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Whose Voice Are You Listening To?

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Whose Voice Are You Listening To?
Photo Credit: www.psychalive.org

Juliet TangContributing Writer

Throughout my life, there had been no short supply of voices coming from both outside and inside of me pulling me in different directions. Sometimes the voice was gentle like a whisper from a lover, sometimes it was harsh and demanding especially when confronted with a fight or flight situation. The voices took on different roles such as the soother, the sergeant, the seductress, the teacher and they knew exactly when their presence was required. Most of them functioned on autopilot that I never truly stopped and questioned the origins of these voices until my awakening.

As if having woken up from a dream after a long night, I suddenly noticed not all voices were created equal, that is, some of them clearly did not have my best interest at heart despite the fact they all claimed they were looking after me.

Questioning the voices:

One by one, I began questioning each voice every time when it spoke to me. I would ask where it came from and have a conversation with it. Some of them, the self-deprecating and self-denying ones desperately wanted to be heard and they brought with them a ton of excuses, justifications and explanations as to why I must follow their lead or else I would end up with unimaginable catastrophes.

There was the constant nagging one that sounded perfectly soft and sincere, “You can’t do it because you are not good enough.” If only I could plant a tree every time that voice was uttered in my world! Lo and behold, it was the answer to almost every idea I wanted to manifest that was outside of my comfort zone for three decades of my life. I never questioned that voice because I believed it was protecting me and serving my highest good even though it most often reduced me to curling up in a corner of a cage made of self-loathing and tears.

The first time I questioned it was when I was over at my parents’ house one day. I shared some of my ideas with them about a project I had in mind and immediately, my dad’s reaction was, “Who do you think you are? You can’t do it because you are not made of that material.”

Freeze framing the movie scenes:

Right then and there, I saw a movie titled “I’m not good enough” playing scene by scene in my mind. Some of the scenes were from childhood when I hopelessly tried to defend myself in front of dad, but most of the scenes comprised of those moments in my adult life such as the one when I chose a career that was safe rather than one I was passionate about so I wouldn’t end up on the street, or the one when I held onto a failing relationship because I told myself I would never find a partner who wanted to be with me, on and on it played as that moment froze and time stayed still.

How many other voices were there trying to stop me from living my life? And how much was I holding onto that was not mine?

Those two questions initiated an intense healing process that was not unlike spring cleaning accompanied by long periods of soul searching, heartaches and the tears.

It was the beginning of my awakening.

When we go through our lives set on auto pilot – which by the way is a necessary mechanism for us to not having to relearn how to walk and brush our teeth every day – the trade-off is, we are also living on a subconscious level. Without the awareness, we allow our lives to be dictated by outside influences such as values and beliefs from our parents, teachers and culture that we have come to internalize. The result of moving through life reacting based on our past experiences rather than creating from who we are today, makes us feel like powerless victims simply because the life that “just happens to us” is not the one of our choosing as the voices we listen to clearly have no idea what is best for us today, at this moment!

Releasing the chains that bind us to the past:

This is perhaps one of the most empowering and liberating realizations one can have, for the chains that bind us only have power over us for as long as we remain unaware. The second we see them for what they are, a necessary tool, or I prefer to think of them as the greatest gift that allows us to learn what doesn’t work for us in life so we can discover what does work, they will simply shatter into a million pieces and dissolve into thin air.

Once we become conscious of how a voice impacts our decisions, it then becomes our choice whether we will follow that voice, or adjust its volume so it cannot take over.

Free-willing our way forward:

This is the magnificent power of our free will. Our brain is hardwired like a disc that can be both programmed and erased once the data is no longer needed. Once we press the delete button, we will end up with an infinite amount of free space – space to rewrite our stories and our lives.

There are many ways to identify disempowering voices, my favourite one is to just listen to our feelings as they are language of the soul. Whenever an out of tune voice shouts out a command, we experience a moment of “yuck.” Those are usually the voices that trigger fear and anxiety, make us want to scream and run, cause us to lose sleep at night, drag us into a sea of depression and manifest as physical pains and illnesses, the list goes on.

Once those voices are identified, befriend them and talk to them. They are our internal barometers that have been working tirelessly day and night to indicate to us what we truly desire in life. They are our cheerleaders that use any means necessary to get us to run that extra mile so we can reach our milestones. They are the x-ray glasses that allow us to see beyond the surface so we can move into our consciousness and elevate it. This is our time to give them our most heartfelt gratitude for having illuminated the paths in front of us so we can now travel in light, or enlightened.

Eventually, we will discover the one voice that has been singing to us all along – the voice of love, joy and healing that has never judged or abandoned us since the day we began our journeys. As the silence inside of us grows, that voice will become clearer and more expansive and fill us with endless inspiration.

We will say to ourselves, “But I’ve known this all along! I just didn’t listen to it.”

Follow that voice — the voice of the heart.

Recommended Articles by Juliet Tang
About the Author

Juliet Tang is an intuitive life coach, spiritual mentor and medicine woman. Her work empowers those who are looking for more alignment and expansion to awaken to their power and purpose on earth, activate more love, abundance and joy in their lives, and manifest their soul’s desires using the conscious creation process.

To learn more, go to www.juliettang.com, or follow Juliet on Facebook and Instagram.

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Research Says Gratitude Can Reverse Aging, Stress And Ill Health

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Carolanne Wright, Guest Writer

With all the doom and gloom in the world, it seems as though everywhere we turn, there’s one crisis or another. And although it’s crucial to be well-informed and prepared in these modern times, “consuming” a consistent diet of bad news takes a toll on health, happiness and even our rate of aging.

In spite of this, we can apply straightforward action that counteracts the negative effects that we experience. The best part is that it takes only a few minutes a day to radically change our physicalhttps://collective-spark.xyz/?s=gratitude and mental well-being, while at the same time slowing — and possibly reversing — the aging process. The secret? Living a life of gratitude.

Confirmed by science: a grateful heart is good for you

As unlikely as it may sound, when we slow down and take the time to appreciate all the good in our lives — rather than what we are dissatisfied with — a radical change in our physiology occurs. The simple act of gratitude has been scientifically shown to balance our heart rhythms and nervous system, leading to favourable changes in immunity and hormonal equilibrium, as well as increased production of the anti-aging compound DHEA.

Further benefits include a significant reduction in stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression. Considering that the damaging effects of stress contribute to a spectrum of diseases — including, but not limited to cardiovascular disease, cancer, mental illness and a variety of autoimmune disorders — it’s in our best interest to get a handle on this health-destroying syndrome.

The good news is that we can easily tame stress in just a few minutes per day by using simple techniques. A study sponsored by the Institute of HeartMath and the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in California discovered that a new emotional self-management program significantly reduced the stress hormone cortisol while increasing DHEA, resulting in a remarkable reduction of tension and anxiety.

Forty-five healthy participants were involved in the study. Salivary DHEA/DHEAS and cortisol levels were measured and the autonomic nervous system was assessed using a heart rate variability evaluation. A psychological questionnaire was also given. Individuals were evaluated before and four weeks after being trained in the emotional self-management program, which included practices that encourage appreciation and gratitude.

In the study abstract:

“The experimental group experienced significant increases in the positive affect scales of Caring and Vigor and significant decreases in the negative affect scales of Guilt, Hostility, Burnout, Anxiety and Stress Effects, while no significant changes were seen in the comparison group. There was a mean 23% reduction in cortisol and a 100½ increase in DHEA/DHEAS in the experimental group.”

The full report can be found here  [PDF].

Two key techniques were used for the experiment — the “Cut-Thru” and “Heart Lock-In.” To learn the specifics of both practices, see The HeartMath Solution.

How to tame stress, encourage happiness and foster health in minutes a day

If you would like to use a few easy methods that encourage balanced heart rhythms, stress reduction and positivity, this page is a good place to start. Additionally, The Appreciative Heart: The Psychophysiology of Positive Emotions and Optimal Functioning is available as a free e-product download.

Lastly, Sara Childre, president of the Institute of HeartMath, aptly observes:

“Gratitude is a simple and effective practice and the benefits are real and attainable. Many of us know this in our hearts, but now it’s proven by modern science. Gratitude creates a healthier, happier and more fulfilling state of being for anyone who takes a few moments to feel and reflect on it.”

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Recommended Articles by Carolanne Wright
About the Author

Carolanne enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years

Through her website Thrive-Living.net she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people from around the world who share a similar vision. Follow Carolanns on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

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Manifest

Finding Love Within

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Finding Love Within
Photo Credit: Getty

Fiona ReillyGuest Writer

The only place we can find true and enduring love is within ourselves. Often it can be easier to love others than to love ourselves. The love that you give to others, can you find it for yourself? Are you able to accept yourself as the wonderful, loving being that you are? How can we truly love another if we don’t love ourselves? Sometimes we can be unkind and critical of ourselves, however it is the times when we are gentle, compassionate and loving that we find the most joy and fulfilment in life. Let’s love ourselves more and increase the joy in the world.

When we find the love within ourselves it naturally flows out from us to others and into the world around us. Do you recognise that feeling of joy and lightness when you fall in love? The world seems brighter and you feel more alive! However falling in love isn’t really about the other person, it’s about what they evoke within us. The love, joy and feelings we experience belong to us, though they are brought to the fore by our reflection in the other person or through a beautiful landscape or with appreciating the miracles of life.

“If you listen closely, you will discover that romantic love it isn’t where you discover true and lasting love. The kind of love you truly long for is found inside of you as you discover how to meet yourself in our own heart.” – Mary O Malley

So how might we gratify our heart’s longing for love and acceptance, for each of us the answers will be different. Can we free ourselves to fall in love with our own beautiful selves? Can we be gentle, loving and accepting of who we are (warts ‘n all)? What aspects of living might help to evoke these feelings of joy and lightness from within? For me, it’s being in nature, sitting quietly to meditate, intimacy with a partner, connecting with close friends, watching a baby and so much more… Every moment offers us the opportunity to open up to love.

From a young age we frequently create stories about how we are not good enough or unlovable. Hollywood and society in general has conditioned us to look for love outside of ourselves in a romantic partner that sweeps us off our feet! And we take on the burden of making ourselves perfect to gain this love. Yet we can never be perfect in that sense, we all have imperfections to help us learn and grow. It’s liberating to accept ourselves in our imperfections. Finding the love within helps us to heal ourselves, our relationships and our world.

“When you are able to love yourself deeply, you can be kind to others.” – Debasish Mridha

I often receive synchronicities and messages from the Universe and yesterday I came across a ladybird at an auspicious location. One of the messages of ladybird medicine which felt apt is that “As fear cannot exist amongst joy, the ladybug brings a message of promise, for they get us back in touch with the joy of living – we must let go of our fears and go back to our roots, to love.” (www.shamanicjourney.com)

Letting go of our fears is a life long journey, though with courage, gentleness and compassion we can find our way back to love.

How can you be more loving, kind and gentle with yourself today? How would it be to love and accept yourself exactly as you are, warts ‘n all?

I leave you with a an old classic from three love legends – “Cause when it’s all for one it’s one for all”

With love from my heart to yours, may you find your love within, Fiona.

Recommended Articles by Fiona Reilly
About the Author

Fiona is an Active Listening therapistreflexologist, and experienced doula. She is passionate about living true to her heart and soul and empowering others to do the same. She runs various workshops related to the vibrancy of conscious plant based eating and women’s issues including being childless/free and loves joining women in circle.

Her website is www.fionareilly.co.uk or click here for her facebook page – True Living

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Manifest

Create Art, Not Excuses!

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Create Art, Not Excuses!
Photo Credit: Pexels

Fiona ReillyGuest Writer

We all have creative endeavours that we would like to put more energy into. Ways of expressing ourselves that brings joy, fulfilment and perhaps a sense of liberation. Yet a myriad of things stop us and cause us to procrastinate. We find 101 other things to do rather than begin that project. There are dishes to be washed, Facebook to be scrolled through and goodness knows what else to keep us distracted from that creative expression.

There are many reasons that cause us not to engage in those pursuits that we know will ultimately bring us delight and gratification. How awesome is the feeling of dancing, singing, creating whatever and giving ourselves into soulful expression. We usually have our own personal distortions and blockages around creative endeavours. One of my distortions is that I feel I need to be creating for a purpose, rather than for the sheer joy of expression. I need to be doing something that is productive and useful, rather than exploring or creating for its own sake. It’s an underlying belief that I’m working to let go of. There are undoubtedly a myriad of other reasons that hinder us…

Finding Our Blockages

Many of us have blocks or negative self-beliefs that inhibit our expression. It may be that we feel we’re not good enough or fear we will make mistakes. Many of us as children will have unconsciously picked up messages about what is or is not okay and about our abilities and skills. A comment from a teacher, telling you your painting isn’t right or a parent suggesting you need to do better next time can all impact on our willingness to express. It may be useful to acquaint yourself with your inner critic, find its source and bring it out into the open.

I find that if I am feeling generally inspired and positive about life then it is easier to begin, so go for a nature walk or do some yoga or whatever it is that helps you to get in the space to begin (though be careful not to use this as another form of procrastination!). At other times you just need to begin something and five minutes later the creativity begins to flow. I find this with writing, I procrastinate big time and then once I start I don’t want to stop. Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of not Giving a Heck speaks of the “Do Something” Principle. There is a generally held notion that inspiration leads to motivation which leads to action. Manson suggests that action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it. By doing something we can initiate motivation within us.

Mistakes are learning opportunities, everyone who succeeded first took a big risk and probably failed many times. Madeline L’Engle was an American writer of children’s fiction. She received 30 rejections of her book “A Wrinkle in Time” before it was accepted for publishing. (She then went on to publish many more books and become quite successful.) Here is what she says about this:

“Over the years I have worked out a philosophy of failure, which I find extraordinarily liberating. If I am not free to fail, I’m not free to take risks and everything in life that is worth doing involves a willingness to risk failure. This is what’s true in all human relationships, unless I am willing to open myself to risk and to being hurt, then I’m closing myself off to love and friendship.”

Are you willing to dare and risk? Are you willing to let your light shine? What else is there to do? What is the purpose of life?

Marianne Williamson suggests in A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles that our greatest fear is related to our light and success rather than a fear of failure.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Some Questions to Support You in Your Creativity:

Here are some questions that may be helpful for you to contemplate in supporting your creative endeavours.

  • How important is it for you to express your creativity on a scale of 1-10?
  • Ask yourself if not now, then when?
  • Would it be helpful to have someone bear witness to your intention? I find that if I share my intention to create something with another person, that by saying it aloud and having someone else witness my commitment supports me in carrying it through.
  • Is there a time of day that works best for you? For me it’s in the morning, when I’m fresh and most awake. For you it might be at night when the house is quiet.
  • How can you start now? If there is a way to do something related to your ideas – begin! It might not be exactly what you want to do, for example you might want to express your creativity through gardening, though don’t have a garden, so work on a window box or another related project and see where that takes you…
  • I often ask myself if today were my last day on earth, how would l like to spend it? This helps me to prioritize what is important right now.
  • How do you feel when you write/paint/bake or whatever your creative thing is? What does it evoke in you? Would you like more of that in your life?
  • What is stopping you? Do you have creative blocks or inhibiting beliefs that you need to explore and work with? Perhaps write down these inner critics and find out where they come from usually a parent, teacher or other significant figure from your childhood. Ask yourselves are these voices true and relevant to my life now.
  • Find support – join a local or online artists group or create something that would work best for you with a friend or initiate a group. “The Artist’s Way” is a book that has a 12 week step program. There are lots of other books and programs that offer advice on how to get those creative juices flowing.

With love and blessings, Fiona.

Recommended Articles by Fiona Reilly
About the Author

Fiona is an Active Listening therapistreflexologist, and experienced doula. She is passionate about living true to her heart and soul and empowering others to do the same. She runs various workshops related to the vibrancy of conscious plant based eating and women’s issues including being childless/free and loves joining women in circle.

Her website is www.fionareilly.co.uk or click here for her facebook page – True Living

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Trust Your Own Truth

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Photo Credit: Pexels

Fiona ReillyGuest Writer

Henry David Thoreau once said “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” For some time recently, I had been deeply questioning what is true and how can I know what is real? I have wondered what is the purpose of life and what is beyond it. I felt lost and uncertain of life and its purpose. What are we all doing here? It came to a point where I felt there were three main things I knew:

Firstly change happens, nothing remains the same. The world is in a constant state of flux and dynamism. There is a constant flow of energy moving and shifting.

The second thing I became increasingly aware of is that there is so much that I don’t know. It seems the more I explore and learn about myself and the world, the more I realise that there is very little I know with absolute certainty.

Finally, I am aware of an energy at work in the Universe that is much larger than “me” and my experience of the world. There is a force beyond that which can be seen, though can be subtly felt or sensed and observed through synchronicity and signs.

Letting go of the old

Part of the questioning process I went through, appears to have resulted in a letting go of old stories and antiquated ways of identifying the world. My patterns of interpreting the world shifted. It felt somewhat disorientating, yet extremely positive and beneficial. I had been looking at the world through particular filters that I had evolved through conditioning, childhood experiences, religious dogma… etc. Such influence had become screens through which I interpreted the world and my experiences. I acknowledge that many filters remain, however it feels like some at least were beginning to shift.

Finding my own answers

With these old filters being removed, there is an invitation for me to find my own new answers. What resonates with my inner knowing and truth. When I can let go and get out of my own way, the truth and inner knowing is just there. In fact I don’t need answers, I can just simply be with myself and the world as it is.

One day I was out walking and stood on top of Glastonbury Tor when a word landed, that word was “TRUST”. The word appeared from nowhere and seemed very significant. Initially I wasn’t clear what it related to, so I asked “Show me”. It then became obvious that trust was needed in relation to how I resonated with and experienced the world. I needed to continue finding my own truth within and trusting that. Externally I am provided with mirrors and teachers, though ultimately they reflect something to me inside. So when I experience the world or a particular situation, the question I ask is “How do I feel about that?” or “Does that resonate with me and my truth?” or “Why am I here?

No absolute truth

“It is the individual who knows how little they know about themselves who stands the most reasonable chance of finding out something about themselves before they die.” ~ S.I. Hayakawa 

There is no absolute truth. We all see the world through our own individual beingness and our own distortions or filters. We see what we need and find our own truth depending on what is beneficial for us to explore and learn in life. We draw whatever is right to us by the law of attraction.

There is my truth, which will be not be the same as yours. If two people witness the same sunset or hear the same piece of music, each will describe it differently according to how it resonates with them, what touches them inside. Their prior knowledge and experience will colour their current experience, for example a classically trained musician will interpret the music being played differently to someone who has no such training or musical experience. Each will have their own truth about what they have just experienced, neither will be the absolute truth, and yet neither is untrue.

When we connect to the flow we know our own truth

And so we are the only ones who know what is right for us. Only I know what the next right step for me is. Others may offer perspectives and highlight aspects that I may not be able to see for myself, though ultimately, I am empowered by finding my own way, even if that isn’t always the smooth or easy path. When I was on a Vipassana retreat recently it felt right for me to leave early.

The third thing that I mentioned knowing was of an energy, larger than myself operating within the Universe.  This energy connects us all and when we attune to it within our own being, we are in flow with all that is. There seems to be a guiding benevolent consciousness supporting us. Sometimes where we are taken doesn’t make logical sense, it may take us to places that we wouldn’t necessarily choose with the logical mind, it may not be a place we like, though it is most probably exactly the place we need to be. Often following our higher truth can take us into the places that feel tight and uncomfortable so we can explore, discover and move through blockages and distortions. When we trust and follow our inner knowing (which is connected to the Universal flow) magic unfolds.

“Life is completely different when you learn how to feel your way with your heart rather than thinking about it with your mind.” ~ Mary O’Malley

How do we know our truth?

The way to our truth will be unique for each individual. My encouragement would be to keep exploring and playing. There may be tools and techniques that can be useful. Here are a few suggestions as to what I have found helpful in finding my truth:

Let go of the logical mind and feel deeper within. There is a wise saying – “The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master”. The mind can be a very useful tool, though there are other ways of knowing. Sometimes the answer may be the one I don’t think I want, so it can be beneficial to trust what is arising, even if it doesn’t appear to make sense. Someone recently shared with me how when she considered where to do her shopping she was disappointed when her guidance was indicating that she go into the city centre rather than shop locally. Yet she trusted enough to go with what she was intuitively feeling and was rewarded when she met a friend in the city. Trusting the flow and inner pull can lead us on magical adventures.

Spend time in quiet, meditating or connecting with nature. These are ways that enable me to connect more deeply with my inner knowing. Just by spending time connecting and being present, the truth reveals itself. Breathing consciously is another valuable method.

Notice what you feel in your body. I find this really helpful. For me if something isn’t true or right, I will often feel a tightness in my solar plexus. On the other hand, if something is true and right, I often feel a sense of relief and expansion. It’s not always clear and sometimes I need to sit or work with things for a time before it becomes clear. Sensations around the heart are another way of discovering my truth.

Simply ask and listen for what arises. For example, I might ask – “Does x serve me?” or “Is x right for me?” I will often get a clear answer, sometimes not so clear and that’s okay too. Many people use tools such as dowsing, angel cards, kinesiology… etc these may be beneficial though ultimately the answer is coming through you.

Watch for signs and synchronicities. The Universe will provide spontaneous signals to indicate particular things. Synchronicities aren’t always pointing in the direction that might appear obvious, sometimes they are inviting a deeper exploration inside regarding my truth or how I feel about something.

Ask for guidance. Ask “Show me” and the Universal Energy flow will inspire you. You could also play the game of freewheeling.

There are no mistakes, only discoveries about oneself. So relax and have fun   There is a game I like to play and indeed make it a part of my life, that at Openhand is called freewheeling. It involves being totally present and open, not having an agenda and seeing where or to what you are drawn. Perhaps you do this while out on a walk or taking a trip in the car. Where are you drawn, what attracts your attention and what message does it have for you? Why not try it out for yourself?

With love through the connection that unites us all, Fiona.

Recommended Articles by Fiona Reilly
About the Author

Fiona is an Active Listening therapistreflexologist, and experienced doula. She is passionate about living true to her heart and soul and empowering others to do the same. She runs various workshops related to the vibrancy of conscious plant based eating and women’s issues including being childless/free and loves joining women in circle.

Her website is www.fionareilly.co.uk or click here for her facebook page – True Living

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

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