourish and thrive in the world. Forming healthy attachments requires healthy individuals who know how to let go and allow others what they need to have fulfilling experiences.

Clinging becomes habitual when we lack an inner sense of confidence and security. We aren’t confident that we can go get what we need for fulfillment and live a vibrant life regardless of the relationships we are in today. Relationships may contribute to our happiness and joy, but they are not the sole factor in feeling secure and excited about life. Healthy attachments are helpful, clinging hurts us.

Clinging to anything establishes an inner habit – and eventually a belief - that leaves you feeling like a victim to the very thing you are clinging to for dear life! If that “life preserver” goes, you are sunk. We become free and relaxed when we release our attachments to having to have anything, or having to having anything a certain way. We recognize that we are powerless over any “thing” - and we welcome it. Non-attachment is a spiritual practice in many faiths. Learning how to let go - not cling - is preparation for the big finish – death. Not preparing for the end sets us up for incredible suffering. A favorite teacher used to say to me, “ungrip”, when I was mentally struggling, or wanting to control an outcome of a situation.

Learning not to cling, grip or control allows us to find a security deep within and a faith beyond our individual experience.

Conforming

Being socialized means we conform to the rules of the environments within which we are raised. Those with a rebellious streak are often unconsciously controlled by their environment through the need to NOT conform. Conforming is a good thing when it allows us to feel a part of a community and enjoy the experience of nurturing and growing collectively.

The trouble with conforming, especially unconsciously, is that it controls your behavior and disconnects you from your inner wisdom, the wisdom that wants you to continue evolving throughout your entire life, finding new tribes and new environments to express the ever-emerging you.

Automatically conforming hurts us by stifling the creative energy that naturally wants to emerge through us. Our creative energy is essential to our wellbeing. Conforming is a sure away to tamp down that energy and dull your life experience. If you are bored with your life today, consider a thorough exploration of how you are conforming and how you might start to release these chains from your life so that you may experience the joy of authentically expressing yourself once again.

For resisting, listen to your inner dialogue or feelings like, I don't like that. See if you can alter it to something like, wow, that's different and see if you can develop a curiosity about it.

If you are clinging, tell yourself "ungrip!" like me :)

If you are conforming, try breaking a few little rules. There are plenty you can break without harming anyone. Do it so that you break the automatic stream of conforming.

If you’ve lost your zest for life, take inventory and start to break your habits of clinging, resisting and conforming. You might find yourself waking up one day and feeling the passion that’s always been there, waiting for your invitation to come forth

False Dichotomy by Pixie Hamilton

I hope you enjoy this writing as much as I do. It's written by Pixie Hamilton, a dedicated practitioner of meditation. She sent it along to some friends (including me) and I asked if she was willing to share it more publicly. She said she'd love to help :) I think it is a beautiful guided meditation piece that allows you to open to the energy of your chakras. There are two separate parts within each of us if we let them be. It’s our choice. It is our free will, every second of every minute, of every day to choose the Divine as we move through our daily routines and throw the humanness to the side.

Bringing each segment of our day into this divine space allows access to the infinite universal wisdom, love, intelligence, truth, life, and spirit. In this space, we have all the answers. In this space, we are calm, protected, creative, happy, confident, loving, grateful, authentic, true to ourselves, intuitive, wise, and one with our Source.

Why not bring our highway adventures, work phone calls, trips to the doctor, appointments, meetings, social gatherings, meals, bath times, yard work, finances, health, wellbeing, relationships…into this space?

When we do, the separation disappears. The dichotomy between Divine reality and human illusion disappears. Everything happens at the perfect time. The right people arrive at the right time and say the right things. There is divine unfolding of events that bring out the greatest expression of who we really are, in every moment. We reach our “soul” (sole) purpose as divine spirits, fully experiencing the contrasts of this earthly experience…all of which are good and all of which move us towards growing, evolving, expanding, and experiencing and expressing the God within.

Each morning I awake and bless my physical being and the divine energy in each cell. But even more, I focus on specific energy centers because I can feel them, sense them, relate to them. Each “center” has a divinity that I love – each center also has human ego that I throw aside. Yes, each center could show dichotomy….if we choose. Erasing the dichotomy in each center helps to erase the age-old resistance, the patterns of beliefs built up over the years that don’t allow us to experience the Divine.

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I take you with me….. I focus on Center 1, at the base of the spine. I breathe, deeply. I feel the spiraling red energy, swirling, expanding, as I allow and receive its calmness, protection, security, and grounding through the divine source. I leave behind my earthly beliefs that protection and security comes through bank accounts, job security, a big house, networks, and stature. I feel the Divine cover of protection, knowing that all is well. My lower back feels alive, full, grounded. And, I am grateful. I move up to my splenic area, the womb. I breathe, deeply. I feel the spiraling orange energy, swirling, expanding, as I allow and receive happiness, creativity, passion, and sensuality through my divine source. I leave behind my earthly beliefs that happiness comes from the outside, through material possessions, romance, and relationships. I feel the happiness within, despite circumstances. I know that happiness is inside/out, and I know that all is well. My splenic area is alive, full, vibrating. And, I am grateful. I move up to my Solar Plexis. I breathe, deeply. I feel the spiraling yellow energy, swirling, expanding, as I allow and receive confidence, discipline, courage, enthusiasm and a surrendering to the will of my Divine Source. I leave behind my earthly beliefs that success comes from work, work, work, struggle, competition, and a feeling that “there is limited abundance for all.” I feel worthy, collaboration, and success, knowing that the right people are in my life at the right time and I am doing exactly what I need to be doing right now. I reach my goals effortlessly. My mid-section is alive, full, vibrating. And, I am grateful. I move up to my heart. I breathe, deeply. I breathe, again, deeply. I bask in the spiraling, warm green energy, swirling, expanding, as I allow and receive unconditional love, gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion. I leave behind my earthly beliefs that love is for only a few. I see Divine love in everyone. My heart is limitless, swollen. And, yes, I am grateful. I move up to my throat. I breathe, deeply. I feel the spiraling, blue energy, swirling, expanding, as I feel authenticity and a knowing that I can be who I truly am, freely expressing the Source within me. I speak my Truth, without reservation. I leave behind my earthly beliefs that I have to “fit in” and say what people want me to say, think what they think I should think, do what is expected. My throat is open, clear, alive, vibrating, allowing. I am grateful. I move up to my third eye. I breathe, deeply. I feel the spiraling indigo energy, swirling, expanding, as I am filled with intuition, wisdom, and Truth. I am tuned into the words of my Source. I am listening. I leave behind my earthly beliefs that I must study, educate, read, and analyze life around me. I have all the answers within. My brow is open, alive, vibrating. I am grateful. Ah, yes, my crown, the Source of spirit. I feel the spiraling violet energy, swirling, expanding, as I am filled with the Oneness of life. I leave behind my earthly beliefs that I am separate from my God. I am infinite in possibility. I am at peace. And, I am grateful. We are given free will to recognize that dichotomy is false. We are Spirit. We are One. Every second, of every minute, of every day. And all is well.

Are you Tapping yet?

Not tap dancing... EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique! Haven't heard of it? Where have you been? I love sharing and using tapping in my personal and professional life.  Simply put, it's a powerful way to move energy and relax into a place of lasting change.  It can end habits of being triggered by old emotional baggage, one of the biggest culprits that block manifesting what you want.

If you haven't heard about or learned tapping here is a great video to get you started. Better yet, if you are in the Richmond area, I am co-leading a meet up group where we will be talking about tapping and tapping together. Join us!

Even though I can't wait for the weekend, I deeply and completely accept myself :)

Life as a Koan

With birth (a new granddaughter!) and death (my Dad's passing) knocking at my door this month, my natural inclination is to become pensive. I draw inward and notice how I am feeling, what is happening inwardly for me as big life events jiggle my consciousness and emotions stream through my being. During the last week of my Dad's life, in the early hours before dawn, I was contemplating my Dad's life and my life with him, allowing a spontaneous life review to flow through my mind. Flashes of insight flowed throughout the review.

Suddenly I saw life as a koan. What is a koan? Here is the definition I like from the internet  "Koan :  a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment." Notice that one must abandon mental activity, at least momentarily,  in order for the enlightening moment to emerge.

I thought about feeling emotionally disconnected from my Dad early in life and the impact it had on me. Paradoxically, we made our way to a sense of emotional and mental peace, a true closeness with one another through our journey of simply being ourselves with one another - accepting all that this means. Suddenly I saw life as a journey that you can't know about ahead of time. You must surrender and live it fully to experience the truth of its meaning for you. Being ever true to Self leads to reaping the rewards.

I thought about my Dad's dedication to living with spiritual awareness, and his clear desire to support others on the journey into this awareness. Paradoxically, at times he could alienate those of us closest to him. He had a way of speaking at us about this truth that we must discover, and how to get about the business of doing this. That didn't feel spiritually aware, it felt bossy. At the end of his life, he was a demonstration of remaining ever-constant to his beliefs about the body simply housing his personal consciousness that will indeed make its transition onward one day. He lived a very conscious end of life process, very aware and very clear about his desire to be present to the entirety of it. I grew to feel even closer to him as he prepared to leave this reality.

I thought about my family dynamics and the lessons I learned by living through, and also by leaving behind, the dynamics I no longer wished to perpetuate. My determination to live a clear and consciously directed life set my course onto a path of deep healing. I remain grateful for the challenges of ending old patterns, of leaning into being forgiving and open-hearted. It is often through overcoming personal inner difficulty that we grow to become our strongest and wisest self, able to serve the world in the best of ways. Paradoxically, those difficult dynamics, when worked with consciously, become a gift. They are the fire that burns away the clouded conditions that keep us from seeing our own inner truth. With this kind of consciousness we may launch into our best life.

Life as  a koan - a thought that brought comfort and then clarity in many ways. Suddenly I want to consider everyone's life, and presence in my life, as a koan. Each life a paradox that I can meditate upon, to sit with in wonderment, in curiosity about the purpose, the meaning of it all. And in that wondering, in that spacious holding lightly for review, perhaps I will be gifted again and again with these little enlightments, with the release of reason, opening me to the greater gifts of intuitive insight and deep personal peace.

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Creating Wholeness in My Broken World

I am 56 years old. At age 30, I felt in utter despair as I looked about me and saw how I had chased the American dream and had realized it. With beautiful children, a lovely home, the handsome husband, and the freedom to be the at-home mom I wanted to be, I was racked with inner despair. And yet my life looked so good on the outside. On the inside, I was a woman who wanted true love above all else. I wanted to live in a home of harmony and honesty. I wanted to contribute to the world in a unique and special way - and had no idea what that meant or how I would do that. I wanted to speak my truth and be respected - even valued for this. At thirty I had no sense of having anything that my heart was crying for inside (I couldn't even hear what my heart was saying in all that sobbing). But I had everything I was groomed to go get. My conditioning set me on the path I was on. Until I consciously conditioned my mind to look at what my inner being was calling for, I, like many others, lived out a marginal life story, often feeling disappointed and frustrated.

Now, at 56, I realized everything I desired. Once I faced that inner despair and started owning my inner truth, I did the difficult work of learning to speak my truth, and sit still with what my heart wanted me to know. Now I have true love of all kinds in my life. I live in a home of harmony and kindness. I contribute in a unique and special way - and I know what that is and what it means to me. I have defined it, and continue to do so. I speak my truth and am respected and valued for it. I have it all - the all I deeply desired! And guess what - I groomed myself so that I could realize these experiences. I reconditioned my way of being and living in the world with the process I call "BE Your Medicine™".

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Now what? Life continues! I want more! Life wanting more is the truth of being alive! It is what the essence of being is all about - life wanting to express itself. Because we are all life wanting to express itself, the world is a composite of individual wants. We are all embodying something which our mind has decided is the "best" way to live. The question is - are you deciding it consciously? Are you choosing what you truly want, or are you part of the stream of life that is moving semi-consciously through the flow of reacting to what has already happened in life and in your world so far, and feeling blasé about it all?

At 30, when I was in a state of inner despair, I had a life that I had believed would bring me happiness. And there were parts of it that did. I felt like being a mother was a calling for me. My desire to experience motherhood and be an active and strong part of my children's lives literally drove me into therapy! When I realized I was conflicted about my marriage, when I felt like I was living a half-truth, my deep inner world was in turmoil.  I now accept that I have a strong need to be in alignment with my inner truth by living a life that reflects my inner reality in its fullness. My first marriage was an important partnering and I learned a lot. But in the depths of my heart I was not loving and committing the fullness of my heart. I had to let go of what was "good enough", to release myself from the pain of knowing I could give and be more in a relationship as important as marriage.

Facing that truth eventually led me to finding new life, in so many ways. I learned about the me that is more than wife and mom.  I  discovered meaningful work that lets me contribute in a way that I feel proud of. I got good with the truth that I don't like small talk and I need a pretty good dose of alone time as a way to stay in balance. My idea of fun is a fabulous meditation, connecting intimately with those I love, sitting on the deck with my husband gazing at the clouds or my garden, or enjoying a delicious meal with lively conversation and a few laughs with wonderful peeps. Those simple pleasures can bring me great joy. But I wasn't groomed to know all this. I had to go find all that out and then become the transformational agent that created those experiences in my world.

Transform

Now at 56, I have more dreams and desires that arise in my being. I want to share my work with as many people as I can. I want to be a part of the larger movement of human evolution, the recognition that we are pure consciousness becoming aware of itself and all that this awareness means about manifestation, love, truth, beauty and harmony. I am deeply committed to sharing my wisdom in ways that will help others find their passion, take hold of the power within them, follow their hearts, align with their soul and live consciously and joyfully.

I am here to help you BE Your Medicine™ too.

An Intentional Health Care Plan

In my world, health care has little to do with western medicine and insurance. For this I am grateful, since both of these systems are struggling presently to serve customers well. Here is my intentional, conscious, empowering health care plan.health care 1. Move, stretch and raise my heart rate through aerobic activity on a regular basis. This changes with my daily sense of well-being and energy. I feel stronger in every way - mentally, emotionally and spiritually when I am in touch with my physical body and moving it as it wants to. There is an impulse from within that will lets me know what I need, and I make every effort to remain in connection to that inner impulse.

2. Eat well. Same as above. I sense what my body and being need for food. When I am eating from an emotional place, I crave sweets. When I am in a balanced place, I usually crave nothing. Some particular food may "sound good", and that tends to be what my body needs to function well.

3. Have a monthly massage. I am a very emotional and physical person. Energetically I move a lot through my system and a massage helps me detox from residual emotional and energetic experiences. My natural inclination is to stuff, not to release, so I need support to maintain a movement outward, to release.

massage4. Meditate and self-reflect daily. I enjoy spending an hour in quiet daily, so that is my steady goal. As an introvert, my natural inclination is to be quiet. Daily stillness provides this time and keeps me feeling grounded and centered. Self-reflection is essential for me. I take responsibility for the quality of my life. Reflection gives me the time and space to examine how to "be" the authentic me, in order to create the life I want.

5. Experience alternative health care providers. Most recently I went to an Oriental Medical Practitioner and was prescribed an intense regimen of herbs for 10 days. The herbs didn't taste good, but wow, did they help with my sleeping and overall sense of well-being. I always feel empowered to understand how my body and being maintain health when I visit an alternative provider. These health care agents tend to spend more time with me and they love to share knowledge about how the body heals and what it needs to maintain well-being.

6. Surround myself with mutually loving relationships. I have lost interest in maintaining one-sided, or "care-taking" relationships  with others in my personal world. My personal mission is to help others find their inner power and wisdom, and in so doing serve the world, with their innate gifts. One-sided or "care taking" relationships are not in line with this mission. I know that people are capable of great love and sharing, to accept less means I believe they are incapable.

7. Make every day conscious and intentional. As I live with clarity about what makes me excited and joyful, I realize that bringing this energy to the world is what will serve at the highest level. Healing old wounds, accepting others for who they are, and knowing I create my daily experiences through my choices means I am free to co-create with what is around me in the "best" way I can.

What is your intentional  health care plan? :)

Love Your Life and Create Joy and Peace in the World

Do you know people who love life? I do. They exude positivity. They are generous with their enthusiasm. They are passionate about what they love and love to talk about it. They are genuinely interested in you and your life. They ask questions and they go deeper than the surface. You feel good in their presence. They inadvertently spread joy and peace. Do you love your life? If not, you can come to love your life. Here is what I know about how to go from feeling sad or frustrated with life, to loving and appreciating every day.

* Learn who you really are. Discover your values, what causes you to feel passionate and excited. Then make sure everything you say and do aligns with this knowledge.

* Do not define yourself or your future by your past. As you learn who you really are, replace all old rules with what causes you to feel like you stand in joy and truth.  Be sure that any of your history that remains in your heart as anger, disappointment or judgment with and about others is healed by actively working through the feelings. Come to peace with it all. Work with a professional if need be until you are at peace with your past.

* Live fully in the present day. Practice focusing your mind in the present moment and engage fully in what you are doing. If you can't, or you resist this, start changing what you are doing until you can really release yourself into the experience.

imagesIf you are in a job or in relationships and habits that cause frustration, disappointment and boredom, it's time for change. Only You can commit to this process, advocating for joy and peace in your life. When you do, when you make this deep commitment to yourself, you will become a powerhouse!

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.

Do You Want Love? Learn to Re-Open Your Heart

Who isn't searching for love, the kind that feels comforting, supportive and safe? We are hard-wired to desire this because it is connected to our potential to thrive. Many years ago in ground-breaking research, babies who were fed, but not held, experienced the syndrome of failure to thrive. Failure to thrive means minimal growth and lack of vitality for life. We all need love and human nurturing to grow fully. Your heart holds the key

Why then, are so many of us frustrated with the condition and quality of love in our lives? I believe it is because we were not shown or taught how to give and receive love well and fully. Many of us learned how to wall off our hearts rather than to open our hearts and tenderly connect with others. One of the processes I love guiding clients through is the re-opening of the heart.

Re-opening the heart requires immense courage as well as particular support and encouragement. When you have come to believe that the world is not safe, that others are not trustworthy or that your heart will be broken and battered yet again, closing off the heart energetically is the unconscious but effective way to keep hurt out. And guess what? It also keeps love out. Thus, failure to thrive.

At the beginning of re-opening the heart, we learn to first acknowledge the heart and how it is speaking, often crying for attention. We learn to listen, to accept, to grieve the past and to gently breathe energy back into the heart. We turn our loving attention to self and create a safe environment within where we can self-nurture and ultimately heal. We learn to release judgment, particularly of self, the action that keeps the heart closed tight. We come to understand the importance of grieving consciously, of letting go of past disappointments, of past hurts and betrayals, so that we can live fully in the now. We learn to develop healthy boundaries, one of the most essential and often difficult tasks for women who want to live balanced, loving, and happy lives.

If you are feeling like you don't experience the love you desire in your life, you can change that. When we learn to let go of the Cinderella syndrome as the answer to living a loving life, we set ourselves onto a path of learning how to let love in, in a multitude of wonderful ways. If you need help because you know your heart is walled off, I am here for you.

For those in the Richmond area, attending my workshop on Creating Loving Relationships in November will offer you ideas about how to create new patterns for opening to love consciously. You might find October's workshop, Creating Life Balance, another place to start, where you can identify what your priorities truly are and how you can reset your priorities for a more loving lifestyle. Or commit to understanding how to put all your emotional energy to use and become a powerhouse to fuel your life well by attending my workshop series on Using Your Emotional Energy Wisely. Expect to learn great life skills when you attend my workshops!