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when someone crosses your threshold in relationship

When Someone Crosses Your Threshold

At what point is there no turning back in a relationship? You just feel like you’re done. Whatever you needed to learn from it has been learned. Wrong things have been repeatedly said, and your back has turned on the other person. You’re ready to move on and look back as little as possible.

I learned of the concept of the “threshold” some time ago as I participated in a series of group-learning workshops led by someone with an extensive background in counseling.

The context in which he initially referred to “crossing the threshold” involved his experiences leading couples counseling. Often by the time a couple reaches that stage, one of the partners has already breached the threshold of the other. Even though he or she may be going through the motions of working it out, it’s often over.

This particular counselor often observed that it was more often the wife who reached that breaking point first. “Then the husband wants to figure out how to win her back, but by then it’s too late,” he said.

That may not prove to be true of all couples in counseling. But many of us can think of a time in relationship (romantic or otherwise) when we were just done. Someone pushed a button, turned a screw, stepped on a toe, and poured salt in a wound just one too many times.

This can play out in all sorts of relationships, from professional and romantic to friendships and family.

Learning Experience

Ironically, the counselor who taught me about the concept of the “threshold” inadvertently did so in part by crossing over mine. It soon became clear that part of his strategy seemed to be to try to aggressively push people’s buttons to see would what set them off. I would have felt more comfortable being challenged by him had I not had the unsettling feeling that he wasn’t coming from a completely heart-centered place.

After he was successful in making me very defensive in an early workshop, I did some channeled writing about the situation and why I reacted so strongly. Intuitively, it became crystal clear to me that this was someone who’d gone into counseling because they didn’t feel comfortable in social situations, who didn’t have a healthy sense of connection to many other people. So he pursued a career in order to better understand people (electing to interact chiefly with people in counseling settings in which he could maintain control).

While he’s aware of the concept of having empathy for others, he still doesn’t feel a lot after all these years. On some subconscious level, his clients may seem like lab rats to him. I could sense a certain smug arrogance when his poking and prodding had revealed something amusing to him about the human condition. He has a bullying streak.

The experienced reminded of this valuable wisdom from acclaimed poet/author Maya Angelou: “When people show you who they are, believe them.”

fenceboundary

Setting Your Boundaries

When someone crosses your threshold, you may not have the absolute freedom to end the relationship. You may have to continue interacting with them to some extent (in a family context or workplace, for instance).

In the case of those workshops, I’d already prepaid for them all. Instead of focusing on what might be deficient in the teacher’s heart or approach, I instead concentrated on learning as much as I could from his decades of experience – and I actually learned a lot.

Part of the training centered on establishing “rapport” in interpersonal and professional relationships through what you perceive about people through your senses and intuition. Once this teacher realized I had his number and would consistently deflect his attempts to provoke me, he actually told the group, “I may need to reestablish rapport with Brad.”

But it was too late. I was happy to learn as much as I could from him, but he had lost my trust in his compassion and intentions. He wasn’t getting too deeply inside my head. He had crossed my threshold.

On the last learning weekend, he told the small group, “You know I respect people who set their boundaries,” as he looked directly at me. I believe he was really talking to me specifically. He’d gotten used to getting away with a lot with people. But he’d learned I was not one of those folks.

I used to give folks a lot of passes if they violated my trust. And perhaps everyone deserves a second chance in many cases, but at a certain point, you have to decide where to set your boundaries. You can reflect on if they’re too strong or too weak with various people in your life. Are you being fair? Can you work it out?

Communication Is Key

Have I ever crossed someone’s threshold in my interpersonal relationships? Definitely! This was especially during my youth as I was figuring out people, even though I may not have always been aware of the where, when, and how of the last straw in our relationships.

People often don’t communicate very directly, so there can be a lot of perceived slights, misunderstandings, and annoying behaviors that accumulate. While they may only drop a subtle hint or two that you’re somehow getting on their nerves, mentally they can be keeping excellent score.

So it may be one big event that “crosses the threshold” (i.e. a cheating spouse). It can be a whole of little things.

If you pick up a hint about one of those things, instead of brushing it off as someone being too silly or sensitive, it can very be helpful to calmly address it in the moment, inquiring more deeply about how the other person feels. Once you hear his/her point of view, you may find that it’s an issue you can both begin working on immediately. Don’t wait for the blowup that sets off a laundry list of everything you’ve done wrong in the past six months.

In the recent past, I worked with a man through a series of Reiki/Hypnosis/Intuitive Life Coaching sessions. He mentioned that there was some marital stress, but he didn’t say how much. In intuitively reading his energy, I strongly heard the message that he was so close to crossing his wife’s threshold for good and didn’t even know.

At the end of that particular session, I gently shared with him the idea that he may be dancing on the edge of the threshold. Of course, I didn’t know for sure, until his wife later came to me for hypnosis, and she strongly confirmed what I sensed. Of course, I kept information from their individual sessions confidential, but by making them both aware of the idea of the threshold, their communication began to improve. And last I heard, they were doing better.

Just remember this: It’s never too late. Until it’s too late.

The Validation Trap

“What should I do?”

That’s a question we all frequently confront, but occasionally the stakes can seem higher than at other times. Regardless, the answers are usually already within us. If we go looking for outside validation that our decisions are good ones, we might end up more confused than ever.

I recently found myself falling into “The Validation Trap” regarding a $1,466 trip I’d booked six months in advance, not knowing what my life would be life once August rolled around.

I’d spent the money for airfare and tuition for a retreat in the Catskills Mountains. But just a few weeks before, I injured my foot, making it difficult to walk even short distances,  much less navigate through two international airports, and then get myself to the Port Authority in New York City for a bus ride to a 1,000-acre mountain property I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy.

On top of that, I’d recently started a new communications job in higher education, and the trip would require me to miss the first two days that classes were back in session. Talk about bad timing.

My intuition was strongly telling me to just let it go and write off the no-refund trip. But I kept asking various people what they thought I should do, seeking validation that my tentative decision not to go was a good one. After all, it seemed like a lot of money to abandon, and I would miss a continuing-education opportunity.

A couple of people told me, “You have to go!,” indicating that if they were in my position, they would find a way to drag themselves there on a bum foot.

Finally, I cemented my decision after completing a journaling exercise asking for my Higher Power to guide me. Here’s some of what I wrote: “Other people’s judgments about letting go of that money shouldn’t affect yours. Just let it go. The Universe will make it up to somewhere down the line.”

And so I stayed in Atlanta. And it was a good thing, too! Naturally, as I expected, issues come up on the writing job requiring immediate attention. The fact that I was there, able to handle the issues well, and solidify the good impression I’d made with my new employer was priceless.

I thought to myself, “Oh my God, what if I had listened to other people and gone on that trip against my better judgment?”

And even though the retreat was advertised as providing “No refunds,” I was ultimately able to the majority of money back through presentation of a doctor’s note and a carefully worded appeal.

So things worked out for the best by trusting my inner wisdom instead of relying on anyone but my Higher Power to guide me.

Of course, at times it can be helpful to bounce ideas off of others. But catch yourself before you stuck in “The Validation Trap,” expending a lot of energy trying to convince others that your ideas or plans are good ones.

You may find it helpful to do what I do when I’m confused: I just type or write at the top of a page, “Dear God, Angels, Spirit Guides of Love, Light & Wisdom, how should I handle (fill in the blank).” And then I start writing the answer to myself with any thoughts that pop into my head.

I’m still amazed at how well this works.

 

Generalizations and Other Limiting Language Patterns

Not long ago a new client, who had grown frustrated with her career progress, told me, “Things work out for other people, but they never work out for me.”

That vague, generalized statement led me to gently ask some questions: “What types of things work out for others? Which people? Can you think of a time something did work out for you? Can you focus more attention on that?”

In my Intuitive Life Coaching and Hypnosis sessions, I regularly encourage my clients to become more cognizant of their self-limiting self talk.

My client who made the vague statement about things never working out was employing a type of generalized language pattern commonly used by all of us at times.

nlp words have power

Generalizations, Distortions & Deletions

Such vague language patterns are called Generalizations, Deletions, and Distortions in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) – an approach to personal development that addresses the connection of neurological processes, language, and behavioral patterns learned through our experiences.

When I catch clients making blanket generalizations like “Nobody cares about me,” I can employ NLP and other techniques to help them step out of their self-limiting stories and move into the vibration of attracting more of what they want into their life (to be more specific and to build upon what’s already working in their lives).

Natural Tendency

These Generalizations, Deletions and Distortions are a natural result of our limited ability to process vast amounts of information through our five senses.

nlp five senses

As a result, we might generalize, drawing universal inferences based on one or two experiences (“You can never trust building contractors to do a good job”). We might distort information to mean something it may really not in a cause-effect way (“He never buys me flowers, so he doesn’t really love me”). And we might delete information that seems insignificant or conflicts with our existing frame of reference.

An example of Deletion would be saying “I’m a failure.” Instead of using the verb “failing” (and specifying the area of perceived underachievement), the noun “failure” serves as an overarching judgment. If you ever catch yourself talking to yourself along these lines, you could ask yourself some questions to fill in the deleted details, “How did I fail exactly? At what? Who says so? What am I good at? When have I been successful?”

Someone might have failed at starting their own restaurant, but been regularly successful in other areas of their life, such as school or parenting or physical fitness. It’s so unfair to ourselves to judge our self-worth (or that of others) through one facet of existence.

We all influence how we think, feel and behave through our self-talk, including the generalizations we make (“Politicians are corrupt” – Always? Everywhere?), the details we leave out (“He never listens to me” – About what? Never ever?), or the way we distort (“My boss yelled at me this morning, so she hates me” – Have you ever yelled at someone you didn’t hate?).

Greater Cognizance

Out of linguistic necessity (not driving ourselves crazy with every nuance of meaning), we will continue to make Generalizations, Deletions, and Distortions. But we can become more aware of those that negatively impact our lives and begin using more vague language patterns (in the form of positive affirmations) that serve us well.

nlp generalization

Vague language can actually be used in very empowering ways (i.e. “The Universe always supports me,” “My intuition is always on my side,” or “All animals love me”). But when you catch yourself engaging in language that is self-limiting, it’s likely time for some self-reflection.

Even what sounds empowering on the surface may be rooted in limitation. For example, another client, who had spent most of her life more focused on pleasing others than meeting her own needs, once shared her personal philosophy that “It’s so important to be good.”

Uncovering Beliefs

While that sounds like a lovely idea, my intuition nudged me ask some follow-up questions about what being “good” meant to her. It turned out she’d associated goodness with things like taking up as little room in the world as possible and adjusting her personality to fit into jobs and situations that weren’t comfortable for her.

As the child of a single parent, the idea of being “the good girl” (causing as little grief as possible to a burdened mother) had led her to play small in a lot of areas of her life as an adult and actually disconnect from attracting what she wanted into her life.

In this client’s case, that statement that “It’s so important to be good” wasn’t so beneficial upon reflection, because for her it partly meant being boxed in by others’ needs and expectations, pleasing others much more than herself.

A much more helpful generalization for her as she progressed was to say, “It’s so important to be good, and I am also worthy of attracting great good into my life.”

Empowering Language

You could empower yourself with thoughts and statements like: “I have unlimited potential. I am a natural winner. I allow others to be themselves. Everything I need comes to me at the right time.”

Your words have tremendous power in your life (including the ones you just say inside your head). So consider them carefully.

The Generalizations, Distortions, and Deletions we make can manifest in our belief systems. A few bad experiences in relationships, for example, could lead to the belief that “You can never depend on man.” These language patterns could also contribute to phobias (for example, “Dogs are dangerous”), if you regularly revisit the memory of a dog bite with a mental generalization.

What we focus on tends to flourish, manifesting in our experience. So next time you hear yourself saying or thinking a generalized negative statement, you can check in with yourself and ask, “Is this always the case? Does this idea really serve me well? Do I want this to continue to be true about my life?” Then you can reframe the thought with more specific language.

Now that you have enhanced awareness of these vague language patterns, you will likely be surprised how often you hear them used. I sometimes still catch myself saying them. But awareness is key to prevent them from becoming self-fulfilling prophesies.

Copyright, 2014, Wellspring Rejuvenation Center

stepping out of your story

Stepping out of Your Story

If were you going to write your autobiography, how would the outline go? You may have never thought about your life that way, but upon reflection, you may find that chapter after chapter might have similar titles.

Maybe something like “Safe in My Shell” or “Pleasing Everyone and Yet No one.” Of course, we are hugely nuanced beings, but are there overarching themes to many of our perspectives and behaviors? The roots often dig deep down into the subconscious.

As the reservoir for everything that has happened to us, our subconscious mind encompasses our inner child. As the seat of our mental patterns and emotions, this vulnerable inner child is particularly sensitive to self-limiting beliefs (even if we’re now adults). For better or worse, the seeds of our personal stories were often planted long ago.

stepping out of your story

Scripting Your Future

You may already be scripting a better present and future for yourself through improved direction of your thought process. And yet you may still find yourself revisiting limiting elements of your personal history. When you do, you can ask, “Is that who I still want to be? Is still how I want to define myself?”

Parts of yourself may have gotten stuck at certain points in the past – particularly moments that left a traumatic impact.

Perhaps a part of you developed fear about blossoming as fully as your creativity, imagination and inner strength can allow. There may be an urge to resist that growth. You could find yourself fearing that if you allow more good things to flow into your life, they may dry up again, leaving you feeling emptier than ever.

Releasing Old Fears

For example, one past client I helped had found a lot of her life story impeded by “Fear of Loss.” She had been raised by a Pentecostal pastor who instilled in his children the strong belief that they were sorry sinners unworthy of good.

Early experiences involving emotional and physical abuse led her to fear allowing joy into her life (including healthy romantic relationships). There was a part of her that believed that if she let in that good, it would only be taken away because she didn’t deserve it.

This was a sad story that she had grown comfortable retelling herself many times.

What was the possible benefit to her, you may ask? Well, it kept her safe – protected from taking a chance and having her trust violated as it had been so many times in her childhood.

stepping out of your story

Recognizing Self Sabotage

My client had continued to subconsciously self-sabotage potentially good relationships she’d attracted into her life. On some subconscious level, it likely seemed better to botch them early on than risk getting too attached and have God punish her again by yanking love away.

But she came to realize that it really wasn’t God’s hand at work. It was her own mind. She had created self-fulfilling prophecies and those almost inevitably become true, as we can begin allowing unbeneficial subconscious patterns to influence our behavior.

In this woman’s case, she began pushing men away before she could become too invested. Or she attracted incompatible people in the first place, as a result of her self-esteem issues.

Through Hypnosis and Intuitive Coaching, I guided her adult self to teach her inner child the lessons she really should have learned about deserving love and respect – and to start giving herself the love she’d always needed. It was heartening to hear of her progress.

I Love Me sign

Fear of Failure

For another client, an overarching them to life his story was “Fear of Failure.”

He had born with a natural inclination to be artistically creative, and he’d even been encouraged to engage his talents until college, when choosing a more traditional path to prosperity had begun to become a major issue for his highly controlling mother.

In determined, critical tones, she told him that that he’d never succeed supporting himself in an artistic field. That his goal was pure folly. That he just needed to go to law school like his Dad.

After graduating with honors in art from a good university, he did pursue part-time creative efforts in various media with some successful turns in terms of execution and exposure, but not yet at what was a sustainable income.

Echoes of the Past

He fought against the voice of the mother still echoing in his head about failure with a determination to prove her wrong. But ultimately, as he grew more bogged down by the realities of a regular office job, he gave in to those old self-fulfilling prophecies of failure.

Why even start something if it couldn’t quickly turn into something that would validate his past decision about art school and vindicate himself to his mother and family? Days of his life story had undoubtedly drifted by under the heading: “Why Even Bother?”

His self-limiting story was also a safety mechanism. It had grown more comfortable to think, ‘I’ve already tried it, and it’s pointless,” than pursue his passion, put his work out there, and risk rejection or disappointment.

He initially experienced some resistance to the idea that his shifting his thinking and beliefs could open doors. It was almost as if he were saying, “This is my story, and I’m sticking to it!”

stepping out of your story

Setting Realistic Expectations

An important part of scripting a satisfying life story for ourselves involves creating realistic expectations. That particular artistic client of mine had almost “All or Nothing” expectations of success without a lot of patience with the process of nurturing his dreams.

If we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to excel – or “Be Perfect” – too soon, we may limit our range of motion and emotion at exploring what we really want and need to feel fulfilled in our lives. This process of exploration can be greatly eased by releasing heavy expectations from our shoulders like “Overnight Success.”

To my artistic client, it was freeing to consider the question: “Are you aware that what you decide your life purpose is doesn’t have to be your full-time job yet?”

He later told me he’d framed an affirmation I gave to him: “Creating art is about feeling good in my present. It’s not about solving my past.” He said it helped him open a gateway for enjoying creativity for its own sake and fulfilling more of a chosen purpose.

We can have so many purposes in our life (so many subplots to the overall story) – from being a loyal family member and trusted friend to being a dedicated employee or a strong leader. It’s never limited to a single career path.

Letting Go of Limitations

There could be, as growing numbers believe, certain challenging situations or people that we’ve pre-selected ahead of this lifetime as part of a greater plan for personal development and the working out of karma.

But I don’t buy in to the self-limiting idea that we’re always predestined to stay stuck with situations or people that no longer serve us. We can edit characters out of our story and move on once we learn the lesson(s). And for just about everybody, I find that the ultimate life purpose is to learn to love yourself as much as possible.

By starting to speak to yourself with words of love and encouragement, you can begin stepping out of a self-limiting story in this very moment.

You may have found coping strategies for remaining comfortable in your “discomfort zone.” Perhaps with an underlying thought like: “I know what it’s like to feel stuck inside this box, but I’m not so sure it’s really safe to venture outside.”

Perhaps it’s time to take a single step today – just over the boundary to which you’ve confined the main character of your story (yourself!). You can start writing a brighter future for yourself through positive thoughts that led to motivating feelings to follow your bliss.

dreamstorycrop

Addictive Emotional Connections

As you reflect and grow more aware of some your own personal storylines, which may or may not serve you, start noticing what emotions are associated with them. Our thoughts leads to emotions, and sometimes we can literally get hooked on certain feelings.

They can become habit-forming, helping to justify where we remain stuck (in the same old ruts of negative thoughts and feelings).

It’s possible that we can get “addicted” to certain stories about ourselves and the emotions they generate. Can you think of people you know who seem addicted to drama?

For example, for one long-time friend of mine, the seemingly addictive story brought about feelings of “outrage.” She could get there quickly when interacting with her older sister, who doesn’t possess the emotional range to see far beyond her own selfish interests. My friend had never felt understand or supported by this sibling, and it was maddening to her.

As they both moved into their 50s, it became increasingly unlikely that the older sister was going to suddenly going to wake up one day and realize, “Wow! I should really pull more weight in the family and be more respectful.”

Taking StepsMoving Out of Old Patterns

Finally, my friend recognized that in expecting more out of her sister than was realistic, she was living out the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

For years, when my friend would recount stories of her sister’s latest insensitive acts, she would sound as outraged as if that type of situation were happening for the first time. “Can you believe it?!”

Eventually I started gently telling her things like: “Actually, I do believe it. Isn’t that how she usually acts? I’m wondering why you’re still so surprised. You have so many other friends you can look to for support besides your sister.”

Upon reflection, my friend realized that these eruptions of outrage were affecting other parts of life – being consistently outraged by the actions of poor managers or coworkers, for example. Underneath that outrage seemed to be a storyline of, “I Can’t Believe How Much People Misunderstand and Mistreat Me!”

Shifting Your Focus

When we get in the habit of expecting certain results – and move into that energetic vibration through our emotions – we can attract more of what we don’t consciously really want. The more energy you might expend on feeling outraged, the more infuriating situations you might find yourself in, for example.

I encourage everyone to keep in mind the saying “What we focus on flourishes.” So you can start today in honing your focus on what you really want in your life. With the words you say to yourself in each of your present moments, stay focused on the positive story lines.

As you keep in mind the saying that, “Where the attention goes, the energy flows,” you can begin crafting a happy “beginning” to the rest of your journey (your life story).

stepping stones over water

Copyright, 2014, Wellspring Rejuvenation Center

going with the flow

Going with the Flow

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression, “Just go with the flow,” and wanted deeper insight into how to really accomplish that.

With this blog post, I’ve just gone with the flow of channeling helpful information about that life strategy.

Too often we resist what is happening, what directions we are being led in. We want to control outcomes, control people, control situations. But what would happen if you just let go of some of that need, even for just an hour?

Simply with your intention, you can begin to accept that whatever is happening — wherever you are – serves some purpose in your personal development.

We all have the potential to find peace even in the midst of chaos (to literally find our “center”).

Trust that life is bringing you what you need right now. Trust that you have the ability to cope with anything that life brings your way.

butterfly leaving hand

Letting Go

As you can imagine, attempting to control too much can be the opposite of going with the flow.

Often our desire to control too much is born out of good intentions. We think we know what’s best for other people. As we express those thoughts, others may hear our vocal volume rise as we say things like, “You should do this! You’ve got to go that!”

We can sometimes see so clearly what it seems others should do – perhaps what they need to study in school, where they should apply for a job, or how they need to change their diet.

But when we speak in a controlling fashion, they can begin to tune us out. The message – the good intention – is lost because we tried not only to plant a helpful seed, we sounded like we were growing impatient with the blossoming of the flower.

You can share good ideas, but others have to decide that’s what they want as well.

Knowing When

Can you just go with our own flow and allow others to go with theirs? Perhaps that can be challenging when our lives are so intertwined that we get swept up into their current, or when key business interests are at stake.

Perhaps at certain times, you do need to speak up and get people on board with a ship that won’t capsize.

But check in with yourself first. Do you really know what’s best for others in that moment? Maybe there are life lessons they need to learn, people they’re destined to meet.

Instead of focusing so much on what others are doing, perhaps it’s time to spend more time paying attention to our own personal direction.

cat on path

Flexible and Flowing

To move with the flow, flexibility is key. This flexiblity is important for not only our bodies, but also our minds.

How well are we adjusting to change? All we can really count on is change. How well we adapt to change has a huge bearing on our health and happiness.

Often resistance to change really is futile. At some point, there has to be acceptance of the situation on the ground, even though that reality may be different than the one in which we find our heads still stuck.

At times like those, the Serenity Prayer can be tremendously beneficial: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

going with the flow waterfall

Analysis Paralysis

Can you trust your inner wisdom without overanalyzing? Of course, analysis and personal reflection are very important. But there’s the phenomenon of “analysis paralysis,” where we overthink things to the point where we can’t make a decision, interrupting our flow.

Are you regularly trusting your intuition or gut feelings? Or do you resist it and later hit your head, thinking, “I knew I should have gone the other way”?

Perhaps you made a poor decision in judgment, following a path that proved more challenging. But you need to go with the flow of that as well until you find safer ground.

Of course, that idea begs the question: “Are we ever really safe?” We never know what could be around the next corner. Of course, we can exercise our good judgment. But even on the most serene garden lane, a huge tree could fall on us right out of the blue.

At all times, we have to trust that when the time comes, we will flow naturally onto the next plane of existence, understanding that we’ve all got to go sometime. It can be amazing to behold people who’ve managed to flow as gracefully as possible through the process of disease and dying.

Focus Is Key

There are so many directions to choose in this life. But choice is key. You can flow all over the place, but ultimately find yourself just moving in circles. Or you can pick a specific path and follow along it with dedication.

Many successful people have said that instead of spreading themselves too thin (attempting too many business opportunities at once, for example), they ultimately struck gold by focusing on one area. And choosing it over and over and pursuing it relentlessly.

You can be focused on one major goal and still go with the flow. Go with the flow of knowing that you will find the right people and make shifts in strategies as needed as you continue on your quest.

Energy Current

past life swirlThere is energy all around us and it flows within us as well. When it becomes blocked, sometimes we suffer as a result. Parts of our bodies may not get the nourishment they need, impacting us health-wise. We may become mentally blocked about following through on next steps.

Releasing the need for perfectionism in outcomes is an excellent means of going with the flow.

If you’re a creative type, can you just go with the flow of words you write, the notes you play, the imagery you paint without too much second-guessing? Can you just become a channel for inspiration?

We can trust that we’re creating something of value – or at least learning something of value in our growth process – and release the need for it to turn out exactly like we planned.

It may turn out even better than we could have imagined if we can release our expectations of precisely how an outcome is supposed to look, sound and feel.

Mindfulness

Your thoughts are flowing constantly (perhaps up to 50,000 a day), and you will flow along with those.

But if you find yourself stagnating in the same negative, unbeneficial thought pattern day after day, you can begin allowing your mind to flow to more helpful thoughts. Ones that make you feel good and motivate you to take actions that seem more and more natural as you trust yourself to follow your inner wisdom.

There is an ebb and flow to life, when periods of joy, excitement and momentum may be followed by melancholy and a need to flow down. Often during the ebbs, it’s good to reflect on what’s working or not in your life.

When the flow increases again, keep in mind that you don’t need to move a mile a minute. That’s often the road to burnout and the path of people who make decisions faster than they can consider the consequences.

At times when you feel like you’re pushing ahead too hard or resisting moving at all, you can sooth yourself with this wonderful Louise Hay affirmation: “I am flexible and flowing. I am open to the new and changing. Every moment presents a wonderful new opportunity to become more of who I am. I flow with life easily and effortlessly.”

angel

Divine Guidance

Whenever I have questions about which directions I should take and how I should handle certain situations, I make it a regular practice to call on my Angels and Spirit Guides of Love, Light & Wisdom for insight.

I may take a pen to paper and write whatever comes through, or simply allow the words to flow into my head as I close my eyes in a peaceful state of meditation. By doing so, we can all open ourselves up to divide guidance.

Remember that wherever your flow of life should take you, you can always call upon your Higher Power for help.

Copyright 2014, Wellspring Rejuvenation Center

Embrace Who You Are Now

Today is a time to remember who you really are: A beautiful child of God and the Universe. And now is the time to really embrace it!

You may have made mistakes along the way, and that is okay. Because now is also a time to forgive yourself for mistakes from your past.

There are many decision points in life. We may think back and ask what if we’d done something differently at a certain point. Would our whole lives be different?

Embrace who you are now

Someone might ask: “What if I had packed up my car and left that dysfunctional relationship years ago in that moment when I had the gumption? Where would I be? Who would I be?”

Another might wonder: “What if I had pursued my dream instead of listening to the negative feedback from others, allowing it to hold me back?”

There are no answers to those questions. Because you are who you are right now and where you are now.

Start Where You Are

All you can do now is focus on the potential within you and recognize what tools are at your disposal to achieve your dreams (and open yourself to believing you can attract more).

It may seem challenging at first, letting go of the past and forgiving yourself for what you have perceived as mistakes.

But that letting go can become easier once you recognize that those mistakes contribute to the sum total of who you are now.

As motivational author Louise Hay says, “Healing means to make whole and accept all part of myself – not just the parts I like, but all of me.”

Life Plan

You wouldn’t be who you are in this moment without those experiences that you may potentially regret or feel resentment about. Those experiences may have been fundamental lessons you need to learn in this lifetime – a part of your life plan.

One spiritual principle concerning acceptance and detachment reads: “Whatever happened is the only thing that could have happened.”

Other principles of detachment are: “Each moment in which something begins is the ‘right’ moment….Whoever you encounter is the ‘right’ person….What is over is over. We tend to hold onto people and events that are in the past.”

Start Where You Are - Reiki and Hypnosis

Lessons Learned

When reminded of past difficulties, can you focus on the lesson learned instead of the pain? You can instead remind yourself that you are now a different person than when you were at a particular crossroads in the past.

In the practice of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, it’s believed that: “Everyone does the best they can with the resources available to them.”

That can be an enlightening way to look back over your life’s journey. Missteps along the way that might make you groan now may have been the best you could do at certain points in your past, given the level of awareness you had at the time and the tools at your disposal.

Sweet Forgiveness

That perspective can also help you move into a space of forgiveness of others. People may have hurt you or disrespected you at times. But given their personal limitations, perhaps that was about the best they could do.

Many of my clients who suffered emotional or physical abuse growing up recognize that their parents were raised in a similar fashion. In some way, were those parents’ intentions still good in some twisted way? Perhaps they felt like they were preparing their kids for the seeming unfairness of life or protecting them from sorrow by limiting their view of their potential.

Is that how they believed that children should be raised? It’s likely that was their level of awareness at the time.

That doesn’t excuse people who have harmed us. There is karma we will all face along our soul’s journey, after all.

Breaking the Cycle

But we all have the potential to break cycles of abuse. And the best place to start, in this moment, is to stop talking to ourselves in abusive ways, being our own worst critics. Would you be willing now to free yourself of disturbing echoes from your past and speak to yourself with more loving, kind words?

If you catch yourself thinking, “I messed up a long time ago and now my life can never be right,” stop yourself right there!

Choose a new thought. “I’ve had some hard times and made some big mistakes, but I forgive myself. I now have the growing awareness to make better decisions. I believe am worthy of attracting greater good into my life. All I can do is my best.”

As motivational writer Don Miguel Ruiz says, what is your best is going to change all the time, so you can release the need to be perfect.

“Your best is going to change from moment to moment,” according to Ruiz. “It will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.”

Copyright 2014, Wellspring Rejuvenation Center

goals: take a single step today

Take a Single Step Today

As you read this blog entry, you may be reminded of some goals you’ve had for quite some time, whether they relate to your health, career or creativity. You may find that you’re reading this at exactly the right time, as the message serves as a reminder to do at least one thing today that brings you closer to your goals.

You’ll likely find that taking one just step (even something as seemingly simple as updating your resume, 20 minutes of exercise, trying a healthy new recipe, meditating for 15 minutes, or signing up for a self-improvement class) has an immediate effect on your esteem, raising it higher.

Habit Formation

Perhaps there’s a healthy new habit you want to create in your life (whether it’s juicing or jogging or journaling). You can pick one thing and do it every day for 21 days (a recommended time frame for turning productive behaviors into habitual ones). As you continually engage in that activity and it becomes an important part of your life, your self-esteem will grow as a result of your personal achievement.

But don’t try to take on too much at once. You could grow frustrated or overwhelmed. If you’re interested in habit formation, you can simply start with one thing on your path to personal empowerment. Then 21 days later, you can introduce another beneficial habit.

Releasing Procrastination

You may already have a high sense of self esteem, but you can begin to experience even more as you release procrastination from your life.

Procrastination is often the curse of the perfectionist, who might want to wait until conditions seem ideal before beginning an undertaking. Perfectionists also often want to have a high certainty that they’ll excel at a particular activity before getting started.

There is likely a little perfectionist in all of us, but we can always remind that part of our being that it’s okay to experiment and make mistakes while trying new things. That’s just part of the learning process. You can begin calming down that perfectionist part of your personality by simply saying, “I give myself permission to learn as I go. I can always shift my strategy as needed.”

As you consider what action step you can take today to bring you closer to your goals, you can understand how it can be helpful to outline an action plan of further steps (whether it relates to a personal development goal, a creative undertaking, or a business or home-improvement project). You don’t have to accomplish them all today. You just need to begin creating a sense of what they are, setting both priorities and realistic expectations for yourself.

Action Plans

Too often we procrastinate because we don’t have an action plan in place. A motivational affirmation to get going can be as simple as, “I make my plan, and I work my plan.”

As we get in the process of working our plans, we can rejoice in the small steps – and forgive ourselves for any missteps – along the way to making great progress.

You may be someone who dreams so big that a major goal can seem overwhelming. But perhaps these words from motivational speaker Earl Nightingale, known as the “dean of personal development,” may calm you now:

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

Reiki healing hand

How You Can Become Attuned to Reiki

You can’t learn to perform the Japanese art of Reiki healing touch from just reading a book.

On multiple occasions, I’ve had students come in for an introductory class and tell me that they had picked up a Reiki manual at the bookstore and already tried practicing hand positions on their friends and family. 

Recounting their experiences, they told me things like, “I felt energy in my hands, but afterwards I felt pretty tired.” These well-intentioned individuals were undoubtedly depleting too much of their own energy (or “ki”) in the process.

But the good news is that this draining effect doesn’t happen once you’re “attuned” to Reiki.

Receiving a Reiki Blessing

The Reiki attunement process involves an energetic transfer through a Master Teacher to a student during a short ritual called reiju (or blessing) in Japanese. These attunements are an essential part of any Reiki training program.

The Usui System of Reiki includes four attunements (Levels I, II, Advanced, and Master). Each increases your connection to the very high vibration of universal life-force energy called Reiki.

Becoming an Energy Conduit

The enhanced connection to this energy source enables you to easily become a channel or conduit for Reiki, so that you too are energized/healed by the process of giving it to another individual.

Once attuned, all you have to do it intend to channel Reiki for it to easily start flowing through your body and out through the palms of your hands to wherever you direct it – to specific parts of your body or to others. You can feel it!

Before and After

Reiki attunementI’ve noticed a striking before-and-after in the students who said they had gotten tired trying to do energywork before their attunement (or reiju).

After receiving the first two attunements in my Level I & II class and getting to practice, they’ve consistently told me things like, “Wow! The energy feels so much stronger, and I’m not getting tired. This feels great!”

The Attunement Process

During the attunements given in Reiki classes, students sit peacefully in a chair as I touch their head, shoulders and hands in specific ways while using a special breathing technique and concentrating deeply on this energetic transfer. For a class with three students, each attunement takes about 20 minutes or so.

While receiving attunements, some students feel warmth in their hands and tingling around their head, and some even have significant visual experiences through their mind’s eye (saying they see vibrant colors or meaningful imagery).

Everyone’s experience is unique, but just about everybody feels a deep sense of peace and relaxation. Because the attunement process is spiritually guided, it is always successful, requiring only the intention of the teacher to give it and of the student to receive it.

“During the class, Brad gave me the two attunements, and they were almost unexplainable, especially the second one. I was seeing colors from my heart chakra up through my crown chakra. Amazing! Brad is patient and professional, and he is an educated, personable, spiritual, funny gentleman who knows his Reiki.” – Ellen G.

Sacred, Mystical Experience

So how exactly do these attunements work? No one can completely answer that question. But there are different theories about this inherently mystical process.

reikiangeleditMany believe that attunement energies guided by a Higher Power (Reiki is considered spiritually guided life-force energy) flow through the teacher into students, making adjustments to their energy field that enable them to easily connect to this very high vibration of healing energy (drawing it from a unlimited, universal source).

In traditional Japanese Reiki, it’s said this attunement is an act of remembering – that this energetic ability has lain dormant within all of us until activated through this meaningful ritual of intention (like flipping a switch to turn on the light).

Others believe that the Angels who watch over all of us here on Earth as well as Spirit Guides associated with Reiki play a key role in the attunement process.

Spiritually Guided

I personally believe that Reiki is the benefit of an Angelic touch that is available to all of us once we are ready and committed to receive it. I can tell you that my access to spiritual guidance has profoundly increased in the years I’ve practiced Reiki.

But I stress that Reiki is not a religion. I’ve had students of varying spiritual paths (Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, etc.) take this training and still find the core concepts congruent with their spiritual beliefs. Reiki simply comes from a Higher Power or the Universe, however you choose to define it.

Helpful Analogy

When I teach classes, I often like to equate Reiki energy with radio waves.

Of course, I can’t see those electromagnetic radio waves riding their frequency through the air around me. But when I “tune” my radio dial to the right spots, I can pull in and enjoy the beautiful music being transmitted.

Reiki is similar in that once you’ve been “attuned” to its frequency, it becomes almost effortless to access this very high vibration of energy. All you have to do is mentally push a power button to set your intention.

Reiki Training Levels

Once you’ve been attuned to Reiki, you have that ability for life. You only have to be attuned to any particular level of Reiki training once, but multiple attunements to the same level can be healing and feel wonderful.

Whatever level of Reiki you’ve been attuned to, the strength of your ability to channel it depends partly upon how often you use it. The more you channel Reiki, the stronger its flow grows and the more deeply you are healed. It’s a lot like working a muscle.

But after your initial attunements (I combine Levels I & II into an introductory training), you may eventually find yourself wanting to significantly grow your abilities in the next class (receiving the Advanced and Master attunements). I also offer attunements to the Karuna Reiki Master level, a remarkable evolution of the traditional Japanese system.

Getting Started

Perhaps you can imagine how wonderful it would feel to have this enhanced healing ability right in the palm of your hands.

At Wellspring Rejuvenation Center, I offer all levels of Reiki training, enabling you to easily access this energy source through hand positions, techniques, and meditations covered in my courses.

You can read more about the training level appropriate for you:

For more information, contact Brad Dixon at 404-444-6924 or brad@wellspringreiki.com.

Copyright, 2014, Wellspring Rejuvenation Center

 

Underwater Daisies by Miles Davis

Rejuvenation: Refreshening My Brand

I recently decided it was time to make a significant change. After some thoughtful reflection, I followed my intuition and modified the name of my practice. As of February 2014, what was once Wellspring Reiki & Hypnotherapy is now Wellspring Rejuvenation Center.

This change makes excellent sense to me as my practice continues to evolve. Of course, Reiki and Hypnotherapy are still primary services I offer. But I wanted a more expansive name to encompass the Intuitive Coaching services I also provide. As I work with clients over time, I usually employ all of these helpful strategies to help people heal from the past and thrive in the present and future.

When pondering a name change, the word “rejuvate” suddenly popped into my head. It can be defined as “to give new strength or energy to (someone else or yourself).” The word “rejuvenation” resonated so strongly with me that a branding decision that could have involved numerous brainstorming sessions took only minutes.

Evolutionary Process

I was relieved when a Google and trademark search turned up no other Wellspring Rejuvenation Centers. Of course, there are plenty of businesses around the country that incorporate Wellspring into their names somehow, but not using that particular name.

This wasn’t the first time that I’ve altered the name of my practice. After starting Wellspring Reiki in 2002, I amended the name to Wellspring Reiki & Hypnotherapy after completing my clinical hypnotherapist certification in 2008. That name worked well, but I think Wellspring Rejuvenation Center has a nicer ring and better reflects the holistic approach I take employing complementary strategies.

I feel rejuvenated just thinking about the promise of what the future holds for me in helping others – especially as I begin to undertake extensive training in Neuro-linguistic Programming and prepare to embark on The Shamanic Path through another program.

I’ve even optimistic that I might be successful in getting Facebook to allow me to change the name of my Wellspring page a second time (rules I don’t understand currently prohibit this if you have more than 200 fans). So for the time being, I’m still Wellspring Reiki & Hypnotherapy on that social media channel.

Please *like* me there regardless. 🙂

Copyright, 2014, Wellspring Rejuvenation Center

Daisy painting image by Miles Davis

power of now clock

Just for Today

Today is a gift. Open it carefully. As it unfolds, remember to avoid diving into any situation or decision too rashly.

Trust your instincts and honor your feelings as you go about your day. Remain as positive about each of your present moments as you can (even if certain situations or interactions feel difficult).

This present moment is the “present” that the Universe has provided for you. Remember to align your thinking with what you’d like to create in your life. Your ability to shape your reality with your thoughts, feelings, intentions and actions is a remarkable gift.

If there are any difficult lessons to be learned today, remember that they, too, can be a gift.

This focus on today is integral part of traditional Japanese Reiki. Mikao Usui, who formalized the Reiki healing system, included a set of guiding Principles that can be beneficial for anyone to remember each day:

Just for today, do not worry.

Just for today, do not anger.

Honor your parents, teachers and elders.

Earn your living honestly.

Show gratitude to every living thing.

Just for today, also remember that you are a remarkable child of God. Express gratitude not only to your Higher Power, but also to everyone and everything in your life. Sometimes are blessings come in disguise, and therefore, some of the people who challenge us the most are also turn out to be our greatest teachers.

As spiritual author Louise Hay says on one of her affirmation cards: “My life is a mirror. The people in my life are really mirrors of me. This affords me the opportunity grow and change.”

If you experience a difficult interaction with someone – or are reminded of a painful relationship from the past – focus on the lesson learned and forgive yourself for any mistakes you might have made. Remember to also set the intention of forgiving everyone involved.

Whenever you experience a disturbing emotion rise to the surface, stop and reflect on your thinking patterns. Are you talking to yourself positively in the present moment? Or are you dwelling on might-have-beens and could-go-wrongs?

If so, instead begin shifting your thinking into what you’d really like to create in your life. Talk to yourself with loving and encouraging words – not just for today, but for always.

 Copyright, 2014, Wellspring Reiki & Hypnotherapy

 

earth energy and heaven energy

Meditation Technique: Grounding to Earth/Connecting to Cosmos

To ideally be balanced, we need to be both grounded to the Earth and connected to the Heavens.

If we neglect the latter, our spiritual growth is obviously impeded. But if we’re too focused on spiritual ascension, then we run the risk of not being grounded enough in this physical plane. We need Mother Earth to nourish our physical bodies just as we need a strong spiritual connection to feed our souls.

In this article, I’m going to share an easy, effective energy meditation for channeling both Earth Ki (or energy) and Heaven Ki through your body to help achieve balance and centering.

Energetic Imbalance

On their spiritual journeys, some people make the mistake of focusing too much on the development of upper chakras such as the crown and third-eye (spiritual and intuitive centers, respectively), while neglecting the balancing of their lower chakras that relate to their sexuality (sacrum) and grounding in physical existence (root).

They can carry an excess of energy up around their heads and have less Ki down through their torsos and legs (a top-heavy imbalance, given that the body’s center of gravity (or hara) is located by the sacrum just below the naval).

You can try to meditate yourself out of your body, but ultimately you’re going to get where you spiritually want to go faster if you focus on all seven of your major chakras – and develop the major energy channel running through the body that connects us to the Heavens as well as the Earth. All of the chakras point into this channel, which runs from the root chakra up to the crown.

Chakras

The meditation I’m going to share with you strengthens this channel in a way that is very energizing and balancing. This exercise involves visualization of Earth Ki as well as Heaven Ki (again “ki” means energy). But it doesn’t matter how well you visualize for this meditation to be effective. The intention is what matters most.

Easy Meditation for Anyone

You also don’t have to know how to perform Reiki to use this energizing meditation technique, though experience with that Japanese healing art could make the experience feel more powerful.

But I’ve had hypnosis clients (with no prior experience with energy work) immediately feel the beneficial effects as I taught them this exercise as a replacement activity for their previous smoke breaks or simply to feel more centered and less anxious. Surprised looking, they’ve said things like, “Wow! That feels great.” We are all entitled and able to tap into these energy sources.

I use this meditation exercise all the time and find it highly effective, whether it do it for two minutes or 10 or 20. Here are the steps:

  • Either sit comfortably or stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  • Become aware of your crown and root chakras. The crown is funnel shaped and violet colored, pointing straight up to the sky, while the root is red colored and points down to the Earth (see diagram above).
  • Now take a deep breath all the way in to your lower lung area. As as you do, envision a beam of nurturing red Earth energy rising up from the molten core of the Earth and into your root chakra (at the tailbone, between the genitals and anus). Then send that red light all the way up the channel in the center of your body and out through your crown chakra into the Cosmos.
  • Then as you slowly exhale, envision a beam of white light descending from the Heavens, entering your crown chakra. Send that white light all the way down your central channel, exiting your root chakra and going down into the Earth.
  • The next time you inhale, again see the red light arising from the Earth up through your central channel and out through the top of your head. And when you exhale, again see the white light beaming down into your crown and all along your central channel down into the Earth.

grounding and energizing central energy channel

  • Repeat this upward trajectory of red light and downward stream of white light through your central channel with every breath you take. Again, it doesn’t matter how well you visualize (the intention is enough).
  • The white light encompasses all the colors of the rainbow spectrum. But after running the white and red light for awhile, you can switch things up by running whatever colors you feel drawn to use. For example, you could draw green light up from the Earth, then run down sky-blue light down from above. Be creative. If you’re a strong visualizer, you could envision a rainbow beam.
  • Remember to take very slow DEEP breaths. Imagine the oxygen you inhale going down all the way down to your hara (just below your naval). Again this is your body’s center of gravity, according to many martial arts, and energizing it gives you a firm foundation for life.
  • When you’re ready to come to a stopping point with the meditation, envision green tree roots running down your legs and deep into the Earth.
  • Give thanks to your Higher Power (or the Universe) for blessing us with Mother Earth. And thank Her as well for serving as our wondrous home in this physical plane.

Growing Benefit

The more you do this exercise, the more you’ll really feel the energy. The channel will grow stronger and clearer as a result. Over time, you might yourself growing more intuitive and spiritual connected while becoming more comfortable and centered in your body.

Running energy through this channel will stimulate, energize, and clear all of your major chakras which point into it (including the heart chakra, the bridge between our physical and spiritual worlds). In traditional Japanese Reiki, it’s said that the Earth Ki and Heaven Ki stimulate the Heart Ki (enhancing our love and emotional well-being).

The visualization and deep breathing involved in this exercise help keep your conscious mind occupied so that it’s easier to quiet your mind and reap the full benefits of meditation (reducing stress and enhancing your sense of oneness with the Universe). But if thoughts pop into your mind, that’s okay. Just bring your attention back to your breathing and visualization.

woman meditating

Regular Use

I employ this exercise all the time, sometimes even when sitting in a waiting room or standing in line at the grocery store. Once you get used to it, this exercise really can be that easy to use. I can do it with my eyes open, but being in a quiet, meditative state is best.

Of course, this technique doesn’t replace self Reiki treatment for me. Once you become attuned to the extremely high vibration of Reiki energy in a class, it becomes almost effortless to channel it out through your hands to wherever you place them on your body (a chakra or any other area). Reiki doesn’t require visualization.

But this “Grounding to Earth/Connecting to Cosmos” meditation is a wonderful complement to Reiki, and I now teach it in my introductory Reiki class (Levels I & II).

I’m happy to share this exercise with you here, and I hope that it helps bring greater balance into your daily life. This exercise can be helpful if you’re feeling stressed, out of sorts, or drained by others.

Performing this exercise out in nature can be especially peaceful and grounding. But you can draw Earth energy up to the 22nd floor of an office building if you need to. When it comes to energy, the power of our intention truly is amazing.

Other Energy Techniques

There are all kinds of energy-related meditations for you to try, but I particularly like this one because it’s so easy and empowering. You also might want to explore some guided Chakra meditations available on audio recordings (such as this one by Bodo Baginski, Merlin’s Magic and Shalila Sharamon).

And I strongly encourage you to read about my recommended techniques for protecting your energy.

If you’ve taken the Usui Reiki Master class (following the curriculum of the International Center for Reiki Training), then remember to use the Reiki Moving Meditation. That’s one of my favorites for drawing in universal life-force energy and grounding.

If you know Reiki, regularly give energy work to all of your chakras well as your hips, knees and feet. Many people do not have sufficient energy flow down through their legs. Reiki can help ground you.

Copyright, 2013, Wellspring Reiki & Hypnotherapy

energy protection of aura

Protecting Your Energy

Protecting your energy is vitally important. This applies to your daily living and not just when practicing energetic healing arts like Reiki.

Fundamentally, I believe that we are all connected (part of the same universal energy). However, until we achieve a total return to “oneness,” there remains individuality to our bodies and souls that we must be conscious of for our own health (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually). We must monitor the ways in which we are connecting with others so that we are not drained or absorbing others’ negativity.

We need to remember to set our boundaries. These boundaries can involve energetic intention (techniques I’m going to describe in this article) as well as understanding that often it’s okay to say “no” when people demand too much of your time, energy, and resources.

When to Say When

Sometimes you might want to please other people so much (to gain their approval) that you don’t conserve your energy enough. You might fear losing love and acceptance by saying “no,” but you cannot allow people to dump too much on you. Some people will inevitably take advantage.

So it’s important to remember that it’s perfectly okay to set your limits at times by saying “no.” You can say it in a loving, positive way (i.e. “I’d love to help you, but I’m dealing with more than I can handle right now.”).

As people begin dealing with the new you who’s not afraid to enforce boundaries, they may not like it at first (especially if they’ve grown accustomed to using you as a crutch). They might try to make you feel guilty. But say “no” as well to taking on that emotion. Ultimately, they’ll probably respect you more.

Of course, it’s wonderful to help when you can. It can feel so good! But if you walk too many extra miles, you’re not doing anyone (especially yourself) any real favors.

fence

Lower Vibrations

People don’t have to be asking too many favors, however, to sap our strength or lower our energy vibration. There are people known as “energy vampires” who can be exhausting to deal with and sometimes truly pull “chi” out of others’ individual energy fields (more on this later). We also can be impacted energetically by the vibrations of others.

Fundamentally everything is energy, vibrating at different frequencies. We all experience varying vibratory rates based on our thoughts, feelings and actions (how well they we care of themselves). The faster our vibratory rate, the better off we are.

Negative emotions such as anger, jealousy or fear can substantially lower that rate. When people spend too much time in lower vibrational states, the flow of life-force energy in their bodies might slow down or stagnate in certain areas, eventually manifesting as various physical, mental or emotional problems.

Therefore, some of the best energy protection we can do is to be mindful of our own thinking. Our thoughts are communicated immediately into our body. So focusing too much on fears and regrets can have a serious impact on our energy and health over time.

Accentuate the positive!

positive thought word cloud

Energy Awareness

Reiki healing can help raise the energy vibration in the body, restoring better flow to energy pathways that might have essentially become kinked like a garden hose (with “chi” struggling to move through blocked areas).

But choosing positive, productive thought patterns (letting go of unnecessary negativity and limiting belief systems) is key to maintaining that higher vibration. And that’s a major reason I offer hypnotherapy (to literally help people to change their minds).

However, we can’t try to force healing on people who haven’t sought it out yet. There are plenty of situations in our daily social and work lives where it would be inappropriate – and likely unappreciated – to tell people how their negativity could be affecting their own energy and that of everyone around them.

In these situations, we just have to remain conscious of keeping our energy vibration as high as possible. We can lead by example.

energy protection storm cloud

Dealing with Negativity

For example, I once worked in a communications department with another writer who had many admirable qualities but tended to have a sour, judgmental disposition. One day, when I was feeling pretty good about life in general, she darkened my door and said, “Isn’t this just the worst place ever?”

If I’d let her steer the dialogue into a conversation about everything that was dysfunctional about our colleagues and the overall organization, I could have started feeling pretty pessimistic as well, lowering my own energy vibration. I could have wound up agreeing, “Yeah, this place does kind of suck, doesn’t it?”

But before I let that happen, I decided to gently nudge the conversation in a direction that would improve her mood and raise her vibration, discussing her plans for an upcoming holiday and a movie she was excited about seeing. I kept it brief, got her smiling, and then got back to work.

Choosing your conversations carefully, avoiding negative gossip, can definitely help protect your energy. While it can be of great service to lend a compassionate ear to those going through tough times, eventually you’ll recognize whether these people really have an interest in healing, or if they’re simply seeking someone to affirm their fears and negative self-fulfilling prophesies about life. They might be addicted to their own drama.

When I work with Reiki and hypnotherapy clients, people sometimes arrive feeling upset about circumstances in their lives, experiencing a variety of negative emotions. As I help them identify patterns that may no longer be serving them, my goal is to serve as an energetic influence that helps lift them up into a higher vibration.

energy protection bubble of light

Energy Protection Technique

Therefore, I always set the intention of protecting my energy before Reiki or hypnotherapy clients arrive so that I’m not entrained to a lower vibration as we discuss any difficult issues at hand.

But this is also a technique that I like to be in effect at all other times of my life, whether I’m relaxing with a small group of friends or walking through a crowded store. I find energy protection helpful in dealing with the vibes in all kinds of physical environments.

The technique is very easy for anyone to perform, whether or not you know Reiki, and takes very little time. Early in the morning, or whenever I need to remind myself to reinforce this energetic protection, I simply follow these steps:

  • I visualize a strong beam of white light coming down from the Heavens.
  • As this beam reaches a few feet above the crown of my head, I see white light spreading around the entirety of the egg-shaped energy field (or aura) that surrounds me (this field can extend out a number of feet on all sides of the body). I call this “sealing myself in protective white light.” It doesn’t matter how well you visualize; it’s the intention that matters most. But it might be helpful for you to remember how Glenda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz appeared as she floated along in a bubble of light.
  • I also intend that the healing white light surrounding me also completely fill my energy field and body.
  • I set the intention that this seal of white light last for the entire day, protecting me from others’ negativity and energy vampirism, while remaining permeable to love and positivity.

If you know Reiki and are familiar with the chakras, you can also take a few additional steps:

  • At the beginning, visualize each of your chakras open (front and rear aspects), with the Reiki Power Symbol inside of each.
  • Visualize one large Reiki Power Symbol down the front of your body and also down the back of your body. Then complete all the steps listed above.

Chakras

Success at Energy Protection

This technique was one that I learned from my second Reiki teacher in 2002. Around that time, I’d befriended a man named Jason* who had a strong “energy vampire” (Kyle*) in his social circle.

I began to notice that I could be feeling great (having just drunk fresh fruit and vegetable juice and worked out), and then run into Kyle in a social situation and feel majorly zapped.

A couple of those times our interaction was less than two minutes –  just long enough for him to stop by, say hello, and engage in some polite chit-chat. But during those short conversations, he would stare at me super intensely, almost as if he were pulling out the energy with his eyes.

Shortly after learning this energy protection technique, I ran into him again at a social gathering. As soon as I saw him walk in the door, I quickly sealed myself in white light, setting the intention that no one would be draining my energy that evening.

And you know what? It worked! While he acknowledged me in a friendly way, he didn’t stop as long to talk. I believe that on some subconscious level, he knew that he couldn’t find anywhere to plug in to pull my energy (I’d sealed the outlets with white light).

So he moved onto the next person. I saw him plenty of times after that but never had that sensation of being drained again, once I knew how to employ energy protection.

energy protection from energy vampires

Various Intentions

I sincerely don’t believe that Kyle consciously set out to be an “energy vampire.” He was always nice to me, but he was obviously an extremely needy person. I once heard him remark that he couldn’t stand to be alone and needed company around at all times (undoubtedly for energy he could drink). I could literally see the draining effect he was having on my good friend Jason who started to look physically sapped while in Kyle’s presence.

While there’s nothing wrong with being an extrovert and feeling energized by the collective charge of a crowd, it’s quite another matter if you’re boring into one individual’s energy. In any exchanges you have with other people, there’s going to be a give and take of energy. But if you’re consistently taking way more than you give, that can be a problem.

I’ve encountered a couple of dysfunctional people who bragged that they had once set the intention of taking someone’s energy or had intentionally directed negative energy at their enemies. Needless to say, I was not impressed. In fact, I was worried for their karma. Those kinds of practices have nothing to do with Reiki, which can never cause harm.

Please note that I’m not quick to assign the “energy vampire” label. Kyle is one of only a few people I’ve met that I’d firmly place in that category (where I truly felt like a car from which he was siphoning gas). But there are plenty of people out there who can be demanding, difficult and draining in various ways. You might seriously consider limiting your contact with people who want to get you wrapped up in their negativity and drama.

Protect your energy!

Reiki Hands

Protection during Reiki

As our awareness of energy has grown through the years, more Reiki practitioners have recognized the importance of protecting themselves while giving sessions.

The good news is that most practitioners rarely feel like they pick up burdensome energies while performing sessions on others. In fact, one of the beautiful things about performing Reiki is that all of that high vibrational energy flows through practitioners on the way to clients so that both parties receive healing during the process.

I personally can’t recall a time when I haven’t felt better after performing Reiki sessions than before I started (because of the benefit of serving as a conduit for all of that healing energy). But I always err on the side of caution by protecting my energy with the aforementioned technique.

I consider the Reiki to be extremely high vibrational energy that clears away negativity on contact. As I employ it, I set the intention that the client can pull all the Reiki energy they need through me (but that I’m maintaining healthy levels of my personal “chi”).

After a session, I always remember to employ the traditional Japanese Kenyoku exercise for brushing off negative energy from the arms and hands (really shaking it off).

Kenyoku Reiki energy protection technique

Protection for Empaths

While taking on negative energy is rarely an issue for most Reiki practitioners, I have encountered a number of people through the years who are strong “empaths.” That word means that they are highly sensitive people can sometimes feel others’ mental, emotional or physical discomfort as if it were their own. They can have trouble telling the difference.

For example, I have a highly empathic friend who sometimes works as a medical intuitive. On a couple of occasions when I’ve interacted with her, she’s pointed at a spot on her head and told me, “You have a headache right here.” And she was right about not only the headache, but also the specific location.

One of those times I politely told her, “I’m having such a nice time, Sandy*. I know I have a little headache, but please don’t remind me.”

And she said, “No, I have to say it out loud, or I can’t let it go from my body.”

energy protection from headache and pain

I got what Sandy meant, but realized that this might not always be a socially acceptable strategy. Hypothetically, she could meet someone at a social gathering and say, “You have fibroid tumors,” but that might be very upsetting and off-putting to a new acquaintance.

And she could potentially be wrong. There could be another explanation for Sandy having felt discomfort in that region of her body. Medical intuition isn’t always a reliably accurate substitute for medical testing.

Strategy for Letting Go

I’m a much bigger fan of the approach of a highly intuitive psychologist named Donna*, who is an empath. She explained that when she feels something that might not be her own, she doesn’t have to say it out loud to let it go. Here’s what she does:

  • She just imagines the length of her body looking like a pipe.
  • Then she envisions anything that’s not her own flowing out through that pipe up into heavenly white light to be transmuted.
  • She prays to God and Angels for assistance in removing any energies that aren’t her own.

Before she retired, I regularly worked with Donna in phone sessions. At the start of these appointments, she would tune into my energy remotely from her office in Los Angeles. On one occasion we talked around 8 p.m. EST (my time), so I’d already been to dinner and had a couple of glasses of wine.

As she tuned into me that evening, she said, “I feel so relaxed… like I had a glass of wine” (information I had not shared). On another occasion, she detected a rash on the back of my neck that I had not mentioned.

Rather amazed, I asked a lot of questions about how she dealt with this ability. She told that she just regards these feelings as helpful information and immediately lets them go (sending them out through that energy pipe).

energy protection of energy field

Understanding Clairsentience

Empaths often experience their intuition as clairsentience (meaning clear feeling). Reportedly women have developed a stronger tendency to be clairsentient because of the experience of motherhood throughout human history. They’ve needed to tune into what’s bothering babies who can’t yet communicate with language.

While I often receive intuitive impressions about what’s mentally and emotionally going on with people (just a sense of knowing called claircognizance), I’m grateful that I don’t personally experience those feelings, mistaking them for my own. Fortunately, the vast majority of my students (female or male) never report a problem with this phenomenon.

But I have seen it play out in several classes before with students who were highly empathic or clairsentient. This taught me to emphasize the importance of the energy protection technique earlier in the course, guiding students through the process.

On one occasion, a woman reported feeling a wave of headache pain after working on someone with that issue. I guided her to send that energy out of her body and up into white light (as if it were running out through a pipe), and she soon felt the sensation pass. On another occasion, a woman reported feeling like she was taking on someone’s feelings of low self-esteem until she recognized they weren’t her own and let them go.

Identifying Empaths

Again, this kind of experience is rare for Reiki practitioners. But to be as well-equipped as possible to teach people who are empaths, I consulted with my intuitive spiritual counselor, Chris. Herself a strong empath, she gave me insights to help people identify if they fall into that category.

“If you feel pain if someone you care about is in pain, you could well be an empath,” Chris said. “Perhaps your best friend tells you they’ve been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, and the next day you start feeling really drained as well. There can be unexplained illnesses. Blood tests say you have nothing, but yet you still have all the symptoms with no logical explanation.”

Before Chris learned strategies for protecting her energy, she suffered from a lot of unexplained feelings. “I could be feeling perfectly happy, then talk to someone and start feeling angry and bitter when nothing happened to make me feel that way,” she told me.

Also an energy healer, Chris says that she’s fine as long as she puts on her “suit of energetic armor” before working with clients. “Whenever you are performing energy work, your clients are releasing a lot of stuff that isn’t good happy energy,” she explained. “In the process of that clearing, you’ve got to protect yourself as a healer, or energetically you could be left standing in the equivalent of dirty bathwater.”

purifying with sage for energy protection

Post Healing Rituals

Smudging with sage after a session is always a good idea to renew your healing space. You could use sage incense or a sage stick (a bundle you can buy at most metaphysical type stores). Burning herbs like sage is a common practice among Native Americans and other groups for purification in their spiritual practices.

According to smudging theory, as the smoke clears, it carries away negative energies to a place where they can be transmuted into something positive.

After clients leave my healing space, I also say a prayer for their healing but know that I have to let go of worrying about them during my off time. I think of the healing work I do (whether healing the chakras with Reiki or subconscious patterns with hypnotherapy) as opening doors of opportunity. But it’s the clients’ homework to walk through them and actively work on positive life changes. I can’t do that ongoing work for them or carry their burdens.

etheric energy cord cutting

Cord Cutting

Just in case clients have formed any unhealthy attachments to me as a healer, I imagine cutting those cords and asking Archangel Michael to lift them up into heavenly light so that clients can draw energy from a higher, limitless source until their next session. When it comes to energy, time and space aren’t factors, so people can pull your energy just as effectively 500 miles away as five feet away.

It’s widely believed and perceived that we have energy cords that connect us with key people in our lives. Sometimes these connections can be unhealthy and require cord cutting (or unplugging). This doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily ending the relationship; just that you recognize that no one is well served by either of you being drained. This effect can be a two-way street.

There could be energy cords still attaching you to people with whom you ended relationships long ago. It’s possible that these cords could be holding you back in some ways with moving on fully with your life. Cord cutting can be valuable in those cases as well.

To perform the cord cutting exercise:

  • Think of a particular person, and imagine where their energy cords might be connected to your body. It might be a particular chakra on the front or back of the body, or another area. Or you might see them attached in many places (for instance, at your heart, solar plexus and shoulders).
  • If there are multiple cords, see them intertwining like a rope a foot or two out from your body. Then visualize Archangel Michael’s sword of light easily – painlessly – cutting through them all.
  • Ask Archangel Michael to lift those cords up into the Heavens, and then visualize a beam of white light filling up the areas where those connections once were, healing your energy field.

Archangel Michael (often depicted with a mighty sword perfect for cord cutting) is always available to call upon for protection and support. He just requires your free will to ask.

Archangel Michael cord cutting

Repeat as Needed

You might yourself needing to repeat this cord-cutting exercise. You or the other parties might be tempted to reconnect energetically (even from a distance). Sometimes people can really tell that something has shifted and might start subconsciously searching for another outlet to plug into you (even remotely). At those times, you might find them popping into your head.

If that’s the case, simply close your eyes and repeat this cord-cutting exercise.

One of the first relationships I cut the cord on was with a person whom I’d developed a strong romantic interest more than a decade ago. I expended a lot of mental energy on it and eventually realized that this person enjoyed drawing a lot of energy from my attention, leading me on, but had no real interest in reciprocating my feelings.

I performed the exercise and immediately felt a little lighter and freer. But that person must have felt a change, too, because later in the day I received a phone message left in a voice that sounded rather anxious: “Ugh, just checking in to make sure everything is okay!”

I repeated that the cord cutting every day for a couple of weeks until I felt like we’d adjusted to our new energetic boundaries. I still maintain a relationship with that person as good friends.

Dealing with Spirit Attachments

Other types of attachments that we could conceivably be affected by involve spiritual energy entities that might be attracted by our vibration. These attachments theoretically could involve confused souls who don’t realize they’re dead (or are afraid of judgment in the Afterlife) who seek refuge in our light.

Again, neither party is served by this kind of unhealthy attachment. To protect myself, I regularly ask that Archangel Michael and Ascended Masters remove any foreign spirit entities from my body and home and escort them up into Heavenly Light where they can be healed and released from me.

This concept of spirit attachments is a complex one that I plan to address in another article. But I’ve taken some training in this area and learned that the solution can often be pretty simple: Just asking Archangel Michael and Ascended Masters for help.

Things to Remember

My goal in this particular article is not to create fear about negative or foreign energies, but to empower you with easy-to-use strategies for raising your energy vibration into a healing zone and maintaining it there. The powers of positive thinking, prayer and intention are very strong and always available to you.

Of course, if you have already taken Reiki training, then you know that giving yourself regular sessions is a wonderful way to keep your vibration up, clear away negativity, and improve your energy flow.

* Most names have been changed in this article to protect identities.

Copyright, 2013, Wellspring Reiki & Hypnotherapy

different wavelengths of energy

Different Wavelengths

Ever feel like you’re on a different wavelength than certain other people? Well, you may indeed be vibrating on a different energy frequency. Perhaps your vibration is rising higher than people with whom you used to maintain fulfilling relationships, and you find yourselves drifting apart.

It could become more of a struggle to feel that old connection. Perhaps that’s disappointing, but it’s important not to descend back down into lower vibrations in order to maintain the status quo. Remember that you’re no better or worse than these certain people in your life. You’re just in different places now.

Energetically everyone is unique in their own way and shifting all the time. It’s just a matter of understanding the differences you perceive and deciding what feels like a good match. If people don’t respect your individuality, then you might be better off without them playing such a big role in your world.

Raising Your Vibration

Keep focusing on the positive thoughts, feelings and actions that raise your energy vibration. Using lots of Reiki can be of huge benefit if you know how to perform it. Keep yourself open to attracting new relationships into your life that serve your development at your present stage (wherever that is). Start where you are.

Lead by example and show as much love, understanding and forgiveness as you can to everyone. During the process of your own healing, you might even serve as an inspiration to others to expand their potential. But ultimately that timing is up to them. You certainly can’t force healing on them if they’re not ready.

It’s still possible to respectfully and compassionately meet people where they are (at whatever level of awareness and energetic vibration they have attained). But you don’t have to lower your frequency in the process by getting wrapped up in their dramas, affirming their fears, and engaging in gossip.

There might not even be any obvious negativity to sense that you’re just not “vibing” quite the same as you used to with certain people. Things could just feel different.

If a relationship is important enough, then of course take time to reflect on whether there could be an unspoken issue that needs to be addressed. But if there’s no obvious answer, then release the need to take it too personally if someone wanders onto a separate path.

Ultimately, we’re all heading in the same direction. No one will be left out.

“I am willing to let go. I release others to experience whatever is meaningful to them, and I am free to create that which is meaningful to me.” – Louise Hay

Copyright, 2013, Wellspring Reiki & Hypnotherapy

Diversity of Personality Types

Knowledge Is Power: Identifying Your Personality Type

Generally I don’t like personal labels. But there is one categorization system, the Myers-Briggs personality type test, which I have found extremely useful in better understanding not only myself, but also those with whom I interact.

According to the developers of the test, there are 16 personality types. You may already know what yours is (it would consist of four letters). The Myers-Briggs assessment is often used in corporate settings for team building and leadership development to enhance awareness of oneself and the diversity of others’ approaches to work and life.

My personality type is the INFP (Introverted, i(N)tuitive, Feeling, Perceiving). I’m going to talk a little later about what those categories mean. I’ll also provide a link at the article’s end to a site where you can easily take the test online and discover the significance behind your personal letter sequence.

Example of Myself

But first I’ll use my own type, the INFP, as an example. When I took the test seven years ago, I learned that those sharing this personality type often go into writing, counseling, and healing professions. It was affirming that my career choices to date had been a good fit for my disposition. Learning more about the INFP also gave me helpful insights into how I interact with others, process information, make decisions, and express myself.

One widely published online description says: “INFPs are quiet, creative, sensitive and perceptive souls who often strike others as shy, reserved and cool. These folks have a rare capacity for deep caring and commitment – both to the people and causes they idealize. INFPs guide their behavior by a strong inner sense of values, rather than by conventional logic and reason…

“They gravitate toward creative or human service careers which allow them to use their instinctive sense of empathy and remarkable communication skills. Strongly religious, spiritual or philosophical people, INFPs may see the purpose of their lives as an inner journey, quest or personal unfolding.”

I’d actually first taken the Myers-Briggs many years ago in a workplace setting. But I got a substantially different result than INFP because I answered the series of Yes/No questions with responses that I felt would best meet the expectations of a boss who didn’t seem to value people who were much different than her. So naturally when I read the overview of the type given, it didn’t sound very much like me.

Diversity of Personality Types

Takes All Kinds

I didn’t understand at the time that there are no “bad” personality types. You probably wouldn’t even want everyone on a team to be a similar personality type as that former boss of mine seemed to desire. As a new supervisor, she hadn’t yet had any management training and didn’t seem to understand that everyone brings something different to the table.

For example, those with the ENFP type are known for their inspiring attitudes and big-picture perspectives. They tend to be great at getting the ball rolling (they’re “starters”), but they often need others to help handle the details (“finishers”).

You could be in a romantic relationship with someone with a substantially different type (maybe only sharing a letter or two). Knowing your individual types could help you better understand how you both complement and challenge each other at times.

We all can evolve over time (working on weaknesses in certain areas), but no type is necessarily better than another. They’re just different. Even among those sharing our type, we are each unique in our own wonderful ways.

Be Authentic

If you decide to take the test online (you can easily finish in less than 10 minutes), remember to answer honestly with your dominant tendency. Don’t answer how you think you should be, but how you tend to be.

For example, when I first took the test, I responded to the statement “Deadlines seem to you to be of relative, rather than absolute importance,” with a “No” when I should have answered “Yes.”

That doesn’t mean I can’t meet deadlines. I’m just a more open-ended person, and sometimes that kind of flexibility can be strength.

Don’t obsess over a particular response on the test. Your first instinct is often the best answer, but you could double-check yourself at the end to be sure.

Carl Jung's Personality Type Test

Carl Jung, 1875-1961, featured on Swiss stamp

History of Test

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was based on the typological theories proposed by world-renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung and first published in his 1921 book Psychological Types.

But the actual test was developed later by Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. Their goal was to put these types to practical use during World War II as women were entering the industrial workforce at a fast pace. Myers and Briggs wanted to help women identify which war-time jobs would best fit their personalities.

Their early survey evolved into the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which was officially published in the early 1960s. Since that time, it was become a widely accepted means of better understanding naturally occurring differences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.

Four Dimensional

Each of the 16 personality types identified by the test is referred to by four letters, representing four different dimensions:

  • E or I (extroversion/introversion)
  • S or N (sensing/intuition) – note that the second letter of intuition (N) is used to distinguish it from introversion
  • T or F (thinking/feeling)
  • J or P (judging/perceiving)

We each possess all of the dimensions in that list (it’s not purely either/or). But in each dimension, we have a dominant tendency.

For example, I tend to be an introvert, even though I can be extroverted at times. It’s not a mutually exclusive classification. Although I enjoy being around people and engaging in social situations, that’s not how I recharge my battery. I need some alone time.

According to the last test I took, I’m about 60 percent introverted/40 percent extroverted. On the intuition/sensing scale, I’m closer to 50/50.

Myers-Briggs Test for Personality Type

E or I

People who prefer extroversion draw energy from being active in the external world of action and people. However, those who lean toward introversion prefer to reflect before taking action. Introverts are thought-oriented, with their focus directed inwardly toward concepts and ideas. Extroverts, on the other hand, are action-oriented, directing more energy outward toward people and objects.

Introverts seek depth of knowledge and influence, while extroverts look for breadth. The former prefer more substantial interaction on a limited basis. But extroverts like more frequent contact that doesn’t have to be “deep.”

S or N

Sensing (S) and intuition (N) relate to our information-gathering tendencies. Those who have a tendency toward sensing are more likely to prefer relying on information that they can perceive through the five senses (that which is tangible and concrete). These people don’t trust intuitive hunches (which seemingly come out of nowhere) quite as much.

Those who lean toward intuition tend to be more comfortable with information that is abstract or theoretical and seems to fit into a bigger pattern. They find meaning in the theory and principles underlying data.

T or F

Thinking and feeling relate to our decision-making tendencies, based on the information we receive from our information-gathering functions (sensing or intuition). Those who have a thinking preference tend to make decisions from a more detached viewpoint, determining what seems reasonable, logical, and best fits into a system of rules.

However, those who rely on feeling in their decision-making process tend to empathize with the people involved in situations, determining what will achieve the greatest balance and harmony. They can be more sensitive to the feelings of others. People with a thinking tendency, however, tend to be more concerned with providing truthful, direct feedback than being tactful.

It’s important to note that people with a thinking tendency don’t necessarily make better decisions or provide better analysis than feeling types. Likewise, those who are stronger feelers don’t necessarily have superior emotional responses than thinking types.

J or P

People also have a preference for either judging or perceiving when relating to the outside world and approaching life. Do you prefer a more structured lifestyle (judging) or are you more flexible and adaptable (perceiving)?

For judgers, everything has a place, and they like a plan to follow. They crave order. Perceivers, however, tend to be a little messier. I was once told by a past Reiki student, who is certified to administer the Myers-Briggs test, that you can sometimes tell whether people are judging or perceiving by the backseat of their cars (how much stuff is strewn back there).

Do note that perceiving types can be quite capable of effective organization with some focus. Again, these categories are just tendencies. They’re not absolute. Both judging and perceiving are within each of us.

People with a dominant judging function tend to like matters settled. But perceivers often hold out for a little more information, waiting for the right moment to make their decision or move. Sometimes they can wait too long. On the other hand, judgers might jump the gun in their rush to take care of business before allowing themselves time to enjoy play.

Being a judging type doesn’t necessarily mean you’re more “judgmental” in a negative sense. But those with a judging preference may not be as comfortable with shades of gray as perceiving types.

Myers-Briggs Personality Types

Recognizing Types

By considering the four categories above, you may be able to identify your type without even taking the test. But I suggest taking it online to be sure. Then you can read about your particular combination of letters (i.e. ENTJ) on several online resources (Wikipedia, etc.) for a variety of perspectives.

Sometimes I can guess what someone’s type is once I’ve gotten to know him/her to a degree. For example, my friend Anthony has never taken the test as far as I know, but I can tell without a doubt that he is a classic ESFP.

Anthony is a tremendous extravert (E). On any given Saturday, he’s got at least two or three social engagements lined up – perhaps starting with an art exhibit opening before heading to a dance performance and ending up at someone’s house party. He seems to know everyone and get invited to everything. He thrives on it!

I can tell he’s a sensing type (S) because of his keen attention to environmental details. He could remember two days later what you were wearing at a dinner party. When he tells a story about a personal experience, he’ll provide the names of who was there, who they were with, how he knows them, etc., along the way to getting to his main point. He depends on his intuition to a significant degree, but the sensing tendency surely dominates.

I can tell he’s a feeler (F) because he is very sensitive to others’ feelings when expressing his opinions and making decisions. And I know he’s a perceiver (P) because there is limited adherence to a strict schedule. If he’s supposed to come over at 7 p.m., it might be 8 p.m. before he finally arrives. I can also sometimes tell that he delays making decisions on social commitments until he’s aware of all the possibilities.

performer personality type

The Performer

ESFPs like Anthony are often referred to as “The Performer,” which fits my friend perfectly because he has an extensive background in theater, comedy, and dance.

Here’s some of what personalitypages.com has to say about this type: “For the ESFP, the entire world is a stage. They love to be the center of attention and perform for people. They’re constantly putting on a show for others to entertain them and make them happy. They enjoy stimulating other people’s senses, and are extremely good at it. They would love nothing more than for life to be a continual party, in which they play the role of the fun-loving host….

“ESFPs love people, and everybody loves an ESFP. One of their greatest gifts is their general acceptance of everyone. They are upbeat and enthusiastic, and genuinely like almost everybody.”

Short Descriptions

While Anthony is undoubtedly a  “Performer,” the one-word labels that are attached to the various types can be limiting. For example, not every ESFP would necessarily have any professional performing experience. Still, those short titles can be helpful in jogging your memory about deeper insights included in the longer descriptions of the 16 types.

These personality types include the:

  • ESFJ (The Provider)
  • ISFJ (The Protector)
  • ESTJ (The Supervisor)
  • ISTJ (The Inspector)
  • ISFP (The Artist)
  • ESFP (The Performer)
  • ESTP (The Promoter)
  • ISTP (The Crafter)
  • ENFP (The Inspirer)
  • ENFJ (The Teacher)
  • INFP (The Healer)
  • INFJ (The Counselor)
  • INTP (The Architect)
  • ENTP (The Inventor)
  • ENTJ (The General)
  • INTJ (The Mastermind)

These types and their short/long descriptions should not be perceived as limiting in any way. Instead, they serve as a means of helping you identify your dominant tendencies – as well as identifying areas with room for improvement.

You are not limited to any particular career as those type labels might suggest. There can be a lot of cross-over among personality types for the potential to excel at certain careers (teaching, healing arts, performing, leading organizations, etc.). For example, unlike Anthony, a lot of well-known performers are actually introverts when they’re out of the spotlight.

The goal of the test is not to pigeonhole yourself, but rather to gain deeper understanding of how you tend to fit into the world. The descriptions of these 16 types aren’t going to be one-size-fits-all. Just draw from them what seems meaningful to you.

You can take a slightly condensed version of the test online for free on the HumanMetrics Website. If you would like to have it professionally administered in a more comprehensive way, you can search the the Myers-Briggs Practitioner Network to find a tester in your area.

If you find after taking the test that you’re close to 50/50 on one of the four dimensions, you might read about another type that you’re close to for an expanded perspective (for example, a mix of ENTJ and ESTJ). While I’m an INFP, my score isn’t too far from ISFP (my artistic side). It’s sort of like being on the cusp of another astrological sign. You could learn from both descriptions to see which parts fit best.

Copyright, 2013, Wellspring Reiki & Hypnotherapy

woman crying - process of forgiveness

Process of Forgiveness

I have come to realize that forgiveness often needs to be a process of repetitive intention.

Occasionally someone we might have considered forgiven from long ago can slip into our consciousness. And if we dwell long enough on that past situation, it can reawaken old feelings.

Getting into those emotional states accesses our subconscious mind, the reservoir for our memories, feelings, and habits/reactions. Our subconscious has trouble differentiating between what’s past, present or future, so an old hurtful situation can seem as fresh as five minutes ago if we give it enough energy. You could get as angry, sad or fearful right now as you were 20 years earlier.

Therefore, as soon as you catch yourself thinking about someone you’ve forgiven in the past, remember that you’ve already let it go. Hand the situation over to your Higher Power again to help with your healing.

Say to yourself: “I’ve let it go. I choose forgiveness. God, please help me continue to heal from that situation and fully understand the lessons I needed to learn from it.”

Moving On

One person I occasionally have negative thoughts about is a toxic boss I once worked for at a nonprofit organization in North Carolina. If I dwell on some of her slimier behavior (and there was more than enough), I could start feeling really indignant. Fourteen years later, I could possibly even feel an urge to fire off an unconstructively critical email.

Of course, I wouldn’t really do that. After a second of satisfaction, I’d immediately regret it. Ultimately, that action would be far more harmful to me than her. She’s surely moved on with her life, having scarcely thought of me since. Why shouldn’t I set myself free?

So whenever I think about her (which is rarely these days), I reflect on how she was actually a blessing in disguise for me, because she finally motivated me to get out of my comfort zone and build a life in a new city (and ultimately a new career). Her toxicity was a kick in the pants at a time when I really needed one.

The experience also taught me how to better deal with cold, emotionally disconnected personality types, not to mention trusting my feelings more than someone’s words when I sense dishonesty. In short, I learned how to spot a fake snake.

Lessons Learned

live and learn editFocusing on what I gained from that relationship – a better understanding of how to deal with difficult people – creates an entirely different feeling than anger (one of almost gratitude). I’ve even sent her a nice note in the years since: “Was just thinking about you. I hope life is treating you well. I learned a lot from working with you.”

Part of what I learned was the importance of forgiveness and letting go of the past. By forgiving that former boss I’m not saying it was okay the way she treated me and other people in the office. That is her own karma.

Instead, I’m setting myself free. Letting go of that resentment means that she no longer exerts any control over my life.

Therefore, that forgiveness is really more for me than her. It’s a gift to myself. I like to open that present every day.

Rinse and Repeat

Over time, as you repeatedly forgive people from the past who might pop into your head, you’ll find yourself thinking about them less and less (the mental and emotional muscles associated with them learn to relax).

The energetic cords connecting you to them could also fray like rope and finally separate. At times you find yourself thinking about someone you’d like to release, try asking Archangel Michael to cut the cord with his mighty sword. He is always available to call upon for assistance and support. Imagine him carrying off that severed energy cord up into heavenly light, freeing you from the past.

There are, of course, numerous times when we have to forgive people who maintain a presence in our lives (romantic partners, family, friends, or colleagues). The process of repetitive intention in forgiving them works the same.

Forgiving Our Families

For example, I can point to a close friend (whom I’ll call Audrey) and share her story of learning to forgive her father through the years. A minister who was more focused on his congregation than this family, her father didn’t value the qualities that made Audrey special: her artistic abilities, adventuresome spirit, and keen intuition, just to name a view.

“It was very hurtful to realize that he didn’t want to know me,” remembered Audrey, now in her early 50s. “One of the primary people in your life repeatedly making you feel invisible is about one of the worst things ever. But he didn’t realize that he was doing that, and he didn’t how to do anything else.”

“What finally helped me forgive my Dad was imagining him as a tiny child and recognizing what his life had probably been like growing up,” explained Audrey, noting that her father had been raised by a hired nanny and only seen his parents when on his best behavior. “He never got that sense of closeness and total caring.”

She added: “Realizing that made me feel overwhelmingly sad for him because I recognized how he got so disconnected from people. Now I remember to forgive him all the time because I understand where the deficiency comes from. I’m so grateful I don’t have that same disconnect.”

forgiveness graphic

Root Causes

During the course of working with hypnotherapy clients through the years, I’ve encountered clients who suffered a lot of physical and emotional abuse from their families and others during their formative years.

I often employ regression therapy techniques that enable clients’ subconscious minds to find the past experiences that are closely associated with the root causes of problems they would like to solve (not feeling worthy, confident, capable of trusting, able to speak up for themselves, etc.).

Some memories that surface reflect relationship problems that might be easier to forgive than others. One woman remembered being four years old and winning a child beauty pageant. At the time, instead of praising her, her mother disparaged her by saying, “You didn’t deserve to win!” (a lack of approval that remaining an ongoing issue). A much more extreme example was a woman who recalled the time, at age 6, when her mother dismissed her claims of sexual abuse by a relative as lying.

Those situations were ones that neither client had thought much of in years – but that had made deep imprints on their minds, continuing to affect their lives in seriously limiting ways well into adulthood.

Time to Heal

Bringing such memories to the surface in hypnotic regressions isn’t scary because the clients aren’t really reliving the situations. Instead, they’re viewing past traumas from an adult perspective. And as adults, they have an opportunity to give their inner child (the subconscious mind) the love, approval, understanding, forgiveness and help they have always deserved.

They also frequently gain insights into their parents and others that can make it easier to forgive those people (if they’re ready). Or at least be willing.

willing signPerhaps a situation is still too fresh to fully let go of and forgive. If so, you could try easing into the process with this helpful affirmation from spiritual author Louise Hay: “I don’t have to know how to forgive. I just have to be willing to forgive. The Universe will take care of the how.”

Just the intention of forgiving begins the healing.

Yourself Included

Sometimes we have to remember to forgive ourselves as well others. We’ve all made mistakes in our past. There are times when we all could have treated other people better – when we could have made better decisions.

Instead of mentally beating yourself up again, remember to think: “I am human being and therefore a beautiful creation of God. All of God’s children deserve forgiveness. So I forgive myself right now!”

But getting to that place of mentally forgiving ourselves can take some time. I recently made a stupid mistake that, while not huge in the grand scheme of things, haunted me for an entire day. What happened is that while feeling tired and distracted, I didn’t keep a close enough eye on my wallet at the gym. Normally extremely vigilant about keeping track of all my possessions in that environment, I suffered a momentary lapse (even though I used a lock).

Either someone with lightning-fast speed snatched the wallet from my open locker when I stepped four feet away to glance in the mirror for a few seconds. Or the wallet fell under the locker-room bench before I began my workout, and someone decided to keep it rather than turn it in to Lost & Found once they realized it had $260 in cash inside. I almost never carry cash, but I’d needed to make a deposit.

Coming to Terms

Over the course of the rest of the day, I went through the various stages of dealing with the $260 loss in accelerated fashion (denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance).

Even though I felt so stupid about having lowered my guard, what helped me reach acceptance was the gratitude of knowing that I had not been physically harmed in this robbery; that I could attract the energy of that money back to myself (manifest more); and that I had not lost my integrity (something the thief was willing to sacrifice but could not take away from me).

HourglassI was also grateful for enhanced perspective on this topic of forgiveness. It’s easy to advise someone: “Oh, you made a mistake. That’s okay. Just pick yourself up, carry on, and don’t look back.”

But what if people make much bigger mistakes? For example, taking an investment risk that costs them a huge chuck of their retirement savings, or causing a motor vehicle accident that leads to a lifetime of pain or decreased mobility for someone involved. Letting go of regrets and forgiving themselves could take significantly longer for those people.

Entitled to Your Feelings

What we have to remember is that it’s perfectly okay to experience emotions like disappointment, sadness and anger when we’ve made mistakes or when others have hurt us or let us down. Expressing our feelings is much healthier than shoving them deep down inside. As human beings, we are entitled to the full range of emotion.

But at a certain point (sooner rather than later) we have to move into acceptance of a situation (whether someone left us, fired us, cheated us, or whether we messed things up ourselves). We have to be willing to forgive. And remember to reinforce that forgiveness as necessary.

As noted before, reflecting too long on negative interactions from our past can put us into the emotional state of reliving the experience. What’s more, we can inadvertently enter the energetic vibration of attracting more of the same experience. And who wants that?

Accentuate the Positive

In addition to remembering to forgive when negative thoughts of the past surface, it could also be helpful to remind yourself of the lesson learned (something that can continue to serve your life well today rather than being fear-based or limiting in some way). Focus on the positive lesson instead of allowing negative feelings to fester.

If we’re forgiving ourselves, we have to give ourselves permission to let go of the guilt. Ultimately, guilt is such a wasted emotion. It doesn’t solve anything or make anyone feel better.

Another important reason to remember to forgive as often as needed is to help prevent resentment from digging deep roots into your cellular memory. Did you know that long-standing resentment is widely considered a major cause of cancer? The anger that keeps eating at someone can lead to tumors, which literally eat away healthy issue. And nobody wants that!

Give yourself and others a present instead: The gift of forgiveness. That’s what we all deserve and will ultimately receive. Why wait any longer?

Copyright, 2013, Wellspring Reiki & Hypnotherapy

Loving yourself - woman in mirror

Already Worth Loving: Giving Yourself Permission To Be Imperfect

“If I wait until I am perfect before I love myself, then I will waste my whole life. I am already perfect right here and right now.”

That affirmation, which comes from a deck of Louise Hay “Wisdom Cards” that I keep on my desk, can serve as an important reminder to so many of us.

That’s because perfectionism is pandemic in our culture. Many people continue to put off loving and approving of themselves until they lose the next 10 pounds or jump the next hurdle (earning another degree, getting out of debt, making a certain salary, becoming a parent, etc.).

Maybe they had the experience growing up that receiving love was conditional on certain criteria: looking a certain way or making the right grades. They could have been pushed too hard by their parents to be perfect and heavily criticized for not attaining that mastery.

Forging Ahead

Those imprints from childhood can have a lasting effect. Later in life, perfectionist streaks can sometimes stop people in their tracks before they even leave the starting gate in certain areas of their lives (the fear of “What if I’m not good enough?”).

Some people don’t feel comfortable attempting any activity unless they have a fair certainty that they’ll excel. Maybe they want to write a book or start a business (but unrealistically feel like they have to get it right the first time with no revisions or shifts in strategy).

I once had a very wise, talented Reiki student who wanted to leave the computer field to start a healing practice incorporating his extensive knowledge of meditation, hypnosis and other energywork disciplines (T’ai Chi and Chi Gong). But he labored over developing the perfect system in his mind so much that he never got around to really working with anybody.

I advised him: “Start with one or two services, and you’ll figure out how to bring it all together along the way. You don’t have to know exactly how everything will look, feel and work in advance.”

But the man was a perfectionist, and that blocked him from pursuing his dream.

live, learn, love graphicWe need to remember that it’s perfectly okay to make mistakes while learning. A lot of what we learn is through trial and error. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to be even close to perfect at something right away. Instead of focusing on producing perfect results, thinking about “getting better all the time” and eventually “doing great” might be more helpful.

True perfection may not even exist. But in God’s eyes, we are already perfect in our own unique way. And we are evolving every day. And worth loving every step of the way.

Everyone Deserves Love

I believe that we are all lovable simply because we exist, no matter what mistakes we might have made in the past (no matter how much we have achieved to date).

The question is: Do you believe it? Can you come around to loving and approving of who you are in this very moment? Try looking in a mirror and saying, “I love and accept you right now!,” despite any imperfections you might imagine about yourself.

Lately I’ve heard a lot of people repeat this popular catchphrase: “If you can’t love yourself, then how in the Hell are you gonna love somebody else?!”

But personally, I think that’s an oversimplification. Opening our hearts to giving and receiving love is a lifelong process, just as healing is. There is always room in our hearts for more love (it’s not an all or nothing proposition as that quotation indicates).

I wouldn’t repeat that quote to someone because it might create too much of an expectation that they’ve got to snap to it immediately and start loving themselves completely (be perfect at it). That expression could also trigger people’s perfectionist response by making them wonder if they really know how to love someone else (a panicky reaction of “What if I’m not giving enough?!”).

For years, I gave out more love than I’d accept in return. Fortunately, I now feel worthy of love and good in my life, but some days it’s easier to express it to myself than on others (to really feel it). I know that I still have work to do on myself (goals I’d like to achieve), but I recognize that it’s a process. I’ve got to love myself along the way and give myself credit for all the many advances I’ve made. I can’t put off my self-acceptance.

I Love Me sign

Moment by Moment

Love may be the fabric of the Universe, as some believe, but it’s unrealistic for us to expect to experience it every moment of the day – for ourselves or others.

For example, you may live your life under an umbrella of love for your spouse. But if you’re deeply engrossed in a project at work and not thinking about that person, are you really loving him? No, not in that moment. Then, later, you might glance at his photo on your desk and experience that emotion again.

We can’t expect to love ourselves every second either (we might simply be thinking about other things). But choice points will arise when we can decide how we regard ourselves. At those times, try to choose encouraging, approving words.

Our thoughts are communicated in words and how we say them to ourselves. Words and how we express lead them to feelings. So flatly saying inside your head, “I love myself,” isn’t going to create as positive a feeling as enthusiastically thinking, “I love myself!!”

Thoughts always proceed feelings. So if you find yourself feeling negatively about yourself at various times, maybe it’s time to start talking to yourself differently.

Be Your Biggest Cheerleader

We all tend to be our own worst critics. But mentally beating ourselves up doesn’t accomplish a lot. We have to be willing to forgive ourselves for making mistakes. After all, nobody’s perfect.

A number of years ago, I helped a Reiki client who’d gotten the mistaken notion that her life could never be right because 15 years prior, she hadn’t followed spiritual guidance she felt to move to another city. It was like she’d been left behind to suffer perpetually in a parallel universe of what might have been.

here and now signI had to help her see that her point of power is the present moment (wherever you go there, there you are). The past was over and done with, and she had to choose to let go of it and pursue happiness in the here and now. She had to start choosing thoughts that would lead to more positive emotions – feelings which would motivate her to take the actions that would shape a more positive reality for herself.

She already had a lot going for her, but I think she had some unrealistic expectations of herself. For example, at age 45, she was very self-critical that her speed at running half-marathons was slower than it had been 10 previously. That told me that she had a strong perfectionist drive.

So I tried to help her reframe her experience: That it was incredibly impressive that she was still running 13 miles at a pop, and that she had to change her expectations of her body’s physical limits as she aged.

Our Best Keeps Changing

To help that client, I paraphrased spiritual author Don Miguel Ruiz, who always encourages us to do our best – but who notes that our best is changing all the time.

Specifically, he wrote: “Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.”

In other words, doing your best at any given time doesn’t mean you have to do things perfectly.

When I asked I asked my client who was struggling with perfectionism if she’d be open to hypnosis, she was initially resistant to the idea that anything about her thought process needed improvement, “I don’t think I have a problem with negative thinking,” she said. “I’m a yoga teacher, and I know the Alexander Technique [for releasing stress].”

Not wanting to push someone who didn’t seem ready, “I just said, ‘Oh, okay.’”

And you know what? Not even two minutes later, she said, “Everything I touch turns to shit.”

Thinking “Whoa!,” I had to stop her and point out, “What did you just say about yourself?”

That proved to be a breakthrough moment for her to see how her negative self talk was impacting her energy and ability to improve her life. With that expanded awareness, she then opened herself to pursuing some new avenues of thinking that could lead to greater self love.

Choosing New Thoughts

“Everything I touch turns to shit” isn’t a very motivating thought, is it?

When we catch ourselves thinking along those lines – stuck in our limitations – we need to stop and shift our thought process (to treat ourselves more lovingly).

For example, my client could have mentally corrected herself, thinking: “Plenty of things that I’ve touched have been a success! As both a yoga teacher and school teacher, I’ve had a positive impact on a lot of people’s lives. I possess a lot of abilities that serve me well. I know that I can continue to make great progress!”

My Reiki Master Teacher told me she regarded her thought process as placing an order with the Universe. When she caught herself thinking about things she didn’t want to become true for her, she would quickly say inside her head, “Cancel, cancel, cancel! Clear, clear, clear!” And she’d picked a new thought. I’ve found that strategy to be helpful as well.

Our subconscious minds are very vulnerable to the words we say to ourselves, so we need to choose them carefully.

positive thought word cloud

Reprogramming Your Mind

Throughout the course of our lives, our subconscious minds can absorb a lot of untrue, unbeneficial believes about ourselves, the world, and our place in it. That’s because the subconscious is like a two-year-old in that it has difficulty differentiating between good and bad, fact and fiction, or past, present and future.

Therefore, you can think of your subconscious mind (the reservoir for your memories, habits/reactions, and emotions/feelings) as your inner child. Through negative self-talk, you can end up strengthening that child’s insecurities.

So you have to remind yourself, “If I wouldn’t say this to a two-year-old, I don’t deserve to say it to myself.”

Stop abusing that inner child. Stop demanding him to be perfect. Instead, start communicating to yourself with loving, patient, productive words.

Nurturing Yourself

Your inner child may not have gotten all the love and approval she needed while growing up, but through your thought process, you can begin teaching her that she has always been more than good enough. And that she has the power to improve as well.

If you need help, you could consider hypnosis. Or you could read and reflect on helpful resources such as Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life or Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements. Both authors produce decks of positive thought cards that are wonderful to keep within easy reach, too (or load onto your smart phone as apps).

For example, from Hay’s deck, I just drew this affirmation card: “I am free to think wonderful thoughts. I move beyond past limitations into freedom. I am now becoming all that I am created to be.”

Striving for greatness can be a fulfilling journey. But don’t think of perfection as the destination. If that’s your goal, you may never feel satisfied.

stepping stones over water

Copyright, 2013, Wellspring Reiki & Hypnotherapy

 
 
releasing the need to be right in argument

Releasing the Need To Be Right

“Would you rather be right or be happy?”

That’s an excellent question posed by A Course in Miracles. Of course, it can be lovely to feel both right and happy. But exactly what is right?

All of us have our own perspective, our own opinion. We all see the world through a different lens. Often there may be no absolute right or wrong, true or false, fact or fiction. Just an entire spectrum of shades of gray.

Sometimes releasing the need to be right in certain situations brings us a greater sense of freedom and happiness. You’re free to believe what you choose while allowing others to experience their own reality.

woman contemplatingIf a discussion arises in which there are differences of opinion, stop and ask yourself if the topic at hand is so important to you. If the subject really isn’t that big of a deal to you, can you just let it go?

Dealing with Difficulty

The other night I was visited by a regular client who’s been stressed out that her mother is coming to visit for a few weeks to help take care of her imminently due infant. Already, they are having tense phone discussions over the details of the delivery – for example, should she go through with natural childbirth, or have a C-section if the baby is overdue?

Once my client’s baby and mom are both here, there will certainly be many opportunities to disagree over what’s right for the newborn. While my client is grateful for her mother’s help, the two have historically had a difficult relationship.

Often, my client felt like she wasn’t heard or taken seriously growing up, so she as an adult she’s had a tendency to raise her voice in a way that may have led people to tune her out more than listen in when times get tense. She developed an admitted need to get the last word.

We’ve worked on her communication issues in hypnotherapy, and she says she’s made good progress. “I’ve been much better at catching myself when I fall into old patterns and creating new ways to think,” she told me.

New Strategy

Before her recent Reiki healing session, she asked if I could ask for any spiritual guidance on issues important to her right now. I heard a phrase that she could use to deal with her mom, even if she doesn’t necessarily agree with what’s being said.

I explained that instead of raising her voice, helping polarize their stances, she could simply say in a sincere, calm fashion: “I value your input, and I’ll take it into consideration.” My client wrote it down, seeming very soothed to have a fallback statement for dealing with a mother who likely wants to feel heard and validated as much as her daughter.

This is a strategy that could be helpful to all of us. If a subject really isn’t that important, perhaps saying, “Yes, I see your point of view” – and then moving onto another topic – would be a better course of action. Saying that doesn’t mean that you have to follow-through with some recommendation with which you disagree.

Perhaps feeling acknowledged, the people you’re dealing with will be more likely to listen to what you have to say. They might relax and become more open to new ideas.

On the other hand, you might find yourself coming around to the other person’s point of view, once you’ve given yourself time to reflect. Sometimes when I experience a strong feeling of resistance, there actually might be something I need to seriously reconsider.

Checking In

So next time you’re in a discussion and the tension is rising to argumentative levels, take a few deep breaths. Then ask yourself, “Is this so important?”

In the past, I’ve gotten as worked up over stupid stuff as anybody. For example, years ago I was the music critic for my university newspaper, and I remember being baffled by an college acquaintance who kept insisting that band mates Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie were sisters. As someone with a treasure trove of music trivia knowledge (not to mention a big fan of the band Fleetwood Mac), I just knew that she was wrong.

But she wouldn’t concede that I had greater expertise on that matter (note: this was well before you could look up any fact on your phone). Even after I detailed the band’s history, she just kept insisting, “Well, that’s what I always heard.” Which was rather maddening to me at the time.

Why did I care so much? Did making my case as strongly as I did improve my life in any way? Or was it just an energy drain?

shades of gray

Shades of Gray

That scenario is definitely one with a right or wrong answer. But what if you’re in gray-colored territory?

For example, maybe you’re discussing the best way to tackle a project at work. You recommend a more efficient solution, but your boss is stuck in a rut of doing things the way they’ve always been done. You want things to run better, to be recognized for what you have to offer the organization. But you feel like you’re falling on deaf ears.

All you can do is make your case in a calm, confident manner. If the supervisor insists that their way is better, at some point you might just try nodding in agreement and saying, “Oh, I see.” Nodding reassuringly and listening objectively can really sooth a big ego.

And once the threat to her authority and wisdom has dissipated, you might even find that she goes off and reflects on the issue. She might think it over and even come to the conclusion that it was her own idea.

Can your ego handle that? If you feel that you really need to take ownership of an idea, it’s okay to voice that as well. But question first how important it really is to you. There is no “I” in team, as they say.

Fear Factor

Some people just have a burning need to be right. Where does it come from? Fear is the most likely answer. Fear that they don’t have as much control over a situation as they would like. Fear that people won’t recognize how smart they are – or the opposite fear that people will discover they don’t know enough; that people will realize they’re a “fraud” (a common fear among perfectionists).

Maybe they’re super-competitive and afraid of their ego taking a hit. It’s their way or the highway.

Some people don’t deal well with ambiguity. Think of religious zealots (their belief is the only correct one) or those with extreme political views. For these people, things are often black or white; right or wrong.

Open to Debate

I noticed an interesting trend in the realm of social media during the fall 2012 presidential election. At least in the world of Facebook, people had the power to insulate themselves from ideas unlike their own through de-friending.

This was essentially the language of a post that was shared many times over: “If you plan on voting for (fill in the blank), just go ahead and de-friend me now.”

I have my own political views, and I certainly vote for candidates who best represent what I believe. But I worry about a world in which we can filter out what we see and hear to the point that there’s no room for reasonable discussion of what’s best for society. Are some people so determined to be “right” that they’ve eliminated any room for compromise?

Leading by Example

The older I get, the less energy I have to dedicate to arguments that may never be settled completely. I’m more focused on my own healing and leading by example. I can’t decide for others when it’s time to heal. As spiritual counselor and author Louise Hay says, “Healing myself is the best thing I can do for others.”

Sometimes it can be frustrating because we can so clearly see what’s “right” for someone else’s progress. For example, there may be a younger relative or a good friend whom we care about and don’t want to see make a major misstep. We might strongly feel that we know what would be the best course of action for their schooling, relationship and employment choices.

Again, all can do is calmly, reasonably make our case. But sometimes we just have to let people make mistakes – give them permission to make the “wrong” choice. That’s often how we learn – by making mistakes.

Sometimes I can hear the lecturing tone of my mother channeling through me when an issue pushes one of my buttons (such as people not demonstrating enough responsibility in caring for their animals). I recently had a discussion with a friend who has no plans to tag his new pet. I caught myself wanting to use language like “You should…” or “You must…” that could throw up his walls of defense.

Instead I chose to plant a helpful seed by calming saying, “Once you tag your pet, you can rest so much easier. If he gets loose, you know that he can always be found quickly.” I hope that idea takes root, but I have to let go of worrying about it.

Rising to the Challenge

As I began writing this article, I was amused (but not terribly surprised) that life again challenged my own need to be right. It was as if a Higher Power were saying, “Oh, you think you’ve got this figured out, do you?”

I was only a few paragraphs in while using my laptop at a friend’s house. I noticed that his love of smoothies had led to a fruit fly problem in his kitchen, so I offered to help him set a trap (involving a funnel of paper inserted into a glass full of vinegar).

Typically possessing much more handy-dandy genius than I do – and apparently a much stronger drive to be right – he cut me off, insisting that he knew how to do it. “I know what I’m doing!” But as I watched him pick up a piece of paper that wasn’t nearly large enough, I just knew that he didn’t. I learned that this type of trap was just something he heard about once.

Keeping Calm

I could have been offended that I wasn’t being acknowledged for this little bit of expertise I had. I could have blurted out, “You need to listen to me! I know what I’m talking about!”

Instead, I said in a firm but calm voice: “I know that you’re normally a domestic whiz. But I once had to deal with this issue a few times from juicing. I figured out some ways to make the trap more effective. I would love to help you out with this knowledge.”

But no, he wasn’t accepting my assistance. So I thought, “Hey, it’s not my kitchen!” – and I got back to writing.

But within minutes I heard a question about the trap coming from the kitchen, and then another, and another. And soon I was building the trap for him, helping him solve the problem. His ego just needed a little time to process the situation.

right or wrong way sign

Looking Within

What about times when we don’t know what’s “right”? We look outside ourselves for what we should do. It’s perfectly okay to seek outside counsel, but ultimately it’s best to trust your own intuition or gut feeling. We often end up regretting it when we ignore that inner voice, thinking in hindsight, “I knew I have should have done that!”

Sometimes I see clients who are so afraid of making mistakes that they not only second-guess themselves, but also feel paralyzed about making some decisions at all. They might want someone else to make them instead.

Unfortunately, sometimes the people we seek counsel from aren’t affirming of our goals – for example, going back to school or starting our own business. We can end up wasting a lot of energy convincing others that we’re on the right track that would have been better spent on creating our new reality.

Trusting Yourself

I find myself having to encourage many clients to follow their inner guidance, giving them affirmations like: “I trust my ability to make good decisions. I know that it’s okay to make mistakes while learning. I know that I have the ability to accomplish anything I set my mind to.” It’s best when these are giving during hypnosis, so that they can make a deeper imprint on the subconscious mind.

For the aforementioned client who had been stressed out about whether to have another C-section (not her preferred option) with her second child, I gave her the hypnotic suggestion, “When the time comes, I know that I’ll make the best decision for me and my baby.” Listening to the recording of that hypno-birthing session repeatedly has really calmed her anxiety about making the right call, she says.

Often during Reiki energywork sessions, spirit communicates through me about issues that are affecting clients mentally and emotionally. I always ask for messages that could help clients better understand their life path and healing needs.

When I gently share these at the end of sessions to help people connect the dots on potential imbalances in their lives, I always say, “If these impressions resonate as right for you, you can make a note of them. Otherwise, you can just let them go. I could be wrong.”

Of course, I’m usually right ;).

Thoughts are like Clouds

9 Things to Remember About Your Mind

Did you know that most people have more than 60,000 thoughts a day? Well, experts estimate that as many as 80 percent of those thoughts tend to be negative, even if our intentions are good. All those little worries and judgments about ourselves and others can really start to add up.

The great news is that we always have options about what we choose to focus on within our minds. Here are nine important things to remember about your thinking and how it creates your reality:

1) Thoughts are like clouds; they come and they go.

2) We can and do choose the thoughts we focus on. When we have a thought, we have a few choices: we can focus on it; reflect and analyze; let it go; or simply choose a new one (frequently the best option). You can shift your attention from the dark and stormy clouds to ones with rays of light shining through.

3) Our thoughts are communicated in words and how we say them (to ourselves and others). We’re continually programming our mind with the way we talk inside our head.

4) Words and how we express them lead to feelings. So saying something excitedly to yourself like, “I’m willing to give this a go!,” is going to have a different impact than flatly or hesitantly thinking, “I guess maybe I’ll give it a try.”

The thought always comes before the feeling. Feelings don’t just pop out of nowhere. So if you start feeling negatively, stop and notice what you were just thinking about. Maybe it’s time to choose a new thought pattern.

5) Our feelings affect our motivation. Repeatedly thinking something like “I always mess things up” isn’t going to create a very inspired feeling. You might instead choose a different thought: “I know that I can accomplish what I set my mind to. It’s okay if I make mistakes during the process. That’s how we learn.”

6) Our motivation influences our actions. If you’re feeling down on yourself or believing that certain situations are hopeless, you may not see the point of expending much energy to effect positive change in your life. Attitude is everything! “I know I can be successful!”

7) The actions we take (or don’t take) lead to certain results (the reality we create for ourselves). So which thoughts will you focus on today? Maybe it’s time to allow the dark clouds to drift out of your mind, and let the sunshine in, beginning to create a brighter future for yourself.

8) Where our attention goes, the energy flows. Stop wasting energy dwelling on past mistakes and instead direct it on positivity in the present moment. The point of power is always in the present. Your positive thinking now will help generate the good feelings that motivate you to take productive steps to improve your life.

9) What we focus on flourishes. Therefore, start aligning your thinking with what you would like to experience burgeoning in your life. When you think about those things, imagine doors of opportunity opening instead of stumbling over obstacles.

“Once you make a decision, the Universe conspires to make it happen.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Every thought I think is creating my future. The Universe totally supports every thought I choose to think and believe. I have unlimited choices about what I think. I choose balance, harmony, and peace, and I express it in my life.” – Louise Hay

Note: The concepts in this article were stressed in my training at Hypnosis Institute International with Jane Ann Covington.

Mental cloud image by Lightwise

Copyright, 2013, Wellspring Reiki & Hypnotherapy