The Negative Power of Fear & Anxiety

We live in a society fraught with anxiety. There’s a collective pot of boiling worry over our economy, our health, our safety & our security. It’s a perspective of “NON-abundance” in a high-tech world which when out-of-balance, has pushed us even further away from the wisdom of our natural roots… Mother Earth.
Fear is meant to be our internal red flag which allows us to protect ourselves from that which would cause us serious injury or death. With this fear comes the “fight or flight” response that triggers our adrenal glands to start fast & furiously pumping adrenaline into our bodies to give us more speed & even short-lived, super-human strength to escape danger.
Fear & anxiety go hand-in-hand & they’re collectively used as tools for manipulation by our governments, many corporations & other institutions of power. Misplaced, they simply equal “limitation” & every fear we have is just one more. It stops us from living the fullest, most joyful life we deserve. We each have the choice to live a life of limitations or possibilities & we are our only jail-keepers.
When we live in a state of constant angst & fearfulness, it affects ALL of our etherics… mental, emotional and spiritual, not to mention our physical health in a myriad of destructive ways. We can end up with adrenal burn-out, sleep disorders, heart problems, ulcers, PTSD & much more. IN FACT ANXIETY IS THE PRECURSOR TO MANY MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES WHICH NEVER WOULD HAVE COME FORWARD WITHOUT THIS CATALYST. It affects our brain chemistry & neuropathways. Our thoughts really DO affect physical matter, whether it’s on an individual basis or a collective one. In physics, it’s called a maneuver wave… that group mind-set that spreads throughout all the participants just like an erupting riot…
Most people are uncomfortable with change… even positive change. It feels much safer to remain in the status quo where we know exactly what to expect, even if we’re miserable being there. It gives us an unrealistic sense of control. Unfortunately, it can also leave us feeling stuck, powerless & unable to grow & move forward in our lives.
Parents unintentionally pass these fears on to their children & as these things go…it just continues to roll downhill. Thus addressing & overcoming our own fears as adults not only stops this cycle but also offers up a wonderful example for our children to follow in their own lives and self-growth. We can’t change what we don’t recognize. It takes courage & trust to change but the pay-off can be enormous.
Some fears may not even be recognizable as such because we’ve become so accustomed to thinking a certain way. Fear of “different” can mean prejudice toward other cultures, religions, failing at something (so we don’t even try…a common one!), embracing new ideas & stepping out of the box, expressing our emotions, trying something new such as a type of food, an activity, wearing a different color or style… the list goes on & on. We may fear standing out… being judged or criticized… humiliated… for simply being who we REALLY are…
In my work, I’ve found the majority of fears aren’t rational but merely conditioned-responses. Our brains can be very interesting computers that perceive situations a particular way even when that perception may be skewed. We can carry these memories forward from our past lives in our cells and DNA from lifetime to lifetime but there’s always a reason for them somewhere.
It’s not only possible to remove these individual stumbling blocks, it’s also necessary in order to free yourself up. Even more important than finding their exact source, it’s done a spoonful at a time by recognizing them for what they are. Each hurdle we face & get over can’t help but empower us with renewed strength & hope regardless of how small it seems. Ask yourself logically, “What’s the worst thing that’s likely to happen if I take this chance?”
WE ARE NOT OUR FEARS! Fear is usually nothing more than a “lesson” for each of us in our own way… a mirror for something we need to address in ourselves, overcome & check off our “to get well” list. Learn to see them as the gifts they truly can actually be & listen to the wisdom of your gut instead of being blind-sided & sucked in by the spin of the media & politicians so prevalent out there. Claim on your right to your own Power. It belongs to YOU! THAT is what true freedom really is… an inside job.
It ‘s correct that the biggest fear we have to face is fear itself and you just might be amazed at what you’re really made of when you have the courage to see your truth. Go ahead… find something that really scares the hell out of you and do it anyway.
GET CURIOUS…REMEMBER…

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A Lack of Creative Vision Makes Prisoners of All of US…

A Lack of Vision Creates Prisoners of All of US…

In just this last year in this area at least 100 people were killed or wounded by someone reported to have mental health issues. Even more concerning are the statistics which show 1400 mentally ill individuals killed family members, 13,000 committed suicide and the numbers are only increasing. These cases more often than not, end up in our juvenile & prison systems… after they’ve passed through our schools & communities. One half to two thirds of these people were “formally” diagnosed with a specific mental illness which is a stretch anyway considering the poor accuracy rate of the current testing methods.

The mentally-ill inmates in our prison systems are dealt with in ways which are at best ineffective and at worst archaic and stunningly cruel. This also applies to many of the disciplinary actions in many facets of our communities where students, inmates, patients & other community members are acting out and at risk to themselves & others. Our police & prison officials need to be adequately trained to handle them & our laws need to be changed to reflect the reality of the situation beyond the antiquated “just lock-em-up” mentality of the Old West. We’re living in a technical age. Not only is it ineffective, the cost to the taxpayers for utilizing these solutions is much, much higher on levels well beyond the financial.

Traditionally, inmates with serious behavioral issues while incarcerated are automatically put into solitary confinement. This can result in an endless procession of people doing their time there and then being released into the main prison population only to repeat their behavior & be returned literally for years on end. They’re confined to a tiny, concrete cell & allowed no human contact… their meals slid through a small opening in the door like feeding time for the dangerous animals in the zoo & an allowance of only 1-2 hrs. a day to exercise or walk around with 2 armed guards. I’ve read accounts of inmates being subjected to this treatment for 23 YEARS or more at a stretch. As any intelligent person can imagine, the result is either a far more fractured personality or total insanity. These people are often released back out into our communities far more wounded than they went in with little or no hope of successfully acclimating to a productive, non-violent life. What we do to ALL life, we ultimately do to ourselves.

I’ve always believed that the old, ineffective ways which have historically been chosen to address many problems on a personal level & as a collective society have shown a distinct lack of creativity, vision & compassion as well as an acute overdose of ego. This same “lack of” holds true for war. The legacy of pain & dysfunction it creates branches out in ways we don’t even realize. Being cut off from their humanity will do that to a person… Fighting fear & violence with more fear & violence = perpetuation NOT solutions, whether it’s physical, verbal, emotional or spiritual. At some point don’t we need to ask ourselves “How’s this working for us?” & get serious about the answer?

 It’s not about tip-toeing naively through the flowers, sprinkling fairy dust & happy intentions all around… It’s about having the wisdom and insight to see a bigger, healthier picture beyond what ails us & then having the courage to step into our Power. We have to become responsible for ourselves, work to create change & claim on our right to not be manipulated by those we trust to have our collective, best interest at heart.

                                         GET CURIOUS…. REMEMBER

 

Mental Health Rides on Relationship… Eco-Psychology

 

OK… so think about it… Hopefully most of us eventually figure out that to have a healthy, symbiotic relationship with another person, it’s necessary for BOTH parties to make a concerted effort to “water & feed the garden” so to speak. We have to put the necessary time into tending it or it dries up. If it’s just beginning to show signs of deterioration, you can start watering it again & you might be fortunate enough to see it sprout back to life but you wait too long & it dies at its roots & then it’s too late. For both parties to survive in it… they BOTH have to pay attention.

That’s also a perfect metaphor for our relationship with the Earth & Natural World. The last time I checked, this is where we humans get everything we need to have access to in order to survive… clothing, food, air, water, shelter… the basics. I always wonder how we can be so arrogant to think we can just go along continuing to systematically mow down the forests which contribute to the air we breathe & provide homes for creatures which provide so much & share our world with us… to genetically engineering our foods to look “perfect” on the outside & yet not only provide less nutrients but also create new allergies (think gluten)… to raising  animals in such inhumane, horrific ways  for our desires and uses or killing off those which we don’t care to have around…  to dumping toxins into our waters until a “good, SAFE” rule for our seafood is just not to eat more than “the suggested” amount in a given time-period. Is this what it’s come to?? Mankind has literally almost bitten off the hand that feeds it… a very delicate & perfectly balanced one at that. The list seems almost endless regarding the disrespect our species has shown for this planet in so many ways.

With all the current chaos within our communities here & around the globe, anxiety is more prevalent than ever. It’s at the root of many mental health issues which might not have come forward at all without that push. We have teens & young adults depending on medications like Xanax to cope instead of healthier ways like exercise, nutritious eating & learning how to get centered.

When we go against the natural balance of anything, we hurt ourselves as well. It’s a Universal Law based on physics. The ancient societies throughout time knew & lived by this wisdom, not only in relation to Mother Earth but also with themselves and others. We’ve forgotten how to connect with each other beyond our latest & greatest “devices”… to go deeper… to be curious. It also creates a society which is too “drugged” on many levels to take its own Power back which makes us ripe for the picking for those who have other agendas.

Spending even 15 to 30 minutes daily outside… feet on the earth… is immensely helpful in keeping us grounded & tuned in to a different set of priorities that SHOW us how to RESIDE IN THE MOMENT… to BREATHE… to have ENOUGH… to BE enough. This isn’t the place where anxiety flourishes. It’s the core of true wisdom which was here long before any of the rest of it.

                                              GET CURIOUS… REMEMBER…

Mental Health… So what’s in a label?

Among the countless things I don’t know is one thing I’ve learned FOR SURE… life is anything but black and white… neat and tidy! It comes instead, in a spectrum of shades… often overlapping according to facts and perspective. The issue of mental health falls perfectly into this conundrum. We seem to have a need to define everything and give it a name. It makes us feel safer… more in control regardless of how far from the truth that really is.

The professional field of mental health has historically been broken in many ways. A diagnosis can only be as accurate and effective as the tools used to assess any given situation along with the insight and training of the psychologist and or psychiatrist making that assessment. Until recently due to a lack of funding and priorities, the human brain has not been studied beyond a certain point. The tendency has always been to view the issue from only part of our human spectrum which is only a slice of the entire pie. The reality is we’re all made up of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies… each just as essential as the next and all connected and symbiotic.

Good therapists are worth their weight in gold but sadly those who aren’t seem to far outweigh them. This has been not my personal experience repeatedly but also mirrors the opinions of many friends and peers of mine in this field who have identified this as a real problem as well. Nobody in a healing profession can be effective unless they’re willing to also do their own personal work. People are often drawn to professions like these because of their own tough experiences and a sincere desire to help others. What they don’t yet understand however is we can’t help anyone else unless we’re willing to help ourselves first. When we know better… we do better. Knowledge gained through books and class-time is very different from wisdom. This is what we gain from going through the process ourselves. It shifts our perspectives and the way we deal with everything and everyone around us. Otherwise, it becomes just another way to avoid our “stuff” by focusing on someone or something else. That’s not empowering for either party!

Unfortunately, the propensity for life-long damage to someone who is incorrectly diagnosed or mishandled by the so-called “professional” they’ve sought help from can be heart-breaking. It certainly has been for me as I’ve listened to countless personal stories from clients and friends who have suffered the repercussions of being incorrectly diagnosed and labeled. They’ve all held the belief that they WERE their diagnosis… somehow less than everyone else… flawed… not worth having a joyful life or a healthy relationship. In every single case, they could not have been more wrong. NOBODY should go into the field of mental health unless they’re empathic and compassionate enough to see and understand the perspectives of those they are supposed to serve. The damage I’ve witnessed from ignorance on the part of the professional who should know better has left me many times with my mouth hanging open in amazement.

Learning to truly identify who we are at our authentic best requires letting go of the antiquated beliefs that keep us stuck, powerless and unable to see the bigger picture and truth of it. Becoming aware of the labels which hurt and shame so many and keep them hostage is something everyone of us can and should do. It also means having the courage to speak up when we hear or see someone doing something counter to that. At our cores, THAT is who we ALL are.

GET CURIOUS…. REMEMBER…

The Labels We Live With…

Years ago, I worked in the fashion industry. At that age I was drawn to it’s fast-paced creativity and the opportunity for travel but as I began to learn more about why items were marketed the way they were, I began to get a broader understanding of the meaning a lot of people give to a name or trademark on a label and how we’re so often manipulated by that. The funny thing is… clothing as well as many other items are routinely produced using the exact same materials from the same manufacturers. The only difference between them as they hit the store shelves & public awareness are the “labels” put in place beforehand…. OH!… and the price! One may have the “high-end” name of a popular and pricey brand while another may have a label from a discount store at cheaper price. It’s usually referred to as “private label” in the industry. The unsuspecting public falls prey to being “slaves to the label”… giving their power away by spending more of their hard-earned money for nothing more than a tiny emblem and the belief that they’re somehow not enough without it.

Negative labels attached to a person, most especially early in life, form their own opinions and ideas about who they are as well as those of others suffering from the same skewed perspective. We all come as spirits into this life healthy and whole with the prior agreement and intention of learning what we need to progress in a bigger, higher picture beyond here. WE ARE NOT DEFINED BY OUR DISABILITES, ISSUES OR SHORT-COMINGS. These are nothing more than lessons and lessons they’ll continue to be until we “get it”.

We are so much more…                                     
 GET CURIOUS…. REMEMBER….

 

Recognizing Shame and Finding Grace

african angel

Sometimes the best avenue for really understanding the value of something is to view it from the polar-opposite perspective first. “Dis-grace”…. When have you felt shame & embarrassment over not measuring up to someone else’s ideals? Although we need to be self-policing, I have continually met & worked with SO many people who carry such immense shame that was never theirs to own…often through entire cultural histories… always caused by abuse & a lack of respect & value for them as individuals, usually very early on. Their shame blinded them to their own value & ability to make better choices for themselves. I’ve always recognized it in their eyes.

The good news is at the end of each & every day, we’re our own jail-keepers. That truth allows us the opportunity to stand in our own Personal Power and re-define ourselves. As tempting as it may be to place blame for our decisions on someone or something else, we truly disable ourselves by not recognizing & accepting responsibility for our own “stuff” & allowing others to do the same. Our human mistakes are how we learn what we’re actually capable of & we remain stuck & disabled when we’re “rescued” from that… whether through good intentions or forced slavery. And yes… what doesn’t “kill” us, actually does make us stronger!

I watched African American adults in the South where I grew up for 10 years during the 60’s & 70’s, carry themselves in shame… heads down… shoulders rounded… adults unable to look me eye-to-eye even in my youth.  I was a 21-year old, blue-eyed, blond intern working with their children… the ONLY Caucasian in that entire, inner-city, elementary school. I also felt the sting of being treated by the staff there as not worthy of acknowledgement which I eventually realized in hindsight was just their shame manifested in another form.

I interacted with wonderful, loving Africans in Jamaica who carried great shame from their own slavery into their culture in so many insidious ways. Their people were only emancipated in the 60’s & in a more passive-aggressive effort to speak to their pain & anger over losing their freedom; they ceased to create their vibrant art during their enslavement. The poverty in which they live leaves them feeling very much “less-than” the many tourists & elite but very small upper-class there. They fear being judged & defined by it.

The energy work I’ve been involved in with various Native American, tribal communities over the years is yet another example of a gifted people who have been so lost in the painful issues that have plagued them for generations…alcohol, drugs, physical abuse, suicide, etc. They still hold great, intrinsic wisdom and insight through their DNA from their early ancestors but collectively they’re unable to see the higher vision of themselves through the lens of shame they’ve carried even though it doesn’t belong to them. It was put in place long ago when their way of life was crushed along with their spirits by the early settlers who took away their right to choose the life they had embraced & flourished in.

Enslavement of any kind robs humanity of its Self-Love & higher vision of itself. As Maya Angelou so simply & wisely put it… “When we know better…we do better.” Sometimes it takes some assistance from others who can hold up that vision for someone of who they truly are until they can see it for themselves. Every person needs to “see” who they came here to be… underneath the layers of painful “lessons” we all tend to collect in our lives. If we don’t discover who we authentically are, how can we really know our purpose? We ALL have one.

Because our thoughts so very much create our realities, learning to live in “GRACE” is profoundly important. Grace is not perfection but rather the ability to see the Higher…Bigger Picture of things so we can gain a more realistic perspective & then to “let go” and allow it not only for ourselves but everyone else. It is and always will be an inside job!

   “GET CURIOUS …. REMEMBER”