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Oath of Sovereign Connection

I affirm to myself, for all time and in all ways, that my direct connection to source and spirit will be sovereign and unimpeded. That no external truth, whether it be personal, familial, cultural, institutional, or any other, shall dictate the terms of this direct knowing. That all alternative perspectives worthy of such will be considered and honored for their truth. As considered, they will be learned from and used to strengthen my direct connection but will never supplant my direction connection with spirit itself.   

Through this, I affirm and avow that no outside source will dictate or determine what is right and good in my relationship with God/Goddess/Source or have the power to assess my moral correctness above and beyond my deepest knowing, truth, and what aligns with God/Goddess/Source itself. I choose to live in accordance with Divine Law and in devotion to the Highest Light in each and every aspect of my life. This devotion and alignment cannot and will not be mediated. 

Through this, I clear any previously made bonds that are not of the Highest Light which do not uphold this sovereign connection. I ask to be made aware of and clear all agreements, inside and outside of myself, that distort or limit my direct connection with God/Goddess/Source regardless of whether well or maliciously intentioned. I forgive myself for any times or in any capacity in which I forgot and foresook my direct connection with God/Goddess/Source. I forgive any perpetrations aimed at breaking this direct connection. I ask for guidance and protection from any agreements, vows or bonds, inside and outside of myself, that do not strengthen my connection with God/Goddess/Source. I ask to see dogma, rhetoric, and all mechanisms of disempowerment for what they are and through my clarity choose a direct and sovereign connection. 

I understand that affirming my sovereign connection with God/Goddess/Source is an essential. I know that I have been afraid to affirm my deep knowing and sovereign connection with spirit because I have been afraid of losing sight of my human limitations and thereby being corrupted by negative forces. I ask to see clearly the distinction between human limitation and Truth, to learn from human limitation, and to be guided by Truth both inside and outside of myself. I choose to see with eyes of benevolence and love the human limitation of myself and each person I meet regardless of spiritual rank attained, institutional backing, or even depth of wisdom. I ask that I may see the Truth in all things -especially when it comes to my own limitations- and through this remain a Guardian of the Light.

Through my actions, I choose to empower myself and all others to know my and their deepest and truest connections with spirit. I surrender my need and desire to understand or be understood, promote a way of being or seeing, or even protect and guide others in ways that are limited by my lower-self and ego. I offer myself in service of each and every being knowing their divine unmediated connection with the Highest Light and that they are God/Goddess/Source itself. 

I ask that any statements made herein that are not in accordance with Truth and Divine Law be purified and that I may align with this Truth. I ask for support, guidance, and strength so that I may stand firm in these commitments. I ask for grace, humility, and love so that I may uplift and heal on my journey. 

So Be It.

Amen.

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The Secret to Self-Confidence

Self-confidence seems to be such a slippery thing to hold on to, as it can be heavily impacted by our environment, our experiences, and the feedback we receive from others. If only there was a self-confidence vitamin we could take every morning…

Fortunately, there is a simple system to gaining and maintaining your self-confidence, and you can add it into your daily self-care routine, right along with those other vitamins! Are you ready for the secret to self-confidence? It is having greater self-awareness – being aware of how you think, feel and act – and it has four important components:

  1. Know Yourself
  2. Understand Yourself
  3. Accept Yourself
  4. Love Yourself

Know Yourself
The first step in creating greater self-awareness is to know yourself. Do you pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and actions? This is absolutely essential, because you can’t change what you don’t notice.

As you move through your day, listen to your thoughts. Are they mostly positive and productive, or do you have a lot of self-criticism or other mental chatter running through your head? You may even want to carry a small notebook around with you to record your most commonly recurring thoughts.
Our feelings are highly accurate barometers of how well we are taking care of ourselves. Feelings can be triggered by our thoughts, our experiences, and our interactions with others. Notice your moods throughout the day (again, you may want to record this in your notebook), so you can get a clear picture of your emotional ups and downs – and, most importantly, what caused them.
Finally, take a good look at your actions. Do your actions support your goals, or do you find yourself distracted with trivial activities or procrastinating getting the important things done? Consider using your handy notebook to make a list of absolutely everything you do during one 24-hour period (and how much time you spend doing it). You may be amazed at how much time and energy is lost in optional or non-essential activities.

Understand Yourself
The second step in creating greater self-awareness is to understand yourself. When you take the time to notice and know your thoughts, feelings and actions, you will begin to see patterns of beliefs and behaviors. Once you recognize these patterns, it is important to explore how they were created and how they may be limiting and restricting you, rather than supporting you.
Review your list of your most common negative thoughts, and see if you can remember when they first began to appear. Perhaps you can remember a specific event in your childhood that created this thought pattern, or perhaps a particular set of thoughts sound just like your mother or father… Understanding the origin of your thought patterns and beliefs can be a powerful first step to realizing that they are not serving you and figuring out what you need to do to break free from their spell.
The only way to understand your feelings is to allow yourself to feel them – without judging, stuffing or denying them. When you feel a strong emotion, remind yourself that it is okay to feel this way. Then ask yourself what is underneath the emotion. Perhaps your feelings are trying to draw your attention to an unmet need or some unresolved pain from the past. Discovering why you feel a particular emotion helps you to understand yourself and ultimately take better care of yourself.
You may want to review your 24-hour activity list, paying extra attention to those activities that could be considered an unproductive use of your time, energy and focus. What excuses, explanations or justifications did you tell yourself to make it “okay” to choose these activities over something else? What kind of motivation, support or resources would have made a difference in helping you make healthier or more productive choices? Understanding how and why you select which actions you take throughout your day will help you to remain more conscious (and conscientious) about your activities.

Accept Yourself
The third step in creating greater self-awareness is to accept yourself. As you gain a greater understanding of your thoughts, feelings and actions, it becomes easier to lessen your self-judgments and become more self-compassionate. Accept yourself for who and how you are in the moment, know that you don’t have to be perfect, and maintain a steady momentum of personal development to bring you even closer to your ideal you.
It can be challenging to quiet negative mental chatter and focus your thoughts in more healthy directions. Don’t beat yourself up when you get into a mental funk – that’s just creating more criticism and judgment! Instead, take a deep breath and redirect your attention to more constructive thoughts. Since your brain can only hold one thought at a time, you may want to create a list of affirmations or positive statements to say out loud or silently to yourself to replace any negativity.
Give yourself permission to notice and feel your feelings, and be gentle with yourself when you feel vulnerable. Notice if you need support in expressing and releasing your emotions and find a healthy way to get that support, whether it is with friends and family, your spiritual community, counseling, or another resource.
Choose your actions wisely. Seek a balance between productive activities that will bring you closer to your goals, and recreational activities that will nurture and energize you. Reward yourself when you do something spectacular or achieve a big goal, and forgive yourself if you have a frustrating or unproductive day.

Love Yourself
The fourth step in creating greater self-awareness is to love yourself. When you choose to accept yourself, rather than judge yourself, it’s easier to notice your good qualities and celebrate your successes. You’ll grow to like the person you are, and then one day you’ll wake up and realize that you’re in love with your life and yourself!
Your thoughts will be loving and supportive, and you will have a much more positive outlook. Your emotions will flow freely, and you will feel comfortable expressing your wants and needs. Your actions will be in alignment with your goals and dreams, and you will feel empowered to live your life to the fullest.
When you know yourself, understand yourself, accept yourself, and love yourself, you will naturally be more self-confident. Incorporate these four steps into your daily routine, and you will be amazed at how much better you feel about yourself and the world around you!

Shannon Lee, The Stuck Spot Remover, is the Director of the Self-Awareness Institute and the founder of Inner Harmonies. Shannon is a personal growth expert with over 20 years of experience in helping people to identify and overcome their obstacles to happiness, success and well-being. Visit her website at www.SelfAwarenessInstitute.com

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The Benefits of Being Vulnerable

The Benefits of Being Vulnerable

Brene Brown caused a big stir when she stood up and started talking about her own vulnerability. As she candidly put it in her TED talk, she did not think that she was supposed to feel vulnerable. Only to discover, that she actually was missing out on some of the best of life—namely intimacy—by being unwilling to surrender to being vulnerable. I am so grateful for her efforts to make the world a little more real and a little more humane.

It takes a lot of discipline to open up when you feel threatened but that is just what vulnerability asks us to do. It asks us to let go of our pride –our need to be right—and open to the greater truth of ourselves, the other, and the situation. When we are vulnerable we loose the stranglehold of our lesser selves. Vulnerability requires that we are able rely on a much deeper and stronger part of our self –one that is not caught up in our ego.

Let me describe the process:

It happens all the time! I get myself into a situation where I can feel myself armoring up. I feel judged, disrespected, misunderstood. It does not matter what the specific situation is, really. Just that I can feel it coming on. This intense desire to protect myself -sometimes, at all cost. My heartbeat goes up, my muscles tense, my thoughts start running away, taking my rational self with them.

I know that nothing good can come with this approach but, it is so automatic sometimes. Can you relate?

It takes everything I’ve got to remember that my reaction is causing the problem not protecting me from it. I remember I have nothing to lose but my pride and I let go. My breath deepens. My muscles soften. I can feel my heart open up. NOW, I can make something good happen.

Now let’s break it down step by step:

  • Recognize that you are triggered (i.e. having a reaction)
  • Stay conscious enough to minimize your reaction and not escalate the situation
  • Remove yourself if necessary
  • Let off steam if necessary. Vent but recognize that it is not the truth of the situation.
  • Look for the real reason you are upset. (hint it has little to do with the situation)
  • Give yourself love, understanding, and acceptance.
  • Tease out the parts of your experience that are blame, victimhood, and denial. Simply name them for what they are.
  • Give yourself love, understanding, and acceptance (You need to keep doing this ☺)
  • Remember what you really truly want to see happen with this other person.
  • Re approach from that perspective

Why is this important?

I am going to give you two reasons why this is so critical to our overall fulfillment in life. First, we are unable to develop real relationships that are deeply caring and intimate if we do not allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Second, if we need to pretend that we are not vulnerable then our whole life becomes a charade. We have to work all the time to keep up appearances and in short that makes us miserable.

Short and sweet summary: If you want to be happy, learn how to be vulnerable.

Tune into this weeks Real Answers Radio for more on how to create meaningful relationships through vulnerability. The show is always live and your questions are always welcome!

8 Tips for Reinventing yourself After a Breakup

8 Tips for Reinventing yourself After a Breakup

You are sad, broken hearted, and your life has been radically altered. The person you have been spending the most time with is no longer a part of your life. All the rituals you had and the everyday exchanges that gave you joy are gone, as is the dream of what you hoped to create together. Every relationship we start has the potential of breaking up and we all hope that we will never see the day. Even if the breakup is desired, the effects can still be challenging to deal with and may leave you wondering who you are. Reinventing yourself after a breakup is a natural next-step after this confusion.

No matter how independent we are, relationships shape us. We emerge different than we were when we began. Some of who we have become we may love, some of who we have become may seem like a sacrifice that was not worth it, and some of who we have become may feel like it died with the end of the relationship. Sometimes who we have become is so far from who we want to be that we feel like we need to start from scratch. The question is, how do we reinvent ourselves after a breakup?

8 Tips For Reinventing Yourself After A Breakup

  1. Let go of loose ends: It can be tempting to hold onto memories, both large and small. Items that represented your love are often found in your environment. Plans you held together can still be floating through your mind. The more that you can clear things out and open the door to new things the faster you will be able to discover the new you and create the new life that you are craving.

  2. Be frivolous and have fun: Nothing looks better on you than laughter and happiness. The sadness of your breakup can weigh you down. The easiest way to counteract this heaviness is to make it a point to have fun. Try doing something that you have always wanted to do, but didn’t because you convinced yourself it was not practical or it was too frivolous. Create silly moments of novelty. Building moments of happiness and fun into your life will help you feel better about yourself and more creative as you consider redefining your life in general.

  3. Pay attention to how you look: You might be a meticulous dresser or you might throw on the first thing you lay hands on in your dark closet. We all have a certain part of our identity that is tied to our appearance, whatever that appearance might be. When we’re uncertain about other parts of our identity, like after a breakup, it’s easy to be shaken out of our usual appearance identity. Exercising choice by pushing yourself to put effort into how you look will help you reconnect with yourself and seize a basic and fun step in reinventing yourself. Looking good for you (not anyone else) is healthy and helpful at any point in time.

  4. Pay attention to how you feel: I am not talking about the sadness that you feel as a result of your break up. I am talking about the things, little and big, that put a smile on your face or make you feel good inside. If you want to create a new version of you that you like even more than the current model, you want to start to pay attention to what you like and what you don’t. The easiest way to do this is to pay attention to how you feel when you are doing things. If you are not feeling good, you might want to consider letting go of that activity and beginning to do things differently.

  5. Spend time with people who love the real you: Nothing helps you move on and feel strong enough to try new things like being seen by people who really get you and love you as you are. Take some time to recharge your batteries by surrounding yourself with people who truly appreciate you for all of who you are. Even better if these people are so supportive that they will also embrace the changes that you are planning to make!

  6. Spend time with yourself: Alone time is essential to making sure that you are connected with yourself and in touch with your emotions. Moving on after a breakup is not so much about keeping on the go as it is about a healthy balance of activity and introspection. Give yourself the time you need to just be, feel your feelings, and imagine into your wide-open future.

  7. Rekindle dreams: When we are in a relationship, it begins to shape who we are. Sometimes dreams we had as a single person get put to the side because they do not fit well into a relationship. Now is a great time to bring these dreams to the forefront yet again, and to create some new dreams!

  8. Don’t look back: After the grieving process is over and you have mourned what has been lost, there is little use going down memory lane. If you find yourself replaying relationship events, torturing yourself with “the good times,” or mulling over what you might have done differently, try instead to do one of the things on this list. The new you is waiting for you in the future, not in the past. The more you can embrace the potential of the future, the easier it will be to reinvent yourself.

Whether you’re reinventing yourself after a breakup or just because you feel it’s time for a change, try these resources for reinventing yourself.

3 Quick Tricks to Boost Your Mood

3 Quick Tricks to Boost Your Mood

It is unlikely that you, or anyone you know, actually live in a constant mood of extreme bliss (I mean, really, can you imagine? You wouldn’t even know you were happy anymore!). On a less dramatic point — it is unlikely that you are constantly satisfied with all aspects of your life. Life is continual change, so while we might finally achieve satisfaction with the state of one part of our life, another part might be shifting and slipping.

Being attuned to the parts of your life that are shifting outside your satisfaction, and making sure to take care of those parts, is what prevents you from an emotional shutdown and unhappiness. Here are 3 quick tricks to bring your focus to problem areas and up your mood.

  1. Claim 100% responsibility for your life.

    It may seem like this is a recipe for misery, but it is a crucial component in avoiding the pitfall of blaming your unhappiness on other things or other people. Own your life fully and you’ll be happier in every moment.

  2. Take care of the things that are not working for you.

    Ignoring when the engine light comes on in your car might make your today easier, but it’s a promise of trouble for tomorrow, or worse the next day. Your life is the same.

  3. Be kind to people – including yourself.

    Love begets love. This is the reminder that I get when I’m at the supermarket, the airport, or just walking down the street. You know it too, it’s the difference between someone cutting you off in line, or waving you in front of them. Do your best to find it in yourself to be authentically nice to all the people you encounter.

These three steps alone will help you feel more energetic, joyful, and alive as you go through your life.

6 Ways To Cultivate Gratitude

Gratitude and appreciation are two powerful weapons we can use against depression and anxiety.

In fact, Dan Baker writes in his book, What Happy People Know, that it is impossible to be in a state of appreciation and fear at the same time.

Here, then, are some ways we can cultivate gratitude.

1. Keep a gratitude journal.
According to psychologists such as Sonja Lyubomirsky at the University of California-Riverside, keeping a gratitude journal —where you record once a week all the things you have to be grateful for — and other gratitude exercises can increase your energy, and relieve pain and fatigue. In my daily mood journal, I make a list of each day’s “little joys,” moments that I would fail to appreciate if I didn’t make myself record them, such as: “holding my daughter’s hand on the way to the car,” “a hot shower,” “helping my son with his homework.” This exercise reminds me of all the blessings in my life I take for granted and encourages me to appreciate those mundane moments that can be sources of joy.

2. Use the right words.
According to Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman, words literally can change your brain. In their book, Words Can Change Your Brain, they write: “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.” Positive words, such as “peace” and “love,” can alter the expression of genes, strengthening areas in our frontal lobes and promoting the brain’s cognitive functioning. According to the authors, they propel the motivational centers of the brain into action and build resiliency.

3. Remember.
“Gratitude is the heart’s memory,” says the French proverb. Therefore, one of the first steps to thankfulness is to remember those in our lives who have walked with us and shown kindness for deeds big and small. I have been extremely fortunate to have so many positive mentors in my life. At every scary crossroad, there was a guardian or messenger there to help me find my way. The mere exercise of remembering such people can cultivate gratitude in your life.

4. Write thank-you letters.
According to psychologist Robert Emmons at the University of California at Davis, author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, a powerful exercise to cultivate gratitude is to compose a “gratitude letter” to a person who has made a positive and lasting influence in your life.

Emmons says the letter is especially powerful when you have not properly thanked the person in the past, and when you read the letter aloud to the person face to face. I do this as part of my holiday cards, especially to former professors or teachers who helped shape my future and inspired me in ways they might not know.

5. Hang with the winners.
Peer pressure never really goes away, you know. Studies show that married folks hanging out with happy couples are more likely to stay married themselves; that if your friends eat well, their willpower will rub off on you; and that if you surround yourself with optimists, you will end up more positive than if you keep company with a bunch of whiners. By merely sitting next to a person who likes the words “thank you,” there is a high probability that you will start using those words as well.

6. Give back.
A while back I wanted to repay a former professor of mine for all his encouragement and support to me throughout the years. However, nothing I could do would match his kindness. No letter of appreciation. No visit to his classrooms. So I decided I would help some young girl who fell into my path in the same way that he helped me. I would try to help and inspire this lost person just as he had done for me.

Giving back doesn’t mean reciprocating favors so that everything is fair and the tally is even. That’s the beauty of giving. If someone does an act of kindness for you, one way to say thanks is to do the same for another.

Originally posted on Everyday Health.

An Unstoppable Source for your Personal Power

An Unstoppable Source for your Personal Power

One of the inquiries that most frequently comes up when I am talking to others is how to feel more powerful: in relationships, our work, and any other aspect of life.

We are often challenged by only seeing examples of how to be powerful that we may be less than encouraged by. These supposedly empowered people might appear in some ways that don’t feel right and authentic to us. The confusion can be helped with a little semantics—the difference between someone who is powerful and someone who is empowered. Empowerment comes from deep within whereas power develops as a result of relationship dynamics. Power can come from an empowered or a disempowered place.

To learn to be more empowered, we can ask ourselves how we can come from a deeper place of power inside of ourselves—that is what I would like to examine here.

When we explore our personal power, we might be challenged by the examples of power I eluded to earlier. These examples of overuse or misuse of power are the result of identification with the false (or egoic) self. This false self leads us to believe that we are in power when others are not. It leads us to believe that maintaining this relationship is what it means to be in our full selves. This dynamic shows up in ways that are both subtle and obtuse.

The ego needs to continually be fed or pumped up. It needs proof that it is in fact secure. It will approach situations so that it can receive this bolstering—but underneath, there is a constant nagging sense that the security of the position can be lost at any moment. When we are coming from this place of ego, we may have experiences that help us feel powerful for a bit; for example, we might get praise or be put in a position of power.

We can at times confuse these experiences with having arrived at a place of empowerment. However, when we do not get these bolstering experiences or when something goes wrong, we can easily see how unstable our position is. What you might notice is a lack of consistency; that we’re sort of up and down and that we might need more and more, and then more again in order to maintain this sense of security or power or whatever it is.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the ego. It’s not a matter of getting rid of it. It is a very important part of who we are. But we do want to see it for its role in our lives rather than sourcing our power from this place. An alternative is to source our power from a much deeper place—the core of who we are. There are many different terms for this; regardless of what we call it, this deeper place inside of us creates a more sustainable source of power. The first step is to begin to discern between the two.

Another way to come from a stronger place inside of ourselves is to use the tool of connecting with resources. Simply put, resources are energies in our consciousness that provide us with real depth of connection, energy, feelings of security, etc. A resource can be a spirit, a concept, a totem, or anything else that holds significant energetic power for us.

There are many different ways to approach the concept of resources. Here, I am going to write about it in the most general way. As an example, lets look at something like compassion. You can connect to this feeling—this energy, this way of being—in any way that’s right for you and then find ways to bring this through your own being and out into your life.

As we do this, we actually become stronger. One way to do this is simply by being more intentional. In other words, by stating that “I would like to be more…” (in this case, “compassionate”). When you do this, you are drawing on supportive and infinite energies to help strengthen you in any given moment. You can also ask for help. For example, “Please help me be more compassionate in this situation.” Whether or not you know who you are asking, you are going to benefit. You can also call on these resources through a practice. A practice helps you understand the resource you are working with more deeply and also how to more effectively work with it. In our example, you would increase your compassion through a practice by saying, “okay, in these certain circumstances or in a situation like this, I’m going to look at how I can be more compassionate.” Or, you can look for examples of compassion and draw from those.

As we begin to work with resources, we connect with the core aspects of who we are and develop a deeper understanding of them while also fortifying and learning how to act from them. This both confirms our power and helps us draw from a deeper, more sustainable place. This strengthening process in and of itself helps us detach from our identification with the egoic level and provides ways for us to be powerful that are also aligned with the kind of person we want to be.

Our work with resources and how we source our power are deep topics that require a bit of time to understand. If you have not already, take a moment to sign up for my mailing list so that you can continue to receive information that will help you to step fully into your power and let your light shine.

For more about self empowerment take a look at my article >>> “On Trusting Ourselves.”

7 Reasons to Love Yourself First

7 Reasons to Love Yourself First

Better self-love equals better decisions. Creating an ongoing experience of self-love for yourself keeps you operating at a higher level. Like all things that you do to take care of yourself, loving yourself makes it easier to make better choices simply because you are feeling better when you make them.

Helps determine your real needs. If you do not give yourself the love that you need, you may end up getting confused about what your real needs are. If you do not even fulfill this most primary need how can your really know what your other needs are.

You know how to do it best. While it is wonderful to receive love from others, we actually know what we want and need better than anyone else. Sometimes, if we are feeling a lack of love or care from an outside relationship, we can focus on giving/showing this love to our self in exactly the way that we know we need.

Sets the tone for the people in your life. We teach others how to treat us. When we love ourselves, we show others how to love us, thus setting a standard for the other people in our life.

Self-love is the best form of self-protection. When you act lovingly toward yourself, you are unlikely to tolerate unloving behavior from others. As a result, many problems can resolve themselves without effort, and certain predatory types will find the presence of your self-love less appetizing.

You are the root of positive change. Whether you are a professional caregiver or trying to have your impact be a positive one, giving yourself a steady dose of self-love keeps you healthier, happier, and in the game longer. If you shirk your responsibility to love yourself, you will lessen your overall ability to make a difference.

You are a role model. You are teaching your friends, partner, children, and others how to love themselves each time you show up for yourself in this way. We can all use some extra support in the direction of loving ourselves even more completely. You doing this for yourself helps those around you to do the same.

Do you ever feel compassion fatigue? Read more about caring for yourself here >>> “4 Ways You Can Stop Burnout When You Care a Lot.”

On Compassion

On Compassion

As we move through the bumps, jolts, and obstacles of life, we can use them to justify our own “rightness” or choose to see through the eyes of compassion. When seen most clearly, any person who hurts us is merely a person who is suffering himself or herself.

When we choose to see others in this way, it opens up a door to a more expanded way of being. This does not mean that we should put ourselves in harm’s way or simply accept harmful behavior. That would be a cop-out—a way to bypass our own responsibility. It is a way that we can get trapped in a kind of pseudo-compassion. This false compassion is a trick of our ego and a way to feel important through our own victimhood.

Instead, we can make choices that both offer others compassion and takes care of ourselves. Compassion requires that we be able to stand in another’s place and understand where they are coming from. It asks that we feel another’s motives and empathize with their plight. Respect and love for ourselves and others helps us put boundaries in place, say no, or simply remove ourselves from harmful situations.

Both compassionate understanding and self-care are essential.

Goddesses, such as Quan Yin, Yemanja, and Mary, show us the way to unconditional compassion for others. They overflow with deep acceptance of the natural evolution of the soul—marked at times by oversights, limitations, and ignorance. They know that no one escapes these challenges and that each one is doing the best they can at any given moment. In their strength and with compassionate grace, they show us how to emanate light in the face of all of life’s challenges. They do not exalt or negate suffering—they simply offer it compassion.

Compassion toward another is, in the end, a gift to us. It releases us from the shackles of judgment. It creates the space for us to learn and grow. It sets us free to live and love more deeply.

We may look around our lives or the world and see many things that are wrong—politicians who are power-hungry, friends who are self-absorbed, or family members who are stuck in limiting belief systems. These clear problems may invoke in us frustration, judgment, or even deep sadness. To protect ourselves, we may feel the need to make these people bad in some way.

We might believe that they are harmful, lost, or just wrong. We might feel that, if they continue to act in this way, it will be infringing upon our ability to be ourselves or have the kind of life that we desire. But what if, instead of blocking our path, they are signs pointing the way? Do not go that way—that is not your way. What if, instead of negating our way of being, they are helping us see how to be with all aspects of ourselves and of life? What if they are deepening our ability to trust in the divine unfolding of things and more completely challenging our ego’s limited grasp of how things should be? Our compassion can be our teacher, showing us the way to deeper truth and happiness.

As with many things, the first person who needs compassion from us is usually ourselves. Many of us, especially those on a spiritual path, can forget to develop ourselves in our striving, forget that we are in a perfectly timed process of unfolding and that our mistakes and limitations are part of the process not keeping us from it. Cultivating compassion as a ground for our spiritual development ensures that we are approaching it from the healthiest and most beneficial direction—with honor and integrity rather than an egoic need to be something other than who we are at any given moment.

My prayer is that compassion lives in your heart, that you remember to be compassionate when you have forgotten, and that you have the strength to feel compassion when it is most challenging. I ask that you feel compassion’s gifts and be open to its teachings. I ask that your life be inspired by divine compassionate grace.

Are you on a journey of compassion? Read more on this topic here >>> “Be More Compassionate: Love Yourself and Change the World.”

Uncovering Your Soul’s True Voice

Uncovering Your Soul’s True Voice

As life pushes us in the direction of truly knowing who we are, both the moments of challenge and the moments of grace provide us with insight into our deeper nature. The question is not about where to look for these opportunities, but how to listen to life so that we can make the most out of them.

At one point or another in our lives, many of us feel the call to realize who we are at a deep level. This is sometimes a pull from within that starts when we are relatively young, or it may be a challenging life event that pushes us to seek out more, or a certain age that we reach that reminds us of how little time we actually have. No matter how it comes, the desire to know our soul’s true voice breaks through.

I have found that many people get confused on this journey. They wonder if they are really hearing their inner truth or whether they are caught in yet another layer of delusion. The transition to this deeper connection with the self requires new skills and new levels of discernment; without these things, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and lost.

The following are tools that help uncover and strengthen the true voice of your soul.

Acceptance. What we resist persists. This means that if we want to open deeper parts of ourselves, we need to start by accepting who we are right at this moment—all of it. When we can provide ourselves with that unconditional acceptance, we set the ground for our soul to unfold.

Forgiveness. Forgiveness creates space for new parts of ourselves to come forward and for old parts of ourselves to leave with grace. The negativity that we hold distorts the face of our true self. When we forgive ourselves and others, we let go and let truth appear.

Compassion. A partner if not a parent of acceptance, compassion allows us to meet all aspects of ourselves and hold them lovingly. When we have compassion, we are less likely to judge and condemn. This helps us release all that does not serve us rather than trading one limitation for the next.

Respect. Fostering an environment of respect for both ourselves and others allows us to see the beauty in them and in us. Respecting another says, “I see you and I honor and acknowledge who you are.” Respect for ourselves does the same.

Generosity. Generosity is the natural byproduct of a fully expressed soul. The more expressed we are, the more able we are to be generous in all the ways listed above and more. The generosity we express is not about getting something in return, but about the overflow of the soul’s true voice.

Learn more about empowering your true voice in my post here >>> “A Secret Key to Your Personal Empowerment.”