Do You Care Too Much?

Do you over-give and consistently put yourself last?

I have an issue with wanting to ‘help’ or ‘fix’ people. It’s probably why I do what I do for a living. I really care about the people in my life and in my practice. I’m good at helping people find their truth and live with more joy. But, I’ve had to learn how to care and offer assistance with detachment.

What I’ve learned is that each person has to go through their own process, on their own terms, and in their own time. Being an Aries who wants things done ‘RIGHT NOW!’, it’s taken some time for me to appreciate and respect another’s right to go at their own pace.

The myth of Aphrodite’s love for Adonis is a good example of how too much caring can be smothering which can backfire and lead, not to ‘happily ever after,’ but to destruction and separation.

The myth of Adonis and Aphrodite is one of the great romantic legends of classical Greek mythology. This myth begins with Aphrodite recusing Adonis after his birth.  His mother was turned into a Myrtle tree and is unable to care for him. (That’s a myth I’ll save for another blog.) Aphrodite takes Adonis to Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld, to look after. Under Persephone’s care he grows into a handsome and virile young man.

When she realizes how handsome he is, Aphrodite now wants Adonis back as her lover!  A heated argument ensues between Aphrodite and Persephone. Zeus has to intercede and solicits Adonis’ input. Adonis, now a young man with a young man’s drive, wants to spend his time with a beautiful lover rather than an adoring foster mother. Adonis and Aphrodite are allowed to spend eight months out of the year together.

She is so infatuated with this young stud that Aphrodite abandons her responsibilities, devoting all her time to Adonis. She even learns to hunt, which she has no real interest in, so she won’t be separated from Adonis for even one moment.

Finally, Aphrodite can’t ignore her duties and must leave to attend some crisis. Before she leaves she warns Adonis not to attack any animal that shows no fear. He agrees, but Adonis is so relieved to be on his own and, feeling quite cocky, ignores the advice of the Goddess.

Adonis unwisely takes own the challenge of a wild boar (who some think is Ares, Aphrodite’s jilted lover). Soon Adonis is the hunted one. The boar attacks! Adonis is castrated in the battle and dies from loss of blood.

Aphrodite senses something is wrong and rushes to his side. She is too late to save Adonis, however. Stricken with grief she turns his blood into a field of anemones, small red flowers, in his memory.

Surprisingly, this ancient myth has a lot of relevance today! It is an allegory for how smothering love, excessive caring, and abandonment of our own interests to enmesh with another can result in the exact opposite of our good intentions.  In wanting to spend all her time with Adonis, Aphrodite smothers him.  Rather than achieving the connection and closeness that Aphrodite intended, Adonis rebels in a passive but aggressive way. This is revealed by his relief at being finally on his own and then ignoring Aphrodite’s sound advice. In his rebellion, Adonis creates his own demise.  Aphrodite loses what she tried so hard to cling to.

These were the makings of a tragedy. How many of us have lost the object of our desire because we clung too tightly? How many of us have ended up smothering those we care for, rather than caring and loving with an open heart and open hand?

I hope you take away from this allegory what I have learned and begin to love and care with understanding and respect for another’s time, space and process? To care for and love others with detachment. Sometimes the greatest kindness you can show a loved one is to stand back and create space for them to make their own way, even when you think their choices are fraught with difficulties. Remember, you faced many challenges in your life and survived – so will they.  The greatest gift of love is believing in their ability to make it!

If you find you are smothering your loved ones because you care to much or love too deeply, then give me a call for a 20-minute complimentary phone consultation and find how you can love and care for the people in your life with healthy detachment. Call me TODAY! 415-819-8769 or email me.

I’ve read and watched the news as much as I can emotionally handle. It has been both distressing to see the rioting and destruction, and inspiring to see peaceful non-violent protests by those who are demanding change, while being cognizant that violence and destruction only begets more of the same.

I am deeply disturbed to learn that a good part of the instigation of violence has come from outside infiltrators, many not black. Who could be so evil as to focus concerted effort on stirring up more dissension and unrest during these already chaotic and challenging times? How do we deal with this hidden malevolence?

I am old enough to remember the Civil Rights Movement. I remember the pride I felt when I saw whites and blacks marching in unity for the rights of black to simply drink from a water fountain, go to a decent school, sit at a lunch counter without fear of retribution. I thought our country was moving out of the darkness of racism and bigotry to the favored status of equality. I was inspired to volunteer for Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) requesting to be sent to the inner city to do my part. Unfortunately, it was during the race riots of 1968. Instead I was shipped off to an Indian Reservation in Minnesota. Though, I have to say, for a naïve suburbanite that was still an eye-opening, life changing experience!

Through the years I’ve maintained my interest and concern in equality and justice for all. I’ve kept informed about the injustices to blacks: the higher than normal rates of blacks in prison, the lower life expectancy of blacks compared to other races, the lower academic standards and achievements for blacks, the damage to black families without their male fathers, sons, uncles and brothers, etc.

I’ve been distressed by this information, but like all too many whites, I have been guilty of being complacent in my white privilege. I haven’t taken a stronger stand. Now I feel shame for not doing more; for enjoying my privileges while not speaking up more for the rights of my fellow African Americans. I wish I knew what to say, because “Sorry” just doesn’t seem good enough.

I’m not out protesting because, regrettably, I have physical limitations that make it difficult and painful to be on my feet for long periods of time. I did attend a program in 2019 on raising consciousness about injustice for blacks, but only whites showed up. We were attempting to view the lack of inequality and injustice through our ‘white’ lens.  It just didn’t authentically translate. I have been meditating for peace and justice, which is something I can do, but it doesn’t feel like enough.

My question it, what can I do? What can WE do? For there are others who are also feeling the shame of complacency? If we can’t be out on the streets protesting, what, then, can we do? I’m not the only one asking this question. I would like to open a dialogue. What can we do to stand in unity with the black community?  Please share your thoughts.

Please place your thoughts in the comment section under the post for this blog post.

If you are struggling with negative thoughts, feelings of insecurity, or anxiety please contact Joy at 415-819-8769 or email Joy here to schedule a 20-minute complimentary phone consultation today.

We are two months into a time national and global separation. Stay at home orders in most states have kept us in our homes unable to hug our families and friends for fear of getting sick, or getting them sick. We wear masks when doing our essential work, shopping, and/or medical appointments. These masks hide our smiles and friendly faces. Instead we look like bandits lining up to rob the local grocery store. We try to stay connected and/or work via Zoom which has caused another condition called Zoom Meeting Overload. We all long to return to normal, but will the world ever be normal again?

I worry because for some, the current stay at home orders may be exacerbating the feelings of isolation and separation. These feelings can heighten the perception of differences, increase frustration, and create an atmosphere of diminished tolerance and understanding.

Unfortunately, we already have way too much of that going on in our country. Even after years fighting for and trying to honor everyone’s civil rights, atrocities are still happening. Just last February an African American man, Ahmaud Arber, was killed as he was jogging through a neighborhood in Georgia. Because of the color of his skin he was assumed to be a suspicious character. Two men took ‘the law into their own hands’ and fatally shot him.

The fact that it took two months for the admitted killers to be called to justice is further evidence of how entrenched this sickness of judgment and bias is and continues to fester in our communities. This is why it is so important to remember that we are all ONE; that we are all connected.

This is especially true now. We are all sharing the same experience of struggling to survive in a world that has gone haywire. This shared experience calls for us to let go of our fear and judgment of our differences, and instead embrace compassion, understanding, and greater tolerance for the ONENESS that we all share.

This strange surreal world we now live in has recalled to memory one of my favorite inspirational writers, Wayne Dyer. He introduced me to the concepts of unity consciousness about 17 years ago. I have read many of his books and have long appreciated his wisdom. I found this article on his blog page and wanted to share his thoughts with you. I hope you also come to appreciate his wisdom. (I’ve made of few changes and have put them in parenthesis.)

One Indivisible Family

by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

“No man is an island, entire of himself; every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main….”

John Donne, 1624

Are you familiar with these classic lines? Here seventeenth century metaphysical poet John Donne expresses the idea of oneness and unity consciousness. Ancient mystical wisdom tells us that in the garden of the mystics, distinctions such as I, you, he, she, and they do not exist. To reach a higher state of awareness and bliss in our lives, we must understand the truth of that first line, “no man (or woman) is an island.” That can happen only when our ego gets the message.

Our ego insists that we are separate from others and defined by where our boundaries stop and others start. Similarly, our ego tells us that we are separate from our environment and that we are here to sort of push it around as we desire. Yet mystical teachers and poets are always reminding us of our connectedness and the oneness of everything and everyone. We must look beneath the surface and beyond appearances to grasp the unity consciousness they speak of.

Imagine a wave or a drop of water considering itself apart from the ocean. It is weak when separated, but returned to its source it is as powerful as the ocean. Thinking of ourselves as separate from others, we lose the power of our Source and diminish the whole of humanity. When you see yourself as connected to everyone, you stop judging others and begin to see all of us connected to the same unseen silent life force.

Compassion becomes an automatic reaction when you see all of humanity as one undivided and indivisible family. Viewing all others as family members lets you feel more compassion and love toward them. John Donne’s words remind us that we all need each other.

Here are some unity consciousness ideas to practice:

  • Stop viewing yourself as distant and apart on the basis of your geography, or your isolation from those who are struggling elsewhere. When you become aware of someone suffering on another shore, say a prayer for that person, and see if you can experience in your heart your oneness with that person.
  • See (the Divine) in everyone and everything and behave each day as if (the Divine) in all things truly mattered. Try to suspend your judgments of those who are less peaceful, and less loving, and instead know that hatred and judgment are the problems in the first place.
  • Use fewer labels that distinguish you from “them.” You are a citizen of the world and a member of the human family, and when you stop the labeling process you begin to see (the Divine) in every garden, every forest, every home, every creature, and every person.

 

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If this time of isolation and separation is causing you to feel lonely, worried, depressed, isolated, or frustrated, please reach out to me and request a 20 minute complimentary consultation to find out how I can help you find more peace and inner calm even though the world around you seems chaotic. Call 415-819-8769 or email Joy TODAY!

I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe during this global health crisis. My heart goes out to those of you who are struggling.

I know you have been flooded with advice about staying health from many different Health Care Professionals. I would like to offer you one more perspective which I believe contains nuggets of health care wisdom that can keep you healthy now, and beyond. It is an alternative health perspective from Dr. Lisa Moore, my Network Chiropractor, who has a holistic approach to your health. She sent this out in an email to all her patients. I felt called to pass the information along to you.

 

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“Your immune system is a circulating nervous system and it will work the way it was meant to work if we keep it clear. Again, it isn’t about the germs and microbes in our environment. A healthy immune system knows what to do when confronted with microbial invaders. That is its purpose. It also needs to be challenged. I question the wisdom of running away from contagion. Of trying to make us too clean. Of keeping us isolated from people we love during a time of uncertainly and fear. It’s futile. You can’t run from germs. They are everywhere. This one will eventually take its place alongside the microbes we are already familiar with. It will become part of the library our Innate Intelligence refers to when confronted with contagion.

“If you want to make that encounter a positive one, here are a few ideas to help your body and your immune system be strong and capable of withstanding this new (novel) virus:

 

  1. “Use this quite time, this pause from our daily lives, to tune into your inner being to see what it wants. Wake up when your body wakes you up, instead of setting an alarm. Go to bed or take a nap when you are tired, not when the clock or a family member tells you to. Eat when you are truly hungry, not when fear or uncertainty send you to the kitchen for comfort food. Forestall those carb cravings by asking yourself if you need some protein, or a hug, or to meditate. Do you need to have a good cry or to tell someone you are afraid, or lonely, or …? Even writing down your feelings helps.

 

  1. “Instead of giving in to the understandable tendency to eat those comfort foods, now is the time to provide your body with super good nutrition. Eat an extra helping of steamed vegetables, not a cookie. Shop at the farmer’s market every Saturday or Sunday. Our famers are here for us. Get to know them. They give us the fruits of their loving labor at just the right time. Spring time offers us green garlic (which I chop up and put in everything – I wait for this all year!); baby beets and tops for a healthy liver and gallbladder – spring is when the liver and gallbladder rejuvenate to help us cleanse our bodies; vegetable sprouts, full of new life, are here to give us vitality and strength – try the radish sprouts or the wasabi sprouts for some extra zing in salads, on your morning veggie-eggs, or in an occasional whole wheat sandwich wrap. Collect your vegetable scraps and use them to brew a healing, bone broth soup with your leftover chicken bones. After slow-cooking the bones and vegetables, strain them out and start fresh with organic market vegetables like chopped leeks, onions, carrots, peas, green beans, and maybe even some quinoa, and chopped chicken bits.

 

  1. “Avoid the temptation to sit in front of your phone, tablet, TV, or computer all day. I have unplugged from almost all news. Instead of listening to my favorite news channel from the minute I wake up and then when I get in the car, I have switched to vacuous pop music. Eventually, I may turn to the classical music station, but right now, the pop music invigorates me. On Mix-96 they are trying to play uplifting songs or songs that relate to what we might be feeling. Maybe I’ll even turn off the radio completely and just listen to the silence as I drive.

 

  1. “On that note, get up off the couch, get dressed, and go for a walk. Many state and county parks are still open. If we abide by the governmental distancing rules and don’t crowd them “too much” they will remain open. (Personally, I think this is nuts. You’re already outside with space and breezes between you. This virus enters our bodies most often by touching a surface and then touching a mucous membrane. Droplets in the air are blown away outdoors, unlike when you are in a crowded room with the windows closed.)

 

  1. “I always recommend beginning in the springtime to sit out in the sun for as much time as it takes to turn your skin a gentle pink (or just before) and increase your time as the days and months go by (but don’t let your skin burn). Of course, during our hottest months, it’s not possible to do this for very long, if at all, but pick it back up again towards fall so as to store up enough vitamin D for the winter. Flus tend to hit at the time of year when our vitamin D stores have dwindled. Vitamin D is fat soluble so it is possible to store up enough to last you for most of the year. Many doctors I trust believe that the flu is just really a sign of vitamin D deficiency. If you think you are running low, you can add some through supplementation (but sunlight is the best source). Either have your blood levels tested, or I can help you fill in the gaps until the sun returns. This coming week should be great for beginning this process. Let me know if you need ideas for nutritional support for immunity.

 

  1. “It struck me this morning that because the earth, Gaia, is a living, breathing entity, it is emulating exactly the process our bodies go through when we are toxic or diseased. As a world, we have been drifting more and more to an unhealthy lifestyle. The Standard American diet does not foster health. Many don’t get enough sleep, or have healthy relationships, or spend enough time outdoors. This time of “staying home” is an opportunity to re-set. To re-adopt healthier ways of being. Gaia is forcing us to do that. We are the contagion. We are the microbes on Mother Earth. We have polluted her skies and her water. We have introduced damaging frequencies like cellphone towers, and now 5G. We have over-fished her oceans, and farmed her soil unsustainably, introducing pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals to try to make her produce more than she can – to kill her natural, healthy biome, as we kill our own. She is raising her temperature the way we do when we have a fever. And fevers are healthy (If you get one, talk to me. Taking anti-inflammatories to lower your fever goes against what your body is trying to do – burn up unhealthy microbes. Taking calcium lactate powder from Standard Process will ensure that you come out of the fever in a healthy way. We have a natural mechanism that prevents our body temperature from going too high – in most cases.).

 

“…If we take care of our bodies and keep them clean, give them the food they need, and avoid introducing pollutants and toxins, surround ourselves with loving friends and family, and nurture our emotional lives, we have the best chance to be happy and healthy.” Dr. Lisa Moore, vibranthealthchiropractic.net

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I hope Dr. Lisa Moore’s alternative health perspective has a few nuggets of wisdom that you can integrate into your life, not just for your health and well-being during the Coronavirus, but as a new lifestyle.

For those of you who are struggling during this time with worry, anxiety, depression, etc., please don’t hesitate to give me a call. I offer a complimentary 20-minute phone consultation and am seeing clients via video conferencing calls.

Sending you and your family and loved ones blessings for peace, well-being, health, happiness, and safety during these challenging and unusual times.

Joy Reichard

Could times be even more chaotic?

The Coronavirus has the entire world worried. Italy has quarantined millions. The Grand Princess with it 3500 exposed and 21 ill occupants is restricted from landing as officials fear a spread of the virus. People over 60 are being advised avoid crowded places. People are starting to wear masks creating a shortage for health professionals. My girlfriend who had to fly back East to a funeral went armed with hand sanitizer, antiseptic wipes and would have taken a mask if she could have gotten her hands on one. People are worried and anxious.

On top of this worry each of us is becoming even more aware of just how polarized and political our country has become. Some are applauding our national leaders; others are horrified and concerned on what they perceive as their ineptness. Many of us are simply upset, angry, fearful, depressed, anxious and confused. It doesn’t matter on which side of the deep divide we are on.  We are all struggling stay centered and grounded.

No matter what side you are on, going into these intense emotional states of fear, anger, anxiety, etc., are harmful for you. Stress eats up your limited resources spiritually, emotionally and mentally, as well as wearing down your physical body. In addition your community and our nation are affected because all of these low vibrational feelings are feeding the mass collective consciousness of fear, anger, rage and hate. It doesn’t matter what side you are on, or what you are fearful of, the negative vibrations feed into the same mass collective consciousness which has a negative effect on everyone.

All of this has become very personal because I’m feeling all of these emotions and inner turmoil myself. I’m trying to stay centered and calm, but sometimes it’s been really difficult when everything seems chaotic and contentious.

Here are some tips that I’ve compiled from various sources that help me to stay grounded. I hope that you might also find them helpful when the world around you seems unpredictable. Even during turbulent times you always have the choice to “lose it,” or to use your tools and knowledge to stay calm and grounded.

1)  Be kind to yourself: Give yourself breaks from worrying about the actions of our national leaders or the “health” of the nation. Sit on the floor with your cat. Go for a walk and appreciate the nature around you. Turn up the music, kick up your heels, and dance. Read a good book. If you don’t have that kind of time, or space, give yourself a minute to think about something that makes you smile – your grandchild, a pet, a favorite movie, a song, or the best kisses you’ve ever had. (I personally like this last one. I’ve had some great kissers in my life!)

2) Air your concerns: Talk with a friend who has similar fears or concerns. Avoid complaining but express your emotions and how you are feeling. Make a pact that whenever you hear something on the news, or someone says something seemingly insane, you can be each other’s sounding boards. Or better yet, maybe take a break from the news altogether. Make a pact to avoid heated discussions, but to listen and empathize. I am grateful for each of my friends. We have kept each other balanced when our world has gotten too overwhelming for us to handle calmly.

3) Move: Walk, run, swim, soccer, skate, or whatever suits you. Get out of your head and into the sensations of your body. Being active helps you to burn off the stress hormones and to release your endorphins that help you stay happy and positive.

4) Mindfulness and meditation: Sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Slowly take in a deep breath, hold it, and then exhale very slowly. Try to relax your shoulders and muscles as you do this. Close your eyes and notice the thoughts, feelings, images, and bodily sensations that emerge. If you notice that your mind wanders, name what it’s wandered to (shopping list, to do list, etc.), then see if you can redirect your focus back to your breath. Allow any emotions (joy, sadness, fear, excitement, for example) to be present without judgment. Let the feelings move through you. Return to your breath. Do this for a couple of minutes to start and then increase to 10, 15 or even 20 minutes a day. This practice will help you find your way to greater states of inner peace.

5) Be grateful: Every day talk to a friend or write down something(s) for which you are grateful. Being grateful is a way of owning your power. No one, not even our national leaders, or parents, or friends, or colleagues, or an angry populace, can take that away. I like to walk in the mornings and just say thank you for everything I see. There is so much beauty in the world It’s amazing how just saying your gratitudes can lift your spirits.

6) Pray to your higher power and to the guides and masters who are working with our national leaders and health professional. Ask them to be blessed with the wisdom, discernment, compassion, and insight so they can make the best decisions that will serve the highest good and be of the greatest benefit and joy for our nation, the people, humanity, and our great mother, the Earth. Prayer is effective. Studies have proven that people who are prayed for heal faster than those who are not prayed for.

I wish you balance, centering, discernment, inner peace, love, and compassion as you walk your journey on this earth plane during these chaotic times.

If you are having difficulty staying centered, positive, and hopeful, then call Joy for a complimentary 20-minute consultation. Learn how Joy Reichard can help you maintain balance, clarity, and a positive attitude so you can be the most effective YOU possible, even during challenging times. Call 415-819-8769 or email Joy today!

There is so much turmoil today in our nation and the world today. The problems seem so insurmountable; it’s hard to stay positive. The chaos feels so overwhelming it’s hard to know where to step in and even attempt to make a difference. Many of us are struggling – fighting our own despair and feelings of anxiety and panic. How can we possibly step up and be the courageous and compassionate Spiritual Activist that I know many of us want to be?

When I think about activism I’m taken back to my own days in the 60’s when protest marches were common place. I remember the angry arms fists raised in the air and loud voices over megaphones blasting out about injustices.

When I think of spiritual activism I think of Martin Luther King and his non-violent protests that brought out the masses and lobbied for transformation and civil rights reform. I also think of Mother Teresa, that little female body of fierce compassion and conviction who swayed the conscious of the powerful masculine energies to support her causes.

I also think of the more recent Women’s March and the “We Too Movement,” with women showing up and being willing to take a stand against the injustices they’ve faced. I am in awe of their bravery and their commitment to break their chains of silence. It took courage, lots of courage, to stand up to the prevailing misogynistic sentiment and speak their truth!

Spiritual Activism is not about religion, or even about being religious. It is about being willing to take part in creating change – and to play that part with the spirit of compassion, love, a sense of the interconnectedness of all beings, as well as the determination to stand on conviction.

In Buddhism, they hold sacred the tenets of compassion, mercy, altruism, and loving kindness, among others. According to some strains of Tibetan Buddhism, practitioners will meditate on Tara, a female deity, to develop these qualities. Tibetan Buddhists believe that everyone can achieve enlightenment. They claim that Tara removes obstacles that impede personal growth and the courage for righteous action.

Tara is said to be born from the tears of the Hindu Lord of Compassion, Avalokitesvara. He was dedicated to rescuing all humans from suffering. But he despaired at the futility of his efforts. He wept, feeling downhearted. Tears fell from his eyes tears and from those tears emerged Green Tara and White Tara. Green Tara pledged to help by removing obstacles from the path of humans so they could walk the path to enlightenment with greater ease. White Tara vowed to help humans by increasing their fortunes and extending their lives. Today it is believed that they continue to help Avolakitesvara so that we humans are able to receive blessings and achieve enlightenment.

These deities serve as compassionate role models for us because they exemplify the altruistic mindset of service – not for personal fame or aggrandizement – but because they care about our human condition. They want us to live better lives so that we in turn will become enlightened spiritual activists who work for the betterment of humanity. The Taras stay focused on the positive, on what they can do, continually helping us to overcome obstacles, especially our negativity, so we can envision a better world for all.

The Taras understand that all beings are interconnected. When one human achieves a state of compassionate enlightenment then they can positively influence and raise the vibrations of people around them. As one of us becomes more compassionate and caring, then we can demonstrate to others the power of compassion and the importance of standing up for you convictions.

Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa strove for enlightenment, embraced compassion, pledged their lives to service, and had the courage to stand up for their convictions.

One human can inspire others and start a movement for peace, freedom and equality!

It’s also important to note that each Tara have their assigned tasks. They choose selectively where to put their efforts rather than fragmenting themselves. It’s important to use wisdom and discernment in order to focus our efforts so we can be more effective in making a difference.

Take time to reflect on the lessons from Green and White Tara. Become a spiritual activist; take a stand and make a difference. But come to your activism with an altruistic and compassionate heart. Remember to focus on the positive. Stand for what you are ‘for,’ not what you are ‘against,’ so your mindset can stay positive.

Always remember that we are all interconnected. What we are and what we do has an impact on those around us. Your bad mood can dampen the mood of others. When you are full of joy, it radiates to those around you lifting their moods. Finally, choose what you commit to with wisdom and discernment. Remember it is always better to under-commit and over-deliver than to over-commit and under-deliver.

If you, and I, can commit to these gems of wisdom, then we will have a chance to change the world – together!

If you are feeling overwhelmed and despairing about your life, please contact Joy at 415-819-8769 or email her to see how she can bring more balance and harmony into your life.

** This article was inspired by a blog posted in 2015 on http://fiercelove.wordpress.com.

For the past month or so I have felt like crap! Body aches, headaches from hell, and a sinus infection. I haven’t felt this bad in a long time. What’s worse is that it has affected my mood. I didn’t realize how low I had sunk until I was at lunch with friends sharing my sharing my aches and pains. Most of my friends were sympathetic, but one friend chided me for “owning all of that negativity!“ – That stung! It didn’t feel very sympathetic. But it also made me realize just how low my mood had sunk.

I’m usually a positive person who is grateful for the life I have. I realized after this incident, however, that it is easy to stay positive and in gratitude when you feel good and life is easy and comfortable. When, however, life takes a nose-dive into pain, loss, chaos, or negativity – then it’s just plain hard to stay in a good place.

This started me thinking about how we can stay positive when we feel like crap! I know I don’t feel very positive or grateful when I hurt all over. It’s challenging and feels like it takes way too much effort. I’d rather whine and feel sorry for myself. But that doesn’t make me feel better either. And, according to the Law of Attraction, the Universe provides what we are most focused on. Whining and feeling sorry for oneself only brings more of the same. Ugh!

My reflections led me to remember a book I read by Psychiatrist Victor Frankl entitled Man’s Search for Meaning. It describes Frankl’s life in Nazi death camps from 1942 to 1945 where he labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz. He survived while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. In this place of no hope and immense despair Frankl learned a powerful spiritual lesson. We can’t avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl came to realize that our primary human drive in life is not pleasure, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

One of his tools that sustained him and helped him to live each day with hope was his Jewish heritage of daily prayers and blessings of gratitude. You might ask how anyone could find anything to be grateful for in a Nazi death camp. These simple Jewish prayers and blessings, however, do just that. Here are a few examples from the Jewish tradition. Of course you can change the invocation to “Mother/Father God, Divine Mother, The All That Is, Universal Consciousness, Higher Power, etc., to meet your own personal religious or spiritual beliefs.

Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who creates fragrant grasses.

Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who creates varieties of nourishment.

Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.

Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who creates various spices.

Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who made the large bodies of water.

Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, for good news and positive experiences.

Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, for surviving life-threatening situations, such as illness or childbirth.

Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who left out nothing in His world and created pleasant creations and good trees so that people can derive benefit from them.

There are prayers of gratitude for the blue sky, for rain, for waking up each day, for their soul, etc. There is even a prayer of gratitude for bad news and negative experiences, for don’t we learn our most valuable lessons from our challenges, and don’t they also help us appreciate the positive things in our lives?

If Viktor Frankl could find meaning, purpose and stay hopeful during three years in Nazi death camps, then how can I not even attempt to stay positive and in gratitude during my mere month of feeling like crap.

So I am back to saying my gratitudes each day. And when I feel miserable, I am shifting my mood by reminding myself of the many blessings in my life. My beautiful home, my friends, family and communities, the rain that nourishes the earth, the sun that brings light and growth, my ability to provide for myself, my mind that allows me to reflect, learn, and grow in consciousness. I have so many things to be grateful for.

I am discovering that reminding myself of the things that I can be grateful for is helping me to shift to a more positive place even when I am feeling miserable. I encourage you to try saying your gratitudes daily especially when you are in a bad place. It will help you shift your mood too.

If you are struggling with negativity and feelings of hopelessness and despair, please reach out to Joy to see how she can help you find more joy and positivity in your life. Call Joy at 415-819-8769 or email Joy here.

At this time of year many of us turn our attention to what we don’t have rather than what we do ‑ and for good reason!  The season of non-stop shopping has arrived.  With Thanksgiving well behind us, we are now in the midst of the race to get ready for the next big holiday.  Many have already forgotten the season of thankfulness, as we find ourselves smack dab in the midst of the frenetic days of looking, finding ordering, and buying.  We have swung from celebrating gratitude to experiencing the overwhelming drive to satisfy needs, wants and desires.

Before you head to the mall this weekend, take a moment to breathe and not only count your blessings, but to take a few moments to really focus on them.  Your money may be destined to buy a lot in the next few weeks.  For some, however, there just might not be as much money to go around this year as in the past.  This deficiency can create angst and feelings of lack and limitation.

Yet if you stop and reflect on money, and what is truly important, you will begin to realize that money can’t buy the gifts that count the most:  good health, loving relationships, close family ties, caring friends and community, the fulfillment of creative expression, and inner peace.  It’s too easy to forget their importance, not because we are ungrateful, but because we simply get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and the worries of not having enough.  In reality there just isn’t enough money, nor will there ever be, to fill the deep need within all of us for acceptance, love, and connection. Those things can’t be bought at any price!

Why not make a commitment to do the holidays differently this year?  I know it is good for the economy for consumers to rush around spending money. Few of us, however, really need more STUFF!  Most of our closets, drawers and garages are already stuffed with THINGS!  The storage industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the country.  And it only takes an hour to open all the presents that we devoted time, thought, and effort, not to mention all the money, in purchasing during this four week holiday spending spree.

Why not scale down the Holiday spending splurge? Instead, try holding on to the Thanksgiving feelings of gratitude a bit longer by generously reaching out to those around you with feelings of well-being, tolerance and compassion.  Did you know that it takes fewer facial muscles to smile than to frown?  So why not practice smiling more, being kinder, gentler and more patient?  Instead of getting caught up in the holiday rush, reach out to others, take time to re-connect with a friend, an acquaintance, or relative that has drifted away.  Or reflect on how you can enrich your relationships with quality time ‑ truly sharing and caring.

Susie Norman was once asked if they should go into their emergency reserves this year to buy Christmas gifts so their kids wouldn’t have to go without.  She said absolutely not!!!!!  She recommended going for a long Holiday walk, have a pot luck gathering with friends and family, gather with others to sing Christmas carols, or invite a few dear friends over for a cup of holiday tea and cookies.  Debt is never a healthy nostalgic memory to associate with Christmas. Closeness, connection and being together with those we care about is!

This Holiday Season spend less time rushing and buying and doing, and make an effort to be more present and mindful of what is truly important.  This Holiday Season give the gifts that money can’t buy – understanding, connection, caring, love, and peace.

If you find you are struggling during this Holiday Season then reach out to Joy to find out how you can make this a meaning and special time for yourself. Call or text 415-819-8769 or email Joy.

Happy Holidays

On a Personal Note

About 5 years ago I was gifted with a painting class. My Mom loved to paint and spent her retirement adorning her walls, and those of her kids and grandkids, with her paintings.

I inherited my mother’s creative side and many years ago I took art classes. Then for years as I was trying to grow my hypnotherapy and coaching practice I didn’t allow myself that artistic outlet. Amazingly my talents, though rusty, were re-awakened 4 years ago. I hadn’t lost the artistic touch after all! I painted for a couple of years and then took another pause until about 2 years ago. Fortunately I’m back to painting again and now even have my own personal art studio in my new home. I have wall space to hang all my pictures and can even invite my dear friend, Andrea, over to paint with me. I can’t tell you how much it has meant to me to give myself permission to create space to paint.

(If curious you may view my recent paintings at the end of this article.)

 

Unleash the Authentic YOU!

Most of us feel uncomfortable thinking of ourselves as creative, as potential artists in our own right, but we are.  We think artists write novels, paint pictures, choreograph ballets, act on Broadway, or shoot feature films.  Each of us, however, is an artist.  An artist is merely someone with good listening skills who accesses the creative energy of the Universe to bring forth something on the material plane that wasn’t here before. This “something” was a part of Spirit before it was manifested as a book, a painting, a ballet or a film.

The same is true with creating an authentic life.  With every choice you make every day of your life, you are creating a unique work of art.  Something that only you can do,  something that has the potential to be beautiful and ephemeral.  The reason you incarnated on the earth plane was to leave your own personal indelible mark on the world.  This is your authenticity.

Today, accept that you are creating a work of art by making choices, both the big ones and little ones.  If you notice you tend to play it safe and avoid taking risks, then, for a change, try something new and different.  Why not order an espresso at lunch, if you’ve never tried one?  Or why not sign up for that belly dancing or kick boxing class that you have always wanted to take?  Or if you have always wanted to ride in a helicopter, or walk the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral, or spend a week in Bali, then why not set a date and do it?!

Or maybe you want to try something less daring, so why not stick a small bottle of balsamic vinegar in the shopping cart to drizzle over melon?  Or you can switch the dial on the radio station and listen to Country and Western instead of Rock, or Rap, or Easy Listening as you drive home? Or better yet, turn off the radio and listen to your own thoughts. You might be surprised by what you hear!

Each time you experience the new, you become receptive to inspiration.  Each time you try something different, you let the Universe know you are listening.  Trust your instincts.  Believe your yearnings are blessings.  Respect your creative urges.  If you are willing to step out in faith and leap into the unknown, you will discover that your choices are as authentic as you are. What is more, you will discover that your life has so much greater capacity for happiness, fulfillment, and endless surprises than you ever dreamed possible.

If you find that you lack the courage or motivation to follow your dreams, then consider scheduling a complementary 20-minute phone consultation to see if transformative life coaching with hypnotherapy can propel you down the path to fulfillment.

 

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Halloween is upon us again. It’s the time of ghosts, goblins, and shadowy figures. Sometimes they are of our own creation. They jump out and plague us when we least suspect.

Many of you know that I am fond of ancient Goddess archetypes. Their myths and legends have survived into contemporary times because they still hold kernels of truth and insight into human nature.

One of the Goddesses I hold in high esteem is Hecate. She is the Greek Goddess of the Underworld and functions as the Guardian of the Souls, guiding them to the underworld and back again for rebirth.

In the transpersonal psychology community, the underworld is a metaphor for the sub-conscious – that shadowy inner realm of our deepest thoughts, feelings, fears, and self-doubts. No one, not even the most accomplished, is free of this realm – for wherever we go, it goes with us.

We live in a culture, however, that avoids acknowledging uncomfortable feelings. There is a perception that to admit our feelings, especially those that concede that we are vulnerable, is an admission of weakness – that we just might be damaged goods!

Avoiding the vulnerability doesn’t serve you. When you push unwelcomed emotions underground, they frequently re-emerge with a vengeance. There is a saying, “What we resist, persists.” Have you experienced this? I have.

I am noticing a growing phenomenon in my practice. More and more clients (both men and women) are lamenting their feelings of unhappiness, depression, of feeling stuck, trapped, or burnt out. They complain that their performance at work is suffering, or their relationships aren’t working, or that they are in crisis. They simply know something is wrong, even if they can’t quite put a name on it. They just recognize that their life lacks joy, pleasure, passion, and love. It’s as if some shadowy figure has sucked the aliveness right out of their life.

Often, in the work that I do, I function as a modern day Hecate! I guide my clients into the shadowy realm of their inner thoughts and fears. We dig deep to uncover those core issues preventing them from living the life they want and deserve. Often, we reframe, release, or heal old beliefs, conditioning, and negative self-perceptions. A lot of this “old stuff” comes from childhood when, for a myriad of reasons, we were made to feel “not good enough.”

When I was child there were many times when I felt helpless, flawed, scared and vulnerable. I know I’m not the only one with these same childhood memories. If they aren’t healed, these memories can be triggered in adulthood showing up as anxiety, fears, doubts and insecurities. Childhood memories lurk in the shadows of our subconscious as the ghosts, goblins, and demons that keep us from experiencing the joy, passion and love we deserve.

It’s not fun working with these shadowy realms. But it can be enlightening and liberating when we learn to have compassion for our younger self who IN THE PAST may have been simply scared and vulnerable. Doing the inner work frees us so that we can deal with the adult challenges we face in the workplace or in our relationships.

How to do the Inner Work

When you find yourself triggered – you may either feel anxious, insecure, vulnerable, angry, or fearful – try taking a few quiet moments to ask yourself: when in the past did you have similar feelings? Take time to sort through your memories. I’m willing to bet a dollar that the source of your trigger is tied to something that happened to you in the past. Your memory could be recent, or could even take you back to childhood. Then observe your younger self in that memory. Was She or He equipped to adequately deal with that situation? I bet another dollar that you weren’t! This is quite probably the source of your anger, frustration, fear, anxiety, or insecurity.

Once you have identified the source of your trigger, try to find some compassion for your younger self. Remind yourself that at that time you just didn’t have the capacity to cope effectively. Give yourself a virtual hug. And remind yourself that today YOU are stronger, more knowledgeable and experienced, and have many more skills than YOU did in the past. This will help you realize that TODAY you have the capacity to cope and to find the solutions that you need for today’s challenges. Once you realize that NOW you are better equipped, then you will be able to face life’s challenges with much greater confidence and self-assurance.

The painful memories of your past are the source of your worst demons, goblins and ghosts. And with the help of Hecate you can travel into the shadow realm to seek your own healing.

If you lack enjoyment and passion, or feel frustrated, anxious or burnt-out, and are in need of help to transform your life, then contact Joy at joy@joyreichard.com or at 415-819-8769 to schedule a complementary 20-minute consultation and find out how you can live a more joyful and passionate life.