How To Finally, Finally, Totally, Really Change (While Still Staying Your Own Wonderful Self)

It’s a spiritual truism, running through the great religions, alternative spiritual paths, even psychological health approaches: accept (even love, if you can) yourself…as you are right now. Accept, embrace, love, and be kind towards all that comprises the one known as “you.”

photo by Alice Popkorn

photo by Alice Popkorn

That being said…most all of us have things we would love to change about ourselves. Sometimes big things, sometimes little things. We want the “more,”–even if we have been lucky and wise enough to move beyond wanting that more to be about things “out there”; the material things. For some, it might be as basic as something like ditching too much time in mindless internet or television. For others, there may be more consequential issues, such as a problem with rage or low self-esteem. And often for those on a spiritual path, there can be feelings of never being quite satisfied with ourselves due to a keen sense of ideal qualities for which we yearn.

So, all the while accepting that you are fine and precious and wonderful just as you are NOW, I offer a humble cheat sheet of ways to–hopefully–finally–be able to implement some of those changes you dream about. These are in no particular order, so let’s just dive in. And don’t expect yourself to do them all—this is a pick-what-sings-to-you-and feels-like-the-missing-piece(s) list!

photo by Ernst Moeksis

photo by Ernst Moeksis

  • Support, support, support!  I am really big on the buddy system, support groups, and/or getting yourself to a paid helper (coach, therapist, psychic, organizer, nutritionist) both for the sweet energy of support and the more defined energy of accountability. I think we often need both of those qualities; the yin and the yang of having both empathy from and responsibility to someone else can be magic. The choices are endless. A truly supportive pal in the same boat is great, 12-Step programs are life saving for some, and there are other free options (sometimes a MeetUp group, or the numerous online approaches). Or start a group yourself! If you can afford it and it’s appropriate to your goal, I do recommend professionals (such as above) of course, too.
photo by Lemon Toast

photo by Lemon Toast

  • Hydration, and proper nutrition. I am amazed at how often people try to push through obstacles mentally or emotionally without having the support in their bodies to make that happen! Again, there are a multitude of ways to get knowledge and encouragement about this (books, internet, friends, & nutritionists, for example). Some of this is basic stuff you know. Water, for instance, makes a huge difference. Are you drinking one to two quarts/liters daily? You’d be surprised what this alone can do for your drive, mental clarity, mood, and motivation.
  • Breathing. Now here is another biggie. Are you making time and space to breathe deeply every single day for a few minutes, or every single hour for a minute even? This realigns you with your Self, your Center, your goals, and focuses and calms the ever-distracted-21st-century mind. You can do this with no instruction whatsoever, or search out a guided recording or written instructions on various breathing techniques.
  • photo by Wonderlane

    photo by Wonderlane

    Help Someone Else. If you are in a helping profession or tend to over give, you may bristle at this sugestion or feel overburdened just by the thought. If so, this one is probably not for you. But it can be surprising how helping a friend in need, or volunteering somewhere, can really start your energy moving. There is so much need in the world, and putting yourself in the thick of that can bring things into a new perspective and a brand new flow. Realizing you have the power to help others can get you out of yourself, being hung up on your issues, and the perception that you are powerlessness to change your own life.

  • Meditate…in your OWN fashion. Meditation for you does NOT have to be sitting quietly on a cushion watching your thoughts! I know many great people whose lives are changed by such practices. I, on the other hand, no can do. This is one of the things I love about working with my clients. I am ever amazed at what “comes through” as just the right process or technique when needed. Your ideal empowering yet soothing meditation might be (as above) just breathing, could be a guided meditation that gives you strength, hope, or sweet support, or might be moving your body through chi kung, yoga, or even sweaty exercise. Find what FEEDS you and notice how doing more of that allows you to relax into the changes you seek in other areas.
  • Creativity-Wallpaper

    photo from embracecreativity.com

    Creativity and Play. There are plenty of studies showing that those who play or engage in creative outlets get things done more readily in areas that are difficult for them. I see it as a kind of crowbar effect—it pries you up in one area to get some traction for another area of your life. Figure out one or two or more options that work easily for you and engage. You don’t need to go buy a hundred dollar easel nor join a soccer team to start.

  • Don’t torture yourself! Be compassionate with your slips and setbacks. And, only try to change one behavior at a time. Please please please just pick a single new idea from the list for this month. And if you care to add more, do one per month; no sooner. It’s well known that the best way to slip back in defeat is to try to add 5 new behaviors all at once. Slow and steady wins the race…this gives you time to make the changes more lasting and also find any impediments that arise, and strategize on how to solve those.

And let’s not forget: Love, love, love yourself (or at least accept!) for who you are right now. You are one of many millions of people struggling with life’s lessons in an imperfect world. We come full circle to our starting point here: to change you have to start right from where you are.

Yoga Class, Capitola Beach California.

photo by Elizabeth Good

If, by the way, one (or many) of your so-far-unreachable changes is to do the very something above (love yourself, be more creative, eat better) where you’ve long struggled, don’t worry about that one. Take another one from the list as your starting point. Get the support system or breathe more or hydrate or find a meditative practice that you just love to death and wouldn’t miss for the world. Don’t get caught spinning your wheels in the very area(s) where you couldn’t change before.

Let me know below what you want to try, what helped you to read about here, or other ideas that work for you. Good luck and have fun watching the changes!

Book Time! Let’s Start With Miracles

My practice has been busier than it used to be, and rather than blogging, I’ve been escaping into books in some of my off time recently. I guess I have needed that…

So, combining my need to share with you, with my need to go inward, I bring you a review of an interesting newer book I read. The Afterlife of Billy Fingers, How My Bad-Boy Brother Proved To Me There’s Life After Death, is a fascinating book by a woman who, quite unexpectedly, begins to receive communications from her brother after he dies very suddenly.

This very sweet book of a true story regarding life-after-death communication between siblings was fun and mostly engaging to read. I think it would be an absolutely ideal film; one with some miracles so unlikely that it could be like the best of Hollywood’s movies, yet the story is true–and thus could deeply affect and help many if it was done by a sensitive, careful director and very conscious actors. Someone should make this film!

Overall I loved it. However, it’s not a perfect book—though a quick and easy read, something in the writing style made it slow going for me until far into the book when the authors’ ex is helped by her deceased brother Billy in a big way (I won’t be a spoiler here with details). The whole story is amazing, but for me that is where the miracles really began and I finally shed a tear of heart-opening awe. Although Kagan is a decent writer, the writing fell rather flat for me until that point. But it’s a lovely tribute to her brother, and does much to communicate her experience of the grace, healing, love, and wonder that she receives as “downloads” from the other side via Billy. While  her writing doesn’t really do it justice, she is earnest in her beautiful words. Again, I say: it could be an even better as a film…

The other semi-down side is that it goes into great length about Billy’s experiences “over there”~and, while interesting, again it is so much about HIS journey and HER experience of the energies he imparts. It’s wonderful–and affected me in a positive, uplifting way. But being a psychic, where I have the honor of peering into so many realities, I know that his path is somewhat specific to him, and only partially explanatory of the jouney all souls take. For some, though, it will be validating and comforting to get a glimpse of the unconditional love. Billy’s message that even he, the proverbial “bad boy” type in his earth sojourn, had lessons to learn from that~~and is actually quite a powerful soul~~ is quite possibly the key lesson here. I believe the way he presents this will stir something deeply for any reader, perhaps in particular those who wonder if there is any sort of spiritual hope or “redemption” (I don’t mean that in any religious sense at all) for those who seem to us to be living unsuccessful lives.

Ultimately, it’s a great story and quite encouraging, if one believes it is true–which I have absolutely no reason to believe not. I love stories with miracles and unlikely healing coincidences, and this does have a few great ones. I appreciated her writing this, taking the risk, and sharing from her heart. And best of all, perhaps, is that, unlike some reports or books on communications from, or experiences of “the other side,” there is no religious overtone nor implication that one need be of a certain faith to experience glorious spirituality and union with the Divine.

Oh, and by the way…my best friend (400 miles away) and I decided to read it at the same time. When I told her my thoughts, she chimed in, “I had the same thought while reading it—that it would make a great movie!”

 

An Exotic Passover

Full Moon in Aptos, California. Photo by Elizabeth Good

Full Moon in Aptos, California. Photo by Elizabeth Good

While this is my first “official” blog for my new updated site (Yes! Blogging capabilities at last!), it’s an oldie but goodie. But I like to re-post it at this time of year.

I hope it stirs memories of your own holiday celebrations, and/or gives you a window to this one that perhaps you’ve never thought about.
~~~~~~~

I’m more the type of gal who is interested in the fact that Passover is on the first full moon after Equinox than I am in traditional Judaism. As with Easter, which was originally held on the first Sunday after the first full moon after Equinox (but became subject to a more complex formula for determination of the date over time), I am drawn to the Earth-based, rhythmic underpinnings of religious holidays, which serve to connect us to our innate spiritual nature.

That being said, growing up Jewish (and appreciating many aspects of Jewish spirituality), it is impossible to not enjoy my fond childhood memories of the traditional Passover ritual meal, the Seder.

The week-long holiday often is celebrated by American Jews with Seders on the first night, and for some also the second. Extended family or friends customarily gather.

While first night was, for me, a fun affair as a child (with us giggling cousins being our usual kid-like selves to endure the semi-serious process), it was probably not unlike many American Seders based in European roots (known as Ashkenazic Judaism) and the common more liberal Reform-style Judaism that most of my friends and family practiced.

Second night, though, was another experience altogether. My very strict uncle, a follower of the most religious form of Judiasm (Orthodox), and hailing from Persia, practiced the—to me—exotic Sephardic style of Judaism, which is the type that those from the Iberian Peninsula practice. Though there was a solemnness to his approach, it was mysterious enough to keep me eager with anticipation every year, when my sister and I would go with my parents and meet up with our two same-aged cousins and their folks.

I was always enthralled; captivated. Not to mention anticipating the meal that came late into the evening, after the first half of the Seder rituals happened. Sure, first night with chicken and matzoh ball soup was a big treat. But… Persian food!! Oh my goodness.

I wrote this short simple poem back when I was in college. It brings me to that feeling of mystery with which my exotic Middle Eastern, Orthodox Jewish uncle was enshrouded. I always feel that his passing brought him closer to the Source he so honored.

Uncle Hoff

When it was still Persia

You and grandpa left

Made a new life here

 

Kept your religion

Never touching lamps

After dark on Sabbath or holidays

 

We four cousins

in awe of you

And you of The Lord.

 

Years later

We burn with memories

Of all that you gave us

 

It has not been the same

Since you left us for your God

Resources for Further Growth

photo by Elizabeth Good

The warmth and leisure of the summer months catalyzes many of us to make space for nurturing oft-neglected parts of ourselves. As this relaxing, absorbing mode of summer descends upon us, we may loosen up our need to be productive, and be in a more receptive mode. We allow ourselves to soak up wisdom from the world around us.

In the spirit of gleaning from this abundance surrounding us, this month’s column is dedicated to some of my personal favorites in the world of books and audiotapes. Whether on vacation with more time to read, taking a car trip where audiotapes help pass the time, or even busier than usual, I hope you will partake and find that one of these will “change your life.” In keeping with my role as a healing arts practitioner, these titles relate to emotional and spiritual growth, as well as planetary evolvement. My reviews are brief as there are so many to fit in! [Read more…]

What in the World Is Going On!

Spider web over ocean photo by Elizabeth Good

Spider web over ocean
photo by Elizabeth Good

“What in the world is going on?”

Wars and violence, crises in health and immune systems, pollution of the planet, and so many other signs of increasing chaos surround us. Many Americans, for example, are still reeling from the changes in sense of safety and self-definition wrought by events in their homeland this past year. Others are experiencing breakdown and change in relationships, careers, bodily capacities, and even faith. It is easy to feel a sense of hopelessness—sometimes even despair—in the midst of our efforts to work on ourselves and our society. Understanding and integrating these seemingly intensified levels of suffering which we are enduring is indeed a challenge. [Read more…]