Saturday, 17 January 2015

Expressing Your Personal Authority

What do you need to improve your autonomy, your sense of self and being in control of your life (personal authority)? 

What things have you been procrastinating about lately?

What things have happened in the past that caused you hurt, anxiety, trauma or shame that you have ‘forgotten’ on purpose and have left in the shadows, that you would rather never think about again?

What things (chores, people, pets, duties, etc.) in your life do you consider your responsibility, but that you would rather not deal with?

All of the above questions are related to how you do, or don’t, embrace your own personal authority. It’s also related to your capacity to embrace your creative talents and self-expression, and how you deal with emotional pain.

Finding out what, from inside of you, needs to surface, to be-come, and to transform into an external form of expression is very hard for most people, because most of us have never been taught this skill. Instead we were told from a young age that we needed to be social and to look out there for our answers, and by no means to trust our own instincts. And, much to our emotional detriment, we were/are taught to avoid emotional pain at all cost, to forget the past and to live in the now.

But emotional pain is a normal state of mind that we all have to deal with at one time or another. It’s part of our human makeup, and if you have not been dealing with it in a healthy manner in the past, chances are that the bodymind that carries your brain around has had to suffer the negative consequences. 

Contrary to popular 'be-happy'-banner-waving gurus, just because we don’t think about it, emotional pain doesn’t go away. It just settles into your body’s cellular network and causes blockages, aches, pains, tension, and all the rest that is mostly wrong with our bodies. It is all the blocked energy that our body has to live with every day, but that we don’t want to think about.

The wise Gabor Mate, in Scattered Minds, says in his concluding chapter: 

“I have learned through my own process that a goal in life cannot be the avoidance of painful feelings. For people like me with ADD, and for everyone else, emotional pain is a reality. It does not have to exclude joy and a capacity to experience the beauty of life. We each for ourselves have to discover the age-old wisdom that the thing is not to struggle against pain, but to be able to endure it when it is unavoidable. 

We don’t do our children any favors when we try to protect them from experiencing sadness or failure. What we really want for them when they feel sad is to be able to endure disappointment and hurt feelings, not to hide behind defences, angry acing-out and driven behavior in order to avoid emotional distress. It takes a lot of loving to help a child accept sadness, to know that it can be endured, that sadness, like all other mind states, is evanescent. It will pass. “

This is how we reparent ourselves when it comes to accepting our emotions and dealing with them in a healthy, positive manner. Not by avoiding them, or numbing out, but by honestly facing them and the events or circumstances that caused them in the first place.

If you are to embrace your authority to accept, change or improve your life, you need to own your past, and all that has made you who you are today. No criticism, no avoidance, no denial, no blaming others for anything. Yes, it was painful, and I’m sorry that it hurt you. It’s now part of your reality and you need to accept it for what it is. It’s not fair or excusable, we know that. It just is. Please have compassion for your self and especially that little girl/boy self who went through what you are facing today.  

By writing it all down and crying if you must, getting it all out from inside its buried depths, you are releasing some long-stored-up emotional energy that has been blocked in your body tissues and cells all that time. And, as Dr. Mate says, the pain and the hurt, the indignation … they all do go away if we will but let it go. In their place will arrive a sense of peace, of hope for the future and a calm knowing that you are strong, and that, no matter what life throws at you… You Got This! You can walk your personal-authority-empowered path!

“Respectful of the rights and perspectives of others, personal authority is neither narcissistic nor imperialistic. It is a humble acknowledgment of what wishes to come to being through us. If the ego does not step out of the way of that energy that wishes to live through us, the energy will trample us in pathological outbreaks, or something vital within us will die, even though our bodies may keep on moving for decades.
… find out what is true for you; find the courage to live it in the world; and the world will in time come to respect you (though at first you may confuse others and scare them).”
James Hollis, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life. 

It is in the solitude of our moments that we discover the real strength that resides within. There, you will learn how to authentically embrace, and live, your personal authority. 


PS: This was a posting in week 9 of the Making Meaning Group on Perennial Goddess on Facebook. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Blessings of Peace

Wishing you all the peace your soul can hold this holiday season. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy Celebrations, whatever your belief.

I wish you the experience of ...

"... this strange thing of weaving meaning filled words together into a living fabric filled with dreams."  

Stephen Harrod Buhner from Ensouling Language.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Stars Awaken in the Solitary Sky

Stars Awaken in the Solitary Sky

Catching a glimpse of the bright Hope Star on the horizon.

The Symbol Is Healer 

No matter what I do or what I see or experience in my life, always my brain wants to give it a symbolic connection. As if there's a little gear-runner in the back there, listening in on my interior conversations and taking notes, then she goes into my outer world and finds associated objects or situations that relate so powerfully to what is going on that it blows my mind.
This applies most specifically to the symbols that appear in my dreams and then having them as teachers in my outer, waking reality.  I actually don't know which one comes from which other, but they seem to work in synergy, in fact, in perfect synchronicity.  

The following is a quote from Private Myths, Anthony Stevens,

“Words explain, but symbols arouse intimation, possibilities, emotions, beyond the reach of verbal expression. That is why symbols have to be played with in the imagination, painted, modelled, danced, paid their due, not exhausted by wordy exploitation. Only then can their vivifying power be experienced.”

In the above quote, Stevens is talking about dream symbols but the same applies to all the symbols that are ours, on a personal and cultural level. They can shape our beliefs and thus, we give them an external form as a way to acknowledge their worth to us. What’s an artistic expression if not symbols in written/painted/collaged form? 

This subject also brings us back to our Personal Myth and to the archetypes, which are all part of our psyche in one way or another. When we make the real, conscious connection between the symbols that we have internalized and a tangible, concrete art form made by our own hands, it’s like connecting the dots in a puzzle that now starts to make lots of sense. From inside open the emotional doors that may have been closed for a very long time.

It’s the emotional link that is the key to unlocking the puzzle that morphs the symbol into a powerful, transforming agent. Art, and her symbolic life, is the “spoken emotional release” and, consequently, is also the healer of many, many wounds. 

Most of our symbols come to us in dreams. Tell me, what are the symbols, the elements that appear again and again, or sometimes maybe only one symbol appeared, but it did so very forcefully, in your dreams? 

For me, it’s the Star, a 5-pointed image of guidance and hope. The image above is Blessings - True North Star, (photo credit: Yvon Savoie, my brother) which I made from my digital kit, Stars Awaken:  

The Stars Awaken kit is for sale in my Etsy store:

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Personal Myth as Ego Adaptation

Because today's Making Meaning post is about listening to our dreams, I am sharing it here as well. This is on finding your Personal Myth and what happens when it's dysfunctional and you decide not to change it.

Today we go on a little mystery hunt on our journey. Along the way, meandering along our path, we are bound to come up to the unexpected and the unusual, for that’s what life is all about. Especially in a meaning-making life. Today I ask you to look at something you may not know you already possess. It’s your Life Myth. With journal in hand, let’s begin this interesting side trip.

One of the ways in which you can discover your personal myth is through your night dreams. Your dreams will show you the themes of your life and which issue to focus on as you do your journal inner work. Trust your inner guide, your Higher Self, to show you the components of your own Life Myth. What keeps repeating?

We all have a Life Myth, a story that we live out, thinking that this is the way life should be and so we have the ideals that match that specific story. We’ve all had our own Myth story from when we were little, so it’s up to you to look back, question which myth is yours, and uncover the patterns of behaviours and beliefs that have shaped your inner life up until now. All those beliefs and patterns have upheld the myth you created for yourself and they are part of your ego’s adaptive measures while growing up.
Here is what Anthony Stevens, a Jungian Analyst, says on this very important issue in his book, “Private Myths, Dreams and Dreaming.”
“In the course of growing up, each of us tends to develop a personal mythology, which is created out of the myths current in our culture in such a way as to meet our personal psychodynamic needs. These personal myths are belief systems which perform much the same function for an individual as a collective myth does for a society. They can be either effective or dysfunctional, appropriate to present circumstances or hopelessly out of date.”   
When I first read this paragraph, I asked myself what could my own myth possibly be? And the answer I journaled extensively about was not pretty.   
My personal myth, as I looked back on my early life, was that all I needed to do was be nice, make myself wanted and attractive to the opposite sex, and thus I would magically be taken care of for the rest of my life. I gathered around myself a cloak of neediness and I stayed a powerless little girl in order to draw people to me who would rescue and shelter me. Did it serve me? It only served my fears and my limited scope of imagination, for all the unhealthy adaptations I had to do to follow this very dysfunctional myth of mine. But … that’s all I knew and I was indeed living it out unconsciously, not even aware that I was doing it. When I did become painfully aware of it, I set out to change it, and I did – for the better. 

What good is this exercise, you may wonder? In learning about your own myth, you can make a consciously aware decision to either keep it – if it’s adaptive – or to exchange it for a healthier one, if it turns out to be more self-destructive than helpful to your life’s meaning in the present time. It’s up to you to choose. Stevens continues:
“A good personal myth is an adaptive one: it affords an emotionally satisfying synthesis of one’s personality structure with one’s life circumstances, and promotes effective adjustment to reality. A dysfunctional myth, on the other hand, is a maladapted belief system which results in the kind of unhappiness or misfortune that commonly brings people into analysis. … An unexamined dysfunctional myth, however, can effectively wreck all chances of personal fulfilment.” 

He also suggests working with your dreams … “The surest means of becoming conscious of your myth is to pay regular attention to your dreams.” If we don’t then the circumstances in our life will surely try to bring attention to our neglectful attitude by bringing us crises as calls to transform our personal myth. 

One last, important quote from Stevens:
“People with chronic anxieties or recurring depressive states are in the unfortunate position of inhabiting a battleground between conflicting personal mythologies which have yet to be reconciled.” 

 Several times as I was discovering the myth that had run and ruined my life, what drove me to doing so were bouts of high, unresolved anxiety and deep depression. As soon as I started working on changing my personal myth, asking myself what mattered most to me and wanting to become or own that, the anxiety and depression did disappear. Thus healing came for and from my personal myth.
Does any of this resonate with you? Can you find it within yourself to become objective and to journal about your myth as you honestly let the answers rise to the surface? Courage is yours if you will but take it and put it in your heart. I give you mine.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Showing Up at The Page

Showing Up at The Page

These are the answers to little doubts that showed up recently as I advance further into my creative expressions.

When I am alone, I embrace my alone-ness and solitude. I can go out of my home at anytime and start conversations with anyone I want; it’s my choice. 

When I show my paintings, whenever and to whomever I want, I do not expect any response. My job is to create and gift them to the world, regardless of how they are received, which is really none of my business since that their reception is their opinion, not mine.

When I write and complete my book, it is because I wrote it for me and nobody else. My thoughts on its reception are the same as for my paintings: it’s none of my business. 

When I keep my physical and emotional distance from people who choose not to tolerate me, it will be for my own peace of mind and not to elicit any kind of response from anyone, including them.

When I stay away from my book by not showing up at the page every day, I do myself a great disservice. My inner selves long to express themselves and my dreams keep reminding me of my unwritten experience, even through dream people coming up to me and asking if I’ve finished my book!

When I stop sacrificing the book for innumerable distractions and start writing on a regular, daily basis, its process and progress will encourage me, nurture me, and complete me as I, too, craft its completed form from my own creative energy and spirit. 

We will nurture each other in this way… when I commit to showing up at the page, at the keyboard, at the canvas...Each Day!

If you wish to engage your creative spirit and embrace its meaningful expression, join us on my Facebook group, Perennial Goddess and let the journey begin. 

Blessings of Creative Inspiration

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

You Do Matter

Why It’s Important To Matter

Feeling and owning that you matter is not about being more important than anyone else, or about having more, or knowing more. 

{This is an excerpt from the current workshop the Making Meaning Journey, from one of my last week’s postings.}

It’s time to make the decision to matter. You don’t need to wait for another person to tell you that you are important to them, or for some high society group to give you an award. On this journey, you are the praise-giver, you are the award-giver, and it’s all – only – about you!  

The basic premise that you matter is important to have when you start off because it’s the foundation upon which you will build your future decisions. How can you face the unknown that’s ahead or go on an adventure if you don’t think that you are worthy enough to experience it, or strong enough for the challenge?

I congratulate each and every one of you for being in this group, for having chosen to make that first step and saying yes to this journey, for therein lies the very definition of “You Matter” – seeing with clarity that you mattered enough to want something that would bring meaning into your life and making the decision to act upon that insight. And that’s precious.  

Feeling and owning that you matter is not about being more important than anyone else, or about having more, or knowing more. Those attitudes are simply desperate measures that the ego embraces to try to make itself feel safe and ‘above’ others, because that’s all “it” knows. That’s what our cultures, families, schools, churches, and our society have taught us from infancy.

The competitive mantra is how the world works… but we don’t have to stay within that confining mold any longer. We are adults who wish to expand and enlarge our world to include ourselves in it, to become our true, genuine, natural selves. For that we need to state, believe and feel that we really, exclusively, most assuredly, MATTER to ourselves. And that, my friends, for our purposes, is all that matters on this journey.  

For some of you, this may be quite an easy task. It wasn’t for me. When I tried to make this statement stick, to accept this as fact for myself, the ego “I” came up with all kinds of protests and exceptions. I who had prided myself on thinking I truly “loved myself” was suddenly filled with doubts and guilt and ‘buts.’

What about my family? Don’t I have obligations to them? What about my distractions (though I didn’t acknowledge them as such at the time, but that’s what they were), to which I give so much of my time? Doubts about what making such a statement implied filled me and “I” just wanted to go back to the way things were…

But deep down I also knew that if I didn’t start to change my attitude towards myself and begin to search within for why I was this way (depressed, without hope, thinking I wasn’t worth it) then soon things would get much worse. Because, after that fateful dream of the blackened forest, I simply could not go back to the way things had been.

To accept this challenge for myself, I made the decision to truly become present to my self in ways I had just glanced at before. I decided to make time for journal writing – Deep Journaling as opposed to just writing out daily occurrences – in which I had conversations with myself about the important stuff. I asked questions and devised sentence stems to get at the root of my unwanted behaviours (overeating and overspending being the most prominent). And then, more than ever, I listened to my dreams.
But let’s get back to some of the protests that may come up for you when you “Decide to Matter” this week.

Some Journal Inner Work For You

We’ve all had to work hard to survive our past conditionings, and I don’t say this lightly. In what ways have you embraced conformity in order to survive, to feel important, and to quell the anxiety that we all have growing up, trying to fit in and gain approval from others?

You may want to write down in your journal the myriad ways that you can remember and become conscious of, today, of how you adapted, growing up.

Examples of some ways that we try to stop the anxiety may be:
~ feeling you needed to compete for attention, grades, prizes;
~ continuously comparing yourself to others and coming up a failure;
~ blaming yourself for not trying enough, not being strong enough, not being pretty enough, etc.;
~ blaming others for their lack of love for you or for whatever brought up anxiety and feeling justified that it was their fault, not yours;
~ adopting an attitude of leaning on others in order to feel loved, supported or special, or just that you existed;
~ living an existence of other-focus that totally negated your own needs;
~ addiction to perfection with high ideals and principles and critical attitudes…
It’s ok to own all of it, whatever ways you needed to adapt for survival. It’s not bad or wrong, or whatever – it’s simply what it is.  But since words and what we tell ourselves can be pretty powerful, let’s see what the opposite of the above could be!

On the next page of your journal, this is what I want you to write: 
I EXIST as a worthy, beautiful, complete human being JUST AS I AM.  I, (your name), AM ALIVE, I LOVE, I BREATHE, I FEEL, I AM!  …. I MATTER & I AM ENOUGH!   

Have a growing week and I hope you will let me know your thoughts on today’s post.

The above images are some sneak peeks at my current collection, Reminisce, which I’m working on and will be available for sale next week.