Category: Articles

MEDITATION AND THE HOLIDAYS

stretchyourself2

An excerpt from How to Survive Your Childhood Now That You’re an Adult by Ira Israel

Every adult wants to live a version of what he or she imagines is “the good life.” Yet, many struggle with a default voice in their heads that tells them that whatever they do will never be good enough and that they will only be happy when they get a new job, relationship, physical appearance, etc.

In How to Survive Your Childhood Now That You’re an Adult: A Path to Authenticity and Awakening, author and psychotherapist Ira Israel explains that the origin of this voice of dissatisfaction is the wounded child within who is subconsciously and retroactively seeking the acceptance, approval, and love of primary caregivers who either withheld love, loved us conditionally, or treated us in ways we did not understand.

We hope you’ll enjoy this short excerpt from the book

Ram Dass said, “If you think you’re enlightened go spend a week with your family.” Although Americans enjoy more privileges and freedoms than people in many other countries, we grow up in a highly competitive society, where children are constantly pushed to get good grades and “achieve” various goals daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. Whoever pushed us — usually our family members — wounded us by subconsciously informing us that whatever we did was “not good enough.” Even positive statements like “You’ll do better next time” may have unintentionally informed us that we were failures in some way. In adulthood, all of that (totally unintentional) wounding during childhood adds up to low self-worth, low self-esteem, and feeling unlovable or only conditionally lovable because we “do” certain things or look a certain way or have attained certain goals or a certain status.

Ram Dass’s famous quote becomes particularly poignant later in life whenever we actually do visit our primary caretakers, because that is often when we get triggered and our childhood wounds, or core wounds, are reopened. If I receive emergency phone calls from patients during the holiday season, I usually end up telling them: “That fight you are having with your mother/father/sister/brother is not about what you think it is about.” And then we discuss things that happened during the patient’s childhood — abandonments, betrayals, violations, humiliations, frustrations, feeling unheard, resentment for being told what to do and who to be, and so on — and we figure out what is going on at a subconscious level and at least develop a more interesting narrative.

The best tool I have found for these situations is mindfulness, because it teaches us to cultivate nonreactivity. Not reacting to dynamics that were established twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty years ago is definitely the best way to modify them. And then we can make healthier, more compassionate long-term 
decisions that bode favorably for peace, love, and harmony.

The next time you are with family members and the situation gets heated, try thinking phrases to yourself such as: “Wow...isn’t that interesting! All of my daddy abandonment/withholding [whatever your core issue is] buttons are being pushed right now! I thought I had resolved that issue a long time ago! This is so interesting!” And then you can decide to take a walk or do something healthy instead of reacting and exacerbating the situation.

In particular, all “observing thoughts meditations” can be helpful. Please visit YouTube and spend a few minutes doing such meditations every day. You can think of it as exercising a muscle, as going to a gym for your mind. Once we learn to sit and observe how our minds operate, then when we are in situations that trigger us, we can make healthy choices — like choosing just to observe the triggers and being proud of ourselves for not reacting. For example, let’s say we are visiting our parents and our father or mother asks us to drive him or her to the store. Everything is going swimmingly until we have to park and our parent starts looking around nervously, then tells us: “More to the left, no now to the right — I said more to the left...no, more to the right.” He or she is trying to help us parallel park, but the wounded child in us hears: “I can never do anything right.” Mindfulness helps us direct our attention to the present moment, be in the present moment, and ignore and dissipate the negative voices that stem from our 
childhood.

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"Life happens. Life in the flow."

We learn over time that nobody can solve our problems, but someone can guide you how to solve the problem. You may receive guidance through a teacher, a guru or even strangers that you run into every day. As we practice yoga we learn that the more we know, the less we truly know. Every day I am reminded how much I truly do not know; a very humbling experience.
Yoga teaches me to be present. To just live for being and enjoying life as it is right NOW. Not ten minutes from now, no five days ago, but right now. We are taught to get out of our heads, to release worries and fears of the past or the future and to only live for this very moment. Presence.

"Lead me from untruth to truth, lead me from darkness to light." ~ Buddha

Through yoga we are reminded that we do have a dark side as well as a light side. We are not to repress the dark side, but embrace that side of our Self. We are the yin and the yang. We ultimately cleanse the dark stuff we hold inside. We shine the light on this. We must make friends with dark side. Both positive and negative balance out the whole. Daily practice refines and improves our inner vision to see our Self more clearly. We no longer need to run from fears. Face them and say I'm not running from you anymore. So much is in our heads, so much dark is only in our heads, self-doubt judgment betrayal. Yoga grounds the body so that the light and dark sides of ourselves become clear. So much is truly untrue. But as we diligently practice we are able to find the middle ground and walk our centered balanced line in life. We gain balance in centered lightheartedness. We can have harmony in both light and dark.

"Yoga tells us that the world is actually a projection of our own thoughts and we can modify our inner world to manifest into our outer world. When our inside realm is at peace and in harmony, our outer world shines this projection back at us."
~ David, Jiva Mukti Yoga co-founder

Yoga is observation.

We can observe our world and see what part that is in us is begin reflected back to us. We can then see what part of us needs modification or adjustment in order to have our outer reality reflect back to us the peace, happiness and love we so greatly desire and deserve.

Yoga is already inside of you. Happiness is there. Yoga helps you peel away the onion layers to get to the core. To freedom. The deepest Divine connection to the Ultimate Light Source.

Come out of wanting and back into acceptance and Joy. A yogi or yogini can turn any situation into bliss. That is a yogi. Yoga is being now. Ultimate yoga is meditation. Just BE.

Yoga is love.

"Love is the light that dissolves all walls between souls." 
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

Through a dedicated practice of all forms of yoga we can participate in the world with a sense of freedom, unaffected from trauma, depression, anger, etc. The freedom is balance in both.


Maggie Anderson is a Yoga & Spiritual Teacher, Reiki Master Teacher, Integrated Energy Therapy® Master Instructor, Soul Coach®, Past Life Coach, Magnified Healing® Master Teacher and Angelights Messenger. She is the author of How I Found My True Inner Peace and Divine Embrace. You can contact Maggie at SpiritualCompassConnection.com.

"Follow Your Bliss. It's Your Spiritual Compass."

Taking Care of Busyness

feelingbad

An excerpt from How to Survive Your Childhood Now That You’re an Adult by Ira Israel

Every adult wants to live a version of what he or she imagines is “the good life.” Yet, many struggle with a default voice in their heads that tells them that whatever they do will never be good enough and that they will only be happy when they get a new job, relationship, physical appearance, etc.

In How to Survive Your Childhood Now That You’re an Adult: A Path to Authenticity and Awakening, author and psychotherapist Ira Israel explains that the origin of this voice of dissatisfaction is the wounded child within who is subconsciously and retroactively seeking the acceptance, approval, and love of primary caregivers who either withheld love, loved us conditionally, or treated us in ways we did not understand.

We hope you’ll enjoy this short excerpt from the book

We need to question what we were taught would make us happy: did we learn from the narratives of films, songs, television, and literature that having passionate love affairs would make us happy? Were we taught that having one partner for life would make us happy? Did we learn that having millions of dollars in our bank accounts would make us happy? Did we learn that driving sports cars or boats or having expensive accoutrements would bring happiness? Because it turns out the one thing that correlates with happiness is the quality of our intimate relationships, how much we can depend on other people, and how securely we are able to connect with other people. Isn’t it ironic that the supposed prizes of our brand of capitalism pull us apart and push us into big houses with fences, exclusive first-class lounges, country clubs, private boxes at sporting events and concerts, and so on? And maybe once people taste exclusivity they become unwilling to share it, they want to keep it exclusive so that they can believe they worked hard to earn it, or that God loves them, or some other myth or fictional subconscious narrative? No sane person wants “Worked Really Hard” on his or her tombstone, yet every day I hear people respond to the question “How are you?” with: “Crazybusy!” which obviously makes no sense since crazybusy describes what one is doing, not how one is doing.

I am not advocating slackerism; I am advocating balance. And being truthful about our life situations. I am advocating that each of us derives our personal identity from who we are, not what we own, where we vacation, or what we do to earn money. If we believe Malcolm Gladwell, then we agree that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates would not have become Steve Jobs or Bill Gates had either of them not been born in 1955, hit high school the same year that mainframe computers entered high schools, and had ten thousand leisure hours to obsessively tinker with hardware systems and design software for those 
devices.

Maybe it is time to unlearn “living to work” and relearn “working to live,” and to do so before our first, or next, heart attack or the traumatic sudden death of a friend or loved one with whom we regret not spending more time, or we develop an addiction, affliction, or dis-ease that is a signpost screaming, “I am not a dancing bear! I do not want to be a cog in the wheel of capitalism! I am sick and tired of working hard so that other people can get richer! I am fed up with people exploiting my limited time on planet Earth!”

The average retiree in America watches television forty-five hours a week. Are we working harder and harder just so we can spend the last twenty years of our lives on a sofa? I think we need a new metric for mental health, happiness, and success. And it could be different for every person. But if we buy into the current version of the supposed American dream, then we are signing up to live financially beyond our means, to be on hamster wheels of consumption, to constantly work until we drop dead or retire or are put out to pasture to make room for younger, hungrier workers.

If I am right and the current barometer of mental well-being relates to showing up for our jobs, to being productive members of society in order to earn money to pay our credit card debts, mortgages, and student loans, then instead of over 20 million Americans taking antidepressants every day, maybe it is time to reframe the American dream; build vibrant, loving, noncompetitive communities; take vacations; and allow time for people to bond with and attach to their families and friends. Maybe it is also time to stop blaming people and labeling people as lazy if they are not rich, stop ostracizing people who do not play the game of consumerism, and allow people to decide for themselves who they want to be and to find for themselves the things that will keep them at the higher ends of their happiness spectrums.

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"Life happens. Life in the flow."

We learn over time that nobody can solve our problems, but someone can guide you how to solve the problem. You may receive guidance through a teacher, a guru or even strangers that you run into every day. As we practice yoga we learn that the more we know, the less we truly know. Every day I am reminded how much I truly do not know; a very humbling experience.
Yoga teaches me to be present. To just live for being and enjoying life as it is right NOW. Not ten minutes from now, no five days ago, but right now. We are taught to get out of our heads, to release worries and fears of the past or the future and to only live for this very moment. Presence.

"Lead me from untruth to truth, lead me from darkness to light." ~ Buddha

Through yoga we are reminded that we do have a dark side as well as a light side. We are not to repress the dark side, but embrace that side of our Self. We are the yin and the yang. We ultimately cleanse the dark stuff we hold inside. We shine the light on this. We must make friends with dark side. Both positive and negative balance out the whole. Daily practice refines and improves our inner vision to see our Self more clearly. We no longer need to run from fears. Face them and say I'm not running from you anymore. So much is in our heads, so much dark is only in our heads, self-doubt judgment betrayal. Yoga grounds the body so that the light and dark sides of ourselves become clear. So much is truly untrue. But as we diligently practice we are able to find the middle ground and walk our centered balanced line in life. We gain balance in centered lightheartedness. We can have harmony in both light and dark.

"Yoga tells us that the world is actually a projection of our own thoughts and we can modify our inner world to manifest into our outer world. When our inside realm is at peace and in harmony, our outer world shines this projection back at us."
~ David, Jiva Mukti Yoga co-founder

Yoga is observation.

We can observe our world and see what part that is in us is begin reflected back to us. We can then see what part of us needs modification or adjustment in order to have our outer reality reflect back to us the peace, happiness and love we so greatly desire and deserve.

Yoga is already inside of you. Happiness is there. Yoga helps you peel away the onion layers to get to the core. To freedom. The deepest Divine connection to the Ultimate Light Source.

Come out of wanting and back into acceptance and Joy. A yogi or yogini can turn any situation into bliss. That is a yogi. Yoga is being now. Ultimate yoga is meditation. Just BE.

Yoga is love.

"Love is the light that dissolves all walls between souls." 
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

Through a dedicated practice of all forms of yoga we can participate in the world with a sense of freedom, unaffected from trauma, depression, anger, etc. The freedom is balance in both.


Maggie Anderson is a Yoga & Spiritual Teacher, Reiki Master Teacher, Integrated Energy Therapy® Master Instructor, Soul Coach®, Past Life Coach, Magnified Healing® Master Teacher and Angelights Messenger. She is the author of How I Found My True Inner Peace and Divine Embrace. You can contact Maggie at SpiritualCompassConnection.com.

"Follow Your Bliss. It's Your Spiritual Compass."

Cultivating Authentic Connections

IM2images

An excerpt from How to Survive Your Childhood Now That You’re an Adult by Ira Israel

Every adult wants to live a version of what he or she imagines is “the good life.” Yet, many struggle with a default voice in their heads that tells them that whatever they do will never be good enough and that they will only be happy when they get a new job, relationship, physical appearance, etc.

In How to Survive Your Childhood Now That You’re an Adult: A Path to Authenticity and Awakening, author and psychotherapist Ira Israel explains that the origin of this voice of dissatisfaction is the wounded child within who is subconsciously and retroactively seeking the acceptance, approval, and love of primary caregivers who either withheld love, loved us conditionally, or treated us in ways we did not understand.

We hope you’ll enjoy this short excerpt from the book

Let’s take a look at the way people communicate in the twenty-first century. We know that 95 percent of communications are nonverbal, so how has technology affected our relationships? Text messaging may seem wonderful for the occasional brief note to reschedule a meeting, but it often engenders ambiguity and confusion by failing to convey essential nuances such as disappointment, hope, irony, sadness, and elation. Texting is a terrible means of communicating emotions, WITH THE POSSIBLE EXCEPTION OF TEXTING IN CAPITAL LETTERS (a.k.a. shouting) — LOL! — DUH! — sideways smiley faces, and multiple exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have witnessed countless patients lose important relationships over miscommunications caused by texting and what I call “subtexting.” Subtexting is the implied information given and the rampant misinterpretation of that information — namely, the response time between text messages. When we stand in front of a fellow human being and look into his or her eyes, we get a tremendous amount of information, and we receive that information in real time. When we speak with someone on the telephone, we can hear his or her breathing and the timbre, rhythm, and tone of his or her voice, and we get a sense of what that person’s current disposition or emotional state is. Are they frantic, discombobulated, out of sorts? Or are they serene, calm, composed, lucid, empathetic, and thinking clearly? All of this is lost when texting. You have no idea if the other person is sitting on the toilet, driving furiously, high on crystal meth, massaging their wrists with a razor, having sex, in a yoga class, or having a meltdown. During every second that we wait for a response, our minds try to assemble visual scenarios of the other person’s current reality from the pixelated characters of the text message and the time it takes for the other person to respond. We wonder, “Is my husband really shopping, or is he chatting with a pretty cashier?” “Is my son safe or was he hit by a bus?”

I am not sure what the etiquette is where you live, but in Los Angeles it has become moderately acceptable to “ghost” someone, which is when someone slowly stops returning your messages and you end up, like a frog being boiled alive, scalded by the silence. As Marshall McLuhan said, “The medium is the message.” All new technologies are exciting, but if we do not quickly comprehend their limitations, then they may end up being more detrimental than helpful. In this case, I strongly advise people to avoid answering open-ended questions in text messages and to text back “When is a good time to speak?” to arrange a telephone or face-to-face conversation.

I consider my iPhone a frenemy. In fact, I have implemented my own strict etiquette for text messages, and I usually make very specific requests: I ask people to please text me only to arrange telephone conversations or face-to-face meetings, or to report unexpected emergencies with a note such as: “Running late. Sorry.” I have witnessed so many people have entire one-sided, passive-aggressive conversations and implode like Jon Favreau in Swingers that I feel confident in advising people to avoid anything that resembles a conversation via text message.

Human beings need physical contact — we need to see into other people’s eyes. This interaction does not transpire via text messaging. One hug equals one million text messages. Posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat deludes us into believing we are engaging in relationships. But nobody is ever going to receive a pat on the back through a video screen. We need contact, we need to break bread with other human beings, we need touch, we need to practice the dying art of conversation, we need empathy, love, and compassionate speech. Authentic face-to-face interactions are how we heal the attachment wounds of our childhood (and they probably create new neural pathways, too!).

Texting subconsciously reinforces avoidant behavior that results in alienation and distance, and I believe it correlates strongly with the rise in depression over the last twenty years. In five hundred years, when historians look back on our society, I believe they will correlate the increase in cases of clinical depression to the rise of social media. I have never heard of a patient going into a psychotherapist’s office and saying, “I feel truly loved, supported, and appreciated by my friends, family, coworkers, and loved ones...and I am depressed.” Compassionate, empathic, face-to-face interactions are where the healing of emotional wounds takes place.

Ira Israel is the author of How to Survive Your Childhood Now that You’re an Adult. A licensed marriage and family therapist and professional clinical counselor, Ira graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and holds advanced degrees in psychology, philosophy, and religious studies. He lives in Santa Monica, California, and you can visit him online at www.iraisrael.com.

Excerpted from the book How to Survive Your Childhood Now that You’re an Adult: A Path to Authenticity and Awakening. Copyright ©2017 by Ira Israel. Printed with permission from New World Library.

"Life happens. Life in the flow."

We learn over time that nobody can solve our problems, but someone can guide you how to solve the problem. You may receive guidance through a teacher, a guru or even strangers that you run into every day. As we practice yoga we learn that the more we know, the less we truly know. Every day I am reminded how much I truly do not know; a very humbling experience.
Yoga teaches me to be present. To just live for being and enjoying life as it is right NOW. Not ten minutes from now, no five days ago, but right now. We are taught to get out of our heads, to release worries and fears of the past or the future and to only live for this very moment. Presence.

"Lead me from untruth to truth, lead me from darkness to light." ~ Buddha

Through yoga we are reminded that we do have a dark side as well as a light side. We are not to repress the dark side, but embrace that side of our Self. We are the yin and the yang. We ultimately cleanse the dark stuff we hold inside. We shine the light on this. We must make friends with dark side. Both positive and negative balance out the whole. Daily practice refines and improves our inner vision to see our Self more clearly. We no longer need to run from fears. Face them and say I'm not running from you anymore. So much is in our heads, so much dark is only in our heads, self-doubt judgment betrayal. Yoga grounds the body so that the light and dark sides of ourselves become clear. So much is truly untrue. But as we diligently practice we are able to find the middle ground and walk our centered balanced line in life. We gain balance in centered lightheartedness. We can have harmony in both light and dark.

"Yoga tells us that the world is actually a projection of our own thoughts and we can modify our inner world to manifest into our outer world. When our inside realm is at peace and in harmony, our outer world shines this projection back at us."
~ David, Jiva Mukti Yoga co-founder

Yoga is observation.

We can observe our world and see what part that is in us is begin reflected back to us. We can then see what part of us needs modification or adjustment in order to have our outer reality reflect back to us the peace, happiness and love we so greatly desire and deserve.

Yoga is already inside of you. Happiness is there. Yoga helps you peel away the onion layers to get to the core. To freedom. The deepest Divine connection to the Ultimate Light Source.

Come out of wanting and back into acceptance and Joy. A yogi or yogini can turn any situation into bliss. That is a yogi. Yoga is being now. Ultimate yoga is meditation. Just BE.

Yoga is love.

"Love is the light that dissolves all walls between souls." 
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

Through a dedicated practice of all forms of yoga we can participate in the world with a sense of freedom, unaffected from trauma, depression, anger, etc. The freedom is balance in both.


Maggie Anderson is a Yoga & Spiritual Teacher, Reiki Master Teacher, Integrated Energy Therapy® Master Instructor, Soul Coach®, Past Life Coach, Magnified Healing® Master Teacher and Angelights Messenger. She is the author of How I Found My True Inner Peace and Divine Embrace. You can contact Maggie at SpiritualCompassConnection.com.

"Follow Your Bliss. It's Your Spiritual Compass."