Archive | Emotional Healing

You Are More Than Your Brain

My father and I share a common trait – intellectual curiosity. Lately this has led us to reading books and discussing topics on the nature of the soul, self-awareness, and higher consciousness. Dad often challenges me to read a particular book. The most recent challenge is Super Brain by Deepak Chopra and Rudolph E Tanzi. Dad claims that if I want to stay mentally alert and active into old age (he’s 88, and is as sharp and alert as ever) then this book is a must-read!

Dutifully reading Super Brain for an upcoming visit with my father, I was intrigued by one subheading – “You Are Not Your Brain.” It stresses that many of us don’t realize that we are our own ‘reality makers.’ For instance, when suffering from a cold we tend to say, “I have a cold.” But when we are suffering from depression we tend to say, “I am depressed.”
“I am (whatever…)” is a powerful statement. It means you identify with whatever condition you are experiencing. In other words, your mood colors your world. So when you identify with being depressed, then the world reflects how you feel. The world can literally lose its vibrant colors and seem gray, lifeless, humorless and lacking in joy.

Yet it’s not your brain that is in charge of your identity. If this were true then it would make as much sense to say you are a yellow lemon, or a tree, or a grey rock as it would be to say you are depressed. What’s really going on has to do with brain electrical chemistry and how that is intimately connected to your emotions and perception.

Researchers have found that by applying a small electrical charge to a specific part of the motor cortex that the arm will move. When the patient is asked what happened, the response is, “My arm moved.” Yet when instructed to move their arm, the patient’s response is, “I moved my arm.”

This indicates that there is another element at play that impacts the brain. It’s the “I,” or your mind, which is linked with the brain, but is also separate from the brain. The “I” is what controls the brain, and is much more powerful than you may recognize.

Many of my clients suffer from depression, anxiety, or troubling negative thoughts. One of my goals is to help them separate the “I” from their reactive unconscious functioning. My mantra is “Your mind is a muscle. You are the one in charge.”

Most often we don’t realize that we are in charge. We let our reactive unconscious perceptions of the world control our actions. This is why we erupt in anger, act on our jealousies, give in to our greed, are obsessed with control, sink into depression, and the list goes on and on.
Super Brain lists some pointers on how you can take control of your mind, and thus your life, by transforming your perception.

  • Take responsibility for your own experience.
  • Be skeptical of fixed reactions, both yours and anyone else’s.
  • Confront old conditioning. It leads to unconscious behavior.
  • Be aware of your emotions and where they come from.
  • Examine your core beliefs. Hold them up to the light, and discard beliefs that make you stuck.
  • Ask yourself what part of reality you are rejecting. Freely consult the viewpoint of the people around you. Respect what they see in the situation.
  • Practice empathy so that you can experience the world through someone else’s eyes.
If you pursue these steps, then you can progress from unconscious behaviors to being more aware, to self-awareness. The goal is to become self-aware. This is the place of self-mastery from where you can create your reality. It is remarkable how changing your perception can transform your life!

If you feel your life is controlled by depressive or negative thoughts or anxiety please email me or call 415-819-8769 TODAY for a complimentary consultation to find out how Transformational Life Coaching with Hypnotherapy can help YOU become the maker of your reality.



Chaos in the Political Arena! Should I Worry?

With all the recent news about the current political chaos surrounding us – doesn’t matter whether you’re red/ blue or somewhere in*between – it’s difficult not to fall into the mass consciousness habit of worry. Yet worrying is the worst thing to do. Worrying keeps your mental focus on what’s not working, or what you don’t have, or what may not be working in the near future. From this place it is easy to fall into the victim role. And victims are rarely successful.

When your mind is occupied with worry, it leaves little room for creative problem solving. Negative thoughts can actually suck you into a low mood, expanding those feelings of lethargy when you feel unmotivated and unproductive. Then your subconscious mind reinforces your low mood by offering up negative thoughts and memories that compound the worry. This is how a person gets stuck in low moods, which can then spiral into depression. Health professionals have become aware of the importance of a person’s mood. It is now commonly accepted wisdom that a positive, calm and happy frame of mind promotes healing. Today, hospitals (including some on the Bay Area) make guided visualization tapes for surgery patients that include positive imagery in order to facilitate their healing and speed recovery.

Worry also creates feelings of lack, limitation, or indecisiveness, generating an inclination for greater caution. Caution can then curtail your willingness to take risks, or try something different, or even explore new or innovative possibilities. These are the very traits you need during challenging times!

In addition, individuals who are worried tend to complain more, seeming to get stuck in worry, which can cause them to be perceived by others as experiencing “hard times,” or not being able to successfully cope with challenging, even chaotic times. This is not a good image for a professional in any career or growing business. Worry, therefore, is not only a useless endeavor, it wastes your time and energy, and it can literally be dangerous to your health, happiness and success.

So how do you not worry? One way is to create a vision of what you want to achieve. In reality YOU create your environment. As a matter of fact, you are in charge of your reality. You can choose to be off-kilter and let circumstances and the chaos of life take charge, or YOU can choose to be the one at the helm.

Take time to focus on what you want to create for yourself. Do you want to be focused and on top of things? Then decide what will help you to do that. If it’s turning off the news, or deciding not to get engrossed in politics, then maybe that is your best strategy for now. Or maybe you’d like to focus on getting involved in a social action group, or signing all those petitions, or getting involved in your local politics. Or you might want to refocus on your business and career instead and put a strategic one-year action plan in place. Or you might want to focus on your own personal growth, or take up that hobby that you’ve always wanted to schedule time for.

Rather than complaining about the chaos, start focusing on what you want to create – whether it is for your community, for the nation, or for yourself. Share your vision and dreams with others and talk about what you are creating. When you start to worry, shift your thoughts to what you can do, or create, or want to improve. Find a friend who you can call to help you stay positive and creative, and don’t hesitate to call them when your thoughts start to go south.

Also, it’s important to remember that everything on earth is cyclical, and that all phases and cycles are temporary. Just like the tide, every ebb is followed by a flow. And the only constant is change! By staying positive you will find it’s possible to be even more creative and innovative than you ever imagined. And you will be more flexible and adaptive to the flow of change. These are challenging times, but you have what it takes to ride the wave and come out on top!

If current times are creating worry and frustrations that are causing you to spend more time being anxious and depressed, then give Joy a call and ask for a 30-minute complimentary consultation to find out how you can start being more positive and happy. Contact Joy today by phone 415-819-9769 or email.

Tips for Staying Centered During Turbulent Times

2f894562-4450-4785-84e5-06f22aa0ee1aDaily each of us is becoming more aware of just how polarized our country has become. Some are applauding our national leaders’ actions; others are horrified and taking a stand by signing petitions, calling State and US Representatives, or are out there protesting. There are also many of us who are just upset, angry, fearful, depressed or anxious on either side of the deep political divide that is daily becoming even more polarized.

No matter what side you are on, these intense polarized states are harmful for you, your community and our nation because polarization knocks you off your center, interfering with your ability to think clearly, stay emotionally balanced, and to act with wisdom and compassion. All of these low vibrational feelings of fear, anger, rage and hate are feeding the mass collective consciousness. It doesn’t matter what your politics are: the negative vibrations feed into the same mass collective consciousness, and this has a negative effect on everyone.

All of this has become very personal because I’m feeling all of these emotions and turmoil myself. I’m trying to stay centered, but recently it has been very hard. That’s why I was grateful when my friend and spiritual mentor, Terry Attwood, shared these following tips from Wall-of-us Weekly Actions on how to stay centered when things get difficult. I needed these tips – and I thought you might benefit from them too.

I’ve re-worked some of the following suggestions with the intention of making them accessible to both sides of the divide that’s polarizing our nation. Please read them. They were prepared by a licensed therapist. We all need a little self-care right now. While the world around us may seem unpredictable, you still have the ability to ground yourself by building predictable and safe habits.

1) Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself breaks from ruminating about the actions of our national leaders and the people’s response about what is to come. Sit on the floor with your cat. Lie on the ground and look at the clouds. Or blast some music in your home and dance your butt off. If you don’t have that kind of time, or space, give yourself a minute to think of all your favorite movies, or songs, 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 to like-minded friends about your fears or worries. Make a pact that whenever something happens on the national platform, or someone says something seemingly insane, you can be each other’s sounding boards. Make a pact to not escalate into a heated, hate-filled discussion, but to listen and empathize.

3) Get physical. Walk, run, swim, play soccer, skate, or whatever suits you. Get out of your head and into the sensations of your body. As you exert energy, see if you can expel negativity that you are carrying from the latest news.

4) Use mindfulness techniques. 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 (your shopping list, to do list, etc.), then see if you can redirect your focus back to your breath. Allow any emotions (for example: joy, sadness, fear, excitement) to be present without judgment. Let the feelings move through you. Return to your breath.

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 having power. No one, not even our national leaders, or parents, or friends, or colleagues, or an angry populace, can take away our genuine gratitude.

6) Pray to your higher power and to the guides and masters who are working with our national leaders. Ask that our leaders be blessed with the wisdom, discernment, compassion, and insight to 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.

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

If you are having difficulty staying centered, positive, and hopeful, then call Joy for a complimentary 30-minute consultation. Learn how Joy 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!


Reclaiming Your Feminine Sensual Self

Outdated gender stereotyping is up for everyone right now. Women around our nation, with sisterhood support around the globe, stood up and took a stand on January 21, 2017 for women, women’s rights, equality, justice, and for women’s values, concerns and issues. More than one woman held signs saying women’s rights are human rights. And many enlightened husbands, brothers, sons and grandsons were out there with their women protesting right along with them. It’s time to co-create a new view of the modern woman. The old gender stereotype is being toppled by a lot of ‘nasty’, vocal women who are determined to be seen in a new way!

Gender stereotyping, unfortunately, is still occurring in our society. One of my clients, a very savvy twenty-something, shared with me that her supervisor pulled her aside and told her ‘not to be so emotional’ after giving a talk on a project she was passionate about. Not one to be easily intimidated, my client pointed out to him that he would never accuse one of her male colleagues as being ‘too emotional!’

It’s no secret that our dualistic culture assigns gender designations to certain behaviors and traits. According to the famous psychotherapist, Carl Jung, both men and women possess traits that are often assigned to the opposite gender. Jung designated them according to these terms: the inner-feminine, or anima, for men, and the inner-masculine, or the animus, for women. The inner-feminine helps men feel compassion and love, to be reflective, intuitive, and receptive. For women, their inner-masculine aids determination, active doing, courage, the willingness to face challenges, and the desire to venture out into the world. A person is in balance when they have a good relationship with both their masculine and feminine selves.

I work with many women entrepreneurs and business women who have successfully engaged their masculine active/doing sides. They are out there doing their work: supervising, selling, leading, networking, marketing, etc. Some are doing great! Others haven’t been able to find the right formula for success, or for getting that steady flow of clients. They are doing everything right… but something’s off.

For the latter, I often wonder if they are sacrificing their full sensual feminine self by sliding too far into their ‘inner- masculine’. When a woman becomes too ‘male-identified’, she can be perceived as abrasive, full-tilt assertive, and even overpowering. Too often we women think we have to be as good as a man or even better in order to be successful. This can actually be counter-productive.

Male identification, I believe, is a feminist backlash in a society which still favors masculine qualities and ways of thinking. It’s time for women to let go of the past, reclaim our full feminine self, and step into the future. This is what the Dalai Lama was talking about when he said the world would be saved by the Western woman: that we women have work to do. There’s no time to be hung up on an old paradigm that keeps women, and men, stuck in an outdated belief system of gender stereotyping.

During my own journey I came to realize that when a woman owns her inner-masculine, she has a greater chance of being successful in the business world. When a woman sacrifices her feminine self, however, it can leave her feeling disconnected from the true essence of who she is. Then a woman can come off as appearing abrasive instead of assertive, as bitchy rather than as ‘taking a stand’, as ‘being just like a woman’ when passionate, or as too ‘touchy-feely’ when showing empathy or compassion. I’ve also heard way too many tales of women being negative or demeaning to each other in the work-place, rather than being supportive and collaborative.

Part of this derogatory labeling of the female comes, I believe, from the wounding of feminine sexuality. Should we be the good wife and mother, the sensual lover, or take the lead as the seductress? Why do we have to be one or the other, instead of having the freedom to play all three when we choose? And why does the sexual female and the seductress have such a scandalous reputation? In ancient times sexuality was sacred. Women were respected, honored, and viewed as the living representatives of the Goddess on earth. Why shouldn’t women be as equally honored today?

Another reason for the denigration of women is because we have the bad rep as the “weaker sex.” In reality, and in so many ways, the feminine is the more powerful, resilient and resourceful gender. I watched my mother-in-law hold everything and everyone together when my father-in-law went through several major health crises, while her adult sons were almost paralyzed by worry, fear, and their personal grief. This strength is more common than we women are credited for. It’s the old paradigm that keeps women stuck in stereotypical roles that are both no longer relevant and are way too confining for contemporary times.

Don’t misunderstand me and think I’m placing blame on men. Men have their own challenges in our dualistic culture. In this lifetime, however, I am on a mission to help women reclaim their Full Sensual Feminine Self!

That’s why I’ve been leading the In Her Name Circle in San Mateo since 2008. (Click here for more info.)  And it is the reason why, now that I’ve moved to Fair Oaks CA, that I am starting the Circle with the Divine Feminine. (Click here for more on that.) From my years of leading women’s circles I have found how important it is for women to have a safe place to gather, share stories, learn about the Divine Feminine, and to realize that they each carry a spark of the Divine within.
If you live close to either San Mateo, CA or Fair Oaks, CA, please sign up for one of the meetups and come circle with us. We would love to welcome you into our sisterhood.

If you are struggling with insecurities or self-doubts in our highly polarized society please contact me for a complimentary 30-minute consultation. I see people by phone, video-conferencing, on in person in my Fair Oaks office. Contact me today by email or call 415-819-8769

Rehabilitate Your Inner Bully

Have you ever been on a walk on a beautiful day or sitting in your car stuck in traffic with your mind in neutral when all of a sudden you’re plagued with an unpleasant memory? The kind in which you did or said something stupid, or made a mistake, or didn’t perform as well as you should have. One minute everything was OK. The next moment you are filled with shame, guilt, regret, etc. I call these negative memories the ‘bloopers.’ We all have them – memories from our past that dredge up conflicting feelings and old hurts. These memories can be quite debilitating if we don’t know how to turn them around.

Buying into the Story
I remember one college student who was placed in a ‘learning challenged’ program in high school. I quickly realized that his real challenge was less about him being ‘learning challenged,’ but rather that he had bought into the story and, at his core, now believed he was ‘challenged.’ This label created feelings of inadequacy and of ‘not being good enough’ which progressed into states of anxiety and overwhelm whenever he was in a learning situation. This included everything from simple studying, to class participation and actual test taking. His own inner dialog was now bullying him into staying self-identified as ‘learning challenged.’

The Inner Bully
According to Webster, a bully is “a quarrelsome, overbearing person who badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.” This is exactly what our inner bullies do – they badger us into staying small. Real life bullies can be spiteful and mean. Our inner bullies just don’t know any better. No one has ever given them a larger vision of who they can become. Our inner bullies strive to keep us small because that is what is familiar and feels safe – what one of my mentors and colleague, Megan Wagner, calls our SMALL self. In reality, during our life journey upon this planet we develop lots of skills, talents and abilities that can help us grow into a much bigger version of our self -our BIG self. This larger vision of who we can become, however, can end up frightening us. Then we can become so intimidated that we end up working double time to keep us small. That part that beats us down is the Inner Bully!

We can stop this battle with our Inner Bully by rehabilitating them. Each experience in our life has the potential to be a valuable lesson. Unfortunately our Western culture is too focused on results, perfectionism and ‘doing it right.’ We don’t give enough credit to the valuable lessons that come from our mistakes. Instead they become the ‘bloopers’ that keep us cycling back into our SMALL selves.

It is time to change the story!

Rehabilitation Process
Next time one of those bloopers encroaches on your mental space – STOP and take a deep breath. Then step back and, from a larger perspective, look at that memory that has triggered your feelings of guilt, shame, regret or hurt. Ask yourself, “What did I learn from this experience?” or “What can I still learn?” View it as an opportunity to learn something valuable, as a gift of insight.

Then, once you have gleaned all you can from your reflection, send a little love and forgiveness (or ask for forgiveness) back to both yourself and whoever else might be involved. This process, though focused on the past, will help you heal in the present! It will help you stop the self-battering so you can begin appreciating yourself and your life lessons.

You may want to know what happened with my student. I taught him some anxiety reducing tools, gave him some self-esteem enhancing visualizations, and helped him understand and appreciate how his mind processed information. It took some time, but he was able to change his story and step into a larger vision of himself, ending the semester with 3 A’s and 2 B’s!

If you need help putting down your battering rod and rehabilitating your inner bully, please contact me. I offer 30-minute free consultations and would love to help you step into your BIG self. Call Joy at 415-819-8769 or email Joy today!


For more information, visit my website here.

Tips for Avoiding the Holiday Blues – Part Two

For many, the holidays bring up nostalgic memories of family fun and good cheer. For others, it can be a time of loneliness, sadness, and depression. Unfortunately, the holiday blues are a very real phenomenon.

Here are some of the risk factors of holiday depression, and how you can avoid them!

Comparing Your Insides to Someone Else’s Outsides
Both in real life and on social media, it can be difficult to avoid comparing yourself with others around Christmastime. If you have a less-than-perfect family, a past trauma from this time of year, or just a less-than-full holiday dance card, comparing your holiday experience with those of others is a recipe for increased sadness and isolation.

Often, these comparisons tend to be skewed — and they tend to make us feel bad about ourselves. That’s because a person’s basis for comparison is not based in reality. Why? Because – bottom line – most families have issues! And most people didn’t have the perfect Christmases that they would like to have had, or even remembered that they had.

Slacking on Self-Care
For many people, December is the busiest time of the year. When work pressures pile up and the calendar gets full with social obligations, the routines that normally keep us healthy and happy — yoga class, morning runs, healthy home-cooked meals, a meditation practice — are usually the first thing to fall by the wayside.

In addition to increased stress, eating poorly and drinking excessively can also exacerbate issues like stress, anxiety and depression.

Take care of yourself and don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.

Try these suggestions:
  • Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.
I would like to emphasize the importance of avoiding binge drinking. Alcohol is everywhere during the holidays! If you’re struggling with feeling down, it may be wise to avoid drinking as much as possible because alcohol is known to worsen, not relieve, symptoms of anxiety and depression.

No “ME” Time
Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
Some options may include:

  • Taking a walk at night and stargazing.
  • Listening to soothing music.
  • Getting a massage.
  • Reading a book.
Experiencing Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
If you tend to start feeling down when winter approaches each year, and those negative feelings don’t go away after the holidays are over, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Many people who think they are suffering from a case of holiday blues may actually be suffering from SAD, a form of depression that’s brought on by the change of seasons. Many people miss the exposure to natural light and can sink into sadness. But SAD shouldn’t be dismissed as mere “winter blues” — talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms of the disorder to find a treatment that works for you. Also you might look into full spectrum lighting. Full spectrum lighting duplicates the visible wavelengths of sunlight at noon and uses both high clarity and balanced color phosphors. It has helped many people overcome SAD.

Family Grievances and Conflict
The holidays are a great time to be tolerant and set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations.

Declare an amnesty with whichever family member or friend for whom you feel past resentments. It’s seldom helpful to tell your relative about every resentment on your laundry list of grievances, especially during the holiday celebrations. And don’t let your relative do that to you, either!

Try to be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.

If you know there are going to be conflicts, prepare a neutral response, such as, “Let’s talk about that another time,” or, “I can see how you would feel that way.” Then escape to the restroom, offer to help in the kitchen, or go hang out with the kids. And it always helps to call a good friend if you need a sympathetic ear.

Post-Christmas Credit Card Bills that Put You in a Tailspin
To avoid the after Christmas sticker shock create and stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.

Try these alternatives:
  • Donate to a charity in someone’s name.
  • Give homemade gifts.
  • Start a family gift exchange.
I have a large extended family. Years ago we decided to have a family Christmas get-together the Saturday before Christmas with a family gift exchange. We set a price and it’s been working great ever since. It’s made my life easier, and we still enjoy the Holiday fun!

Missing the Holiday Action

Feeling like you are under-scheduled or under-planned for the holidays?

This is a great time to help others, and make some friends while doing it. Volunteer to serve holiday dinner at a homeless shelter. Work with any number of groups that help underprivileged or hospitalized children at the holidays. Sing in a choir that visits hospitals or senior residences. There are many opportunities for doing community service. No one can be depressed when they are doing community service. Helping others can be a great high, and it builds self-confidence too.

If the holidays are challenging for you, please contact me at 415-819-8769, or email for a complimentary 30-minute Consultation. Find out how Healing with Joy can help you have a merrier holiday season.


Healing Yourself with Active Imagination

Two weeks ago I wrote about shame and the many ways that adults live with deep rooted feelings of shame. I pointed out that the shame often comes from the abandonment of the child by a parent. Last week I wrote about how, when shame combines with loneliness and a need to numb the pain, it can fuel a compulsive and/or addictive lifestyle.

In efforts to psychically numb themselves, many often tend to focus on more money, more sex, or food, or booze, or drugs, or the next adrenaline rush, or entertainment, or possessions, or ecstasy so they won’t feel how lonely, hurt, mad, or sad they are. Then they bring all this stuff into their relationships – with co-workers, partners, families and children.

Underneath all this shame and addictive compulsive behavior is a wounded child that is still hurting. Many don’t realize it and are excessively hard on themselves when what is really needed is more compassion, acceptance, and reassurance.

Active Imagination to Heal Trauma
Carl Jung, a famous psychotherapist, used active imagination to help people connect with buried trauma so it could be brought to consciousness and healed. Active imagination consists of imaginary dialogs between you, the conscious part of you, and the wounded unconscious part of you that needs healing. It’s extremely helpful in releasing old trauma.

Active Imagination Process
It’s best to journal the active imagination process because you will want to review your comments later. In addition, the act of writing will help you stay focused and not drift off during the process.

The best time to work with this process is when you have been triggered by a person or a recent event. Begin by focusing on the emotion that is being re-triggered. (If you are practicing active imagination, then think of a situation in the past that has a lot of charge to it.)

Take a few deep breaths to help you relax. Then shift your focus to the person or situation that triggered you. Once you can recall the situation, focus on what you are feeling. Once you are experiencing the feeling, then you can let go of the story and just focus on the feeling. You may notice an achiness, constriction, or tightness somewhere in your body. Just notice it. Once you have “anchored” into the feeling, then remember a time in the past, possibly in your childhood, when you had a similar feeling.

By feeling the feeling, and linking it to a past memory, you will be connecting to your younger self. Notice how old your younger self is. Then begin to ascertain what was going on for your younger self that was generating that same feeling.

This is when you begin to dialog with your younger self. Say “Hello,” and begin to ask questions as to what is going on for her that is causing feelings of distress, anger, shame, sadness, fear, etc. You might ask questions like:

  • What’s happened?
  • Why are you feeling so_________________?
  • What do you need right now?
  • Can I help you?
Notice – Be observant and notice what you can about your younger self: her dress, the condition of her physical body, her appearance, the environment, her mood. These will all be clues as to the emotional, psychological, and physical state of your younger self.
Attune – Attune to your younger self. Let her share her story. Let her have her feelings. Be sure to validate them.
Understanding – Understand how and why she feels the way she does. It doesn’t matter if it seems trite or irrational – these are her feelings. She has a right to them. Try to understand the reasons for her feelings.
Connect to the present – Remember what you can about the present situation that caused you to be triggered. What in present time caused a re-triggering of past emotions?
Connect to past – What happened in the past that caused negative memories, feelings, or thoughts?
React – React to the past event with sympathy and understanding. Validate the feelings of your younger self.
Reframe – Offer a new perspective of the past event.

  • Does she need to be rescued? – Send in the SWAT Team
  • Does she need to confront someone so she can speak her truth? Then help her do so. This will help her reclaim her voice and her power.
  • Does she need comforting? Then comfort her. Or bring in someone like Mother Mary who can.
  • Does she need reassurance that everything will turn out OK? Then give her reassurance.
Concern – Show her you care and treat her with gentleness and compassion. Let her know that she is not alone anymore; explain that you are now aware of her and will come to her when she needs comforting or protection.
Close – When it’s time to bring the interactive imagination session to a close, give your younger self a big hug and let her know that you will be there for her from now on. Then bring yourself back to full consciousness.
Journal – Write down all that you remember of the experience if you were not actually writing down the dialog as it happened. Make notes of any insights or ‘Ah Ha’s’ you had. (From experience, if you don’t write it down you may lose some of the important nuggets that come up for you during the active imagination session.)

You will find active imagination sessions with your younger self to be very revealing, full of insight, and extremely healing. Enjoy the process and re-acquaint yourself with the younger YOU who is always precious and deserves your love and compassion.

If you are afflicted with feelings of shame or have an exaggerated inclination to feel guilty that is interfering with your personal life, performance, or relationships, then contact Joy for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to learn how you can let go of shame and step into your full potential. Email Joy or call 415-819-8769.

How Shame Hinders You as an Adult and What to Do About It

Last week I wrote about shame and the many ways that adults live with deep-rooted feelings of shame. Shame often comes through the abandonment of the child by parent. There are many ways that parents abandon their child: physical leaving, not modeling emotions, not affirming a child’s emotions, not providing for a child’s development or dependency needs, abuse, and using a child as a confidant or as a substitute for a spouse.

Other circumstances in which a child feels abandoned are: when a child is required to hide the family’s secrets of shame, or when a parent doesn’t give enough time, attention, direction, and/or guidance, or when a parent is acting in shameful ways. When any one of these happens, the parent is ignoring the child’s uniqueness, not providing much needed guidance and role modeling, and/or is failing to assure the child that they are loved and safe.

When one or more of the above happens then the child often ends up being the parent. The child has to assume the adult role because there is no one else to take care of them. The child can then feel alone, unloved, and alienated which leads to a shame based core. Shame based children grow into adults who still suffer at their core from shame. They often end up passing their shame onto their children, thus perpetuating a shame based culture.

In shame based families there is often a “don’t talk’ rule. Children are required to keep the family secrets of shame. There are also rules about adults being obeyed without question. Often times children are not allowed to even ask questions, let alone question adults. Then children can grow up feeling they “don’t have a voice.” They are reluctant to speak up, share their points of view, and be noticed.

When shame combines with loneliness and a need to numb the pain, it can fuel a compulsive and/or addictive lifestyle. In efforts to psychically numb themselves they tend to focus on more money, more sex, or food, or booze, or drugs, or the next adrenaline rush, or entertainment, or possessions, or ecstasy. Yet they are never quite satisfied.

Eventually these shame based adults can have troubles around what they drink, how they work, or sleep, or intimacy, or sexual satisfaction, or play, etc. Some become workaholics, or they try to stay so busy that they don’t feel how lonely, hurt, mad, or sad they really are. Then they bring all this stuff into their relationships – with co-workers, partners, families and children.

Shame is soul murder! It’s time to STOP and break the cycle.

Underneath all this shame and addictive compulsive behavior is a wounded child that is still hurting. Many don’t realize it. Instead they are very hard on themselves when what is needed is more compassion, acceptance, and reassurance.

Active imagination to heal trauma

Carl Jung, a famous psychotherapist, used active imagination to help people connect with buried trauma so it could be brought to consciousness and healed. Active imagination consists of imaginary dialogs between you, the conscious part of you, and the wounded unconscious part of you that needs healing. It is a technique that is extremely helpful in releasing old trauma.

This process works best if you can imagine that the traumatized part of you is a separate identity that is still a part of you. For example, a person who was ostracized by group of kids as a child may be reluctant to ask someone to go to lunch with them for fear of rejection. The goal in active imagination is to dialog with your younger self about her/his feelings. By helping to reframe the child’s point of view with adult discernment one can become less fearful of rejection and more accepting of ones self.

Many of you might think fearing rejection when you are just asking someone to go to lunch with you is silly. But for someone who faced repeated rejection or bullying as a child, the thought of asking someone to lunch might be highly charged. Having a compassionate dialog with your younger self can help lessen the fears of something similar happening in future. It can also help increase self-confidence and reduce the chance of being triggered by similar situations.

Stay tuned for my ezine next week to learn how to do an active imagination dialog with your younger self that is still hurting from old childhood wounds.
If you are afflicted with feelings of shame or have an exaggerated inclination to feel guilty that is interfering with your personal life, performance, or relationships, then contact Joy for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to learn how you can let go of shame and step into your full potential. Email Joy or call 415-819-8769.

Living with Shame

John Bradshaw, author, counselor, theologian, philosopher and teacher, claims that
the high rate of dysfunctional families is the source of crisis in child to adult development and functioning. This is because each family has its own social system complete with rules, norms, structures, and beliefs.

Unfortunately an estimated 96% of all families are to some degree ‘dysfunctional.’ This is disturbing because parents form their child’s core beliefs about themselves and the world. Wounds from dysfunctional parenting are perpetuated from generation to generation unless someone chooses to break the cycle. These wounds often take the form of shame or a sense of deep-seeded guilt.

Shame wounds the soul! It is the source of many emotional and psychological ailments: i.e. depression, alienation, self-doubt, isolating loneliness, compulsive disorders, feelings of inadequacy and failure, narcissism, etc.

Shame is Soul murder! When internalized it can lead to psychic numbness.

Shame is worse than guilt. Guilt is when you know you have done something wrong or hurtful. For example:

Guilt – “I’ve done something wrong.”
Shame – “There’s something wrong with me.”

Guilt – “I’ve made a mistake.”
Shame -“I am a mistake.”

Guilt – “What I did was not good.”
Shame -“I’m no good.”

Fortunately, parenting styles are improving today. Children are coming into adulthood with much better self-images and self-confidence than in my time.

Many of us, however, were raised under old parenting styles that shamed via corporal punishment, name calling, and verbal and emotional abuse. My father never hesitated to spank us kids when we did something bad. Today that would be considered physical abuse. Not only does spanking hurt, but it is shaming! That, however, was how he was corrected when he was a child. We learn from our parents who pass on both the good, and the not so good. Distressingly, this is how we learn to feel shame.

How many of you have felt guilty?

How many of you have felt shame?

Shame comes through the abandonment of the child by parent. There are many ways that parents abandon their child: physical leaving, not modeling emotions, not affirming a child’s emotions, not providing for a child’s development dependency needs, abuse, and using a child as a confidant or as a substitute for a spouse.

Other ways in which a child is abandoned are to require a child to hide the family’s secrets of shame, not giving enough time, attention, direction, and guidance, and a parent acting in shameful ways. When any one of these happens, the parent is ignoring the child’s uniqueness, providing much need guidance and role modeling, and/or failing to assure the child that they are loved and safe. When this happens the child grows up wounded by feelings of shame which inhibit them from living joyfully to their full potential.

Read my next e-zine to learn what happens when a shame-based child grows into adulthood, and how you can begin to free yourself from feelings of shame.

If you are afflicted with feelings of shame or have an exaggerated inclination to feel guilty that is interfering with your personal life, performance, or relationships, then contact Joy for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to learn how you can let go of shame and step into your full potential. Email Joy or call 415-819-8769.

Relationships versus Results

We live in a results-oriented society. And though technology should make us more efficient, and free up our time, why do we seem to wind up with less time and more work? More and more I hear from clients that work is hectic. The demands are oppressive. They barely find time to say “hi” to each other at the water cooler.

The result – Relationships are suffering!

There is a cost to sacrificing relationships for results.

The classic book on female management style, The Female Advantage, Women’s Ways of Leadership by Sally Helgesen, supports the theory that women are relational. When time is taken to nurture relationships, which Frances Hesselbein focused on which led to the success of the Girl Scouts, employees are happier, cooperate better, and performance actually increases.

I have a friend whose skill was going into failing companies and turning them around. He did it by building relationships and encouraging and empowering his subordinates to make decisions. Rather than holing up in the management suite, waiting for problems to work their way up the chain of command, he spent his time on the floor, interacting with all levels of the organization. He made himself available and encouraged suggestions – and saw that many were implemented.

It was easy to turn the companies around, he said. He just treated people like he wanted to be treated.

I had a client who was ready to quit her job because of the demeaning and inconsiderate treatment by her supervisor. The HR director, a woman, intervened. Guess what was decided? The supervisor was encouraged to recognize that her behavior was inappropriate. She apologized! Then both were asked to work on their relationship and communication skills. The solution was relational!

This makes me think of the culture within the Goddess Civilizations of Old Europe. Social life revolved around feminine values of cooperation, caring for each other, and sharing the workload as well as resources. The focus was on nurturing relationships and being more compassionate and understanding. Survival – and success – depended on everyone working together.

We have made tremendous advancements since the Neolithic era, however many of these ancient and timeless values have been forgotten or ignored. We can transform our places of work by taking time to nurture relationships, by cooperating rather than being competitive, by caring about the people we work with, by being kind rather than trying to take co-workers down, or getting back at them for some slight, by encouraging each other to be the best we can be, and by helping out and sharing the load. We spend so much of our time at work that we each can, and should, do more to make our work environments a pleasant place to be.

We are in a time when the world is on a precipice. Will it tilt into chaos and self-destruct? Or will people come together, nurture relationships, do their fair share, and be more compassionate and understanding, thus bringing hope and solutions to our many challenges?

We each have a choice. We can be part of the problem, or choose to be part of the solution. We don’t need to wait for someone else to change. We can be part of the transformation… perhaps even lead the change.

If you feel called to be part of the solution, and possibly be the catalyst in your own place of work or community, then you might be curious about my upcoming program that starts October 1, 2016 – Awakening to Spiritual Consciousness; a Sacred Intensive for Emerging Women.


Daylong Dates: Oct 1 and Dec 3, 2016
from 10 to 5:30 pm
Webinar dates: 5:30 to 7:30 pm
on 10/11, 10/25, 11/8 and 11/22, 2016
Location: Three Ravens Mystery School,
440 Haight Street, San Francisco
During this time of collective upheaval and change our feminine values and wisdom are needed now more than ever. You can do your part to bring more compassion, understanding, and peace to your place of work, your community, and the world. Are you feeling the call?

If so then join me and other spiritual seekers to:
  • Learn how the Divine Feminine has been paving the way for 5D Consciousness for over 5000 years.
  • Receive guidance for personal healing and growth so that you can cultivate more joy and peace in your life.
  • Learn tools for self-care so you can appreciate and honor yourself and value your worth.
  • Discover how you can live with more love and compassion in your heart so that you can let go of the divisiveness of judgment and competitiveness.
  • Gain tools for working on the inner planes to accelerate your personal and spiritual growth.
  • Enhance your connection with your Higher Self and Guides for Divine Guidance.
  • Find sisterhood with other women who are also on their spiritual journey.
For more info go HERE
Or email me with your questions so we can schedule a time to talk.