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Spiritual Tests

Natalie —  January 29, 2015 — Leave a comment

Life tests us when we least expect it. We can get metaphysical and see it as an opportunity for spiritual growth, yet tests challenge us.  They feel uncomfortable, stressful, confusing and even painful, they may bring up our anger or disappointed. Tests are asking us, or forcing us, to change. It can be as subtle as a shift of our thought patterns or as explicit as how we live every day.

Our physical body, mind, emotions and soul are always unconsciously striving for a state of alignment with each other.  An illness may cause our mind to struggle with our body’s lack of cooperation.  The death of a loved one may cause our heart to question the body’s purpose as we are left behind while their soul has moved on.

In the midst of being tested, there is a temptation and a tendency to suppress discomfort.  But our physical and emotional discomforts are indicators. They will guide us through life’s tests, if we listen. They bring awareness to our combined physical, mental and spiritual state of being.

To lessen the discomfort without just postponing it, we have to pause to listen to our intuition. The act of stilling the mind through meditation, tuning into our breath (body) and listening to our soul, may initially draw our attention to the discomfort. But with a bit of commitment to breathing through the edgy space, it will reduce our suffering.

When we listen to our inner-guidance it shows us what we need in order to walk through the fire of life’s test. It may tell us it is time to step away from a relationship or job. It may point out that it is time to commit to our health by changing the way we eat or to taking regular time for our creativity.

Meditation is deep listening.  By listening we are consciously participating in alignment of our physical experience with our souls intention.  This alone reduces stress regardless of life test we are experiencing.

The beauty is that we don’t have to stop living to listen.  As Thich Nhat Hanh says we can invite inner-peace through consciously breathing in and out no matter where we are or what challenge we are facing.  It is that simple.

Well it Matter in 50 Years?

Natalie —  September 11, 2013 — 2 Comments

At times in life I notice I’m not putting my priorities in the right order. The tyranny of the urgent, whether it’s someone else’s request or something I expect of myself, has me neglecting what I know in my heart is most important… my physical/mental/spiritual health, the people I love, life balance. Two weeks ago my priorities were put to the test. I had a business trip lined up, meetings, airfare, hotel, rental car and my dad was being hospitalized for a blood transfusion with a mystery illness that had been wearing him down for six weeks with fever, fatigue, then stomach pain and lots of weight loss.  I live in Colorado, he lives in Oregon. I intuitively knew his life was in danger when I had seen him last but he was too feverish to realize it, besides no one in Urgent Care had expressed much worry about his progressive deterioration.

That Monday morning I was struggling with what to do, Dad was playing down how serious it was when I spoke with him on the phone.  Should I keep my work commitments or go be with my Dad who I knew was fighting for his life, without a diagnosis?  In the state of emotional stress I realized I needed support to follow through with my desire to drop everything and drive to Oregon. I texted a friend and asked if he would drive with me. When he said yes, I felt a huge relief and started taking action to cancel my business trip that was meant for the next day. As soon as it was decided a big wave of peace washed over me. I didn’t know what tomorrow would bring but I knew that my priorities were right and I would have no regrets.

In moments of crisis, decisions can feel overwhelming and doing what we need to do feel impossible.  It seemed all the tools I had for centering, self-reflection and getting clear weren’t within reach.  I called on those who know me best to be my anchor and remind me not to doubt my intuition.  To ignore my dad’s “don’t worry,” to set aside my clients “I need the demonstration this week,” and choose what would bring peace for my soul.  I had to press beyond my fear of letting others down, be it family or business associates, and lean on the strength of friends.

At my technology job it was one of the worst possible times for me to need to redirect my energy to family. I reflected on the sage advice from my manager Bill at my first job after college, “Is it going to matter in 50 years? If not, don’t stress about it.”  In 50 years it would matter if I was there for my dad and it wouldn’t matter if I postponed my business trip.

When the time came to let work know my circumstances, I received 100% support from colleagues, clients and management.  I felt the grace of their understanding and acknowledgement that we are all human with needs that come before work.

After being quarantined and run through many tests, they discovered my dad had a parasite, one that kills 100,000 people a year and almost killed him, but is curable! What a relief that it was discovered in time.  And while he’s recovering, I’ve been able to be here at the family Ranch for more time than I thought would be possible for me this year; a blessing in disguise.  This is in a profoundly nurturing place for my soul.  I’ve also had time to spend with my mom and brother who are both facing different mystery health challenges, and witnessed many surprising layers of family healing.

I was reminded from this experience that when I feel confused and am struggling to get clear on my intuitive truth, it’s still there.  I just have too much emotion between me and it, to see it clearly. At those times I can call on the people who know me best to help me clear away the emotional-charge and get grounded enough to see.

 “Prayer is joyous breathing, by which the heavenly atmosphere is inhaled and then exhaled in prayer.” Andrew Murray

Recently I participated in a sweat lodge and was invited to pray out loud with witnesses. I found myself feeling very exposed by allowing others to hear my conversation with the Divine.  For as long as I can remember I have had a private inner-conversation with God. In my mother’s home this was cultivated and encouraged. We had permission to pray in a natural way.  Mom shared by example the sense of relief, healing and support we can experience through prayer.

Although I have this easy natural prayer life, I have been hesitant to show this side of myself to others.  Prayer has been so intimate for me that praying out loud was like being naked in front of strangers.

Part of the fear of revealing my prayer life has been fear of judgment.  Fear that outside of religious organizations, prayer is shunned or seen as weird, uncool.  Prayer is vulnerable. Through it we are revealing our needs and desires in the most intimate way.  Yet prayer is our strength.  It helps us grow a sense of greater certainty with our inner-guidance.

When I am struggling with anything in my life and finally pause to converse with the Divine about my struggles I find immediate relief.  There is a shift in the tension I’ve been carrying, a sense of support from the universe, even if nothing has changed in the outside circumstances.  Often the outside circumstances do change once I have surrendered the outcome.  And at a minimum I feel my perception of the circumstances changes.  I feel less stuck.

When I’m stuck in a space of stress it is hard to see clearly for myself.  It’s hard to see all my options or a way out.  I unconsciously have given my power away to some situation or circumstance that feels bigger than me. It is in the simple act of prayer, sharing my heart with the Divine, that the breakthrough comes. Light shines into the darkness and helps me see clearly again.

Yet even with a lifetime practice of inner prayer I still forget to pray.  It generally is when life is most challenging that I go long periods without remembering to ask for Divine support, without surrendering my will to the will of the Divine.

So I encourage you to pray. Regardless of your belief system, this conversation with a Higher Power is transformational. It frees us from our burdens.  It clears space in our heart and mind so we can see the answers and hear our inner-voice.

Breathe in the breath of the universe. Breathe out your prayers of gratitude and requests for support from the Divine.

The process of self-discovery is not a linear path. We become aware of an essential truth, something we are capable of, something we desire to hold in a prominent focus as we move forward in life and then somehow, often without even realizing it we get side tracked, thrown off course.

These meanderings in our process of living, feeling we’ve lost our Self for a while, aren’t for lack of setting intentions, making a commitment or willingness.  The experiences always show up for a purpose. They are additional opportunities to get clear and hone-in on the pure vision of what we are creating with our lives. They may show us what we don’t want or they may show us more specifically what we do want. They definitly show us the areas where we are ready to grow.

Sometimes what we know we want is put on the back burner due to circumstances that feel out of our control, economic, family or other responsibilities.  Other times it’s in response to a relationship or a group of people in our lives.

As an intuitive person the energies around us influence our feelings.  What we manifest is rooted in our emotions toward something.  So feelings are a critical factor in our creations. A partner or a social circle can work to awaken us in beautiful ways but can also pull us off track with their emotions or differing priorities.

When we feel another’s energy and respond to it, we are to varying degrees matching their vibration. I call this mirroring. Empathic intuition is one form of this. We sense the emotional energy and match it from the second chakra.

Without the conscious awareness of holding our own energy space we can get lost in mirroring through our empathy and not stay rooted in our Self.  We make a better witness, and offer a sense of strength and grounding to others, when we have a clear awareness of what are our feelings versus the feelings of another.  It is through mirroring or taking on the energy of our environment that we get thrown off course… if there really is such a thing… we are side tracked with an opportunity for new awareness.

To hold our course, the vision we want to create in our lives, we need to learn how to be present for others in a deeply feeling way while holding our presence for ourselves. We strengthen this ability by regularly meditating to refresh our sense of being grounded (first chakra), clear our energy field of energy that is not our own (sixth chakra) and call our energy back to fill us up.

There’s no need to be self-critical about the cycles of losing and finding our Self over and over again. Honestly, this process is what we are here for, to remember who we are at the very essence, heal, grow and to have experiences that help us see our truth more and more clearly each day.

Life throws us obstacles, bumps that come out of nowhere.  The goal is to stay loose enough to adjust to the changes and centered enough to keep in control when the shit hits the fan.  When the ground beneath us moves so fast that it’s hard to focus, we have to tune into our intuitive knowing, stay in that controlled out-of-control state.

Skiing and snowboarding teach us this flexibility.  If you want to enjoy your journey downhill there’s no option but to be 100% present; aligned body-mind-spirit.  Adjust to the shifting terrain, in the moment.

Our core (third chakra), center-of-gravity is in the bliss zone, balanced with velocity, snow and the contour of the mountain.  When another skier crosses our path, a mogul, rock or tree faces us, we turn but we don’t turn permanently away from our intended path.  We take a turn that avoids collision and another turn that returns us to our direction of choice.

In the moment we may recognize that our chosen path is not taking us in a direction that is going to bring us pleasure, success or good circumstances, so we permanently redirect our course. If we don’t foresee the need to turn or the obstacle throws us out of our center we’ll crash.  Varying degrees of wipeout occur, depending on how tuned-in we were to our body and our surroundings.

We make graceful turns when we are centered in our truth, tuned-in to our surroundings and willing to adjust course when the flow points us in a different direction.  Practicing mediation tools each day gives us this core strength when faced with any challenge. To do this we:

  • Take the time early in the day to clear our mind (sixth chakra) of the past and other people’s energy or agendas.
  • Ground (root chakra) our energy in the present day.
  • Call any of our scattered energy back to ourselves and visualized it filling every cell of our body.

Being grounded and saturated in our true essence is the bliss zone.  It allows us to be present for the obstacles in life and to navigate them without feeling as much trauma. It feels aligned, peaceful and full of possibility.  Taking responsibility for our life by owning our energy space teaches us that we can keep our focus yet be flexible enough to make graceful turns.

Dark Night of the Soul

Natalie —  July 21, 2011 — 1 Comment

A Dark Night of the Soul is a period of time or season that many of us on the spiritual journey find ourselves in once or more in our life.  The Dark Night comes unexpectedly through some change or experience that causes us to question all that we’ve known to be true.  It is a time where we find ourselves feeling disillusioned with a temporary loss of faith.  What we trusted appears in a new light to have been temporary and incomplete.  The foundation we’d built our perception of the world on shifted and in that shift we found ourselves unsettled.  What felt meaningful feels meaningless, what seemed solid looks unreliable, what we thought we knew to be true comes into question.

Walking through a Dark Night of the Soul period requires intense resilience.  It pushes our edge, uses every ounce of our psychological capacity for survival. The Dark Night can be triggered by things like divorce, loss of a job, loss of a role or identity we’ve identified with or physical illness. Where it takes us is a profound void that may feel like depression, hollowness, hopelessness, emptiness and doubt.

How do we endure this mental and spiritual struggle? What gets us through the void and back to a point of inner-peace?  I’ve found that, an essential aspect of the healing and growth the Dark Night has to offer comes through the following conscious choices:

  • Acknowledging that the cycle of living in the unknown has purpose. 
  • Calling on our inner-guidance with much more frequency and consistency. 
  • Moving our body to allow the cycle to stay in motion on the physical level. 
  • Seeking support through the council of spiritual mentors who have walked the path before.

These paths of self-care give us strength and help us see that we will make our way to a season of light again.

The Dark Night may feel like a stuck place in our external life or a place where everything is in chaos.  However stagnant it feels or looks in the physical form it is an active season for the soul.  The soul is in chrysalis.  It has gone within and on certain levels may require us to go unconscious about some of the work underway. Transformation, upgrading our soul to integrate all the bits-and-pieces we’ve been encountering in our self-awareness and growth at the deepest level. 

Some of these levels of processing are beyond what we can or are ready to consciously “see” as they transform.  We have to be patient and trust the inner activity.  We have to ask our mind, as it seeks to fix what appears to be broken, the mind that wants a solution, wants answers, to be patient while the Dark Night chrysalis is evolving us from the caterpillar to the butterfly. 

The void has us fear a loss of Self.  It has us feel alone and as if we may have lost all of the ground we had gained through our conscious growth and commitment to self-awareness and health.  In reality there is no loss, at the other side of this deeply challenging soul searching cycle we find ourselves renewed, more mature, with an inner radiance that transcends our prior light.

The Dark Night is a soul crisis.  It pushes us to the full extent of what we feel our soul is capable of handling.  It may temporarily break our spirit but the Great Spirit/God never gives us more than we can handle.  The discovery of our inner strength, the renewal and appreciation for what generates inner-peace for us, makes the journey through the void, the rebirthing of our higher Self, well worth the battles we face when staring at the unknown.

Be Powerful

Natalie —  April 13, 2011 — Leave a comment

There are a lot of mixed social messages about power.  People strive for it, fear it, are drawn to it, angry at it and feel guilty about wielding it.  It is suppressed, idolized and ridiculed.  From an early age we are taught to conform to the collective, and therefore redirect or deny aspects of our will.  Most of us were trained to fear showing our power because we were punished for doing so.  When we deny or suppress our power we are restraining our capacity to contribute good creative energy to the world.  Power is directed energy.

If you feel guilty about being your naturally powerful Self, here are some reminders of why it’s good:

  • Owning our personal power allows those around us to relax because they don’t have to “care take” us or guess about what we need.  We’re solid, clear.
  • When we express our truth in a vulnerable and authentic way, we’re more powerful and approachable.
  • Activating our will power allows us to overcome inertia, move forward in life.
  • Setting clear intentions is powerful. Magic happens when we are in this zone.

Disempowered people don’t seem to be living much at all.  They carry lots of disappointment, anger, apathy and depression.  To stand in our power (truth) we have to be willing to disappoint people we care about in the short run.  They may not like our choices but if we make choices to please others, that are not true to our path, we eventually will disappoint them with our lack of full investment in the decision.

Healthy power does not dominate but vibrates truth.  The more we align with the truth of our desire to create and allow it to flow, activating directed energy, the greater we feel.  The third chakra is where our will resides, our core, the center most pivotal point of our physical body.  To release social programs and other self-imposed limitations to our power, we can clean out the third chakra and fill it in with our own vibration. 

In the meditation space, imagine a large bubble a few feet away from you.  See all the energy that is not yours but in your third chakra move out of it into this bubble.  Send the control energy, family expectations, pressure to conform, apathy, anger or fear energies that are in this space out to the bubble.  When the bubble is full and your third chakra clear, imagine the bubble floating to a far away place and pop it in your mind’s eye.  Then give your third chakra a new color that represents your vibration today (any color but white).

Anodea Judith writes in Wheels of Life, The User’s Guide to the Chakra System, the third chakra is home to “the spark of enthusiasm that ignites power and will.” We all desire to live ignited, inspired lives.  We have this ability within us.  It’s simply a matter of clearing away what is blocking our natural power so we can live purposefully.

Good Grief?

Natalie —  February 10, 2011 — Leave a comment

Grief is more than the emotion that arises when someone we love dies. It surfaces when we experience an ending of any sort. A relationship with someone we love changes or comes to an end due to breakup or divorce. We physically move away from a community or change jobs. Something about our life doesn’t turn out how we thought it would.

As we explore our intuitive nature, empathy is the first place most of us experience a sense of reading another’s energy (2nd chakra). Empathy has us match energy with those we care for to energetically support them. When we feel the intuitive information in our body rather than “see” it in our clairvoyant space (6th chakra) we may have a hard time separating our emotions from that of the other. We take on the pain of another and actually have physical symptoms from it. By doing this we are less capable of providing the needed strength for our loved one. We can maintain connectedness without matching the energy of those around us. In doing so, we tune-in to our own emotions without carrying the burden of the collective grief.

When our heart is broken with grief, the pain may cause us to check-out or escape the feeling. At times we may be unconscious of it but notice that we’re scattered, having a hard time focusing or not feeling very present in our body. A practice of inquiry, when these sensations of distance between body and spirit occur, helps us realign. Asking our body what it feels and listening. Sometimes it requires activation of physical activity like walking, yoga or dancing to reconnect. Feeling pain isn’t easy but allows the energy to move through the natural cycle, providing relief.

The best thing we can do for ourselves when there is a loss in our lives is feel the grief while nurturing our physical body and staying connected with loved ones. If we commit to notice when we want to disassociate from our experience of pain, we can find a path to staying more present. This may be through meditation, physical movement that connects spirit to body or reaching out to a friend to talk. Then when we find ourselves taking on the pain of another we are prepared to breathe deeply, and take the imaginary elevator from our 2nd chakra up to the 6th via the heart to lend strength to those we love.

Surf Awareness

Natalie —  April 30, 2010 — Leave a comment

They call it a break, the tipping point of a cresting wave, and it can break you if you aren’t tuned in, adjusting your body to the cycle of the swell.  High risk physical activities like surfing have a way of focusing my attention.  The ocean’s power and surge can strike us down and scrape us along the sand or coral bottom.  To swim or surf in the ocean we have to attune to the rhythms of the wave, have courage and be alert.   On vacation in Hawaii last week I watched people express joy, fear and thrill in the surf.  I noticed how positively addictive emersion with a higher power can be.

The ocean challenges my sense of safety.  I hesitate to rely on something outside of myself for survival, such as an oxygen tank when scuba diving or a surfboard to float on unyielding waves.  Yet the magnetic pull of the ocean’s energy is more powerful than my fear.  I took the plunge and learned to surf.  One moment I was happily floating on the crystal blue ocean the next I had saltwater up my nose and was praying for my life, caught by the full force of a cresting wave.  When I harnessed a wave, stood up on my surfboard and found balance, it felt effortless to ride that powerful sweet spot of energy.  But if I wasn’t ready for the arrival of the wave or my body was not in alignment with her flow, I was picked up and churned into the sea, bobbing back to the surface like a cork on the other side of the wave.  Heightened awareness brought on by immediate consequences that may cause pain cleared my mind.

Surfing forced my awareness into the present moment.  To enjoy the sweet spot and not be beat up by the waves I had no choice but vigilant attentiveness to the endless ocean horizon, reading the rhythm of organic motion as each wave manifest before my eyes.  It turned my mind to gratitude for the experience of my physical body.  Appreciation for all that my body does for me without complaint at the instance I ask it: walk, swim, bend, breathe, balance, see, hear and feel.  Through gratitude and attentiveness I become more aware of how my body informs my intuitive response. 

I liken my relationship with the ocean to the cycles in my life. Sometimes I’m connected to the flow, effortlessly tuned into my inner voice and making choices that align with that energy.  Other times I’m off balance, not tapped into my inner resources and it feels life is thrashing me about.  In those challenging cycles I long for relief from the series of waves that keeps crashing into me, to catch my breath and regain my center.  The respite eventually comes, I reconnect with the flow.  In all that thrashing about, stress and stretching I have been relieved of many mental and emotional burdens that were no longer serving me.  I’ve learned something and feel different lighter, stronger and empowered.

Own Your Space

Natalie —  March 18, 2010 — 3 Comments

When you find yourself thinking “I don’t feel like myself today,” see if anyone comes to mind?  There is energy in your space that has tapped into your power. It may be a global or cultural energy of fear, triggered by an act of violence on the planet. It could be a co-worker or family member that is driving a specific agenda. Whatever the source, it created an energetic cord that prompted you to match that picture. A trigger to match energy usually comes from previous life experiences that were unresolved.

Another form this takes is when you feel a person come to mind over and over again. It may be a person you don’t see every day or a person you haven’t seen in many years. It also may be a person that is in your life daily. Regardless it’s as if they are ringing the doorbell of your mind, over and over again. They are in your psychic space. You may like this person’s energy and feel inclined to let it be even if it’s a bit distracting. Alternately you may find it very irritating and want to pull a Rambo to forcefully kick them OUT of your mind.

The critical piece is acknowledging you have seniority over your own space. You are the one who manifested this body. What you choose is the bottom line rule for your energy and you have complete authority over it. Here are a few simple exercises that can be used to reclaim your psychic space:

  • Imagine cleaning out the center of your head so that you are the only one in there. Spray it out with an imaginary fire hose or blow it clean with a fan.
  • Visualize hanging up the telepathic phone line.
  • Look at your relationship with the person and picture updating it to present-time with clear boundaries.

Seniority is an act of self-care. Seniority requires diligence and self-awareness. It is a gift to the person whose energy is in your space, inviting them to return to themselves.