It might be a quarrelsome in-law or relative that you have to see on a regular basis. Or an intimidating boss that you report to. Or it might be a domineering co-worker who makes too many suggestions about how you should do your job, or a friend who offers way too much advice.

If you are struggling with a toxic relationship, then here information you might find helpful. It was shared in an article that was published last year in Yes Magazine.

When a relationship is causing you stress and suffering,
follow these five steps to find peace for yourself.

1. Accept that you are in a difficult situation, dealing with a very difficult relationship

Your choices here are fairly limited, and, strangely, acceptance is always the best choice. You can judge and criticize the other person, but that will probably make you feel tense and lonely. Alternately, you could nurse your anxiety and despair that you’ll never be able to get along with them, which will make you feel stressed and sad. You can definitely deny their existence or pretend that they aren’t bothering you. You can block their texts and emails, and avoid every situation where they’ll turn up.

These are all tactics of resistance, and they won’t protect you. These tactics will allow the other person to further embed themselves into your psyche.

What does work is to accept that your relationship with them is hard, and also that you are trying to make it less hard. This gentle acceptance does not mean that you are resigned to a life of misery, or that the situation will never get better. Maybe it will—and maybe it won’t. Accepting the reality of a difficult relationship allows us to soften. And this softening will open the door to your own compassion and wisdom.

Trust me: You are going to need those things.

2. The other person will probably tell you that you are the cause of all their bad feelings

This is not true. You are not responsible for their emotions. You never have been, and you never will be. Don’t take responsibility for their suffering; if you do, they will never have the opportunity to take responsibility for themselves.

3. Tell the truth

When you lie (perhaps to avoid upsetting them), you become complicit in the creation and maintenance of their reality, which is poisonous to you. For example, they might ask you if you forgot to invite them to a party. You can easily say yes, that it was a mistake that they didn’t get the Evite, and did they check their spam folder?

But lying is very stressful for human beings, maybe the most stressful thing. Lie detectors detect not lies, but the subconscious stress and fear that lying causes. This will not make the relationship less toxic.

So, instead, tell the truth. Be sure to tell them your truth instead of your judgment, or what you imagine to be true for other people. Don’t say “I didn’t invite you because it would stress Mom out too much to have you there” or “I didn’t invite you because you are a manipulative drama queen who will find some way to make the evening about you.”

Instead, tell them your truth: “When you are in my home, I feel jittery and nervous, and I can’t relax, so I didn’t invite you to the party. I’m sorry that I’ve hurt your feelings.”

It takes courage to tell the truth, because often it makes people angry. But they will probably be mad at you anyway, no matter what you do. They almost certainly won’t like the new, truth-telling you—and that will make them likely to avoid you in the future. This might be a good thing.

4. If you feel angry or afraid, bring your attention to your breath and do not speak (or write) to the person until you feel calm

It’s normal to want to defend yourself, but remember that anger and anxiety weaken you. Trust that soothing yourself is the only effective thing you can do right now. If you need to excuse yourself, go ahead and step out. Even if it is embarrassing or it leaves people hanging.

5. Have mercy

Anne Lamott defines mercy as radical kindness bolstered by forgiveness, and it allows us to alter a communication dynamic, even when we are interacting with someone mired in anger or fear or jealousy. We do this by offering them a gift from our heart. You probably won’t be able to get rid of your negative thoughts about them, and you won’t be able to change them, but you can make an effort to be a loving person. Can you buy them a cup of coffee? Can you hold space for their suffering? Can you send a loving-kindness meditation their way

Forgiveness takes this kindness to a whole new level. I used to think I couldn’t really forgive someone who’d hurt me until they’d asked for forgiveness, preferably in the form of a moving and remorseful apology letter.

But I’ve learned that to heal ourselves we must forgive whether or not we’re asked for forgiveness, and whether or not the person is still hurting us. When we do, we feel happier and more peaceful. This means that you might need to forgive the other person at the end of every day—or, on bad days, every hour. Forgiveness is an ongoing practice, not a one-time deal.

When we find ways to show mercy to even the person who has cost us sleep and love and even our well-being, something miraculous happens. “When we manage a flash of mercy for someone we don’t like, especially a truly awful person, including ourselves,” Anne Lamott writes, “we experience a great spiritual moment, a new point of view that can make us gasp.”

Here’s the real miracle: Our mercy boomerangs back to us. When we show radical kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance—and when we tell the truth in even the most difficult relationship—we start to show ourselves those things. We realize that we can love and forgive and accept even the most terrible aspects of our own being, even if it is only for a moment. We start to show ourselves the truth, and this makes us feel free.

And, in my experience, this makes all we have suffered worth it.

This article was originally published by Greater Good. It was edited for YES! Magazine. 

If you find you are struggling with a toxic relationship then please contact Joy to discover how to have healthier relationships. Call Joy at 415-819-8769 or email Joy today.

Daily 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 Representative, or are out there protesting. Then, however, there are those, many of us, who are just upset, angry, fearful, depressed or anxious on either side of the deep divide that is daily becoming even more polarized.

No matter what side you are on, going into these intense polarized states are harmful for you, your community and our nation because polarizations 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 are feeding the mass collective consciousness with fear, anger, rage and hate. It doesn’t matter what side you are on, 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 turmoil myself. I’m trying to stay centered, but sometimes, most of the time recently, it’s been very hard. Awhile back a friend shared with me an article from Wall-of-us Weekly Actions on how to stay centered when things get difficult. It was a good reminder for me around what I can do to stay calm and centered inside even when things are chaotic and contentious in the world around me. 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 on yourself. Give yourself breaks from ruminating about the actions of our national leaders and the people’s response to about what’s 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 concerns. 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. Also make a pact to not escalate into a heated, hate-filled discussion, 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) Get physical. Walk, run, swim, 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. Exercise helps you to release your endorphins which are your “be happy” hormones.

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 (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.

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.

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!

Mother Mary, the Queen of Heaven and the Divine Mother, has been with me this last month as we approach the Winter Solstice on December 21, 2017. On this day, in the Pagan tradition, the world celebrates the birth of the Divine Child. Just four days later, on Christmas,the birth of Jesus, the Christed One, is celebrated.

Debates and discussions about the nature of Mother Mary have raged on for 2000 years until in 1965 when a Catholic Council called the Vatican II demoted Mary to little more than a Nazarene housewife, a country woman, a human vessel that served as the gestating container for a divine seed, and little more.  Yet in the hearts of the people, as she has been depicted in art throughout the ages, there has been a longing to connect Mother Mary with the Great Mother whose compassion and mercy comforts, supports, and nurtures those who seek her out. 

Mother Mary has filled the void of the Mother Goddess that I believe is central to our human collective unconscious.  Since Paleolithic times, humans have honored the Great Mother. Within 500 years after the Divine birth of Jesus, as the cults of Isis, Cybele, Artemis and Diana dwindled along with the Roman Empire,the ancient goddess temples were rededicated to Mother Mary.  Even the imagery of the older goddesses was passed on to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the Christed One.

In addition, 21,000 visitations of Mother Mary have been cited in the last thousand years, including the visitation of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531. These visitations of the Blessed Mother strongly support the need for the Sacred Feminine principle that lives on in our collective psyche.

The importance of Mary is more than her stature, her part in history, or religion, or culture. It has to do with our personal relationship with Her as the Divine Mother – the ‘knowing’ experience of Her compassion, mercy and grace. It is a felt experience that can’t be expressed with language or logic. Her image as Queen of Heaven and as the Great Mother Goddess archetype endures because it continues to persist in our collective human unconscious. 

The Great Mother has, and will continue to, prevail.  She has survived 5000 years of patriarchy and 4000 years of the worship of the monotheistic male god.  She will survive because, as a Divine symbol of the Feminine, She is part of the balance of nature. Nature always settles back to its equilibrium. 

The fulcrum under patriarchy pitched far to the right.  It is now floating back to center as the Divine Feminine principle is re-claiming Her rightful place beside the Divine Masculine principle.

The Great Mother is present in the image of Mary, the Mother of the Divine Child who brought Christ Consciousness to aid humanity in its evolution.

I was inspired to gift you with a “Love and Light Visualization with Mother Mary” which I created a few years ago in honor of her. You will find the link below.

May this visualization with Mother Mary surround you with love, light, and peace. Click HERE to download.

In honor of the Divine Mother, I am leading a Circle honoring Mother Mary as the Return of the Mother Goddess. It will be held on Wed December 19, 2018 – read more HERE.

If you want help connecting to the Divine Feminine, please contact me for a 30-minute complementary consultation. I would love to help you live a happier more purposeful life.  Please contact me today by emailing me at joy@joyreichard.com or calling 415-819-8769.

At one time in my life I was going through a really difficult time. Then I realized that it was my toxic attitude that was polluting everything I touched. If I wanted a better life, I knew I had to change my attitude. And I did!

Synchronistically, once I changed my attitude my whole life took a turn for the better. I manifested a new reality for myself just by changing my thoughts. And you can do that too!

We humans are only using about 10% of our cranial capacity. What’s the rest of our brain doing? It’s believed that the remaining 90% of our brain contains our telepathic and even our latent psychic abilities. If you are a cynic, just know that “magic is only science that we don’t understand yet.” A hundred years ago talking on a little hand-held box to someone thousands of miles away would have appeared “magical.” Today it’s commonplace.

In addition, some people are born with psychic abilities. Edgar Casey is just one well publicized case. Scientists are trying to explain how psychic abilities work. But, just because we can’t scientifically explain something doesn’t make it untrue.

I assert, therefore, that most humans have some form of telepathic or psychic abilities. Haven’t you been thinking of something and your partner verbalized what you were thinking? Or have you ever had a gut feeling that something was wrong, but ignored your hunch only to have something unpleasant happen? This has happened to most of us. These are our undeveloped telepathic or psychic abilities in action. We all have them; most of us just haven’t developed them.

When we have negative or depressive thoughts, not only is our body language expressing what’s going on inside, but the energy we radiate from our body is also full of electromagnetic energy. It’s part of our telepathic abilities. This can influence our reality by attracting more unpleasant experiences to us, while repelling positive ones. Have you noticed that when you’re in a bad mood, that the mood seems to linger; things just don’t go well all day.

On the converse, have you woken up in a great mood and find that the whole day goes smoothly with things easily falling into place? This energy is even contagious. When you encounter someone in a good mood, or bad mood, their energy can “rub off on you”.

A similar thing happens with worry.  The more you worry, the more you can influence the very things you are worrying about to manifest. Even if the worst doesn’t happen, you’ve spent all that valuable time worrying and fretting when you could have put your time and energy into creating something of value. In addition, when you stay positive your mind is more resilient and open to possibilities. You’re able to engage in more creative and problem-solving activities than when you are steeped in worry.

Have you noticed that during a crisis that some people collapse emotionally and physically, while others move into action to help those in need. Many people with nagging depressive thoughts and worry are already feeling hopeless. They are at capacity. Just one more thing can push them over the edge. Others, who have a more positive solution-oriented attitude, are often more resilient and can galvanize into action. They are able to affect their reality in positive ways, even when the worst happens. Your attitude and thoughts can influence your reality.

You can be victim or manifestor. Who do you want to be?

If you need help changing your thoughts or your attitude, please contact me for a 30-minute complementary consultation. I would love to help you live a happier more purposeful life.  Please contact me today by emailing me at joy@joyreichard.com or calling 415-819-8769.

As children we buy into the beliefs of our parents. Sometimes those beliefs can be real downers such as: “Life never promised you a rose garden,” or “You only get ahead from hard work and effort,” or “I’m always waiting for the other shoe to fall,” or “Bad things always happen to us.”

In my family the belief was the “hard work and effort” litany of good German stock immigrants. Sure enough, a large part of my life has been hard work and effort, not because the validity of that belief, but because I bought into that belief.

I had a revelation several years ago that “life’s lessons can be learned with ease and grace.” I’ve been reflecting on that thought and, slowly, it has been integrating into my belief system. The result? … My life has gotten easier and more joyful.

Last week I wrote about accessing your Inner Wisdom. By allowing space in your life for quiet moments you gain access to the more reflective and wiser part of your mind. In our fast-paced, results-oriented society you may think you are getting a lot done. You could be even more innovative and productive, however, if you gave yourself permission to rest more and reflect. Then you could have more “revelations.”

Revelations are messages from your Inner Wisdom, which is directly connected to the highest source of consciousness in the universe. Some might call this consciousness Higher Power, God, Goddess, the Divine, The All That Is. The Divine communicates to us through our Inner Wisdom, which is also sometimes called the Higher Self or the Wise Mind.

One way you can actively engage your Inner Wisdom is to stop and take a step back when you are faced with a challenging situation. Then you can view the situation from a larger perspective. Going through two divorces and raising two sons (who, though awesome men now of whom I’m very proud, were more than a bit of a hand full as teenagers) was tough!  At that time, life was pretty miserable.  I thought life was nothing but drama, pain, and struggle.

Eventually, I was able to step back and view my life from the bigger picture. What I saw was not a wretched dead-beat drama-queen, but a woman who faced many difficult challenges, including her own vulnerabilities and character flaws, from which she learned invaluable life lessons. That was a time of huge personal and spiritual growth for me. Now, I not only draw on my training, education and skills when I work with my clients, or mentor women in my group work, but I also have a vast storehouse of life experience and understanding from which to tap into. My life was not just a miserable existence; it was my training ground preparing me for my life’s work.

You actively engage your Inner Wisdom when you step back from any situation and ask, “What can I learn from this situation?” or “What good thing can come out of this situation?”

I’ve come to realize that we didn’t incarnate to play in the “Rose Garden.” We came here to learn some pretty important lessons during our embodied walk upon this earth-plane.  You can learn those lessons with a lot more ease and grace, however, if you take time to stop and rest. Give yourself some quiet time to reflect and allow your Inner Wisdom to come through. This will enable you to step back and ask the serious questions of “Why is this happening?” Be honest with yourself as you search within for the answers.  Then you can reap the reward – the gold nugget – the lessons you can learn from your experience.

Look for my article next month on “Accessing Your Inner Wisdom Part Three” in which I will share on how your emotions are a big part of your inner wisdom and should be given more weight when making important decisions.

If you feel you are stuck in the drama and misery of your life and can’t find your way out, then give me a call today and request a 30-minute complimentary consultation. You deserve a more joyful and satisfying life.  415-819-8769 or email me TODAY!

Life for us humans on planet earth is becoming ever increasingly stressful. Many of my clients complain of feeling overwhelmed, stressed and anxious. They complain that at work they are expected to do more with less frequently meaning longer hours, more work, the lack of adequate supervisors, challenging co-workers or subordinates, and the resulting feelings of overwhelm.  This stress is amplified with the worries of maintaining a lifestyle that is becoming ever more expensive. Just turning on the news in an attempt stay up with the latest from Washington, let alone the world, adds to this stress load. In addition, our individual stress impacts the quality of our personal relationships compounding the overwhelm and anxiety we are already experiencing in our lives.

We are a stressed-out society, and stress is a killer.  Stress eats up our limited resources spiritually, emotionally and mentally, as well as wearing down our physical body.

Stress is the silent virus. Its symptoms mirror real physical and emotional ailments.  Physically it shows up as digestive issues (irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux), fatigue, or headaches. Mentally it reveals itself as forgetfulness, poor concentration and focus, confusion, and negative thinking. Emotionally it manifests as lack of enthusiasm, motivation, and irritability. Apathy, burn-out, and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are spiritual symptoms of stress. Stress can intrude on our relationships in the form of nagging, bickering, blaming and intolerance.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Stress makes coping with normal daily activates increasingly difficult. There are several things you can do, however, to cope with stress.

1. Schedule time daily for some extra self-care – a soothing bath, reading just for pleasure, a walk – especially when it is sunny out, a cup of tea while gazing out the window thinking of absolutely nothing.

Here is a recipe from Dr. Lisa Moore, my Network Chiropractor and aromatherapy instructor.

• 6 drops lavender (Lavender angustifolia)
• 2 drops clary sage (salvia sclareaI)
• Dim the lights, light a candle, and soak in this soothing bath while taking deep relaxing breaths. You can add some relaxing music if you like.

2. Schedule something pleasurable each week – a hike in nature, a trip to the ocean, a massage, an afternoon just for you, or a special outing with a friend or a special someone.

3. When stress starts to build take a few minutes to relax. Relaxation can help you release, re-focus, and renew. One simple relaxation exercise that I share with my clients is:

• Close your eyes and imagine you are in a beautiful spot – the ocean, redwood forest, a beautiful mountain meadow
• Take three deep breaths, exhaling slowly
• Count backwards from 10 to 1 while imagining you are sinking deeper and deeper into relaxation
• Relax all of your muscles
• Relax your mind
• Then visualize being in that beautiful spot, breathe in the fresh air, absorbing the serenity and peace around you
• Then when you are ready count yourself back from 1 to 5

(Click HERE for the audio file of this simple relaxation for your enjoyment.)

Take a few minutes and try this on you own or to listen to this visualization! You can do this simple relaxation exercise in just 5 to 10 minutes. Afterwards you will feel more relaxed, you will have greater clarity and focus, and you will have an increased ability to cope with whatever comes your way.

If you are experiencing symptoms of physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, and/or relational stress and need help finding relief, then please contact me and come in for a complementary 30 minute phone consultation to find out how you can cultivate more peace and calm in your life.  415-819-8769 or email joy@joyreichard.com.

Last week I shared with you that I had discovered that my negative money story came from my parents who had acquired a scarcity mentality from growing up during the depression. Since then, I have come to realize that my fears and anxiety about money were the result of my own negative internal dialog that said things like: “you’re not good enough”, or “you can’t do it”, or “you’ll never get it right.” This was the source of the painful ebbs and flows I experienced with my finances and interfered with my manifesting skills. From my work with my clients, I know that many of you probably have the same inner voices, or ones that are unique to you and your family.

I’ve given names to some of my noisy inner voices. Last week I introduced you to Bargain Bettie, Anxious Annie, and Negative Nettie. Maybe you recognized them. Today I’m going to share with you three new voices that have obstructed the flow of money into my life. They are Meek Mellie, Frazzled Franny, and Worried Wilma. I will also share some tips as to how I learned to quiet these voices and cultivate more positive ones. If you have different “voices” you might try to identify them and come up with your own enlightened thoughts and remedies.

Meek Mellie
This is a really hard archetype for a lot of women because most women don’t acknowledge their own value. Generally women are raised to be compliant, helpful, and supportive. They are afraid to be ‘pushy’. Therefore it’s challenging for them to ‘ask for the business’, or to get their needs met, or even to defend their justified boundaries. In reality, these women are often not ‘pushy’ enough. My mother was a bright capable leader but always deferred to men because she thought they were inherently smarter, wiser and more competent; which is not always the case!

Enlightened thought: If you are seeking business, remember to present the benefits and the results your clients will get from the service or product you provide. Come from the authentic place of wanting to help improve someone’s life, business, or environment in some way – or to offer support or a service with voice of authority. You will find that your clients will respond. And remember that you have value, you are smart and competent, and you have a right to have your say and to defend your boundaries.

Remedy: Find a group that can help you overcome your insecurities about speaking up. Most communities have networking opportunities, leads groups and Toast Masters. Practice makes perfect! Know you will mess up – and that’s OK. There are lots of people wherever you are and most probably won’t remember you anyway. Practicing in front of a mirror is a good way to begin developing more confidence in speaking up.

Frazzled Franny
This archetype operates under the belief that “more is better”. She generally has lots of ideas, but no focus. She believes that hard work and struggle are the only ways to make money. Therefore she can become overwhelmed, or paralyzed, or tend to waste time chasing down unnecessary worm holes. Most of this is not her fault, but is the result of wearing too many hats. Most women survive by multitasking the various responsibilities of being mother, wife, and homemaker while also balancing a job, aging parents, their children’s activities, and trying to have some kind of a life of their own.

Enlightened Thought: Hopefully, Frazzled Frannie will learn that spreading herself too thin and/or taking on too many responsibilities is counterproductive. It leads to fatigue, irritability, loss of focus, and burn-out. This archetype needs to learn to simplify and focus on the priorities, one of which is her own self-care!

Remedy: Pick 2-5 main priorities for the year and stick to them. If something comes up that is not in one of those areas, then refer it out – don’t get scattered. By staying focused you can do what you do WELL!

Worried Wilma
This Archetype tends to lives in the future and is always catastrophizing; she is always worried about what will happen IF …

She is only trying to keep you safe by alerting you to potential dangers – but she ends up erecting so many roadblocks that it becomes almost impossible to move forward. This constant worrying and feeling stuck is a time and energy suck!

In reality, the archetypes from last week and this are trying to help in some way:

Bargain Betty – wants to save money.

Frazzled Franny – thinks that if you rush can maybe get everything done.

Meek Mellie, Anxious Annie, Negative Nettie, and Worried Wilma –  are just trying to keep you safe from embarrassing or dangerous situations.

They need to be forgiven because they are simply younger, more vulnerable, parts of you that haven’t realized that you have become so much bigger, wiser, more informed and competent than you felt when you created these inner personas earlier in your life.

Once you’ve identified the archetypes that are obstructing the flow of money and success and forgiven them, then you can focus on creating your positive archetype, the Money Diva, who allows you to succeed.

The Money Diva believes in herself and knows her worth.  She radiates confidence and knows the value of what she has to offer. Living with integrity, she is in service to the greater good and doesn’t sell herself or her services short.

Sanaya Roman, in her book Creating Money, says your beliefs create your reality. She goes on to say that beliefs are assumptions about the nature of reality because you create what you believe. You will always find proof for whatever it is you believe: I.e. If a person believes the universe is abundant, they will act as if the universe is abundant and they will attract abundance. If they believe money comes with hard work and struggle, making money will be hard. If they believe they can’t hold onto money, then money will appear to slip through their fingers. We will have whatever experience that proves what we believe.

Therefore, if we change what we believe, we can change what we experience. We can co-create our reality.

Most of my articles focus on women and the female perspective. This is sadly ignoring about 50% of the population. Men are also trying to find their way in our changing culture. I believe the changes are requiring men to develop more compassion. Yet, what is required of men to become more compassionate? For that answer I turned to an article written by Kozo Hattori that was published in the Greater Good.

As promised here is:

What Makes a Compassionate Man? Part Two

What does it take to foster compassion in men? To find out, Kozo Hattori interviewed scientific and spiritual experts.

3. Transcendence of gender stereotypes

All of the compassionate men interviewed broke out of the ‘act-like-a-man’ box. At a certain point in his life, Dr. Rick Hanson realized that he was too left brained, so he made a conscious effort to re-connect with his intuitive, emotional side. When Elad Levinson, program director for Spirit Rock Meditation Center, first encountered loving-kindness and compassion practices, his first reaction was what he claims to be fairly typical for men: “Come on! You are being a wuss, Levinson. No way are you going to sit here and wish yourself well.” So the actual practice of compassion instigated his breaking free from gender stereotypes.

Dr. Ted Zeff cites a study that found infant boys are more emotionally reactive than infant girls, but by the time a boy reaches five or six years old “he’s learned to repress every emotion except anger, because anger is the only emotion society tells a boy he is allowed to have.” If society restricts men’s emotional spectrum to anger, then it is obvious men need to transcend this conditioning to become compassionate.

Dr. Doty points to artificially defined roles as a major problem in our society because they prevent men from showing their vulnerability. “If you can’t be vulnerable, you can’t love,” says Doty. Vulnerability is a key to freedom from the act-like-a-man box, for it allows men to remove the armor of masculinity and authentically connect with others.

Both Dr. Doty and Scott Kriens emphasize authenticity as a necessary pathway to compassion. Kriens defines authenticity as “when someone is sharing what they believe as opposed to what they want you to believe.”  This opens the door to compassion and true connection with others.

4. Emotional intelligence

In Raising Cain, Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson argue that most boys are raised to be emotionally ignorant: “Lacking an emotional education, a boy meets the pressure of adolescence and that singularly cruel peer culture with the only responses he has learned and practiced—and that he know are socially acceptable—the typical ‘manly’ responses of anger, aggression, and emotional withdrawal.”

In contrast, most of the men I interviewed were “emotionally literate.” They seemed to see and feel things with the sensitivity of a Geiger counter. Tears welled up in Dr. Doty’s eyes a number of times when he talked about compassion. Dr. Hanson explained how he landed in adulthood “from the neck up” then spent a large part of his 20s becoming whole again. Much of Chade-Meng Tan’s “Search Inside Yourself” training that he developed for the employees of Google is based on emotional intelligence developed through attention training, self-knowledge, and self-mastery.

Similarly, Father Richard Rohr leads initiation groups for young men that force initiates to face pain, loneliness, boredom, and suffering to expand their emotional and spiritual capacity. It is no coincidence that these initiations are held in nature. Nature seems to be an important liminal space that allows boys and men to reconnect with their inner world. Dr. Hanson is an avid mountain climber. Dr. Ted Zeff advocates spending time in nature with boys to allow their sensitivity to develop.

5. Silence

Almost all of the men I interviewed regularly spend some time in silence. They’d hit “pause” so that they can see themselves and others more clearly. When our interview approached two hours, Dr. Rick Hanson asked to wrap it up so he would have time for his morning meditation. Meng Tan had just returned from a week-long silent meditation retreat a few days before our interview. Scott Kriens started a daily sitting and journaling practice almost ten years ago that he rigorously practices to this day.

Father Richard Rohr practices Christian contemplative prayer, which he says leads to a state of “undefended knowing” that transcends dualistic, us/them thinking. Rohr argues that true compassion can’t happen without transcending dualistic thinking. “Silence teaches us not to rush to judgment,” says Rohr.

Self-awareness through mindfulness practices like meditation, silent prayer, or being in nature allow compassionate men to embrace suffering without reacting, resisting, or repressing. Thich Nhat Hanh says that mindfulness holds suffering tenderly “like a mother holding a baby.” That poetic image is backed up by more and more research, which is finding that mindfulness can help foster compassion for others.

So the path to making more compassionate men is clear: understand compassion as a strength, get to know yourself, transcend gender roles, look for positive role models—and become one yourself. If that sounds too complicated, 84-year-old Marvin Maurer sums up being a compassionate man in five easy words, “Be in love with love.”

You can find Part One of “What Makes a Compassionate Man” on my website. Click here. In the meantime, if you are a man who is struggling to find out how to be more compassionate in a patriarchal society, please contact Joy a call for a 30-minute complimentary consultation. Email Joy or call 415-819-8769 today.

 

You can find the original article at https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_makes_a_compassionate_man

Do you feel the wildness within?… The energy of the wild woman that cries to be unleashed? Then you must also know that wild women need their sisters.There is a vastness to us. We are mystical – sometimes even mysterious. We are rich and vibrant and full of passion and purpose. In fact, we surge with it. It rises up in us — an all-consuming fire — and we burn with deep knowing, profound understanding, and a message to live in whatever way we see fit.If the wild woman is awakening, you know it! You feel the emerging fire.

Your divinity — your soul — is ready to be embodied. You are asked to become a living goddess, embracing the authority and immortality that comes with soul-full living.

We are fierce.
We have proven that we have what it takes to overcome great hardship. We have proven that our hearts can withstand our darkest days and still blaze the trail forward. We have conceived of the goddess within us. We are pregnant with the lights of our own being.

We are Sensual.
Being sensual is more than being sexual. The more you embrace your sensuality, the more you can embrace your sexuality. Being sensual means paying attention to and thoroughly enjoying what your senses are telling you.  It means fully experiencing the delight of beautiful smells, delicious tastes, interesting sounds, and the pleasures of touch.

When you pay attention to your senses you can more easily make that transition from working woman/mother/daughter/crone to sensual and sexual wild woman.

We are quickening.
Oh, can you feel it? Can you feel what is about to be born? The eclipses of this month have birthed us into the light. It is time to call our sisters to us. We must gather now. We must draw each other near. We all need midwives. We all need doulas.

We all need the songs of angels and the prayerful medicines of wise women in our midst. We are birthing a new world.

A sister circle is not a luxury. It is essential to our emotional and spiritual health.

Our culture pits women against each other because women of shared intent are dangerous to oppressive masculine systems. But we are wiser than that.

We know our own power, and when we create a circuit of energy with other loving and conscious women, we magnify the nurturing, the healing, the grace, the freedom, the creativity and the love our lives stand for.

Have you been yearning for a sister circle as much as I have?

If so, then I invite you to join one of the sister circles I’m offering. See the upcoming events below and make a commitment to join us. We welcome you in sisterhood.

In Her Name Circle (San Mateo, CA)

Hindu Shakta Tantra & Ancient Female Blood Mysteries
Featuring Kimberley Gibbons,

MA Women’s Spirituality, PhD student in Philosophy & Religion

 

Friday, August 25, 2017

7 to 9:00 PM

Unitarian Universalist of San Mateo, 300 E. Santa Inez, San Mateo, CA 94401

$15 online or $20 at the door

 

Circle with the Divine Feminine (Fair Oaks, CA)

Artemis: Patron Goddess of the Amazons

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

6:30 to 8:30 PM

 

Blossoming Path: 10227 Fair Oaks Blvd, Fair Oaks Village, CA

$10 Love Donation

Adapted from an article by Rebelle Society: Creatively Maladjusted http://www.rebellesociety.com/2015/01/28/a-sister-circle-is-not-a-luxury-7-guidelines-for-starting-your-own/

“All Things Are Connected,” the concluding chapter to John Robbins’ Pulitzer Prize nominated Diet for a New America (1987), begins with a quote from the famous mystic Edgar Cayce:

Destiny, or karma, depends upon what the soul has done about what it has become aware of.

John Robbins writes:

“At the present time, when most of us sit down to eat, we aren’t very aware of how our food choices affect the world.  We don’t realize that in every Big Mac there is a piece of the tropical rainforests, and with every billion burgers sold another hundred species become extinct.  We don’t realize that in the sizzle of our steaks there is the suffering of animals, the mining of our topsoil, the slashing of our forests, the harming of our economy, and the eroding of our health.  We don’t hear in the sizzle the cry of the hungry millions who might otherwise be fed.  We don’t see the toxic poisons (pesticides) accumulating in the food chains, poisoning our children and our earth for generations to come.

“But once we become aware of the impact of our food choices, we can never really forget.  Of course, we can push it all to the back of our minds, and we may need to do this, at times, to endure the enormity of what is involved.

“But the earth itself will remind us, as will our children, and the animals and the forests and the sky and the rivers, that we are part of this earth, and it is part of us.  All things are deeply connected, and so the choices we make in our daily lives have enormous influence, not only on our own health and vitality, but also on the lives of other beings, and indeed on the destiny of life on earth.

“Thankfully, we have cause to be grateful — what’s best for us personally is also best for other forms of life, and for the life support systems on which we all depend.

“The Indians who dwelt for countless centuries in what we now call the United States lived in harmony with the land and with nature.  Their societies were each unique, yet all were founded on a reverence for life that conserved nature rather than destroying it, and which lived in balance with what we today call the ecosystem.  To them, it was all the work of God.  Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every humming insect was holy.

“When the white man forced them to make the ultimate sacrifice and sell their land, the great Chief Seattle spoke for his people and asked one thing in return.  He did not ask something for himself, nor for his tribe, nor even for the Indian people.  There were, of course, many things of immense importance he must have wanted at such a time.  He could have asked for more blankets, horses, or food.  He could have asked that the ancestral burial grounds be respected.  He could have asked many things for himself or for his people.  But what stood above all else in importance had to do with the relationship between humans and other animals.  His one request was as prophetic as it was plain:

I will make one condition. The white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers. For whatever happens to the beasts soon happens to man. All things are connected.

“Chief Seattle spoke for a people whose bond with the natural world was unimaginably profound.  Yet the white man called them savages, and utterly disregarded his plea. The factory farms that produce today’s meats, dairy products and eggs are living testimony to how totally we have disdained the one condition he made.

“The white man thought Chief Seattle an ignorant savage.  But he was a prophet whose wisdom and eloquence arose from living contact with Creation.  And his words are astoundingly similar to those of a book written long, long ago.  The Bible, too, tells us the fates of humans and animals are intimately intertwined.

“For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth the beasts.
Even one thing befalleth them:
as the one dieth, so dieth the other;
yea they have all one breath,
so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast.

—Ecclesiastes 3:19

“Chief Seattle did not know that centuries before a book called the Bible had spoken in words almost identical to his own.  But he spoke on behalf of life itself, and the wisdom of the ages poured through him.  Today, when we have strayed so very far from an ethical relationship to other creatures and to the welfare of the world we share, his message remains with us as a light of immeasurable brilliance.  Never before has the truth of his words been so apparent:

“One thing we know;
Our God is the same,
This earth is precious to Him…
This we know:
The earth does not belong to man:
Man belongs to the earth.
This we know:
All things are connected
Like the blood which unites one family.
All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the earth
Befalls the sons of the earth.
Man did not weave the web of life.
He is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web,
He does to himself.”

— http://www.all-creatures.org/murti/art-web-of-life.html

Disrespect for the earth and her cycles, ignorance and/or disregard of the dangers of polluting her land, atmosphere and waters that leads to environmental devastation ranks right up there with war. Both have a devastating effect on our planet, and thus humanity itself. There is a growing need to re-sanctify the web of life and the interconnectedness of all things. Sadly, many believe we are already running out of time.

If you are concerned about the fate of our Mother, the Earth, and live in the Sacramento Area, then join us for:

Grandmother Spider and Other Ancestral Native American Mother Archetypes
Presented by Circle with the Divine Feminine
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 
6:30 to 8:30 PM
Blossoming Paths, 10227 Fair Oaks Blvd, Fair Oaks Village, CA

For more info contact Blossoming Path at 916-962-1469 
Or Joy at 415-819-8769 or email joy@joyreichard.com

Grandmother Spider, or Spider Woman, appears in the origin stories of many Native American groups. She is just one of many ancestral Native American mother archetypes that you will be introduced to during this presentation. Legends and stories were important in Native American cultures because they helped Native American adapt and connect deeply to both the natural and supernatural worlds.

Please join us next Wednesday, Aug 16, to learn about Grandmother Spider and other Native American Mother Archetypes, to discover the importance of having a deeper rapport with the Great Mother, the Earth, and to experience a meditation that will strengthen your connection to the Web of Life.

John Robbins is considered by many to be one of the most eloquent and powerful spokespersons in the world for a sane, ethical and sustainable future. He has been a featured and keynote speaker at major conferences sponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility, Beyond War, Oxfam, the Sierra Club, the Humane Society of the United States, the United Nations Environmental Program, UNICEF, and many other organizations dedicated to creating a healthy, just, and sustainable way of life. https://www.johnrobbins.info/