Thursday, June 26, 2014

Finding Myself Through Love

Mosaic Path
We’re all just walking each other home. ~Ram Dass

We cannot be anything less than the divine source from which we came, and that source is pure, unabashed love. When we separate from that boundless energy of love, we begin to feel the discord of that separation. It may manifest in different ways in our life such as illness, lack, depression, substance abuse, etc., but it all steams from one thing—separation from Source. For me it manifested in unhealthy relationships with men that simply mirrored my lack of self-love.
I can tell you exactly when I stopped loving myself. I was seven years old. I witnessed my father brutally beating my mother. In the dark, still hours between midnight and dawn, I heard my mother’s screams. In a desperate attempt to save herself, she broke free from my father and ran into my bedroom.

“Call the police, Stephanie.” She cried, before my father snatched her off her feet and carried her into another room.

Then I heard slaps and punches and ugly, profane words delivered by a man who was so far from the Daddy I knew, so far from the love of the Source from which he came that the alcohol inside of him ruled his actions. I could not call the police. I was paralyzed by a fear so devastating that I lost control of my bodily functions and wet my pajama pants.

I blamed myself from that day on for not saving my mother. I found ways to punish myself by attracting other broken souls to mirror my pain in the form of unhealthy relationships that mimicked the relationship between my mother and father.

Healing begins with loving the self and banishing blame and shame
The first act of healing began when I stopped blaming myself and acknowledged that “shame” and “blame” were simply false constructs of my own making that kept me from embracing the love within me. I often tell my clients to consider reframing “right” and “wrong” to “broken” and “whole.” Our wholeness is our connection to Source, and that connection is established through loving the self. Loving who we are and shaming, blaming cannot co-exist. When I began to frame my experiences in this new way, I was able to forgive my father and all that I designated as negative experiences in my life. I understood the purpose of those lesson and the way those experiences brought me back to love. Love is our divine home.

Learning to love my inner child
A deeper healing took place when I began to love the little girl inside of me who was so afraid and so ashamed. In visualization exercises that I now use with my clients, the lost sense of love that my seven-year-old self experienced could be restored.

Loving the self brings us in alignment with our true purpose and in harmony with others
When I began to love myself, I opened to my gifts and my divine purpose. All that is powerful comes to us when love is the guiding force in our lives. We can’t help but have peaceful relationships when we acknowledge the humanity and love within others. They will either match our love or move away from us.

With each trial we are simply falling forward toward the divine within us. My childhood experiences and my experiences with men were all shards of light that created a mosaic life path to walk me home.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

3 Ways to Show Up for Yourself

Are you fully present for your life? That may be appear to be a trick question because so many of us never consider what it means to show up fully for ourselves. Many of us are living our lives on autopilot. One of my clients, a successful sales executive and single mother of three children, let’s call her Lisa, struggled to show up fully for herself. She wanted to go back to school to complete her undergraduate degree, but found myriad reasons for not following through with her dreams.
1.  Call Forth Your Best Self
We are multidimensional beings with the sum of our experiences operating simultaneously inside of us. Do you choose with intention which aspect of yourself will be the dominant voice in our life? Are you operating from the hurt little eight-year-old self—the self that didn’t get Mommy’s love or daddy’s approval? Lisa related to me that she did not have the time or money to fulfill her dreams. When we explored possibilities, Lisa told me that all three of her children were in an expensive private elementary school, which kept her finances tight. She also disclosed that she relied solely on the limited availability of her mother for childcare. When we explored other options, Lisa resisted and finally said: “I don’t ever want my children to feel the way I did growing up. I was never supported.” It didn’t occurred to Lisa that she was continuing the pattern she learned from her parents by failing to support herself.
A small part of Lisa did not feel she deserved to be supported, while another part of her knew she would thrive in her chosen career once she obtained an undergraduate degree.  Our best self is the part of us that knows we are capable, strong, all knowing, loveable, courageous, intelligent, deserving. It is simply a choice whether we are self-directed by the most injured part of our being or the most powerful part of our being.
2.  Establishing a Practice
In order to think with intention, we have to develop positive practices. A meditation practice can train the brain to quiet the rambling, negative, monkey mind thoughts that keep us stuck. Lisa was plagued with a loop of guilty thoughts when she didn’t give her children the childhood that she really desired for herself. I suggested to Lisa that she could give herself that wonderful, supportive childhood now by finding a way to finance her dream of earning her degree. The practice of mindfulness, which is simply being fully present in every moment, helped Lisa to connect to the ordinary moments in her home with her children. Lisa discovered that her children were happy, felt loved, and did not need the added luxury of a private, elementary school education. Journaling helped Lisa to document the joy she received doing simple activities with her children like riding bikes in the park, which helped to dissolve her guilt about not being a good enough single mother.  
3.  Stop Living in the “But”
Most of us have our eyes trained on the past. We are programmed to accentuate our failures and wounds.  I really want love, but my last lover betrayed me, or I really want that job, but I don’t have the right credentials. A psychologist friend of mine told me she is trained to hone in on what comes after the but when her clients speak to her because that’s where they are living. Are you living in the but? Do you wish for a future of your dreams by remaining tethered to a past that delivered disappointments? Lisa discovered that she was living in the but and wanted out. She is now enrolled in college, placed her children in public school, and used the money she saved to hire a part-time nanny and fully finance her education. Lisa is happy, even eager, to invest her money, time, and best efforts in her most precious asset—herself.