Animals and Emotions
I was recently speaking with a friend who, semi-jokingly, suggested that cats don't feel love and affection. She felt that cats are self-serving and do not care about humans as long as their own needs are fulfilled.
That is so NOT my experience! Cats, and indeed all animals, feel many of the same emotions as humans, albeit in a different way. Certainly a pet will act on instinct to ensure its own needs are met, however they create a strong bond of love with their human companions who can likewise feel that bond,
Recently I did a Reiki session on a cat who expressed such love for his human family. He chose to take on the role of "guardian of health," providing comfort and attention to anyone who was ill. Unfortunately, that sometimes meant he also took on some of the symptoms!
As I allowed the energy to flow, I felt his love. The best way I can explain the un-explainable is to say that he didn't intellectualize that love the way we do. He didn't label it, explain it, or analyze it...it just WAS.
I've understood from many other sources, from intuitives and the expert communicators with whom I trained, that this is the main difference between emotions of animals and humans. They certainly feel love and fear, but it is not as nuanced as human emotion. They may feel safe and secure, or frightened and stressed. They may love or dislike individuals. But they simply feel what they feel without judgment.
I strive to emulate that...no judgment!
Wealth and Altruism
Many years ago, my closest friend and I were talking of our dreams. I said how much I'd enjoy being wealthy and she was shocked. She was raised that it was evil to seek wealth, and instead we should be of service to others. Knowing a bit about her family and their church affiliations I was not surprised, but I countered with this thought.
"You're struggling to make ends meet. You can't serve yourself, let alone anyone else, if you're in poverty. How many people could you feed, or house, or clothe, or educate, if you had pots of money?"
She responded that she had not thought of it that way, and I know that something in her spirit opened that day.
I know several entrepreneurs and practitioners in this holistic/ metaphysical/ well-being community who feel much the same way. "I'm not in it for the money." Well, why not??? Of course It is quite a different thing to be in it ONLY for money, for gain, for power. But how many more people could you support and serve if you had simply scads of cash?
Aim for wealth, aim for expansion, aim for growth. Create a plan for what will happen when you do, what your dreams of service are. What we focus on grows, and that's how we create our reality. So take action now toward those dreams of service...what steps can you take now to get those pots of cash?
The Tipping Point
It's good to be resilient. It's good to be flexible. It's good to stand strong.
Until it isn't.
We all struggle at times with decisions, with change. When something is not working in your life, you have choices. You can stick with it, push against it, examine it from all angles, wish it wasn't that way, complain, fight against it, or ignore it. In most cases all that does is exhaust you.
When that wall is up for a reason, you can push all you want but it won't budge. It's like a Weeble. (Remember the toys? "Weebles wobble, they don't fall down.") Weebles don't have a tipping point. When pushed they pop right back up. And when they pop up they can bop you in the face!
Sometimes when you push, you find out that the obstacle in question is a container of liquid, and when you push, it spills all over you and everything else. You're left with a mess to clean up, but no solution.
I believe that God, the Universe, whatever you call "it," is showing you a block for a reason, especially if you have been asking for help. That "something" that is no longer working is not the best option at this point in your life. You are being asked to see the block, move around it, and move on.
And so your choices are to continue to push and push and push...or to move on.
Move on in what direction? Only you can sense that...but you can.
I've found that the key to uncovering options, possibilities, non-Weebly choices, is to get quiet. Sit in nature silently, with an open mind and heart. Hold the intent of uncovering your absolute best possibilities. And allow.
Noticing the Signs
Back in the early part of the twentieth century, one of the best-known advertising campaigns of the United States began – Burma Shave signs. If you are not aware of this American icon, the promotion was the placement of a sequence of signposts along the road, usually five or six, that each contained a portion of a message. The last would show the name of the product (Burma Shave) or the punchline of a joke. Here’s one for example: “No matter the price . . . no matter how new . . . the best safety device. . . in your car is you . . . Burma Shave.”
Now, as we’re traveling the road of life, we drive along just going wherever the road takes us, paying little attention to the view, often with no clear goal in mind. Sometimes we’ll get lost, or we’ll get mad at the wrong turns or confusing traffic signals. We create most of our journey by drifting unconsciously along the road.
Then there are those of us who go through life based on what others tell us is the way we should go, because that’s the way they went. "Should" is a nasty word that tells you that you are wrong. Are you wrong for preferring blue to red? Cool temperatures to summer heat? Mountain scenery to flatlands? Of course not! And certainly you are not wrong for making choices in your life that may differ from the choices of those around you. Only you can make those decisions.
You can decide to live your life by a different method, one taken by many spiritually evolving people: creating the journey consciously, by following your own internal maps and GPS devices, and by paying attention to signposts along the way. Sometimes these signs contain messages of importance, and sometimes they’re simply encouragement, but they are always sequential, just like the Burma Shave signs. When we learn that the guidance exists and learn to watch for it, we find that by taking inspired action based on the signs (like choosing to do what the message suggests), our lives of conscious creation seem so much easier and more enjoyable.
So, now you’re traveling down your road of life fully aware and creating consciously by making your own decisions. You choose to ignore the detour signs and end up at a dead end – your choice had consequences, but you can now choose differently based on the consequence, and turn around.
Or you may get distracted by something on the road and miss the last directional sign, the punchline to the message, and realize you’ve taken a wrong turn. When you become aware of these “mis-takes” then you can consciously create a new experience and go back and try a different way. You learn through these events that following guidance that feels right for you leads to a life that feels fulfilling.
One of the great new-age teachers, Abraham (www.abraham-hicks.com), tells us that the knowing of what you do not want leads to the knowing of what you do want. The contrast between the two can be bridged by the awareness of your thoughts, which leads to a change in your feelings, which leads to a change in your beliefs, until at last you are hearing the music of your ideal life.
Most spiritual teachers say that there are only two true states of being: love and fear. One is joyful, positive, loving; the other is sad, afraid, negative and sometimes hateful. I believe that God/Universe/Creator intended for us to live joyfully, abundantly, and lovingly.
You can re-program your spiritual GPS, to follow new signs and to re-start your life from this very moment. Savor the creation and enjoy the view. As a dear friend of mine says, the message is simple: be love!
Don't Ignore the Signs!
This PSA is being brought to you through the eyes of experience! Don't ignore physical sensations (I don't care for the word "symptoms"), but instead pay attention to what they may be trying to tell you.
Case in point: Me! I spent a great deal of my life in fear. Fearful childhood experiences, fearful school and then work experiences, fearful social experiences...and I never understood why. I was always told to "toughen up," shamed for my sensitivity, perceived shyness, and easily triggered emotion.
I've been reading a wonderful book by Dr. Judith Orloff, The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, and it has changed my life. Now I understand! This book "appeared" just when needed (don't ya love when that happens!), as I'm going through a deeply self-reflective process, learning new systems and patterns of thought.
I spent my earlier life in fear because I was a highly sensitive soul - my mind, body and spirit are all hyper-tuned to energy around me. The result of this untreated life-long sensitivity as an empath resulted in some unpleasant physical reactions (off-balance endocrine system, especially adrenals; frequent headaches; tinnitus; IBS), which I now know are stress responses to energy overload. What a relief - I am neither a freak of nature or truly ill!
I've been working on this idea with a couple of trusted healers as well as my own intuition and guidance, and now I finally understand that there is nothing at all "wrong" with me! Rather, I am learning tools and strategies to ease the stress, tone down the body's response to energy, and change my perception/viewpoint of what is going on. I'm learning to see the tremendous blessings in being empathic, and far from needing to "toughen up," I would benefit by expanding my abilities and awareness!
I'm sharing this because I know for sure I'm not the only person who has or is going through this process. If you are experiencing physical results, do some research to find out what your body (an expert in its own state of wellness) is trying to tell you. Get bodywork, energy healing or spiritual counseling. Learn ways of moving the Qi (energy) through your body with QiGong, Tai Chi, Yoga, dance. Meditate - definitely meditate!
Accept who - and HOW - you are, and rejoice in all that you can be!
I have friends in the holistic community who feel boundaries are restrictive and limiting. In my life, however, I find that healthy boundaries allow me to honor myself first, so that I may share abundantly.
In other words, you may believe in positive creation, no limits, and infinite possibilities, but I'll bet you lock your doors at night!
This topic came up recently when I was asked for some minor business assistance by someone I just met who is spiritually very needy and clingy...the sort who will not let you go. I had to be very aware of, and hold onto, my time and energy limitations in order to honor my own needs first. FIRST, not instead of.
It can be a tricky balance to observe your own boundaries while at the same time being of service to others. The person without healthy limitations may end up giving everything way...their knowledge, their time, their energy, their being. But when you give it all away freely, you may find yourself with a well that's running dry.
When you are aware of and accept what you are (or are not) willing and able to do for others, you take care of yourself first. For me, this means doing only work that brings me joy, limiting the time I spend in crowds or noise, staying aware of my time and commitments, and frequent self-care.
Whether in a personal, work, or play setting, are there times when you default to giving no matter the cost? How have you resolved this...or HAVE you resolved it?
Remember, an attitude of ME first is not selfish, it allows you to stay in integrity for yourself first, with balance. It allows you to have the resources to share your gifts and light in appropriate and healthy ways.
Please comment below...I'd love to hear how you balance your boundaries!
The Blessing of Hibernation
If you live in the northeast, or have in the past, you'll understand when I say that winter can be a challenging time to feel motivated. Dreary skies, short days, bitter cold, biting snow and wind...a recipe for hibernation!
Is this such a bad thing? Probably not. When we hunker down in wintertime to enjoy warm food, cozy evenings, and indoor activities, we're following the example set by much of nature. Many animals hibernate or slow down in the cold; plants and trees stop growing to conserve energy.
This season of hibernation is a wonderful time for self-care. Notice what does not feel good in your life and find a way to change it - or at least change your attitude toward it. You may not be able to make it sunny every day, but you can be sure your home and workplace are well-lit with full-spectrum bulbs. You can add plants and flowers for a touch of life and spring.
If your body feels sluggish but you don't want to go outside, increase your indoor activity level. Take up yoga or Tai Chi, dance around your living room, make laps around the house, run up and down stairs.
If you feel blue, take daily time for introspection. Start and end your day by listing what you feel deep appreciation for in your life. Meditate or pray more often - and for longer periods. Sleep as much as your body needs to. Fuel yourself with healthy foods to keep your body strong.
Be like the bears. Hibernation is a great place to visit...just don't live there!
Can Grace be Attained?
One of my favorite CDs is a recording of a Celtic musical of Peter Pan. A highlight for me is a lovely song-poem which includes the line, "And those who trust shall grace attain."
This got me thinking...what is grace to me? And can it be attained? Can it be bestowed?
Most Christian religions teach that grace is "the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings." I disagree with this completely, because I do not believe in the concept of salvation or that some outside force decides whether you are worthy of blessings. (If you believe, otherwise, you're welcome to continue to believe that. I'm not trying to convince you otherwise!)
My definition of grace is that undefinable connection with Spirit (God, Allah, Universe, whatever your term for a higher power). I believe that this connection can be reached whenever you allow yourself to go deeply within, through prayer or meditation (which to me are the same thing), to that realm of no-thought. That space that is composed of only BEing. When you are in that zone, you are in grace.
And so, in a very real way, I believe that you can attain grace by entering into that "BEing" space. As the song says, when you trust that you can indeed reach that state, and then trust that your experience there is very real, that's where the magic happens.
In my view, in this lovely space of co-creation you tap into your blessings through this state of grace. Blessings are the result of the connection and the inspired action you take, trusting in the creation and the outcome.
Can You Hear Your Own Soundtrack?
I recently lectured and taught a class on how to discover your life theme. You see, we all have a running soundtrack of sorts, one that's playing in the background, creating opportunities to co-create with the universe.
That theme song is not consistently playing all of the time, and in fact may change a bit or a lot over a lifetime.
Let me explain.
If you follow my writing you probably understand a bit about the Law of Attraction (or Manifestation, or Co-Creation). The energy you put out comes back to you in some form. If you constantly say (and believe) that "I can't," then indeed you can't. The Universe will show you more reasons you can't.
And if you believe that creating what you want in life is easy, then life shows you more reasons to believe that.
So, consider your life right now. Is the sound track playing a dirge of "life is hard and I can't get ahead"? Or is it playing a lively jig: "WOW this life stuff is fun!"
How can you tell? Think of your interactions with others - easy or hard? Your success, your satisfaction, your contentment - all present and accounted for? Watch your words - are they positive creations or negative? Neither is wrong, but both create - choose your creations carefully.
YOU GET TO CHOOSE! You're the composer, the orchestra, AND the conductor. Decide what you want your soundtrack to sound like, and have fun with it!
Last month I had the most recent of OH-so-many synchronicities (i.e. "co-incidences") in my life.
At the close of a business conference I was attending, the speaker invited questions from her audience. A woman seated at a nearby table stood and introduced herself, then asked a very insightful question of the speaker, worded in such a way that indicated to me that she had a similar outlook to mine, an understanding of our co-creation with the universe. I was also very intrigued my her business name, which (as mine does) had a spiritual meaning.
"Something" told me to write down her name and business. Soon after the event, I looked up her website and was blown away...this woman was speaking my language! I wrote to her to tell her so, and tell her of the "still small voice" that told me to pay attention. Her response was to express her amazement and delight that I'd contacted her, as she'd been focused on manifesting someone like me to help her with a major business project.
We met for lunch, and immediately connected. We do indeed speak the same language, and share a deep commitment to shifting the world from fear to love. And further, as we discussed her project, every single item on her list of immediate needs was something that I could fulfill!
Had I not been paying attention, or had I not felt that nudge, what a powerful connection would have been missed to meet a like-minded (and like-hearted) woman with whom I could also enjoy a transformational business opportunity.
The moral of the story? Listen! Know that the messages and road signs are always out there. Allow yourself to focus on the knowing that the universe (by whatever name you choose) always, ALWAYS has your back. But you have to be ready and willing to reach out.
Holly Matson is the owner of Lightseeds by Holly, an animal Reiki service to offer balance and wellbeing to animals.