Being a Counselor/Psychic

Flowers-Pink-In-The-Mountain-WallpaperI am a good listener. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I became a therapist. But I’m also a psychic and my main goal is to help people become the most fulfilled person they can become.

Often, when I am “out in the public”, people will begin to tell me how confused, angry, hurt, or upset they are about a relationship, their job, or specific person. It must be a vibe I have, but it never fails – people will just start telling me their life story without any prompting.  They tell me they don’t understand what’s going on, or that life seems to have swirled out of control. Or the biggie, “Why is this happening to me again?”

They continue expressing their fear, confusion, and share how they constantly feel overwhelmed. Sometimes they will even share that they don’t feel that good about themselves, or that they’ve made some “bad” decisions. Then they ask me what I do for a living and when they find out, all of a sudden they realize who they are talking to and make a hasty retreat. They get nervous because they think that I can read their mind, or are using my special therapist tricks to see what an awful person they really are.

People are so afraid that if they talk to a therapist, they’ll find out that all the bad things in their life are their fault or that the negative thoughts they have about themselves are actually true.

But going to a therapist is like going to a mechanic. If your car is acting up and you can’t figure out what is wrong with it, don’t you take it to an expert in that field? Or do you get in and hope that it won’t break down and still gets you where you need to go? Someone that works on cars all the time has a clue about what is wrong and knows how to fix it.

The same thing happens in life, so why not go to someone who can help you find the problem?

Don’t be afraid of a counselor. Their job is to help you figure out what’s going on in your life and how to work through the situations you’re facing. It’s like someone handing you a road map that makes life so much easier.

Therapy isn’t about judgement or blame. Sometimes people think that what they have done or said was horrible and awful. But by expressing those things that have been held in so long and sharing them with someone who is a good listener, the burden is lightened and you feel free-er.

Because you’re really not as bad as you think you are.

 

 

Fear of Lonliness

Feeling Alone and IsolatedI hear from people regularly about how lonely they feel on their spiritual path, “I wish I had more like minded people to talk to” or “I would love to be surrounded by people who are deeply spiritual.” Sometimes, they have lost friends and loved ones because they believe differently now. There are even times when you can feel totally alone in your beliefs while being completely surrounded by people. Sound familiar?

But here’s the thing: You can be alone, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel lonely. Be careful not to interpret alone as lonely. I learned that there are tremendous benefits to alone time. I believe these moments of alone time are given to us to explore our inner side. I came to value and love my alone time and I try to use it well by meditating, journaling, and reflecting. I also believe that so much of the aloneness that people are feeling right now is part of the plan to push humanity into figuring out and truly feeling that we are all one.

Just remember, the lonely and not-fitting-in times never last too long. And you can learn many things about yourself and other during those times.

Journaling Can Be Helpful

Journaling is healingI have to be honest with you, I hate writing. And I used to really hate journaling. But when you go to counseling, your therapist usually wants you to journal because journaling helps you sort things out.

Writing  is like breathing, it is a way of absorbing an experience. It’s one of the most profound ways to express our self in life and it is a great window into ourselves. Sometimes you just feel antsy. You know something bothers you but you just can’t pin point it. Writing it down can help you figure it out.

At least there is no right or wrong way to begin, you just start jotting down your insights or feelings. Write anytime you feel like it. You can write down random thoughts or observations about yourself. You can keep track of your dreams if you want to. You can write about some of the emotions that are coming up for you at that time, maybe anger or sadness; happiness or hope.

You could also start by exploring your memories, personal image, sensitive times, or maybe you could start with your daily thoughts.

He are a few prompts and story lines you could use to get started:

I want change________  in my life.

I am afraid of________

I want to give up___________________ in my life.

I am afraid of change because ________

I am unhappy because _______

I wish my life was________________

I am sad  today because _______

I am so happy today because _____

Once you catch on the thoughts and emotions will begin to flow more freely and when they do you’ll feel more empowered. You’ll know yourself more. And you’ll begin to have a better understanding of what makes you tick.

What I found is “seeing is believing”. I realized I was much more honest with myself when I wrote it down, and I could go back and re-read it and change my thoughts or my belief about something or someone.

Don’t be afraid to write your feelings down. It’s one of the best things you can do to take care of yourself.

Setting Your Intention

Setting your intentionI hate New Year’s Resolutions.

I think they’re just a stupid way to set yourself up for failure. So instead of setting goals for the year I like to set intentions. I think it’s a more spiritual approach to self-help and personal growth. So, I’d like to share three intentions I set for myself this year:

1) First and foremost I intend to practice what I preach more often. I am a teacher and I feel it is important as a teacher of spiritual practices to walk my talk. If I tell someone to practice forgiveness, then I need to work on my forgiveness of others. It sounds easy, but it is not. If I ask someone to try to open their heart or be kinder, I also practice opening my heart. My belief as a teacher is that I should be willing to listen to my own advice. It helps me to remember this stuff isn’t easy.

2) My second intention is to give back to the community in some small way, whether it is to help out at the humane society, volunteer to help or collect for a food bank or gather odds and ends to give to the local thrift store for charity. But I have to be honest, I really like doing this so it is an easy intention.

3) My most enjoyable intention is to make people smile more. The other day I was at Home Depot and as I was about to cross to the other side of the aisle an employee came walking down the aisle in the opposite direction waving two flags back and forth. Right behind him was a guy driving one of their little forklifts with a huge package of goods. They were moving it from one place to the next. As they passed me I said out loud, “I love a parade” and both of the guys – who were not happy with what they were doing – let out with a big laugh and smiled. That is when I set this intention.

What intentions have you set for yourself this year? I’d like to hear some of them in the comments section below.

The Addictive Personality

addictive personalityVolumes have been written about addiction – the causes, cures, much more. But what it really boils down to is this: Addiction is the problem you use to fix yourself.

Of course, that’s an extremely simplified answer to what can be a very complicated problem, but it doesn’t matter if you’re addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, shopping, food, whatever. These things are the blanket of comfort you turn to when life is out of control, painful, or you’re angry.

Addicts engage in this type of behavior because they literally get a chemical high from their “drug of choice”. There is a momentary feeling of, “ahh, that feels better” as the chemicals rush to the brain to calm whatever uncomfortable emotions were beginning to surface.

Unfortunately, this rush doesn’t last and the more addicts turn to an outside source for comfort, the bigger that comfort has to be the next time they turn to it. This is why addictions are so destructive. No longer is it a glass of wine to relax, it’s a bottle of wine before every social situation. A line of cocaine doesn’t do it anymore, now several are needed to get the same high. When a piece of cake used to do the trick, now the whole cake needs to be eaten in order to feel better.

The cycle goes on and on and on and for someone with an addictive personality, it can be extremely difficult to release this type of behavior because often it has gone on for so long, it has become a habit. The person engaging in this behavior may no longer even remember why they started doing it in the first place and it finally reaches a point where the addict can no longer control their behavior. Their auto-pilot takes over and before they know it, they are drunk, high, gambling, etc. The guilt that follows is often so debilitating, that the addict just keeps the cycle going.

The key to any successful recovery program is to first identify the addiction, then uncover the trigger, and finally get to the root of the feeling that lives at the heart of the addiction – that first hurt.

If an addict is willing to really, truly look at themselves and their issues, then real recovery is possible. But it takes a lot of courage and a supportive nurturing environment to help the addict feel comfortable enough to forgive themselves – which is ultimately what needs to happen to overcome the addiction.

A little self-love and forgiveness can go a long way.

An Ah-Ha Moment

ocean, reflection, self-helpOne of the most exciting things about working with my clients is when they suddenly realize something that’s been staring them in the face for months. I call these, “Ah-Ha Moments.”

We may be discussing why a current relationship isn’t working or some issue with a family member and I may have had them journal or diagram the problem. Usually, we have been discussing reasons why they think it’s not working during our sessions together. We might repeat this process for months and then all of a sudden my client hears a song on the radio and suddenly it all falls into place, “Ah-Ha! Now I get it. This is what Susan has been trying to get me to see.” (Or more than likely, they come to their next session eager to share their most recent breakthrough, not realizing that this what I’ve been trying to get them to see, only for me to internally slap my forehead and say, “Finally! They got it!” “Yay Client!”)

My point being, that just because you don’t feel as though you’re moving forward, breaking down walls, or achieving the outcome you wanted from counseling, therapy, readings or working with a life coach, doesn’t mean that your subconscious has stopped working on your issue.

These wonderful breakthroughs can happen at any moment and they are proof that you are continuing to heal yourself, to improve yourself, and move forward. So don’t beat yourself up just because you don’t think you’re getting it.

Your moment of truth will come when you are truly ready for it!

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.