Suggested Spiritual Reading

BookshelfI am constantly being asked, “What is a good book I can read to help me along my path of self-discovery?”

Each of us is a totally different person seeking the same information. The trick is to find a guide, teacher, or some other type of help that well guide you on your path. We all have different ways of growing. I think that is why the Universe provides some many teachers, books, and unexpected help from our guides. There are all sorts of books out there that speak to the individual you are.

I suggest going to a book store and taking some time to read a bit and choose the information or book that resonates to you. With that said here is a list of books I recommend for the beginning seeker in everyone:

Sanaya Roman has written a series of books with the help of her guide Orin. They include, “Living with Joy”, “Personal Power Through Awareness”, and “Soul Love”

Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue (Book 1), by Neale Donald Walsch

The Celestine Prophecy, by James Redfield – this book is short but sweet. A nice starter book.

Like Sanaya Roman, John Randolph Price has written a bunch of books and I recommend anyone of them.

The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle – I’ve already mentioned what I like about these books, but basically Tolle has a gentle way of reminding us to stay in the present moment.

Hopefully, there are enough recommendations here to get you into a bookstore. I recommend you find yourself a great metaphysical, new age or alternative book store since they usually have a better selection.

Hope your adventure is an enlightening one!

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Affirmations Keep You Focused

HibiscusOne of my favorite things to keep me focused is affirmations. They keep me in my present moment and one of my clients told me they keep the boogie man away.

They can help you remain positive and open. Depending upon the affirmation, it trains your mind which in time changes your thinking to be more confident, abundant, happier and healthy. Remember my earlier post about creating your reality?

Here are a few of my favorite affirmations:

  • I see the abundance in all I do.
  • Loving others is easy when I love myself
  • I am successful in all I do
  • I release all fear and negativity
  • I am willing to let go
  • I experience love and happiness wherever I go
  • I love my body
  • Change is easy for me
  • I am safe in my environment
  • I choose to be successful
  • I am the creator of my own reality

I hope you have fun with these and they work for you. I would love to hear some of your affirmations in the comments section below.

Taming the (Monkey) Mind

Meditating MonkeyHave you ever suffered a panic attack or experienced very high anxiety? If so, these are signs that you’re taking care of everyone but yourself.

It’s easy to do – especially if we are constantly “plugged in” to everyone else via phone, email, chat, and social media. While being connected is a good thing, it can also become harmful when you begin to worry about things over which you have very little control. It also contributes to the constant chatter and non-stop thoughts in your head, AKA Monkey Mind.

I have a friend who runs around and helps everyone else but her. Most of these people don’t need to be taken care of, but she floods them with unwanted info and help anyway. If I happen to mention that I have a sore throat, my email box will be inundated for a week with remedies, medical articles, information about the cycle of the moon – basically anything she thinks will help cure my sore throat – when all I was sharing was that my throat was sore, most likely from allergies.

The information can become so overwhelming that her friends start avoiding her for fear that they’ll be unnecessarily taken care of since she allows her Monkey Mind to take over. Then she can’t figure out why she is depressed, tired, lonely, and unhappy.

She also hasn’t figured out the person that needs the most attention is her, and that she creates these situations to avoid taking care of herself.

If this type of behavior sounds familiar then slow down, take a look at your life and ask yourself when was the last time you took care of you?

It’s okay to  pamper yourself. Take a bath, enjoy a glass of wine, get a massage.

It’s okay to be nice to you. Go for a walk, make a nice dinner, relax for an afternoon.

It’s okay to sleep in late or sit and read a book all day.

Of course you have to keep Monkey Mind quiet. It isn’t easy but it can be done. It takes time and patience – something we so rarely give ourselves – but with a little practice, you can send the monkey back to the jungle where it belongs.

Boundaries are a Good Thing

Boundaries are necessary for effective communicationToo often boundaries are considered constraints, which in a sense they are but in counselor-speak,  they also provide the necessary framework for effective communication, essentially creating a set of ground rules for everyone to follow.

Individuals often tend to fall into one of two categories when it comes to defining boundaries: givers and takers – neither of which have healthy boundaries in a dysfunctional relationship. Givers, also known as victims, worriers, or yielders are basically approval-seekers. They don’t want to “rock the boat” so they allow Takers to manipulate, meddle or deceive to get what they want.

The goal of boundary setting, however, is to integrate giving and taking so that both participants in a relationship – whether it’s parental, romantic or platonic – feel good about the outcome and understand why they are giving AND what they are getting.

For example, if you tell your friend that you are only available to see a movie on Saturday and they make arrangements to see a movie on Sunday and you agree without protest, knowing that you had other commitments for Sunday, you will likely spend the entire movie stewing over what you should be doing and silently getting angry with your friend for making plans on Sunday. If this happens enough, it will eventually cause problems in the relationship because you haven’t explained your boundaries to your friend.

However, if you held firm to your boundary and explained why you couldn’t see a movie on Sunday, (and possibly suggested an alternative,) the anger would have no foundation and problems in the friendship could be avoided.

Everyone needs boundaries, some more than others, but in the end, knowing what is or isn’t acceptable, expected, or appropriate is one of the foundations of  civilized society.

Don’t go overboard, but make sure to communicate what is or isn’t okay with you – and be willing to compromise. You just may find you experience less conflict with those around you.

The Puzzle

puzzle piecesWhen most people begin on their path to self exploration, their inner quest, or whatever you want to call it, they seek the magic, or the rituals, or maybe even the secret to self-fulfillment. They begin subscribing, searching, reading, and discussing their journey with others. They may obsess about the “right” way to go about their personal exploration. Looking for a “quick fix”, they embrace each new idea with voracity, a determination that, “this will give me the answer.”

But once that journey continues, they start to figure out that it’s not just about the books, or cards, or pilgrimages, or classes, or teachings. Those are just pieces to a giant puzzle. Tiny pieces that represent the whole spiritual puzzle we are working to solve.

Because here’s the deal folks: there is no right or wrong way to grow. There is no one answer to the Universe. Ultimately, we are just a one-of-a-kind million piece puzzle and our life’s purpose is to figure out which pieces fit into our puzzle. If we are all unique beings, wouldn’t it stand to reason that no two puzzles are alike? And therefore, no two puzzles will have exactly the same pieces?

The farther along  you get in your spiritual growth, the more you begin to understand  that everything you ever needed was right there inside of you and all you had to do is listen. The yoga, the mediation, the spiritual retreats, the cleansing diets, the seminars – those were just clues to help you solve your puzzle, to awaken an inner knowing that you have always had.

Trust yourself and take baby steps. Good Luck!

(By the way, there are no secrets, just pieces of the puzzle that have yet to connect.)

13 Daily Affirmations

marigolds, peaceRecently I read a great book by one of my spiritual teachers, John Randolph Price. His book, “Removing the Masks That Bind Us,” explores the different types of facades we create to face the world. One of those masks is that of The Abandoned. The person wearing this mask feels deserted, alone, and assaulted by the forces of the world and blames others for not helping in their hour of need.

According to Price, the only way to remove this mask is through forgiveness of oneself. Once that has been cleared, don’t look at the external world for love, joy, and peace. Instead, focus on the spirit within and “abandon” yourself to the love, strength and abundance of The Universe.

I find it helpful sometimes to focus on a daily affirmation, something I can think back to and remember when the chaos of the day gets out of control. Here are 13 from the book that help keep the mask of The Abandoned at bay:

  1. I accept my responsibilities in life.
  2. I have the ability to come up with new ideas and make them work.
  3. I grasp new concepts quickly.
  4. I am creative.
  5. I have great energy and vitality.
  6. I am willing to face change creatively.
  7. I look to the future with joyful expectation.
  8. I am optimistic about life.
  9. I love harmony and beauty.
  10. I am compassionate and understanding.
  11. I can laugh at myself.
  12. I have intuitive wisdom.
  13. I live happily and productively.

Playing the Victim

spiral

I have worked with many clients who can’t understand why their life is the way it is. It can take them a long time to come to the realization that they are responsible for creating their life by consciously or unconsciously choosing how they respond to different situations, function in relationships and move through life.

Our narrow definition of victim implies that something horrific must happen in order to be described as a victim. One must have been in a terrible accident, or suffered extreme abuse, or experienced bodily harm to be considered a victim. But there are varying degrees of victim hood and over the past twenty-five years I have had the opportunity to witness – first-hand – the infinite ways in which individuals play the victim.

It is important to remember that no one has power over you unless you give it to them. At the end of the day, no matter how scary, or painful, or uncomfortable it is – you can always walk away from a damaging situation. (Of course, some take more courage than others – a physically abusive relationship, setting boundaries with loved ones, etc.,) but you ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE.

When you feel as though life isn’t fair, or things just don’t go your way, or someone else always gets the break, take a moment to step back from the situation and observe it as objectively as possible. Examine your role in the situation. Did you set yourself up for failure? Did you really want to succeed in the first place? Did you subconsciously create obstacles and roadblocks to moving forward? Did you express to everyone around you how, “you just knew you wouldn’t get that promotion because no one ever recognizes your hard work and potential?” You are making yourself the victim in the situation by setting yourself up for failure and broadcasting to everyone that “It’s not my fault. Everything is out of my control and my life is in the hands of someone else.” Your statement feels justified because what you put out there is exactly what happened. This continues the vicious victim cycle.

Many people are so strongly attached to their identity of a victim, they don’t even realize they are a victim. Complainers, those people with a self-defeating attitude and gloomy outlook have all attached themselves to their victim hood. They have learned how to get a response – either positive or negative – that makes them feel justified, worthy, loved or accepted.

But here’s the thing – all that drama can be physically, emotionally and mentally draining to maintain. Many victims can’t fathom how much better they would feel without playing that part all the time, but I have yet to meet anyone who let go of the drama of victim hood and didn’t feel lighter as a result. Once they confront their victim behavior, examine why they felt they needed it and let it go they feel an extreme lightness and joy.

Remember, everything and everyone in your life is there by your conscious or unconscious choice and how you react to it is totally up to you.