By Julie Roberts, Ph.D.
We are born into this world with one thing—ourselves. So how do we make the most of this thing called our life? We can start by asking good questions, like: Who am I? What are my gifts? What do I love doing? What do I want to do and who do I want to be? How do I want to be with myself, my friends and my career? Is my career aligned with my true gifts? These are the questions related to how we do this life, not just what we do. This process of becoming is a life-long process that continues until we die.
It helps to have a purpose. It can change over time, but it helps us find our gifts and define our path. It comes from asking questions like those above and understanding ourselves and who we are. It can be very simple. Mine is: to live life to the fullest as my true authentic self; to move into and live in my highest gifts and to help others do that. We get to our purpose by looking at what gives us energy; what are we good at and what draws us in; what helps us flourish?
It helps to have values. How do we want to show up in life? Values embrace who we are and they define how we want to be in the world. Mine are compassion, flow and unity. So I can look at anything I do and ask: am I in flow with myself, others and the universe? Am I being compassionate to myself and others? Am I behaving as though I am connected to everyone and everything? My goal is to live from these values and to pay attention when I am not so that I can clear issues that block me from them.
It helps to be connected to feelings. If I am not then I am abandoning myself and I won’t be able to get to meaningful answers to my questions. Society teaches us to disconnect from our feelings. They are not typically honored by our parents or our teachers. It is common for others to judge us when we share our feelings and we are told to get over it; don’t cry; don’t have feelings because they make you weak and vulnerable. We are afraid of our feelings because we don’t know how to be with them, they make us uncomfortable, and others don’t want us to have them and often shame us for them because they complicate their lives. They don’t want to listen to our feelings because they don’t value their own and they don’t know what to do with them or how to be with them. They don’t see that our feelings are filled with information that helps us live a more fulfilled life.
Our feelings connect us to what we want and who we are. They are the basis of all decisions (read Permission to Feel) and they let us see what we need to be fully ourselves. If we can learn to embrace our feelings and be with them with compassion we are connected to ourselves and we will be more effective in our life. Feelings are can lead us to the loving action to take for ourselves and others, so that we come from compassion instead of a fight. Being in a fight to prove ourselves does not lead to living from our gifts and being at peace. Being in a fight leads to more fight and doesn’t benefit relationships. What is the fight in me and where in my body does it exist? What are the origins of my desire to fight? Usually our fight is an old pattern of protection. Is the fight serving me? Can I let go of the fight and feel what is inside beneath the desire to fight? Why does the fight in me exist?
The trauma we experience lives on in our body and creates blocks (both energetic and blocking beliefs) that keep us from the flow. If I had angry parents that fought and blamed me for how I felt, I may think that “I am a problem” or “I am not safe” or “others don’t like me” and then I am constricted and fighting to get to a safe place and prove I am better than they think I am. Those patterns of protection tend to live on when I am an adult and block my flourishing fully into gifts. If I CLEAR that then I can develop a healthy adult within myself who can love and honor my feelings and thus be in the flow. Then I don’t relive the pattern I felt when I was little of abandoning myself like my parents abandoned me. When I can sit in the fire of the discomfort I feel, then I can better understand what those feelings mean to me and what action to take. And I can provide the love to myself that I didn’t receive and I can embrace all of life instead of just what feels good. Feel what is right, not just what feels good. Feeling can make us feel vulnerable, but we have to be vulnerable in order to learn and grow.
Notice when you are triggered. Move into the feelings. Embrace them and see what happened to you when you were younger that created a coping mechanism that is still active and not so effective. This is your “adaptive” child which is in the fight and can get in the way of being all you can be and creating healthy relationships (read Us, by Terrance Real). Start a dialogue with the wounded part, the exiled part, the protector and the healthy adult (see No bad Parts, by Richard Schwartz). Use the CLEAR process so that you can heal (go to the website for directions https://www.changeworksinc.com/try-clear-now/). Physical symptoms are usually related to emotional issues. Look into and clear what is behind the physical aches, pains and ailments. A great book for this is Michael Lincoln’s “Messages from the Body.”
Your ancestor’s trauma may still be impacting you. When you clear, you can also clear the trauma that comes down from them energetically to you. To get to an ancestor issue, you can write down something that has been a negative pattern, fear, or issue for you for a long time. What is the worst thing that could happen to you related to this issue? My worst fear is _________. What happens in your body when you say this? What is the worst thing that could happen to someone else? Others’ tragedies can reflect our greatest fears. Use your intuition or muscle testing to ask who is involved. Is it someone on your mother’s side? Father’s side? Then keep going back until you get to the origins. Then ask that ancestor to be present energetically to clear with you as you go through the steps of clearing.
It helps to learn about how the body, the brain and the world work. Be curious about these things. For example, quantum physics teaches us a lot about how we are all connected and why intuition exists. The world is a miracle and we know so little about it. Read a lot about different things. Open your mind. Practice being connected by noticing synchronicities. Ask the universe for signs and then be aware of what you see and hear.
The more we open our mind to spirituality, oneness, grace, source (whatever you call it), the more we connect to our right brain and use our whole brain versus just our logic. Logic can get us stuck in the fight. Spirit is the connection to an energy, a consciousness or sacredness larger than me. The more we open to that, the healthier our brains are; the less apt we are to be depressed and the better we can get through difficult times (read The Awakened Brain). Connecting spiritually helps us feel connected and not alone. We are part of something bigger; something that helps bring peace into our world; something that shows us our path so we can be in the flow instead of forcing our way through life which causes stress and exhaustion. Ask for guidance from source or your higher self in times of struggle and then be open to what you see and hear.
Get into your body and out of your head. When we are in our heads, thinking, thinking, thinking, we are using the left side of the brain which is connected to the past, our trauma, and our worry about the future. Getting into the body helps connect to our body’s wisdom. It brings you into the now and over to the right side of the brain. Get into nature and look around. Pay attention to how your body feels; how the earth feels under your feet; to what you hear and what you see. Be present with what is in the moment. Listen to the messages. What is the universe telling you? This practice connects you to the world and opens you to hearing something beyond your own thoughts. It helps you see that you are not alone.
Are you high-sensitive? If so, your nervous system is more sensitive to noise, crowds, smells, etc. than a low sensitive person. If you are high sensitive, others might tell you that you are too sensitive and you should get used to it or get over it, but exposing yourself over and over to the overwhelm could traumatize you more. If you are high sensitive, what do you need to do to take care of yourself? Access a simple assessment here: https://hsperson.com/test/highly-sensitive-test/ Take steps to create safety and regulate yourself. Don’t abandon yourself by trying to get over it.
Explore your gifts. Get your Genekey profile and do the courses on www.genekeys.com. What is your personality type? Do the Meyers Briggs or look at the enneagram or some other assessment to find out more about yourself. What are your strengths? What are your areas of needed development? How do you compensate for your limitations? What did you learn growing up that contributes to your strengths and limitations? What blocks you accessing your strengths? Clear the things that block you from growing. Ask others for feedback—what are your strengths? What are your areas of needed development? What is the one thing they would want you to know in order to be the best you that you can be?
Develop an attraction plan. This is what I want and how I want to be; what I want in myself, my friends, my partner, my career, my job, my home. Who are the people I want around me and how do they behave in life and toward me? How do I behave toward them? What do they value? Write it down and be very specific. This is the beginning of manifesting—to be clear about what we want. We get clear about what we want and that clarity sends a message to the universe. Then let go of the outcome. Check in with the plan periodically and feel into where you are blocked. Then clear those blocks to move into your potential.
Be grateful for what you have. This accesses a feel-good part of the brain. If we don’t use it we lose it. The same is true for empathy—the brain atrophies when empathy is not used. Brain research shows that power & money can lead to atrophy if we are not conscious and practicing connection and getting into another’s shoes. Gratitude connects to flow and helps one listen to the universe. Reframe negative outlooks on the bad that happens in our lives by asking, “What gift is in this? What is the learning?”
Being in the flow means we are not in the fight to control things. It means we are open to how we feel, to what the universe is telling us, and we know the difference between past triggers, present triggers and what resonates or feels “right.” We don’t need to make things happen, we flow with what the universe and what our body is telling us is in alignment with who we are and what we need and what is right in the universe. When we resonate (like a tuning fork) with what we want & need to do; we listen to messages from the body and the world around us; then we know what loving action to take and when to take it—it feels right even though it might not feel comfortable. This leads to less struggle and more things working because we are then aligned with ourselves and also with the universe; we come from love and not fight.
Be very clear about how you feel when you are doing things. What brings satisfaction? What do you want to move toward and what do you want to move away from based on how you feel? Have you really sat with and held the feelings to understand where they come from and what they mean? Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep embracing all of life with compassion (listen to The Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron). It is when we constrict against what we don’t like that we get traumatized and stuck. Practice being compassionately with all of life even when it is uncomfortable.
The Anatomy of Peace, Resolving the Heart of Conflict, The Arbinger Institute
Anchored, Deb Dana
The Awakened Brain, Lisa Miller
The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD
Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image and the Capacity for Relationship, Laurence Heller, Ph.D. & Aline LaPierre, Psy.D.
The Highly Sensitive Person, Elaine Aron, PH.D.
The Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot
Love’s Hidden Symmetry, Bert Hellinger
Messages from the Body, Michael J. Lincoln, Ph.D.
The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible, Charles Eisenstein
No Bad Parts, Richard Schwartz
Permission to Feel, Marc Brakcett
The Secret Life of Plants, Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird
The Source Field Investigations, David Wilcox
Us, Terrance Real
The Web of Life, Fritjof Capra
Whole Brain Living, Jill Bolte Taylor
Listen to any of Pema Chodron’s books: Pure Medicine; Good Medicine; Coming Closer to Ourselves; From Fear to Fearlessness; Don’t Bite the Hook; Making Friends with your Mind; When Things Fall Apart; Getting Unstuck