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Follow your bliss and the universe will open…


I have been considering what it means to be a leader.  Leadership is about having the ability to see and know the answer and be able to communicate the solution to a problem.

It is also about power and energy.

There are positive leaders who negotiate power from an interior source and there are negative leaders who negotiate power from an exterior source.

When you can ascertain a solution quickly, you feel an internal sense of ‘rightness”, and can communicate it efficiently – then you have power for others to listen to you, and you will be able to be a positive leader.

It is not the leadership in and of itself that will result in success or well-being.  Leading toward something of value is a key component to making a difference in a way that is seen as a positive leader – this is the energetic component of leadership and power.  Negative leaders have lost their internal sense of bliss and joy and are focused on the enticing allure of power in and of itself.

We all can remember a leader in our childhood who, had power, quick thinking and a powerful style of motivating the group; but only some of those individuals focused their energy onto a meaningful and successful path.  Some got lost in the effervescence of power itself.  Their charm and ease in directing the group made it so they lost their way and got caught up in the power – like a swirl of rapid that just circles around and in on a rock rather than moving the water down the river.

This stuck energy can be hypnotizing  It circles and feels so strong that one doesn’t notice they aren’t actually going anywhere, just circling in this feeling of power with no result or movement toward a goal. Individual’s caught in this find that others move on and they are stuck in the same position.  Much like a leaf caught in a swirl rapid around a great boulder in the river, swirling forever in the same place with great force and energy but getting nowhere.

How to get out of such a situation?

First, it’s important to recognize your circumstance.

Second, you have to focus your energy to not follow the current and truly shift your energy and focus.  When you’re stuck the best way out is like jumping the curve.  And the most effective way to do that is to discern your inner and undeniable bliss – if that is what you follow rather than that feeling of power then you will shift the current such that you can be guided out of the whirlpool and into the true current of life and life energy.

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls – Joseph Campbell.

If you have been acting and behaving in ways to gain power but are pulling yourself away from your central sense of joy then you are not following your bliss.  You may be caring for others and giving energy to many in a sense of obligation and love but you may have incorrectly identified that your goal was to give away your power in this way to feel powerful.  This will ultimately deplete you, tie the other to you as they think they need you to survive, and create a whirlpool of energy that disallows true movement along the river of energy and life.

How can you ascertain this is what is happening?

Are you energized or depleted in your energy?  Does your energy fall deeply and do you feel exhausted when you receive disapproval?  Do you feel you rarely have time to focus on your own goals and are you often feeling pulled away when you do focus on your goals?  Do you feel that you are not the guide of your own path?

The first question is one of the most important questions.  This lack of energy, a sense of depletion, exhaustion, depression, and inner sadness or loss can indicate a long-standing focus away from your internal sense of bliss.

How to find you bliss.  Seems funny but some people have lost their internal knowing of bliss.  They don’t know or remember what brings them joy.  They are focused without instead of within.  The answer is to go within, to be still, to listen, to observe and pay attention to energy.  When your energy wanes you are moving away from your bliss – when your energy swells and grows you are moving toward or with your bliss, allowing it to guide you.

So to get out of the whirlpool of swirling circular energy that simply depletes you – you need to first identify your circumstance.  Observe what brings you energy and what depletes you.  Identify the activities that increase your internal sense of well-being and inner joy.  Then once you notice these patterns begin to adjust your life course so that what guides you is your bliss.  This may be identified as a single activity or a more diverse set of connected activities.  These will have some value and internal connection within you and they will increase your sense of vitality.

Once you have discerned this then you can begin to redirect your energy and behavior so that you are led by your bliss and in turn lead others in the direction of well-being and their bliss.

For some their response to your changes will be negative and fearful.  This is simply a fear based response because they have not yet connected to their bliss. Kindly, gently redirect them away from feeding off your energy.  Encourage them to discern their circumstance and find their inner bliss.

Following your bliss opens your world to so many beautiful opportunities, it increases your energy, and brings joy and well-being to yourself and those you love.  It is the way of mindful, loving leadership toward fulfillment, success, and peace.  It is empowering and powerful in the most enlightening way.

In bliss….love and light…

See you tomorrow.



Balancing the Power Differential in relationship


One of the biggest impediments to having a healthy meaningful relationship is an unequal distribution of power between the parties.  It can set up an undercurrent of resentment and power plays that inhibit trust and intimacy.

The way in which power is measured in relationship varies.  In marriages, money and decision-making on how it is spent, sex and how leisure time is distributed, and feeling a sense of collaboration or division of tasks are all areas of power distribution.  Even how a relationship proceeds has to do with an agreement on how power is shared in the relationship.  These features and equations, in general, determine how power is divided and determines the power differential.  Some of these issues can be applied to work partnerships and friendships.

If the differential is too great or not consistent with internal expectations there will be conflict and strife that could upset the continuity, fiber, and longevity of the relationship.

When talking about power the definition has to do with an internal sense of empowerment in the style and course of the relationship as well as the capacity to get done that which the individual feels is necessary or important to the relationship and/or individual.  This includes an internally consistent picture of self by the other.  In other words if I perceive myself to be talented and strong and my partner treats me in a fashion that exhibits that his picture of me is that I am talented and strong – then that is an internally consistent picture of self by the other.

A sense of feeling empowered would consist of a sense of joy, contentment, and strength; together this would feel like a sense of inner control.  In this instance the person would experience  that his values are valued by his partner and that he has the ability to direct his life accordingly.  A sense of feeling unempowered or disempowered would consist of a sense of disillusionment and a lack of inner control.  In this instance the person would experience that her values are not valued by her partner and that she does not have the ability to direct her own life.

In the former situation relationship struggles are dealt with in a fairly direct and above-board fashion allowing various opinions to be identified and discussed and a reasonable negotiation to be found.  Both parties would offer honest and clear information and have rather full disclosure of their wants and needs.  The outcomes to these conversations would be supportive to both parties’ needs further increasing the internal sense of control for both parties.  Energy toward change would be dealt with proactively.  Even difficult discussions would be confronted in an honest and compassionate way.

In the latter scenario above there would be a less honest set of disclosures with ever decreasing identification of problems outwardly.  Actions might be taken passively and in an under-cover way so that issues would not be dealt with directly.  There would be a tone of reactivity and defensiveness.  In this scenario there would also be an internally inconsistent picture of self by other.  This is an example of a power differential that is out of balance.

Listening to the language style, tone, and word choice between partners can give you clues to the power differential and if the differential is in balance or not.

A dearth or paucity of conversation and interaction can indicate an imbalance.  This is especially true if it appears that one member is initiating contact and this initiation is met with silence or if the lack of connection appears to be one-sided.  Other signs of an imbalance is a sense of defensiveness or reactivity in tone or word choice, bickering or side-talking without resolution.

If you notice that you are in a relationship that is out of balance look for ways to right the balance.

Observe where you feel resentment or you hear resentment from your partner.  Try to slow down your interaction and compassionately confront the silence or resentment.  Work with the words, tone, or silence lightly, directly and with an earnest interest in learning from your partner.

If the resentment or defensiveness is within you – try to discern what the original driver of the feeling was – could it be a longstanding feeling of unimportance or lack of power or a single incident that has injured you in some way.  Think of what you need to feel whole again – and then gently ask for that.  Try to encourage your partner to reconnect with you on this deeper more loving level.

Try to remember what brought you into partnership and see if you can rekindle the lightness and love.

If what you discover is that you have lost that sense of lightness than try to move to a neutral place so that you can leave the relationship without further injuring the other or yourself.

Power is one of the core issues of development.  All injuries go to power and all successes are related to power.  How you relate to power and how you create a balance of power in relationship is directly connected to the level of joy contentment and strength of that relationship.  Begin with your personal relationship with power within yourself.

Review the power differential in your relationship and how power is distributed – consider how this situation has evolved.  If you discover that you want a different power differential but you want to maintain your connection to your partner then gently discuss the changes you seek to create increased balance.

Balance is the key; clarify for yourself first and then with your partner what you desire and what you want to discard this opens the door to balancing the power differential in relationship.

See you tomorrow.



Mindfulness, joy, and release of childhood ghosts


I’ve been thinking about how to shift the energy of a negative situation so that it will help and not hurt.  I have noticed that many of the internal beliefs that are inaccurate come from an interpretation that leads to hurt, or to an involution, so that energy is directed inward to cover over the hurt.

This inward direction is like a misdirection and can create a distortion to the overall development of that person’s personality.  The result is a person who develops as if they are missing something; there is a truncation to the person’s personality.  Reconnecting to ones joy through re-evaluation of the etiology, or roots,  of the belief can help to right the interpretation and bring joy.

Anthony Robbins says to ask the question, What’s great about that?, when faced with a difficult circumstance.  I think that can be used to re-interpret misbeliefs.

Find a place inside where there is joy and the joy will burn out the pain – Joseph Campbell.  The best way to do that is to look with a compassionate heart.

Together these ideas can be used to shift negative situations.  Sometimes the process can be applied in the present to a present moment situation so that a misbelief can be avoided.  Other times it can be applied to an old situation for transformation, like getting rid of the ghosts from the past.

One of the most difficult things I have a had to deal with in my life was a longstanding injury from high school.  In junior high school I was an outgoing and adventurous girl.  I had strong opinions that I was happy to share through monologue and debate, and didn’t seem to be negatively affected by conflicting opinions.  Often I would investigate and find out more information to strengthen my perspective.

My personality changed dramatically in high school not because of hormones but because of a longstanding irrepressible bullying experience I endured.  This had such a deep effect that I set aside my original focus in career from adventurous, outgoing, risk-taker to inward focus, observant, ever-helpful-to-others therapist.  My self-confidence waned and I became unsure of myself and tentative.   My joyous, outgoing, trusting nature turned to hyper-vigilance and timidity.

The way this happened was subtle and occurred over a period of time.  And I can see now the separate moments wherein I shifted my energy.  Because my tenaciousness and love of learning remained strong it was the focus of the study that shifted rather than a depression that left me unable to focus at all.

I seemed to instinctively shift the focus of that learning.

I turned my attention to existential and psycho-therapeutic models to assuage my pain.  In doing so I increased my understanding of how groups and people in groups worked.  I increased my understanding of mind and mindful processes.  This brought me first to center my focus on therapy and then to search out a way of being in the world that included a focus on compassion.  And in the many years that separate me from that time I have evolved again into the joyous person I once was.  But the circuit was a long road filled with many diversions, difficult transitions, and unhappy times.

I understand now that I was a target precisely because of my joie de vive; my alive and vibrant personality, my lovely good looks, and strong curvy figure which I lightly moved with ease.  These things, all attractive and good qualities, were precisely what this girl-collective was trying to destroy.

This was probably less personal than it felt to me as the girls in the clique barely knew me.  I think this targeting behavior is a natural process in social groups and description of how energy moves.  From a sociological perspective there is a natural order of things to be in line and homogeneous and my behavior was outside the norm.  Simply by existing in that alive form I had irritated their interior power issues and insecurities and so from this sociological perspective I had brought this upon myself.  I gave away my power to them through my fear and my deep desire to be liked.

The resultant shift within me occurred due to several factors.  There was no source near me to assist me through this process to help me realign or remain aligned to my true inner voice of truth and reason.

I wanted to be liked and accepted and to fit in – and I interpreted that being this alive, joie de vive character set me apart and made me a target.  In order to feel accepted or fit in I distorted my personality. My response was to negate these lovely characteristics.  They were pushed in and under and an unassuming, intellectual, girl developed into womanhood.  This gave me a way to be strong but not be threatening to the girl-group.  I took to covering my lovely figure with baggy clothes and keeping my voice quiet, listening and assisting others in their growth with little overt focus on myself.  I studied and developed my mind, and body in quiet unassuming ways.

I deflected that earlier strength and adventure to risk-taking on the behalf of others.

These actions on my part were a distortion of my personality in reaction to my internal fear.  I covered over my true self in exchange for feeling like I might be safe from attack.  Unfortunately, these kinds of exchanges leave marks on a person’s interior sense of self.   I made that joie de vive invisible.  I found a degree of peace, but lived afraid to be myself, in a truncated self, always feeling a bit outside the group.  The resolution to the conflict shifted the exterior but I felt the conflict on the interior plane.

This experience has made me a better therapist, a better writer, a better observer of human behavior and a wiser person.  It was a gift.

Applying mindfulness and compassion to the whole of my experience has opened the door to my earlier youthful joy.  It has freed me to feel the joy of my core joie de vive as well as the strength of how I turned my struggle into a place to thrive.  In linking these two together, I have rediscovered my true full self.  I am less afraid to feel beautiful, strong, lithe and powerful.  I once again allow my inner joy to be my guide.  Through this I have a better understanding of my pain and the pain of my tormentors.   It is quite freeing and enlivening.

Sometimes the aging faces of one of those ghosts from my high school years pops up on the pages of Facebook.  I can feel that my pain has been released because although I feel sadness at their image I feel it less for myself than for the pain I see marked on their faces.   I no longer freeze in fear and confusion.

As described by Joseph Campbell, my pain is burned away by the light of my truth and joy in my true being.  It feels like a miracle, a gift, and a happy lesson I pass on to my beloved children.

There is a saying that God gives you the face you are born with but the face of middle age is your creation.  I think this relates to the way that our choices play out in how we age.  Stress, fear, and struggle show lines on our face and shape our bodies into restricted, sinewy or puffy forms.  Joy, contentment and interior peace show up on our faces in soft and enlightened lines and soft, graceful or flexible, strong physical forms.

If you look at the paintings of Jesus and the Buddha these images of love and light show through.  It is an unconscious reckoning that the interior can show through in the exterior form.  There is a concept in Chinese medicine:  Through observation of the exterior you can know what is happening in the interior.

If you observe lines on your face that seem stern and unrelenting look for what may be unresolved within your psychological, and mindful process and apply compassion to shift the energy.

If you feel there is something missing in how you relate to the world go on an internal journey to see if you have left something of yourself in the past or are being troubled by ghosts from your childhood.  Remember to connect with joy and compassion as you review these.

If you notice a subtle but ongoing shift in your child’s personality from joyous and alive to more serious and introspective see if you can encourage him to share with you what may be going on with him.

The more that we apply compassion to how we view our and other’s actions the more we can be free to be our true selves.

See you tomorrow.