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Are you experiencing a toxic relationship?

Are you experiencing a toxic relationship?

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 is an article that you might find helpful that was recently published in Yes Magazine. It was shared with me by my friend Marty Maskall.

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. 
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I Have to Make You Understand!

When I was younger, I felt a need to express whatever was on my mind just to make sure my partner knew what I was thinking and feeling. This was especially true when I was frustrated, upset or angry at them. I believed in the myth that communication was key! It always improved the quality of a relationship.

What I’ve learned the hard way over the 60+ years of my life is that “positive” communication can deepen the feelings between two people. “Negative” communication, however, can be damaging and create barriers to intimacy, especially if it is a large part of the communication that’s going on in a relationship.

When people have critical or judgmental feelings for each other and spend the majority of time expressing them, it doesn’t clear the air and bring clarity. Instead it can act as a wedge that drives people further apart. One famous relationship expert, George S. Pransky, wrote, “Communication is a pipe through which feelings pass. If the feelings are positive, the relationship will be uplifted. If they are negative, the couple’s level of closeness will drop.”

Many of my clients who are experiencing ‘challenges’ in their relationships don’t realize that it’s positive feelings and a sense of appreciation and goodwill that brings closeness between couples. Not More Talk! And these good feelings can be expressed in many more innovative ways than through just talking.

It’s as if there is a relationship bank account. Feelings are the deposits and withdrawals. When there is a lot of goodwill and positive feelings toward each other, deposits are made. Communication and actions expressing ill will (frustration, anger, irritation, criticism) are withdrawals. As a matter of fact, there is no such thing as a productive discussion that alienates people!

A rule of thumb I suggest to my clients is that if they or their partner are in a bad mood, to hold off on any deep conversations. Wait until both of you are feeling calmer and more objective.

If you’re still bothered by the issue after calming down, then bring it up preferably in a composed, non-confrontational manner. Focus on how your partner’s behavior or comments made you feel. Then let them know how a different approach would make you feel better.

If you find that after 5-10 minutes things are not getting better, and are in fact getting worse, then just STOP THE CONVERSATION and try again later. Talking an issue to death will not make things better, and will most likely intensify feelings of ill-will.

I wish I knew this nugget of wisdom two marriages ago!

Troubled relationships are one of the most common reasons why a client comes to see me. If you’re having difficulties in your relationship and can’t seem to make things better, then give me a call to schedule a 30-minute complementary consultation to see how I might be able to help. Contact me TODAY or call 415-819-8769. For more information about my services go to JoyReichard.com.
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Where are the Good Stewards?

Whether you are a Creationist or a Darwinist or anywhere in between, I think we can all agree that our planet’s very existence is a miracle. Our human evolution up to this moment in time is even more so. Life on Earth is a gift. Yet we aren’t taking very good care of it.

Is it our right to dominate the earth, as many of our forefathers thought? Or are we supposed to be the good stewards?

To be a steward is to be tasked with the job of looking after someone or something. At one time the abundance of the earth seemed limitless. Land was for the taking. Now humans have taken over, and pollution is everywhere! Even our oceans have become huge waste disposal sites, with waste washing up on shore or collecting in big swirls of garbage on the surface of the ocean.

This is why I believe our relationship to the earth should shift from “dominion over” to being the “Good Stewards” of the Earth.

Our relationship with Earth is so important that all religions put emphasis on looking after the planet. It is also a finely balanced relationship which is why, now that we are taking too much from the planet, environmental systems are starting to collapse. Even one of the world major religious leaders, Pope Francis, stated (paraphrased):

The human family has received from the Creator a common gift: nature. We are called to exercise a responsible stewardship over nature. Yet so often we are driven by greed and by the arrogance of dominion, possession, manipulation and exploitation … we do not preserve nature, nor do we respect it or consider it a gracious gift which we must care for and set at the service of our brothers and sisters, including future generations…

The notion of Stewardship is non-denominational, however. It applies to any and every person who lives, works and breathes upon the planet regardless of what religion they do, or do not, subscribe to.  It is a duty that we all have. There is no denying that we are going to have to make some sacrifices if we are to rectify the problems we have caused as a species. Yet that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the beauty of nature or engage in the fun, joy or sense of adventure while we relearn how to live without negatively impacting our planet.

We all crave peace. We, humanity, have had our fill of war and the inhumanity and devastation it brings.  Peace and Stewardship go hand-in-hand, mutually influencing the other.  We cannot be Good Stewards of the planet if we are not first at peace within ourselves (the peaceful seek only to cherish, uplift and nurture, not destroy). What follows is the realization that a big part of creating a peaceful world also lies in valuing our relationship to nature and to each other. When we appreciate what the earth has to offer, and truly understand the inter-relationship of ourselves to nature and each other, then we know that an offense to another being, or to any part of our planet, is an offense to ourselves.

Despite all our material advances in living conditions we are, both in evolutionary and spiritual terms, still creatures of the Earth. We are still intimately connected to the energetic web of life. Our actions matter!  Our actions have consequences. We think we are smarter than the earth, but we are not. There is a popular saying: “God always forgives, we sometimes forgive, but when nature – creation – is mistreated, she never forgives!”

It’s time to rethink our relationship to our planet and to become the Good Stewards. It will take each one of us to be the change that will save our planet, and ourselves.
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Honesty and Integrity: Are they outdated values?

I have always prided myself for living in a country that valued its integrity and human rights policy. Now, with tweets of “Fake News” and accusations of lies, of withholding truth, or alternative facts, I find myself questioning the importance of honesty and integrity. For me, this also brings into question our relationships: with our loved ones, that special loved one, with our community, or public leaders, and with ourselves.

Without relationships, I feel the human experience of life as we know it cannot exist. (This is a subject for a blog post on another day.)

Relationships are, of course, complicated and have many elements – but there is one element that glues everything together. That fundamental element is trust.

How do you build trust in your relationships – including your relationship with yourself?
Live your life with these two values: 

Honesty and Integrity.

Honesty: Be true to others in all that you do.

I had two very important relationships in the past with individuals who were not always truthful to me. The mistruths, deceptions, and outright lies eventually broke my trust. Once that trust was broken, I couldn’t get it back. At my core I no longer trusted that person. Consequently, it destroyed the relationship.

What happens, then, when our public leaders withhold truth, lie, or consistently make accusations of others, thereby misconstruing the truth?

Integrity: Be true to yourself in all that you do.
Integrity is intertwined with your values. I learned my values from a composite of what was taught to me by my parents, my religious upbringing, and from my education. They included basic concepts like:
  • All people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  • Be compassionate to those in need.
  • Be tolerant of differences.
  • Do no harm.
  • People have the right to be free of discrimination based on race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Why are these values so important?

First, the greatest success in life is being happy with yourself. If integrity is absent from your life, you cannot be happy with yourself. Sure, you can still pursue pleasure … but you will be blocking yourself from any significant fulfillment. If honesty is absent, you will have to lie to yourself to be able to come “comfortably” to terms with your own actions. And the minute you lie to yourself, you violate your integrity … and, in the process, block yourself from true happiness and fulfillment.

If you cannot be honest with people, you cannot develop long-term meaningful relationships with anyone, because there is no trust between you. No matter how skilled you are at being deceptive, the truth eventually comes to the surface. When it does, trust is gone. Without trust the relationship begins to erode like a cancer from within.

If you are not honest with yourself … if you violate your own values, you will have difficulty trusting yourself. You will eventually become overwhelmed with doubt, and with good reason.

This is why I can’t support reducing taxes when one of the costs is sacrificing affordable healthcare for everyone and giving windfalls to the wealthy. Why I can’t stand behind closing our borders to refugees escaping the horrors of war because they come from countries known to house terrorists. Why I can’t support billions of dollars being invested in a wall to separate us from our neighbors, when these same neighbors are so desperate for employment they will take our most menial of jobs. Not to mention that this wall will siphon off funds from much needed programs to help our children, seniors, and the ill or vulnerable.

If you think that taking a shortcut, and sacrificing your integrity and living out of alignment with basic values, will somehow get you more money, success and security or even more fun and pleasure, think again. You’re probably thinking short term. In the long term, violating trust with others or with your self is the surest way to failure. Also, remember to never confuse pleasure with happiness … they are very different terms and values (again, another post for another day – but the basic idea is that pleasure is a shorter term feeling while happiness is a long-term element of the human experience).

Of course, your values and the meanings you attach to honesty and integrity can be different from mine – but regardless of how you define these values, I strongly urge you to take a serious look at how you apply these values in your life, your business, your relationships, and your responses to the world. Short-term results may be deceiving – think about the life you want to create … the person you want to become… and the world you want your grandchildren to inherit.

Adapted from

FreedomPassionPurpose.com….

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Everyone Is Psychic, Including YOU!

In last week’s article I wrote that everyone is psychic. I also gave you a list of 10 questions to ask yourself to determine if you were psychic. Did you answer YES to any of the questions?

Here is another way to know if you have any psychic abilities:

Your interest is already a sign!

When you show a particular interest in a specific topic it implies that you already have some awareness around it. Therefore you have a better chance to increase and develop those abilities. Curiosity, motivation and dedication are key for the development of proficiency in a particular subject!


Belief and Psychic Abilities

Another common theme related to this question is whether or not you need to “believe” in psychic powers. Some psychics and teachers of psychism propose that you don’t need to believe in it at all. As a matter of fact, approaching the subject with an open mind and with a healthy dose of skepticism can be very helpful in differentiating sensations from the physical body, imagination, and real psychic perception. This will allow you to validate the presence of your psychic abilities by way of your own experiences.

This approach requires you to accept that sometimes you simply will not know exactly what happened! This is to be expected. Don’t let it discourage you. What is important is that if you do have a new or unusual experience that you will learn how to identify when it’s the result of your psychic ability. You will gain more proficiency in this as you gather more experience.

The Stereotypical Image of Psychics

A lot of movies unfortunately portray the psychic ability as something obscure (in horror movies, for example), mystical (in some dramas and action movies), or pertaining to a person that is imbalanced or unstable (to avoid the word “crazy”), or that has some grave illness (a brain tumor), suffered an injury, had a near-death experience, or was hit by lightning.

These references give an inaccurate impression that psychic abilities only happens in odd circumstances, which is not the case at all. There are plenty of rational healthy people that have extraordinary psychic experiences. There are also people that apply a rational approach to their psychic abilities and apply those experiences for personal growth.

Different Types of Psychic Abilities

Psychic abilities are natural abilities, and as such some may be learned and some will happen spontaneously. Some may be good at one modality, for example, telepathy, but inexperienced in another, for example, clairvoyance. Here is a list of different psychic modalities:

Clairvoyant – the person who can clearly see non-physical realities or dimensions, surrounding energies, auras, physical people’s psychospheres, and non-physical consciousness.

Clairaudient – the person who can hear events occurring at long distance, in the physical world, and events occurring in non-physical dimensions.

Clairsensitive – the person who can feel the surrounding energies and non-physical consciousnesses. You can also train to feel all that touches (or could touch) your skin at a distance from it, by exteriorizing your sensitivity to the periphery of your *energosoma. Some Sensitives are also good at smelling non-physical fragrances.

Remote-viewer – the phenomenon of remote-viewing can also be technically called travelling clairvoyance. Therefore the remote-viewer can clearly see consciousnesses, places, and events happening at long distance, either in the physical dimension or in non-physical dimensions. The remote viewer can also describe to an audience, even with eyes open, what is being seen, what is happening in real-time.

Lucid Projector – astral traveller or sky walker, the person that leaves the physical body or soma sleeping in the physical dimension and explores with the psychosoma other physical or non-physical locations, thus gathering information the soma cannot obtain during the waking state.

Lucid dreamer – the person that achieves control of dreams, becomes increasingly more lucid, and can use the trigger(s) of his/her lucid dreams to further increase lucidity and induce conscious lucid projections (astral travelling).

Precognitor – the person that develops the capacity to gather information from a possible future. To be able to access information from the future means only that you can ‘read’ the possibilities. The future may or may not unfold according to these possibilities, because consciousness still has freewill and with it the capacity of choice that can change the future.

Retrocognitor – the person that acquires information from past lives or from the intervals between physical lives where the consciousness lived in non-physical dimensions.

Telepath – the person that can ‘read’ the information being transmitted mind-to-mind in physical or non-physical dimensions between the consciousnesses. The telepath is a receptor and a transmitter.

Intuitive – the person that can get an intimate clear knowledge of things, and grabs insights that escape the normal thought process. The immediate and instinctive represents a shortcut that can jump over reason thus adding to intelligence.

Medium – person that mediates and brings information from the non-physical dimensions to the physical dimension, I.e. talking to individuals who have passed on.

Telekinesist – the person that can move objects without touching them. Besides making objects move in your awakened state, people can do things like finding objects or making them disappear, or produce phenomena such as: combustion, electromagnetic, electrochemical, photogenic, mechanical, nuclear chemical, and sonorous effects.
*Energosoma – The energetic parabody of the human consciousness. The energosoma forms a junction between the soma and the psychosoma, acting as a point of connection through which consciential energy flows from one consciential vehicle to the other. Also referred to as holochakra.

Adapted from an article on Psychic Abilities by the International Academy of Consciousness

If you are curious about accessing your own “inner-seeing” abilities then please join us for:

What’s a Psychic & How Can You Access Your Own Inner Seeing?
A Powerful Discussion with 3 Clairvoyant Seers 
Hosted by
In Her Name Circle
7:00 PM
Friday, May 26, 2017
Unitarian Universalist Congregation
300 E. Santa Inez, San Mateo, CA 94401
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Are Psychic Abilities Real? And How Do You Know if You Have Them?

Psychic abilities and psychic powers allow you to have perceptions beyond the physical body. They are part of the daily life of many. You will find countless references in books, movies and the internet for phenomena such as telepathy, clairvoyance, intuition and premonition, which are some types of non-physical (or extra-physical) perception. But how can you know if you have psychic abilities?

Many of us have thought about this question at some point in our lives. Maybe one day you find you have very clear intuition, another day you may experience déjà vú, or maybe you have experienced a lucid dream or even clairvoyance, possibly when you were younger.


How do we know if we are psychic?

So, after experiencing one or more of these things, how do you know if you have psychic abilities? The answer is really simple:

We are all psychic!

Some of us are more psychic than others. We all have different levels of natural psychic abilities, so we all possess the ability of being a proper psychic with the right training and techniques.

Psychic abilities are in fact a ‘kind of intelligence’; you learn them in the same way you learn how to play the piano or drive a car. You simply learn how to become psychic.

But it is important to understand there are people that have developed this intelligence much more than others; so, for them, it is simply a part of their lives. Others have an intention of further developing, increasing and/or controlling their abilities.

If you want to know if you already possess these types of abilities (or Parapsychic Intelligence), pay attention to occurrences as you go through life that might lead you to come to this conclusion.

Understanding Psychic Abilities

The first step is to understand the different ways that information can reach you. For instance, if you touch a metallic door knob you will get the sensation that it is cold. You perceive this via a physical sense.

On the other hand, have you ever been relaxing and felt a tingling sensation between your eyebrows that persists for more than a minute? It might have felt as if a feather was touching that area repeatedly when there was actually nothing physical touching that area. If so, then that might have been your psychic perception at work. In other words, you experienced a sensation that can’t be explained in physical terms. It was a non-physical body sensation that came from your energy body. The technical term is energosoma.

Another kind of psychic ability is the ability to see auras. We all have had the experience of looking at someone and being able to see the details of her face, hair, eyes, etc. This is the result of your eyes, brain, and all the physical parts of your body that are involved in physical sight.

If, however, you’ve also seen a bright envelope around the person which is about five centimeters thick along with brightness and colors around the head that extends up to 20 centimeters from the head, then this is psychic ability. You would be seeing her aura, something that is extra-physical and not accessible through your physical eyes.

You might wonder if this could simply be your imagination. The thing is, however, imagination is something you decide to put into work. It’s your will power at work. We can apply the same “tests” to differentiate physical and psychic perceptions.
In the metallic door knob example, you can ask yourself “am I imagining this psychic ability?” If after you verify this you continue to feel the coldness of the metal, then you know the physical perception is there.

In a psychic perception, you frequently need to be in a passive, receptive state, trying to “listen” or “receive” the perception without letting your expectation or will interfere. If you train this ability along with your physical perceptions, it will be easier for you to identify when you have a psychic perception.

Put your Psychic Abilities Through the Test:
10 Questions that Will Help You Assess Your Psychic Abilities
  1. Have you felt drained after meeting someone? Like you need to have a quick nap?
  2. Have you ever had a feeling that something is about to happen to someone around you only to find out it actually happened soon after?
  3. Have you ever visited a friend in his/her house (feeling great when arriving) but then left feeling really tired? (when there is no drinking or eating involved)
  4. Have you ever woken up remembering a very lucid dream or an out-of-body experience?
  5. Have you ever had a lucid out-of-body experience?
  6. How about clairvoyance? Have you ever had a flash and you were able to see other dimensions or people that have already passed away?
  7. Intuition: is it common to you? How relevant are your intuitions?
  8. Have you ever been able to predict the future?
  9. How about past events? Have you ever had a retrocognition or recollection of a previous life?
  10. Have you ever felt spontaneous vibration within your body when waking up or when falling asleep?
If you have answered ‘yes’ or agreed with any of these questions there are possibilities that you possess a good level of psychism, that’s how simple it is to tell if you possess psychic abilities.
Look for next week’s article for more information about and the different types of psychic abilities.

If you are curious about accessing your own “inner-seeing” abilities then please join us for:

What’s a Psychic & How Can You Access Your Own Inner Seeing?
A Powerful Discussion with 3
Clairvoyant Seers
Hosted by:
In Her Name Circle
7:00 PM
Friday, May 26, 2017
Unitarian Universalist Congregation
300 E. Santa Inez, San Mateo, CA 94401

 

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Aphrodite and the Transforming Qualities of Self-Love

Most people know of Aphrodite as the goddess of love. She is that, but she’s also much more. She is the mistress of all kinds of love and passion – passion for art, a special interest, friendship, romantic love, and self-love.

The earliest myth of the birth of Aphrodite comes from Hesiod. Ouranos (Heaven) forbid his offspring with Gaia (Earth) to see light, the space between Heaven and Earth. One night when Heaven lay with Earth, their son, Chronos (Time), harvested Heaven’s genitals and threw them into the stormy sea. From this immortal flesh mixed with sea foam, rose the beautiful Aphrodite who inspired love in everyone and everything that came into her presence.

Aphrodite’s innocence – her virginity – was renewed on an annual basis. At her temple on Crete, her priestesses carried her statue into the sea for a ritual bathing. This act was a re-creation and restoration of Aphrodite’s virginity by the Graces. Once she was caught by her husband, Hephaestus, making love with her lover, Ares, God of War, and he humiliated her before the other gods. Aphrodite fled to Crete where the Graces washed and anointed her with ambrosial oil, restoring the goddess to her original state of purity and virginity.

This return to innocence is one of Aphrodite’s many gifts to you. Yes, you can be restored from the wounds of heartbreak, regret, guilt, and shame. Your past does not need to be your present. But for healing, you must first love and honor yourself.

The personal transformation that comes from self-care and self-love is another one of Aphrodite’s gifts. Many images depict her gazing at herself in a mirror, or bathing, or luxuriating with her nymphs. Some of us work-aholics and self-beraters might view her with contempt for being so self-indulgent. But there is a much deeper message in Aphrodite’s love for herself and her body. She appreciates what her body does for her and she loves to be adorned with beauty. For beauty is inspirational. It enables us to get a taste of the sublime.

Too often we are so hard on ourselves. The comments some of us make about ourselves we wouldn’t even say about someone we didn’t like. Too often we deprive ourselves by not getting enough sleep, or enough nourishing food, or time for pleasure and play. Instead we may work way too hard depriving ourselves of some of our basic needs.

Aphrodite’s message is that when we do take care of ourselves we feel so much better. Our souls are more joyous. We sleep better because we aren’t so stressed. Play and pleasure gives us joy, which dispels anxiety and worry. Our relationships are more rewarding because we aren’t grumpy, fatigued, and short tempered.

Self-love is taking care of ourselves so that we can show up as a happier, more joyous person. It actually enables us to be more effective and productive because we are more able to find joy and passion in what we do.

Aphrodite Meditation
This week, spend time for five minutes a day on the meditation below:

Relax. Choose an image of Aphrodite that appeals to you and gaze upon it. Visualize her energy flowing into you. Feel her divine energy of love and healing embrace you. Allow yourself to feel Joy.

If you are in the Sacramento area, then please join me for an evening of circling with Aphrodite. Listen to her myths that have messages for contemporary women and participate in a self-blessing ritual.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
 
Blossoming Paths
10227 Fair Oaks Blvd, Fair Oaks, CA
 
For more info, click HERE 
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Women and Power – Change Is Afoot; Keep Applying the Pressure

The Way it Was 

For much of recorded history women have been second-class citizens in a male-dominant world. In ancient history this was not the case. Women were honored, as was the Mother Goddess. They could own property, run businesses, children were identified through the mother’s line, and they were community and spiritual leaders.

Then things began to change. Around the second millennium BCE the first laws of recorded history, the Hammurabi’s Code, was written onto clay tablets. Some of these laws regulated the rights and freedom of women. It limited their mobility, their rights to own property, their sexual freedom, and their rights to their own children. Their male relatives, husbands, and even their male sons gained power over women. This notion of women as second class citizens was perpetuated in sacred text, religious institutions, and in ancient legends and myths that are still at the heart of our culture.

This had a devastating effect on women that is still reverberating through much of the world today. According to the Hunger Project, fifty-five million women in the world don’t have enough to eat. Every five seconds a child dies from hunger related diseases. One third of American women are more likely to be poor compared to their male counterparts. And single mothers are 67.7% more like to be living in poverty than a single father.

Change Is Afoot 

There have been some fundamental shifts in the global economy and business patterns that are creating change. For better or worse we have moved from an agricultural and manufacturing economy to an information economy which depends on smarts, not brawn. In many countries women equal or exceed the education backgrounds of their male counterparts. More and more women are positioned to benefit economically. Women own half our nation’s wealth and control a majority of household spending decisions – to the tune of five trillion dollars. Women make over 80% of consumer purchases in the US. The results: women are setting trends. For example, the increase in the availability of organic products is because of women’s influence based on their concern for the families’ health and wellbeing.

Women lacked organization and strategic alliances however, until the Women’s March, the worldwide protest on January 21, 2017. I It was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. t’s purpose was to unite women in order to advocate for legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, and workers’ rights. The rallies were aimed at the recently elected President Trump and largely due to statements and positions attributed to him that were regarded as offensive and anti-women.

The Women’s March sent a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights. The Washington March was streamed live on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

The Washington March drew 440,000 to 500,000 people, and worldwide participation has been estimated at five million. At least 408 marches were reported to have been planned in the U.S. and 168 in 81 other countries. After the marches, officials who organized them reported that 673 marches took place worldwide, on all seven continents, including 29 in Canada, 20 in Mexico,and one in Antarctica. In Washington D.C. alone, the protests were the largest political demonstrations since the anti-Vietnam War protests in the 1960s and 1970s, with both protests drawing in similar numbers. The Women’s March crowds were peaceful, and no arrests were made in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Seattle, where an estimated combined total of two million people marched.

This march provided the chance to create community and were an opportunity for social action and protest as well as solidarity for healing, for bridging race and sexuality differences.

It was an opportunity to remind the world and our congressional leaders that women are still here, we are still relevant, and we are willing to engage in social action to protest and seek remediation of our civil and human rights.  It was an opportunity to stand up and demand that this presidential administration and the Republican-led Congress invite women of all identities and backgrounds to the table to listen to experts on issues of housing and health care and education. Women want a say in the types of programs which will allow women and their children to pursue the American Dream and those that will distance us from achieving that dream.

For Our Daughters and Granddaughters 

Nothing that we have taken for granted for the last forty years is safe.  And, though we’ve seen the erosion of welfare benefits and reproductive rights take place for decades, including under the watch of President Bill Clinton, there is nothing like this current administration to remind women that we need to be ever vigilant. Just as civil rights have eroded for Black Americans, so have they for women. Both trends will continue in a downward spiral if we don’t constantly hold those in power responsible for protecting the civil and human rights we’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Unfortunately, the glass ceiling still exists in every part of life when it comes to gender equality. We must continue to fight for equal rights so that we can ensure that our daughters and granddaughters have better opportunities, more access, and more control over their lives and their bodies than we did.

It’s been four months since the march. We were awakened from our complacency. Let’s not go back to sleep. It’s more important than ever to stay vigilant, to stand in our truth, to take appropriate action, and to keep speaking up so our voices will be heard and counted.
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Is It Safe to Play it Safe?

I recently set a boundary. It was with a colleague whom I liked and respected. Setting that boundary was really tough!

Here I am, a ‘mature’ business woman with lots of life experience, who runs her own practice, and is a leader in her community… and it was still very challenging to set that boundary! How many of you experience similar difficulties when having to confront someone for whatever reason?

Well… I ended up setting the boundary, but then spent a sleepless night stewing over it. What came up in the stew was that I felt guilty because I ‘dared’ to set a boundary!

As I ‘unpacked’ my feelings attempting to get at the source of why this had me in such turmoil, I realized that, somehow, I felt wrong for setting the boundary. As if it wasn’t OK to protect my space.

I finally comprehended that I had been living by an old story about how I should show up in the world. It went something like this: “Be nice, accommodating and understanding of everyone else. It’s your job. It’s OK if others take advantage of you because of your niceness. They will like you for being so nice and accommodating. You must be liked. The world won’t be safe if you aren’t liked.”

Wow! Where did this come from? I had been giving everyone license to walk all over me. Where was my backbone? What happened to my power?

As I dug deeper I realized that as a preacher’s kid with a stern father, I had quickly learned that as a child being super “nice” was expected.  It became the ‘role’ I took on and played all my life. When I set that boundary, I confronted the role of “be nice and accommodating.”  I said, “NO! I deserve to be respected.”

Even though I did the right thing, I still went through quite a bit of inner disturbance. This showed me how challenging it can be to change an old story about how one should show up in the world. Even if I was ready to change that old story, it still created a lot of inner conflict!

We all have our stories that define the roles by which we live. Some build us up by flooding us with confidence and inner strength. Others are self-denigrating and self-sabotaging. They keep us stuck in being small, limited, and filled with self-doubt.

Changing these old stories can be challenging, especially when it generates fear or panic like it did for me. Some of these stories sound like, “I’m not good enough so I’d better not take on anything too big.”  Or, “It’s not safe to be seen so I better play it low key.”  Or, “I have to work really hard to make it. There’s no time for play or having fun.”  Or, “Why bother to try. Somebody else will do it better.”

These old stories go on and on, simmering just under the radar in our subconscious and keeping us from living to our potential. When we try to stretch ourselves, our fear of actually doing something outside the norm yanks us back into staying ‘safe’… but small.

It’s time for you to start living as your big self. When you feel that sense of fear or panic, gather up your courage, then ‘Do It Anyway.’

The rewards of standing in your truth and changing those old stories are much greater than staying stuck in a role that has grown much too small for the potential of who you can be!

So, what happened with that colleague with whom I set the boundary? She realized that she had overstepped her bounds and was apologetic. She made appropriate amends. The result is that our friendship and collegial relationship is stronger than ever, and I feel more empowered because I took a stand and claimed my right to be respected.

If you are plagued with negative thoughts and old stories of how you should show up in your life, then give me a call for a 30-minute complimentary consultation and find out how you can live the life you were joyfully meant to live. Call me TODAY! 415-819-8769 or email me.
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Women, Beware the Pink Net

Ever felt like you were getting shot down in the office… by other women?

This is an unfortunate complaint that I hear from some of my clients and friends. The glass ceiling is still there, as demonstrated recently on the political scene – although now women are waking up and becoming more assertive at poking holes through it.

Other women I talk to, however, are concerned about getting caught in what I’ve come to call the Pink Net. Corporate women are finding themselves entangled in the male culture of competition and dominance. In order to climb the ladder some tend to turn on other women by holding them back and keeping them down.

Ouch!

To succeed many of my corporate clients have worked hard to become more like men – tough, competitive, driven! For men this style obviously works. There’s a reason the “old boys club” has been around so long.

There is a big difference, though, in how men and women play the competitive game. Men dwell mostly in their heads and are less ruled by emotions. They like to compete – be the top dog – yet they don’t personalize the battle. They go out for drinks after a heated conference room clash of priorities and ideas. There they shift from their recent board room battle to hashing out the latest ball game as if they’re the best of friends.

Women, however, are relational; we are more in touch with our feelings. While this has some obvious benefits, it also makes it tougher for us to keep our emotions out of the equation. We tend to personalize disagreements – business or otherwise. After a conference room battle, our emotions can be stirred up. They can linger and fester. Internalized, women can turn their negative emotions on other women in the male hierarchical tradition of keeping others down to build themselves up. Or they dampen down their emotions and become the dragon lady boss. (I had one of these once. It was not pleasant!) This personalization of boardroom disputes hurts women individually and collectively in corporate life.

Women’s cultural and natural inclination is to form circles of collaboration where we can support, listen to, and encourage one another. As a result, when we start throwing punches like the boys, there’s an internal cost. It’s hard to divorce ourselves from our feelings and stay in our heads like the guys. And in an effort to stay one-up, the cost can mean projecting our frustration and fear on other women.
So what’s the solution? One is for women to build on what comes naturally: circles of collaboration.

Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the Hunt, refused to follow the traditional female role of wife and mother. Instead she asked her father, Zeus, for a bow and arrow so she could roam free in the woods with her circle of nymphs. Artemis and the nymphs were self-sufficient, hunting and supporting each other. They created a circle of collaboration.

Instead of buying into the competitive game, women might focus on building networks of support, encouragement and guidance within the corporate structure. Men have a system of mentoring. Their mentees are advised, guided and encouraged through their development. Then the mentees are brought with them up the ladder. Or the mentees move on to become colleagues in other departments or companies.

There is a growing tradition of female mentoring in US corporations. There just aren’t enough of them YET! Are we really too busy or too competitive to stop and help one another through the ranks?

Mentoring could be the type of collaboration women can embrace. I know this is happening in some of the younger newer and savvier companies. Yet we still have a long way to go in the larger more male dominated corporations.

If you feel you are not getting the support and encouragement you need from other women, then I encourage you to find a women’s circle that encourages feminine empowerment, fosters supportive relationships, shares feminine wisdom, and honors feminine ways of knowing and being in the world. Women’s wisdom and feminine influence has the potential to change the world. We can start right in our own community.

There are many women’s groups out there – some are business related, others support personal growth and development, and still others focus on spiritual development. Search out the kind that you feel will support you best.
I currently lead two such women’s circles that focus on personal and spiritual growth. One is “Circle with the Divine Feminine” in Fair Oaks CA, the other is the “In Her Name Circle” in San Mateo, CA. I personally invite you to check us out. We would love to welcome you.

If you are feeling challenged with how to show up with confidence and strength as a woman, then contact Joy to find out how she can help YOU be more authentically YOU. Phone 415-819-8769 or email Joy TODAY!
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