The Battery Meter Metaphor & Simplifying

Heard of Spoon Theory? Here’s My Take on It

As you recall from my previous newsletter, I am redefining my focus to concentrate on supporting those who, like me, are living with one or more chronic conditions. Here is my newly clarified mission statement:

My Mission Statement:
To be a guide to those who seek support in their basic wellness. To offer hope and coping tools for the multiple unique aspects of coping with a chronic illness. To uplift. To share practical ways that the chronic health journey can be a little easier and a little brighter. To be real, and honor that it hurts and it’s difficult. To remind that there is still joy to be found, even in our humanness.

New Facebook Group:
I have started a new Facebook group called Chronically Thriving in order to pursue this mission and create a community of support. I am still not entirely sure how this will evolve as time goes on, but I feel really good about offering a place of support, encouragement, hope, acceptance, tools for coping with the unique stressors chronic illness brings to daily living, and building mental and emotional resiliency. If this group will support you or a loved one, I hope you will join us!

The Battery Meter Metaphor:
Most people who have a chronic condition have heard of the Spoon Theory, which has helped many people to have a way to explain what it’s like to manage their energy with a chronic condition. But that explanation has never quite resonated with me and I found that a different metaphor naturally came about when I discussed it with others. Click on the video below for more.

battery-charging-device-586340

Your Wellness Tip:
One of the biggest challenges for me with regard to energy management is planning, buying, preparing, and cleaning up after meals. It can help a lot to have as much as possible delivered, and many grocery stores offer delivery these days. That alone saves me huge amounts of energy and stress! I love to delegate as much as possible, but I also love when that can mean reaching out to services such as delivery options so that you still get the rest time you need without overtaxing loved ones.

To help you conserve some of the energy on your battery meter, here is a very simple meal idea that literally only takes 5 minutes, has easy clean-up, and is full of nutrition!

Slow Cooker Chicken & Rice Stew
1 pound of chicken breast tenders
4 ounces of frozen carrots or peas & carrots
1 Tablespoon (approximately) of minced garlic (buy the jars of pre-minced to save energy/time)
1 teaspoon (approximately) dried thyme
1 teaspoon (approximately) dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup rice
1 quart (32 ounces) mushroom, chicken, or vegetable broth (mushroom broth is amazing! And rich with nutrition!)
An additional quart of water
Salt & pepper as desired

Dump everything in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Stir and serve. If you have a removable crock in your slow cooker, you can store any leftovers very easily by placing the lid on the crock and placing the entire thing in the fridge. And, as easy as that, you have lunch or dinner for the next day, too! Use this recipe as it is or use it as the basis for battery meter saving ideas of your own!

In Peace, Love & Joy,
Angie Webster
Online Classroom
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Follow up to “New Age Reality Check”

 

Sometimes some stillness brings clarity

It’s been a month since I wrote “New Age Reality Check” and I have done a lot of soul searching since then. It had been a long time coming, and I’m glad I had the chance to really sit with the dissonance I had been feeling. It helped me to get honest about how to clear that dissonance from my own life and how I want to move forward with my work.

For my own wellbeing and to support the overall wellbeing of my readers and students, I will be taking a huge step back from the New Age movement and beliefs that are often associated with it. I am not entirely sure how this will evolve over time, but for now, this mostly means taking greater care with my wording and my topics, as well as narrowing the focus of my work. To this end, I have redefined my mission statement.

My Mission Statement:
To be a guide to those who seek support in their basic wellness. To offer hope and coping tools for the multiple unique aspects of coping with a chronic illness. To uplift. To share practical ways that the chronic health journey can be a little easier and a little brighter. To be real, and honor that it hurts and it’s difficult. To remind that there is still joy to be found, even in our humanness.

Of course, this will mean some changes. While I will still offer the courses I have been teaching, some of my classes will be getting a revision in the near future to reflect a more grounded and clear approach. New classes will be added that reflect my new mission statement and my newly refined focus on supporting yourself during chronic illness. My focus in my writing will be support and encouragement in your overall wellbeing. In each newsletter, I will offer a short wellness tip or herbal support recipe, a short bit of inspiration, or a book review and recommendation. I will talk about real life and everyday issues we all face. I will address chronic illness, chronic pain, and differences in neurology in realistic and supportive ways.

I truly hope these new changes will support you well. They feel like a breath of much needed fresh air to me!

Here is your wellness tip for this newsletter~
Wellness Tip
When the weather gets cooler and the kids go back to school, it never takes long for the stomach viruses to start making the rounds. There are a few things you can do to help ward them off if you should happen to get exposed or feel the unpleasant tummy rumblings beginning. Eating healthy, with reduced processed foods goes a long way to helping your immune system stay strong and prevent illness. But we will still get sick now and then, unfortunately.

This ginger root tea is a powerful multi-level destroyer of stomach viruses. Ginger is anti-viral, so it slows the virus down greatly. It also soothes nausea and eases inflammation. That, combined with the anti-viral effects, make it the ideal option to sip when you have a stomach virus, or even if you have just been exposed to one and want to head it off.

To make ginger root tea, chop a one-inch piece of ginger root into pieces. I don’t bother to peel mine, but you can if you want to. Add the ginger root to a pan or a teapot. Pour 2 quarts of boiling water over it and allow it to steep for 10-15 minutes. Add honey to taste and freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1/2 to 1 whole lemon. Sip the ginger tea slowly, as tolerated. (If you are having diarrhea, you may want to leave the lemon juice out until this has calmed down.)

Diarrhea can be calmed in many cases by drinking rice water. To make this, add 1 cup of rice to 3 cups of water. Add a pinch of sea salt. Bring it to a boil and let boil for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, then strain the water off. Drink this slowly.

In Peace, Love & Joy,
Angie Webster
Online Classroom
Facebook
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New Age Reality Check

key-2471021_640Trust Your Experience. Always.

I have been concerned with some harmful beliefs that I realized had taken root in myself and other healers and spiritual practitioners. I may make some people angry by saying these things, but that is not my intention. In the past year or so, I have seen so much harm come from this, I feel I have to share my thoughts in case that maybe someone out there needs to hear it, and in the hope that no one else suffers needlessly. My hope is to share my experience, bring awareness, and possibly to prevent harm to others.

We often develop the belief that someone who practices healing, or who has a spiritual practice no longer has difficult life experiences, pain, illness, or imperfections. That they are not also hurting or broken. We often hold ourselves and each other to these impossible standards. Isn’t it strange that we seek out healing or spiritual practice because we have difficulty, feel loss, have pain, and all the other human emotions, yet the moment we enter the path, we believe that is all supposed to vanish forever?

Yet all of us are living human lives, and those include both happiness and hardship, pleasure and pain, joy and grief, fulfillment and loss. We aren’t going to be blissed out and abundant all the time, not even on the spiritual level. Here’s what I forgot: my spiritual practice was to help me face life, to see it clearly. That often helped me make better decisions, but it didn’t make life struggles vanish. And that wasn’t what it was for! It was not to help me pretend and run away. It was not to delete all difficulty, loss, change, emotion, or illness from my life. And it was definitely not to fulfill all of my greed and desires. Rather, it helped me to see them clearly and face them honestly. My spiritual practice helped me to see that life is constantly changing. Even my inner world. Just being still with that brought me peace and the serenity to be OK with never being able to grasp permanence.

I developed my spiritual practice, not because I was healed and no longer suffering. I initially developed it for the opposite reason: because I was in enormous pain, physically and emotionally. My practice didn’t suddenly make me stop having human experiences or emotions. It gave me tools to be with them, to accept myself just as I was, even the pain. That doesn’t mean the pain isn’t painful, or that it doesn’t suck, or that I don’t still kick and scream for it to stop sometimes. It’s just that my practice reminds me that neither the highs or the lows are all there is. And the practice reminds me—over and over—to accept myself however I happen to be in that moment. I just accept that it’s what’s real right now.

I had spent much of my life not allowing myself to just be who I am; to accept myself. My practice began giving me back to me. I sought more information in energy healing for similar reasons. Tools for coping and for understanding myself better. But at some point, I began to believe that my brokenness wasn’t acceptable. I began to believe that if I felt something emotionally or physically painful, that I was doing something wrong, or wasn’t doing something right. Or that if I had a thought that wasn’t perfect peace and love, I was not attracting bad things to my life. Honestly, it sounds a bit silly when I read it. This was not what my original spiritual practice was about. I was just becoming overwhelmed with new age spiritual ideas and information, which seemed to be everywhere.

There is an undercurrent in the healing, spiritual, and “new age” community that we need to “raise our vibration” and that any illness, depression, setback, or difficulty we are experiencing is due to a failure at this, or to “unhealthy thoughts.” Or worse, that we have simply not tried the correct combination of crystals, essential oils, guided meditations, special diets, juice fasts, or exercise programs. Please stop listening to this! If you are sick, or if you are depressed, seek help! Sure, you can also use supportive measures such as nutrition and complementary healing methods, but also go to a qualified medical professional.

There is a strong need to pretend that all is—or even can be—perfect. That we never get sick and if we do, we know exactly how to cure it. That we can all be rich, cured of all health issues, and happy all the time. That is false and it doesn’t work. It is much more complex than that. When we get stuck on the idea that we CAN do all these things all the time, we make ourselves miserable. It is human to fear suffering and pain. And we want to cling to the things that tell us we have control over the suffering of the world; that we can keep it at bay somehow. We want to feel that the world is safe and that we are completely safe within it.

But in reality, the world is both happiness and sorrow, comfort and danger, life and death, vibrancy and decay. It is the way of Life and though we can observe it and participate in it, we can’t stop it. By chasing control and perfection, we will feel defeated each time we fall short. And we will always fall short because control and perfection are like mists in the sunrise. We can chase them forever, but they will always be out of our reach. In my experience, it is far more healing to put aside our attachments to an outcome, surrender, and be with what is. Which takes a lifetime of practice. A tough pill to swallow in an age where we want a quick fix for all things uncomfortable.

I have seen that we are harming ourselves by getting stuck in the belief that positive thoughts and the right diet will make all the unpleasant things go away. We harm each other because we hold each other to these false standards. In recent years, I have seen people lose everything and become homeless because they believed they could manifest whatever they wanted. Worse, I have watched a number of people die in the last year. Suicides in the spiritual community because they didn’t feel they could say that what was really going on in their lives or seek help. And others who have died or become very sick because they waited far too long to seek medical attention because they were afraid to admit that they had pain or illness or that their chronic health condition was worsening instead of being miraculously cured as everyone seemed to expect it would be.

It seems pretty important to hold space for where people are at, including ourselves. When we push away our own experiences or insist that others could stop having those experiences if they just did things the way we tell them to, we are NOT being healing or supportive. We are diminishing the life experience of another. And that prevents them from sharing, reaching out for support, or seeking appropriate help. It also prevents them from reaching out as they carry their burden. When you feel that your experience will be diminished with platitudes and subtle shaming, the thought of reaching out can feel overwhelming. And it leaves people completely isolated, feeling they are doing something wrong, simply because they are struggling, ill, grieving, or otherwise having a human experience.

As I have been dealing with my own health issues this past year or so, I have seen this pattern in myself very clearly. That need to pretend all is well, or that if I just found that one bad thought or low vibe thing in my life, I will get better. But I realize I am making light of my reality, my brokenness, my humanness, minimizing my imperfections. I have allowed myself to accept a different illusion, rather than continue the work of looking clearly and compassionately at reality. I don’t care to do that anymore. I have to return to the inner work that helps me see clearly. I have to drop the work that clouded my judgement and led me on false paths. I have to release the illusions, no matter how comforting they may appear at times.

I hope we can let go of this need for holding ourselves on a pedestal of perfection if we claim a spiritual path or if we are healers. We are hurting ourselves and others by perpetuating it. My original and abiding hope is to see with clarity and to live with compassion and truth. I can not do that by hiding behind a pretense of constant light. I know that the world is not simply the experience of light. It is far richer and more vibrant than that.

Writing a Self-Healing Letter to Free your Energy & Balance the Solar Plexus

butterfly-2032295_960_720New Beginnings are Everywhere!

Each spring, it seems as though we move right along with the cycles of Nature to clear out the old and stagnant to make way for new energy to move in and lift us up. The whole world is awake and alive with new beginnings and it can be to perfect time to allow this same energy into our own minds, spirits, and bodies to create shifts, healing, and awakenings.

When I first became interested in energy medicine, I had the most earnest and deep intention and desire to know more about it. I didn’t know for certain how that would come about or what I was meant to learn, but I knew that this was a new connecting point to the very helpful world of plants & herbs, animals, and Nature which had taught me and helped me so much.

Yet, I felt stuck. I couldn’t find my way to move forward and really didn’t understand who I was. I had no idea why I was stuck or what to do about it. Finally, I worked with an energy healer who practiced pranic healing. She did a huge amount of clearing in my solar plexus, sacral, and root chakras. Afterward, she told me that I was holding a huge amount of my personal energy back in these chakras, especially my solar plexus. Then she gave me a wonderful tool, which I will share with you today.

The solar plexus is the center of our personal energy, our power center, so to speak. It connects all the energy of the lower chakras, the body, and the Earth, with all of the energy of the upper chakras, mind, spirit, and the Cosmos or Heaven. When the solar plexus is blocked or imbalanced, we can’t easily clear any blockages in the sacral or root chakras. We can’t access and use the energy or personal spiritual power that we are given by the Divine. We don’t feel really at home in the world or in our bodies. We may feel unsafe in loving expression, due to the imbalance within ourselves. Moving forward becomes very difficult or impossible without balance and flow in the solar plexus. Many people remain stuck or caught in repeating cycles because of imbalances here.

To help yourself clear and balance the solar plexus and the lower chakras, write a letter freeing yourself from anything that you feel binds you or your energy. This may be old resentments, regrets, unhealthy relationship patterns, limiting beliefs and ways of thinking. It could also be ways that you identify yourself that no longer feel appropriate. You will never send this letter, so you can freely write to who or whatever you need to.

Before you begin, take a moment to sit quietly and really look within. Notice all the places that you feel stuck or don’t feel able to be authentically you. Notice any areas where you feel a desire to move forward, but something is holding you back. Then simply start writing your letter, addressing each of these situations that arose within you. Let it flow out of you freely onto the paper. Write to all of the people, circumstances, belief patterns, regrets, or resentments that you wish to release or view differently. Remember, no one will see this letter but you, so say whatever you need to so it can release and heal.

At the end of the letter, see if you can find forgiveness for yourself, the other people, and situations involved. You may choose to keep your letter to look back once a year or so and see your progress. Or you may choose to tear it up, bury it or burn it (safely), offering the healing intention to the Earth. Whatever you do, it is important that you not send the letter to anyone you addressed in it. This letter is only for you and your healing.

Writing is such a beautiful tool to help us explore our inner world and heal it. I hope you try this tool. I am forever grateful to the pranic healer who helped me find my personal spiritual energy again by telling me about this tool.

Blessings,
Angie
angie-webster-healing.thinkific.com

Something Special for You!
I have something special for you this week! Fellow Reiki Rays author Paula Vanderzon has a wonderful course called Soul Writing, which she is offering to my readers for 20% off this weekend. (May 12-15, 2017.)

Early last year, took Soul Writing myself and it was wonderful! I loved Paula’s course so much, I have begun recommending it to my students. I recently asked her if she would be willing to extend a discount to my readers and she graciously agreed. Soul Writing teaches a form of automatic writing which helps to guide you back into alignment with your own soul. It is a beautiful, simple, and empowering tool to use in order to work with your spiritual energy as you were designed to.

To check out Soul Writing and enroll, click here or copy and paste this link into your browser:  http://www.paulavanderzon.com.au/soul-writing-course.html

In order to receive your 20% discount, enter the coupon code SOUL20 during the checkout process.The coupon is valid for this weekend and the special will end on May 15, 2017. Enjoy the class!

 

Paula Vanderzon, Soul Writing Class. 

 

 

 

Learning to Love our Inner Enemies

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Loving our enemies needs to start inside ourselves. Each of us has a dark part, a side of ourselves we don’t like and may not want to acknowledge. This is our own internal enemy or shadow self. This aspect of ourselves is the part of us from which we react to people and situations most strongly. Imagine situations where you react out of strong fear or anger, or when a person just rubs you the wrong way for no apparent reason. This is the part of you that judges. It judges you and shows you all the things others have judged you for. It causes you to react in judgment to others. This internal enemy is where shame comes from.

We are very fearful of our internal enemy. We want to conceal from the world and even from ourselves, the parts of us that we don’t want to look at. They hurt too badly to tend to. These are our own inner open wounds, the crying child in our soul. But we feel unable to help because they hurt so badly. So, often we look the other way just as we would when we feel afraid of the gore at an accident scene or the need of a lonely beggar. We leave it, hoping it will go away. Doing this is causing more pain, of course.

Imagine an injured child coming to you, bleeding and crying. If you strike the child and tell it to go away, you cause further injury in numerous ways and the child cries louder. If you soothe the child and reassure it, tending to the injury, then it stops crying and the bleeding soon stops. When we ignore our own internal cries out of fear, it is as if we are striking a bleeding and crying child who has come to us for help. We create shame over having these feelings and needs and then we create new shame over the behavior we demonstrate when we don’t acknowledge our own needs.

We all have a shadow self that we ignore. And we have all seen and experienced the many expressions of this fear and shame, this disconnect from our inner selves. We see and experience it every day, directly and indirectly. It can come through overt means such as any form of judgment against self or others (self-harm, self-abasing speech, racism, classism, homophobia, religious exclusion, etc.). It can also be more hidden, such as when a person fears speaking what they feel or believe, saying what their needs are, or hiding their true self out of fear (subconscious or otherwise) that they will be “seen”. It can arise in co-dependency, dishonesty, or manipulation. We all judge and hide to some degree and more in some situations than in others. Extremes can cause physical and/or mental illness to differing degrees when the same cycles keep repeating unnoticed and unhealed.

Shame is not the same as guilt. Guilt is that uncomfortable flickering emotion that we experience as a sinking feeling in our stomachs and a clenching in our chests. It lets us know we have just done or said something that falls out of step, out of alignment, with our greater good. We have done or said something that created cognitive dissonance.

Sometimes when we feel guilty, the negative consequences are seen immediately and so the reason for the guilt is clear. Other times we may need to take a deep look at how we have come out of alignment with our greater good. Guilt serves as a red flag to tell us to do this looking. It is not helpful if we carry it as a punishment in order to continue feeling bad over and over. This will only keep us out of alignment, leading to shame and holding us back from doing the necessary work to break the cycle of negative consequences. We can’t think or see clearly when we are feeling upset. We think at our best and resolve issues in our highest form when we are in a clear and positive state of mind. So it is most helpful if we can thank our mind and body for offering the red flag to us in the form of guilt feelings, acknowledge the feelings, then let go of the guilt and move on to resolving the behavior that created it. Staying stuck in it is more likely to leave the problem unresolved and thus lead to the behavior (and the guilt) returning.

Shame runs very deep and can control our every move and thought–our programming. It does not leave until we understand and heal the pain from which it came. Changing a behavior won’t solve shame, though we often believe it will. This belief is what leads some to use shame and fear as a tool to correct behavior. The fear of punishment, fear of Hell, fear of the apocalypse, and fear of loss are used as pervasive tools to control behavior. Individually we may fear things such as exclusion, bombs, all the way down to spiders. The fear isn’t wrong and it doesn’t even mean that the things we afraid are not or were not real, but being stuck in the fear does not help us stay safe or satisfy our needs for happiness and growth.

Fear is at the bottom of shame and every other negative emotion. When we can see that we are fearful, sometimes that is enough for the fear to dissipate. Other times, we see a deeper wound that we need to heal. If you don’t see the fear, and then the wound, you can’t heal it. Seeing is the first step. Sometimes it won’t be any more difficult than acknowledging the fear and that you are willing to face it. Again, I see it very much like acknowledging an injured or frightened child. Sometimes just a hug and letting them know they have been heard is enough to calm them, other times it takes some time and some pressure on the wound, and there can be times that need professional help, but often, a hug is all it takes.

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” –Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

When you are stuck in the fear/shame cycle, the only thing you can see is to avoid the thing you are afraid of, usually at all costs. This is very limiting and defeats the purpose in the bigger picture. When you can be at peace, having dissipated the fear, you can see the bigger picture much more clearly. We can’t see where the pain-shame-behavior cycle started if we continue to add shame to the behavior. Again think of a child, but this time think of one who has hit his sister. Clearly, you don’t want the child to hit his sister. But you have choices. You can ridicule and criticize him in various ways, even humiliate him, thinking this will teach him not to hit. Or you can find out what caused him to hit in the first place and really listen to all of his feelings. He will better hear you if you hear him and he will trust what you say. Understanding is much more important and useful than fear and shame. We need to do this for our inner ‘enemy.’

When someone is honestly heard they can heal amazingly quickly. That healing causes the shame to go because shame comes from pain and it is self-perpetuating. If the negative behavior is what you want to get rid of, then treat the root cause, not just the symptom! The behavior comes from the pain, which creates the shame we all recognize so well at some level.

We need to heal ourselves by seeing, honoring and loving our own enemy deep inside, recognizing it as part of ourselves and becoming fully whole. Patience and practice are necessary, but if we implement these with ourselves first, we will become masters at loving others.

Blessings,

Angie

angie-webster-healing.thinkific.com

Divine Balance

cloud-754365_1280pixabayHere’s a thought I keep having, based on my own inner, gut intuition. I feel the Divine is not one gender or the other, but both. It seems a duality based, humanistic standard to judge the Divine by the boxes of separation we place ourselves into.

To me the Divine feels very Feminine, yet also has very Masculine energy. If we have both (and we do) then how can the Divine only have one or the other? It is Balance Supreme. We humans are the ones who are in a state of separation and dualism. Our ultimate goal seems to be to return to the Oneness, not continue seeking which side is the “right” one.

Feminine and Masculine have truly been out of balance for endless ages. I see and feel it in the Earth and her people. I feel it in myself and in others. We all have this imbalance. I hope we can heal it by seeing the wholeness of all. Loving all of it. If we honor only one, we surely suppress the other. We will come further with healing ourselves if we seek balance and wholeness, which is truly Divine. The Divine cannot be separated at Its core.

Let Go of Your Chains

Photo Credit: Geralt, Pixabay
Photo Credit: Geralt, Pixabay

Don’t wait for another person to give you permission to be free. You are already free. Let go of your chains. You already have freedom–always. Remember.

We have so many ways to keep ourselves locked in and constricted, mostly thinking we are staying safe or being “good.” We tend to lock the doors to our cages and then give the key away to others, believing they control our ability to know joy, peace and wholeness. We can keep remembering to look for our own key.

This all comes back to lack of forgiveness, lack of trust in ourselves. We carry a judgment, trauma, hardship or a shame with us for so long because we feel it protects us from experiencing the same thing again. But really, we experience it every day, because we still hold it in our hearts and minds. There is scientific evidence now that we even carry it in the cells of our bodies.

There is so much talk about forgiveness. Unfortunately, we rarely hear what it really is or how to go about it. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person. It does not let them off the hook for causing harm or release them to do it again. It does not make you soft and weak to another attack. It makes you strong and healthy. It opens your heart and makes your mind more available to clarity of thought.

Similarly, self-forgiveness doesn’t mean that we neglect the harm that our actions have caused or that we proceed to do it again. I repeat, forgiveness is not weakness or giving in.

When we wait for the person that harmed us to do something to atone before we allow ourselves to forgive, we create a situation where we suffer. We usually believe that we are making the other person suffer and we even feel justified for that. But justified or not, most of the time, the other person simply doesn’t feel our suffering. We are the ones that carry it, not them. Often they are never even aware of it.

“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die”–Buddha

But even if they were aware, holding on to suffering because of something another person did only allows them to create more harm for a longer time, long after they actually stopped doing anything. We are doing it to ourselves, through our minds every time we relive the experience and our brains send that rush of neurochemicals through our bodies telling us it’s happening all over again. Over time, our bodies can even feel worse than they did during the first event. It’s repeat trauma every time we relive it and tell ourselves we are justified. We keep telling ourselves that it’s the other person’s fault, when we hold the key to our own prison cell.

So what is forgiveness? It is laying down your chains. Setting yourself free from the internal prison that the situation has created in your heart, mind and body so that you no longer have to carry it around with you every day. It is allowing yourself to release the event to the past, recognizing that it can live there, rather than in the cells of your body and in the neural pathways of your mind.

We can decide to free ourselves when we recognize that what we carry today is only ours, based in what we decide to do from this moment forward. It is not decided by past events or by other people, unless we allow that. The decision is ours and we have the freedom to make it.

It is a very liberating thing to realize you are not a slave to the past or to the memories, events and people of the past. It opens you to your fullest potential. It also invokes great responsibility for your own life. You can no longer blame the past or those who hurt you for your decisions. Your life is your own. You are no longer a slave to your wounds. You can heal.

You can begin to release those old traumas that you have stored through lack of forgiveness by simply acknowledging that you are ready to do that. It sounds incredibly simple and in some ways it is, but it’s the internal shift that is important. That is the turning point and it is the part that can be most difficult to wrap your mind and heart around.

Don't wait for freedom2Whenever an old wound comes up and you feel the constriction in your chest or throat or belly–wherever you feel it in your body–notice that you are holding that pain in your cells. That is body memory. Use that moment to recognize that you have options. You could become lost in the old stories about how painful it was, how wrong it was, how it was unfair, etc., but that will reinforce the old patterns. You will feel worse in body, mind and spirit. Ask yourself if this will heal anything in your life.

Instead, you could shift your perspective and accept your own power in this moment. Ask yourself what you can do with the idea that you may not have to keep feeling this way. Say to yourself, “I choose to release this experience from the cells of my body and from the pathways of my mind. I accept the lessons and leave the rest behind. I am free.” Notice how that feels different in your body. You may feel lighter, more open.

See how that has nothing to do with the other person? Nothing is required of them. They have nothing to do with your healing at all. You are really free of them and of the past. You are also free of any past versions of yourself you may need to let go of.

Open the prison door. Let go of the chains. Pick up the key to your own heart. You have the power to free yourself, if you dare. Just remember.