Rite & Ritual: Creating a Container for Transformation

The winding roads of winter led me through a soul’s dark night.

Having emerged, I feel much like a sprout rising through warm, fertile ground into sunlight. Spring ushers in renewal and a fresh cycle in my life.

During the long, harsh winter—when a princess crossed the threshold marking her transition into queen—the land was cold and dark. Harsh winds brought with them sweeping change, feelings of isolation, unexpected loss and emotional purging. With that came the opportunity to feel into my depths and reclaim myself.

At cycle’s end, pain finally shattered into tiny, dissolving pieces—and light broke through. Within myself I had discovered an invincible spring.

I awoke from the night recognizing that I was somehow different. A shift had occurred and the trappings of winter no longer held their appeal. Naked in my room, it felt necessary to externally reflect this change. Simple choices now seemed extra-ordinarily important at twilight on this new dawn.  As I laid to rest my grieving persona, black-grey attire, and board-straight hair of the former season, I prepared for a spring day.

Pulling a yellow shirt from my closet, I dabbed on a hint of rose pink lip balm and haphazardly tied my hair up with a print sash.

Walking outside to feel the warmth, I stood barefoot in the grass. Cooing doves and mating birds played in treetops all around me. Nature danced in celebration of spring’s arrival—and I felt right in sync.

The sights and sounds of abundant-life had indeed returned.

While watching the natural world perform spring rituals, the wild-woman within me knew that I too must acknowledge my entrance into a new place and time. Feeling my inner spirit’s call to mark this passage, I was moved to use symbolic ritual.

As Old As Time

Rite and ritual have been used to acknowledge human-transformation since the beginning of time. Serving to give meaning to the natural cycles of life, rituals are a way that we acknowledge a division between the sacred and profane.

Ceremonial or determined modes of action, rituals can serve to celebrate or summon the expression of special, extraordinary, idealistic, supernatural, transcendent or otherwise spiritually significant occurrences or passages.

Rituals can take the form of repetitive actions performed over time, or as a single symbolic act. The inspiration for a ritual can be to reenact a spiritually significant event, celebrate a personal transition, acknowledge a leap in consciousness, or hold powerful intent to bring about positive change.

Rituals create a container for life experiences which are initiated, recognized or felt before they are seen. These container-walls provide a defined place for the happenings of personal growth.

The Making of a Ritual

The most powerful rite, ritual or ceremonial action is one that emerges from an organic impulse within and involves personal feelings, beliefs, and symbolic meaning. This kind of act or practice is born from the essence of our own truth and experience.

In addition, there are common characteristics of ritual which can be used to create these personal spiritual-containers in our own life.

As a vehicle for change and transformation, rituals will generally:

–>Involve the senses: By engaging all of the senses through creative use of natural elements, images, colors, movements, sounds and meaningful objects from our journey we can bypass our conscious-thinking-mind and connect with our unconscious-intuitive-knowing.

–>Set apart certain experiences as meaningful: Offering our time, sincerity and thoughtfulness are ways that we mark something as important and worthy of respect. Performing a series of actions which have been appointed this type of meaning can bring about feelings of well-being and certainty as well as invoke the inspiration needed for committed-action toward lofty-goals and habit-change.

–>Appoint a specific time as sacrosanct: A potent power of ritual is its ability to set off certain times as sacred and outside of the mundane. Rituals have potential to transport you to a timeless place. Serving to remove you from the ordinary-flow of life, they can place you in sacred-time when roles and statuses held day-to-day are temporarily suspended. It is outside the realm of ordinary-time-space that rituals hold their magic and power.

–>Appoint a physical space as sacred: Stepping into a dedicated space created by ritual, we can leave the clamoring of the external world behind and engage in a series of activities that nourish mind, body and spirit. Entering this space can assist us in accessing deeper levels of consciousness and to facilitate a rapid reconnection with the higher ideals that fuel us.

–>Appoint symbolic meaning: Rituals often involve “sacred” articles. Such symbolic items are acknowledged as agents of meaning and utility. Personal symbols and metaphors that emerge during transitional passage often become enduring reminders of peace and wellbeing.

The Power and Function of a Spiritual Container

Rituals help us to balance the work of our outer and inner lives. In our physical reality naturally there is a great deal of focus and acknowledgment given to external experience—that which can be seen and measured. However much of life’s journey is made up of intangible, interior experiences.

The big, wamma-jamma, awe-inspiring moments in life often involve personal growth, moments of transcendence, cycles of death and rebirth, and metaphysical passages into new levels of existence.

As important and palpable as these beyond-ordinary moments can feel, it is easy to disregard or discount them along the way. They become crowded out by the external sights, sounds and demands of life. For this reason, rites and rituals can serve an important function.

Here are five powers of ritual:

1. ACKNOWLEDGE: Rituals acknowledge personal shifts by taking action to honor a great change under gone. A rite-of-passage is often a major turning point in life which helps us connect the mysterious dots and see patterns and cycles which might otherwise appear to be random happenings in our life.

2. DEFINE: Pinnacle shifts on our journey can be so transformative that they serve to divide our life into ‘before and after’. Defining phases in our life can be a powerful way to facilitate life transitions. Often, the personal growth triggered by major life events such as these occur silently as inner-experiences and take place in isolated ways. Private ritual then can help to define an accurate demarcation point in our consciousness experiences.

3. SOLIDIFIES: Ritual marks something as official. It provides some formality or mental permanence and creates a solid “container” within which important processes can happen.

4. ANCHORS: When we make a big deal out of meaningful shifts and transitions, we anchor them into our life in a way which holds us in remembrance and accountability to the growth and change. Without this, these big-time life transitions can be easily lost or forgotten, and possibly even lose their meaning.

5. AUTOMATES: The repetition of sacred patterns or actions can automatically trigger the flow of what is needed for a particular manifestation, expression, creation, or embodiment. Through conditioning, ritualistic acts can assist us in rapidly accessing deeper levels of consciousness and bring about shifts in mindset and mood.

Honoring My Passage & Celebrating the Return of Light

As for me, I have created a number of simple but significant ritual acts to mark this period of positive change.

As a reflection of the immense self-love that I recently realized for the first time—not intellectualized ideas of self-love, but rather a sincere love and desire to cherish myself as God loves me—I now view my body with a newfound respect. Body and beauty rituals have become a natural expression of this new level of understanding of my divine feminine vessel. Purposeful practices involving essential oils, rose water, sea salt, skin brushing, hydrotherapy and physical purification have become high-vibe practices to honor and care for my beloved body.

Symbolic items of meaning and utility have also been central for me in marking my arrival into this new place. The act of using specific colors, objects and stones with certain properties has provided both self-expression and remembrance of my passage. The practice of adorning my body, and infusing my environment, with the energy and substance of these inspirational pieces is a practical and effective way to anchor these energies of change in my day-to-day.

Starting my day with a daily practice involving several things including reciting a meaningful mantra, “I am completely comfortable with the integration of my life” has created a powerful demarcation point for me. Serving as a reminder, these are also the words I drop into my experience when I begin feeling frustrated or get lost in a day. Seeing the matrix of wholeness that makes up my life, I no longer feel the need to maintain division between this part and that, which creates a great deal more flow and time for all good things.

A sacred-writing-ceremony was an important way for me to acknowledge, and not indulge the impulse to minimize, this new life cycle. By writing about the transition, I located my clarity, owned my experience, and admitted that it was a real shift in my life.

Additionally I am in the process of creating two sacred spaces: a wild-flower garden in my back yard where I can “bury” things (the act of planting new seeds in the ground and the symbolic nature of the wild flowers is significant) and an altar in my studio (a small, sacred place for personal reflection, gratitude, and prayer where meaningful totems, inspiring texts, and all that invokes harmony and flow for me can be easily accessed).

Bringing Ritual Back

Rituals can create a container for the process of transformation. Creating and performing meaningful rituals also serves to give meaning to the natural cycles of life.

Rituals can take the form of repetitive actions performed over time, or as a single symbolic act. The inspiration for a ritual can be to reenact, celebrate, acknowledge, summon, or hold powerful-intent.

In our age of constant-change and instant-everything, we have moved away from rituals. We are too busy, there is no time. And in cynical moments, the idea of change and transformation can become common and belittled.

However when we discount our big shifts by thinking that maybe it’s not really a big deal or that everyone is doing it, it diminishes self-confidence and our personal will to follow through.

The energy of spring is known to bring about abundance and fresh insight. Cycles of change, growth, expansion, and visions-of-a-new-way-forward are supported by the season and may be more easily accessed. A catalyst for the energies of resurrection, regeneration, and old things morphing into new–you may find inspiration for ritual now in your own life.

Whether you want to get a tattoo or shave your head; start a fire and burn something that represents what you are shedding; perform the act of blessing a space with sage and prayer to prepare it for a daily sacred practice; sign up for yoga; redecorate your home with items of meaning; insert a purposeful color into your environment; or host a rebirth party and invite all your friends—honoring a personal shift, or performing determined modes of action that cultivate an elevated state of existence, can have a profound effect on your daily life.

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Romanticizing, Ridiculing & Avoiding

The present moment contains in it both the energy of the past and the future

Although our minds have an almost compulsive need to drive in reverse or screech forward, disciplining ourselves to stay fully focused in the here and now is where power and peace reside.

A simple concept and one that has become quite the buzz, staying totally present and engaged in the present moment at all times is arguably the biggest challenge we face in a day.

It is all too tempting to journey down memory lane, to analyze every detail of yesterday, or to fantasize about the dreams of tomorrow. 

These mental trips take us out of the reality of here and now.  This thinking can become something of a trance, taking you on a “trip” and causing you to agonize over, or exaggerate the greatness of, that which is being considered.   We generally either remember it to be worse or think it up to be better than it really is or will be. 

Distorting Mind-Play:  The Tendency to Romanticize or Ridicule              

Looking backwards is a slippery slope.  It is tempting to remember the good ol’ days, to analyze what we believe to be a personal historical mistake in order to glean wisdom from our error, or to think about what is yet to be. 

Our perspectives however are colored by many things.  Thoughts that come up are rarely neutral.  Mental meandering is generally either romanticized or ridiculed, creating guilt and shame, or unrealistic expectations which may never be obtained

Often the tiny real life details of the moment that led up to the experience that is under review are forgotten.  These are the nitty-gritty details that the mind likes to gloss over. 

Likewise, the real-life occurrences that will culminate to make up the future is unaccounted for when we dream about being somewhere in the future other than here and now.  The ivory-tower thinking changes dramatically when grounded by practical experience.

Backwards, forward, and sideways–the mind will analyze, distort, and drain out all magic from these experiences–turning them into a mangled mess.  

The Ego’s Positive & Negative Delusions

Perfect examples of this can be seen in common triggers for people.

Often rather than finding their own passion and creating a life all their own, many girls dream of the future day that a perfect man will come rescue her from the average life she now lives.  In this future fueled fantasy she will live a picture perfect life free of struggle and void of all suffering.

Likewise, many people tend to romanticize the past and engage in delusional thinking about prior experiences or relationships.  Prime examples of this are the men and women who remember a previous partner with irrational fondness despite the fact their time with that person was riddled with perpetual negativity and issues.  Yet, when escaping the now moment by traveling down memory lane wearing their rose-tinted lenses, all that is remembered is the glossy-image-of-perfection that this relationship and person supposedly embodied. 

Another mental trap that contains a myriad of blind spots is when parents spend time agonizing on the errors or inadequacies of how they raised their children.  Here, the past is often distorted as there is a strong urge for parents to beat themselves up.  They should have taken little Joe on more bike rides or played dolls more with little Suzie.  The parent however was doing many important things with, or for, Joe or Suzie instead of bike riding and doll playing.

It’s All Here in the Now

The evolution of life ensures that this very moment contains both the lessons of yesterday and the promise of tomorrow.  Both the present and past are contained in a relevant way within the energy of now.  Thus, everything needed to heal and create is right here and right now.  And the next step is only revealed to you when you are fully engaged in the present step.

As they say, this very moment is a gift, which is why it is called the present.

We may cause ourselves much guilt, pain and suffering when we look backwards; and we could set ourselves up for preconceived resentments with unrealistic expectations when we set our future fantasies up in order to escape reality.  Each of these are acts of rejecting the here and now.

Embracing the now, accepting the here, and gently guiding the energy forward with respect for where we have been, and inspiration for what may lie ahead, allows us to bask in the present peace offered in each gifted minute of every blessed day. 

 

 

Everything is Born From Nothing–The Importance of Creative Space In Your Life

Creative space is one of the most critical and hard to come by things in our modern lives.  Often as humans we underestimate the importance of space.

If we put our index finger on the tip of our nose we cannot see the finger that is literally right in front of our eyes.  There is no space.

If energy is not free to flow into dissipation, it will not be available for the next creation causing stagnation and irritation as the energy remains bound or fixed in the current form.

When we lack space we get stagnant, agitated, depressed and stunted.  Relationships suffer when there is no space for feelings and energy to flow.  Inspiration does not stand a chance unless the spirit has psychic space.  Without proper “space” we lose perspective and become stuck on autopilot being worn down by the grind of daily life.

With space, however, new ideas and movement of energy is possible.  Space is required for anything to bloom, flow, and breathe.  Emotional space, psychic space, mental space, and physical space are all essential for balance and well-being.

Despite this reality, space is not given enough credit this day and age.  We stack ourselves on top of each other, we jam our schedules with to-do after to-do, and we pack our minds with reoccurring and obsessive thoughts.  We lack space.  And as a result we often feel off-track, a bit sideways, congested, inflamed and frustrated.

Simply acknowledging the simple but profound need for space is a good first step.  Giving yourself and others permission in a household, relationship, or work environment to take personal space can be a very transformative act.

Yet the act of creating space can be quite the challenge.

After all, the modern world could take up every minute of our existence, if we let it.  Relationships which are fulfilling and loving have a tendency to become co-dependent. Our minds respond to the overstimulation of life by cycling through thoughts non-stop, our home or work environments fill up with stuff faster than we can remove it, and layers of emotional-goo pile up on one another because there is no time or willingness to allow it to clear.

Our lives don’t offer us space.  People don’t trip over themselves to give us the space we need.  Life does not have built-in pauses for us to collect our space.  Space then must be commanded and created by us.

Getting adequate space in our life will never come easy.  Demanding the space we require will probably never win us a popularity contest.  However, space is a worthy goal and intention.  Looking for ways to create space in our life, we can start with:

1. Psychic Space–Opening time in our week for free-contemplation

2. Emotional Space–Sitting with our emotions and feelings and letting them flow

3. Personal Space–Creating habits and boundaries in our relationships that involve giving each other time alone to be and express

4. Physical Space–Taking time once a month to throw out un-used stuff and clean out cluttered corners and tables

Creative space may be the most under-rated yet important key to sanity.  As we know, everything is literally born out of nothing.  As evolved beings driven to create, space is more important than ever.

People often need permission to take space for themselves.  This is your permission slip.  Create that space that you need in your life without guilt, and see what comes of it.

The Middle Way Takes You There

A New Take On Resolutions:The Middle Way Takes You There

As we shift now, marked by the end of ancient calendars and the beginning of a new year, there seems to be a call for a transcendence and reconciliation of the extremes and opposing ways in our life.

Having survived the polarizing period marked by the end of humanity’s 26,000 year cycle, and the conclusion of another year in our personal lives, we continue to travel around the circle of life as we embark on new beginnings.

We often celebrate the end of a year by setting intentions of some kind for the next. In this way, we generally say, “I want to stop doing this and start doing that.”

However, whether we are looking forward globally as a collective, or personally as an individual, moving from the extreme of this to the opposite extreme of that involves a massive change.

Idealism aside, in most cases such moves are unrealistic. A reason that resolutions of this kind do not hold up is because they are just too drastic.

Rarely do they honor where you ARE but rather they catapult you toward an ideal that you are nowhere near able to sustain (otherwise, you’d already be doing it).

The Way Between This and That

Maybe you’ve noticed that extremes have been playing out everywhere. The flame of extremism peaks it seems before it burns out. Many people, myself included, have been bouncing between old habits and new behaviors, high emotional states and lowly feelings of shame and pain, or feelings of throwing-in-the-towel met with a new sense of can-do felt stronger than ever before.

In this way it is apparent that the conclusion of this year is a catalyst for integration.

We have arrived at a connection with our zero point. This beginning is different from others in that now we can finally integrate our inner (subjective) world and the outer (objective) world.

The potential for such reconciliation has been long sought by many, because the separation and deviation between our inner-world-reality and our outer-world- reality causes each of us suffering.

Here, in the zero point energy offered between the old and the new, there is an opportunity and call to integrate our extremes in order to embark on a middle-way.

The middle-way says that we don’t damn the thing we think we need to stop, nor do we idealize the thing that we want to start.

Instead, we find the place in between these two points, where we can balance and even enjoy ourselves while making upgrades and taking the journey toward our own potential.

Very often we resist the middle way because:

–>      As a path it seems too simple and subtle

–>      Balance is in fact the hardest thing

But the middle-way is the perfect fusion between where we are and where we want to go, the neutral point between what we deem bad and good, and the states of being & doing. 

In the middle, we don’t need to stop or start, but rather we just move along toward our next in renewed ways.

A New Approach for a New Year

This year as you take stock of your thrills, successes, disappointments and personal let-downs, find the lessons.  And if you make a resolution consider letting it be simply to go forward on the path of the middle-way where you integrate where you are and where you are headed.

By setting a resolution to find the middle-way in all that we aspire to improve or change, we will begin collapsing dualities and taming extremes.

Some examples of common extremes and possible middle-way intentions could include:

–>      Natural Healing vs. Allopathic Medicine

The Middle Way:  As we look towards the possibility of improving our health or healing, we can give ourselves permission to use the medicines, supplements, foods and treatments that support us right now that create maximum comfort and success regardless of what they may be.

–>      Indulgence vs. Abstinence

The Middle Way:  As we examine habits or behaviors that we may beat ourselves up about or struggle to keep balanced, we can use the crowding out philosophy which allows partaking without berating as we include equal behaviors, substances and nourishing activities that feel good and naturally crowd-out the imbalanced habit without feeling deprivation (which is a trigger for addiction).

–>      Real Relationship vs. Ideal Relationship

The Middle Way:  As we ponder ways to increase contentment and satisfaction in our personal relationships we can start by dropping the extreme templates formed around the expectations placed in our heads from fairy tales, hollywood movies, or roles and images from days of old.  Instead we can go for the practice of allowing each other to be who we are and looking for ways to compromise and find the middle ground around this authentic being-ness.

–>     Religion vs. Spirituality

The Middle Way:  As we reflect on belief systems or look to up our spiritual practices we can intend to ease the promotion of strict lines of thinking that lead us to feel fear, guilt, shame and separation and find ways to connect with the essence and heart from which our personal practice is based, which unites, edifies and builds up.

–>      Job that you don’t like vs. Creative Labor that excites you

The Middle Way:  As we seek meaning and purpose in our lives through career or service, we can give ourselves space to re-examine how we spend our days, our occupational duties, and the ideal that lights us up.  Rather than drastic moves or staying the course in mysery, it is likely possible to find ways to do more of what we love at our existing occupation and less of what we don’t, or ignite projects outside of work that include our passions.

Having It All Right Now

We know from experience that there is rarely a quick fix solution.  Unresolved “stuff” which stands between the way it is and the way it could be indicates that it is going to take time for things to fully shift to the eden-like state of perfection that we are all templated to desire.

This may best be taken on by keeping our eye on the new possibility which we can see clearly now perhaps for the first time while taking steps of incremental change which lead us into the Garden.

Through sincerity, endurance, presence and truth of heart we always prosper.  The path of the middle-way takes us out of our all or nothing mentality and places us in an energetic zone of prosperity where we exist within the potential of having it all right now. And we do whatever we can do right now, from this place.

As we enjoy this fresh start of a new year, we only need to make one resokution: to inyend to move along the path of the middle-way. 

It is the one resolution that will mean something very different to us all, and yet will simultaneously set us on a unified path.

22 Reasons Why Everything Is Going to be Alright

For all of the trail-blazers, big-hearted ones, anyone going after their heart’s desire, trying to accomplish something, change anything, or arrive somewhere just beyond their current horizon—this is for you.

Moving toward the accomplishment of highly-charged goals means transforming into the person we have to be in order to realize them.  A personal process made up of many cycles, the wheel of creation involves:  heartache, breakdown, breakthrough, and rebirth.

During such fierce, vulnerable, tender, and quantum moments when we have put it all on the line and the stakes are high, we often wish that God would appear as a burning bush and affirm our journey, a universal symphony would play an audible song just to soothe us, or that a guide from above would bring down a message and tell us that we are okay.

If you find yourself in such a place, then this is what your spirit needs to hear:

  1. Your imperfections are the only thing about you that will ever be perfect
  2. You have super-powers and this process is activating them
  3. Nothing is fixed; the ever fluctuating set of energies and conditions of your life are influenced in every moment by action, intention and prayer
  4. Your whole life has led you here to take this leap
  5. You are healed and empowered by your visions and through them your life moves forward
  6. Soon you’ll be thriving like never before regardless of what is happening today, you just can’t see it from where you’re at
  7. You can get there from here, despite appearances otherwise
  8. The path is always through, around won’t get you there
  9. Becoming well-acquainted with your weaknesses points you towards your gifts
  10. Everything you need to know will be revealed to you as soon as you reach the place of falling to your knees and asking for it
  11. This is one of the scariest parts, and you are still breathing
  12. There is no good and bad, there is just you, here, now
  13. Sooner than you think you will get precisely what you want, and in that moment you will understand the whole of your journey and believe it to have all been worth it
  14. When the time is right, you’ll do whatever it takes
  15. Your road map has been written, and there are many routes; all of them lead to your destination, because you are one of those people who pulls it off
  16. Like an artist who keeps his half painted portrait covered,  you are not finished yet, so don’t look now
  17. When you use your magic wand (the focused light of your awareness) life transforms right before your eyes
  18. You are a receptive person who is being influenced by spiritual forces, and you are right on track
  19. There is a time and a place for everything, including this
  20. Just show up; the alchemy of moving forward has a transmuting effect on your burdens
  21. In the end, you always manage to go with faith over doubt, abundance over lack, and love over fear
  22. The Universe is on your side, and life wants you to win

The Magic of Mirroring

One of the things that I have found to be most fascinating in my journey of awareness is the phenomenon of mirroring. The realization that everyone around me is showing or telling me something about myself is truly an extraordinary thought.

It is a psychological truth that we often see in others that which we do not like in ourselves.  Since the law of attraction governs our Universe, like attracts like.  In this way life acts as a mirror for what is going on inside of us.

Often times the Universe sends people that cast a signal to us that answers one of our most pressing questions or helps us to heal our most important issues.  Like a looking glass, the person reflects an image back to us that shows us something we need to see.

Mirroring can be positive or negative; each of these offers a reflection of your truth.

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly 

When we see the positive in others and think about how we wish that we were more like that, we are experiencing positive mirroring.  People in our life whom we admire reflect our positive aspects that we may not recognize or acknowledge in ourselves.  The very fact that we notice and are able to see that attribute signifies that we contain that greatness somewhere in us.

Mirroring however may be most impressive, and challenging, when it happens in less appealing ways.

Working with the public as a holistic health counselor, I have become aware of the magic of mirroring on many occasions through direct experience.

Sending a client my way that mirrors what I need to see in myself, the Universe frequently gives me highly important guidance (for me) during sessions with clients.  Through them I am shown with precision that next thing I need to address, or that critical thing that I have been neglecting to do.

Often clients just won’t follow through on a particular recommendation regardless of how important or key it is to solving their most pressing concern.   In these moments, I have learned to move into neutral awareness and look for the connection.

Usually, this area is somehow related to me; what I am not doing, or not following through on, myself.  The Universe sends a magnetic-twin along to show me the answer that I have been seeking.

Try as I might—seeking the key to a pesky health concern or looking for the cause of a personal life imbalance—without that client and their challenge or question, I have not yet been successful in identifying that particular pattern or need in myself.

When I take the gift of this guidance shown to me by the human-mirror and make the change, I solve a significant problem.  Once I begin taking that supplement, removing that toxin, eating that food, working on that part of my personality, or paying attention to that certain relationship dynamic in my life—my own issue begins to heal.

By paying close attention to the many instances of mirroring in my life, my eyes have been opened to some core patterns.  I was intrigued to find that mirroring was not limited to my professional work, but also showed up in my personal relationships.

A Three Way Mirror

A mirroring pattern between three people has been the most transformative form of mirroring I have witnessed.  When it shows itself in divine perfection, life-long patterns can be resolved that spawn out in many directions.

Peering into the mirrors that the Universe brings into our lives and owning what is being shown can often take real strength…especially when that which is being shown is unflattering.

A revealing moment shown to you in an interaction with another casts a clear reflection.  Somewhere lurking in the shadows of your own being lies that most bothersome, painful and unacceptable trait or aspect that you have repeatedly disliked or been victim of by another.  This is when you finally see that the way you are being treated is also the way you unknowingly have treated someone else; or that the negative aspect you have looked harshly upon in another also lives in you.

It is important to emphasize that this is an unexpected trait or pattern that has long been hidden in you–and something that you would deny or reject.  You will know when you are on to it, because when faced with it in the mirror you can no longer deny it, and it makes you feel defensive, nauseous or emotionally disturbed.

For me, boundaries have always been a real challenge.  I assumed that I was very respectful of all boundaries since people steam-rolled right through mine so often.  However, understanding that this behavior is especially bothersome to me, I knew I needed to look for it within in order to pinpoint the root.

After a lifetime of problems maintaining my own personal boundaries, I had a mirroring-moment where I realized that a family-member who regularly exhibited boundary-busting behaviors that hurt me, was also showing me a deeply hidden disrespect for the boundaries of others within me.

I was stunned to see such a reflection.  It was difficult to see that I was guilty of something that I found so offensive.  After doing some deep inner work and taking responsibility for this issue, I was able to accept that I indeed treated others in this same way on occasion.

Able to view this pattern in three different ways (family member/myself/ friends) I could finally see the perplexing pattern clearly.  Once I was able to see it in this way, I could work to forgive it in another, and then learn to turn that same compassion inward, and also forgive myself.

What You See Is What You Are

Due to the law of attraction and the magic of mirroring it is possible that the types of behavior that we regularly see and don’t like in others are aspects deeply hidden within ourselves.

With constant self-examination, self-honesty, and a willingness to step outside of ourselves regularly, we can use this information to help see ourselves more objectively and to bring to the surface obvious or repressed issues that we have previously buried.

Recognizing the lessons that these situations and individuals are mirroring gives us the precious opportunity to become conscious of our hidden beliefs, feelings, imbalanced behaviors, or shadow personality traits so that we can experience less suffering and conflict.

When we grow in our ability to handle what can often be the difficult reflections shown to us through the phenomenon of mirroring, it becomes our own powerful and secret formula for becoming whole.

The questions, unknowns, and things that we cannot quite figure out on our own are able to be solved by images revealed to us through our connections with others.

Thought-Flipping: A Guide for Taking Charge of Your Mind-Stuff

No matter where we are on our personal growth journey, there is always room for improvement when it comes to disciplining our mind.  The mind-work is never done.

It is estimated that people talk to themselves–either subconsciously or out-loud–at the rate of approximately 50 to 300 words per minute.  Research says that on average we have 65,000 thoughts each day, and that 95% of those thoughts are reoccurring.  Much of this is self-talk or inwardly directed chatter.

Although it may go unnoticed, each thought creates a physical response.  The thoughts being had create emotions and automatic responses in the body which significantly affect our physical health and mental well-being.  Whether we are feeling happy or upset will be dependent on what thoughts we are thinking.  And effects such as accelerated heart rate and changes in blood pressure can be measured as we think certain thoughts.

Essentially our mind is constantly running, thinking repetitive thoughts (the same thoughts that we had yesterday, and the day before that) and our body and emotions are strongly triggered by them.  Clearly, this makes how we think and what we think extremely important.

Mental Cramps

Years ago my personal journey was triggered by symptoms in my body which my first teacher quickly helped me trace with precision, right to my mind.

At first I was so identified with my thoughts that I could not really see them.  My thoughts seemed to be me, and I didn’t feel like I had any power over them.  I had been living a life at the mercy of my undisciplined mind, without even realizing it.

I spent many years focused on taming my wild and rebellious mind.  And in the process I learned that being my own mental-manager was absolutely essential to co-creating a desirable reality.

When I become preoccupied with life, however, I can temporarily lose consciousness in this area for days at a time.  Sometimes I snap-to only to find myself in the midst of racing thoughts, obsessive mental patterns and irrational fears.

For the past few months while navigating a great deal of transition and some very new terrain, I found that I had indeed slipped into a jaded state of mind.  Spinning wildly on the wheel of randomized ideas and unruly self-talk, my mind was in a state of negative looping.

As I began my mental-monitoring, I saw that I was continually framing neutral or potentially amazing things in unnecessarily negative ways.  I had allowed myself to become over-tired, un-centered, and in a state of overwhelm–and as a result, disorderly thought systems were taking root in my un-tended mind.

Negative thoughts grow like weeds.  Left unmanaged, wild and obsessive sprouts can begin to take hold in the soil of the mind.  I knew that I had to get the pruning shears out—and fast.  I immediately dusted off the most powerful mind-tool in my holistic box and began tending to my precious mental garden.

The Thought-Flipping Process

Thought flipping is an advanced form of mind monitoring and management.  This practice accepts that our thoughts are powerful and we can choose them.  Then it wastes no time.

As soon as negative thought-patterns are identified, a silent alarm sounds.  The observer of the thought then steps in with absolute authority and re-programs the mind by flipping the thought on its head, and thinking the exact opposite.

Once a pattern of strong pessimism about a particular aspect of life is identified for example, the observer flips it in that moment, and chooses optimism.   It is the art of taking back the powerful domain of the mind without wasting time giving the weed-thought any consideration or valuable energy.

At first the mind will rebel in defense of the negative thought by alerting the observer of how the flipped thought is ridiculous and could not possibly be true.  With thought-flipping, however, the observer’s immediate response back to the mind is direct and commanding.  The mind is reminded that it’s former thought was, at the very least, as lousy and untrue as the new, flipped one—and as it’s conscious and intelligent Master the observer chooses what is true.

Rewriting Your Mental Script

It is human nature to think negatively about others or ourselves from time to time.  However, unchecked and frequent negative brain chatter can leave us feeling out of control.  A train of thought that is directed towards yourself which undermines you or what you are trying to accomplish, is negative-thinking.   Such spiraling thoughts are the most effective way to self-sabotage.

Take these ideas, for example:

Every day at work you think:  “I am so stressed out because I don’t work as fast as the others at my job, which makes me feel like I am less than those around me, and that at some point I am going to be fired.”  This thought can be healed by changing it to:  “I appreciate that I take my time doing my job according to my own rhythm which allows me to express my unique genius, and my boss should value that attribute in me, because in the end I always deliver big.”

When you turn it around, you realize that either thought can be true.  It is always possible, and even likely, that the negative version which you are obsessively perpetuating is incorrect.

Often times our thoughts don’t even make sense.  Take this common pattern for example:  “I missed an entire week of yoga, so I might as well skip today too and give up the whole idea of exercise completely, because I have no self-discipline.”  Flipping this thought changes it to be more healthy and accurate:  “I honored my feelings and took a needed break from yoga last week, so I am going to take an intense yoga class today because I am truly committed to the idea of feeling good in mind and body.”

A way to transform a thought is to change the wording.  Your thoughts can be wrong, and you can re-write them.  Which one do you want to be true?  You get to choose.

Taking Charge of Your Mind-Stuff

Once you’ve identified a serial negative thought that continues popping into your mind making you feel fearful, sad, uncomfortable, depressed, or hopeless, try the following thought-flipping ritual:

=> Write the thought down on paper and take a good look at it

=> Do you know this thought is true?

=> Does this thought serve you?

=> Write down the opposing thought which counters the negative thought

=> Change the wording of the thought in a way that heals it

=> Every time you find yourself thinking the original habitual thought pattern, catch yourself, and continuously replace it with the new flipped thought

This technique is a process of offering the antidote for the problematic thinking pattern each time it appears.  By flipping the thought, it is cured.  You are healing your mind-stuff thought by thought, thus co-creating a reality with deliberate intent.

How Will Your Garden Grow?

Acknowledging that we can choose our thoughts is taking back a great deal of power.   Becoming aware of our thoughts allows us to look at them.  When we look at them, we are removed from them; there is space between us and the thought.

When there is space between us and our thoughts, we identify with them less.  When we identify with our thoughts less, we can decide if a thought is true, whether a thought serves us, and if there is a better thought that is more aligned with our true nature and highest desires.

And then we can determine what our mind will be filled with 65,000 times a day.

Our world is made from mind-stuff.  Taking the step of conscious co-creation by monitoring our mind, weeding our mental garden, and planting good thought-seeds, will ensure that we like what blooms.