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!

End Your Guilt Habit

Today' message encourages you to end one of the most draining habits that can sabotage any forward movement in your life. Guilt will drag you down, pull you back and cause you to feel heavy all over. (Is your weight an issue for you?) Instead, you CAN make peace with your past and claim a joyful today. But first you must end the guilt habit.

End the Worry Habit - Begin Today

Did you know that worry is fear of the future? Did you know that worrying is an incredible drain on your energy and causes you to live in fear and distrust habitually? Did you know that worrying is a habit you can break when you decide you want to? Today's video gives you a three-step process to practice until you master the habit of hopeful, trustful thinking versus worrying. Only you can change the patterns your mind presently defaults to. You do this by directing your mind with new habits, new content and new energy!

Honoring the Introvert Within

Introvert-images-introverts-14863871-440-293The busier I become in my life, the more I know it is necessary to honor and support the big part of Me that is an Introvert. This can be very difficult in a culture that promotes and rewards extrovert behavior. But it is essential to my well-being and I know it is critical to many others who come to me and don't prioritize the need to spend time alone. As my dreams are being realized, expanding and blossoming - loving family around me and fulfilling work - my "free" "alone" time is dissipating. In order to maintain my positive attitude and ability to give freely of myself, it is essential that I create a routine that fulfills my need for this quiet space and time.

We are all part introvert and part extrovert. The extroverted parts are generally encouraged in our culture and the introverted aspects groomed to be minimized. This is unfortunate because this grooming works against our natural Selves who need communion in quiet. We source critical energy from spending time alone. My creative nature bloomed into full being as I cultivated a quiet time that allowed me to explore what my inner being desired.

Today I had a startling and profound experience. This week I have been having nights of troubled sleep and so am overly tired. Add to this two days of being busy from post-meditation time in the morning until dropping into bed at night. Today I made a decision to pull back from a few activities originally planned for the day. I moved slowly and mindfully throughout the first hours of the day. Then I felt the need to sit and write creatively for a few minutes before I headed out the door for a meeting. In ten minutes of creatively writing, I could literally feel my energy shift and the deep fatigue begin to lift! Wow, it could not have been more clear in that moment how essential to my well-being my creative time has become.

Only I can discover what my deep needs are. Only I can honor what they are and stand up proudly on my behalf and claim what I need to thrive in my life. If you are like me and many of my clients, you too may need more alone and quiet time than your life is structured to provide. Only you can restructure your life to provide this quality of time. It is difficult to stand up and decide You are worth it! But in time, when we do not have enough quiet, it becomes a matter of health and vitality, of happiness and fulfillment. These are universally desired qualities that we often struggle to prioritize but are essential to living a contented life.

Honoring the introvert within reaps daily heaps of contentment and joy in my own life. I consider it my first priority to fulfill because I have learned that in order to live my best life, to walk my talk, to rest my head easily on my pillow at night, and to give freely and abundantly to those I love, I must first honor my own deep needs for balance and health.

Purposefully Closing and Opening Experiences

I am purposefully closing out the month of March with a video on the topic of the masterful habit of Purposefully Opening and Closing Your Experiences. The month got away from me so quickly! My relationship with time is altering as I live more fully in joy day-to-day. My intention has been to bring you weekly videos but as my life expands and I must choose more carefully about how I spend my time, I find it is more realistic to post between 2 and 4 videos a month. This is an attainable goal. So be it! I am practicing what I teach. Set intention, reflect, adjust, notice, gather wisdom and celebrate! I invite you to do so too! Check out today's video.

Self-Aware versus Self-Absorbed

Being self-absorbed means that you are unable to attend to what is happening around you effectively. There are many reasons for how we become unable to let go of the mental story that pushes us into an inability to make anything else as important as "ME". And in fact, YOU are of the essence. Consciously living this amazing paradox enriches your life in phenomenal ways! The magic of living is in realizing you are a part of a greater whole that is influenced by the how of your life experience. So, how are you attending to your immediate experience this day? Today's message invites you to become less mentally absorbed in your personal story. With a more expansive awareness, you experience the truth of yourself as a part of the great movie of life. Becoming less self-absorbed, you become more powerful to flow with the energies of life itself, ultimately freeing your authentic power!

Acclimating to a Marginal Lifestyle by Dawn Jepson

Acclimation to a marginal lifestyle is not an event that happens overnight. It is a series of choices over an extended period of time in which one sacrifices their deep inner desires, usually in return for something else. The marginal lifestyle means living in a way that reflects only embodying a portion of your potential, desires and truth.

Think of climbing a tall mountain. You pause along the way to let your lungs and your body adjust to the altitude.

Or, consider the changing seasons in New England. Most of the time we don’t wake up and find it’s 80 degrees with the winter over. Rather, day by day it gets warmer, the snow melts, the leaves come out, and we change our wardrobes.

These are a couple of examples that represent acclimation in a person‘s life.

What might not be healthy acclimation is allowing ourselves to slowly, over the years, give away our power or to create false stories to justify an unhealthy lifestyle.

In any relationship there is give and take, accommodations are made in order to live and play together harmoniously. Still we retain our sense of self, who we are and what we want and believe in. It is frightening that as the years pass, if we don’t pay close attention to what those seemingly minor accommodations have added up to, it can feel like our life mess blossomed spontaneously. Suddenly we have acclimated to a way of living that doesn’t match with who we truly are. I know this because it happened to me.

No one forced me to accept a marginal way of living. No one forced me to give up my freedom of being me. I first unconsciously and then consciously found myself making those sacrifices for what I thought was a good cause - harmonious living. But the truth is that too often I gave pieces of me away; my priorities, how I wanted to do things, how I wanted to spend my time.

Inside me I was experiencing anything but harmony. I knew long before I would admit it to anyone, even myself, that I was giving up too much of me for the sake of my relationships. I created stories for myself, and at time for others, why this was okay. It has taken me a long time to wake up. I did attempt to call back my power on several occasions but did not choose the best route. Therefore, I continued with the marginal lifestyle.

Today I am taking a different path of self-healing. And this time I am doing some hard work; facing the truth, recognizing when the old patterns try to call me back into their craziness - and I am doing a great deal of grieving. Of course there is deep sadness because it wasn’t all self-sacrificing. There were many happy times, loving times and times of learning and evolving in positive ways. Through it all, this time of change has not been easy. In fact I am doing some of the hardest work of my life. I am winning “the battle” this time around.

I don’t like using that term, “battle,” because it sounds violent. But it HAS felt like a violent battle at times, especially in the beginning. Sitting quietly with my feelings, breathing, remaining aware of my thoughts, and treating myself with kindness, are just some of the tools I employ to help myself move forward. I am passing through this transition to a new way of living.

Changing old ways of responding to the ones I love and making new choices in the midst of stressful times is not easy. Yet it is possible. I am doing it, with the help of others and in faith and recognition that I am stronger than I once believed. I share this personal experience because I know that there are others who live with detachment from what their heart and souls want. They too find themselves in a marginal lifestyle. My hope is that this post offers those readers the courage to make the difficult changes that bring the joyful quality of life we embrace when we are authentically true to our hearts, leaving a marginal lifestyle in the past.

Listen to Your Inner and Outer Dialogue

Your word is your power. If you do not believe this, you can do your own research like I have done. I have been consistently paying attention to the words and beliefs that come out of my mouth, the way limiting thoughts come sliding out when I am speaking automatically - which we all often do. Some of your research can consist of listening to others, listening for beliefs embedded in their speech. When you clean up your speech to align consciously with what you believe, and rigorously work on your authentic belief system that most often differs from the one you have been conditioned to live by, you will become a powerful creative force. Today's message offers encouragement for conscious reconditioning!

Taking Charge of Your Life

Who is in charge of your life? Are the old beliefs passed on from generations before you running your world? Are the old habits and thought patterns adopted by you as you were being conditioned to be the citizen, student, productive employee, or "what ever role" - driving the energy of your day? My post this week was going to be a bit more personal but suddenly I read two wonderful blogs Wednesday morning and they inspired me to ask you questions. Since we are on a mission this year to clean up outdated habits and adopt more effective life-affirming ones, I am posting these thoughts today.

My first sharing relates to this blog posting called "Don't Wait - Quarterback Your Own Paradigm Shift". I highly recommend this blog. It's fun and full of spiritual wisdom.

One of the phrases I use often with my clients is experiencing a paradigm shift. This kind of shift is potent in transforming your life and finding your authentic power. Paradigm shifts happen as we question, and where necessary, release old beliefs (which are really non-truths for us) about life's rules and workings.

For instance, if you were taught to always be respectful of authority and not question those "in charge", it may be difficult to toss old rules that do not work for you. The paradigm shift would become - do not automatically adopt the rules of those in authority, and create a new rule to live by, like - decide if the rules fit with your philosophy of life, your value system and your life mission, and then decide if it is a rule you will live by. This opens up a new way of thinking, a new way of perceiving how the world is operating, and an opportunity to discover your inner truth and authority. When I released the rule of always following the rules of those in authority, I found myself tuning into my inner truth, discovering a deeper life truth and living by more compassionate and honest life rules. It was a powerful paradigm shift to toss out that old rule and live by one that pushed me to become more self-reliant and integrate my true beliefs and my actions.

Are you in need of a paradigm shift? Here are some questions to ask yourself and if the answer is yes to any of them, a paradigm shift will serve you well -

* Are you often frustrated in your work and with those who you have to answer to?

* Do you speak with disappointment, frustration or anger about your past and family of origin?

* Do you feel generally disappointed about life and your lifestyle?

The masterful habit is to create your paradigm shift by consciously choosing and living by your own beliefs and values. The ones that you feel in your heart and soul.

My next sharing relates to another blog I read by one of my favorite inspirational writers, Oriah Mountain Dreamer. In this particular posting she talks about eating less sweets and breaking an unhealthy pattern in her life. Well - surprise! I am doing the very same thing as part of the change I desire in my life this year. I know I have been attached to sugar in ways that I no longer want to be. Her posting came at the perfect time for me. It was like a friend from afar said - good for you, and I join you in your mission of deeper understanding. Thanks for being a virtual life sojourner Oriah.

What I have discovered in the past year with all the changes I have made, all the growth I have experienced and through my clarity of intention is this  - the information and sharing on the internet keeps supporting me in every endeavor I undertake with valuable information and encouragement. Your encouragement is out there too! If you decide to take charge of how you spend your time and become clear in what you want, you will find all the resources to actualize your desires. It's all there, it's a matter of making the connections.

The second masterful habit is to limit what your mind absorbs by choosing wisely from the information and entertainment overload that is available now. 

Are you taking charge of your life in what you are reading and watching through television and the internet? There is a wealth of information at our fingertips now - are you choosing wisely and in support of what your deepest desires are? Or are you entertaining your mind with screen"stuff" that gives you no real nourishment for what your soul craves? It's your decision to make and only you can feed your heart and soul. Take charge and choose wisely.

Life Without Alcohol by Dawn Jepson

It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I am walking through the restaurant anticipating a late afternoon antipasto and coffee with my husband. What a treat! As I am led to my table I hear the low laughter at a table near by. When I glance over I can’t help but notice the half-finished drinks on the table, the relaxed looks and smiling faces on the couple sitting there. I am filled with envy. I remember the days of “letting go” with alcohol. Quickly I push those enticing memories away and replace them with other memories - dry mouth the day after, queasy stomach …. I walk on. Getting closer to our table I look to the right and see the bar with all it’s neatly arranged bottles, see my reflection in the mirror. I also see me sitting on a stool having my first sip of an ice-cold martini. Ah, the pleasure of the bite of the alcohol, and even better, the spreading warmth and soothing calm that would wash over me. Once again, I push the image aside and replace it with one of the crusty bread dipped in fragrant oil that I am about to enjoy.

Now - another day, another challenge. It’s my day to grocery shop. I am hurrying, it is the end of the day, I am tired and hungry (all danger zones for an alcoholic). I am trying to find the raisins and of course they have been moved - again. I have to walk all the way back to the far end of the store, am willing to do this (burn those calories) as I REALLY want them for a salad.

There they are. As I turn to hurry back for check out, directly across from the raisins are the shelves of wine …. Bottle after bottle of reds, whites and bubbly. They all promise me the gift of letting down after a long day at the office. My mind starts to imagine uncorking a bottle and pouring it into a glass. At this point any glass will do, a jelly glass would work, it’s all about the relief of letting down with that wonderful soothing glass of wine. Quickly I replace the picture in my mind with my current favorite drink - Vida Coco. I love coconut milk! This refreshment is something special I look forward to - it represents the letting down at the end of a long day.

These are a sampling of the challenges of living a life without alcohol for me. In the past I might have had to call a friend so that I didn’t buy that bottle or two of wine. At the restaurant I might have had to leave, or at least talk with my husband to diffuse the emotions and thoughts that surfaced with the desire for a drink.

After many years of hard work I have learned to use my visualizations to help me.  I have used them so often they have power attached to them and can override the memories of the alcohol and it’s seductive lure, it’s siren call. Writing about this kind of self-care will follow in future posts - stayed tuned!

I have also had to make radical changes in how I live. I have learned ways to have fun other than drinking since almost all my fun and good times in the past revolved around alcohol.

Now my spiritual beliefs, rituals, and, practices have all deepened, grown and become more important in my life.

I remarried. When the time was right I moved closer to nature. I found work I love.

What is important is not so much WHAT I chose to do but the fact that I HAD to do things differently. For me it was many things. For me it was hard work sometimes and sacrifices. For me it was facing a lot of unpleasant truths and illusions. And I am still working on it all. BUT …. The joy that comes from the results of all my healthy choices, even if that joy isn’t immediate, is all worth it. Every step of the way. Every single day.

Has it all worked out perfectly? Absolutely not. Nothing is perfect. I still struggle, I search for answers and ways to live my truth more fully. I want to know the real Dawn - what she truly wants from life. After all that’s what  life is all about, I think. At least for me. Living fully and honestly and knowing myself. And loving the person I find there. I realize all this as I surrender daily to a life without alcohol.