When we envision a healing space, we are building a warm, safe and comforting environment for healing and connections. Close your eyes and think of a place that you hold dear–this can be a place where you and your loved ones have physically visited, it can be your childhood home, a vacation home, a room in your house, a tree, a favorite place in the woods or on the water. It can be a photo that evokes these wonderful feelings. It’s anywhere you feel peace.
What do you see? What sounds surround you? What do you smell? Is there a special scent that brings you a sense of fulfillment? What do you physically touch–sand on the beach, the rough texture of bark on a tree, pine needles or grass? Is there a taste, a special food that you always have in this place, salt on the air or in the water?
Open your eyes and write all the details of this place using all your senses. How do you feel when you are there? Who is welcome to visit? Who do you want to visit? This is your place of healing. A place where your soul remembers its purpose and reenergizes.
If you are having a hard time finding this place, write it in your journal as an intention before you go to bed and record your dreams.
After you have envisioned or imagined this special healing place, you can:
Find a photo of this place, put it in a frame, and keep it by your bed.
Be a Yes is the first practice in Baron Baptiste’s book Being of Power. It’s my second time reading it, and I’m amazed at how I pick up more tips from where I am now in my life. Being a yes doesn’t mean saying yes to everything that crosses your desk.
I have to admit, this has been a default of mine for my entire life. Part of it is because I have so much I want to accomplish and fulfill in this life. I’m inspired and excited about many possibilities. The problem though is that it can become different to be effective and finish what I start.
It means saying yes to what brings out your authentic self and not adding filters into your life. Baron writes, “It’s about being confident in your ability to turn difficult into possibility, upsets into positive energy, and breakdowns into breakthroughs.” (2)
Being a yes is how you view and react what is happening around and to you. There isn’t one person I know who hasn’t been touched by either illness, loss, tragedy, mental illness, or injury. It’s a part of our lives. There may be a time when we can’t do what we always use to do. Perhaps it’s because of age or illness or lack of time. We have the choice to ignore our truth, push through, and further damage ourselves or we can be with where we are.
When we can be with where we are, all of a sudden there is space for what we can be a yes to! Let me give you an example. I have severe food allergies as I have said before and obviously it plays a huge part in my life, because it always comes up!
I’m allergic to peanuts to the point of anaphylaxis so I carry an epipen and a ton of Children’s meltable Benadryl. I’m allergic to all other nuts, milk, tomatoes in the spring (don’t feed me tomatoes right now!), melon, cherries or anything connected to ragweed in the fall. I’m intolerant to gluten and all seafood. Not only do I have allergies, but I have chosen to only eat fish. So eating out with me is an experience!
Believe me. I have fought these food allergies all my life. I will try milk and wish that I would learn my lesson (never feed me key lime pie!) When I am being authentic and a Yes, I find recipes that incorporate all the foods I can eat. I have made some amazing gluten free, dairy free lasagna (at least I think it’s amazing!). I eat soy yogurt with a vegan granola. I enjoy spaghetti squash stuffed with lentils. There are so many incredibly delicious foods I can eat. I have turned a difficult situation into a possibility of exploration.
If I say yes to what I can eat, then as Baron writes, “…you’re also saying no to resignation, cynicism, and self-sabotage.” (3)
Self-sabotage is the opposite of this practice. It feeds on our self-doubt and negativity. It’s a practice, because we always have to work on it, but it’s worth it.
What are you a yes to? What difficulty are you having in your life that you can turn around into a possibility? Put that possibility into action and revel in the new experience.
A couple times this week, it was suggested to let the past go or drop what didn’t work for me and move forward. This is especially true with yoga. The first lesson we learn is that if you fall out of a pose, shake it off and get back into it.
This perspective has been a powerful tool for me. It makes life lighter if we can laugh at ourselves or shake off mishaps and mistakes. It keeps us present to what we are doing and what path we are following.
But sometimes what’s behind us that we haven’t dealt with affects the path we are on. Sometimes we have to turn and face the bear that has been chasing us for a long time. I say bear only because if most of us saw a bear, we would probably run. However, if it’s literally a bear, the worse thing we can do is run. The bear will keep chasing us and possibly cause harm.
It may not be a bear, but your inner demons, grief, tragedy, pain, addiction, the list is endless. If we never face what is causing us to have to restart over and over again, then we can get stuck on our path.
So there needs to be a balance. I know grief will chase me my entire life. Turning around and acknowledging it took a long time for me. Doing that allowed me to move forward. I spent many years stuffing it down, and I still do when that bear gets too close. I tamp it down and run as hard as I can. So now my grief walks alongside me. It’s not something that will ever go away. It’s like a scar on my heart that out of the blue makes itself known. When I falter and have a day where I’m not as chipper as I usually am, or I can’t function, I’m kind to myself and let it be. I give myself permission to be with that grief, then I shake it off and move forward.
Life to me is in the moment, forward and backward. You can’t eliminate the past, but you can choose how you react to it. You can’t completely forget about the bear who is lumbering over you, but you also can’t let it prevent you from living.
Journaling is a way for me to revisit my past without allowing it to overwhelm me. And not everything in the past is bad, let’s be honest! How about turning and remembering the wonderful people and events in your life?! That propels you right past those demons.
Every new day is a chance to start over. Every moment is a chance to forgive ourselves and begin again.
What is chasing you? What stops you from moving forward? What would happen if you turned around and faced it and had a dialogue? How have you begun anew?
You never know, what you thought was chasing you may have only wanted to say hello.
It’s easy to be grateful when you are surrounded by wonderful people who are willing to experiment and try journaling. Pictured are some of the people who I connected with during my last journaling session. We did an exercise that I call Grasping Gratitude. I believe that no matter how sad or despondent we get in life there is always hope, there is always something to be grateful for.
They are holding some of their personal gift boxes that they created to grasp a part of their childhood that is sacred to them and reminds us of what we may have lost or can bring back into our lives that gave us happiness.
I wrote about my teenage years and how I rode my bicycle all around town to work, to karate, and over the many hills and mountains surrounding my home. There was a huge sense of freedom venturing out on my own, meeting new people, and challenging myself on longer treks. My parents didn’t worry about someone abducting me and follow every move I made. They gave me the freedom and support to do what made me happy.
I biked quite often in my adult life and loved biking with my kids. For the last few years, I haven’t biked as much, as I worry about the safety on the roads and whether I’m strong enough to still do it.
Remembering the thrill of riding my bike without hands flying down a hill was nostalgic. I may not do that again, but I plan to ride my bike on the road, either with friends or on my own. It’s a joy that I let go and doing this exercise brought it back for me. I am grateful that I can still ride a bike and revel in the freedom of the road!
Venture back into your childhood and see what you are grateful for and want to bring back into your life. The exercise is below. Share your thoughts!
Although living in outer space will some day be a reality for everyone, I’m talking about something a bit closer to home.
Our spaces can be comprised of so many different aspects of our life.
It’s in our nature to stuff our space with more, whether it’s good for us or toxic. Sometimes we don’t realize the toxicity until our space overflows or our stomach expands or our bodies rebel in pain. Leaving space in my body to appreciate the food I eat or watching what I eat because of food allergies and striving for good health is often tough, because of all the temptations around me. Stores are crammed with what looks like healthy food, but when we take the time to read the ingredients, we see it isn’t. If we work our body to extremes, we need the space and time to let our bodies heal and our muscle repair. If we don’t too often strains, tears, and pulls occur–whether we are 15 or 50.
Having space in my mind is determined day by day! Sometimes when my mind is spacey and I’m forgetting everything, it’s because I have too much going on at once. First of all, I’m not in the present moment with whatever I may be doing, and second that overwhelming feeling trickles back into the care of my body. It also has to do with being open-minded and leaving space to receive other viewpoints, knowledge, and possibilities. If my mind is crammed, then I’m not going to be very open to anything else that will overload my brain.
I am the most guilty of cramming every action, meeting, or event into my calendar. If I have an open spot, I fill it with something. Or I put so much on my plate for one day that it’s basically impossible to get done. Then it floods over to the next day that is already full. By the end of the week, I’m drowning in my to do list. I can’t even appreciate what I did get done, because I didn’t take the time or leave the space to do so. That may reveling reveling in an accomplishment, figuring out why something didn’t go as well as I had hoped, or not taking the time to journal about the day.
I added our vehicles, because if you are like me, your car is just as cluttered as your mind. I especially noticed this as I drove my husband’s car for the last couple days. It was so nice not having to dig through layers of I’m not sure what to get to my sunglasses or audiobook. I took extra care to remove any garbage, because I wanted to leave it as nice as it was. On the other hand, the first words out of my husband’s mouth was how gross my car is! I don’t think he’ll be cleaning it out for me so I promise that by the end of April, my car will be cleaned!
Since I work from home, the house and office fall into the same package. I do love working from home, but my chaos tends to follow me around the house like my shadow. A couple months ago, I blogged about cleaning my office space, and I’m happy to say I have kept up with it. I notice a couple trouble spots, so I’m working on those. Also I had gone through all our holiday bins and had gotten rid of Easter decorations that I no longer wanted. It was simple and easy to decorate, and the house had an openness to it that I enjoyed. I am liking the open space in my house and am trying to maintain that by not purchasing a lot of knick knack type items.
It’s hard to maintain an open space to receive gifts from life and appreciate who we are and what we do. When we overload ourselves and the world around us with stuff that may not be needed or mean much anymore, we lose track of our purpose.
What do your spaces look like? Are you/they cluttered and overwhelmed? Stressed or relaxed? When was the last time you were able to sit back and really relax or appreciate what you do?
By breaking it down into different sections, any changes or improvements needed become attainable. Just leave space to take a break.
Once upon a time there was a fork that had special powers. It could fluff chopmeat to create the lightest meatballs. It served food with the most delicate care.
It was said that this fork was forged by the lightning of Zeus and resided on Mount Olympus until one of Greek descent was deemed worthy enough to wield it.
Heroes come in all sizes. This Greek matriarch may be small, but she can pack a punch, especially when it comes to protecting her family and making delicious food. She pulled the fork from the chopmeat and was named the wielder of the fork of the gods.
She and her champion had four children who honored the cooking powers of the fork. They learned the ways of making meatballs, sauce, the secrets of pastichio, and loyalty to family.
Years went by and each of her children dreamed of owning the fork. They borrowed it in the hopes that the fork wielder would forget, but she never did.
Sometimes they took off with the mighty fork only to be brought back in line by her weapon of choice–the wooden spoon.
Finally she set down the law and proclaimed that the fork would be held by each member of her family for a quarter of the year. Then each would hold the power of the fork. But not yet she claimed.
Her time with the fork isn’t over as she continues to cook and be the matriarch.
There are many who follow in her footsteps as her words and ways are wise.
What is a family heirloom that you can weave a story around?
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else: you are the one who gets burned.” –Buddha
When I took my 200 hour yoga teacher training, it involved a great deal of reading, self-inquiry, and journaling. We read Being of Power by Baron Baptiste who designed this training program. One of the practices is to Clean up the Messes. It was about how we hold onto grudges and resentments toward other people and continue to let those emotions build up inside of us. We have our version of the truth, which usually is different than the other person’s version. When we aren’t open and accepting, it causes conflict.
Being complete is being authentic and true to ourselves to clean up the mess. It may include journaling about what the mess even entails, if it’s still pertinent, and if I willing to take responsibility for my part in the mess. Or if someone has betrayed me, do I feel the need to be complete with them, meaning do I feel the need to let them know how their betrayal affected me.
Sometimes we don’t even know that we have hurt someone or they may not know we are upset at them. Then the anger and bitterness percolates until there is either an explosion or the friendship fades away. Either way there is left over business that is toxic to our bodies.
This part of the program was very hard for me. As much as I like to write and talk, I’m not a very clear communicator. I tend to stuff emotions down, because I don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings. When I journaled about my messes, it was freeing and clarifying to know that I was responsible for some of the mishaps. Even more freeing was taking responsibility for it. I could change the outcomes and the relationships.
Now if I have a problem with someone, I will either journal about it first to make sure I understand both perspectives and work on how I want to handle it or I approach the person and clear the air. Sometimes just by writing about it, I can let it go and realize no action is needed. But it’s not until I sit and think it through that I can get to this point. This also gives me space to reflect and not fly off the handle and make the situation even worse.
Recently I had a couple situations where my words were taken the wrong way and people were hurt by them. In both cases, I knew it immediately and called them. Not only were misunderstandings cleared, I think a stronger bond was formed. I was being authentic and owned up to what I said, but also explained what was behind the words. My emotions played a big part and writing about it helped me understand my fears.
What are some ‘messes’ you feel you need to clean up? Does it have to do with a relative, a spouse, friends, or co-worker? Is there a situation you are bitter about and would like to resolve? What is it costing you to hold onto these feelings?
Once you are able to be open with this person or situation, write about how you feel. Do you feel lighter, happier, less stressed?
I highly recommend reading Baron Baptiste’s books. Go to his website for more information.
My husband and I were away with friends last week in Miami. It was a much needed break, and I actually managed to cut myself off from most of my technology. I didn’t read emails, but I checked out FaceBook, posted a couple fun photos on Instagram, and glimpsed at the news.
We live in a world where bad news is as common as breathing. There isn’t one person who hasn’t been personally affected by tragedy, illness, loss, or anything negative. When we are barraged with horrible tragedy around the world, news of loved ones being ill, we can’t help but worry about what’s next.
Being away for a while solidified what I want to invite into my life. I want joy, laughter, and goodness around me. I want to share it with others. Yes, with family and friends we are always going to have news that isn’t positive, but what about the happy news? We should be able to tell those we love what is good that is happening in our lives.
Sometimes I don’t even want to read what I wrote about in my journal, because it’s so sad what is happening in the world. Even though a journal is an excellent place to write about what hurts or bothers you, it’s equally important to remember the happy and memorable moments.
Last week was wonderful. We relaxed on the beach, soaked in some sun (and brought it back for everyone!), ate awesome food, and even went salsa dancing! It’s happinews that I recorded in my journal.
Writing about the positive fills your emotional bank account for when life gets tough. We not only need happiness in our lives, we need to share it! Whether it’s telling a family member about your job promotion or an experience that moved you, people want and need to hear about good things in life.
Share your happinews with others, write it in your journal, and make plans to create even bigger and better happinews! One day at a time look at the positive and do what makes you happy.