The Road to Forgiveness is a Journey Toward Freedom

journey2“If unresolved anger is a toxin to the spirit, forgiveness is the antidote,” wrote Brian Luke Seaward in his book, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water: Reflections on Stress and Human Spirituality.

When people get hurt, they often react with resentment, anger, rage, even hatred. While some of these feelings may be appropriate responses, holding on to them can cause emotional pain and stress. Nurturing old wounds and resentments is like tending weeds in a garden. The more care you give them, the more they take over until there’s no room for the feelings that can nourish you.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning inappropriate behavior and excusing personal violations. It doesn’t mean giving up or hiding or denying what was done. To forgive someone of something doesn’t necessarily mean turning the other cheek so that you can be hurt again. To forgive doesn’t mean you forget that you were harmed. Or that you felt the way you did as a result.

What it does mean is letting go of the feelings of anger or resentment, so that you can get on with your life. Forgiving is a process—sometimes slow—that heals wounds and returns our power to us. So long as we hold onto old feelings, we give control of our lives over to those who have hurt us. Forgiveness sets us free.

Ways to Forgive

It’s not as though you can simply decide to forgive someone and it is done. Forgiving is an active process. To get from here to there is a journey to be traveled. But you don’t have to take it alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way.

• Acknowledge all the feelings. Though anger and resentment might be on top, beneath may lie feelings of hurt, betrayal, loss and grief. Uncovering these more tender emotions may be painful, but, like curves in the road, it is part of the journey to be traveled.

• Stop blaming. So long as you hold someone else responsible for your feelings or circumstances, you don’t own your own life. You stop blaming by accepting total responsibility for your life.

• Release the desire for revenge. The wish to inflict suffering or pain on the person who hurt us keeps us in a place of suffering and pain. We cannot experience the freedom of forgiveness until we are willing to move away from the need to punish.

• Learn to accept. It’s virtually impossible to stop judging; however, the fewer negative judgments we make, the easier it is to accept. And, according to author Wayne Dyer, “Acceptance is forgiveness in action.” Think of how useless negative judgments are: does it affect the weather because we say it’s awful? Imagine complaining to God about the quality of a sunset. Judgments say very little about the judged, but communicate lots about the one who is doing the judging.

• Decide to confront or not. Talking with the person who has harmed you may or may not be the best action to take. Professional counseling can help you in making this decision.

• Let go. Only through releasing all feelings of anger, resentment, or animosity can forgiveness be unconditional. “Sweet forgiveness cannot hold any taste of bitterness,” says Brian Luke Seaward. “When feelings of anger are released, the spirit once held captive by the encumbrance of anger is free to journey again.”

Self-forgiveness

Forgiveness is not just an outward expression toward others. Turning the open hand of forgiveness inward is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. When we forgive ourselves we acknowledge our human limitations, release ourselves from our own judgments and practice self-acceptance. These actions are essential for a life of freedom and joy.

Through action or inaction, out of fear, pain or confusion, we may harm ourselves or others. But when we say, “I’ll never forgive myself,” we sentence ourselves to a life of guilt and shame.

Practice self-forgiveness through:

  • accepting yourself rather than judging yourself
  • honoring yourself rather than blaming yourself
  • nurturing yourself rather than criticizing yourself
  • releasing the past rather than holding onto it

Forgiveness, even self-forgiveness cannot be forced. And it may not come easily. Like many other skills we must learn, self-forgiveness takes practice. If you are unable to immediately release the past and move on, be forgiving of yourself and continue the practice.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Share below…

13 Things I’ve Learned Running a Successful Energy Healing Business

CalfCreekDCI love August, because I have 2 anniversaries!

Today is my 34th Wedding Anniversary – woot, woot!

Wow, that is so weird!  I look at my hubby, “Dean the dream” (the nickname my Australian students gave him for his awesomely helpful assistance in the classroom) and it feels strange that we’ve been together that long and that so many years have passed so quickly!

During those years we’ve raised (and are still) 5 kids ranging in age from 31 down to 14.  They are the loves of our life, and all very different, yet they get along
fabulously.  

This past year we’ve added a daughter-in-law AND a son-in-law to our family AND next month we will be adding one more daughter-in-law – Yay!  We adore them all, and I consider myself very blessed to call these 9 amazing people my family!

The other anniversary I celebrate this month is my work anniversary. Thirteen years ago I started my first website and have been loving the online entrepreneur life ever since!  During these past 13 years, I have stretched, and grown and learned so very much!  

So in thinking back over the years, I’d like to share with you….(drum roll please…)

13 Things I’ve learned running a successful Energy Healing business


1. Everybody has a story. Really listen with your ears AND your heart

2. Set and maintain healthy boundaries: with clients AND with work hours.

3. Being confident in what you do helps others believe in it, even if it’s all new to them.

4. Be willing to look at situations from different angles. Inspiration can come from
random interactions –be open minded to what you see, hear, and feel.

5. Stay true to your values. Everyone has a different definition of success, take time early on to determine what it means for you and stick to it.

6. Believe in your abilities and get a great support system who believes in you too–spouse, family, friends, your team, mastermind group-any or all of these work, but don’t try to go it alone.

7. Taking time off is not a luxury it’s a necessity. It is very productive to charge your
batteries. Most often answers and insights come when you give your mind a break from
working.

8. You must find your own balance between moving with the trends and avoiding BSOS
(bright shiny object syndrome). I admit, I still have to watch myself on this one!

9. Outsourcing is your friend. Know where you shine and hire others for the places you
don’t. When hiring someone to do work for you, be super clear on what you want and
when you need it.

10. Accept Change –believe you are always being led to something better. Several years
ago I had to change my company name (not my choice). Although it took me many
months to come up with it, the new name has served me much better!

11. New level, new devil. Trust your gut and be bold! As my friend’s husband, a successful entrepreneur says, “Owning your own business is basically just making decisions continually every day”. Yep, get used to it, and know the “new devil” will show up-at least until you are bold enough to push past him.

12. Don’t accept every invitation – for interviews, networking events, speaking gigs, etc.
Make sure the invitation is not a distraction, but that it’s really in alignment with who you
are and what your brand is. Saying no to one thing is also saying yes to something else.

13. And lastly, in all areas of life and business, a little kindness goes a long way!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my blog…what valuable lessons have YOU learned in business and in life? Share with us below!

The Power of Intention

important“Conscious change is brought about by the two qualities inherent in consciousness: attention and intention,” writes Deepak Chopra in Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. “Attention energizes, and intention transforms. Whatever you put your attention on will grow stronger in your life…. Intention, on the other hand, triggers transformation of energy and information. Intention organizes its own fulfillment.”

When you declare an intention, you gain the support of your subconscious mind.
 
Here are some suggestions for how to work with intentions in order to bring what you need into your life.

  • Get clear on what you want and why. It’s not enough to know what you don’t want. You can’t get what you want until you know what that is. Steven Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, writes that all things are created twice. “There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation to all things.”
  • Imagine it. See it as happening. “Your imagination creates the inner picture that allows you to participate in the act of creation,” writes Dr. Wayne Dyer in his best-selling book The Power of Intention. “Your willpower is much less effective than your imagination, which is your link to the power of intention.”
  • Keep yourself receptive. Exercise, eat healthily, play and relax. Stress, exhaustion, anxiety, etc., become “static” that interferes with the “frequencies” of what you’re wanting to bring into your life.
  • Take action. Intention isn’t about sitting back and waiting for it all to come to you. For example, Victoria enrolled herself in a rehab program; Travis became involved with a social organization and took relationship classes to overcome his fear of dating; Doug began working with a therapist to examine the feelings of emptiness that led to his suicide attempt. When we commit to a thing by taking action, it’s often surprising how quickly our intentions are realized.   
  • Surrender control. This means to let go and trust. Let go of the particular way in which things will happen. Let go of fear, doubt, worry and disappointment. Let go of the notion of struggle. Trust that the outcome will be just right.

 

What do you think? Have you experienced the power of intention? Please share with us!

Your intuition plays a key role in strengthening your ability to use intention in powerful ways. Join me for this month’s Group Call – Developing Your Intuition!

Family Stress Test

familyStress is a natural and normal “by-product” of every family’s life. In fact, family stress can bring out the best of us: as we stretch to meet the challenges we face, we become better parents, our children blossom and our families grow. But too much stress can spiral our families in the other direction. Take this Thriving test to see how your family fares.

Set 1

1. There is a lot of bickering in our house. Someone is always angry at someone else.

2. There’s never enough time to sit down together, either to talk or to eat. There’s always too much to do.

3. My spouse and I argue a lot about how to raise the children.

4. It’s like pulling teeth to get the kids to help around the house.

5. Our family has experienced a lot of significant change recently (divorce, death, blending family, job loss, illness, other trauma).

6. Money is very tight. My partner and I have constant conflicts about how to spend it.

7. My child has been having behavioral problems at school.

8. The children get upset when they hear us arguing.

9. I work too much, and it’s really getting to me.

10. We don’t really talk about hard issues; we just try to hold our breath, wait and let them go away.


Set 2

1. We acknowledge feelings, encourage their expression and allow time for dealing with the issues these feelings raise.

2. We plan time for family activities. And we eat together at least once every day.

3. If a blended family, we maintain and nurture original parent-child relationships and let new relationships develop in their own time.

4. I feel confident in my role as parent.

5. Our family easily maintains a sense of humor and playfulness.

6. Family priorities take precedence over work.

7. I know what’s important to my kids.

8. When issues arise that we get stuck on, we ask for help from other family members, support groups, community-based programs, clergy and/or a therapist.

9. We have enough money for the important things.

10. Everyone in the family has responsibilities around the house and does them without being nagged.

If you answered true more often in the first set than in the second set, you may want to seek help lowering the stress level of your family. Families that communicate about problems, who face issues as they arise, who support one another and seek help when it is needed, can build strong bonds among themselves, nurture a healthy and loving family and have a lot more fun doing it!

Have you made some changes in your family that have helped bring you together? Please share with us below!


Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Body Image—It’s Not What You See, but How You Feel

weight“If you can learn to like how you look, and not the way you think you look, it can set you free.” — Gloria Steinem

“A woman’s relationship with her body is the most important relationship she’ll ever have,” says health and fitness expert Diana K. Roesch. How sad that often it is not a loving relationship, but rather a relationship that causes insecurity, fear, self-doubt, shame, guilt, low self-esteem, and all too often, self-hatred. It is reported that in the U.S., at least 5–10 million girls and women and 1 million boys and men are struggling with eating disorders—anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or compulsive overeating. Too many people starve, diet, purge, binge and exercise to the point of creating serious health problems.

Most people are at least dissatisfied and at worst even hate some parts of their bodies. This is especially true for women, but men have body image issues, too. The odds of finding a person who doesn’t have at least some body image issues are slim.

How to turn the self-loathing into self-loving?  It begins with small, positive steps.

Here are just a few.

• Find at least one thing you like about your body. Write it down. Tomorrow, find another.

• Practice good posture, hold your head high, straighten your shoulders.

• Tell your body how much you appreciate its wondrous abilities.

• Get rid of all the clothes that you don’t like or that make you uncomfortable.

• Challenge the media’s definition of beauty.

• Nourish your body with a healthy diet, regular meals, lots of water.

• Slow down and remember to breathe.

• Move your body; not just exercise, but play, dance, skip, stretch, roll down a grassy hill.

• Pamper yourself with comfortable clothes, soothing beauty rituals.

• Post signs telling yourself how beautiful you are, inside and out.

• Tell your friends how beautiful they are, inside and out.

The way to a positive self-image begins with a conscious choice to make peace with, have gratitude for, and love your body.

The Story of the Koala

Koala-Mar2015If you look at this photo closely you might see it…c’mon, look closer. Yes! It’s a Koala Bear sitting up in that tree! So here’s the story…

Recently in Australia, I had scheduled one day at the end of our trip to go spend some time at a beach (since after all, it is still summer weather there, and when we left our desert of southern Utah we were having an unusual snow day!). So my hubby (Dean the dream) and I went to Noosa National Park, where we got to hike on a beautiful trail that was along the coastline. It’s about a 45-minute walk up to “Hell’s Gate” where we got a gorgeous view of the ocean (oh, and of ‘nude beach’, which was close enough to see, but fortunately far enough away that we couldn’t see anything we didn’t want to).

The woman at the info-booth at the head of the trail told us that occasionally people see koala bears as they walk that trail, and if we looked closely up in the trees, and if we’re really lucky, there is a small chance we may see one. Now I’m the type of person if someone says to me, “If you’re really lucky….this might happen” then I go to work manifesting it.

We’ve been to Australia several times before, so I have visited a koala zoo and have seen them up close, but I REALLY wanted to see one sitting up in a tree in his/her natural habitat.

So my mind immediately decided that we would see one that day. My thoughts were on trusting that we would, but without getting too desperate about it. And of course, I said a prayer in my head and asked God if He could please orchestrate a “koala bear sighting” for us that day. Because I know that He not only gives us what we need, but often what we want, even when it’s just for fun–depending on our faith and gratitude.

On the trail up to Hell’s Gate I was aware, but not overly freaky about having to make it happen. I fixed my mindset on believing it would happen, and from time to time I’d remind myself, “doubting nothing”.

The day was warm and beautiful, and since I was so ready to play in the ocean, I was wearing a swimsuit, shorts, and of course flip-flops – not the best footwear for walking 45 minutes on a trail, even as smooth and undemanding as it was. Early on I developed a blister on my left foot from my rubber flip-flop rubbing against it. I tried going barefoot for a bit, then I figured out that it worked much better to keep my right flip-flop on, and just let my left foot go barefoot. That worked!

Noosa-hike2015Despite the annoyance of the blister, the view the entire way was breathtaking and I loved hearing the rhythm of the ocean waves as we walked, so I concentrated on that to take my mind off my blister. We made it to the top, took some photos, met two cute college girls from Ireland (who were nice enough to snap some pics for us), then headed back down the trail again.

About halfway down, we noticed some people ahead of us looking up at something in a tree –“Yay, this is it!” I thought, but no, it was some kind of huge reptile similar to an iguana, but with a name that I’d never heard before. And I will spare you the photo I took of that, because really, it was was creepy looking.

Finally, when we were near the end of our path, I saw a girl with a fancy looking camera, getting shots of something in a tree, as I got closer I could see the fat little spotted bottom of this most darling koala. Ahh, success! So we stood under the tree and watched this cutie for several minutes. They don’t do much, but I enjoyed watching her open and close her eyes-really.

I said to the koala, “Thank you for letting us watch you today.” And of course said a prayer of thanks in my heart for allowing us this opportunity to even be in this beautiful place, the koala sighting was icing on the cake!

As I’ve thought more about that, I’m not sure if I was more excited to actually see the koala, or the thrill of being blessed with how this unfolded. I know there are skeptics out there who may think, “Big deal seeing a Koala on this trail isn’t highly unusual”, but for me this experience reiterated everything I know to be true about manifesting. Yes, sometimes things show up in your life and it’s easy to think it is just coincidence, but what I know to be true about conscious creation from personal practice is condensed in the bullet points below:

1. You have an idea –a thought – a desire – create your positive mindset around that
2. Decide it’s going to happen, but let go of outcome –don’t’ force it
3. Ask for help (for me that’s prayer, for you it may be another way)
4. You have to start walking – do the leg work –take inspired action
5. Don’t get hung up on distractions (blister!) along the way –stay in gratitude for what is going right.
6. As you move along, don’t get discouraged –have gratitude for all the other
wonderful sightings along the trail
7. Know that you will still be ok and taken care of even if it doesn’t happen in the way you think it needs to.
8. Trust that the timing of the Universe is always impeccable
9. Often, something counterfeit (reptile!) to what you are creating will show-up, don’t let that distract you from your goal
10. Remember: -Doubting Nothing
11. When you reach your goal, GIVE THANKS
12. Breathe – give yourself time to enjoy, ponder, and learn from each experience

Big or small, what do you want to experience next in your life? Share with me down below if you dare!

How Well Do You Practice Empathy?

How Well do you know empathy?  Last month we talked about ways that we can better talk to ourselves. Did you make some break-throughs? I hope so! If you didn’t get a chance to read it, just click here.

This month we’re taking it a step further and finding out if we are empathetic or if there needs to be some improvement there. All of these little steps are getting us closer to BE-ing the kind of person that is opened to all the goodness available to us and using it to help others too – a place of true abundance.

Empathy—that quality of recognizing and understanding another person’s desires, beliefs and emotions—is one of the most important skills we can ever acquire. It fosters meaningful relationships, reduces prejudice and negative assumptions, encourages honest communication and can help avert violence. Studies have found that people high in empathy are more confident, sensitive and assertive, and they enjoy better physical and mental health. Often described as standing in another person’s shoes or looking through the other’s eyes, empathy connects us human-to-human.

Take this quiz to see how well you practice empathy.Answer True or False to each set of questions.

Set 1

1. If I don’t know enough to understand, and empathize with, another’s dilemma, I try to increase my knowledge by asking questions.

2. I recognize and remember that others are different from me and might see and feel things differently from how I might experience the same situation. I try to look at the situation through that person’s eyes, not my own.

3. I don’t need to be right about what I imagine the other person to be feeling. If I’ve misunderstood, I ask the person to help me correct my impressions. Doing so helps me learn more about the other.

4. When I show that I understand the other person’s experience, I notice that the person I’m talking with opens up more.

5. My irritation with another person often dwindles when I understand what’s going on inside him or her.

6. Being a good, active listener helps me “get” what someone else is going through.

7. I try to focus on the other person’s feelings, rather than on actions or circumstances. I know that when people are upset, it’s better to work through and handle their feelings before figuring out how to solve their problems.

Set 2

1. If a friend complains about a boss at work, I’m likely to advise that person to find another job, change departments or speak up. I like to be helpful by offering solutions.

2. I’m always ready to offer a psychological analysis of my friends’ troubles.

3. If a co-worker expresses anxiety about her relationship with her husband, I’m quick to reassure her that all couples have their little problems, and that she shouldn’t worry about it.

4. It seems that I always know better than my friends what’s behind or underneath their problems.

5. When family members are upset about something, I find a way to distract them or change the subject.

6. I’m quick to remind people that plenty of others are a lot worse off than they are.

7. When empathizing with others, I imagine how I would feel in a given situation and assume the same would be true for them. We’re all basically the same, aren’t we?

True empathy can only occur when we have successfully shed all preconceived ideas and judgments about others—and when we’re comfortable with others’ deep feelings. If you answered true more often to the second set than the first, you may benefit from learning more about how to respond with empathy, how to really hear someone. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give another person.

How have you shown more empathy to those in your life? What do you feel you may need to work on? How have you seen empathy in your life? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Author’s content used under license, © Claire Communications

Top Ten Things to Say to Yourself

Top Ten Things to Say to YourselfOften the things we say to ourselves we wouldn’t even think of saying to another person. We blame, shame, call names of the meanest sort, nag, belittle and bully ourselves through self-talk.

What if, instead, we were more gentle with ourselves, asked ourselves questions and listened to the responses. What if we treated ourselves as we treat a best friend, someone we love dearly. Here’s a Top Ten list of loving things to say to yourself.

1. What do you feel? Asking ourselves what we feel can help put names to, and identify emotions. Listening for the response and being honest with ourselves is like taking our emotional temperature.

2. What do you need? A need is different from a want. Whereas a want states a desire, a need is usually a statement about nurturing. Pay attention to your needs, they’re about caring for yourself.

3. Good job Congratulate yourself on a job well done whether it’s mowing the lawn, writing a poem or cleaning the bathroom. Give yourself a verbal pat on the back.

4. I apologize Saying “I’m sorry” for all the wrongs we have done ourselves can be the first step in healing.

5. Let’s play Lighten up and be playful. Listen to what comes up when you suggest play.

6. Breathe Reminding ourselves to breathe helps relieve tension, gives us that moment we sometimes need to center and ground ourselves.

7. I forgive you Sometimes it’s easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves. Yet, to have closure and to move on, often means we have to forgive ourselves.

8. Let go Releasing worries, resentments, anger, fears loosens the grip of resistance and makes room for growth.

9. Be present Staying present, being aware of the physical, acknowledging the moment, this is when we are truly alive. (In case you missed it, I shared with you the top 10 ways to stay present.)

10. I love you We say it to others, why not say it to ourselves. Say it again.

Have you noticed a difference in the way you talk to yourself? Have you made any changes? What have you see happen when you started talking positively to yourself? Share your thoughts with us  below!

Author’s content used under license, © Claire Communications

Holiday Blitz or Holiday Bliss?

Holiday Blitz or Holiday Bliss Top Ten Tricks to Stay PresentTop 10 Ways to stay Present.

With the holidays upon us, life can get busier than usual and it’s easy to get overwhelmed, if we don’t stay present in the moment.

Paying attention and keeping the intention to fully ENJOY this week before Christmas makes all the difference between Holiday Blitz and Holiday Bliss.

Try these ten ways to enhance your enjoyment during the holidays.

1. Be present in the moment. Pay attention to the details: Notice the sound of children’s laughter, the meaning of the words in the Christmas carols, the texture and flavor of the food you eat, literally stop to smell the roses (or the gingerbread in this season).

2. Make a list of what you want to accomplish today. List only the portion of a major project that can be completed today. Include pleasures as well as tasks.

3. Concentrate on the task at hand. Give it your best, most often complete is better than “perfect”.

4. Journal first thing every morning to empty your mind of worry and chatter. Write three pages without stopping; it doesn’t need to be grammatically perfect, just let your thoughts flow.

5. Allow thoughts and feelings come and go without judging them. Neither cling to nor reject them. Just breathe.

6. If you feel yourself getting irritated in traffic, or long shopping lines, or with family members, remember you have the power to change your thoughts and responses in each moment. Find three good things about the situation.

7. Don’t try to juggle everything in your mind. During the day when you think of something you don’t want to forget, jot it down, or put it in a note in your smart phone.

8. Be where you are. When you find yourself drifting off elsewhere, a gentle reminder to “be present” can help.

9. Take a moment to transition yourself from place to place and task to task.

10. This time of year reminds us to let go of the past. Make amends, forgive, grieve. Ask for help if you’re unable to let go.

Do you have other ideas that have allowed you to BE more present in your life each day? Share it with us below!

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Are You Too Cautious?

Are you too cautiousHelen Keller, blind and deaf educator, said: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Sometimes it’s wise to be cautious, particularly when physical safety is at stake. However, when we play it safe simply to protect our ego or heart, we may close off possibilities that could bring us greater joy and fulfillment. Life is what we make of it, shaped by our choices. What are you choosing? Answer “true” or “false” to the following statements to discover if you are too cautious.

Set 1

  1. Life doesn’t feel safe. I’m content with things as they are and prefer to stay in my “comfort zone.”
  2. I’m afraid something bad will happen if I veer off my usual course. I feel safer and more confident when I stick to what I already know.
  3. I frequently worry “what if…?” If I can’t be certain of the outcome, I won’t take the risk. Being rejected, looking stupid and failing are not options.
  4. I know there are business and romantic opportunities I’ve missed out on because of being so risk-averse.
  5. My fear of the unknown is paralyzing. When I look at my life, I have many regrets about things I didn’t do.
  6. I feel bad about myself for being so cautious. I think of myself as a coward and I expect that others see me that way, too.

Set 2

  1. I am committed to growing myself bigger than my fears. It’s not that I’m unafraid; it’s just that I am more committed to my goals and know the cost of playing it safe.
  2. Developing courage is like building a muscle. The more I practice taking risks, even small ones, the more empowered I feel.
  3. ­­­­When I have a goal or dream that feels big and scary, I minimize feeling overwhelmed by “chunking it down” into more manageable, short-term steps.
  4. I enlist the support of those who can help me move beyond my comfort zone to a more fulfilling life.
  5. When I take risks, I trust I can handle whatever comes. If I fall, I know that I can get up again. I don’t conclude that I shouldn’t have tried or that I’m a failure.
  6. My biggest successes have come when I’ve taken a big leap of faith.

 

If you answered True more often in Set 1 and False more often in Set 2,  it sounds like you are ready to move beyond your comfort zone to live a more fulfilled life. A great place to start is with my “Fear Busting” group call coming up in Dec. It will help eliminate the underlying reasons why you hold yourself back in many situations, so you can step into your courageous self and create a life that rocks!

Go here for more info and to register.