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It seems like there is always something to be angry about; whether it's a personal gripe or a global threat, it seems like it takes very little to set people off into an angry tirade. And, it seems like a lot of people have anger issues.
What's everyone so angry about?
Did the liberation of our emotions really set us free, or simply chain us to a new negative behavior?
Has the age of self-expression gone awry?
I was born in 1960. In the generation before mine, it seems like polite reserve and avoiding confrontation was the popular mode of conduct. Nobody wanted or knew how to handle conflict, so it was avoided at all cost.
Thanks to the psychological revolution of my generation, we are now so assertive that we've forgotten our manners and often, our humanity, many times to the point of unkindness. Not all self-assertion is necessary....I say this for myself, as well for others.
One of my beloved Unity teachers, Marilyn Roth, advised our class: "Speak only what is useful, kind and necessary." I was quieter for a long time after hearing this.
When I shared this pearl of wisdom with my daughter yesterday, she suggested, "You should do that again, Mom." Kids, ya gotta love 'em.
The birth of a new age is upon us. Birth can be a violent passage and humanity is feeling the pressure of these contractions.
As in many transitions, the pendulum has to swing to both extremes before it can rest gently in the center. Self-assertion and personal expression; polite reserve and conflict avoidance, can have a middle ground and even a common meeting ground.
In order for this to happen, however, anger must be dissolved. We get nowhere good – personally or globally – when anger rules.
The Dalai Lama has this to say about anger:
"Anger energy is blind energy. Anger really destroys the part of the brain that judges right from wrong. In order to use human intelligence properly, our mind must be calm. Anger destroys your inner peace."
Anger is an emotional quagmire for even the most evolved souls
I read somewhere long ago that even spiritual masters struggle with anger; more so than with all the other emotions. Dissolving anger is a quagmire for even the highest souls.
Anger is misdirected creativity
I'm not proud of it, but I've had my fair share of struggles with my temper. Astrology taught me the 100-second rule for Fire energy: astrology tells Fire energy to count to one hundred before acting on any impulsive feeling; as a Fiery person, I've upped that to 1000....some flames are harder to dowse than others.
Fire energy rules the anger response. When we have a person with a couple of planets in a Fire sign, or strong positions of Fire energy in their natal chart, we know there are going to be anger issues.
Astrology helped me understand that it's the Fire in my personality structure that rules this pattern; this isn't giving me an excuse not to change, but a reason to recognize and face the reality that this is one of my lessons as a human.
It's a lesson for many of us. We find Fire in a lot of us because it's ready to be transmuted into the creative energy that anger substitutes until we're ready to handle the power.
Ultimately, this is good. But, like a cake in the works, at first, it just looks like a gooey, yucky mess.
The astrology of anger
My Fire is in my Leo (Fire) Moon (emotions and subconscious habit patterns); and, in my Jupiter (relationships) which is in Sagittarius (Fire). Further away, Uranus sends some heat through Leo, but it's really the Jupiter in Sag and Moon in Leo energy that lights the fire.
We need fire. It warms us and allows us to move freely. As a yoga enthusiast, flexibility is much easier when it's hot – warm muscles stretch better. Without heat, the planet inhabitants - us - would perish.
Anyone who's felt the charming warmth from our Fiery zodiacal siblings – Aries, Leo and Sag – or, has it in their natal chart – has experienced the cozy, welcoming radiance from Fire.
Everything in moderation, right? Anger isn't bad; it's just powerful, and paired with any other emotion it can turn wild in a flash, destroying everything within range.
Idealism: the double-edged sword
Fire signs are idealists and idealists see how big life can be, how things could be, how people ought to be, and their expectations are unrealistic; so much so, that when the reality of life crashes the party, Fire energy retreats, or protests, but they pull back their heart energy because their heart gets broken; and, then, they turn that sorrow in on themselves and implode within. This implosion causes all sorts of havoc, ranging from personality struggles, health issues, social problems, relating conflicts, emotional instability, etc.
And, then, after a while, the Fire sign explodes – blaming, pointing the finger, raging back at life, "It wasn't supposed to happen like this!!"
Fire energies are the ones that "go postal."
Anger is not to be managed; it's to be avoided and ignored
So, how do we ignore and/or avoid anger? How do we get past those raging feelings when they come over us, literally like a wildfire?
Anger management is not the solution, any more than the war on anything is going to be the solution.
Edgar Cayce says that anger alone causes more disease than any other unbalanced condition in the physical body.
Each of us has some creative activity that absorbs us - do that - it could be gardening, cooking, music, art, or writing - it doesn’t matter, just do it. Energy never dies, but it can be transformed. Channel your angry feelings into an activity that distracts you from the rage.
Sometimes in life, we simply have to grow up, accept reality, take a deep breath, exhale, build a bridge and get over it. There's always going to be a reason to get angry, just as there's always going to be opportunities to love. Free will bites, doesn't it?
No matter how you slice it, at times, life sucks. It's easy to get hooked into negative feelings, and angry thoughts and notions about oneself and the world around us. Anger is easy; peace requires maturity....again, I say this as much for myself as others.
And, when it comes right down to it, when I think about all of it – the whole of life and myself, and am completely honest, I wouldn't really change anything. Even the struggle with being a tempest.
Some persistent voice keeps reminding me, much like I remind others, that "It's not happening to us; it's happening for us." Believing this helps.
No, it doesn't dissolve the anger. But it gives me an instrument through which I can allow anger to be dissolved.
Dissolving anger is a bit like calming the tantrum of a toddler - distraction helps a lot! Find something else to look at; find something to laugh about. We laugh to survive.
Exercise helps. Proper nutrition helps. Adequate rest helps. Avoiding medications helps. Meditation helps. Learning when to vent and when to walk away helps immeasurably. Forgiveness helps. It all helps. It may not cure, but it helps.
It's never going to get any better
On several occasions over the years, I've had the opportunity to coach younger adults on various life situations. Many times, at the end of our conversations, I will close with the following sage wisdom:
"It's never going to get any better," which is usually met with puzzled surprise. It's true, I say. When we're young, we think that someday we're going to figure everything out and everyone will live happily ever after. But it's not true.
Life sucks sometimes. It's hard. It's unbelievably sad. And, sometimes, it's good. It's simple and easy. It's incredibly happy.
Either way, it's short. Don't spend it mad, because then you'll be sorry and angry.
For more wellness tips, check out my website: [Link Removed]
Enjoy these quotes:
"All you really need to do is accept this moment fully. You are then at ease in the here and now and at ease with yourself." Eckhart Tolle
"Our good nature and endearing qualities will not arouse the answers to our prayers. Rather it is our mischievous, dishonest attributes that provide the master keys to heaven. When we identify and work to transform our self-centered qualities and crooked characteristics, the key turns and the gates unlock. Blessings and good fortune are now free to rain down upon us." Yehuda Berg
"You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist." Indira Gandhi
"There isn't any formula or method. You learn to love by loving - by paying attention and doing what one thereby discovers has to be done." Aldous Leonard Huxley
"When people are laughing, they're generally not killing each other." ~Alan Alda
For one thing, they take all the fun out of life! How much faith and self-actualization can be established in a life that turns to a newspaper astrologer for the supposed highlights of their own life?
How can a stranger present a worthwhile view of the life of a soul they've never met? It's like asking a doctor to diagnose a patient they've never seen.
For another thing, divination is a sacred skill that few astrological forecasters truly possess.
People who genuinely have the talent for divination would never misuse it in such a frivolous and irresponsible manner.
Reading someone's horoscope is a sacred and serious subject among professional and responsible astrologers, because we know that the human tendency is to submit to the power of suggestion.
Responsible astrologers never express anything definitive about a person’s life because we respect free will.
Newspaper astrologers make educated guesses about what can go on in the life of each the twelve Zodiac signs.
We consult and often believe these predictions because we forget or refuse to ask ourselves, "What kind of day do I want to have today?" "What is my purpose today?" "Am I willing to remember who I am and why I'm here today?"
Instead, we turn to actual strangers, and accept their report of our life, completely ignoring, or worse, trampling our free will.
Editors don't edit forecasts
According to our local paper, the Herald and News, editors print forecasts because that’s what people demand, but the newspaper itself exerts no editorial jurisdiction as far as accuracy, professionalism, or credibility of source.
Basically, periodicals print forecasts because they have to, not because they want to.
Free will isn't for everyone
Several year ago, I worked for a Turkish man who had himself grown up and briefly raised his family in Iran, before moving to the states while his two daughters were quite young.
After a visit back to their native homeland in Iran when the two girls were teenagers, an unexpected desire came over the girls.
They expressed their sincere interest in returning to Iran to live once they came of age.
The life of a woman in Iran offers nothing close by comparison to the opportunities of one in the United States.
My puzzled boss and his concerned wife listened as the two girls explained their reasons.
Life in Iran, while severly restricted for a woman, was secure. They would not be confronted with and tormented by the myriad of choices they would have to constantly be faced with here. Their lives would be easier, they agreed, without the right to choose.
Sheep need herding; humans need healing
We rant and rave about having our personal power usurped by religious leaders, or governmental policies, or partial authoritarians, then turn around and check our daily astrological forecast to see what kind of a day we're going to have.
This might be one of the reasons why it is said that we only use about 10% of our brain power!
Why are we still so reluctant to think for ourselves or face our own destiny each day with the amazing tools life has supplied us with? Why are we still so eager for someone or something else to tell us who we are?
Astrological forecasts interfere with the communication between soul and personality; imposing a third party opinion about something they literally know nothing about.
It's just for fun!
It's true. Many people will excuse, defend or explain their daily habit of reading astrological forecasts by saying that it's just for fun. This might be the conscious intention, but it's the subconscious we need to consider more seriously.
The problem is that our subconscious has no sense of humor, and regards all information that comes its way as food for our consciousness.
The information contained in these entertaining forecasts gets assimilated into our system and cataloged into our subconscious where it lives and moves and creates our being.
We might think it's just for fun, but how has our destiny become such a trite and laughing matter?
Guilt is the scourge of our emotional body. Guilt kills, robs and maims our happiness. It lies in wait, partnered with shame, in the shadows of our consciousness; much like a predator lies hidden in the tall grass eager for its prey, hungry for the kill.
What does guilt kill in us? Our good. And, it destroys our ability to accept the good that comes our way and our capacity to contain the good, both in big ways and small ways:
We have trouble accepting a compliment.
We lay awake at night, miserable and sleepless.
We over-apologize and under-adjust.
We let doomsdayers persuade us because we‘re weakened by our own dismal mind management system.
We share our troubles and not our triumphs – the big ones and small ones.
We let fear-based thinking dominate our minds, while love-based thoughts recede to the background.
We deny happiness.
We remain in frustrating or often unacceptable circumstances of many kinds because of the now notoriously common condition: unworthiness.
A little bit goes a long way
According to Psychology Today writer, Paul Glanzrock, in an article titled, In Praise of Guilt, he suggests that a little bit of guilt allows us to manage our mistakes maturely and conscientiously, but a little bit can go a long way.
"Levels of guilt and self-esteem are closely related. Individuals with low self-esteem are more prone to deep feelings of guilt than those with high self-esteem."
Crime and punishment
"Guilt is the same mistake in another form," advises the late, great spiritual teacher, Aquarian, Hugh Prather, in his classic work on A Course in Miracles, The Quiet Answer.
In a court of law, the justice system determines crime and punishment, once and for all.
In the ego's courtroom, we are tried repeatedly for victimless crimes and given mandatory and continual punishment, often to the degree of inhumane treatment.
Where did we learn this? Does it matter?
Analyzing the problem or negative condition doesn't miraculously transform the issue from bad to good.
"Why did I do that?! Why did that happen?! How could so and so say such a thing?!"
One of my favorite spiritual practices is giving up asking 'why.' When I stop asking 'why' about a situation, circumstance, condition, experience or whatever, the story ends. As soon as we stop re-acting about something, it's over, and, then, we can move on.
Or, as my wise Aunt Sharon from South Carolina is prone to advise, "Build a bridge and get over it!" She’s an Earth sign.
The answer to the question, 'why,' rarely changes the feelings that are prompting the pleading question. The question, 'why,' keeps us in our heads, safe from feeling the feelings; but, feelings are what make us human.
And, the answer doesn't usually change the outcome, and never gives emotions a free pass. We still have to feel the feelings of life or live as robots covered in flesh.
Our feelings can liberate us when we express them, or enslave us until we express them and release them.
Thoughts That Weaken You
In an excerpt from his brilliant masterpiece, Authentic Wisdom, Taurean, Dr. Wayne Dyer, teaches us that thoughts of guilt and shame can have a tremendous impact on our total well-being:
“If a simple thought will make the muscles of your arm go weak or strong; imagine what it must be doing to all of the other muscles and organs of your body! Your heart is a muscle that’s weakened by thoughts that disempower (dishearten) you. Your kidneys, liver, lungs, and intestines are all surrounded by muscles that are affected by your thoughts.
The thought that makes most people the weakest is shame, which produces humiliation. The importance of forgiving yourself cannot be stated strongly enough. If you carry around thoughts of shame about what you’ve done in the past, you‘re weakening yourself both physically and emotionally.
Similarly, if you use a technique of shame and humiliation on anyone to get them to reform, you‘re going to create a weakened person who will never become empowered until those shameful and humiliating thoughts are removed.
Removing your own thoughts of shame involves a willingness to let go, to see your past behaviors as lessons you had to learn and to reconnect to your source through prayer and meditation.
After shame, guilt and apathy thoughts make you the weakest. They produce the emotions of blame and despair. To live in guilt is to use up your present moments being immobilized over what has already transpired.
No amount of guilt will ever undo what’s been done. If your past behavior mobilizes you to learn from your mistakes, this is not guilt; it’s learning from the past.
Releasing guilt is like removing a huge weight from your shoulders. Guilt is released through the empowering thought of love and respect for yourself. You empower yourself with love and respect, letting go of standards of perfection and refusing to use up the precious currency of your life, the now, with thoughts that only continue to frustrate and weaken you.”
Who's the guiltiest party in the Zodiac?
Fire signs. The idealism associated with all three of the Fire signs (Aries, Leo and Sagittarius) lends itself to feelings of guilt when life doesn't go the way idealism dictates. Fire signs are also the most prone to the crippling condition known as perfectionism.
"Life should be this or that way! People ought to be that or this way! Things are supposed to be this way!" “I could be perfect!” These are all battle cries from our idealistic Fire sign warriors.
If there's no Fire sign handy, guilt will assault the Water signs (Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces) until they collapse into a depressive state, or simply shrink back from their happiness factor, leaving guilt satiated, satisfied and smug.
Air signs and Earth signs tend to be more detached and pragmatic, respectively.
Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) want to keep things moving along and guilt is too much of a show stopper, as far as they're concerned.
Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn) are realistic – the opposite of idealistic - enough to recognize that the human condition is both fragile and resilient at the same time. Guilt is a waste of time so they tend to move through it more easily than their zodiacal siblings.
If You Are Unhappy
Once upon a time, there was a nonconforming sparrow who decided not to fly south for the winter.
However, soon the weather turned so cold that he reluctantly started to fly south. In a short time, ice began to form on his wings and he fell to earth in a barnyard, almost frozen.
A cow passed by and crapped on the little sparrow. The sparrow thought it was the end. But, the manure warmed him and defrosted his wings. Warm and happy, able to breathe, he started to sing.
Just then a large cat came by and hearing the chirping, investigated the sounds. The cat cleared away the manure, found the chirping bird and promptly ate him.
The moral of the story:
1. Everyone who craps on you is not necessarily your enemy.
2. Everyone who gets you out of the crap is not necessarily your friend.
3. And, if you're warm and happy in a pile of crap, keep your mouth shut.
The author of this favorite story is unknown, but appreciated.
How much happiness can you handle? How much joy can you express before some reflex snatches it right out of your clutches and dangles it just out of reach in front of you?
Is happiness a function of the personality or the soul? And, can our happiness quotient be found in our astrological make-up?
Stop looking outward and look inward
The imminent and masterfully inspirational, Dr. Wayne Dyer, has this to say about happiness:
"Stop chasing your tail looking for happiness—it will find you when you love who you are."
In Wayne's video, he delightfully narrates a brief, brilliant and beautiful story that illustrates this philosophy and how to be happy, through the unlikely wisdom of two cats, who tell us that happiness will chase us as we simply go about our business of living.
Are there happy Signs and Signs of unhappiness?
Astrology considers happiness from the free will perspective: your will is your life. If you want to be happy, be happy; no one is going to stop us from being unhappy, if that's what we want – and, sadly enough, it's often more popular.
In, Astrology, A Cosmic Science, Isabel says:
"The horoscope is a blueprint of our character and character is destiny. There is nothing static in this universe in which we dwell. We can change by changing our attitudes and patterns of behavior. In doing so, we change our destiny.
Yes, the blueprint or birth chart shows your character and your personality patterns – your human nature, but you are spirit, too. The stars impel but do not compel. An understanding of planetary influences allows you to take your life into your own hands and intelligently utilize the planetary influences that will help you in your evolution if you but will."
Yes, Capricorn's can be grumpy, Virgo's can be critical, Leo's are intolerant, Cancerian's are moody, Taurean's are argumentative, Arian's get temperamental, Gemini can be cynical, Libra can be uncooperative, Scorpio's are beyond sarcastic, Aquarius can brood, Piscean's get negative, and even cheery ol' Sagittarian's lose their cool. Doesn't mean they aren't happy!
Don't worry if you're not happy
There was a study done several years ago on octogenarians (can’t remember the source). The study wanted to determine why some people lived a long life and why others didn't. Was it health factors? Lifestyle? Environment? Religion? Culture? DNA? Attitude?
The study concluded that people who lived well into their nineties and beyond had one common denominator: they felt the same on the inside as they were acting on the outside. There was no split or duality between how they were feeling and how they acted; they didn't apologize for who they were. If they were feeling cranky, they acted cranky; if they were feeling generous, they acted generous.
Astrology teaches us that we each have both positive and negative personality traits.
Our personality is the track on which our soul's journey rides. The positive traits contain our gifts we have to give and express in this life; the negative traits are what we have to transform and change so that our destiny can complete our oneness.
"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Abraham Lincoln
My birthday is the day before Lincoln's. I always wanted to be a Lincoln baby because I so admired him for his egalitarian approach to government, his altruistic and very Aquarian perspectives toward humanity, and, his wit.
The next time you feel like giving up
The next time you feel the walls of failure closing in, or, the dragging, nagging signs of despair creeping in, or the voices (your own or others) of imminent doom clamoring and preying on your faithful hopes for success, think about Abraham Lincoln's road to the White House:
Failed in business in 1831.
Defeated for Legislature 1832.
Second failure in business in 1833.
Suffered nervous breakdown in 1836.
Defeated for Speaker in 1838.
Defeated for Elector in 1840.
Defeated for Congress in both 1843 and 1848.
Defeated for Senate in 1855 and 1858.
Defeated for Vice President in 1856.
Elected President in 1860.
The wheel of hope and disappointment is a dangerous ride
When something happens in our life that we like, we are happy and we feel good.
When something happens in our life that we don't like, we feel unhappy and bad.
This wheel of hope and disappointment, and waiting for circumstances and people to line up according to our agendas, is not happiness. It's just a tug-o-war between desires....and it's exhausting.
“We should strive to go on in fortune and misfortune like a clock during a thunderstorm." Robert Louis Stevenson
Psychology Today's writer Carlin Flora, writes:
Both the happiness and anti-happiness forces actually agree on something important—that we Americans tend to grab superficial quick fixes such as extravagant purchases and fatty foods to subdue any negative feelings that overcome us.
Such measures seem to hinge on a belief that constant happiness is somehow our birthright. Indeed, a body of research shows instant indulgences do calm us down—for a few moments. But they leave us poorer, physically unhealthy, and generally more miserable in the long run—and lacking in the real skills to get us out of our rut.
Happiness is not about smiling all of the time. It’s not about eliminating bad moods, or trading your Tolstoy-inspired nuance and ambivalence toward people and situations for cheery pronouncements devoid of critical judgment.
While the veritable experts lie in different camps and sometimes challenge one another, over the past decade they’ve together assembled big chunks of the happiness puzzle.
What is happiness? The most useful definition—and it’s one agreed upon by neuroscientists, psychiatrists, behavioral economists, positive psychologists, and Buddhist monks—is more like satisfied or content than “happy” in its strict bursting-with-glee sense. It has depth and deliberation to it. It encompasses living a meaningful life, utilizing your gifts and your time, living with thought and purpose.
It’s maximized when you also feel part of a community; and when you confront annoyances and crises with grace. It involves a willingness to learn and stretch and grow, which sometimes involves discomfort. It requires acting on life, not merely taking it in. It’s not joy, a temporary exhilaration, or even pleasure, that sensual rush—though a steady supply of those feelings course through those who seize each day.
Where's the bridge from unhappiness to happiness?
It's in our thinking. The pivotal point from feeling disappointment, discouragement, defeat or dissatisfaction is all in our mind. But how do we cross over?
Do the work and trust the process: be willing to be happy – even if you don't know how right now, just be willing. Think of just one good thing in your life. God/Universe/Spirit/Life will do the rest.
A Course in Miracles (and Hindu scripture, and others) states that all that's required of us is to take one step forward on behalf of our good and God will take the final step for us. What a great system!
"If you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with," crooned folk and rock singer, Capricorn, Stephen Stills, back in the '70's, leaving listeners to wonder if this is relationship advice or a humanitarian outlook.
Naturally, my Aquarian hippie roots prefer the interpretation of the latter. It doesn't matter 'who,' we love, it only matters that we do love.
And, as Taurean, Dr. Wayne Dyer suggests, we must love ourselves.
Loving another person is the greatest mystery of life
In a previous article, What's love got to do with it? Astrology, science and swamis explore relationships , we read an excerpt from the book, Karmic Relationships, by astrologer, Martin Schulman:
One of the greatest mysteries of life is the experience of loving another person. For eons, people have tried to define and understand the depths of love's simplicity.
We know the intimate love of one person to another. We experience a love for nature. We have a love for material things. We feel the love for family and children. We have been enveloped by the love for God and for life itself.
These are all different forms of love and yet in subtle, intangible ways, they are all the same. A thread of continuity links all forms of love together, so the differences are based more on the love object and the quality of love itself rather than in the basic essence.
We know that when one person feels love for another he is able to feel love for other things in the universe because the love center is open. When an individual feels a great love for life, he is capable of loving all things – for loving anything is the foundation for loving everything.
Without love, where would you be now?
The Doobie Brothers pose a question worth asking. Imagine for a moment, if love were as fickle as humans.
Thankfully, even the human heart is smart enough to beat in rhythm with the heart closest to it. This should be our clue.
How do we know that love will not heal absolutely everything that needs healing on this precious planet? We've never tried. All we need to do in any given moment is just love. So simple.
A Course in Miracles says that our only job is to remove all the barriers and obstacles that prevent us from being completely loving in every moment. Not so simple.
We're wounded. We're afraid. We're guilty. We have a thousand reasons why we don't just love.
Why do we think we must heal before we love, when every spiritual teacher and philosophy encourages us that it is love that will heal us?
From an article titled,_ We are drawn together in order to heal – part 2_ , we learned:
We come together in order to heal. The ark is entered two by two; we go to heaven - the state of blissful consciousness - with whomever is in front of us in the moment that we choose love instead of anything else. The exalted state of our being-ness on this planet is when the masculine and feminine are harmoniously joined together for they exponentially consummate each moment they serve in that state.
In other words, when we balance the masculine (intellect) and feminine (feeling) in ourselves, we express this balance in our relationships with everyone.
The bridge we must first build is within ourselves; we need to change how we see ourselves and then our perception of others will naturally change as a result. Life knew we wouldn't do this easily and that's why there's sexual chemistry. Without sexual attraction, God couldn't get anything done!
Oooh, la, la!
"There is no difficulty that enough love with not conquer; no disease that enough love will not heal; no door that enough love will not open; no gulf that enough love will not bridge; no wall that enough love will not throw down; no sin that enough love will not redeem.
It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake; a sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. If only you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world." Emmet Fox.
Emmet Fox (1886-1951), is one of the most influential new thought teachers of the 20th century, and one of the world's great motivational writers. His landmark work, Power through Constructive Thinking, first published in 1932, continues to be in current publication as recently as 1990.
His immortal Leonine (Leo rules the heart) words live in the poem he wrote with the prayer that we keep them alive in our hearts as we just love.
Happy Valentine's Day, humanity! Let's make history once and for all: love the one you're with, right now.
When I have my strong, intuitive hands on someone's naked, covered, of course, body, they love finding the exhale.
Finding the exhale is an actual "thrill" in my body-worker world. I love it! It gives me that boost of satisfaction, knowing we got the best you can get from the massage, reflexology treatment or sometimes, astrotherapy session: the release...the exhale...the freedom from release!
For the most part, we get it that the mind-body connection is a powerful pathway for great health, a strong spiritual center and/or state, and an all-around peaceful, passionate, prosperous life.
The "how" of actualizing that mind-body connection has lots of layers and levels.
We hear and are familiar with the cues of when the body needs fuel, rest, sex, exercise, fresh air, or a chocolate fix. Some of the subtler cues are, subtler. We have to be quieter to hear them.
Lesson #1 will only take several dozen years!
Yes, getting quiet is job #1....and, when you've mastered this, in about twenty years, if you're lucky, you'll be ready for job #2!
Just kidding. The thing to remember about getting quiet, and the practices of meditation, is that you have to keep doing it over and over and over and over and over. Just forget the expectation of being quiet and do the work and trust the process.
It's like anything we learn...repetition is key. You don't make it in every time you shoot, but you keep tossing that ball up in the air; or, tee off with those clubs; or paint....doesn't matter what the 'what' is....just do it.
Learning to listen
One of my teachers was/is an Aries. When I met her in 1989, she was in her early seventies, had just gotten married for the third time, to her best friend and undoubtable soulpal, was ministering a Unity congregation in the South Bay that's still thriving, and did a shoulder stand every day...and advised most everyone to do the same.
She's tiny yet mighty; bubbly, warm, intelligent, appeals to the masses like a pro, and has that contagious vibrant style about her; you're just a bit lighter and more energized after having been around her. By the grace of good fortune, I got to be around her a lot for a few incredible years during my thirties.
She survived childhood abuse by tenting under her bedclothes and talking to God, then, widowed in her twenties after three kids, she got up at 5 a.m. ever day and prayed and meditated for two hours, because she knew she had no other way of handling and coping with the circumstances that had overcome her life. Onward she triumphed, and continues spreading her signature zeal.
This is how Trish teaches (taught - it’s how I learned) meditation:
"Sit down. Close your eyes. Be quiet. Don't move until you're done being quiet." And, then, we would sit there....usually for about thirty minutes; sometimes less, sometimes more. But, that was all the actual instruction. The only way to learn to meditate is to sit down and be quiet. Again, and again, and again.
"Exhaling is twice as important as inhaling"
This is what I tell people during a breathing coaching session. Yes, the inhale is important; and, as many through the filtered nostrils as possible. One of my other teachers barked, "Only dogs breathe through their mouths!"
We release toxins through the exhale, and, gas, carbon dioxide, which, if left in the body, would kill us.
This is the actual problem with the souls who struggle with conditions such as COPD, emphysema, and some of the symptoms associated with lung conditions. The problem isn't that they can't get sufficient oxygen into the body; the problem is that their body can't get the poisonous gas out of the body.
Various orientations in breathing practices emphasize special exercises for expelling deep pockets of air. I like keeping it simple and recommend that people exhale twice as long as you inhale during a quiet time session of relaxation breathing.
Find the exhale
Those theatrical sighs, like when someone plops into a big, juicy recliner at the end of a long day; finishes a really long paper at school; completes one of many domestic tasks such as cleaning the kitchen, or, vacuuming upstairs (today's domestic task for me...many thanks to my kid and her friend, Genevive, for hauling our new Hoover upstairs); takes that final step that touches the summit of a good climb? Those exhalations are our system's release valve. We can let go of so much through those exhales.
Find the thing(s) that makes you exhale and do it...again, and again.
A mole talked to me
For the years just prior to, and the several that followed the birth of my daughter, I/we lived out in the middle of the forest. We were nestled in the Saddle Mountain valley, with the slow, sweet (and so nice and warm in the summers) Sprague River just out from our front yard and lining the windy route to and from this isolated, wooded abode that was heaven for about ten years.
Our neighbors were the deer, quail, chipmunks, golden mantles, eagles, coyote, geese, duck, beaver, badger, skunk, and a few sweet souls who still reside as neighbors to my adorable mom out at Potter's Park (keep it in mind for the upcoming camping, fishing, swimming season . ...it's a great, local, gas-friendly outdoor retreat location).
I was changing my clothes one morning in the walk-in closet (I loved that closet) and a mole on my upper left arm - the one that for years perched cooley out the window of my southern California car, super exposed to the sun's rays – very distinctly caught my attention.
For the record, otherwise, I wasn't a classical tan hound – "laying out."
Without much ceremony, I simply said to the mole, "If you need me to do something, get my attention again." I pretty much let the matter drop. I wasn't hyper focused on the mole; my memory tells me I did a clear job of letting the matter go.
Then, one day, about three weeks after the first episode, another, virtually duplicate scenario happened. Now, obviously, getting dressed happened frequently; but, the mole only caught my attention on two separate and distinct occasions.
So, I went to the doc and he took it off. He suggested that it was an early stage, pre-cancerous growth.
As a student and teacher of meditation and holistic wellness for over thirty years, I can still become completely absorbed and in awe, from a really quiet and enchanted place, and stunned into a captivated silence by the brilliance of the human body. It so way rocks...the body is just...beyond words.
One of my favorite meditation exercises is the only one that Trish ever employed during class:
"Stare at your hand. You may turn it over one or two times." Then, thirty minutes later, she would say, "Now, switch hands." Thirty minutes later, she would smile her broad, engaging smile and the exercise was done.
If you're going to trust any source of wisdom, trust the body. Go ahead and explore other wellness tools, but first and foremost, listen to the body.