Thursday, May 14, 2015

The School of Human Experience

I was recently challenged to write an essay for the "This I Believe" project. I thought it would be simple yet it was more difficult to put into words than any research paper I have ever done. I have submitted it to their website for possible publication and who knows if it will actually be published, but I wanted to share this with all of you....

The School of Human Experience

I spend a lot of time thinking about everything, especially my own spirituality. For example, what does it mean to be spiritual? What does it mean to be religious? Is there really a “right” way to believe? What about a wrong way? I spend a lot of time reading books and looking for answers to the never ending thoughts in my head. I am a chronic over-thinker and with every new book or article I read, I have twice as many questions as I did before I started. There are many different religions of the world, but how can I understand the people practicing them by simply reading a book. I really can’t. I think I was secretly hoping some great spiritual teacher would come along like Obi-Wan Kenobi or Yoda did for Luke Skywalker and show me the ways of the universe. I found many people that claimed to be “spiritual teachers” on my journey however they were completely stuck in their own ethnocentric worldview. I was constantly disappointed. I focused so much on finding the “right” teacher, that I nearly missed the most important teachers of all… The school of human experience. It is in our interaction with one another where the true journey begins. The one in which we learn and grow the most.

            These past few months I ventured out of my comfort zone and opened up to others about my own spiritual journey, something that has always been difficult for me to do. I learned that my beliefs are more than just an idea, they are who I am as a person. I realize now I don’t have to have all of the answers and they will come when they are meant to. The more I learn about what my beliefs are the more I understand the beliefs of others.  I now have a better understanding now of how an Atheist comes to the decision to believe that no God exists and that that Muslim women have some of the most beautiful souls. If more human beings would realize that there are far more things that unite us as human beings than there are to divide us, the world would be a far better place. When a room is full of people who share a common curiosity of a subject, it ceases to matter if you are an Atheist, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim or any other faith, because everyone there is human first. My religious belief is a part of my identity no different than the label of being a mother or daughter. None of us could possibly know all of the answers, and I learned that that even the most devout religious or spiritual person will have moments of doubt.  I believe that life is about the journey itself and that the destination changes with every new experience we have.   

Friday, March 20, 2015

Forgiving Those Who Have Caused You Pain...

I shared earlier about letting go of something that is keeping you from moving forward in life and the next tool I would like to share with you may be easier, or it may be more difficult for you depending on your situation. From personal experience it has brought me peace and healing like I never imagined!

Have you had someone in your life that hurt you so badly that you still are hanging onto the anger, resentment, and maybe even a bit of sadness that comes with it? Are you having a hard time letting go of these feelings to the point where you find yourself sabotaging your current relationships to try and avoid the same pain? Sometimes we have been hurt so badly that we blame all of the new people we meet for something a person in our past did to hurt us. The key to finding happiness if simple…. FORGIVENESS.  We forgive others so that we may find peace, it is not about them; it’s about you! Do you really want that person to have a grip on you preventing you from finding true happiness? It is time to let it go and open yourself up to something amazing!

Here is What You Do:
Write a letter to someone who has hurt you or done you wrong. (This person may be living or already passed on.) In the letter you are to tell them how they hurt you, what they said or did that you have been holding onto for all of this time. Pour it all out on paper and just let it all come out! This may be a short letter however do not be surprised if it is very long. (My first time doing this I wrote 19 pages!) Once the letter is complete this is what I would like you to do:

1.       Share this letter with one or more close friends. After they read it allow them to support you in whatever way needed.
2.       This is where you have more than one option.
a.       Burn the letter and release all of those feeling and simply let it go.
b.      Mail it to the person you wrote it to and let them know how you felt. (optional)

I have heard stories of people who have actually mailed the letters and have had a great response. However this is meant for your healing so unless it feels like that is something you are ready for, burning or shredding it after sharing with a good friend who will support you through this healing process is just fine. 

Are you having trouble “letting go” of a memory, thought, or feeling that no longer serves your highest good?

 Are you stuck living in the past and it is preventing you from moving forward in the now? Today I will give you a tool you can use to help begin the healing process of letting go...

                One of the biggest problems I believe many people have with writing some of their most painful memories in a journal is that fear that someone may possibly find it and read it one day, at least for me this has been one of my biggest fears. So how do we get that memory or thoughts out of our head in a way where we still feel safe?  This is what I do, and hopefully it will help some of you reading this as well as it has helped me.

Releasing Painful Memories
The first thing you do is find someplace calm and quiet where you can go and set aside a few hours for yourself if at all possible to dedicate your attention on this process.
Once you are settled take a notebook and begin writing. If you are not sure what to say at first just write every negative thought that comes to mind. As you are writing imagine the pain in those words being pulled from your thoughts and put into the ink on the paper. Keep writing until you can’t write anymore letting go of all that does not serve you. (This can be very emotional and it is not unusual to cry, crying is a release so just let it flow.)

Now, if you have access to a fireplace or someplace safe you can burn something one option is to take that paper and put it into the fire and let those painful memories turn to ash. I think of it as a Phoenix and the constant cycle of death and rebirth, this is the moment your new life begins.

If you are unable to burn the paper for safety reasons you may also tear the paper up into tiny pieces or even place in a paper shredder. If you do that visualize the old being recycled so something new and more beautiful may be created from it! 

Steps Towards Healing

Now that you have released the old it is time to begin the next steps in your healing journey. If you have close friends reach out to them for support, you may even want to consider counseling or a support group depending on your circumstance. There are many Domestic Violence Support Groups as well as ones for addicts, survivors of sexual violence, or even a good spiritual practice or church. Slowly start putting yourself out there and meeting new people. Connect with people you admire and maybe they will become a coach or mentor for you. No matter what you choose always keep fighting, it is always darkest just before the dawn and it will get better! If you are unsure of where to look for resources in your area you may even contact me and I will help you find local resources.

 Even when you feel the most broken, there is always someone who cares about and loves you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Finding your way in this crazy world...

There are many times in your life where you are called to choose a path, literally or figuratively. Many people chose to follow the simple path, the way that all others before them have taken.  Then there are those who chose the difficult path, the road less traveled; the road that has become overgrown with many hazards along the way. How do you know if you are on the correct path or if you have gotten lost? Is it possible that you feel you are lost, but have simply taken a detour on this road called life to lead others out of darkness?

The simple path is the road most frequently traveled.  It is the safe road, the one you follow every day because it is predictable, reliable, and you always know where it will lead. For some this may be fine, for others it may leave you feeling like you are missing something. This emptiness is what ignites the fire within you to find something more; it makes you feel like you have a greater purpose in this lifetime. You do!  You are not simply born to live your lives and die, we are all here for a reason and it is up to you to find what your reason is. No one else may choose your path for you; you are the only one who knows what is in your heart and soul.  A path that may be good for one may be disastrous for another.

Think about it… each of us are born into different families with different values and belief systems whether they be religious, political, traditional, or spiritual… and yes, spiritual is different from religious. Someone who grows up rich will see things completely different from someone who is poor. Someone who has grown up with unconditional love,compassion, and acceptance will see things differently than someone who has grown up in a family where everything came with a cost. Imagine you come from a home filled with violence or abuse and you meet someone who comes from a home filled with love. You may find yourself drawn to it because it is something you have searched for all of your life. You want to be a part of that home so you join that family hoping to find what you were missing. Now this can be a physical family, a spiritual family or even an internet family.  This is where things can get tricky and people may become misled…

There are many different types of families and social groups that exist and some people may find themselves led astray by people whose intentions are not out of the goodness of their heart. Many examples can be found with a simple quick Google search.  Look up James Arthur Ray, the self-help Guru who was a bestselling author and was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. His attempt to copy the sacred ceremony of the Native American sweat lodge without a true respect for its sacredness led to the death of three individuals.  His five day “Spiritual Warrior” event was a sham to do nothing more that take advantage of people’s curiosity of native spirituality.He was selling something that cannot be bought with any amount of money.  You can’t buy spirituality no more than you can buy your way into heaven.  It’s that simple.  Many people get led astray by false shamans, preachers, or others claiming to be holy men or women.  A true healer will never charge someone thousands of dollars, or promise you will be healed. The power to heal comes from within you. You have two choices when it comes to healing; Stay on the simple path or create your own.

If you chose to stay on the path you are on hoping for a change you are choosing the simple and easy path. How will anything change if you don’t take that leap of faith and see where a new path will lead? Some people follow many different paths and then one day they come to the conclusion that none of the paths they have followed led them to where they want to go. That is when you stop and ask yourself, “Am I content living the life I am now, or do I want something more?”

If you answered that you want something more this is my advice to you… First, take a deep breath and remember to breathe. Change may be scary, even down right terrifying to begin with, but if it the one thing in the universe you can always count on. The world is in a never ending cycle of change. You are not the person today that you were yesterday;life’s circumstances will continue to mold and alter your perception with every breath you take. So why fear that which is the most constant thing in the universe…change.

This new path will not be easy, you will have struggles and you may have to let go of all expectations… Anything worth having requires work and patience. Be gentle with yourself and never expect too much too soon!  You can’t rush your destiny, things will happen when they are meant to happen.  Also, you may occasionally get called off your path to help lead others in the right direction. Never tell them what path to take;you have not walked in their shoes. What you can do is teach them to look into their heart and support them in their journey. If you feel that you are unable to support them for whatever reason then please just walk away. Their struggle may simply be a part of their own journey; we all learn differently.

Now, sit back and picture yourself in the future doing what you have always dreamed and feeling the joy that it brings you in your life. Allow yourself to see it as if you are already there.  Visualize yourself standing in the woods and there are two clear paths before you, or is there another option? Don’t limit yourself to what you think you see… look deep into your heart and you just may find that it is time to create your own path out of the woods.  Here is a simple exercise to give you an idea the power of belief…

1. Stand up with your arms spread wide straight out from your sides.

2. With your eyes open twist only the top half of your body as far as you can making note of what the tip of your finger is pointing at. remember that spot)

3. Go back to facing forward again and close your eyes.

4. This time imagine yourself reaching father then you ever imagined you possibly could and repeat step 2 with your eyes closed. Open your eyes once you have turned as far as you can.

5. Look at where your finger is pointing now. Is it the same spot or much farther from its original destination?Whenever you are feeling that you can’t do something stop and do this simple exercise as a reminder that when you believe something, you are capable of doing far more than you ever imagined!

Back to the path in the woods… the stronger you believe in yourself and have faith in your journey the easier it will be to clear your own path. When you doubt yourself the path will be riddled with obstacles, down trees, thorns, and other hazards. This is a manifestation of your fears; you are creating your own roadblocks. When you reach these ask yourself “what am I afraid of?” Ask yourself this each time you feel stuck and your answers will guide you toward what needs healing in order for you to proceed on your journey. Like Richard Bach says, “Overcome fear and behold wonder!”  An amazing journey awaits you! What are you waiting for?

By, Stephanie M. Goodman January 10, 2014 ©Stephanie M Goodman

Communication styles and how knowing them will help you!

We have so many people here looking to communicate with a higher power for guidance that I thought maybe writing something about learning styles will help people understand how it is that they are having trouble connecting.  We live in a world of instant answers, when we are stuck we reach for a piece of technology and search the internet for an answer to our problem. While the internet can be a fantastic tool and many people have some good tips but the answers we seek always come from within. Only YOU know what is in your heart of hearts.

Now… How do learning styles affect the ability to communicate or inability to communicate? Think of it this way… If you are a person who learns best by feeling and seeing, but struggle when it comes to learning based on what someone is speaking aloud, would you notice a “message” if you heard it? Unless it was loud and clear, most likely you would rarely notice.  The same goes for someone who is an auditory learner. If you learn by hearing, would you understand something you felt? Unless you learned both through auditory and kinesthetic learning, it would be tough to understand. I am going to explain a little about these learning styles and hopefully it will help a few of you.

Hints to recognize what kind of learning style you use and keep in mind, some of us use more than one. There will always be one more dominant than the other.

Auditory Learners: Learning happens best through listening and speaking. Auditory learners may talk to themselves or read out loud or move their lips while reading. They can answer a question read out loud easier then reading it on paper.

Visual Learners: (linguistic and spatial) Learners who are visual-linguistic like to learn through written language, such as reading and writing. They remember what has been written down, even if they do not read it more than once. Users that are visual-spatial usually have difficulty with the written language and do better with charts, demonstrations, videos, and other visual materials.

Kinesthetic learners: Do best while touching and moving. (movement and touch) They tend to lose concentration if there is little or no external stimulation or movement. When reading, they like to scan the material first, and then focus in on the details (get the big picture first). May draw or doodle a lot to help “think.”
Still not sure what way you communicate? OK… let’s take a look at the language you use when speaking. Do you often say things like “I can see what you are saying? (visual) I can hear what you are saying (auditory) I feel what you mean.(Kinesthetic) There is tons of information on the web if you simply search learning styles, even little quizzes to test yourself on some sites.

You may be wondering, “How can knowing this help me?” It can help in countless ways! Here is one example; If you are a an auditory learner you communicate best by speaking and listening so if you get upset you want to talk things out.  Now, say your partner is a kinesthetic learner, they learn by feeling. They may hear what you are saying but what you are saying does not process immediately because they are feeling what you are saying. They will respond eventually, just not instantly like you may expect.  Next imagine a kinesthetic person explaining to a visual person how they feel, as they talk an visual person may see images in their mind of what the person is saying to them. They may see colors or other visuals that connect them with the words being spoken. Do you get where I am headed with this? We all see, hear, and feel things in our own unique way. Some of us are stronger in some areas and weaker in others.  I am a visual and a kinesthetic learner, very strong in both areas, but I get lost quickly just listening to a bunch of talk if there is no visual aid with it. I have to SEE and FEEL things in order to understand them. I learn best by doing something and very little from just listening.

How will this help you connect with a higher power or help your interpret if/when you are receiving a message? Think about it… If you are waiting to “hear” someone talk in your head and you are a kinesthetic person, you are looking for communication someplace it would not be. Why would they try and “talk” to you if you never listen? If you are a visual person you may get flashes of images in your mind. If you are visual and kinesthetic you may hear and feel something. Once they have your attention… when they know you are finally listening for them, and then they will speak.  

So when it comes to communication with friends, loved ones, or even looking for a message from a higher power…. Remember who you are talking to, and remember who you are. Once you understand how each of you communicates things will begin to get much smoother!

And on a side note…. Once you DO get communication from a higher power… it may startle you the first couple times. This is normal… after all it’s not every day you get a message from God, and it may be what you NEED to hear, not what you WANT to hear!

©Stephanie M Goodman

Etheric Cords: What they are and why you would want to remove them.

Severing the Ties that Bind
What are “cords” and why would I want to release or remove them?

Cords are etheric strands that come out of one person’s aura and attach themselves to another person’s aura. Cords are formed when there is a significant emotional, psychological or physical connection charge.  Where there is a cord, there is negativity. Nothing positive has the need to produce a cord attachment.

Cords perform the following functions;
An energy exchange or drain
Maintaining a live negative energetic connection with another – even if you are not in direct contact with them or they have passed on from the physical world

  1. Find a quiet place where you can relax and be free from interruptions. Some people prefer to have music playing but I highly suggest that if you do to use music without words. Nature sounds, drumming, Reiki music, or anything without lyrics would be ok.
  2. Clear the space of any chaotic or negative energies that may distract from what you are about to do. Things that work great for this are Smudging with Sage, Sweetgrass, Palo Santo, or using a singing bowl or some other musical tone used for clearing away the negative energies.
  3. Once you have done this sit someplace comfortable and visualize this person in your minds-eye. See them in front of you and allow yourself to see the energetic cord between your souls connecting you to them. (If you need to a photo of the person to look at can be used as well for a visual aid.) As you look at the cord you may have many things going through your mind. Hurt, Anger, Fear… All of these are normal. This is where you need to see with your heart, and not your eyes. Now, ask yourself, “What purpose has this cord has served me?”  How has it harmed or helped me? 
    You may be surprised by the answers you find. If it is a person that has passed on you may be clinging to them out of fear, fear that once that cord is gone, what little memory you have of them will be lost. Maybe the cord was helping you keep the memory of a loved one alive as you were trying to understand how they could hurt you. 

    If it is a person who has caused you emotional or physical harm that is attached to you it could be a cord from them refusing to let you go to move forward or it may be your own guilt. You may be thinking that it was something you did to make that person hurt you, that there was something wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you! We cannot control the actions of others as much as some would like to believe. We can only control ourselves and our perception of ourselves and our situation. 

    Are you ready to see things in a new light? Are you ready to forgive yourself? Are you ready to stop letting someone else live in your head rent free? Good! You deserve it!
  4. See in front of you your two souls. Yours and the one you want to remove the cord connection from. This is where I am going to be more specific. Some people believe that simply cutting the invisible cord will eliminate all ties… WRONG! If you only cut a string connecting 2 things together, there is still a string that could re-connect itself with the other end, right? So simply “cutting” will not do! 
    This cord may be wrapped around your heart weighing you down preventing you from loving and trusting fully, it may be wrapped around your neck strangling you and preventing you from speaking up against them for fear of the cord getting tighter.
  5. Now… Imagine that cord wrapped around you and you slowly unwind it until it has been removed and you let it drop to the ground.  Next, do the same with the other end of the cord attached to the person connected to you. Once both ends have dropped to the ground comes the destruction of the cord. Here is where you can be a little creative…
    Some people will simply imagine lighting the cord on fire and watching it burn which is fine, but I prefer making sure that there is nothing left of it to try and re-attach itself. Think of a metaphor for complete destruction… for me I visualize blowing it up destroying it completely.
    This process will sever the cord between you and the other person. It can only come back if you allow it. It may throw you off balance a bit if this cord has been connected for a very long time. An enormous weight may be lifted that you did not consciously realize you were bearing such a heavy burden.
  6. Left standing in front of you will be your image of yourself. Visualize a beam of healing light coming from the sky from the Universe, God, the Creator, wherever you draw your purest form of healing from. Imagine that light flowing down to earth and through your spirit self, filling it with healing energies. It will flow down through your head, into your body and out through your feel back into the earth where mother nature will filter all of the negative energy cleansing it before sending it back out to be used again. Once you feel this process is complete, imagine that new light within you creating a shield around you, an invisible bubble of sorts. Imagine it vibrant, strong and you can even visualize a slippery coating on the outside to ward off future cord attachments.
  7. To complete the process you next need to see your spirit in this new image. You may have missed emotions here…  Look at your spirit and say. “I’m Sorry… I Love you… Please Forgive Me…Thank You.”

  8. The Final Step- It is time to become whole again. Extend your arms and reach out to your spirit and bring it back into your physical body and once complete your arms will be crossed as if hugging yourself. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling. Remember. The soul would have no rainbow if the heart had no tears.
  9. Once you have done this make sure to get rest and drink lots of water. It will take an adjustment, especially if the cord has been there a long time. Also, it is very possible the person on the other end will sense what you are doing. When I did this the person called the next day saying they had a nightmare about me. All things affect each of us differently so your experience may be similar of different from mine. 

**This technique can also be used if you think you may have unintentionally attached a cord to someone else as well. In that case in the end you would send healing light to them as well as yourself.

 It is not desirable or recommended to be corded to others and it is always better to run off your own energy and allow others to only run off their own energy as well. 

Think about it – do you really want to be keep supporting someone else’s energy system – if it means your own power is running on less than its full amount?  Cords can leave you feeling drained, tired and down or allow a physical sensation or emotional and psychological pain.
Importantly, cutting Cords can help you move away from feelings of being a victim. You are no longer a victim, and regular Cord cutting can bring you a sense of being in more control of your own life.

Removing the Cord(s)

This comes from an NLP technique that I learned and have modified somewhat adjusting and adding things to enhance the power of the technique. We want to remove the cords and keep them gone. If you are an Empath this is hard to do so the little extra steps help a great deal.

©Stephanie M Goodman