Sometimes our world gets so busy and we have so many things to cross off our To Do List that we become strangers to our own needs. We are on perpetual turbo cruise control, spinning our wheels from morning until bedtime. Where is the time for the me or the we in there? The following five questions can help you assess if you need to step it down, not up!
What can I spend 15 minutes on every day that will refuel me? (for example: reading, walking the dog, gardening, meditating, doing a crossword puzzle, etc)
What am I avoiding doing or procrastinating about that would actually relieve some stress if I completed it?
Am I spending enough quality time with family members or friends?
Am I moving my body enough? (at least a half hour of exercise per day)
Have I found my purpose? Am I pursuing it? (That’s a big one!)
It’s really important that we carve out some time eachday to do something we love so that we can re-energize and feel at peace (if only temporarily). It’s in those quiet moments of equanimity that we reconnect to ourselves and who we are. We are so outwardly-focused and so plugged in to hundreds and thousands of others—the world, even—that we have lost touch with ourselves. Many of us need to seriously rebuild our friendship with ourselves.
Here’s the super cool thing: if we attempt just a few minutes of an activity then, miraculously, more minutes could magically appear and we may actually stay on the enjoyable task longer than anticipated! And if those minutes don’t magically appear, we’ve at least devoted 15 minutes to reconnecting with ourselves. Truly, we don’t have to feel guilty for taking a couple of minutes each day to do something we love!
Perfectionism breeds procrastination
We often put off a task fearing that we will not be good at it and then become bound by
our own perfectionism (avoiding math homework or taxes, anyone?). Instead, we can give ourselves permission to complete a project with a C level of effort, which is far better than no effort at all! Like we say in college, “Cs get degrees!” So too does completing a task competently but not perfectly. It gets the job done, if not with a perfect score. Who cares if the basement isn’t perfectly organized! Did you get rid of 5 boxes of old clothes? Fabulous! Progress, not perfection is the goal.
Procrastination also increases anxiety and negative self-talk. Have you ever wished that you didn’t complete a project/task/assignment that was due? Me either. The trick is to only do it for 5 minutes and, just like doing something we love for a few minutes each day, doing 5 minutes each day of something we’re avoiding also yields great rewards. Five minutes frequently turns into more, but if not, that’s still putting in 35 minutes per week on something we weren’t putting any time into at all. Do those 5 minutes the moment you think of it! Nike didn’t say, “Just Do It” for no reason. It works!
Humans need other humans (yes, even introverts do!)
Humans are social animals who need some form of tribe or pack. Support systems are critical to overall mental and physical health and for longevity. So, if you’ve been feeling all alone on an island, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and either make time for family and friends, or find family and friends. How, you ask? Join clubs, take personal interest classes, go to the gym and take exercise classes, or connect with old friends—anything that increases your contact with possible future friends (who may become family over time) in a healthy way. Notice we didn’t recommend going to a bar to make friends?
If you already have your posse, but you’ve been in hiding for a while, invite one or more of them out for a walk, coffee, dinner, or whatever thing you do/did together.
The body is made to move
We have become a society of sitters and it’s impacting our overall health. Being sedentary is actually as risky as smoking! It increases the danger of coronary heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and even death. Now the good news: if we exercise, it’s a powerful depression and anxiety fighter as well as an ADHD modulator (as effective as antidepressants, ADHD, and antianxiety medications) without the side effects. It releases feel-good endorphins—dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. It even promotes neural growth and increases self-esteem. Exercise also aids in the prevention of substance abuse relapse. It’s an all-around win-win for wellbeing and health! Exercise can be as simple as a walk around the block or with your dog. Great strategy: text your old or new friends, leash up your dog, and reconnect to nature, yourself, and your support systems.
Finding your life’s purpose is your life’s purpose
Looking for your life’s purpose is kind of like looking for love—it doesn’t come when you’re trying too hard. Some people are born with knowing what they want to do with their life, but the rest of us sort of bumble around until we trip over what makes us happy and serves the greater good (the greater good part is the key ingredient). When we do for others, our psyche sings. We can do it for the planet, for animals, for a neighbor, for children, or for goldfish. The “it” isn’t as important as the intention. And if we act in ways that enhance the vibrations of the universe with kindness and compassion, we change ourselves, too (even at the molecular level!). Bringing joy begets joy.
Remember, your life’s purpose doesn’t necessarily have to be your job. It can be found and pursued in any number of activities we engage in. Yet another reason to do something we love every day—we could finally find that thing we’re meant to do!
This is your prescription for greater happiness: be present for yourself and extend to yourself the love and care you have for your most cherished loved ones. Because you are your most cherished love one. You will be with you every day of your entire life. Be kind, be generous, be patient with you. That is the most important part of your life purpose. And then, go kiss a goldfish!
“They say God is happiest when his children are at play.”
~ Old Hardy Greaves, The Legend of Bagger Vance
Picture yourself, for a moment, wearing the burliest winter gear you can imagine. Now multiply that by three. The most important component of your outfit is your boots. They are constructed of thick insulated rubber and wool felt weighing in at 2.75 pounds per boot.
If you are getting the sense that gravity just got more cumbersome, you’re on the right track.
Now, imagine you have 16 enthusiastic, 40- to 60-pound dogs wearing brightly colored harnesses. They are all barking excitedly at you.
Because you are in the process of hooking them up, one by one, to your dogsled. You are a musher and you have informed them it is time to go for a run. They can hardly contain themselves. They know what they are; they were born to do this. They are saying yes to their Yes.
The dogs, once attached to your sled, begin to yank and pull at their lines with gleeful and robust vigor because, not only are they saying yes to their yes, they are in a collective of like-minded beings, yourself included, who are also saying yes to the same Yes. The very air around you is becoming highly charged with excitement.
The only thing holding your sled in place is a very serious, two-pronged metal hook jabbed into the hard-packed snow and, with each new dog you add to the line, you must have faith that the hook will hold. Once your last dog is added to the gang line, you move to the back of the sled as quickly as you can, under the weight of your plus-gravity suit, before the sled breaks loose and becomes something akin to a runaway train piloted by a mob of kindergarteners on a collective sugar high. You grab on, reach down, pull the hook and, Whoosh! You’re off on a roughly 1000-mile race through the raw and rugged Alaskan wilderness where temperatures can, and often do, drop to what we’ll just call the “wickedly cold” range.
So…are you saying, “Yes! That’s for me!”?
Probably not. But for a small group of men and women gathering in the state of Alaska right now to run the Iditarod, it is a big Yes! The Iditarod, self-proclaimed the “last great race on earth,” commences every year on the first Saturday in March, beginning in Anchorage and ending roughly 1000 miles away in the remote coastal village of Nome, Alaska.
For obvious reasons, the competitive musher’s Yes has to be big, otherwise they would not devote so much of their time and resources into such an endeavor. I am intimately aware of how big this Yes is, but not because I am a competitive musher—I happen to be married to one.
I met my husband, Jeremy, 20 years ago on a dusty road in the middle of a remote tourist destination here in Alaska. In the spring of 2002, he took me out on our first date—fittingly, a dog sled ride. The following year we married and, within 18 months, we ushered into the world our first-born son, Bjorn.
Seven months later, on a bright, frosty morning in September, while Jeremy was making his way across a damp footbridge (perhaps a bit too hastily), he slipped on a wet board and, with quite a bit of momentum, crashed into the boulders of the riverbank and shattered his leg. Major surgery was required to put his leg back together with a steel rod inserted from knee to ankle. Needless to say, the recovery process was long, yet Jeremy would find himself standing, the very next winter, as a rookie with his small team of 13 dogs at the starting line of the 2007 Iditarod saying a big fat Yes!
I could fill pages with the obstacles and turns of events that made the whole Iditarod thing seem ridiculously impossible and utterly insane. Likewise, I can produce an equally long list of grace-filled moments, some nothing short of miraculous, that carried Jeremy and his dogs, not just past the starting line, but all the way to Nome.
I followed that race closely, of course, and it was a tough year out there on the trail. Many of the mushers scratched early due to a blizzard and horrendous trail conditions that were ripping up sleds and breaking a few bones. Jeremy persevered and some of his tales from the trail can be read about in his blog, www.allroadsleadto.dog
As Jeremy neared the finish line, I flew with Bjorn, then 2 years old, to Nome to see him cross it. We arrived a couple of days ahead of Jeremy, who was riding near the back of the pack. The winner and top finishers had already crossed the line several days before.
The final leg and finish line in Nome runs down several blocks of this small town’s main street called Front Street. Once settled in our lodging, I packed Bjorn up snugly in his stroller and we walked downtown to watch one of the mushers pull in.
The experience was more thrilling than I had anticipated. I remember being swept up in the excitement as I cheered with the rest of the crowd lining the street to welcome this trail-worn musher to his finish line. I had no idea who he was but I had a small notion, from following the race, what he must have been through to get there. He had dared to say yes to his Yes and all of us standing there on the street were basking and rejoicing in the reverberation of it.
It’s All About the Yes
There is something subtle and unseen that happens when we say yes. If you are at all familiar with energy testing, or muscle testing, you can experience this for yourself. When a person says or thinks the word Yes, they will test strong. Likewise, if a person says or thinks the word No, they will test weak. The forces at play here are the vibrational frequencies of our thoughts affecting the flow of energy through our physical body out into our subtle energetic body and beyond.
Yes carries a positive connotation in our minds and therefore creates a higher vibrational frequency. When we experience what we consider positive emotions like joy and love, we resonate at a higher vibrational frequency. This is why falling in love feels so amazing and light, like walking on air.
Conversely, when we experience sadness or anger we resonate at a lower vibrational frequency, with guilt and shame being some of the lowest frequencies. This is why shame feels so dense and horrid, as if we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. Too much time spent in lower vibrational frequencies can lead to exhaustion and degeneration of the mental and physical body.
This is not to say we should push away lower vibrational emotions; we need to find healthy ways to express and process them. It is only when we make a habit of lashing out at others in judgement and anger or suppressing our emotions out of fear or shame that we get stuck in those emotions and they subsequently get stuck in us. When we get stuck in these lower vibrational frequencies for too long, chronic conditions usually arise.
The good news is that higher vibrational frequencies can help you move stuck energy; laughter as the best medicine is truer than you may have realized. This is where learning to say yes to your Yesses is so valuable. Our yesses are what we enjoy, and enjoyment will have you vibrating at a higher, more health promoting level.
But this can be difficult for many of us. We have a lot of noes weighing us down. We give them long, fancy names like responsibilities and obligations. Yes, we do want to take care of the basics in life, but we also want to be careful we don’t start using them as excuses to keep us from our yesses, especially if those responsibilities are consistently contributing to low vibrational frequencies.
We have big Yesses and little yesses and if you are not naturally talented or practiced in the art of saying yes to a big Yes (which can be overwhelming and scary), there is great value in beginning with the smaller, more easily obtainable little yesses. A little yes can be as simple as taking the time you think you don’t have to read a good book. Better yet, read a good book aloud with your children, because now you are saying yes collectively and raising vibrational frequency together.
Knowing When To Say No
After Jeremy’s 2007 Iditarod, although he wanted to run the race again the following year, he looked at the realities on the ground and felt he could not ask me to support him through another race. Training and running the Iditarod is a resource-intensive endeavor, and unless you finish high, there is no financial reward. As the sole breadwinner of our young family, he knew he had to choose responsibility over his desire to race again. It was an easy and wise choice to make and he did so with no regrets. There were plenty more yesses to say yes to. Saying yes seems to be a gift Jeremy was born with and it would take me many long, difficult years to catch up with him. But catch up I did.
Fast forward 12 years and, if anything, our financial reality is no better than it was back in 2007. But when Jeremy told me he wanted to run this year’s Iditarod, I gave him my full, unwavering support only because I get it—I fully understand the power of saying YES.
Leading From Behind
Make no mistake, saying Yes to a loved one’s Yes carries its own kind of power. I could easily come up with a long list of reasonable noes under the guise of responsibilities and obligations, either spoken out loud in open disapproval or suppressed in silent abdication. But to what ends? So I can feel reassured that the electric bill will get paid on time this month? What frequency do you suppose worry resonates at?
Jeremy frequently speaks about the importance of leading his dog team from behind. A competitive musher must be able to do this well because he literally rides behind his team. Yes, he has talented lead dogs, but the team as a whole is an orchestration of resounding yesses which must be conducted and responsibly stewarded by the musher. It is difficult to get very far down the trail any other way. To hear more about leading from behind, tune into Green Ink Radio for an interview with Jeremy where he talks about this principle
Leading from behind is something each and every one of us is capable of doing when we choose to openly and fully support someone with whom we are in relationship. And our lives become so much richer for it.
The positive effects of saying yes to a Yes, whether it is your own or someone else’s, reverberates out into the world, touching more people than you could possibly imagine. I delight in the knowing that my yes to Jeremy’s Yes reverberates out to connect and resonate with so many others saying yes to this amazing event. From the friends and family chiming in with well wishes and helping hands, to the hundreds of volunteers who flock to the Iditarod from far and wide, year after year to support the race, to the fans who gather at the starting line to see the teams off and the ones who show up on Front Street at all hours of the day and night to cheer the mushers and their dogs to their finish, and to the thousands of inspired children following the mushers from their classrooms every year, we are all saying Yes just by showing up.
Humanity is the ultimate Internet, and every time you say yes to your Yes, big or small, you add to the web of love and light in which we all need to play.
So, thank you for showing up.
Alison Keller writes from Alaska where she homesteads and homeschools with her husband, Jeremy, and their two sons, Bjorn (14) and Liam (8). Jeremy and Alison met and married in the remote backwoods town of McCarthy, Alaska where the local population of bears far exceeds the people. They built a beautiful life together centered around homesteading, homeschooling, and subsistence farming. The family and their unique lifestyle became a point of interest on Discovery Channel’s Edge of Alaska reality TV series. Today they live in Knik, Alaska where Jeremy is currently building a sled dog team with his sons. Jeremy ran and finished the Iditarod in 2007. This year, not only will Jeremy be running the 2019 Iditarod but his eldest son, Bjorn, will be running his first Jr. Iditarod. For more information visit http://www.allroadsleadto.dog. Alison is currently studying energy medicine and spends a lot of her practice time not only on Jeremy and the boys, but on the dogs as well.
The season of change is upon us! Equinox energy is abundant with opportunities for transition and transformation. In the northern hemisphere, the fall equinox celebrates balance with the pinnacle day of equal dark and light, presaging a shift into more dark than light. Although not everyone will be ready—or willing—to embrace this change, fall equinox is a great time to think about your own balance.
Saying “So long!” to summer is bittersweet for many, and just plain bitter for some!Aside from the obvious, undeniable shifts we see outside in nature, there’s a lot going on inside our own personal nature. Autumn provides a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge that we all change and that transformation is natural and a normal part of life.
The subtle and not-so-subtle seasonal shifting is multi-faceted and its effects are deep-reaching. Harnessing the energy of autumn is a beautiful way to accept the changes and create more harmony in your life, and it’s a powerful way to welcome winter! But our reluctance to go with the flow has the potential to amplify our discontent.
Have you been hitting the snooze button lately?
Getting up in the morning may not be as easy now as it was when the energetic rays of summer slipped through our windows to give us a gentle nudge. Sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin, the “happy hormone.” Serotonin is “the precursor for melatonin; it helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycles and the internal clock” (www. medicalnewstoday). Sunlight directly affects this internal clock, or circadian rhythm, “a roughly 24 hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings, including plants, animals, fungi and cyanobacteria” (http://www.sciencedaily.com), and shorter days with dimmer light means less serotonin production and less melatonin. Our sleep cycles will shift in response to this decrease.
The dynamics of this natural change slows down our biochemistry; the bear in hibernation is slow-down in its extreme! The body will seek to compensate for this initial decrease in energy, possibly by seeking out the quickest fix with caffeine, sugar, and carbs—just a heads up to avoid the potential “fall.”
Our bodies may require more sleep as we adjust to the seasonal shift. So, first off, pay attention to your sleep/wake cycle and ditch any guilt about it. I don’t believe there is a single bear on the planet who is feeling guilty about hibernation. Why should you? Negative emotions are like sludge in the energy flow. With our energy already slowing down, adding to it with feelings of guilt is a recipe for mood swings and depression.
Why not embrace the changes in your circadian rhythm with a salute to nature’s ability to willingly let go and celebrate the shift? We’ll be affected physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, so let’s take a look at what we can do to remain as balanced as possible during this time and increase our vitality and well-being.
EmBODY the Spirit of Autumn
Being mindful of your nutritional input can make all the difference in relation to your energy levels and your ability to be fully alive! The decrease in serotonin is a good place to start. Despite the fact that serotonin plays a major role in your brain chemistry, it is actually produced in your gut!Gut health is critical for balanced brain chemistry. We often start with diet changes by removing items, which can start our change process with the energy of loss and/or scarcity. Try adding something to your nutritional regime that can make a positive change in your gut health, like drinking fermented drinks such as kombucha (fermented tea) or kefir (fermented milk). Improving your acid-alkaline balance will yield results on many levels and will reduce inflammation, helping that belly feel summer-slim.
Another dual-role player in our biochemistry alongside serotonin is Vitamin D. Not commonly referred to as a hormone, vitamin D plays a major role in the dynamics of our biochemistry. Since our natural doses of Vitamin D come from the sun, the lack thereof can lead to deficiencies. Some symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are: bone, back and muscle pain; fatigue and tiredness; depression; bone loss; hair loss; and an overall compromised immune system, making us more susceptible to allergies and the cold and flu “season.”
To counteract these deficiencies, increase Omega 3s by eating more fatty fish (like mackerel and salmon), cheese, and egg yolks. Vegans and vegetarians can eat more mushrooms and drink fortified soy and/or almond milk. Plant-derived supplements (www.peta.org) are more bioaccessible, absorbable, and good for everyone. The Five Element Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine “associates the energetic vibration of Autumn with that of our Lung and Large Intestine organs” (www.tcmworld.org). To support these organs, include pears, roasted almonds, chick peas, honey, celery, mint, and white sesame seeds into your diet.
Fall is a time for self-reflection and introspection. With the shorter days and colder temperatures, we begin to turn inward. Because we are more inwardly focused, our Spirit becomes more accessible. It’s a great time to take a deeper look inside, to ask questions like: Who am I? What am I? Am I fulfilling my human potential? We don’t necessarily need answers; we are simply checking in to see whether the outside world we live in supports the inside world we live within.
The autumn season gives a big shout-out to the act of letting go. With the changes in sunlight and temperature and the need for change of habit, our moods are directly affected.It’s often easier to make changes and start new routines when you have a partner. Why not choose the environment to help you? The environment will not oversleep, cheat on a diet, or let you down in any way in terms of commitment.
The trees must release their leaves in order to conserve the dwindling supply of energy that they will receive from the winter supply of sunlight. Perhaps the bounty of color is nature’s way of celebrating this release? Those leaves don’t go straight to brown, dry up, and die straight away. Instead, there is a generous and beautiful transitional shift. Our spirits brighten and our moods lift each time our eyes fall upon the colors of autumn.
For regions that don’t have these visuals, the energy of this shift mingles with the energies of the planet so that subtle shifts can be felt and experienced with enough power to announce the arrival of autumn. It’s simply Nature’s way.
EMOTIONal Effects of the Season
Change does not occur in the comfort zone, and although the autumn season lures us with cozy sweaters and comfort foods, these pleasures do not guarantee a smooth transition. The onset of SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder) or “winter depression” can be triggered by the fall season. With all the changes in our biochemistry that come with the season, it is no wonder that some of us may have a very difficult time adjusting!
Another factor possibly exacerbating this issue is the fact that the vibration of grief and loss is powerfully present in autumn. The fading of sunlight, vegetation, warmth, and long, lazy days are obvious losses that can set off any residing blocked energy of loss within you. Again, Traditional Chinese Medicine acknowledges grief and loss as an elemental force of the season. Whether you have experienced the loss of a loved one, place, thing, or even a belief, the energy of loss can get triggered during the season of loss.
As difficult as it may sound and seem, embracing the loss may help the flow of the energy pass through you more swiftly. Viewing the flow of grief as a river sweeping through your energy body and cleansing it of emotional blocks is a great way to embrace your grief. For those of you who may be in the throes of sorrow, this may be an important time to seek extra support or to make a greater effort to stay connected to people who help you feel safe.
Spiritual spryness refers to our energetic fitness. There is a robust flow of energy out there at this time of year—we can see it in the colors of nature and feel it in the bite of the breeze. It’s definitely an invitation to increase our sense of vitality.In order to do this, we need to enhance our energetic flow. The carefree days of summer offered an opportunity for a more relaxed living routine, which might have led to things piling up. It makes sense for us to remove clutter and get more organized now.
The energy of this season is about letting go, organizing, list-making, and the like. This is a great precursor for our natural desire to start the upcoming New Year off with a fresh, empowering start. Clearing away clutter of all kinds is a wonderful way to fine tune your intentions in preparation for the upcoming season of rebirth and renewal.
This act of clearing can be just as overwhelming as it is inspirational, so take the concept
in small doses. Try not to think “weekend” or “dumpster.” Instead, invite the idea that the next time you come across a small item that you haven’t used or needed in a long time, you will consider tossing it. Start small, similar to clearing a few twigs at a time from a blocked stream. Clear a few more, and then a few more, and the next thing you know, the stream will be flowing full force and you may not recognize your own home!
The same goes for thoughts, behaviors, and habits. Think about how much more available attention you can put to use to not only gain a deeper sense of peace, but to apply yourself to achieving goals and enhancing your life! There are many ways to help retrain your mind; meditation, for instance, or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or “tapping”). Again, you don’t need to go big! Justcommit to a 5-minute meditation. Begin by simply becoming mindful about taking a single breath. Our life starts with a single breath—don’t underestimate the power in that!
Some Simple Steps to Autumn Solace
Autumn carries the frequency of change. The season vibrates with the energy of transition and transformation. Seasonal change is going to happen and there is nothing you can do about it except to resist it—but will that serve you?Resistance may be a necessary part of your tradition of change, but keep in mind that holding on for too long to what has passed can have adverse effects on your overall health and wellbeing.
When you are ready, here’s a brief list of suggestions to help you increase your sense of vitality and enhance your sense of wellbeing:
Take time for introspection. Meditate or vegetate, whatever makes you chill.
Cleanse your body. Add fermented food and/or drink to help improve your acid-alkaline balance. Invite a gentle cleanse or fast, or simply eat lightly for a short period.
Drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins and energize your cells.
De-clutter. Start small if needed; recall the twig-blocked stream, and take away one twig at a time until the flow increases.
Get organized. Initiate list-making and restructuring on all levels—with your “stuff,” with your schedule, with the way that you think.
Practice letting go. Join the spirit of the season and invite letting go of unwanted anything. A simple exercise can be taking a mindful breath. Think “in with the new” with each inhale and “out with the old” with every exhale.
Thank you for aligning your energy with me. May you enjoy an abundant harvest this season and approach the winter months with a sound spirit, strong immune system, and a fantastic flow of vital energy!
Ah, sweet love!! We all know what it feels like to be in love, even if we’ve never actually been in love. How do we know?? Our media tells us so! Movies, TV series, magazine articles, websites, Facebook, cartoons, TV commercials, print ads, billboards, song lyrics, music videos, wedding pageantry, advice columns, greeting cards, probably even cereal boxes are eager to show us exactly what love looks like, who is supposed to have it, how to know when we have it, how to know when we don’t have it, and what to do about that. The moderators of culture are so eager to inform us about love that, by the time we’re 4 or 5 years old, most of us are fully informed on romantic love (although pretty far away from needing the information).
The Ideology of Intimacy
Okay, so what are the hallmarks of true love? A group of sociological researchers outlined the following very specific expectations for intimate relationships that are recognized in our society as markers of that very special kind of love:
♥︎One True Love
This tells us that there is one and only one perfect “other” out there for us; one person who fits us exactly for always and forever. This love is completely unique and irreplaceable. We must relentlessly search for the One and never let go once we’ve found them.
♥︎Love at First Sight
This is the idea that True Love can occur without prior interaction, that it is an on-the-spot choice that is clear and decisive. We either know it or we don’t and we can tell immediately. If that doesn’t happen, then what we have is just a passing fancy, not the Real Thing.
♥︎Love Conquers All
With this aspect, all we need is love! We come to know True Love as the answer to all of our problems. Once we have met the One, we are transformed. It can be a means of salvation, a lifeline. True love also prevails over all obstacles and outsiders. There is nothing that cannot be solved once we have true love!
♥︎Happily Ever After
This is the clincher—once we have found True Love, we will be happy for the rest of our lives. Unhappiness means that the person we’re with isn’t the One. True Love endures to the end of time and if it doesn’t, it wasn’t the Real Thing and we were just fooling ourselves.
I have no doubt that, if you have been exposed to mainstream Western culture, you are quite familiar with this way of thinking about romantic love relationships. It’s all so obvious, isn’t it? Sure it is! Until you actually fall in love…
When we actually fall in love, we find that this model of love is full of holes. Real life almost never matches up to this ideal and when the ideal fails to happen, we may decide that we ourselves are unworthy of love or that we are unlovable. Belief in the Myth of True Love can bring about feelings of deep disappointment, frustration, anxiety, stress, depression, or anger. How is that good for us or our partner?
Let’s look at a different model, a model much closer to reality. I call this one the Truths of Intimate Love. Here’s how it goes:
♥︎Many Loves & Ways to Love
The truth of love is that we can love many people in a variety of ways. We can—gasp!—have the same feelings of love and attraction for more than one person at a time and it doesn’t make us horrible people; it makes us complex, mulitlayered humans. We may also consider that someone who was “right” for us at one stage in our lives may be “wrong” at another stage in our lives. Again, that doesn’t make us horrible people!
♥︎Love Grows As We Do
Love does not require a sudden illumination or dramatic moment of choice. It may happen by accident, or something that emerges from certain life circumstances, or even just by going along with whatever is happening. Not only that, but more often than not, love is ambivalent or confused. There’s so much to know about another person and so much changes all the time. Some days we’re all in; some days we’re not.
Love alone cannot solve our personal problems or problems in the relationship. Love is not the answer to dissatisfaction with out lives. Love can’t save us from ourselves, erase our destructive patterns, or resolve interpersonal conflict. That kind of thing takes applied intention and problem-solving skills. Relying on love alone will only dig the hole deeper.
Long-term love relationships require open, honest communication. To be in an enduring love relationship, we must be willing to negotiate, compromise, and change. True intimacy is contingent on the ongoing satisfaction of both partners and true happiness is found within. If we aren’t happy, the first place to look is at ourselves, not at someone else who is “making” us unhappy.
If I’ve burst your True Love bubble, I apologize. I think it’s better that I burst it here rather than you having your rosy expectations come crashing down around you. It’s important to be aware of when your expectations for your partner or your relationship are coming from the Myth of True Love because the Myth is usually a set up for disappointment and disillusionment. Shift your perspective to the Truths of Intimate Love and you’ll probably find what you were searching for. Because your partner isn’t the problem—the myth is.
It’s the big question of the New Year—what’s to come?? Love and romance? Big adventure? More money? Better health? A new home? Great happiness? An appealing exercise regimen?? The possibilities dazzle our imagination, inspiring many of us to set intentions that we solemnly resolve to fulfill with fresh zeal and vigor starting January 1st and continuing throughout the year without fail.
How’s that working out for you?
Setting an intention to achieve a goal has been proven to work remarkably well. When we back a desire with our will and step into the feeling of what we want, we can change our lives. So why can’t we stick to our New Year’s resolutions?? Why does our zeal and vigor fizzle out before February even hits?
Some researchers say that we set big, game-changing resolutions at the new year and, indoing so, set ourselves up for failure. Sticking to large-scale goals demands a great deal of commitment and discipline. It’s pretty unrealistic to expect ourselves to suddenly turn on a dime and make all the big changes that we hadn’t been able to manage making any headway on all year. Other reasons why New Year’s resolutions fail are: impatience; not believing in ourselves; little to no social support; time management issues; financial difficulties; not having a plan; or focusing on the negative.
First of all, the “new year” is only a new year because we’re told that it is. Western culture has created a division in time called a “year” and January 1 was chosen as its starting point. This is said to have started in 45 BCE with Julius Caesar, who changed the calendar from lunar to solar and set January as the start of the year. The symbolism worked—Janus was the god of gates and had one face looking forward and one face looking back—but the reasoning was weak. January 1st was merely the day that the newly-elected consuls started their year-long term. After Rome fell, some countries set the new year on Spring Equinox; some set it on Christmas day; some set it on Easter. Pope Gregory put an end to the free-for-all by designing a new calendar (the Gregorian calendar, natch), and most of Western culture got on board eventually.
But what are the ramifications of setting the beginning of a new year based on political expedient rather than the wheel of the year? In the northern hemisphere, January is a terrible time for rebirth and renewal! The natural world is largely cold, bleak, and dead.Even in warmer areas, the days are shorter, the sun is weaker, and new growth falters.In the southern hemisphere, January is full blazing summer at its peak. The days are long, the sun is strong, new growth is all around, but it’s not the beginning of anything. It’s the climax before the denouement.
Is the season the real reason?
Many cultures begin their new year in March or April, a time of year that seems, in the northern hemisphere, far more appropriate to new beginnings. In the southern hemisphere, however, March and April herald autumn and hint at the winter ahead. The new year there would more appropriately start in September or October. But no!! We can’t have half the world on a different year!! That wouldn’t do at all.
What’s a determined intention-setter to do?
The best way to set an intention and have it come to fruition is to follow your own calendar. Know your numerological influences and your astrological chart. Familiarize yourself with the general numerology and astrology of the day, week, month, and year. Set yourself up for success by working with the energy of the natural world and your sacred contracts rather than against them or in complete ignorance of them.
Get started with Mystic Kat’s podcast The Year to Come 2018 for a full year tarot card reading at greeninkradio.com. And maybe make yourself your own calendar à la Julius Caesar. What gives him the right to legislate your renewal? Take ownership of your transformation process and start the year on your own terms!
Do 100 Year Old People Say The Glass is Half Empty?
I feel like a lucky person. I take care of my health and I intend to be in my son’s life for decades to come; I want to get to know my grandchildren and great grandchildren. Time doesn’t have to be running out—it’s about how we choose to age. Every day is a new day.
I often tell the stories of certain residents who I came to know in various healthcare facilities. There were some residents who got together and talked about their ailments and there were others who made the best of every day. Those who chose to enjoy their days seemed to be happier people than those who lived in their problems. As time went by, I noticed that those who lived in a happier state actually lived longer. Unhappy residents with negative health beliefs became ill and passed away sooner. How many people do we know who are in their 90’s or 100’s and who look at their glass as half empty? Not many.
Are We Signaling Our Bodies to Live or Die?
Our subconscious mind has triggers; it triggers our bodies to react to what we’re telling the brain. This phenomenon is known through the science of epigenetics.
Epigenetics looks at the ways in which our body “turns on” certain genes and not others. The basis of this idea is a recognition that just because we have a certain gene doesn’t mean that gene will express. Every day, our body is getting one of two signals: the signal to live or the signal to die. The body takes those signals and produces what it needs to live, or to begin the process of deterioration. There are “signals” that impact life, our thinking, our level of exercise, our diets, our social lives, and our mental engagement. We don’t know our future or when our end will come, but I think it’s important to manage our thoughts and feed the right triggers, so that no matter our chronological age, we don’t trigger ourselves into a dying mode.
Training Your Brain
Be careful when thinking negative thoughts. When I have a cranky back or a pain somewhere in my body, I don’t utter anything age-related about it. Instead, I simply tell myself that I want to work hard at not accepting physical limitations. After all, some limitations may be genetic and age-related, but they are usually worsened by some other factor in our lives, like proper diet or regular exercise. I do everything I can to assist my good health rather than just accept my limitations and then call it “aging”
Six years ago, I discovered multiple challenges with my back. Movement was painful and that slowed me down. I refused surgery and kept consulting professionals and doing research until I learned that there were other ways to address the issue. As a result, I enhanced my yoga practice, learned mind-body wellness techniques, and began a daily practice of qigong. Now through further studies, I am also able to help others as well.
We Become What We Think About
What we talk about, what we spend our time on, is what feeds our mind. I try to avoid talking about my health and, when friends start sharing their aches, I try to change the subject to talking about positive solutions.
My answer to aging is that we should assume that we have unlimited amounts of time.
I am not insensitive to major health challenges; I am saying that your attitude can make a significant difference. The key is being engaged mentally and physically. Feed your mind to trigger a long healthy life. Don’t place limits on yourself about how much time you have left. Assume you have a lot, because maybe you do! Include behaviors and a lifestyle that supports your energy level and good health.
There is so much we can accomplish throughout our lives. I ask myself, what am I doing that is not supporting my ability to live a strong, healthy, long life, then I take appropriate action. You might want to ask yourself the same thing.