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mountain bikingThe photo to the right shows Griffin working through a difficult mountain bike course in preparation for some serious mountain biking and camping over the weekend.

One of the things I often tell Griffin is “We can do hard things.” And I’m so glad he’s embraced it as his own personal motto as well.

What I love about my life is that I’m finding more and more examples of things that were once hard for me that are now easy.

Of course, if you’ve been following me for any time at all, you know I believe that making things easy is almost always about mindset – working with those pesky thoughts until they align with our best selves.

Last week I talked with a client about negative thoughts she was having about herself…thoughts of how she has made so many mistakes and she is always messing things up.

I asked her to consider whether it was the Pain Body that was responsible for those thoughts…not her true self.

Over a decade ago I read a collection of Alice Walker’s essays (unfortunately I can’t remember the title – it was a very slim book, almost a chapbook) that shared a story that’s widely attributed to the African poet Tolba Phanem. It goes like this:

When a woman of the Himba African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes to the jungle with other women, and together they pray and meditate until they find The Song of the Child. When the child is born, the community gets together and they sing the child’s song.

There are many other significant milestones when people sing a person’s song, and one of them is when this tribe member commits a crime. The offender is taken to the center of town and the people of the community form a circle around him or her and sing their song.

the song of the childThe tribe recognizes that antisocial behavior is best met not with punishment, but with love and a ritual that recalls the transgressor to his true identity. They believe that when our own true song recalls us to ourselves, we have no desire or need to hurt anyone.

My guess is that you’ve had a similar experience in your own life. You’ve seen that your family or friends know your song—they know the essence that makes you you—and they help you get back to your essential self when you’ve forgotten it.

They remember your beauty when you feel ugly, your wholeness when you feel broken, your innocence when you feel guilty and your purpose when you feel hopeless.

Those who truly love you cannot be fooled by mistakes you’ve made or the dark images of yourself that you’ve shown to others.

As an aside, Eckhart Tolle calls the Pain Body many things in A New Earth; he calls it a psychic parasite, unconsciousness and the ego – and I would add “dark image of yourself you’ve shown others” to that list.

At any rate, I find it truly amazing that a culture would meditate to find the song of a child that unfolds with his/her soul’s journey and then use it to bring the person back to their true identity when they feel most lost.

I have tears in my eyes as I write this. How special and unique that must make the child feel! How loved and treasured that would make anyone feel!

I see two lessons we can take from this story of the African tribe: 1. We must see someone who has transgressed with the eyes of compassion. 2. We must help someone who is struggling by reminding them of their true identity.

Both these lessons require us to act from the deepest and most centered parts of ourselves. To meet anyone who has transgressed—either against us personally or against society at large—with compassion and unconditional love requires an enormous amount of work, but it is possible, and it’s so worth it.

Yes, people can do things that hurt you or society, and I am in no way asking you to condone that hurtful behavior. But you can act to stop the behavior without anger or blame or threats of withholding love.

Think of Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. They were motivated to take action against great injustice, and there was no doubt that they felt morally outraged by it. But they never held any anger or negative judgment toward any one person.

They met people not at the level of the mind or the ego because they knew that a person who feels negatively judged will put up all kinds of resistance. They (or their Pain Bodies!) will become more defensive and obstinate, and there will be very little hope for positive transformation.

But when King and Gandhi met transgressors at the level of the heart and the spirit, they found that incredible, even miraculous, transformations were possible.

Love is what changes people’s minds and behaviors, and that is where we need to keep our focus.

The really cool thing is that you don’t even need to tell someone they are doing something bad when they do it. It is enough for you to recognize the bad behavior, the Pain Body in them, and know that that is not who they are.

The Pain Body practically melts when you respond with love and compassion, or at the very least acceptance.

Again, this does not mean you condone the person’s bad behavior, it simply means that you do the higher-level work of loving the person in spite of their behavior.

And really, you can only ask for an apology or atonement from that higher level: otherwise the person will put up resistance and the Pain Body will grow even stronger.

And if it’s you who has transgressed, then strive to reach that higher level as fast as you can. It’s a lot easier to make amends from there. In fact it’s the only place where you can make sincere amends.

So don’t condone bad behavior. But do forgive the person who committed it because having the Pain Body and being unconscious is truly not their fault.

When you do this, you hold out love – which acts as a bridge for them to cross – to leave the Pain Body behind and join you.

If they do not join you because the Pain Body is too strong in them, you will still have done the work necessary to leave your own Pain Body out of the unpleasantness. This will allow you to feel better and help many more people.

As you become more proficient in this practice, you will be of more help to yourself and others than if you had stayed in the place of ego and the Pain Body, where you constantly need to find fault with others and correct their behavior.

Please note: every word I’ve said about seeing any one person with compassion, and withholding negative judgments about any one person, also holds true for seeing yourself with compassion and withholding negative judgment from yourself.

It’s like the Buddha said, “You, yourself, as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

Remember, every negative thought feeds the Pain Body.

I want you to think of every negative thought as a brick that adds to a wall separating you from the love and affection you deserve – and why would you want to do that??

I’ll go into more detail next week on how to stay at that higher level of love and compassion and how to take the right action from that place.

But until then, remember the Himba, remember your own true song, and remember that everyone under the influence of the Pain Body can get out of it if they can return to love and their authentic selves.

 

graduationThe photo to the right is Griffin with one of his best friends at their school’s graduation ceremony.

It’s a ceremony that includes all grades – from Kindergarten through 8th grade – and allows for each child to share a reflection from their year.

Griffin’s class spent a good part of the year studying literature and culture through the lens of the Hero’s Journey (you know I loved that!!) and many of the kids shared their personal “elixir”—the item that the hero brings back from the journey that represents what they’ve gained from their quest. Griffin’s “elixir” gave him “the ability to shine a light in dark places.”

We could all benefit from having such an elixir, and because I’ve heard from many of you that you also want to be able to “shine a light in dark places”—to release negative emotions associated with certain people or circumstances—I want to share one of my all-time favorite rituals with you.

Here’s the thing about ANY BAD FEELING (whether you call it frustration, sadness, outrage, disappointment, regret, doubt, etc. – any one of them could fall under the umbrella of “feeling bad”): it keeps you bound to feeling bad AND blocks every good thing you want.

For that reason you want to forgive past transgressions, or move out of undesired circumstances, as quickly as possible so you can release all negativity that surrounds them.

This does not mean condoning hurtful actions or crazy-making behavior or denying that you were negatively triggered by an unwanted circumstance. But it does mean that finding acceptance and forgiveness will set YOU free.

release negative emotionsRelease won’t come automatically, however, especially if your ego has forged an identity around “how you were done wrong” or “this shouldn’t be happening!” These false identities are self-imposed barriers, and you want to clear them so you can get out of your own way.

Once you do that, you will find creative solutions to your problems, OR you will experience outright miracles – that is, the solutions you couldn’t even have dreamed of just show up.

So, without further ado, here’s a ritual for releasing all negative emotional ties, especially hurt and anger, that I adapted from Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver (a really, really great book that you should definitely read!!):

Step 1: Write a letter that won’t be sent to the person who has hurt you, or in some other way has transgressed acceptable or sane behavior.

Or, if it’s a circumstance, like an illness, or a Super Storm that prevented you from getting back home, write about that.

Let yourself say absolutely everything you wish to say to this person or circumstance.

Write and write and write without restraint or editing. Swear, scream, curse, rant, or whatever it takes. Don’t stop until you’re really done.

I’ve filled a whole composition notebook with this stuff!

Step 2: Burn the letter.

Step 3: Take a bath of strong Epsom salt water (I usually use 2 cups for a whole tub).

As you soak, imagine—no, FEEL—that all negative attachments to this person or circumstance are being pulled from your body and energy field.

As the water goes down the drain, imagine everything else goes too.

If you don’t have a bathtub, showers can work with a salt scrub (mix ½ cup good quality oil with 1 cup of salt).

Step 4: Burn sage (or any cleansing herb, such as cedar or frankincense or palo santo). Wave the smoke around your whole body, from head to toe, front and back.

Step 5: Imagine any remaining psychic cords attaching to you melting away. They’re like ropes of energy that bind us to people and circumstances. You’ll feel them leave.

Step 6: Release any pictures, letters or objects from the person, or any that remind you of the circumstance. These hold that unwanted psychic energy, making it harder to cut free. They may even reattach cording if you dwell on them. Let them go.

Step 7: Pray for closure. Ask the Universe to let you completely release this matter. Ask to be able to forgive the past and be carried to a new time.

Here’s a sample prayer to get you started: “This entire relationship (or circumstance) now belongs to the Universe. The situation now unfolds in the perfect way for the greatest good of all. All is well and all will be well. I am complete.”

Step 8: Send blessings to the person. This one can be tough, but it is the most important piece for gaining closure. See each of the two of you moving on. Be willing to imagine them at peace.

Sending this person blessings ironically breaks any attachment once and for all.

This act has nothing to do with condoning any ways you may have been hurt. It simply means that you bless them nonetheless and you are complete.

If you continue to feel stuck, you can pray for the willingness to release the negative emotions.

I recommend you try EFT. In fact, I’ve created an excellent script to accompany the tapping, and you’re welcome to it. Just let me know if you’d like it and I’ll send it right to you.

I promise, the release will come if you continue to practice.

More importantly, you will understand that the offending behavior or circumstance has no power over you and your ability to create happiness and success.

Once you get this, you will see more and more miracles show up in your life.

How to Succeed by Failing

June 7, 2016

I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend! The photo to the right was taken at Griffin’s year-end student-led conference (that’s his awesome teacher, Jenny, at the end of the table). Griffin’s school truly embraces self-directed learning, which I believe is the key to growth and happiness at any age! So often people won’t try

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Are you acting in alignment?

May 31, 2016

The photo to the right is of Griffin at his spring piano recital. You’ve heard me wax enthusiastic about Griffin’s passions for many things, but I think I’m most thrilled about his love of piano. I bought a piano keyboard when I was pregnant with Griffin and I practiced every day and took weekly lessons

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Why You Need Good Boundaries

May 24, 2016

That’s a photo of Griffin with his good friend at the “Marathon Games” – a 6-hour celebration and the culmination of his year-long soccer season. It also marked the achievement of another one of the goals he had for himself – to score more goals in the spring than he did last fall. It’s so

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How to wake up from a nightmare

May 17, 2016

The photo to the right was taken at Griffin’s birthday slumber party for his BFF’s. You may remember that we had a big birthday party for all of his classmates a couple of weeks ago, but this was an opportunity to celebrate Griffin and his friends and the great friendships these special boys share. I’m

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It’s time for you to create YOUR Bucket List!

May 10, 2016

Last week Griffin turned 11! The photo to the right was taken at the trampoline park where he celebrated with his friends! The park had an obstacle course, a basketball court (where you could get a big enough bounce to do an awesome dunk!) and a dodge ball court. It was another amazing experience that

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Why the Problem is Never the Problem

May 3, 2016

The photo to the right was taken after a very celebratory last game of the season for Griffin’s soccer team. They won 4-0 to one of the league’s best teams! I mentioned the team in a newsletter a few weeks ago after their first win all year – yes, the team played together all last

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Stop wasting your time in negative emotion and do this instead!

April 26, 2016

That’s a photo of me with Griffin taken during the Rainbow Marketplace for Socially Responsible Entrepreneurship. He and his fellow sixth grade entrepreneurs sold their products and shared about their socially responsible businesses on the school’s deck on Friday. Griffin practically sold out all of his stock (30 of his 34 Tiny Terraria!) and made

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How to Use Your Emotional Guidance System to Feel Great AND Accomplish Great Things

April 19, 2016

Yesterday I celebrated my 18th wedding anniversary with the amazing man you see in the picture to the right. We’ve actually been together for 23 years, which, I’m sure you can appreciate, is no small feat. Of course, we’ve had our share of conflict in our marriage, but as Mignon McLaughlin, American journalist and author,

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