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Change your Attitude, Heal your Soul, Balance your Life. Uplevel YOUR consciousness. Find your way HOME through MAAPS.


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trust yourself, or If you meet the buddha on the road kill him!

Hello and welcome

Trusting yourself is not only believing in yourself it is also listening to your intuition and sense impressions and acting with a sense of internal power.  A common way you diminish self-trust is when you dismiss your inner knowing and listen to another’s interpretation to get approval.  This is a risk in any student role.

In therapy, there is a saying that if you say I already worked that out or I already resolved that conflict you are possibly tricking yourself.  It’s a sign of resistance, especially when said adamantly or defensively.

The key is to discern if your resistance to an interpretation is due to a true inner sense of truth or a deflection of the truth.

  • pay attention to your own  charge (degree of intensity) regarding the issue, and level of repulsion to the idea
  • –> if you speak reactively, in an adamant, dismissive style it is likely that you are hiding the truth
  • –> if you are responding in a neutral style regarding how it just doesn’t feel right and you evaluate the information, then the other may be projecting onto you something through her interpretation.
  • listen in an interested, curious, unattached, mindful way to your teacher’s guidance
  • pay attention to his or her congruence in speech, action, and countenance
  • Be careful to not give away your power due to the other’s reputation or standing in a group – in other words don’t make your teacher into a guru – we are all walking through life with lessons to learn – when you give your power away to a guru, you interrupt your own energy flow toward your own lessons, gifts and path

I wrote a bit about this last year in this post https://instinctivehealthmedicine.com/2012/04/09/truth-within-inner-guidance-i/.  I was reminded of this thesis over the weekend while attending an intensive Yoga workshop.  Many of the participants were my teachers, whom I respect deeply.  I love Yoga, and although I am a Yoga-neophite, I had decided the best way to learn was to stretch-myself  (no pun intended) and do my best.  The focus of the first day was to work on inversions and transitions between poses; focusing on the importance of transitioning into a pose not just the pose itself.  I loved the idea behind it as it allowed for seeing the divine in the space between, something I am drawn to experience daily.  I was grateful to pair up with my favorite teachers and found that my willingness to let go, play with the work, and surrender led me to a powerful shift in my practice.

On the second day, the focus of the work was to elucidate how, when, and where you feel blocked in a yoga pose, to surrender to the block, and allow a break-through. The poses that were being utilized to enlighten each of us were bent inversions so that arching, opening the heart chakra and pelvic space and lengthening the spine were paramount.  Flexibility in your hips and shoulders are  important to get a good back-bend; they are also the spaces in your body where you collect and hold hidden trauma both physical and emotional.  This style of workshop offered a perfect opportunity to work-through an energy-holding leftover from earlier traumas, as long as the guest teacher could also provide a set of tools and a trusting space fo release.

Our guest teacher identified at the beginning of the workshop that she had not previously taught this particular workshop and stated in her opening mantra that it was important to not interfere with another’s lesson by showing them how to work through their blocks.  Her remarks were incongruent with the presentation she provided on her website and the description of the class goals.  As I sat preparing to risk and surrender to the lesson, two things stood out in my sense impressions: one, she was in a position of guide, yet identified at the onset that she was against guiding through blocks; and two, although she had an excellent reputation, this class was unexplored territory.

We worked through many different exercises to open shoulders and hips – paramount for backbends.  The pace was quick and often we broke up into dyad partners to work on our assignments.  This increased the opportunity for intimacy yet reduced a chance for clarification and guidance from the guest teacher.  We felt at times like the blind leading the blind.

After much headstand and handstand practice, the guest teacher decided to use me as an example of how to assist your partner through what my gymnast-daughter calls a ticktock, and in Yoga is called Scorpion Vchikasana.  For non-yogis it’s a handstand and then with great control you bend your legs over your head so your feet touch your crown.  scorpion pose, silhouette

This is a pretty awesome and advanced Yoga position.

I was excited to experience what it felt like to get into the position; I knew that once there I could create a body memory so that when I practiced on my own I could correct it with clarity.  I enthusiastically kicked up into a bent arm handstand, anticipating her to catch my leg and move me over into the bent inversion.  Instead I heard a laugh among the participants as she grabbed it forcefully and rotated it inward, this jarring maneuver caused me to lose my focus and I fell right back down.  My enthusiasm dropped.  She said kick up again. I did, albeit more cautiously this time.  Hopefully, I waited for her to gently move me over into a backbend, she did not, I held until I couldn’t any longer, fell down and kicked up again, waited, kicked up again, attempting on my own to shift the weight of my hips over my chest, and  feeling a bit confused I fell back down.  She said kick up again, come on.  I stopped and looked up at her.  I was confused as to why she was not demonstrating moving me over into the backbend.  She looked at me and said what’s ging on?  What are you feeling?  I said I feel weak.  She said well you are stopping yourself and referenced the cause as my inner negative dialogue.  She said do it again.  I dutifully reset myself and I slowly and perseveringly moved my leg up into a handstand: first one leg and then drawing my other leg to the handstand trying to stack my hips over my ribcage, still expecting her to assist moving me into position, I kept waiting for her to gently move me up into position and then stand in front to move me into the scorpion position….but nothing….dead space, my arms and legs over-worked…I came back down onto my mat, flat.

She moved away to the front of class, never having actually demonstrated moving me into position, and then looked back at me sideways and said, you are strong enough to do it, you are fighting yourself, you need to change your inner dialogue.

I felt a familiar conglomeration of disappointment, vulnerability, defeat, and confusion.  Somehow I had been triggered.  I felt a combination of having been tricked by her and an inability to stand up for myself and realign internally with my strength. How had I given my power to this guest teacher? I felt shamed by her in front of the class.

This was a powerful moment for me to deduce the etiology of my holding and my fear.

I had not heard any negative self-talk. I searched inside myself, what am I hiding from myself? What I noticed was a defense mechanism of holding and protection that increased the more I interacted with this guest teacher.  What was that about? .  In my head I was trying to make sense of what had happened and what to do next.  Was she doing this on purpose to help me move through my block or was her action more sadistic and so recreating an earlier trauma that my personal intention for the class posed as an opportunity for release?

After reflection, and discussion with other students in the class, some of whom were new to me,  my concerns about the negativity of the situation from the guest teacher were corroborated.  Their observations were consistent with what I observed and felt.  Her actions exacerbated my hold and blocking rather than assisted me to move through the physical block.  This is the opposite of how the workshop was billed.  I had a funny feeling from her, as if she was not really there, not really centered on the role of being a facilitator but rather focused on being an exhibitionist. Although some of my teacher-friends really liked her others later identified a similar set of concerns.

My holding was indeed an aspect of my trusting myself; my body clearly ‘heard’ that this teacher was not trustworthy, so surrender was unsafe at that time -> this was the me fighting myself –> I was trying and I was stopping myself.  My mind was directing the trying and my body was directing the stopping.  My ‘block’ or resistance was a holding within my body in response to her passive hostility.  This holding did not develop in response to her.  It pre-dated the workshop as a survival mechanism from previous trauma; it was indeed the thing I took to the workshop to work-through.

This guest yoga teacher had designed a class to learn how to work-through holding and physical blocks without understanding a fundamental component needed to complete the task; to surrender and allow – Trust is required. In order for a teacher to encourage a shift in holding within her student her presentation has to include a lack of aggressivity, and a consciousness of beneficence; she need not be a cheerleader but rather have an unattached spirit of generosity. This renowned guest yoga teacher gave mixed messages though her words and actions which created a lack of trust needed, thus she had set up a class wherein re-traumatization could and would occur.

The choice to shift and uplevel lies solely in the power of the individual.  Trusting yourself, surrendering to your truth includes paying attention to when resistance is beneficial and a positive communication from your personal sensory guidance system.  Timing to uplevel matters, allow it to be guided from within(yourself), rather than without (another).

Sheldon Kopp wrote:  No meaning that comes from outside of ourselves is real.  The Buddhahood of each of us has already been obtained.  We need only recognize it – Thus the Zen Master warns his disciple:  – If you meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill him! (Kopp, 1976).

Creating a guru of another limits your and his power so that neither of you are allowed to uplevel into your most conscious selves.  Namaste, in love and light, bg

Kopp, Sheldon, If you meet the Buddha on the Road,Kill Him. Bantam Books:  New york, New York:  1976.


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Visioning anew – developing your allowing muscles

Hello and Welcome!  Creating a new vision requires you have a sense of what you want.  This is a challenge if you have spent a lot of your life either swallowing whole what you determined other’s wanted for you or reacting against the image you perceive they wanted for you by doing/being the opposite.  Both lifestyles are without an internal connection to yourself.  Visioning is an active rather than passive (swallowing whole) or reactive (oppositional) process.

It starts within.  The trouble with focusing inward is there is no guide, no perfect step by step process that promises success.  It is a feel/know experience.

If you were one of the lucky people, who were modeled this activity by your parents (or grandparents) then you are in luck; you are familiar with what it feels like to trust your intuition and go with the internal flow.  Everyone else has to learn how to let go, release, allow, trust and go within to get acquainted with self.  In order to develop a connection to self, to your inner guidance you need to develop your allowing muscles.

These processes develop your allowing muscle.  Practicing some form of meditation, prayer, Toning, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, or Yoga allows for you to develop the integrated structure of breath and spirit to that mind/body movement, and the aha experiences of see/feel/knowing.  School, and general socialization patterning develops your working, focusing, and making things happen muscles – these are only mind/body integrated.  This integration patterning is useful in many ways, but is limited to movement within already formed structures, and already formed visions.

Visioning requires integration of spirit, and breathing to develop the allowing muscles.  These guide you through your heart center and allow your mind/body to integrate with spirit thereby strengthening you as a vehicle of profound creation.

Being a vehicle of profound creation means allowing your pure self to blossom and develop into your full potential and joy.  This active process moves your through all aspects of your life and relationships such that you can create precisely what you want and what you create integrates with your community for success.

Start today.

  • Breathe.
  • Check into your heart center, are you happy?
  • Do you bring the same joy to washing the floor as buying that new  _____  (fill in the blank)?

With every action have an internal dialogue of self-love and mindful connection.  The attitude of gratitude is great for getting you into that heart center.

  • Look underneath whatever ill feeling you have, tip the issue on its head you will find something for which you are grateful.  Use that as your single point of focus and joy will erupt through you and be transmitted through your actions.

~ie:  I hate washing the floor…  shift to I am grateful to have this home, to have the ability, strength and opportunity to be able to wash the floor…whatever is underneath the chore...

~ie:  I hate fighting with my child…  shift to I am grateful to have the child, what may be going on underneath these fights – from there you can look for ways to align with your child to be on the same side against the problem…. whatever is underneath the conflict – you will find something to be grateful for

~ie:  I hate that everyone always pulls on meshift to I am grateful to have so many people who love and depend on me… from there you can look to see how to shift the degree of dependency so that you can have more space for yourself…

Gratitude, Joy, and connection these are the feeling experiences that bring you into your center and integrate the allowing muscles, listening to your inner sense of pure love, joy, and gratitude, so that you can vision anew how and who you want to be in the world.  This will affect every one of your interactions and actions.

Obligation is a mind/body integrated muscle, it isolates and separates you.  Action through love, and joy includes spirit into that muscle to allow your actions to uncover a new vision and connection with yourself and your community.  in gratitude, joy, and love, beth


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How to stay centered and the use of Yoga

Hello and Welcome!  Staying centered is remaining balanced.  Balanced within your own sphere as well as balanced in your interactions and community.  Centeredness and balance infer a collaborative and open response to internal sensations and external expectations.

When you are pulled in one direction or the other this can have the effect of destabilizing you internally as well as  you within your environment.  It can then skew your energy and focus onto a path that is not in your best interest.

The best way to stay centered is to maintain an internal awareness of your senses.  Paying attention to how you feel in each of your internal centers will assist you in staying centered.  You may use you internal sensory guidance system – your five plus one senses – to remain centered.  The use of mindfulness and paradigm shifting are of great benefit in developing your relationship to your internal guidance system especially through paying attention and neutral observation of your sensory guidance system responses.

One way to develop this relationship to your centers is through the practice of Yoga.  This is because you will have the opportunity to connect breath, with the integration of physical body positions and energetic spiritual centers.

In the Yogic tradition there are bandha that need to remain closed or locked as you do various positions to assist in building physical strength and maintain the pose for clarification.  These bandha correspond with certain energy centers in your body called chakras.  What is useful for the musculature is related to the emotional component of the center – one is at the root chakra and is referred to a kegel closure – the root chakra relates to survival and may connect to issues of fear.  The next important bandha that is discussed is the belly button area – holding this bandha closed is described as pressing the belly button to the spine – this is related to the second chakra which deals with creativity of all types including sexuality and procreation.  The third bandha that is discussed is described as holding the chin to the chest – this has a dual effect of closing off the throat chakra while opening further the chakra at the third-eye or the brow chakra which relates to inner vision and intuition.  By closing off these centers while holding the Yoga positions the practitioner is strengthening the flow of energy within his centers so that the energy doesn’t dissipate.  This results in strengthening the muscles and the physical core of the practitioner as well as the energetic flow of internal connection between these centers.  This is how an intentional Yoga practice can assist in the strengthening of a practitioner’s sense of being, and remaining, centered.

Any focused attention with breath to your inner sensory guidance system will produce an increase in your awareness about what and how you are feeling, and responding, in any given situation and can provide guidance about what action is in your best interest which includes a choice to not act from an intentional place.

Centering your self is simply paying attention to, observation of, gathering information from, your internal sensory guidance system (your five senses plus one, intuition)  and responding from a place of compassion, love, and neutrality to that internally connected information.

Remember that  centered sensory guidance  information is in general a calm, and charge-free instinct and results in a sense that something is the best response – rather than a loud, pushing-through-to -the-fore, anxiety-filled, reactive response.

Simple focused breathing for 30 seconds to 3 minutes can increase your capacity for mindfulness and can re-center you.

Longer focused, breathing meditation for 15 – 30 minutes can increase your centering-practice even further and allow you a space to reconnect to your inner self and inner center, this has a lovely additional effect of reducing your blood pressure and reducing your sense of anxiety by bringing your fully into the present moment.

A focused intentional Yoga practice can also encourage you to develop a deeper centering practice.   For more information check out this article on Yogi Times, connecting spirit mind and body through Yoga.

Any activity that is present moment focused with love and breath will increase your capacity for centering, praying meditation, walking, running, singing, and dancing all have the components for increasing or deepening your integrated spirit, mind, and body connection.

Staying centered increases self-knowledge, self-love, strength, and right-action.  In love and light, Beth


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How to develop a practice of internal spirit-self-communication

Hello and welcome

I have the great honor of teaching.

I say it is an honor because I see teaching as a powerful responsibility that requires love, compassion, and care.  Yes of course I need to also know the material, but more than that I need to be able to present it in a way that touches the hearts and minds of those I teach.  This is more difficult than just presenting facts – it’s about presenting truth that can be incorporated into a world view and strengthen those who receive the information.

When you hear truth it has a quality of singing or ringing in key within your body, spirit and mind, all at once.  Giving you a feeling of deja vu almost, a feeling of immediate comprehension and knowing.

This is very different then being compelled toward something from propaganda.  Propaganda is seductive and alluring but it doesn’t ring true in your heart it has more of an emotional-visceral, reactive quality to it.  Propaganda is something that lulls you into a sense of righteousness or patterned behavior.  Advertising and politics are masters at using partial information or “spin”  to guide you to take action that may not be inline with your heart/spirit connection but feels right.  This feeling right is not the kind of truth that rings through to your heart/spirit.

Because of this peculiar experience of feeling right through propaganda it is important to be able to remove emotionality and righteousness from the conversation and work toward understanding, connecting and compassionate lovingkindness.

The art of seeing the world from a compassionate, neutral, and curious perspective encourages connecting with truth.  It increases the kind of seeing of truth that is not righteousness but open-minded, strengthening and graceful.

The best way to encourage this is the use of optimism, gratitude, kindness, compassion, and nurturance of ideas and growth; flexible, present moment response creates the space to open to truth in various forms through sound, word, and information.

The more you have a practice of mindfulness and meditation, breathing and prayer, internal spirit-self-communication with a quality of waiting to understand before jumping to conclusions – open-mindedness – the more you will experience truth in all your interactions.

The best form of teaching is through modeling.  Our brains are hard-wired to learn through modeling.  Living in a way that is consistent with what you value can go far to teach.

Many roles incorporate guidance, direction, teaching and strength building – managers, parents, coaches – all have the foundation of teaching at their base.  Highly effective coaches, managers, and parents share the skill of meeting their students where they are, defining their strength and limitations,  building their strengths and transforming their limitations into strengths all with compassion and frankness.

To develop these skills try the following steps:

  • Practice noticing what works.
  • Practice looking for how you agree and connect with another.
  • Practice flexibility and paradigm shifting, allow the other person’s meaning to connect with you even if how he says it is different from how you say it.  Think here of the issue of recognizing that having different names for god isn’t having different gods.  The connecting point is that both parties have a deep belief in god even if the story about how to be connected to god is different.  Connecting to the elements that agree is the best starting point for understanding and teaching or relationship.
  • Be grateful for what is great about what is happening rather than sorrowful or even sullen about what isn’t.  Practice turning things on their head, thinking the opposite, and just saying thank you.

For example if you just lost your job – being grateful is to look for how that loss allows for something new and better to come into your life.  Maybe the loss of the job allows you to learn something about yourself that is negative that you have to change so that you can be successful.

The attitude of gratitude is when you have to define what is great about something that feels negative or is a loss – simply looking from the perspective of asking the question how can this be good allows you to open your eyes to see the positive aspects.

Sometimes the attitude of gratitude is using your thinking skills to put the issue in perspective – for example if you are unhappy with a habit of your partner’s – consider what else you love about him so that you can view the frustrating habit within context.  You may find it is less bothersome or you may be able to communicate about what you don’t like without making it into a big fight.  More on how to develop the attitude of gratitude here, less attitude more gratitude, 9.2.11.

  • Reframe the energy of your “student”.  If he is willful guide his strength to help him be stronger internally rather than get into trouble.  Of if he is rebellious support the innovation rather than reinforce the reactivity.

Relationships don’t require work because there is something wrong with them – relationships require work because we all live in our separate universes that are in constant need of interpretation and definition.

Effective teaching (managing, guiding, parenting, coaching) requires care and willingness and a compassionate practice of viewing, interpreting, connecting, and translating.  Knowing yourself, allowing the dynamic process of evolution within yourself and the dynamic process of evolution in the other to be, and to be understood, and to be connected.  That is the essence of effective teaching and ultimately the essence of loving, honest relationship.

Embrace your great honor of teaching with all the wonderful beings and “students” in your life.  It will bring you immense joy and a real sense of love and connection.  Start with yourself.  More information about how to increase your internal connection can be found in an earlier article on this site, InstinctiveHealthMedicine, 8.28.10, Guiding ones beliefs and actions.

The divine spark of spirit lives in our truthful capacity to see and love one another.  Namaste, is a Sanskrit word that means My soul (spirit light) within me bows to (sees or acknowledges) your soul (spirit light) within you. ( Yoga Journal description of Namaste, Aadil Palkhivala  ) It is generally stated with one’s hands in a prayer position at one’s heart and a very slight bow of one’s head toward the other with one’s eyes closed.  It has a deeply reverent quality.

It is a statement that is often shared at the end of a Yoga session.  Yoga is seen as a medicinal and spiritual practice, not simply an exercise by those who have studied it and maintain it these thousands of years.

  • Develop a practice that allows you to acknowledge in all your actions your connection to spirit and to integrate your spirt-mind-self.  This will increase your opportunities for health and prosperity.

The practice of Yoga allows you to practice communicating with your self – mind, body, and spirit – through breath.

Any practice that is done with breath, compassion, lovingkindness, open – mindfulness, and meditation or prayer will increase your spirit-human connection so that you can align with your true self and create health and prosperity.  Meditation on Lovingkindness

I believe that human beings are spirit-humans. The idea of managing your body and mind integrated with your spirit is what is your most primary work for health and prosperity because it aligns you with your true purpose and true self, not only individually but also as a community of human beings.

  • Teach yourself the difference between how something feels right that is false and propaganda and how something feels right that is truth.

Your first step is to develop a practice of integrated internal communication with yourself and spirit – meditation, prayer, neutral observation, open-mindfulness, and breath are your best communication tools.    To find out more check out this article En-Joy Now, 12.29.10.

Namaste.

See you tomorrow.

Beth