Happy Easter! a different perspective

Easter, like all American holidays, has become about buying a lot and eating a lot.

First of all, it doesn’t have to be that way.  Life, and all the holidays within it, are what we make of them.  I personally don’t want to be a main stream over consuming human trying to be cool like most people.  I relish in the idea of making new traditions for the holidays, being different, having a new way that is in alignment with the way I live my life.  

Regarding the Christian roots of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus…  Whether we are Christian or not, we can celebrate the resurrection of life in the springtime including ourselves.

I was raised Catholic.  I no longer identify as Catholic.  I respect and give thanks for where I came from and I made a different choice.  Perhaps I’ll share more about that another time.   For now, I’ll simply share that I refused to be part of an organisation which does not welcome everyone- race, sexual orientation, beliefs, background, etc.  I have been proudly going to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo for ten years now on and off.  I consider myself “spiritual”.  For the record, I have a great relationship with Jesus.  We understand each other.  I’m all about his teachings – The Golden Rule, etc.. 

Christ is not the only one that rises from the dead.  None of us ever really die. Our spirits live forever.  Energy is a constant.  That energy within us, our soul, has to go some place.  Even in one lifetime, we have many little deaths and are reborn many times.  Each time that we make a big change within ourselves, or grieve a loved one, a part of us dies and a new part is born. We are born new every moment.  Each moment we choose to continue to be the person we have been, or to rise up within ourselves and choose to be better than we were the moment before, or the day before, or the year before.  Each day is a new day.  Each moment is a new moment.  Have faith in your ability to change, to adapt, to grow, to become the person you strive to be.

Another example of how we can celebrate Easter is the rising of our spirits after winter.  Spring cleaning, helps us to remove unnecessary clutter that is blocking us from moving forward within ourselves  The letting go of this clutter and organizing our lives helps us to rise up within ourselves.  The emergence of snow drops and crocuses along with the emergence of a liveliness within us that only happens when we are able to dance around in the warm sun for the first time after the thaw; and all of the little creatures coming out to play.

The origins of Easter… Now I know this may push some Christian buttons, and I don’t mean to be offensive.  I respect All beliefs.  However, Easter, like many holidays, has Pagan origin.  The name “Easter” originated from an ancient goddess called, Eostre.  “Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility [was] known variously as Ostare, Ostara, Ostern, Eostra, Eostre, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur, Austron and Ausos.1  She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe.  Her name was derived from the ancient word for spring: “eastre.” Eostre is the name of the Pagan festival.  The rabbit or hare was Goddess Eostre’s symbol, a symbol of fertility.  The exchange of eggs are also a symbol of fertility.  Easter is in the spring, when animals often mate and humans may even begin to get a little more frisky after the long cold winter; hence the term “spring fever”.  There is nothing evil or wrong about celebrating fertility.  It’s part of life.  Let’s celebrate it knowingly.  Yay, it’s Easter, let’s color some eggs and celebrate fertility!  It’s okay if the youngsters don’t exactly know what they are celebrating, but feel free to fill them in as well.  Perhaps this is a good time for the “birds and bees” talk…?

The word, “Easter” also has the word “east” in it. This word has German and Dutch origin, from the word, “ost” or “aust”, meaning “dawn” or “toward the sunrise”.  The ‘east’, in Native American and perhaps pagan traditions, is a symbol of beginnings, birth, the rise of the sun.  I’m sure I’m missing some things here, feel free to comment and fill in the blanks.  Either way, again with the “rising up” of things.

During this Easter holiday season, may we all rise up within ourselves and meet the person in the mirror that we strive to be.   Oh yeah, how could I forget… have fun and be safe, celebrating fertility.  😉  Happy Easter!

References:

  1. Larry Boemler “Asherah and Easter,” Biblical Archaeology Review, Vol. 18, Number 3, 1992-May/June reprinted at: http://www.worldmissions.org

Other References not footnoted:

  1. http://www.religioustolerance.org/easter1.htm
  2. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2010/apr/03/easter-pagan-symbolism
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Welcome / Getting Started

Welcome to my blog! 🙂  My name is Laura Jean Castelluzzo, yogi, acupuncturist, life coach, massage therapist, dancer, musician, artist, lover of life and all good things, especially green things.  My intention with this blog is to share insights, lessons, experiences and self reflection in order to inspire, edify, enlighten and educate anyone interested.  I intend to use a personal account of my life as well as stories, pictures and quotes from other people that have inspired and enlightened me… such as Tahwehdahqui, Ehkart Tolle, Dr. Wayne Dyer, and other spiritual teachers.

My personal homepage is: LauraJeanC.com

You can also find and follow me on facebook as “Laura Jean Castelluzzo”, like my business page, and on Instagram as @yogilaurajean .

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On to “getting started”…

I was reading in, The Power of Now, about surrender.  In this section of the book, Ehkhart Tolle discusses the BIG misconception that people think in order to surrender, one must give up and not progress.  This is not the case at all.  In fact, in order to progress it is important that one has a certain sense of peace and acceptance with what is.  This allows space for one to move forward.  Otherwise, it is a constant battle of being and feeling stuck. This is due to beating oneself up about not being happy with current circumstance and feeling helpless around those circumstances.   Whether you are blaming yourself or complaining about the current state of things, either way this is not productive.  What blaming and complaining accomplish is simply a giving away of your power.  In order to move forward, one has to have a sense of peace with what Is.  You can not change what Is, so why not accept it and be at peace with it.  That does not mean that you can not change what will be.  The very act of being at peace with what is, begins to change it.  Resistance to what is, is the greatest cause of suffering.  By being at peace with what is, this opens up the energy, allows it to flow and make room for something new.

This is such a big topic, I’m actually having resistance to writing about it because I don’t want to leave anything out, which in my judgmental mind would “screw it up”.  However, I am not going to let this thought stop me.  This brings me to the element of getting started.

Sometimes we are so afraid of something not being perfect that we don’t ever start in the first place, or if we do start, we don’t finish.  Life is a practice.  We get good at what we practice, no matter what it is – meditation, writing, complaining, being depressed, laughing, yoga, playing an instrument, etc.  In order to get good at something you have to first begin, and then continue to practice.  I am fairly new to blogging.  I started this blog 2 years ago this month with the intention of publishing an entry every month, and so far have published four entries.  Why?  Many reasons.  I got busy with life.  The biggest reason however being why I never finished this particular post, the “welcome” post, which I meant to finish first.  I was afraid of doing it wrong, of it not being good enough, of leaving something important out.  Well cheers to letting go of that nonsensical unproductive thinking and behavior.  I am going to do the best I can with this and I can always go back and edit it later if I want to add or change something.  The wonders of the internet do allow such things.  Thank God.  Now I have a new goal.  I am a commitment to publishing an entry at least once every two months on average.  😉 (Credit to a wonderful life coach I recently worked with this past summer.  When I remember her name I will come back and include it.  She taught me the value of the words, “I am a commitment to…”)

I encourage you to start whatever it is in your life that you have been wanting to do and have been afraid of it not being good enough… and then finish it.  You can always change it later, or do it again better the next time.  It’s a learning process.  It has to start someplace.  “We get good at what we practice.” This is a Tahwehdahqui’ism.  Haha, one of many.

Giving thanks for Tahwehdahqui and the many lessons that I have learned and continue to learn from him.  The latest being the use of the ho’oponopono prayer.

“I love you.  I’m sorry.  Please forgive me.  Thank you.”

I had some resistance to this prayer when I first heard it, as did Tahwehdahqui, I recently found out, because of the 2nd and 3rd line.  When we get to a certain place in our spiritual development we realize that nothing is wrong.  Everything is okay.  Therefore there is no reason to apologize and nothing to forgive.  Everything is perfect and created by God…  I’ll get into that more another time.  However, we are human.  Humans often need to hear these words.  All of them, including the “I’m sorry.  Please forgive me.”  Especially ourselves.  When we say something to anyone or anything it is really coming back to us because everything is a reflection of us.   (Again, I’ll get into the depth of this another time.)  There are things that we have done in our lives that have led to us feeling shame and or guilt.  It is most important in the moving forward on our paths to forgive ourselves first.  By saying these words, repeatedly, it creates a healing and a letting go – of guilt, shame, old hurt, old patterns.  It creates space and allows for new “stories” to come in…

Ok, that was an important side bar… back to getting started…

We all have fear about not being good enough, or of being judged, or whatever the case may be.  The point is not to eliminate the fear, however it will decrease over time the more you practice moving through it.  So do just that, move through it.  Don’t let it stop you.  If it stops you then it won.  (If that’s where you are at, that’s ok.  Try again another time and be at peace with it.)  Another thing I learned from Tahwehdahqui many years ago is that fear is simply another emotion like anger that makes us feel alive.  IT IS AN ADDICTION.  The more we realize this, the more we can just breathe and move through it, give thanks for it and let it go.  It is nothing more than something we made up in our minds.  However, don’t confuse this with intuition… which is a powerful tool in avoiding dangerous circumstances.

There are so many little nuggets in this entry that I want to write more about and I will, in time.  If there is anything that you would like me to write about, feel free to make a request.  I would love that.  Thanks for reading.  I pray that you feel inspired, enriched and enlightened.  Have a wonderful day and many blessings to you always.  More coming soon.

Cheers to getting started, and finishing things.  This what was meant to be my first blog entry and is now my 5th, and that’s okay.  I do love the number 5.  🙂

Peace, Blessings and Namaste ❤

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Spiritual Lessons With Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy, ‘Tis The Season

For those of you who think you are not allergic to poison ivy because you have not had it yet, please be cautious. Over time and after repeated exposure, it is possible that your resistance to poison ivy can wear down, which can lead to a reaction. This recently happened to a friend of mine, so be warned. Also, even if you are not allergic to poison ivy (yet), if you walk carelessly through it and get the oil from the plant on your clothes or skin, you can still pass it on to other people from the oil that is on you.

That being said, if you think you or your pet may have come in contact with the plant, wash yourself or your pet immediately. If you catch it within ten minutes, you may avoid getting the rash or passing it along. Also remember to wash the inside of your car door, the steering wheel, the arm rest, and anything else that the oil may have come in contact with.

To set the record straight on one wives tail, the ONLY way that poison ivy is contagious is through the oil from the plant. You can get poison ivy ONLY if you touch the plant, or if you touch someone or something (including but not limited to pets, or other peoples skin or clothing) that has the oil on it. Once again, please for your sake and the sake of others, wash immediately if you have come in contact with the plant.

I’ve had poison ivy at least a dozen times in my life and have learned most of this information first hand. Just like everything else, it is no exception to the law of attraction. If a person is thinking about it a lot and is afraid of getting it, sure enough, that person is likely to get it… What you focus on expands. Most of us are not fully awakened yet, so we sometimes attract things into our lives that we are not wanting with our conscious mind. We are human. Therefore, it is good to know how to deal with it if we get the poison ivy rash or come in contact with the plant.

What to DO: Use COLD water, as cold as it gets, to ease the itch. Pay as little attention to the rash as possible. If you must apply anti itch creams, take your pick. There are a myriad of them to choose from, medicated and herbal. I have found that ASAP silver gel helps with the healing. Aloe is also a good idea. Baking soda mixed with oatmeal and water feels very nice and soothing but is also very messy. If the blistering is large and very weepy, you may need to put a dressing over it. Change the dressing 1-2 times a day. Focus on other things to distract yourself from the itch, as much as possible. Resist the urge to itch. Wash gently with soap and water at least once a day and run under cold water as many times as necessary throughout the day to relieve the itch. (The cold water rinse doesn’t relieve the itch for as long as the hot water rinse, however it also does not encourage the rash to spread more. The rash may spread a little anyway, but you will find that it spreads much more if you use hot water.) Bentonite clay is very soothing, sometimes stings a little, but helps to draw the fluid out of the blisters, and dry them out.

What NOT to do: My worst case of poison ivy was three years ago. The thing that was different about that year was that I was paying a LOT of attention to the rash. I took pictures of it almost every day. I applied a variety of anti itch creams and homemade remedies to it every day. Most importantly, I ran hot water over it 2 to 3 times a day. Do NOT do this. As the information says online, it will cause more inflammation and cause the rash to spread. It is true that if you run it under hot water long enough (until the itch stops) it releases all the histamine and after practically burning yourself, you will have relief from the itch for up several hours, BUT trust me, it’s not worth it. That was the most wide spread, with the largest areas of blistering, and most painful case of poison ivy I have ever had. To top it off, it was also the longest period of time that the rash has lasted, 5-6 weeks. (Only use the warm/hot water remedy in desperate situations, and be very careful not to get in the habit of using it. Also, if you do it, be mindful to keep the water at a reasonable safe temperature.) Some websites suggest applying bleach or watered down bleach to the area. Do NOT do this either. That can cause more irritation to the skin.

As with anything, consult your physician if you have any questions or if the rash is extreme and continues to persist after 3 weeks. Doctors can prescribe corticosteroid for you if necessary which should take care of the rash. However, this type of drug has a lot of side effects with repeated use and I recommend only be used when necessary. I am not a doctor. I always recommend to trust your inner guidance, and if it’s telling you to call your doctor, then call your doctor. Poison ivy is no joke, and can be very serious in some cases, especially if ingested, or if burned and the smoke was breathed in.

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Meditation: An Act of Self Love

There are many paths to a peaceful, loving, happy and abundant life, and there are many ways to meditate. Some people do yoga, tai qi, qi kung, walk, hike in the woods, work-out, dance, draw, play an instrument or work on a puzzle to quiet their mind and satisfy other creative or athletic desires simultaneously. These are all great things and serve more than one purpose. Chanting, praying or using mantras are some ways that people intentionally meditate. In my understanding, silent meditation is the most difficult form of meditation because you are simply being with yourself and your mind. Yet it can have the most profound results. All types of meditation or ways to calm the mind are most effective if practiced regularly.

Meditation is a practice. Many people tell me that they have tried to meditate and they “can’t”. There is a BIG misconception about meditation that in order to be ‘doing it’, one has to have a completely clear mind and be fully present the whole time, and that otherwise they are doing it incorrectly and therefore, not doing it at all. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Meditation is just like anything else in that, you get good at what you practice. When a person takes up an instrument, dance, martial arts or a sport, that person will generally need to practice in order to be good at the thing they are practicing. Practicing playing the guitar is still playing the guitar, just like practicing meditation is still meditation. The goal with meditation is to clear the mind and be fully present. This goal is a life long journey of ebbs and flows, progressions and back slides. Some may never achieve this goal for more than a few moments at a time. Most people, with regular consistent practice (which is required of most, to become good at anything), will have longer and longer periods of time in presence. That is the idea: to have longer periods of peace and calm, in presence. That is where progress is recognized. Only a few have reached a point of enlightenment before death, which is a constant state of being fully present. Some have long periods of presence and then they try to hold on to it, and the very act of attempting to hold on to it, causes it to fade away.

Most people have what is referred to as “monkey mind” – a busy mind, thinking of many things all the time, day dreaming, being “unconscious” in some regard. Being conscious in a spiritual sense is knowing what one is thinking from one moment to the next. If one has a monkey mind, this is impossible, or extremely difficult rather, as well as exhausting. For example, when a person with monkey mind meditates, they either get very tired or they loose interest quickly and move on to something else. Sometimes people fall asleep. This is very common actually. When a person meditates, who is not accustomed to meditating, it is similar to using a muscle that is weak. In order to strengthen the muscle, one must practice. Monkey mind can be remedied with meditation. I would recommend starting with 5 minutes a day for 2 weeks and gradually increase the amount of time as the meditation muscle gets stronger. You will know when you are getting stronger because 5 minutes will go by in a flash and seem easy. This is true regardless of how long you are meditating for, if it feels easy, increase the time. A good long term goal is 1 hour, two times a day.

One example of a simple meditation that I still use part of the time, is to count your breaths, ie in & out 1, in & out 2, in & out 3… and so on till you get to 9, then start back at 1; repeat for the duration of the time allotted to meditate. Also, close your eyes and focus on the backs of your eye lids. When you notice that you are going past the number 9, or if you forget what number you are on, be gentle on yourself and start back at 1.

The best times to meditate are shortly after waking, and before bed. Anytime is a good time to meditate, as long as it feels like a good time for you. (While driving or using heavy machinery, make sure your eyes are open and you are practicing safety. 🙂 Otherwise, you could meditate all day long, throughout your day while doing dishes or anything else, simply by being present. This does not take the place of silent meditation however.) Practicing at the beginning of the day will help to set your day off to a great start. You will notice that the rest of your day flows with greater ease when you meditate in the morning. Practicing at night before bed will ensure a more restful sleep. I call this “downloading the day”. It allows a person to let go of the happenings of the day, have peace of mind and drift off to sleep more easily.

There are many benefits to meditation. One of the most valuable results of meditation is quieting the mind. The reason that this is so valuable is so that one can hear the voice from within that is guiding us in every moment. Each of us has a direct connection with Spirit / God / The Universe / Our Higher Power / Intuition or whatever you want to call it. This connection resides in the mind, through thought. Typically people have so much external noise in their lives as well as internal noise in their minds that they drown out that quiet voice that is guiding them… radio, television, iPod, cell phones, traffic, horns, conversations, etc. It is uncommon for anyone these days to have much silence throughout the day. Silence is like water. The more you drink it, the more you crave it; and a certain amount of both are essential for our well being.

Being with one self and simply sitting, is one of the most challenging things for some people to do, or not “do” as the case may be. Many people think that meditation is a waste of time because of that very thing… doing no-thing. However, on the contrary, it’s one of the most productive no-things one can do. The reason that it is an act of self love is because one is simply being with oneself.

I have found silent meditation to be one of the most important elements of having peace of mind, and allowing my life to flow with greater ease. I have also recognized a greater ability to hear and listen to my inner guidance, which always serves me well when I follow it.

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The Sweat Lodge Experience

Sweat lodge is a physical and spiritual cleansing ceremony created by Indigenous peoples of the Americas. There are similar traditions of ritual sweating in other cultures around the world. I started going to sweat lodges on the Tuscarora Nation with Tahwehdahqui, (Native American elder, my friend and one of my spiritual teachers) in 1997. Since then, I’ve participated in sweat lodges in about ten different places, mostly around New York state and once in Hawaii; and I’ve been in a sweat lodge ceremony close to a hundred times.

Some physical and spiritual health benefits of participating in a sweat lodge include: decrease in muscle and joint pain, increased relaxation and flexibility of muscles and joints, cleansing / detoxing of tissues / body, cleansing of spirit, bringing presence to the mind through heat, sweat and ceremony, opportunity to connect with the Earth, each other, the words that are shared and songs that are sung, opportunity for a shift in consciousness / a heightened awareness, building community, building relationships / friendships, learning how to speak ones truth, learning how to listen, learning respect for each other, elders and our ancestors… The list goes on. I have heard it said that the lodge energy starts three days before and lasts for three days after the sweat occurs. During this time, you may have moments of clarity or other things in your life to pay attention to.

The lodge is very special to me. It is my church, in addition to the Unitarian Universalist church, both of which welcome people of all faiths or no faith at all. Depending on where the lodge is and who is pouring the lodge, this may or may not be true. Some places are very strict about only allowing Native people of that culture to participate in the lodge. On that note, it is an honor, where ever the lodge is, to be invited and welcomed to participate. Please treat it as such with respect.

Sweat lodge guidelines, as far as I have learned. Different places have different guidelines, however, the following is true of most:

– Do not consume drugs or alcohol within 24 hours before or after the sweat; at the very least, be sober before going into the lodge. The energy of drugs and alcohol, simply does not mix with the lodge energy and could result in you or someone else in the lodge getting burned or otherwise creating an unpleasant experience. If you have a question regarding prescription medication, feel free to ask the water pourer, or your doctor. However, some doctors may not approve of sweat lodges in general. Listen to your guidance and do what feels right for you.

– Women who are menstruating are not permitted to sweat, and some recommend to not even be by the lodge, or look in the direction of the lodge during this time (I agree with this). The reasoning is that during this time a woman’s energy is very powerful as she is on her own cleansing ceremony. That energy doesn’t mix with the lodge. It can be dangerous for the water pourer or anyone in the lodge, (someone could get burned).

– All people who enter the lodge need to be smudged. This is usually done with white sage, or other sage, but if joining at the last minute you could smudge yourself with the smoke of the fire. Smudge is a Native American way of cleansing the energy / aura on and around the body… or any object. Inside the lodge and lodge area will also be smudged.

– Typical procedure for before the lodge: After everyone is smudged, a bowl of tobacco will go around for everyone to put their prayers into. This is done by passing the tobacco around and stirring it with your fingers, with intention and prayer. Then the water pourer will say a prayer before anyone enters the lodge, using the tobacco that all participating have “put their prayers into”. The tobacco is then often put into the fire and all the prayers go up with the smoke.

– Entering or leaving the lodge, out of respect for our relations, it is polite to say, “All My Relations”. Walk, or crawl around the lodge, (the direction depends on the tradition) and sit as close to the person in front of you as you can. Two rows are often needed if there are more than 8 or 10 people coming in. When the door shuts, please be respectful that it’s time to let the water pourer speak. One person speaks at a time, and the water pourer will let everyone know if the floor is open for someone else to speak, pray, or sing. If you share, please let it be known when you are finished by saying, amen, thank you, nyaweh, I’m done, All My Relations. When a song is shared, all are welcome to sing along, or clap, or drum if you have a drum inside the lodge.

Take notice when the heat starts to go up and you feel a desire to leave the lodge. It is often the words that are being shared that are too hot, rather than the temperature in the lodge. This is where the healing is. However, if you need to leave, that is ok, take care of yourself. Wait for whoever is speaking or singing to finish if you are able, and then let it be known that you need to leave. When the ancestors (the rocks) are brought in, welcome them with either “welcome ancestor” or “welcome Grandfather”.

Some places have a tradition of not walking between the fire and the lodge unless you are entering or leaving the lodge, or unless you are a fire keeper (tending the fire). Be mindful of this.

Find out before you go to a lodge if there is a dress code. For the Lakota and Onondaga traditions (possibly others as well) women wear long skirts or dresses and have their shoulders covered so that the men can stay focused on the ceremony.

If you would like to be included in the invite for spiritual or wellness gatherings that may include a sweat lodge, feel free to friend me on Facebook. Send me a message with your email address if you would like to receive my monthly newsletter, or go to this link and click “follow”: www.laurajeanc.wordpress.com

I recommend if you feel healthy enough to be in the lodge, that you try one at least once in your lifetime. It is not for everyone, but you will know if it is for you, and it will call you back if it is good medicine for you. I will never forget my first lodge experience. I only did one round, there are four total, and sometimes a 5th is in order. Be gentle on yourself and listen to what your body needs. “This isn’t a tough person competition.” Similar to a sauna, the sweat lodge has many health benefits as well as risks. Please mindful and review the risks and benefits on the links below if you are considering a sweat.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweat_lodge

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sauna

Facebook event page for Ehk-wheh-heh-weh Spiritual Weekend Gathering September 27-28, 2014: https://www.facebook.com/events/800605433304858/?notif_t=plan_user_joined

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Self Love vs. Self Loathe

sunset-hands-love-woman.jpgIn the past few months I noticed an unpleasant pattern that seemed to be gaining momentum.  I’ve had certain goals, in different areas of my life that I was not meeting.  When this would happen I found that I was being mean, calling names, swearing and / or getting angry at myself.  This process would downward spiral and intensify the more frequently I was not meeting these goals or expectations.

There came a point in the past month or so when I realized something that I often tell my life coaching clients… The more you are hard on yourself, the more you will do the thing that you are hard on yourself for.  What you resist persists.  This is in alignment with the law of attraction.  It does not pay to beat ourselves up, as much as we want to believe that it does.  It does not.  It is actually counter productive.

Let me explain.  When we are hard on ourselves we are sending a message to the Universe that we want to be hard on ourselves, which equals feeling bad.  The Universe sends us more circumstances in which to be hard on ourselves. This makes us feel worse.  Also, when we attach feeling to thought it strengthens the thought, giving manifestation power to the very thing that we do NOT want to do. The Universe does not hear the not.  Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t think of a pink elephant?” It is impossible.  The minute you say the words “pink elephant”, poof, one appears in your mind’s eye.

One of the expectations I was having of myself that I was not meeting was going to bed by 11pm and get up by 7am.  As I was being mad at myself for staying up later than I would like, I was thinking about ‘staying up late’, with emotion behind the thought. That then creates more of staying up late, AND being mad about it.  We not only create the thing that we are thinking about with emotion (energy in motion), we also create the emotion we are having along with it.  SO, more and more I was staying up late and being mad about it… perpetuating the pattern.

There are a lot of different layers to the inner workings of the mind.  The other side of this is that in order to create something different in our lives we have to think differently.  What that means in this example is that in order to start going to bed by 11pm and waking up by 7am I need to start envisioning myself doing that and feeling good about it (unless I want to feel bad about it, but that’s no fun).  If we keep our thoughts on what IS, we will continue to create more of what IS.  In order to create a different reality we have to bring our mind to a NEW place and IMAGINE that which we want to create as if it already IS so and FEEL the way we would feel as if it were that way.  This is the power of manifestation.  If we are doing the opposite of that, continuing to think about how we are doing the very thing we do NOT want to do, AND being hard on ourselves about it, how can we possibly step out of that pattern or cycle?  It is practically impossible.

I’ve been praying about the ‘going to bed and getting up early’ thing for a long time.  The reason it is so important to me is that it has become abundantly clear that in order for me to get to a much higher level of success, productivity and personal growth, I need to get up early.  I know I need an average of eight hours sleep, so that means going to bed early also.  My friend and teacher, Tahwehdahqui, had mentioned getting up early several times over the years, as a tool to creating more success and productivity in one’s life.  When I pray about having time to do things and getting to that higher level within myself, the guidance that comes to me from Spirit first is ALWAYS go to bed and get up early.  It’s time to start listening.  I have been getting better and better at it, but still have some work to do and that’s OKAY.  Honestly I feel that one of the reason’s I’m writing this blog now is that putting this out there for anyone to read, will help hold me accountable.  That’s not to say I won’t make exceptions from time to time.  That’s part of life too.  Along with the guidance to go to bed early, I have received guidance that in order to succeed in going to bed early, I need to start getting ready for bed around 10pm, 10:30 at the latest.  Part of getting ready for bed includes meditation.  This helps to quiet the mind, and let go of the day so that my mind can be calm when I hit the pillow and fall asleep easily and peacefully.  On that note, I’m going to start getting ready for bed now and finish this tomorrow because it is 10:16pm. 😉  

Part of the process of accomplishing goals is following the guidance that is steering us in the direction of accomplishing the goal. There are messages from Spirit all around us, all the time… we just have to listen.

It is the shifting from being hard on ourselves to being gentle, loving and accepting towards ourselves that opens up the space energetically in order to create change in our lives… whether it’s loosing weight, exercising, going to bed early, eating better, stopping any habit that is not in our highest good, etc..

Two things to note in closing…

1. If we treated our friends the way we sometimes treat ourselves then we wouldn’t have any friends.  Be good to yourself…  You are the best friend you will ever have.  Where ever you go, there you will be.  You can not run away from you.  When you die, you will come back and have to learn the lessons you did not learn in this lifetime.  So, be good to yourself.

2. Expectations can lead to disappointment whether we have them for other people or for ourselves.  A nice peaceful way to go about having what we want in our relationships with others and ourselves is to IMAGINE it that way; when there is space in the relationship to discuss it in a peaceful loving manner, do so; with ourselves, set intentions and challenging yet reachable goals… Then let go and let God.  Surrender to what will be and do your best to be okay with whatever that is.  Love and understanding, for other’s AND for ourselves is important to maintain whenever possible.

In applying these concepts to my own life I have: decreased my daily stress, increased my peace of mind and made improvements toward my goals. I realized that the pattern was not so much about the expectations I was attempting to meet, but about the attachment and addiction to beating myself up.  It feels good to be letting go of that addiction, and being more loving to myself on a regular basis. I pray for the same for you! ❤

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