For so many of us empaths or pleasers, giving can be much easier than receiving.
“It is more noble to give than to receive.”
Receiving can be incredibly uncomfortable, especially if we are used to caring for others. There are so many layers and reasons for this:
This brings me back to my previous post about “helping”, and our motivations behind giving. If we are giving to look or feel good, then it is highly likely receiving will be a small form of torture.
Dig in a bit: what are some of the beliefs that come up when you are receiving? For me, I was told constantly in a previous relationship that I was selfish, as a way for the other person to be able to receive. The reality was that I was the giver and he the taker, but if I set a boundary, I was told I was being selfish. This made me feel guilty, and the cycle continued. Although I am no longer in the relationship, for a long while it would bring up some discomfort when I did receive.
Looking at the beliefs I was carrying, I now see receiving as a practice. As a giver, it feels like I am able to do something for someone. I love the feeling of offering something that a dear friend needs, thinking about that person and showing I care through action. I try to keep this in mind when I’m receiving, and think of it as an act of generosity to allow another to do something kind for me.
Giving with an open heart, shedding the layers of pleasing, means you are more likely to be able to receive with an open heart.
So when something is offered to me, I say thank you. I say, I don't know how to express how much this means to me. I take a moment, and open my cells and allow myself to receive, rather than resist.
“The parched earth can’t let in a life-giving rain if it is covered by plastic tarp… Without the capacity to be touched by caring and appreciation, we render these gifts less meaningful. Sacred receiving, letting things in with heartfelt gratitude, is a gift to the giver! When we are visibly moved, it conveys that they’ve made a difference in our lives. We may then bask together in a non- dual moment in which there is no distinction between the giver and the receiver. Both people are giving and receiving in their own unique ways. This shared experience can be profoundly sacred and intimate—a moment of delectable grace.” John Amodeo
I'd love to hear about how you have worked with receiving as a practice! Leave a comment below.
With much love,
We encounter a friend/loved one who is struggling. How we respond is everything.
Our desire to be helpful can be one of the greatest gifts we have as humans. Raising two children, I believe our compulsion starts at a very young age. It is a basic need to be useful and have purpose in our lives. We feel compassion for others when they struggle, and we want to ease their suffering. There is something so simple yet profoundly powerful about this. It’s one of the best things about being human.
However, too often this simplicity becomes quickly complicated by our layers of experience and limiting beliefs. We all have a deep need to be seen, loved and appreciated, and when we haven’t felt that, our motivations become muddied.
Some of us begin to see that when we help, we are praised and loved. And that can be the only time we receive that. So we begin offering help, but what we’re really asking for is connection.
Some of us feel disempowered in our life, and offering advice or “help” is one of the ways we feel smart/powerful/useful. What we’re really looking for is a way to love ourselves.
Some of us are so uncomfortable with our own pain and suffering that we’re carrying, we can’t bear to witness it in another. We quickly jump in with whatever we can just to feel as if we are doing something. What we are really doing is avoiding our own work.
We all have reasons for wanting to help. And I believe underneath all the layers, it comes from a deep, human compassion that we carry for one another. However, our “good intentions” can be quite harmful if we don’t look at our other layers of motivation. We need to pause before we offer our words, and take a moment.
We need to listen. Truly listen. Not with a desire to respond, but with a desire to understand and feel what this person is expressing.
A step beyond listening is holding space. This comes from enough inner work with our own discomfort, that we can allow the suffering of another with compassion. There is no rushing in when we hold space. We listen, yes, but we also allow our energy to be big enough, and loving enough, that the other person feels so safe that they can work through what they need to work through on their own (which is always so much more powerful than being told).
“What do you need from me right now?” Instead of deciding for them what is needed, we allow them to communicate their needs to us. If they are unable to, gentle asking their consent (“would _________ be useful?”) before unloading our “knowledge” is a good way to honor their boundaries and truly tuning into where they are.
Recognize our need to do.
For many of us, we have a compulsion to DO something. Recognize this, and then ask ourselves what we can do that would not be harmful. One of the best solutions I have come up with when I find myself in this situation is Loving Kindness meditation. Bringing loving energy from the heart and visualizing that love extending to the other person allows us to feel useful, while honoring the other’s space and energy.
We all need to keep caring right now. Our communities are so precious. Looking deeper at our own motivations to ease the suffering we witness, we can then harness our energy towards actions of compassion and real change.
You know what I’m going to tell you.
You’ve heard it before.
If you’re an empath in a relationship - whether a friendship, a partnership, a romantic relationship, a familial relationship; I offer to you a reminder, a most compassionate and gentle reminder to put your own oxygen mask on first, even if just a few moments ahead of assisting someone else with theirs.
You even know why.
You know that codependent quality that can happen when our way of caring for someone else means we leave ourselves in order to do it. You know what it is like to long for connection, for unity and oneness, such that we try to morph ourselves — to bring certain parts of ourselves more into the foreground, and place some central parts of ourselves and our ways of being on the back burner — in order to best fit in connection with another person. Sometimes, because we are empaths, we may also have a sense of being able to read someone well enough to know what they are looking for, and we may want to, consciously or subconsciously, become that in order to have, maintain, or deepen a connection with someone else.
Wait. Before you raise those well-wrought points, there are some acknowledgements that need to be made.
As human beings, we are social creatures. We need external connection. External connection is a valid need to have. Sometimes, we draw a meaning from the importance of self-connection that says we are somehow weak for also wanting social connections. We are meant to have those connections. We are also meant to have a really strong connection to ourselves.
Well, you have to do your work. Whatever that work is for you.
For me, the practice of meditation has been central to the work of connecting to myself: feeling into my body, and naming it home. Somatic meditation allows me to sit on my cushion and feel comforted, supported, held, and, importantly, home. Meditation is where I come home to myself. From this space of home, I turn my attention and curiosity to my self talk. The way all these practices come together and converse with one another contributes to my self awareness. Bringing that awareness into the world, and into the way I life live with myself and others? That is self care. Self care has to come from that place of connection to ourselves.
As empaths, we must care for ourselves to be in relationships with others, not because we are fragile or weak, but because we are so strong we live open-hearted, in vulnerability whether we want to or not. We must reconnect with the self regularly and say to the self: “This connection to myself is worth more than anything else.” So that when we are connecting with others or wanting to connect with others we are affirmed in our worth, not searching for someone else to define it.
When airlines ask people to put their own oxygen mask on first, they ask it of the responsible party in a dependant relationship. So, the parent should put their mask on first before putting a mask on their child; not because the airline is asking the parent to love themselves more than to love their child, but to value their life in a way that gives them them best chance of fulfilling their responsibilities toward someone else they love.
In the event that a cabin decompresses, breathing is the work that one person needs to do in order to support another. Relationships are continually compressing and decompressing. That is why they are so wonderful and why they are so challenging. In relationships, connecting to the self is as important and vital as breathing, it allows us to love and be loved by others, to support and be supported by others, to hold and be held by others. To recognize relationships that strengthen our primary connection to ourselves and ones that seek to erode that connection.
Our work, our practices that lead us to self discovery, self awareness, self affirmation, self care, self value and self worth, are what allow us to commune deeply with another. I’m not saying you need to fall in love with yourself before falling in love with someone else. I’m suggesting we learn to recognize ourselves, to value ourselves, so that when we do fall in love with ourselves, it can feel just as deep and rich as falling in love with someone else.
Better, even. But, then, you know that, too.
You have been worth waiting for this whole time.
First of all, I want to give a HUGE thank you to all that attended my retreat last weekend. Everyone showed up with their whole hearts and worked so hard on themselves. Radiant Warriors, every single one.
Since the retreat, I've had an old issue regarding empowerment resurface. Having worked with my heart, and truly connected it in to my being, I found it safer to look at some of my hidden places. I felt loved and supported by myself. For me, becoming powerful has been a process, a slow learning step-by-step. This week I felt in my liver how I continued to hide and carry a belief that kept me disempowered. And I realized that I still believed that being powerful was not safe. I was floored.
I received a session and while working through it, I asked Creator to show me what it felt like to be in True Power. A memory came from earlier that week after I taught my meditation class in Dumbo. The class was fantastic and I walked away feeling spacious, peaceful and energetically huge. I was in the subway, and came upon a young man who was seemingly angry and unwilling to move his body, forcing others to go around him. Attempting to be powerful in his anger and inflexibility, almost daring someone to challenge him. All I thought was how small he seemed, acting so tough because he felt vulnerable and scared. With such an expansive heart, I could pour love over him, feeling my own power in being so connected to my heart. I wasn't afraid, nor did I feel that I needed to somehow put my power over him. I could just be in love without reaction or expectation.
True Power feels like love.
I believe that all of what we do comes from love underneath. Even fear is a love and protection of parts of oneself. Yes, it can be neurotic in it's manifestation, but when we feel into and allow our love for ourselves, great things can happen. I'm reminded of a discussion on the retreat of how love is like water: fluid, flexible, and incredibly powerful. We need to actively connect to this love in order to allow ourselves to find those hidden places and grow.
May each of you feel connected to your hearts and love for yourself, today and always.
The mystical offers us the chance to see that life is so much more than what we can see and touch. It gives us a glimpse behind the veil; an opportunity to feel how vast and how interconnected we actually are. We touch in on our own capacity for joy and wonder. We see the world from a different perspective and we know we're ok within it.
Often, that can then begin to fade as we struggle to integrate it into our daily lives. And we begin to chase after that feeling of wellbeing or magic either through drugs or various healing modalities, jumping from one to the next looking for the SHAZAM! And often we get that in the beginning. We peek behind our cultural and self-imposed limitations and see the joy that's available to us. But as we come back into "reality", we feel the loss of that joy and we begin to chase after the mystical without looking into the moment we're in.
I've often felt a tug-of-war between my healing and meditation practice, but the more I teach and practice, the more I see how much the two support each other. For me, seeing and feeling the magic of life through my healing has been very validating. I've always known there's more than what we can see. Working with beliefs and energetic blocks, and moving what no longer works has opened me to experience joy and love. The healing gives me the chance to see the immense beauty that we are, and the meditation helps me bring that into the ordinary.
I had heard many times about meditation being ordinary. I never really understood it until I began teaching. My meditation practice helps me stay with the seemingly boring. It helps me be in those moments that feel very unmagical. It helps me drop my attachment to what magic is supposed to look like, and feel that the magic that I seek is hidden inside each and every moment. And even when I can't see it, I can trust it's there. Like a blue sky hidden by clouds. It teaches me to stay with it (whatever "it" might be on that particular day) and go in. Because really, going into it is the only way through. It helps me integrate all the healing I've experienced and bring it into the everyday.
There is so much love for us to experience here on earth. And that, my friends, is all the purest of all magic. However you get there is up to you, but I invite you to be with yourself and stay.
With great love,
I've been feeling really angry lately. While I would love to blame it on the stars, ultimately I've needed to do some looking within.
Anger has been coming up as a mom, and I've been seeing others struggling with it in sessions. I've been working hard on my own figuring out what anger is, and how do I allow it to move without hurting the people around me? What does that look like? Too often, I either suppress it, or allow it to come out in an unhealthy way. For many of us that means taking it out on the one's we love. As a side note, this is really terrible, and yet makes sense in a strange way: they're the one's that feel safe and we know will still love us. If we took out our neurosis with a stranger, most likely they'd be pretty quick to walk away. Yet, frankly, what an awful pattern. This is our desire to be liked rather than truly seen; we aren't comfortable with our shadowy angry side, nor is our culture. These are patterns and beliefs that have been passed down for generations and stems from a fear of being separated from our tribe. But that's a whole other topic...
We all have anger. For most of us, anger is stored in the liver. Chronic anger can be a sign of a stagnant or stuck liver. While doing a liver cleanse can be a great way to move the energy, we also need to repattern our energy and relationship to anger. Many of us see it as a negative emotion, however it often comes from a place of wisdom. It shows us when our boundaries are being crossed, or when something is asking to be healed. Whenever I'm angry, it's an opportunity to ask what is underneath, begging to be seen.
How does this relate to love?
The heart is at the center of it all. It connects to all the organs in the body, literally pumping life in the form of blood. But we protect it, and when we protect it we shut ourselves off from the learning happening in the rest of the body. We don't allow love to connect to our boundaries, our fear, our anger.
When we feel anger, it feels the opposite of love. We shut off one in order to feel the other. Anger can be a sacred emotion, just as love is. When we allow ourselves to hear the wisdom anger brings us, can we also allow it to connect with our heart? What would the wisdom look like then, and how much more successfully could we communicate it if we did?
What would it look like if we allowed all of our emotions to be held by love? What if love wasn't up in a tower where it's safe, but messy and intertwined with the shadow?
What if we loved our anger?
Not in a way that excused it or fed it, but in a soft mama way: giving it space and room to breathe without hot-potatoing it onto the one's around us. It seems to me it would run much more pure if we did. And there would be a whole lot of love through the process, which is what we all really need.
Try visualizing the communication between the heart and the liver. Get quiet and listen. See the energy ebbing and flowing, back and forth. Is there anything stopping you, or any part of yourself resisting? Use that curiosity to find out more, and surround yourself with love while you do. I'd love to hear about what you find out!
Love on the journey,
How is everyone doing?!
I wanted to offer a few words to help us through these times. There is a lot of intensity, and it can be easy to lose our center through it. A few things have become clear to me, so I hope they can be of service to you.
There is a lot of attacking of "the other" right now. Heavy criticism. Remember that there is a great fear of change with many, many people. There is vulnerability and faith required to make change, whether it be on a personal level or beyond. When you feel as if you are barely hanging on, rocking the carefully-put-together boat seems terrifying. And the result is to criticize those making the change. On the flip side, we see those who cannot or will not move, and we have great frustration for their inability to see why movement is necessary.
Both sides are defending themselves.
We defend ourselves because questioning our beliefs could mean the very dissolution of self. Beliefs are our carefully constructed house of cards. What if I no longer know who I am and how I define myself?! If I let go of my beliefs, do I cease to exist...?
Yes. And no.
When we become fluid enough to allow our beliefs to become separate from ourselves, we allow ourselves the true healing needed to step fully into Ourselves. Our ego and our minds are mere tools to help us, but they do not define us. Our thoughts are not our Selves! Who we are is much, much bigger than that. We see through this filter of our own ego and insecurities. We assume people are acting a certain way based on our beliefs of who we are, not with the clarity of what is actually happening.
Meditation and healing work brings our awareness to ourselves, and also brings a clarity to what is actually happening without making it personal. We gain some perspective, as well as compassion. We see why we act in the way the we do, and we recognize it in others, without (hopefully) judgement.
The space between is powerful. And potent. Can we use the space to bring clarity and perspective, rather than criticism? Can we find that space within us as well as between us?
I hope to see you all soon, however that may be. We certainly need to hold one another right now, with love. I'm here if you need me.
I know many of you are big feelers. And many of you have been told you were too sensitive most of your life. Too often being an empath - the ability to feel deeply what's happening around us - can feel like a curse, rather than a blessing. It can feel very confusing to navigate in a society that values the rational so much higher the emotional.
I've always struggled a bit with how much to feel. As someone who has worked with depression, allowing myself to feel all the emotion can bring myself into a downward spiral. I believe in the wisdom of allowing myself to feel what I'm going through, but I've needed to learn that not everything that I feel is even mine. Especially living in a big city like New York, these are a few ways that have helped me navigate being an empath when I'm on the brink of drowning.
1. Allow other's their path
For many empaths, we have learned to take energy in, and give away our own energy. Because we feel deeply, often there's deep love and compassion for what other's are going through. Allowing other's to go through their own journey without trying to fix it or take away their pain is one of the most important things we can learn here on earth. Too often we shut down emotionally when we see something painful, or we rush in to take it on ourselves. Practice being present and holding space, without taking. It's a gift to them, as they learn to do their own work, and it's a gift to yourself - not using all of your energy to clean up someone else's.
2. Reclaim your energy
Fill the space in your body and outside yourself with your own energy. If there is intensity, get bigger; expand into the space rather than contract (this is a common response to fear and pain). When we have claimed the space in our own body, it becomes less likely that we give permission for other's to give us their energetic stuff to work out. It also gives us better discernment for what are our emotions, and what are someone else's. Practice feeling into the core of your body, and expanding that energy in all directions. Bringing this practice on to the cushion will give you the foundation to use this throughout your day.
3. Don't Take It Personally
When someone dumps on us, our reaction is usually to feel bad. We believe them, and we can easily take the blame of other's when we can feel into their pain. Knowing that their pain is THEIR'S, and has nothing to do with us, can give some perspective. They have their own world, and how they choose to react and be in the world is entirely up to them. It has nothing to do with us. We can control our reactions and our energy; otherwise we are allowing ourselves to be controlled by another.
4. Have a Practice
Sitting in meditation or having some kind of check in every day brings you back to yourself. It's a reminder of what's True, and can help you discover what's underneath your Big Emotions. It gives them space to breathe, and perhaps even dissapate. We often distract ourselves from feeling what we need to feel because it's too painful - this is how physical illness can happen. The more you give yourself the time to figure out what's going on, the easier it can be to unpack it in the future.
5. Use Tools
Diffusing essential oils, burning herbs and wearing special stones will not do all the work for you. However, they can help clear away any junk so that we can get to the heart of the matter. Know and appreciate them for what they are: tools. Don't expect them to do what you aren't willing to do yourself, but use them so you can do the work faster.
Feelings are meant to be felt, and the more we can engage with them and allow them space, the less likely we are to be overwhelmed when we have big emotions. Big feelers are needed right now in this world - our compassion and desire to be helpful. Hopefully using some of these tips will keep you clear and in your center so you don't get burned out!
With much love,
Happy Holidays everyone!
It's that time of year... For many of us, it can be a bit stressful with families and feelings of obligations. The expectation to overgive. It can also be a time of celebration and gratitude!! Whatever reason you're celebrating, this time of year usually means less sleep, eating processed food, sugar and alcohol. All of which can compromise the immune system.
I wanted to send out a quick *I really love you guys* note before the festivities began, but I also wanted to send out some tips that I do during this time of overindulgence.
First, know that viruses and bacteria are our friends. They are helpers, trying to teach us something about ourselves. We won't contract a virus unless we share a resonating belief with it, so if you do get sick, have some gratitude for the little bugs. And remember: there's always something going on besides the physical manifestation.
In terms of what you can take to prevent getting sick, there's a list below. For me, sugar (major immune suppressant) is the worst culprit, so I'm making sure we're all getting lots of Vitamin D3 right now. Not only is it good to take during the winter when there's less sun, but it also helps boost the immune system.
Here's a list of other supports you can take, and for those of you who have come for a session, try muscle testing:
Probiotics (80% of our immune system is in the gut! Fermented food or supplements are both great.)
Nettle Tea (Use as a tea, brew for a soup base, or freeze with a fruit for herbal tea popsicles.)
Epsom Salt bath (Great for the nervous system - magnesium.)
Vitamin Bs - 5 and 12 are my personal favorites.
(white blood cells via www.pmadirectory.us)
The glowing, irridescent cells above are white blood cells from a live blood analysis. Our helpers and protectors of the immune system. Take a few minutes to quiet your mind, and begin to visualize your own white blood cells strong, vibrant, and alive. See them glowing inside your body, communicating easily with each other and other cells. Share a thank you with them for working so hard!
And don't forget to tend to your emotional garden. Write, meditate and ground so your emotional body stays healthy and clear.
Wishing you all much love, especially over these next few weeks.
While healing is what I am called to do, and LOVE with a passion, most of my time is spent being a mom and human. Here's where I get messy, and you get a glimpse into my own vulnerabilities as I attempt to find the heart of the warrior.