A NEW PERSPECTIVE

(Please feel free to copy, quote or use any of the following articles as long as you credit me for writing them - enjoy and pass them on)

There are Options to Recovery

Thank God for the 12 step program. It is a program of anonymity that provides an outline and support system for recovery. There are 12 step programs for alcohol, narcotics, cocaine, overeaters, families of addicts, and more. It has helped thousands of people and continues to do so.
But, it is not the only recovery option. There are holistic approaches such as combining a spiritual practice with a 12 step program, nutrition, talk therapy, emotional work, lifestyle balance, and support groups. Talk therapy alone is good, but the root cravings must be treated. Having a wonderful support group is good, but again, the root cravings must be treated.
There has been research showing that addiction and the drive to self-medicate is directly related to genetic factors, medical conditions, nutritional deficiencies, and biochemical imbalances. It has been proven that chemical imbalances can lead to cravings and addictive behavior.
There are options that offer reducing the frequency or severity of the behavior, which is a positive step, until the person stops completely. This method’s goals are abstinence only if that is what the client truly wants. This method, like many others, should be discussed with a professional about what will work best for you.
There are many who believe that the 12 step program is the only way; it may be – for them. It has saved many lives and still does to this day and it is not to be underestimated by any means. Like any program whether for losing weight, exercise, a sales program, etc., you have to decide what works for you. There may be times, especially in addictions, that you aren’t thinking clearly. You may need some assistance or direction but you are the ultimate decision maker in your life.
When sobriety is the goal, simply abstaining from drug and alcohol use is ineffective for long-term recovery. Addiction is something you cannot stop. For example, as one person says in the movie “What the Bleep do we know?” – “If you can’t control your emotions, then you must be addicted to them.” Changing your thoughts about why you do what you do that has now become an addiction is essential and understanding how your chemistry effects the addiction is equally important.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been long proven to work well for addictions. This is a therapeutic method which teaches that if we change our thoughts (cognitive), our behaviors (behavioral) will begin to change automatically because we are not thinking the same habit thoughts which create the same habit behaviors.
Addiction is about habit or repetition. We think something and then something happens. Now think about what I just wrote. We think something – then something happens. All of our actions come from thought first. So, if we never learned how to think differently about a situation or an emotion, we will always handle it the way we learned or decided. This will become the habit. Using drugs or alcohol to numb the feelings or deal with a situation may become a habit, or an addiction.
Alcohol and other drugs are used to disguise or cover up things like chronic pain, grief, PTSD, trauma, celebration, mental illnesses, and more . When someone deals with life situations by covering them up with drugs or alcohol, they may be thought of as being an addict. Making assumptions that all people who use are addicts is a dis-service to them. There may be two or three things going on that may require a professional diagnosis and professional help is necessary along with a good support group, learning better nutrition, etc.
If you or someone you know has a thought or behavior habit that they can’t stop, please contact a professional who can help you uncover the root of the issue. When you turn your problems over to the courts and probation, you allow them to diagnose you. If you would like to find out if you may be covering up a root issue, please reach out and ask for help before you have others decide your future for you.
Counseling should be used like any wellness program. Talk with a professional who works not only with addictions, but someone who understands that there is more to addictions than meets the eye. Investigate options, ask your professional counselor to guide you to others who can assist with your mind, body and spirit integration. This is your life, don’t numb it.

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PAST COLUMNS

  • There are Options to Recovery
  • Having Good Boundaries is Important
  • Let Go of the Expectation of the Outcome
  • It's Ok to Ask for Help
  • Living a Spiritual Life
  • What's Wrong with this Moment?
  • Grandparenthood
  • Spiritual Marriage Counseling
  • Silence is Golden
  • The Cost of Truth
  • Who Are You
  • Aging Animals
  • New Dialogue
  • Gossip
  • Discernment vs Judgment
  • Searching for Wholeness
  • The Illusion of Fear
  • Compassion
  • Clarity
  • Stress
  • Mindfulness
  • Spiritual Community
  • The Webs We Weave
  • Raising Spiritual Children
  • Transformational Breathwork
  • A Fresh Start
  • Authentic Power
  • Practicing Compassion
  • Change the way you handle holiday stress
  • Synchronicity
  • Recognition
  • Having Faith
  • Give Yourself Permission
  • Is Love Enough?
  • Peace amidst the Chaos
  • Commitment
  • The More Light the Better
  • In Appreciation of Silence
  • Working from Within
  • Demonstrating Love
  • Making Room in our Soul
  • When Spirit comes Knocking
  • The Spirituality of Politics
  • The Past Does Not Define Us
  • Spiritual Marriage Counseling
  • Trust
  • Create Happiness
  • The Four Agreements
  • The Spirituality of Work
  • Spirituality vs Religion
  • Spiritual Counseling
  • Surrender
  • Picking Up the Pieces
  • Energy Medicine
  • Inner Power
  • Lighten Up
  • The Power of Intention
  • Healing the Soul
  • A Tornado and the Grace of Divine
  • Every Day's a New Day
  • Stillness
  • Celebrating Divine Mothers
  • Grief & Loss of our Precious Pets
  • Living in Love or Fear
  • Spiritual Emergency
  • Making Assumptions
  • For the Love of Animals
  • Enlightenment
  • Taming The Ego
  • This Amazing Mid-Life
  • The Spiritual Parent
  • Taking Care of Yourself while taking care of others
  • Our Bodies, Our Knowledge
  • Relationships
  • More Than What We See
  • Balance
  • Choice
  • Fear
  • Being Present
  • It's All About You
  • Forgiveness
  • Breathe
  • Addictions
  • Gratitude
  • Letting Go
  • Power of the Body
  • Body, Mind, Spirit

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    Having Good Boundaries is Important

    Having good boundaries is so important. Boundaries are your way knowing deep within yourself what works for you (what serves you) and what doesn’t; behaviors, attitudes, feelings, actions, etc. They are your way of letting others know what you will and will not accept.
    Most of us have not been taught how to have good boundaries. We have never even thought about the fact that we can have boundaries. We seem to accept that life is about accepting whatever is handed to us and that we don’t have a choice.
    You do have a choice. You have a choice in how you act and react. You have a choice as to what you accept in other’s (and your own) behavior and actions. I was not taught how to have good boundaries and needed to learn what they are. You can learn too.
    One example of having no boundaries is if a friend uses you as their excuse to get away from their wife/husband to go cheat on them. They call you to let you know to say that they are with you just in case their partner calls you. This makes you feel uncomfortable yet you do it because you justify to yourself that this is your friend and you will help them, even if you don’t agree with the behavior. Or you agree to do it because you are afraid of losing this friend. Either way, you have not spoken your truth about helping in this way.
    You get to decide if this friendship serves you. It is not to judge them or their behavior. You have the choice if somone putting you in a bad position serves you. If you have no boundaries and are afraid this person will no longer like you if you tell them you won’t be their excuse so they can cheat anymore, then you will have a hard time saying what you know to be true for you.
    There are many, many examples that demonstrate a lack of good boundaries. Anything you do that you don’t really want to do indicates your lack of boundaries. Anything you do that makes you feel bad, feel sick, feel used or maybe just uneasy may be an indication that you have not set up good boundaries.
    Having good boundaries is about learning to take care of yourself. It is not about judgment of anyone else, their actions or their attitudes. It is about you learning to discern who and what works for your soul. If being with a person, a crowd, or in any situation builds your spirit, then it is a good thing for you. If there is discomfort, frustration, or judgment then this may not be the right thing for your soul. Only you can know.
    Life is about challenges and obstacles. The way you handle each of them is a choice you make. Do you have good boundaries around your life? Do you speak your truth because it is the only way for you? Do you know what your boundaries are and express them with love? You will never hurt another’s feelings by expressing your truth/boundaries, you will serve them by doing so.

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    Let Go of the Expectation of the Outcome

    “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Alcoholics Anonymous

    We want things the way we want things. We want people to be and act the way we want them to. We believe that our expectations should be met. When things don’t go our way, when people don’t act the way we think they should and when our expectations are not met, we feel disappointed, if not angry.

    What are expectations? Are they good to have or exhausting? What if you let go of them? What would happen? Would the world stop turning? Would the people you are trying to control stop living?

    A healthy definition of an expectation is that we should have expectation only of ourselves. If you want things to be better, you be better. If you want someone to act differently, you act differently. If you have an expectation, speak truth about what it means to you, speak clearly about it and then let go.

    An unhealthy definition of an expectation is that we expect an event or a person to do and be what we want it to be and when it’s not, we get disappointed or angry. Expectations of this type lead to frustration, anger, illness, distrust, judgment and so much more.

    Now, yes you can ask things of another person but when you expect the result to be exactly what you want it to look like, you will probably be disappointed. Asking someone else to do or give exactly what you expect is asking them to change. You cannot change another human being. You can ask for what you believe you need and then let it go – let the other person do what they can to help you get your needs met. You may discover more about your relationships this way. People will either step up and be an active part in helping you get your needs met (as they get theirs met as well) or they won’t.

    This is letting go of the expectation of the outcome. Stating what you need/want to someone is very important and is spiritual behavior. Letting go of how you think they should respond is a spiritual response.

    Choose what is important in your life to have an expectation of and let go of everything else. Where do you want to put your energy? Can you let go of all things that are not important to hold onto or change?

    Expectations can damage relationships. They can damage your self-esteem and they can damage other’s self-esteem as well. What if you loved someone for all they give because it reflects who they are and not who you want them to be? Can you imagine your world and the love in your world like that?

    Forgiveness is the key. Forgive yourself for expecting things that others may not be able to give. Forgive others for what they cannot give. Choose to speak your truth about what you need and have no expectation that anyone has to do what you expect. Obviously with children we, as adults, need to guide them and we have expectations of them to clean their rooms, etc. If you think about demonstrating, this is a perfect example of ‘you clean your room and they will learn the importance of cleaning theirs.’

    Laugh at this life we try so hard to control and have such high expectations of. You can’t control it and trying will eventually exhaust you. Work on your own creation of your life and let others do the same.

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    It's Ok to Ask for Help

    “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” – Buddhist Proverb

    Sometimes we need help. Asking for it may be the hardest part. We don’t have to do it all alone. It is really okay to ask someone to help you.

    Help may be needed to move furniture, gardening, bringing or cooking food for you if you’re ill, talking, or listening. Sometimes we need to be ready to ask for help especially if we’re used to doing everything by ourselves. As soon as we are ready to ask for help we are ready to receive it.

    There is needing help with physical things and there is needing help with spiritual or emotional things. Don’t be afraid to ask for help but remember that talking to a dozen people hoping to find an ally or to confirm why you don’t need help isn’t truly asking for help.

    Learning that we don’t have to do this life alone is an important step on the spiritual path. Under spiritual law, if you want help, you must ask for it. Be clear in your request; that way, there will be no mistake as to what you need and you will not feel like you’ve asked for too much from someone.

    If you feel you must help another person without their permission, ask what part within yourself feels the need to rescue them. There are many rescuers in the world. We are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. Hopefully we are loved and have people available when we need them, not having them jump in at every moment creating no room to learn.

    The spiritual person will go within to look for answers – spiritual answers. Teachers will help but it is our journey to trust that we have the answers within.

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    Living a Spiritual Life

    I live a spiritual life. I do not live a religious life, at least not by society’s or any church’s definition. I don’t attend a particular church nor do I follow the Bible, again, as far as how it is interpreted by religion’s standards. My journey into spirituality has manifested from a belief that there’s so much more than only that which has been written and “man’s” interpretation of such.

    That is my journey, what’s yours? Do you walk in this world knowing what your truth is about your spirituality? Do you live what you talk? So you live what you read or study?

    Spirituality allows for exploration of expansiveness with no boundaries. Religion usually discourages exploration and defines the boundaries. Neither is right or wrong. Spirituality encompasses the whole soul’s journey. It connects the metaphysical reality that is greater than oneself. Spirituality is concerned with matters of psychological health and to activate the potential of the human being. When working in a spiritual practice, one seeks to become free of the ego and more in tuned to one’s true self.

    A spiritual practice can take on many forms and is a very personal pursuit. The quest for the Divine, oneness, or the Universe comes from within. We are all spiritual beings and knowing one’s true self is its essence. Finding peace within rather than from the outside world awakens us to our path.

    Our spiritual practice comes from a daily routine. Examples of a daily practice include, but not limited to, compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, and meditation. Learn a new practice and become familiar with it – allow it to become a part of your life and be gentle with yourself if you fall back on old ways.

    Living a spiritual life asks you to explore and believe in the vastness of the answers. People who are spiritual may or may not use the words of religion writings. They may find these words too confining in a world of exploration. This does not indicate that they don’t believe in God, just that the words do not define their beliefs.

    Accepting the importance of spirituality can be a healthy decision. A spiritual practice tends to include habits that promote healthy living. One who decides to live a spiritual life may look at how they eat, what they eat, and how they honor their body. It involves an awareness of the moment – involving all that we do in our day.

    See the interconnectedness of things. The awareness that we are all ONE and everything around us is connected opens our souls to how big we truly are. Walking a spiritual path asks us to stand tall, connect and not live small.

    The only thing that stops you from deciding to live a spiritual life is the ego. Ego will convince you that you should continue to live your life the way you have been; that change would be too hard. The truth is that the way you’ve done things for so long may have or may be creating dullness or repetitive obstacles in your life. It is time for a change and a new awareness.

    Remember, the mind (ego) loves to live in time, identifying with the past and the present. It will resist the moment and always try to convince you that what happened before or what you want to happen in the future is truth. A spiritual life is in this moment because all is healed and changed in this moment, not the past or the future.

    Living a spiritual life does not mean you “get” something. It is a journey, not a destination and you must learn to “walk your talk.” No one needs to know about your spiritual journey – but your actions will demonstrate your truth and your spiritual life. When someone recognizes a change in you, smile and say “thank you” – no explanation is necessary.

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    What's Wrong with this Moment?

    “Change your thoughts, change your life” – Wayne Dyer

    What changes are you making right now? What changes have you made recently? Why aren’t these changes and this moment good enough?

    We’re always searching for what we think will be a better way of life. We find one thing that feels good and then we turn around and go back to doing the things we used to do. Why? Why isn’t a new way better than the old way?

    We do what we’re used to doing out of comfort, habit or fear of change. It takes consciousness and awareness to change and it takes consciousness and awareness to live the change.

    We get in a state of complacency with what we are doing. We make changes but we tend to believe they will be difficult to maintain. If you change the way you think about what you’ve been doing or how you’ve been living, realizing that it hasn’t truly served you, you can integrate changes easier.

    What serves your soul? Does drinking or smoking pot every day serve you? Does being an angry person serve you? Does your sadness or depression serve you? Do addicted and unavailable friends serve you? What does it mean to look at what serves you?

    If you drink every day, for example, and you miss work or argue with friends or loved ones while drinking, how does that serve you? If you are stoned every day, how does that serve you? Does it serve you to be sad or depressed every day? How does what you live each moment serve your life, your soul? Only you decide that.

    Being awake and conscious in each moment will serve you. When we are conscious in the moment, we make better choices. We don’t allow ourselves to just move through each day in the same old way, doing the same old things. We look at everything from a new perspective. We make different and better choices – hopefully. And, when we make a mistake, we don’t punish ourselves, we forgive and choose not to make that mistake again.

    Each moment is a choice. That is true freedom. We have been given the power to make our lives whatever we choose. Why choose to cover discomfort or joy with drugs or alcohol? Why not feel what you are experiencing, grow and move on?

    Most people tend to experience a feeling, think they’ve been changed by it and then within a short time, go back to their old ways. Why? Why wasn’t that new experience good enough to continue to live in it? Why do we go back to the old?

    Isn’t that an interesting thing about the humanness of us – that we go back to the old ways? What are we afraid of? Making changes may require that we explain the changes to our friends and families – this can be uncomfortable. The fact is, you don’t have to explain anything. If you stopped drinking, for example, then you have to learn how to say “no thank you” when offered a drink with no explanation. Peer pressure can seem daunting but learning to say no thanks will be good enough the more you say it.

    Live each moment like it’s your last. Choose what each moment will be and be conscious that you chose it - be proud of your choices. Don’t let your indecision be your decision. Change happens whether you participate or not, so enjoy this life and explore the many dimensions we are given. Make your own life decisions. Change your thoughts and you can change your life.

    Grandparenthood

    I became a grandmother for the second time this past weekend. What a gift children are in our lives and, wow! What a gift grandchildren are!

    Our children – oh my! We watch them as they begin to teethe, walk and run. They change right before our eyes every moment. We may feel we miss many of their developments because we are so busy with our own lives, like having to work. Our children spend time with daycare workers, babysitters and teachers. We do our best and we can only do what we know to do. We are always concerned for their safety and try to make sure they are cared for and loved every day.

    Before you know it, they graduate high school. Then go off to college or begin working in the real world. Time flies when you have children. They are little time clocks right in front of our faces, showing us how fast a lifetime really passes us by.

    So, now my son is married with two children of his own. When did this happen? Where was I while his world began to change and grow? I was, of course, living my own existence. I didn’t miss too many of his changes, I supported him where he was and what he was doing no matter what, I loved him in his difficult times and loved him in his successes – I just couldn’t be there every moment nor would he have wanted me to be.

    It is incredible to watch these little lives. It is even more amazing to participate in it, of course. When you have children you do tend to watch as much as you participate because you are awed of the progress of this little being growing right in front of your eyes. Each moment in our lives is there for us to look at who we are, what our truth is and how we live that truth. If you feel you made mistakes with your own children, you can at any moment, demonstrate (live it) with them how you have chosen to make changes in your life. You can definitely demonstrate your truth to your grandchildren.

    Love your children. Tell them everyday how much you love and appreciate them. Even if they’re having a bad day or a difficult time in life, tell them how much you love them. They are not perfect and neither are you. See their soul, not their ego that is driving them into difficulty and teach them to see yours as well. This changes the dynamic of parent/child, grandparent/child and human/human.

    Watching the next generation grow up has me asking questions about my own life. Am I living the best life I possibly can? If I die tomorrow, have I loved and laughed enough? Have I given myself the best of me and if not, am I willing to start doing so today?

    I can’t control nor raise my son’s children, but I can love them and be there for them – be Grandma Cathy. Enjoy each moment as your children grow because when you turn around, they’ll be grown and having children of their own.

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    Spiritual Marriage Counseling

    “When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see them, you will see yourself. As you treat them, you will treat yourself. As you think of them, you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in them, you will find yourself or lose yourself.” -Marianne Williamson.

    Marriage as we know it has to change. The divorce rate says it all. The basis of a spiritual marriage is a commitment between two people to assist in each other’s spiritual growth. When spiritual partners marry, they begin a journey of souls, not just a journey of a marriage. They realize that their own spiritual development is essential and that they came together for that purpose.

    Having a conscious marriage requires each person to learn to view marriage as a new dynamic. The partners realize they are in the marriage to further their spiritual development, not just to create financial security or to buy the perfect house in the suburbs. A spiritual marriage is a commitment to each other’s spiritual growth and everything within the relationship serves that.

    Traditional marriage counseling works with the dynamic of the couple. The counselor will make suggestions like “have a date night” or “go away together.” Not bad ideas but if you’re not communicating, what good would a date night be?

    Spiritual marriage counseling works with the dynamic of the individual. Each partner may work with the therapist for two to four sessions before coming together as a couple. The marriage is hurting because the individual is hurting, not the marriage itself. The marriage is only as good as the individuals involved in it.

    The dynamic of marriage is complicated. People feel an attraction for each other, marriage follows, then children, and more. It’s obviously been done this way for centuries. Sometimes the marriage lasts, most times it doesn’t. There comes a day when one partner wakes up and realizes they don’t know who they are let alone who the other person is. Communication is lacking and they become no more than roommates. Once each person learns why they entered into the relationship, once they learn what they are lacking in themselves, and once they learn new ways of communicating, the relationship can change. It will grow if both people decide that they are worth their own growth, first and foremost.

    Pre-marital counseling is essential. It will help each person to take a close look at why they want a relationship to begin with, why they want marriage, and what their expectations are of the other partner and of marriage. The dynamic of relationships should be taught to our youth; more people might enter relationships with open and clear hearts.

    Changing the way we view marriage is so important. If you truly want a spiritual relationship or marriage that will last, here are some things to think about and to work on:
    1 – Know who you are before you enter into any relationship
    2 – Be clear about what you want in a relationship
    3 – Know your boundaries and don’t be afraid to express them
    4 – If the other person doesn’t like that you know who you are or that you have discovered and express your boundaries, then let them go
    5 – Be clear about what you want in a partner and except nothing less
    6 – If you wouldn’t allow a friend to treat you badly, don’t allow an intimate partner to do it
    7 – Don’t be afraid to do your personal healing work
    8 - Being alone until you’re ready for a spiritual relationship is okay

    May your relationships and marriages be filled with laughter, truth and open communication. May you find your best friend and marry them, in absolute clarity of feelings, truth and emotion.

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    Silence is Golden

    “When true silence begins in the heart, the “I-ness” ends. Inner wisdom and absolute silence is your goal. Silence is the gateway to the kingdom of the Self. Silence is the best way to attain the Self. Silence elevates you. Silence is a great power. Silence is a great elixir. Silence is a great tonic. Silence is a great penance. Silence the greatest boon. Silence give you great strength. Silence transforms all of your emotions and commotions. Silence works miracles. Silence is an incredible help.” – Amma

    It is important to build up our “bank account” of spiritual energy. We use that energy to purify our minds and subtle bodies. The more energy we have in the “bank,” the greater the evolution we will experience on a spiritual level. When we speak, we “spend” our energy – silence helps us with our spiritual growth.

    Silence is an extremely powerful spiritual process for developing discipline. It is referred to in terms of space: the cave of the heart, the oasis of quiet, or the inner sanctuary. Silence is used as resting and renewal on the spiritual journey. It provides a way to withdraw from the world; even if for a very short time.

    Silence is a prelude to prayer or you can go into silence through meditation to deepen your connection to Spirit. You must make room for silence. Not only by finding a place/space in your home for quiet, away from distraction, but also by making space within yourself.

    The physical world contrasts with the inner world of silence. We are bombarded daily with noise; external and internal (mind chatter). Silence does not mean that you will be able to completely shut down the chatter, but you will be able to notice it, take a breath and choose to go back to silence.

    Silence allows us to focus our attention on deep matters of the heart. It is where we commune with things greater than us. Silence allows us to be in contemplation. It is a mirror reflecting back to us the emptiness that truly exists within us. Fear can arise when we realize how empty we truly are. We tend to believe that we are all the noise within and silence allows that noise to move aside and see the vastness within. Who are we when we’re not talking, thinking or doing all the time? That can be a scary thought. Who am I? Ask yourself that question. Any answer that begins to actually define you is spoken from the ego. The answer is emptiness.

    We fear being alone. We fear solitude. This is our desperate insecurity. All of the things we distract ourselves with to not feel alone only slip us into unconsciousness. The distractions are our way of not being with our Divineness. We need solitude. In solitude we don’t need to re-create the world in our image. We don’t need to arrange our relationships and manipulate people with our words. In solitude, in silence, we connect to the Divine.

    In silence we learn that we need other people but not in the way our ego has been telling us that we need them. Too often, we run from loneliness. We fill the loneliness with people and things, hoping the loneliness will go away. It doesn’t usually work because once you’re by yourself, you will feel the loneliness again and be planning your next adventure to fill it once more.

    Silence means being still so that we can hear the voice that searches our hearts and minds. We must quiet our hearts and mouths if we are to listen to the voice of Divine. We must not be at the demands of the world which do not go away easily. When we are silent, we cannot manipulate or control our outer world. We will see the beauty of their soul instead of their bank account or physicalness.

    In silence, we no longer need people to pay attention to us. We are free from the suffocating chains of isolation as we recognize that we are not alone in this world.

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    The Cost of Truth

    There is nothing in enlightenment for the ego. The ego becomes an illusion around enlightenment. The ego defends itself against enlightenment. As soon as you choose to become more enlightened, the ego will begin its journey of discouragement.

    The ego defines itself by what it does and does not like. We breathe life into the ego by our emotional attachments and addictions. The ego is not bad or evil, it just challenges us to remember that we are more than it; we are spirit and soulful.

    Attachments are not always about physical things. Attachments can be to emotions as well. We attach to emotions in the form of magnetic energy. The ego loves to think in terms of love and hate, like and dislike, good and bad, right and wrong, or you and me. You can detach from things but more importantly, detach from the emotional bonds you have with the things.

    When we choose to live in truth, we have to face the harsh reality of having to answer the question of whether we want to feel better or realize the truth. Truth realization feels good but if the intention is to just feel good and not do the work associated with the truth, then the feeling good is only a byproduct of the truth. Truth comes at a cost – you and everything about you. The end result is freedom, happiness, peace and no longer viewing life through the eyes of illusion.

    The cost of truth is that we no longer play the games we’ve been used to playing. We choose that those games do not serve a purpose in our life. Our game playing friends may step aside as well. The illusion of what is real and what is not is clearer. The cost of truth is that you will recognize your “stuff” before you throw it out into the world. And if you don’t, you’ll definitely know it showed up when you think about it later. You’ll decide at that time whether you are proud of your display or whether you want what you show to the world to be a better reflection of you.

    The cost of truth is that you will be willing to see the beauty in all things instead of placing your anger or judgment in things and forgetting to see their beauty. Truth holds you to all that you know to be as Divine as you. This obviously, means you see the Divine within you first and foremost.

    The truth of the Divine within you is one of the most important truths you can discover. This is the most satisfying truth to discover. It is not about telling anyone about it, it is about you believing that you are a Divine being and that you choose to demonstrate it. Your demonstration of your Divineness is truth. Demonstration of our Divineness comes from within; it comes from the energy of the soul.

    Breathing life into the ego expands it, giving it power. The ego, as stated earlier, feeds on itself and feeds on our emotional and addictive attachments. If we recognize this, we will be living in more truth and at the moment of recognition we can change everything – that is the beauty of truth.

    The cost of truth is a good thing. It is reality. It is what we can strive for. It is the peace and beauty within us all. There is a cost to truth and it is not to be feared. Truth is freedom and it will set you free.

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    Who Are You?

    “You can’t change anything you don’t recognize” - CZ

    Who are you in the face of challenge and obstacles in your life? How about sadness? Grief? Happiness? Anger? Frustration?

    This is a big question and a very important one. To understand if you even pay attention to who you are in a situation, you need to be conscious of it. When we don’t walk consciously through life, we support our not being concerned with who we are in the face of challenge. It is easy to assume that life will happen and that you need to just handle what arises. Asking yourself who you are in the face of challenge will change everything.

    If you fall back on your old way of dealing with life situations, you will forever have the same result. Even if the situation involves new people and new places, the result will be the same. For example, if you deal with relationships the same old way, what you feel and believe about relationships will always have the same result. You will not move forward within your own mind – you will forever repeat feelings and actions.

    Asking yourself who you are in the face of challenge requires that you stop in the moment and recognize how you are about to act or react. Once you recognize that you are about to respond in an old way, you can choose to react differently. This is not only about having new dialogue with yourself, but a new part of you can emerge as well.

    When we are faced with life challenges, we have the opportunity to grow. We can choose to be angry in the moment or we can ask what this moment teaches us. Every moment is a lesson, no matter how wonderful or how sad.

    As you sit with someone you would rather not have to talk with, are you allowing yourself to be anxious, angry, distrustful or intimidated? Can you step back and see if you can enter the room with a different attitude and view this person with new eyes? If you approach the situation with your old attitude, the result will always be the same. If you stop and review how you’re feeling, you will create a new ending. It has to happen. The result will be different because you will not be the same old you in the moment.

    So, who are you in the face of life challenges and obstacles? Do you ask yourself what the situation is here to teach you? Do you put on blinders and hope it all goes away? Do you try to force the situation to your satisfaction or do you allow it to unfold as it is supposed to?

    Here are a couple of tools to help change a moment: 1) Breathe and choose to quiet the mind chatter. 2) Pay attention to what starts to arise in a situation and take a moment by stepping away. You may not respond exactly like you would like to but you will begin the transition and the next time will be a little easier.

    Recognize what is going on in situations and choose your reaction. Be truthful with yourself and do what is right for you.

    For those who read my recent column about Wylie, my 17 year old cat, she died on Tuesday, June 9. I have mourned this loss in my life and my house feels so empty when I come home as she always came to greet me. She will be sorely missed.

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    Aging Animals

    It’s hard to watch your animals age. It’s been and will be an interesting journey for years to come because I have had so many animals and death is one of those things you have no control over.,

    My cat Wylie, who is 17 years old, is preparing to die. She has renal failure and has now chosen to stop eating. I could hook her up to IVs, take her to the vet everyday where they could shoot her up with something and these things will stress her out or I can make sure she’s as comfortable as possible being loved and cared for at home with me.

    I am not advocating not taking your animals to a vet by any means, but we can choose the care for our animals at this stage of their life more than we can for the humans at this stage of life. I’ve had her at the vets enough lately to finally realize that all she really wants now is to die with dignity. I will not let her suffer in this death process but there is no need to make her suffer more by being poked and prodded either, especially when there’s really nothing they can do for her.

    This hurts and the grieving process has begun. I find that all I want to do is sit with her, which is all she wants to do, all she has ever wanted to do. Even if you’re not a cat person, you would love Wylie. She has been the coolest cat ever and I’ve a few in my lifetime. This cat just loves. Love is all she knows. I always said, if you’re warm, she’ll sit on you, be it human or animal.

    You don’t come across a cat very often who will come into the kitchen and walk around 3 dogs, or even visiting dogs, while feeding them cookies, asking for her own treat. She has always been fearless in a way of love, not being pushy or bossy. She would stay on the couch if someone brought their dog over – oh, she might hiss at them letting them know that it’s her couch or spot on the couch, but never truly got angry. If she ever left the room because of the chaos in the moment, she’d be back in no time, claiming her rightful place on the couch once more, looking for someone’s lap to curl up on.

    I write this in appreciation for the love of our animals. No matter what your story is with animals in your life, you’ve learned to love in a powerful way. Even if you’re reading this and not having an appreciation for cats in general, you know the energy of the love of our precious pets.

    They teach us about unconditional love. They teach us about tolerance. They make us laugh at their antics and cry at their discomfort. They are here to work for us and love us despite our inadequacies. If we are open to looking at our shadows in our own lives, they can help us grow by loving us more than we probably love ourselves.

    I hope that in your journeys with animals that you take them seriously in their mission to love and help us. Allow them to do their job here which is to take your pain for you and show you how to love and laugh. Grieve them when they are dying and when they are gone but learn to appreciate the beauty of the joy they brought to you in the time you they chose to be with you.

    I’m going to curl up with Wylie now, pet her and tell her how much I love her, for she will be gone soon. I will not have this precious moment for much longer with this precious animal that chose me to love. I will though, have the rest of my life to demonstrate love to everyone and everything in appreciation of the lessons of love this precious animal taught me.

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    New Dialogue

    If we want things to be different in our lives then we must learn new dialogue; first within ourselves, then with the world. New dialogue means that you don’t deal with today the same way you dealt with yesterday; the results will always be the same. Each moment and situation is different and every day is a new day.

    Our past experiences help us today only through what we have learned from each experience; the mistakes and the joys. The past does not define us – this moment defines us and that is always growing and changing. Keeping up with the new dialogue in the moment is needed to remain present and conscious. Changing the dialogue will create new outcomes.

    When relationships start to go bad, don’t we say to ourselves that we wish things could be different? Don’t we wish we could redo things, take back things that were spoken, or change the way things have become? This requires new dialogue.

    If our thoughts of yesterday create today and our thoughts of today create our tomorrow, then we want to make sure we are paying attention to what we are thinking in each moment. This will require being mindful; conscious of where our mind chatter is taking us throughout our day. Once we recognize that we are living in the past, for example, we can make a choice in that moment to come present.

    This is new dialogue. This is changing the way our mind chatter controls our moment. Once we learn to change the dialogue going on in our heads, we can replace it with new dialogue. You can choose what that dialogue is.

    Let’s take a look at relationships. When you are in a heated discussion with your partner and you approach the subject from your old place of fear, distrust, or panic, then the result can never be different. You will be speaking from the only place you have known and your partner will be listening from the only place they have known – your past experiences.

    If you have begun the work of looking at your mind chatter and being as conscious as you can be in each moment and your partner is doing the same, then the result of a disagreement will be different; it has to be. Each person will approach the disagreement with new eyes, new ears and a new perspective.

    If you change your approach but your partner does not, then you may be speaking with new dialogue but they may be listening from the old place of fear, distrust, etc. This will be harder to have a new result. A new result will be difficult to achieve if your partner does not understand that they don’t have to always have the old results.

    New dialogue is so important if we want new results in our lives. We can’t change anything if we approach it and deal with it in the old way. Recognize what worked for you in the past and what didn’t. If your anger didn’t give you the results you wanted, then it is time for new dialogue. If your fear held you back in your past, then you need new dialogue with yourself about fear.

    Where does your mind chatter hold you back in life? As you recognize where you’ve held yourself back, where the results were not what you would have liked them to have been, then it’s time for new dialogue. Trust yourself and try having new conversation with yourself about a situation you need to deal with. Ask yourself how you can say different words or be quiet when you want to talk. Do it new, conscious and watch the results change.

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    Gossip

    Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”
    – The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (The first agreement)

    Gossip hurts everyone. If you know something about someone or think you know something about someone why do you feel it is your job to share that with anyone else? Sharing information about something you have been privy to is gossip. Gossip hurts.

    Gossip is talk or rumor of known or unknown information. It benefits no one. Gossiping happens for a few reasons: The gossiper feels like it benefits them as they appear to know more than others, it gives them something to talk about when they don’t know what else to say, to be cruel, or it makes them feel closer to others, even at the expense of someone else.

    Our words can create peace and love. The can be spoken from wisdom. Or they can hurt and destroy. Words cannot be taken back. The word is pure magic or we can create chaos with the word.

    Gossip has been a form of communication in human society. An example of gossip would be if you were going to start a new class and someone tells you how horrible the teacher is. This is strictly their opinion. You will walk into that room with that information about the teacher on your mind. You will have already formed, even a slight, opinion of the teacher before entering the class. Once information is out, you are imprinted with it.

    Gossip is of the ego. Although we may hear something about someone, we tend to think of what we’ve heard when we see the person, even if you try to ignore the information. This is how the ego works. It will justify our own behavior and thoughts about someone else as though what we are doing is okay.

    • Speak with integrity. What you say is reflected in your actions. It is also an indication of how you feel about yourself.
    • Be impeccable with your word. Make sure that what comes out of your mouth is exactly what you want reflected about who you are.

    If you speak of someone make sure you are speaking as though you are speaking about yourself. If you are speaking with integrity, you will notice how good it feels to speak only with love, truth and compassion.

    The desire to gossip is strong. The desire to connect to others, even at the expense of someone else, can drive us to gossip. Mother always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” How true these words are. Make the choice today that you will only speak that which is important and not speak anything that is not important or hurtful. When you are around others who are gossiping – leave. Do not engage in the behavior anymore. It is not judgment of others for you to leave if they start gossiping. You are just taking care of your soul. If what is being said is not said with love, truth and compassion, you choose if you want to stay in that environment.

    Take care of yourself. Take care of your soul. Speak truthfully and with love. Speak only from your heart. The benefits far outweigh the damage the alternative can cause. Speak truth to yourself and love yourself for doing that. This will be reflected in the way you speak to others and the way you act towards others. Speak only with love and compassion for others. Experience the joy of compassion through your words.

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    Discernment vs Judgment

    Webster defines discernment as the ability to grasp and comprehend what is obscure. It defines judgment as the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing.

    Everyone judges. We judge ourselves and we judge others. We always seem to have an opinion about someone or something. Judgment is the work of the ego; it loves to judge. Judgment is a way of making ourselves feel better about who we are by putting our own discomfort onto others.

    Discernment is a way of knowing what serves our spirit, our soul, and our life. It is a way of understanding that which feels uncomfortable without beating down or beating up. Discernment is connected to our spirit and judgment is connected to ego. It is a delicate balance to differentiate between judging someone and discerning whether they feel good for the soul. To begin with you must be aware of how things in life feel for your soul; how things in life serve the soul. Being present, breathing, checking in, living in the moment, recognizing what feels right and what doesn’t – these are all ways to learn what works for the soul.

    Here is an example of discernment vs judgment: You run into an old friend at Starbucks. You haven’t seen this old friend for a long time because of some past issues you had with some unethical things they were doing. They want to sit with you and tell you about more of their dealings.

    Within a few minutes of being with them, you feel nauseated or you get a headache. You pass it off as having eaten something earlier that hasn’t settled well in your stomach or maybe it’s just been a long day and now you have a headache.

    If you are paying attention to discernment, the body is trying to tell you that involvement with this person is not working for your soul. Your body is getting your attention to help you realize that it is okay for you to walk away, to not have to sit and listen, that you can excuse yourself from a situation that is uncomfortable for you.

    Discernment frees us. It allows us to give ourselves permission to take care of our soul; to spend time with those who serve our soul and to do things in our life that serves our soul.

    In judgment, you would stay and listen and judge. As this old friend is telling you about their unethical practices, you may be telling yourself how bad this person is or how wrong what they’re doing is, etc. But you stay and listen. Why? Maybe you are afraid they won’t like you if you excuse yourself. Maybe you are afraid of removing unethical people from your environment because ‘everyone needs friends’ and you don’t want to be the person who steps away from people in your life. And then they call and now you spend more time with someone who drains your soul instead of enhancing it all because you are afraid.

    When we listen to our bodies and listen to what serves our soul, we will find that our discernment helps us live in truth. We do not need to judge others for what they do, what they wear or who they are. If we want to live in peace, judgment will not assist that.

    Judgment is gossip. Gossip is of the ego. Discernment is of the soul. Notice if you go into mind chatter when you are deciding if you are discerning or judging. Mind chatter will be the ego talking. Discernment will be a feeling of comfort, a feeling of “ok,” a beautiful way to care for the soul. Choose to keep as much in your life as you can that serves your soul. The benefits are wonderful!

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    Searching for Wholeness

    “The thirst of our soul for wholeness…the union with God” – Carl Jung

    For as long as most of us can remember we have been searching for something we could not name. Our search for this thing that we believe will make us feel good, feel better, at home, as though we belong, has run our lives. If we could find this illusory thing we would not be lonely anymore. If we found this thing we would know what it means to be loved and accepted. We would be happy and fulfilled if we could just find it.

    We believe we find our answers in the arms of another lover, devouring more brownies, driving our car too fast or working long hours. The thought of a drink or drug may be the answer as well. Our search for something to fulfill us is daunting and controlling.

    Yearning and searching for something to make us feel better can move us into destructive behaviors and activities. We may feel that when we take our first drug or drink we have the answer. We may feel that when we eat the brownies or the whole cake we are filling the emptiness within.

    We are all searching for something to fill what’s missing in our lives. We feel separate and different from others, isolated and lonely. This yearning can take us into destructive behaviors, activities and substances that seem like a temporary fix to our problems. We look for relationships, for example, no matter what they entail, to fill the void.

    The search for wholeness is the search for the difference between our small self (our ego) and the deeper self (our spiritual connection). The small self is very familiar. It is the part of us that pays the bills, lives in the real world, functions on a day to day basis and runs around just doing. The deeper self transcends our limitations. It is that which understands there is more than the physical-ness of us and the doer part of us. When these parts of self are separated, we look to fill the void, to find the connection. This connection is the understanding that there is more to this life than being on the move all the time.

    The spiritual development and challenge is to recognize that we are trying to fill the void. This place of wholeness we seek is our spiritual core. Recognizing when we are searching for something to fill us up is a start. Recognizing what we are trying to fill, or what is missing, is the next step. Balance is the key.

    The yin/yang symbol in Taoism depicts the perfect balance between the masculine and the feminine within us all. It is the balance of all things. There are two parts, opposites, to all things but they can be balanced and thrive.

    We will always struggle with which self we are living in any given moment of a day. Choose which one you want to live in. Balance your life and find positive, spiritual practices to help fill the void in your search for wholeness.

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    The Illusion of Fear

    Our best moments seem so transformational to us, don t they? They feel good and we tend to believe that the good times in life are what make us grow. These are only best moments; they are not the complete end to our growing and developing.

    The good times are a blessing to our soul. These times make us laugh and make us smile, but usually don t challenge us to look at who we are. Life is about laughing, smiling and feeling joyous, but the truth is that life can also be filled with stuff that doesn t feel good.

    How many people have you known in your life that always seem happy but you can just tell that there s something brewing underneath; that there s more going on then they re showing to the world?

    What truly moves us forward are the difficult moments. These times make us take a look at who we are and how spiritually developed we are, or not. Difficult moments feel the worst but they truly are a tall tell sign of how much soul-work or spiritual work we are doing.

    As a therapist interested in soul-work and spiritual development, it is imperative that I don t take away, or fix, someone s suffering or pain. Their suffering may be their key to their true freedom. In suffering, we can become motivated to make changes. In suffering, we may discover things about ourselves that we wouldn t see if we are always in a state of good times. Tools are taught to learn how to deal with times of pain so growth can be recognized.

    The humanness of us will suffer. It s the length of time one spends in the suffering and the soul or spiritual work that one does while in pain that speaks to our development. If we get caught up in the suffering, we can stay in it for years. This can look like depression, sadness, discomfort, self-defeat, or self-hate. It can be the not-so-subtle acts of negative thinking and judgment of self and others as well.

    Are you tired of being afraid of life? Are you tired of fighting? Are you tired of feeling alone? These are the ways of fear. When we get really tired of the way we feel, tired of the way we are acting or tired of beating up on other people or ourselves, we begin to look for ways to get out of these conditions.

    It is all about fear. It is fear that holds us back. It is fear which convinces us to hold onto old thoughts, old reactions and old ways of dealing with the world. Fear is a driving force. Fear can defeat you. Fear can make you stagnate. Fear can make you grow. This is the illusion of fear.

    When we talk about fear, we become afraid. Fear is not always about putting up your defenses to the world as much as it is about putting up your defenses to yourself. If we open ourselves up to the fact that we have fear, fear of being better, fear of not being better, fear of liking ourselves, or fear of not liking ourselves, we can grow. Accepting that fear exists in most things that we do, say and experience gives us the opportunity to learn from that fear.

    Why is fear an illusion? It feels scary and evokes strong emotions even if we don t realize that our reactions are coming from fear. This is fear s illusion. If we see fear as a motivator instead of allowing it to stop us in our tracks we can learn to grow from it. Look at your fear, name it, face it and remember that all is well it is all an illusion!

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    Compassion

    Lama Zopa Rinpoche defines compassion as:
    "Live with compassion
    Work with compassion
    Die with compassion
    Meditate with compassion
    Enjoy with compassion
    When problems come,
    Experience them with compassion."

    What is compassion? Wikipedia defines compassion as a feeling that commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another s suffering. We gain many benefits from demonstrating compassion. Compassion is a warm heart, respecting and helping others and heart-opening. It is the recognition of suffering and moving towards it with kindness and caring.

    Practicing compassion increases our capacity to care. Feelings of judgment, spite, or anger close the heart. These feelings are easy to fall into as they may be familiar. Learning to stop and remember that compassion will expand your heart reinforces empathy, charity and sympathy. It is good exercise for your heart.

    How do we have compassion for someone who has wronged us? Compassion is not about being a doormat and allowing others to walk all over us. We can have compassion (caring) for the suffering that this person may be going through that causes them to wrong others. Having compassion for the wrongs we feel that have done to us is power, not weakness. We speak out about injustices without hesitation. We learn to live clearly, and in that clarity, we stand for right-ness and speak out against wrong.

    If we recognize that this person who has wronged us is suffering, then we will seek ways to help relieve their suffering. Rather than judge them for their behavior which is being exhibited from their suffering, we can work on how we can help them. That help could be as simple as loving them no matter what. We may not be able to fix someone s suffering, but we can love them in spite of it.

    Compassion is something that some may feel for people and not for animals. It can be something that some may feel for animals and not for people or one group over another. Why would we not have compassion for all living things? Is one life more important than another s?

    Here are 7 compassion practices from the Dalai Lama:
    1 Morning ritual Greet each morning with a ritual such as saying, Today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life and I m not going to waste it.
    2- Empathy practice the first step in cultivating compassion is to develop empathy for your fellow human beings.
    3 Commonalities practice Instead of recognizing the differences between yourself and others, try to recognize what you have in common.
    4 Relief of suffering practice Once you can empathize with another person, and understand his humanity and suffering, the next step is to want that person to be free from suffering.
    5 Act of kindness practice Imagine again the suffering of someone you know. Imagine what you could do to help the person s suffering end. Now imagine what you d like them to do to help your suffering to end. A good example of this is offering someone a smile or a kind word.
    6 - Those who mistreat us practice when we encounter someone who mistreats us, instead of acting in anger, withdraw. Try to imagine what this person went through in their life to create such action.
    7 Evening routine Take a few minutes before you go to bed to reflect on your day.

    Where do you demonstrate compassion in your life? Begin to notice today where you do and when you do. Notice why you make distinctions between who deserves your compassion and who doesn t. Live heart-open and allow your heart to grow.

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    Clarity

    There once was a woman who met a man who lived in a house on a hill. The woman said to the man, I want marriage and children badly. He said, I don t want either of those things. Five years later they married. Five years later she said, I want children badly. He said, I still don t want children. Five years later, they had a child. Five years later they divorced.

    Where was the clarity of mind and of heart in this situation? Each person, although saying the words, made excuses, rationalizations and justifications for their own feelings and actions and for the feelings and actions of the other person. When we live our lives making excuses for our behavior, we get into situations that can be not only very uncomfortable but very difficult. We then feel disconnected from our own souls.

    In the story above, we now have a divorced couple with a child. Had each person in the story been true to themselves, they would have realized that they had different hopes and dreams for their lives. Had they been clear within themselves, they wouldn t have married and they wouldn t have brought a child into a broken home. There are many types of clarity. There is the clarity of mind, clarity of soul, clarity of the body, clarity of speech, and clarity to others. When we are clear, we are paying attention. We are conscious. We make the best choices we can in the moment for our soul. These choices get reflected in our lives. We are guided by our truth, or clarity, rather than by our egos (our desires, fears, etc).

    It isn t easy to be clear. We aren t used to being clear and we probably weren t taught how to be clear. Clarity isn t about being aggressive or even assertive. Clarity isn t about expressing your feelings without knowing what you re truly feeling. It isn t about telling others what you think without first knowing that what you are saying is truth for you. Clarity is not about telling others what is wrong with them as well.

    Clarity is about being true to yourself about what you are feeling. You are the only one who knows your truth. You know when you are justifying, rationalizing or making excuses for your feelings, thoughts and behavior. The more you pay attention to what is true for you, the clearer you will be in speech and action.

    Clear thoughts lead to clear words which lead to clear actions. If you want clear actions than you need clear thoughts. Our thoughts become action. That action can be expressed through speech or physical activity. Action that is done without clarity gets us into trouble or we then have to take back our words.

    Be clear of mind, clear of heart and clear of soul. Be true to yourself. First and foremost, clarity within your soul is the place from which all relationships and all communication within relationships manifests. Without clarity we play the game of the ego.

    There is freedom in clarity and in that freedom is tons of laughter and light. The heaviness of the ego mind keeps us in stalemate. Move forward in your life, laugh often and love the clarity of your soul which manifests itself into the world.

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    Stress

    Stress can kill you. It can make you sick. Events can be stressful only if we attach negativity to them. Arguments with other, the death of a loved one, divorce, financial issues, problems with children and physical illnesses are all common stress producers. Stress can come from positive events as well such as a wedding, celebration, etc. It may be true that events are happening that are not pleasant, but our reaction and attachment to the events is what causes the stress. The events themselves do not cause stress.

    Both positive and negative situations in life involve change. We are threatened by or fearful of change most of the time. Events will become stressful when we experience change, fear it and then continue to have conversation with ourselves about it. The internal conversation can be more damaging than the reality of the situation. We tend to talk falsely to ourselves.

    While a little stress can be good for us, stress can become a problem when the demands placed on us as individuals are too great or continue for too long. Stressed individuals often increase their drinking and smoking and are particularly at risk of developing coronary heart disease, certain cancers, psychiatric disorders and alcohol- and smoking-related disorders so it is important to recognize the tell-tale signs and seek help.

    One of the key ingredients of stress is expectation. If we believe that things will remain the same then something happens to change it, we will become distressed. We do the same with people and their behavior. We expect them to do or act a certain way and when that doesn t happen, we become distressed as well.

    How do we have no have expectations of things to turn out the way we think they should? Can we just let life happen without expectation? We need hope that things will turn out in some fashion or another the way we would like them to. We may feel disappointed when things don t turn out like we hope they will. The stress comes from the significance we attach to an event and by the expectations we place upon others.

    If you ve been reading my columns for awhile now, you ll notice there are commonalities in many of the tools I propose to achieve a variety of states of mind, i.e. meditation, breathwork, or yoga. These tools can be used to calm you, bring you to a state of presence, heal, or simply remember all is well. These tools can be used to help us de-stress as well. If stress is a state of mind, then calming and soothing the mind and remembering that all is well, right in this moment, no matter what s going on out there, is a good thing to learn to do.

    Here are other ways to deal/cope with stress:
    1 Recognize the signs of stress dry mouth, tight jaw, upset stomach this is when you can begin to take action (or non-action)
    2 Sometimes doing nothing is better. Time out and time away can help.
    3 Identify what s really important ask yourself How important is this? as often in your day as you need
    4 Don t over-plan your day
    5 Make time for you exercise, yoga, breathe, meditate 3 to 5 minutes a day is all you need

    Let go of expectation of things turning out the way you think they should or people doing what you think they should the way you think they should. Use your energy for more constructive and loving things in your life.

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    Mindfulness

    It s Valentine s Day again. It comes around once a year. Do you really need the reminder to be loving to your partner? I want to be mindful more than once a year. I want to be mindful of what I m feeling in each moment. I want to be mindful of my thoughts and of my actions. Mindfulness means paying attention. Mindfulness means that you are aware of each moment. Mindfulness means that you don t play games by pretending you don t recognize what you re doing or saying. Mindfulness means that you live in the present moment, not in the past or the future.

    Think about the past or stress about the future and you are no longer present. What is - is. The present moment is different. If we are attached to past events and continue to re-create them, we are removed from the present. If our past is full of fun and frolic we may feel we want to keep that feeling today. But, if you re not experiencing today s fun and frolic, you may be missing out on new experiences. If our past was full of pain and trauma, we may want to flee any memories of it. The fact is, you re desire to flee the past is actually holding you down as it takes full control of the present. Your past does not define you but you can hold onto it enough that you believe it does.

    Each moment is new and refreshing if you let it be. In Buddhism, a mindful life is the path to liberation. No matter what your philosophy of study, a little attention in each moment can go a long way.

    Here are tools to learn to be in the present: 1 Walking meditation. In just 5 minutes, you can be completely present. With each step, pay attention to which foot you are placing down. Think right foot, left foot. Notice how it feels to place each foot on the ground. Is the ground soft or hard? Is your step stable or wobbly? As the very brief 5 minutes pass, notice how your attention is more focused on what is happening right now. You cannot be thinking of walking, each step with intention, and be thinking of the past or the future at the same time.

    2 Breathing. A minimum of twice a day, take 3 minutes to breathe. Sit or lie down whatever feels more comfortable and opens your spine. Breathe deeply into and lower than the belly. Breathe slowly in and very slowly out, breathing out all the breath. Use the stomach muscle to empty the breath. You cannot be thinking of the past or future while you re taking in and letting out conscious breath.

    3 Meditation. In yogic science, they state that it takes 12 seconds to meditate. 12 seconds of peace. Sit and close your eyes and just BE for 12 seconds. That is a state of meditation. More is better, but in our busy days, 12 seconds is better than nothing. Give yourself the gift of just being.

    Mindfulness, being present, consciousness, or awakened are all states of presence in the moment. It doesn t matter how you get there, just that you do. When we are present, we give the energy and presence of the heart. Our mindfulness first and foremost to our own being is so important. We give to others from that place within us that is cared for and loved. From this space within us, we can love our partners, friends and co-workers every day and feel proud that we do in a very loving, mindful way.

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    Spiritual Community

    Whenever two or more gather in my name... Matthew 18:20

    There is a Jewish tale of a good King who is dying. Before all his grieving subjects, he calls for someone to bring him an arrow and asks the weakest person to break it. The man does so with ease. Then the King asks for a bundle of arrows which he asks the strongest in the crowd to break them. The man cannot do it. The King says to his subjects, I bequeath to you the community of you all. Be united with one another. This oneness will give you strength, which alone you would never be able to attain.

    A feeling of belonging, that sense that we are part of a whole greater than ourselves is necessary for our well-being. We live in a society where the individual is celebrated. How special are your talents compared to another s, how creative are you compared to others and do you offer an original contribution to the world? This separation of the individual creates inflated egos and neglects our community.

    Being part of a group or community gives us a sense of purpose. It helps us feel needed to interact with others and helps defeat loneliness. It can, on the negative side, oppress spontaneity, freedom of expression, insist on conformity, or discriminate against those outside of the group; all in the name of belonging.

    Spending time alone can be beneficial and nurturing. It can be a relief. Deep, sad aloneness is different. It is the feeling that no one cares. That it doesn t matter what happens to us; that we are not important to anyone. It is a feeling that if we ceased to exist, no one would notice. Finding a sense of connection to others is so important.

    Creating spiritual community is one way to belong. It is not about creating a group that you need to belong to. It is about attending events, even if you sit quietly, and knowing that you belong. It is a sense of support that may not feel the same way if you, say, take a class at college. Spiritual community is involvement in the development of your soul. It is about sitting in grace and being around other people who are doing the same.

    There is no perfect spiritual community. There are people, just like you and me, who come together to experience acceptance. You may learn something along the way that you can put into practice in your life, but hopefully you walk away with a sense of acceptance for who you are. Spiritual community accepts all who attend as part of the human race. There is no separation between you and them.

    If you find a group or an event that you want to attend, you should be able to do so without expectations; of yourself, from the group and from the group of you. If it is truly a spiritual gathering, there should be acceptance of all who attend with no expectations of participation or achievement. True spirituality is unconditional acceptance for all that is.

    Walk through many spiritual groups, gatherings and events to see how they feel. A sense of belonging will show up in one or more of these gatherings. Search for belonging. It is wise to explore a variety of options.

    Attending one gathering and keep going to only that group can either feel stifling or it can be exactly what you need. Attend, experience and pay attention to how you feel in each moment. There will never be perfection amongst group members, so it is up to you to make the best choices for your life.

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    The Webs We Weave

    A friend (not in the Vail Valley) called me the other day and wanted to talk about a situation he got himself into regarding relationships. He considers himself to be a spiritual person. He developed a web of relationships that has become uncomfortable. He called to find out how he could get out of it.

    The web he wove is that he was in an intimate relationship with a woman with whom he stopped dating but is determined to keep her as a friend. This has proven to be more difficult than he imagined as she is not willing to let him go enough to be his friend after having an intimate relationship. He has another friend that he meets when he goes out dancing. This friend became an intimate partner, just once, but causing the friendship to change.

    His web is that he continues to ask the first woman over for dinner and parties. The second woman wants to be more than friends and is feeling left out of his life. An uncomfortable situation has resulted.

    My friend does not need criticism or judgment. He needs understanding that he is as human as the rest of us, no matter how spiritual he feels he is. He needs confirmation that his discomfort is showing up for him to heal this issue.

    The web is a clear indication of lack of clarity. When we choose to be conscious and clear, there should not be any issues with anyone feeling left out, used, or involved when they re really not. Woven webs of unconscious choices unbalance our soul. With clarity we can rebalance.

    Clarity in relationships is important. If you re just having sex with someone, then be clear about it. If the other person thinks there s more to it, then you were not clear. If you just want to be friends, then be clear. If the other person wants more and they are being your friend with hopes of changing your mind, then you need to be clearer. We all know when someone has ulterior motives. Games hurt people. Clarity eliminates games.

    Issues with our friends require clarity as well. We will not create uncomfortable webs if we are clear about who we are, what we want, and use loving communication when there are issues between friends. True friends want clarity. Clarity is freedom to be exactly who you are in truth without hurting anyone.

    Spiritual relationship requires clarity. If you don t know how to be clear, then be honest about not knowing, but try your best. Spirituality is about making conscious, clear choices. It is about not being afraid that someone won t like you because of your choices. If you are clear and honest and they don t like it, then you have to decide if that relationship is one worth hanging onto. If there is a misunderstanding, then it is important to clear it up. Conscious relationship attends to misguided communication.

    Clarity is about discernment as well. Clarity is not about judgment of others. When we are clear and someone leaves your life because of it, we let them go (with love). It is about discerning what is best for your soul. It is about being clear within you about what works and what doesn t without attaching to others opinions. Walk consciously into each relationship. Live each moment consciously. Choose the best for your soul and do your soul-work you won t regret it and you won t get caught in the woven webs of the unconscious.

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    Raising Spiritual Children

    Grown men can learn from very little children for the hearts of little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss. Black Elk

    Our children deserve the best we can give them. They deserve to get the best education. They deserve to enhance their true gifts and feel good about who they are. They deserve to find their voice. No two children are the same; even within the same family. When we try to fit all children into a mold, we are not honoring their specialness.

    When we sit our children in front of the television for long periods of time for their entertainment and when we use it as a babysitter, we are doing a disservice to them. Not only are we allowing mechanized entertainment to teach them about life, but they are not getting the best of us. Children need us to help them find their gifts and to teach them how to hold onto their connection to Spirit as they grow. We need to bring spirituality into everyday life, not just on Sunday.

    Spirituality is based on the idea that there exists something, a state of mind, a being, a place, that is outside our five senses. It is a religion or it is an independent, self-directed path. It is being conscious of how we treat ourselves and others. It is learning right from wrong and developing compassion and respect for others. We must demonstrate these basic ideas in order for our children to learn them.

    Raising spiritual children is a huge responsibility. It is also a necessity for the consciousness of the planet. Our world needs children who will grow up to be conscious adults. Conscious children learn how to handle conflict, for example, with loving action instead of violence. They learn how to express themselves without the threat of being told to be quiet or made to feel they are not important.

    Children are so close to spirit, so in touch with energy, so aware of their connection to something bigger than them. Then adults come into the picture with judgments, fear, and life experience of pain or suffering and begin telling the children what is possible and what isn t. The children learn, just as the adults did, to deny their connection to spirit and the ways of their parents pain.

    We, the adults/parents/guardians, are not to blame; we can only raise our children in the ways we know how. On any given day though, we can begin to do our own spiritual work and share that with our children; they will love it. We can share with them that we are trying to live this life in a new loving way. We can share with them that we don t really know how to do it, but we re going to try. Children identify readily with conversation and tools to connect to spirit; it will seem natural to them.

    Our humanness cannot be educated out of us; we will make mistakes. We will continue to learn through trial and error. Learning through love instead of fear means that you find the lesson in every situation and honor it. It means that we understand that we don t always have to fix everything and that we don t know everything.

    All of us can start any moment to re-connect with spirit. As we experience the unfamiliar, we can share our questions and knowledge with our children. The more real we are with them, the more real they will be, not only with us, but with themselves. As they grow up, they will be conscious, aware and enlightened human beings.

    (To contact Cathy, please email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Transformational Breathwork

    "Breathing in, I calm body and mind, Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is the only moment."
    - Thich Nhat Hanh

    Breath is Spirit. Breath is Light. Breath is transformational. Breath is the free source which connects us to our source; our higher power. Breath is life. It is our most primal function. It is completely automatic, yet totally within our control. We don t usually think about our breathing. We assume it will happen automatically just like it has until we die.

    Heaven and earth are aligned when we breathe through our whole body. Breath is the spirit of life, it is called chi, ki, prana, or energy.

    The average person breathes at only a fraction of breaths potential. Your breathing can be "healed," brought back to the level that nature intended. When we breathe on a conscious level, every system in the body begins to work better. We find that the breath itself naturally heals and renews the body, mind and spirit. Conscious breathing becomes a very powerful self-directed healing process. The breath reveals itself to be an untapped natural resource, a therapeutic tool, for health, growth and change.

    What does it mean to breathe with intention? One method within conscious breathing is to ask quietly from within what we would like this breath, at this moment, to provide us. For example, if you re feeling stressed quietly say to yourself, With this breath, I will bring peace and love to my mind, body and spirit I ask that all energy that I am holding onto and causing stress in my body be released in this moment. Take a breath and know that you are heard, and then relax into the breath. This takes one moment. It can happen that fast. As you practice doing this throughout your day, you will find that things you thought were important can be released, or at least redirected, without attachment to them.

    Breath is one of the most written and talked about methods of healing throughout time. Native Americans call each breath we inhale Spirit and every breath exhale Spirit. Yoga holds as a central truth that Breath is the connection, the bridge between mind and body, between the visible and the invisible. The Hindus call it prana, which means literally "life" - that is "life-force." The Chinese call it ch'i, the Polynesians mana, the Amerindians orenda, and the ancient Germans od. In India it is named by the Sanskrit word prana; in Tibet it is called sugs, and in Aikido, Japan, ki. It is an all-pervasive "organic" energy. Breath connects us to each other, and it connects all of us to God, nature and existence.

    Breath has healing agents that won t cost you a thing. Breath awakens our connection to our Source, to the Divine within us and to the healing energies that already exist. Whether you have physical or psychological issues going on, the breath at a very basic level, relaxes the mind and the body. This in itself is a huge tool to begin your own healing.

    There are numerous breathing techniques. Opening and relaxing with the breath is like opening doors to your soul. Every breath induces relaxation. As you practice with intention, expand the properties of each breath. If you feel highly stressed throughout your day, take two or three minutes in your office, in the restroom, in your car or a room in your house, to take three to five breaths and breathe with intention. Working with a Breathwork practitioner, one can be assisted and learn how to help themselves with illnesses and can experience at minimum balance, at maximum a healing.

    Take in a breath. Not a huge deep one, just a slow easy breath. Exhale slowly through pursed lips pushing all of the breath out using your abdominal muscles. As you do this, remember that each inhale is Spirit, Light, Divine, God, Buddha the energy or belief that is within you. Imagine that this breath flows or vibrates from above the top of your head, the Heavens or Father Sky, through your lower region, 1st Chakra, and into Mother Earth. This is your Spiritual connection to your own soul. This is the beginning of your healing breath practice.

    "For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth."
    - Sanskrit Proverb

    (To contact Cathy, please email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    A Fresh Start

    A new year - a fresh start? Why does it take a new year to make changes? What about starting fresh every day?

    The freshness and excitement of a new year gives us hope for a better life. We start out with anticipation which lasts for a few weeks to a few months and then it wanes. Why? Because we are not committed. We are not committed to, nor honor, our bodies enough to lose weight, get in better shape, stop smoking, or stop drinking. We are not committed to, nor honor, our families enough to work on the dynamic of it. We are not committed to, nor honor, our communities or our world enough to do what we can to make sure it sustains us.

    Commit to your soul work. Everything you do comes from your soul. Everything you give, everything you commit to, and everything you are comes from your soul. Any resolutions you make will progress a little easier when you are working with Source; your higher power connected to your soul. Trusting that positive changes will be better for your soul, for your family, your community and the world makes it a little easier to continue working towards a better you.

    Change will occur whether we participate or not but we can have a hand in the change. We can make choices about our life but when we trust our life to Spirit, it will flow. It is a fine balance between our being in control and trust in Divine. Just because a new year appears on the calendar doesn t mean you give up on the remainder of the year. Your participation in life, in your life, is a conscious choice every day. Any day in which you decide to participate in your life is a good day. Any day you forget to participate in your life is only a lapse and you can begin participating any moment you choose.

    Many start a new year as if they will become a whole new person but the reality is that you have to commit to change, one small change at a time. Commitment comes from within; it is not about will power. Commitment is honoring and respecting your choices. You can change your mind at any time, but make a commitment in the moment. You will never be a whole new person; you will become the person that you truly (and already) are the Divine truth of you.

    Commitment is difficult when things get tough. It gets difficult when the changes you are trying to make conflict with your desires. For example, if you want to eat healthier this coming year and you go on a diet, lose 2 or 5 pounds and then put it right back on, you may be disappointed. Your desire to eat whatever you want is stronger than your commitment. It is in these moments that your true commitment shines through. These are not moments to beat yourself up but to choose to step up in your life and honor it once again.

    Whatever commitments you make this coming year, remember that you can make choices for your life each and every day. Wake each morning and set your intention for your day. Behind every commitment is intention what are you committing to in your day and your life?

    (To contact Cathy, please email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Authentic Power

    There is a power which lies deep within us. It is a power that loves life, a power that does not judge and a power that perceives meaningfulness and purpose on earth. We align our thoughts, emotions and actions with the highest part of ourselves, we are filled with enthusiasm, purpose and meaning. There are no thoughts of bitterness. We have no memory of fear. We are joyously and intimately engaged with our world. This is authentic power. Gary Zukav, Seat of the Soul

    We are taught that power is external from us. It is something you attain such as money, strength, or status. External power operates without emotion. It is that which we believe to push others around or impress beyond their comprehension. Power is intention. Your use of power is either gratifying or harmful.

    There is perceived power which comes from the ego; the power we believe to be received from and dealt with in the external world. People who have been given positions of authority and that authority goes to their heads are in their external power. If they understand the difference between external and authentic power while in a position of authority, they will not abuse their power. They will use it for the good of all, not for their own gratification.

    There is no power in fear. When you feel fear, your power leaves you and you cannot feel anything other than discomfort or distrust. Anxiety, for example, is your power leaving the center core of your body. It is a quick, massive loss of energy resulting in the quickening of breath and stepping out of the body.

    You lose power when you rage. You lose power when you are threatened. You lose power when you detach from friends and family. You lose power when you envy another. All of these are fear based. Living in authentic power means you learn to pay attention to your being on a moment to moment basis.

    We must take care of our families, our communities and our world. We must take care of ourselves. We must participate. The road to authentic power is through your heart. You must recognize what you feel. This is the energy that moves you through each day.

    Tapping into your authentic power does not constitute selfishness. It demonstrates stability. It demonstrates humility. Forgiveness is a virtue of an authentically empowered person. Forgiving someone and then expecting the other person to acknowledge the forgiveness is power of the forgiver over the forgiven. Forgiving from authenticity means you let go of the experience with no expectations. Use the present moment to stay in your power. You can focus on truth while being present and truth is power. You know your truth; you know what is right for you and what is not. When you live in your truth you live in your authentic power.

    Discover your authentic power and trust it. Know when you have stepped out of it and bring yourself back to it. It serves you well if you understand its purpose. Authentic power is aligning with Source while integrating your mind, body and spirit. Living in your authentic power will strengthen you and give you your true voice; even if that voice is just for you.

    (To contact Cathy, please email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Practicing Compassion

    If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. unknown

    Practicing compassion means not only working with those who are poor, sick or homeless but working with yourself as well. Compassion is a very tall order. To the degree we have compassion for ourselves, we will have compassion for others. We all have a lot of heart. Learning to touch the soft spot in our heart has to be the starting point for compassion.

    Wikipedia describes compassion as a profound human emotion prompted by the pain of others. More vigorous than empathy, the feeling commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another s suffering. This interpretation defines compassion as being outside of the self. A spiritual perspective of compassion reminds us that compassion has to be directed towards our own souls as well as others.

    Compassion is to be wherever you are with an open heart. We start with ourselves. It starts with learning to have a compassionate relationship with the parts of us we don t particularly like. We draw people and situations to us that we need to heal within us, so noticing what we dislike in others reflects our own areas that need healing.

    Compassion is the act of not having to be right. We learn that it is not important to make others right or wrong, or ourselves right or wrong. Is it possible that our hearts and minds are big enough to just hang out in the space where it doesn t matter who s right or who s wrong?

    Compassion is the act of not shutting anyone out of our hearts. Situations are always shifting and there are as many options in that moment as there are people in the situation. Attempting to always find the right or wrong is a trick we play on ourselves. It is about putting yourself in the other person s shoes; that whatever we feel about them, we feel about ourselves.

    Compassion is the act of being there for others. It is the act of speaking and acting in ways that communicate acceptance. Acceptance for what is and for what they are going through without having to fix it. It is about learning to just be available and not needing to then take home their pain for them. We can listen, care and then let it go. This is compassion for ourselves and others; this is a very loving and kind way to live.

    The more we practice compassion, our old habitual selves (our patterns) will soften. We will shift in ways we didn t know were possible. We will begin to see the faces of those we greet. We will hear the words of those we speak with. This happens whether you are aware of the different parts of yourself or not.

    The more compassion we have for ourselves, the more compassion we are able to have for others. Our circle of compassion will expand and we will accept the truth of who others are without judgment. We will learn to accept the judgments we make about our own behaviors, thoughts and feelings with more gentleness and kindness. When you become compassionate with yourself and others, your world becomes compassionate.

    (To contact Cathy, please email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Change the way you handle holiday stress

    The holidays are here! The Christmas bells are ringing and the hustle bustle of shoppers are in the malls. Excitement s in the air as Santa cries out ho-ho-ho. Children wait with anticipation to sit on Santa s lap. Families are planning their time together, the trees are lit with Christmas decorations and houses glow with red and green lights, some with large reindeer on the roofs.

    Holidays are not always exciting for everyone though. The stress of the holidays can lead to depression. The stress of holidays can be unpleasant and many people do not enjoy them at all. The economy and the state of the world can have an impact as well. Some people may have lost their jobs, and some may have family members who are in dire straits. Some may have memories of unpleasant Christmas . All of these can add up to a difficult time of year.

    If you know that during a time of year you always feel sad, sick, or emotionally drained, do something different. You can change the energy of anything by going into it with a renewed energy of your own. It has to change because you are not participating in it the same way you always have.

    The expectation of our emotional state of mind will set us up for failure once again. If, for example, your birthday month is a time that you feel depressed, you will anticipate the month and anticipate the same feelings. This doesn t have to be. Honor yourself by choosing that you deserve to celebrate your life. Change it up. Go on a vacation, take a trip, or even meditate more. Do something different. Sitting around anticipating the month knowing you will be depressed or sad will only bring it on.

    This holiday season, if the past was not so pleasant or current conditions are not so good, do something different. Treat yourself better this year. Honor yourself. If you are expected to be places or to be with the same friends and family, go for a long drive before attending, sing loudly, take a small trip and return refreshed and ready to face a new holiday season.

    If drinking or over-eating is an issue for you during the holiday seasons, make sure you plan how you are going to handle this year better than prior years. Don t drive to friends and families homes/parties if you know you are going to drink make other arrangements for getting there and getting home. If you over-eat, plan exactly how much you are going to allow yourself to eat before you go, eat slower than you used to and learn to say no, thank you to seconds.

    If family gatherings are times the family brings up old habits and everyone hears the same story of what you did when you were a kid, try changing the subject by talking about something you are doing now. Changing the way families and friends see us is not easy, but we are the only ones who can do that. We have to learn to step up and share new things we are doing and tell them how things have changed in our life otherwise, how will they know?

    You are not the only person who doesn t like particular times of a year whether it s a holiday season or a birthday month or a month you lost a loved one. You are in charge of your life; the events of life are not in charge of you.

    Smile more, even if you don t want to. Volunteer somewhere. Go on that hike or camping trip you ve been thinking about. Do something different it will make you feel good and change the old way you ve dealt with holidays. Blessings to all and Merry Christmas!

    (To contact Cathy, please email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Synchronicity

    The Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, coined the phrase synchronicity. He described it as meaningful coincidences. He states that it is a perceived connection between two or more objects or events or persons without any recognizable cause. Co-incidences are incidences that are happening at the same time.

    An example of synchronicity is when you are thinking of someone, the phone rings and they are on the phone or you are thinking of someone and the doorbell rings and they are standing there. A more subtle example of synchronicity would be that you are thinking of something your mother used to say to you and then you turn on the television and there is a program with the same message on. These incidences can seem like minor events or to the extreme of those having a profound impact on your life.

    Synchronistic events show us the alignment of the universe and our connection to a higher source of consciousness. We do have free will though. We can ignore these events, we can pretend they don t happen at all but this would be like ignoring our inner calling, our inner partner. Meaningful synchronicities happen to everyone and more often than we realize.

    Are these just coincidences? Are they accidents? I don t think so. If you begin to notice how often these occur you may realize how profound they really are. These events cannot be happening again and again without some deeper meaning.

    Synchronicities can lead to life changing events. You may have self-discoveries about who you really are and what you are here for. They may seem irrational and illogical. When you pay attention to synchronistic events you may notice that the right person shows up at the right time, that you end up at the right place at the right time, all seemingly at strategic moments. These events seem to make your life feel magical.

    Synchronistic events are miracles. Watching the universe work for us and through us is delightful. Knowing that everything happens exactly as it is supposed to helps us to understand our place in the workings of the universe. If we move ourselves out of the way and allow the universe to do its work, we can experience this amazing phenomenon.

    Being aware of synchronistic events awakens our spiritual instincts. The events, if viewed as guided by a source bigger than us, can sometimes help us gain deeper insight into what we intuitively know to be true.

    Every person will have a unique experience with synchronicities. It is up to each person to: 1) recognize a synchronistic event, 2) notice what ideas, symbols are being shown, 3) what do these mean to you personally, and 4) notice how these events make you feel.

    Your consciousness is constantly interacting on all levels. Some synchronistic events will have more meaning than others. You will be able to gauge how important an event is in your life by feeling how you respond emotionally or physically. Whatever your response to a synchronistic event, it is important to take a moment and feel gratitude for the event and gratitude that you recognized it. The smallest of miracles deserve gratitude as well.

    Now that you understand that synchronicities come from your source, guiding connected events in your life, you may notice more of them and appreciate them. They are always happening allow yourself to be open to them, feel gratitude for them and know that you are never alone in this amazing, enormous universe.

    (To contact Cathy, please email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Recognition

    Everyone wants to be acknowledged. Everyone wants to know that they matter. Acknowledging another human being is the simplest form of appreciation and gratitude that they exist. From the best friend and family members to the person begging for money on the street corner, they deserve recognition.

    With the holidays upon us, have you turned to those you know and those you don t and honestly said hello, how are you? No matter what your life situation, you can take a moment to acknowledge those around you. When you walk in to WalMart you are greeted (usually) with welcome to WalMart because they understand the need to recognize each and every person. They understand that all people like to be acknowledged just for being alive.

    When was the last time you truly appreciated the fact that we are all here for a purpose? Every person, every animal and every tree is here to co-habit ate. Appreciation of all living beings is essential for the preservation of our humanity. YOU are a child of God. YOU are the Buddha. YOU are perfection. And so is everyone and everything else. There is no difference between you and me other than obvious physical characteristics and the choices we make from the personality (ego). To remember that we, and all others, are the Divine and perfection is not arrogant, it s humble. To believe that you and others are anything other than Divine is arrogant because it implies that you are something other than a creation of Spirit.

    We are all the spokes of the wheel. We radiate from the same center and create this amazing thing called humanness. No one spoke is separate. The love in one of us is the same love as in the rest of us. When we believe we are separate we believe we stand alone, that we are different. Understanding that everyone deserves recognition acknowledges that we are one indivisible divine mind.

    Children love to be recognized. When you see a baby and they smile at you for no reason, they are seeing you as one of them. They are not seeing what you ve done in your life. They are not seeing what color you are or an illness you may have. They are recognizing the soul within you because that is the only place they know to live. The beauty of children is that they are still so close to Source and can connect with it easily.

    Acknowledge those around you and smile, say hello or at minimum, hold the door for them. Expect nothing in return. Giving from your understanding of our connectedness requires nothing back. It is a gift to your own soul to know that we are all one and that all deserve recognition.

    With the holidays upon us, be grateful for the connection of humanity. Be grateful for the fact that we are all here to help one another. When loneliness feels like it has a hold on you, remember that you are never alone. Our connectedness and the fact that we are one with Source never leave us separate. Recognizing another person s existence may just help with their loneliness or separateness. It could be the best gift you ever gave.

    Enjoy this holiday season and carry the energy of love, compassion and acknowledgement into the coming year. Try compassion it s a beautiful thing and so is everyone and everything around us.

    (To contact Cathy, please email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Having Faith

    When your activities and actions are gratifying, when you become engaged in what you are doing, when what you do serves you and others, when what you do does not tire you, you are doing what you are meant to be doing. When we are doing the work of our soul, there is no fear, there is no tiring, there is no negativity. There is a feeling of purpose and meaning.

    Every challenge, every obstacle occurs to have us take a look at who we are. These are not to disappoint us to the point of feeling failure or shame; they appear to have us move into awareness. Each challenge is an opportunity to take a look at what lies beneath it, the fears behind it and choose to learn its wisdom. In the midst of the challenge this may seem impossible, but the ego-mind is the only thing telling you that it s impossible. The soul will be asking, guiding you to move forward into awareness. We can t change what we don t recognize.

    Whether you listen to guidance from Spirit, God, Buddha, Divine or whatever works for you, you have free will to make your own decisions. Your decisions may guide you to the right of Spirit or the left of Spirit. There is no standard path of spirit. You choose how you learn and Spirit will give you the freedom to do it your way. The personality may be in control and not allow the guidance of Spirit, which in metaphysics is the hard way. You will always be battling your desires over that of your souls desire. You may continually feel like something is missing or that everything is always hard. This is the personality at work.

    Let go of thinking you know how to do it better. Trust. Have faith that you may not know it all and that maybe, just maybe, there s another way. What if you let go and trusted? What if you did and things went smoothly and you actually felt better about who you are and how things are unfolding? Doesn t that sound easier than the battle of your own will?

    The ego, you, the personality does not need to be the driver of your bus. Take your hands off the wheel. Thy will be done. Consider this statement for a moment. Releasing your control and trusting a higher power of wisdom will guide you towards your authentic power. If what you are doing now in your life isn t working, what harm would it do to let go, release, take your hands off the wheel, to trust? Trust that the faith you are allowing yourself to have or believe in is working. Do not get caught up in the what ifs of your life; you lose your power in the what ifs. Keep your power in the now. You will always remain conscious of the outcome of your choices but you will be more present in every situation today.

    Do what you need to do. You need to be involved in your life. Allow your intuition to guide you to appropriate timing and clear motivation. This way you will trust that what you are doing is right because it will feel right. You will be moving through this earth plane as an empowered spirit.

    Trust allows you to follow your feelings, bringing them into consciousness and letting them be directed, by what feels right to you, by Spirit. Follow your heart, not your mind. The humanness in us will appear, the mind will take over, but we have choice in every moment to recognize it and say stop, then take a breath and return to and trust the Divine guidance of our hearts.

    (To contact Cathy, please email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Give Yourself Permission

    It is important to learn to give yourself permission permission to heal, permission to feel, permission to experience, permission to love, permission to disagree, permission to move, permission to live. How can giving ourselves permission help with anything?

    It is rare for most of us to have been taught to truly feel whatever emotion is rising in any given moment. If we got angry our parents may have told us to go to our room or settle down or what s wrong with you? There may be shame around anger, for example, if we were not taught that it was okay to be angry. If we felt joy we may have been told to calm down after a short period of time as well. Just as often when we feel emotion we tell ourselves to settle down or calm down or we ask ourselves what s wrong with me?

    Allowing ourselves to feel whatever is going on is important. Because you decide to feel the emotion rather than push it down or cover it up, you step right into it and allow yourself to fully feel it.

    The conversation within our minds may be that of guilt, shame or doubt when we push our emotions down. Pretending the emotion doesn t exist or isn t important only exacerbates the emotion.

    Giving ourselves permission allows us to truly experience what it is that we are feeling. Emotions that are ignored feed on themselves getting bigger and seemingly more important. When an emotion shows up our natural tendency is to pretend we don t feel it; that it doesn t exist. We want to walk around with a smile on our face showing the world that all is well.

    Depression can be an example of an emotion/energy feeding on itself. Because we don t give many of life s issues permission to Be, they grow within themselves. This means that without acknowledging them, they can spiral out of control. Many life issues that are not dealt with become depression because they spiral on top of themselves. Spiraling energy is hard to stop and can feel overwhelming.

    Try this experiment: The next time you feel sad, for instance, look at the clock. Give yourself 30 minutes to feel the sadness. Keep glancing at the clock. You will find that within about 15 minutes, you will be bored. The reason the boredom comes into play is that you are now experiencing the sadness completely and not pushing it down. In a short time, you will be bored of the emotion and would rather be doing something else. It will not be able to spiral into itself and become bigger. The sadness may not completely go away but you will make a different choice for the moment and the sadness will settle. You will find that whatever issue the sadness is about may eventually need to be worked on with a good friend or a therapist, but for now it is not out of control.

    Spirit, our soul, does not live in or with suffering of any kind. The ego-mind is the place where suffering exists. This is why if we pay attention to our emotions and allow them to Be, just for a short time, they can become less intense. It is the work of the ego that wants to hold on to emotions until you believe they are your truth.

    Permission is so important. Don t push down or pretend you don t have feelings. You do have feelings allow them to arise and to Be because they are a part of who you are.

    (To contact Cathy, please email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Is Love Enough?

    Is love enough to keep a marriage, friendship or other relationships together? Is it possible to love your partner enough that things get back to the way they used to be? Can you love your friends enough that differences and hurts are forgiven? Is love enough to make it through and strengthen issues you may be having at work? Sometimes it just seems like love isn t enough. You love and you love some more. You think you are doing everything possible to keep your marriage alive, or at least, keep it together. Is loving more the answer?

    Your friends seem to be doing things without you. You feel like if you say no to their invitations then they won t ask you again. As you do more and more with your friends to stay connected, you find that you are not taking the best care of yourself. Is loving your friends more and spending more time with them the answer? You have issues at work. The boss is always criticizing you which make you feel unimportant and maybe useless. Can love help this situation?

    Yes, love is enough. Love is enough when it is the force or the heart from which you act and speak. Love is enough when it is from truth and not manipulation. Love is enough when it comes from the soul and not from the ego-mind; it can transform your world.

    The love of self is essential. Martyrdom will not work here. Martyrdom believes that you give everything you have to someone or something with expectation of getting something back. This is not loving; this is love filled with what is missing within you, an unfulfilled need.

    When you love yourself you can give healthy love back. You will then love others without desperation. This is true love. An empowered person lives in love. Where does love reside? It resides in the soul. There is nothing that cannot be healed by love. Love is an active force. Love brings harmony. To heal violence there must be love. To heal discord there must be love.

    Love is always enough when you love self and express it to others and in every situation. But can love save a marriage where you are the only giving love and tapping into the love within. What if your partner doesn t think it is necessary to love themselves? What if your partner doesn t think things need to change and grow? How does love help this situation?

    Love may not be enough if you are the only one giving. A decision may need to be made if the situation you are in does not bring balance to your soul. As humans we tend to try and make situations work whether they are right for our soul or not. This causes stress and discord within oneself and within our external relationships. Ask for love. This replenishes the soul; gives energy to the soul. Ask for love of self first. The more empowered your soul feels, the more you will not have the need to control the external world by loving it so that you feel you are getting something back. Love must emanate from your soul, empowering you, strengthening you, balancing you. This is the energy from which all love is given.

    Love without boundaries. Love you enough that it is okay to move on if a situation is not in alignment with your soul. Love the other person or the situation enough to let go so they or it can find peace as well. Love is richness and fullness of your soul flowing through you.

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    Peace amidst the Chaos

    Choose peace. Live in peace. Trust. Relax. Breathe.

    Where is the chaos in your life? Where is the peace? We can learn to be peace amidst the chaos. With everything going on in the world these days, the elections, the economy, war, job lose, stress, anxiety and life in general - how can we be peace?

    The first place to notice the chaos is within our own minds; the private, continual conversations we have in our minds. These are the first line of chaos to learn to tame. There is always some conversation going on. Are they peaceful conversations? Or are they full of anger, judgment, despair or worry?

    The mind-chaos can be worse than the chaos in our environment. The discussions about life, our past, our future, who said what, the things we said and did, who s wearing what and how they look, who s angry and how it affects us, can cause stress, lack of sleep, anxiety or even illness. We drive ourselves crazy with these internal conversations.

    There is the chaos in our immediate world; in our family, work, school, and friends. There is always something going on in everyone s lives. The chaos extends to the greater world as well. Defense is fear. War is fear. Hate is fear. Fear is chaos. Life is falling apart! Just when you think things are going well, they fall apart again. Life s challenges (the chaos) will always appear. Within the same day you could have good or bad day. When you find yourself attaching, identifying with or becoming the chaos, there are reminders in our mind and in the world to remain peace. You may hear something on the radio that helps you remember that it is up to you to change your perspective about what happens in your day, your week, in your head, in your environment and in the world. Or, you may read something that reminds you that all is well, even amidst the chaos.

    How do we remain at peace amongst the internal and external chaos? We breathe. We connect to our Higher Power. We trust. We allow ourselves to let go. We choose to not attach to the chaos. We choose to move our energy from the negative to the positive.

    Breathe more. Meditate more. Feel a moment of peace. Each moment of peace relieves stress. In the midst of what seems like the darkest hours may come a light of hope to remind you to hang on. In the midst of suffering, there is a reminder that we should learn how to appreciate the brighter days.

    Here are some suggestions to help you relieve the chaos:
    1 Breathe/meditate remember to take deep breaths move the energy from your brain through and out of your body
    2 Take breaks throughout your day be present
    3 Don t compare yourself to others take care of you first no one walks in your shoes
    4 Find good things in your day
    5 Don t get caught up in the drama
    6 Slow down and stop running

    Moments of true silence and relaxation are few and far between. These are rare breaks from the chaos of our minds and of the life around us. Our perspective about life is a choice. Deciding that you will do everything you can to be peace is a choice for your soul. Recognizing when you are attaching to chaos and choosing to take breath, meditate and relax are simple tools. Practicing these simple ideas in the good times will help you when things get challenging amidst the chaos.

    (To contact Cathy, please email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Commitment

    It is better to become a Buddha than to study Buddhism. Jack Kornfield

    It is better to merge with your Higher Power than to engage in endless discussions about it. Are you committed to your spiritual work? Are you committed to your soul? Are you committed to making whatever changes you need to make to feel better, to make your marriage work, to change an addiction or to do one small change so that your life is easier?

    Commitment is not easy. Commitment to change is challenging at best and difficult at worst. Before we make a commitment to change something in our life, we need to take a look at our fears and expectations. Once we make a commitment to our life and realize that things will be different, we have a tendency to be afraid. Who will we be if we commit and then things change? Change can be scary.

    Committing to spiritual development is necessary if you want things to be different. If what you are doing now or how you are living isn t working, then it s time to jump in and commit to trying something new. A commitment to one part of your soul could change your whole life in a beautiful, loving and peaceful way. It doesn t have to be as hard as your ego tries to convince you it is.

    Commitment to your soul work is one of the most beautiful, selfish and inspiring things you will ever do for yourself. Beautiful in that you will find your truth and learn to love it. Selfish in that you will learn to always take care of your soul first and foremost before just giving parts of yourself away. Inspiring in that you may just feel so good that you choose to feel that way more and more throughout your days.

    You may notice that you feel challenged to change something in your life. This challenge is the trigger we need to move forward. If we face this challenge with fear and stubborn indignation, not much will happen; we will remain right where we are. If we face this challenge with courage, we may discover a clearer view of our lives.

    We have to commit to the change. Commitment is the key. You must commit to change anything in your life. It will not happen just because you think it is a good idea. You have to implement the change into your life and learn to live the change. You need to choose this new way and live it in each moment you can until it becomes you.

    Last is ownership of the change. This is the change that you integrate into your life. You must own, accept and become the change. This is harder than you think but without owning it, accepting it and becoming it, your ego is trying to hold onto the old you. Change requires that we tame the ego and allow new parts of us to be exposed.

    Owning the change may shock your friends and family because they are used to your old ways and now you may be showing a change of pace, but they ll get used to it and they may like it. If they don t, you have to remember that it s not about them, it s about you; you have to like yourself first and foremost.

    Commit one day at a time, to do more, to give your soul attention and to learn to honor changes as they occur one by one. Work daily on the commitment and learn to appreciate the small advances. Make a commitment to your soul and be the observer of your life.

    (To contact Cathy, please email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    The More Light the Better

    The Light and the Breath is home. It is where everything manifests from and everything returns to. The Tibetan Book of the Dead

    The Light is peace. The Light is Divine. The Light is God. The Light is Buddha. The Light is Universe. The Light is Love. The Light is compassion. The Light is Breath. The Light is kindness. The Light is soul.

    The more Light the better. How do we get the Light? We already have it. We just have to remember that we have it and learn to pay attention to it. The Light exists within each and every one of us all the time; even, as I always say, those who make you mad. While they are living in their personality which may be filled with anger in the moment, they are still filled with the Light.

    The personality is filled with ego, it is important to remember that. The personality is what reflects our soul and our ego. It is the part of us that shines our Light, our soul, into the world and it is also the part of us that shows the world our dark side and the part of us we think people want to see.

    The Light is the place within us of the unknown. It is the area that the cognitive part of us cannot comprehend. Our minds want to understand and know what the unknown is; this is makings of inquisitive and researching minds. Your Light vibrates to your consciousness. If you meditate or breathe into your Light throughout your day, your Light will expand. If you believe it does not exist, it will not expand (at least not with your intention) yet will always be there.

    The Light within us holds peace, compassion, kindness, grace, gratitude and love. The personality, when reflecting our ego, reflects who we think we are in the world, our thoughts of anger, hatred, jealousy and fear. These are lower frequencies of energy. When we pay attention to our Light, our soul, we begin to raise our frequency to a higher level. If you are around people who you think drain your energy, it means that you have let your own energy lower to match theirs and it drains you. If you learn to keep your vibration higher, keeping your Light full, you will not take on the lower energies.

    Light is consciousness. By choosing your level of consciousness, by choosing what emotions serve you, by choosing what you will allow in your life, you determine the quality of your Light. The speed of the Light that emanates from your soul is instantaneous. The energy of the physical body does not vibrate in the same speed as Light travels. If our Light is strong, we will vibrate that Light from within into the world.

    Every decision you makes moves you toward your soul or toward the ego personality. Do you choose to learn through love, through the Light or do you choose to learn through the pain of the ego? This is your free will. This is your choice. It is so freeing to learn through your soul. Moving your ego out of the way and trusting the Light within expands the Light. It is like exercising, the more you do it the healthier the muscle gets. It s the same for your Light work on giving it attention and intention and watch it expand. Your soul will thank you and you will benefit from your own Light.

    (To contact Cathy, please email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    In Appreciation of Silence

    Awwhh the silence! No ringing phones, no television noise, no children playing or crying, nobody talking. All I hear is my breathing, the sound of the leaves blowing in the wind, the sound of my heart beating, the sound of a car driving by. This is silence. This is being at peace. This is so lovely, why don t I do it more often?

    You never realize how much you like silence until life seems to take it away from you, like having a baby or getting a puppy or having roommates. Silence is golden. Some of us like noise all the time and enjoy the laughter of children, the playfulness of a puppy and good conversation with friends. These are wonderful things, but not giving ourselves a moment of silence in our day denies us a sense of peace that we deserve. Silence is good. In silence we can actually listen to ourselves, to spirit, to the voice of the body.

    It is important to find a place where you can be in silence. A few minutes of silence helps you to create the cave of the heart, the oasis of quiet, the inner sanctuary, the sacred cen-ter where God dwells. It pro-vides a way to periodically with-draw from the world.

    I did a five-day silent retreat a year ago. It was a wonderful experience. I found that not telling anyone who I was or what I did for a living was a wonderful change of pace. Not worrying about who my roommate was or what she did for a living was refreshing. I could just be with myself, with my soul and with spirit for five whole days. I found it to be calming, introspective and helped me get closer to my higher power.

    The soul is stillness at all times. In the midst of the chaos in the world or in our minds, the soul is always in stillness. This is different than silence. We create silence. Creating silence allows us to give recogni-tion to the stillness of the soul. It s from this place that we give the best of who we are in every situation. In silence is where we rec-ognize how amazing and divine we are.

    Being silent is hard for most people. I love to talk. When I was a child, I didn t talk much, so those who know me well, know that I m making up for it now. But, being silent is so important. Not just for those around you, but for your soul. It is impor-tant to know when talking and noise is good and when you need that precious quiet.

    Taking one moment in your day to sit in silence will regenerate your life. There is chaos everywhere in our heads and in the world. Take a moment to sit without noise, conversations, crying or ringing phones (turn your cell phone off or leave it in another room). Everyone has a place and a moment to be silent; in the bathroom, in the shower or in the car, to name a few.

    Everything you give comes from the stillness within you, so allow the silence of a moment to give you the peace and strength to be the best you can be in everything you do. Practice one moment of silence after you fin-ish reading this column. Take a deep breath and listen to your heart beat. Just one moment can change your day, and who knows, maybe the rest of your life.

    (To contact Cathy, please email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Working from Within

    We work so hard to bring health to our bodies, to bring prosperity, to bring happiness, to bring success into our lives; to bring artistic or literary gifts or talents within our grasp, to bring great new ideas from the outside; and, of course we continually fail, because we cannot bring a single one of these things from the without to the within. - Emmet Fox

    Our work, our practice is about learning to work on and from the within. This is not about being selfish, it is about learning that what you do in this world and what you give in this world comes from within. From this place, we will not tire. From this place, we will speak truth to ourselves. From this place, we can heal. From this place, we are connected to all. From this place, we are safe. From this place, we are creative. From this place, we are cared for.

    The more we understand that our gifts are within, our self-esteem is within, our compassion is within and that our success will come from within, we can let go of trying to find these things. This world is full of ideas and inventions. The idea or invention may have come from an inspiration from an outside source, but then it is turned into an idea (or dream) from within.

    The journey of enlightenment involves shedding, not collecting. We want to learn to disrobe our stuff, let go of old stuff until there is nothing left but the truth of who we are. If we disrobe, then immediately throw the robe back on, we have not truly let go. We are then still holding on holding on to possessions or to the past.

    Clean out one possession today. Clean out a drawer or a box or a closet. Let go. If we can t bring releasing to us, we have to participate in it. Do your possessions provide you with security and happiness? If not, let go. If so, put them on display make sure you get good use of the items that you hold onto.

    Clean out one thing in the body today. If you drink, stop for a time clean your body. If it s food, eat only that which serves your body, letting go of anything that causes toxins. The body is our vessel which carries the energy of our life and of our soul. Take good care of it.

    Allow only that which serves your soul into your life. Meaning be that which you want to see in the world, then it will come to you as well. We can let go of our success as well as our failings. We can let go of our sanity and our confusion. Letting go creates a lightness of being. Being lighter within serves us and serves the world; the chaos within and in the world doesn t serve anyone.

    Try to just be for once in your life. Try not pushing and forcing things to be what you want or what you think they should be. Release old things. Release things that don t serve you. Work from within allowing the truth of who you are to shine out into the world. All that you desire will be given to you if you let go of trying to make it all happen. Trust this and have faith. Why not? The world is waiting for the divine within each of us to shine through and it has to start somewhere.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Demonstrating Love

    If you want people to be different, you must demonstrate what that looks like. It is up to you to be the best you can be and not expect others to be anything other than who they are. If, for example, you want your husband or wife to be more spiritual, you be more spiritual. If you want your friends to be more balanced, you be more balanced. If you want your children to respect, you respect.

    We must demonstrate what it is we want to see in the world. If we expect others to do what we think should be done or be what we think they should be, we will forever be disappointed. You are the channel through which Divine action takes place. It is through you that others understand grace. You demonstrate.

    Demonstrating love is the act of being love, loving oneself, having respect for you and then being these in the world. No one has to know, you will just be these things and those around you will begin to emulate your behaviors. They will not follow but like what they see enough that they may decide it might just work for them too. It begins a string of compassion and generosity that may or may not have been in the world otherwise.

    Demonstrating love does not mean that you run up and hug every person you see as nice as that might seem. It means that you be your truth first and foremost. You don t brag about being love, you don t brag about being compassionate and you don t brag about being kind, you just are these things because you wouldn t have it any other way.

    There doesn t have to be an explanation for your behavior. You know that how you live and what you live is your truth and it is what is right for you and you just do it. There will be those who disagree with demonstrating love as they may believe to each his own or that no one s behavior can affect another or that it s silly to think that their behavior towards themselves affects the world. That s ok. It is not up to us to tell them they could do it differently, it is up to us to demonstrate through our own actions that s it.

    Here s an example of demonstrating love. If someone comes into your home with very dirty shoes and leaves mud on your carpet you have two choices, get mad at them or know that it s just mud and it can be vacuumed up. If you understand that things happen and you are working on learning to let go and not sweating the small stuff, by not getting upset over the mud on your rug, you are demonstrating letting go. You are demonstrating that not everything that happens is important, that you choose what is important in your life to get worked up over.

    This example may seem like a small thing compared to life s big events, but the small stuff is where we get caught up in life. If we learn to manage the small stuff by making better choices, we will handle the big stuff better. When we demonstrate love, compassion and kindness with ourselves, we will demonstrate it towards others and their behaviors as well.

    This is the art of demonstrating love. This is the art of infinite compassion, of infinite joy, of infinite ease in the world. We are how we act towards ourselves. We are what we bring to the world. Begin today with one small step and then expand as it feels right. If everyone took a minute to understand that how they treat themselves gets demonstrated into the world, would it be a better world?

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Making Room in our Soul

    For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe Emmett Fox

    We don t need to hold onto every experience we ve ever had as though it is who we are. We hold onto thoughts, looks, ideas and the past all the time. How much do you carry? Is what you carry really that important? We cannot live in the present moment when we remain connected to the old story. We believe that our experiences or the things someone did to us or said to us define who we are today.

    What does it mean to let things go? How do we let go of a thought or of a situation from our past? How do we let go of anything? When we are told to let go of something we being to wonder who we will be if we truly let go of this thing we think defines us or that we think is so important. We get so caught up in our story about a situation that we forget that the story is not our truth. The story is what we can learn to let go of. When we hold onto our story the experience of the story remains in our minds and the energy of the story remains in our bodies.

    What if you made a choice to today to let go of one story, one experience, one look that someone gave you, one comment someone made or one situation you were involved with? When you choose to truly let go of something, deciding it doesn t benefit you in this moment, you release the energy of it from your body. You will energetically lighten your being; your body and your mind. Don t we have enough stuff in life to work through, work out and live then to carry useless stress, thoughts or stories?

    Ask yourself how important something is. Make a choice right now about what s important to you what s important in your life and what s important right at this moment. If everything in your body relaxes as you decide that something does not benefit your life at this moment, then you are listening to the answers held in the body. Take a breath and choose to let it go it doesn t benefit you. If you feel like you get an answer of yes, that this feeling or thought does benefit you, decide what you want to do with it. Whatever you do, do it without judgment. Do it, live it, without beating yourself up.

    Take a moment and imagine how you will feel the more you learn to let go of things that do not benefit you. What an amazing thought! Who will you be? You ll be lighter and freer. It truly is this simple. The only thing that gets in our way of choosing to let go or actually doing it is our ego. There is nothing, there is no one other than you, making the choices in your life.

    Letting go is work. Learning to let go as you move through the moments of your life is a practice. The results as we learn to let go, slowly, piece by piece over time, is worth the practice. We re so full of our stuff in life; we need to make room for new and exciting ideas and thoughts. We create each moment so make each moment count and let go of all that takes up space in your soul.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    When Spirit Comes Knocking

    When spirit comes knocking, are you listening? When spirit comes knocking, are you paying attention? When spirit comes knocking, are you conscious of it? The use of the word spirit here can be interpreted as God, Creator, Buddha, etc. whatever works for you.

    Spirit has a way of making sure we re listening. It may appear as a song on the radio that has a message about something we need to hear or helps us with something we re working on in our lives. It may appear as a friend showing up just when we need them. It may appear as someone we don t know helping us in a moment of need. Or, it may be an email that introduces us to someone, their work or information they may have that we need at that time.

    These are all indications that spirit is trying to helping us out. Spirit knocks and if we re paying attention, we will be given exactly what we need. We have to be open to the incredible possibilities of spirit and trust in it as well. Spirit will help us in ways our egos couldn t possibly imagine. Once the ego gets involved, it will decide how the help should look and then we miss the opportunity that is being given to us.

    Learning to let go of our expectations of how help comes to us allows us to be more open to the wonders of spirit. Trusting that we are being taken care of and that all is well is a more peaceful way to live. We can learn to get ourselves out of the way and allow spirit to work through us. This is not to indicate that we should just sit on our hands and do nothing. Spirit likes to know that we are participating in our lives. The more we participate yet let go and trust and the more we learn to pay attention when the guidance shows up, the more spirit will guide us.

    You may feel that if you are participating in your life it means that your ego is involved. This can be true and not true. It will be true if you believe that your ego is your guiding light. You may not even be aware that your ego has so much control but, as we say in metaphysics, never underestimate the power of the ego. Ego is described as the place where fear, anger, judgment, doubt, etc. resides. It can rule your world.

    Participating in your life with less ego means that you put out to the world what it is you think you need or want and then let it go and trust that what will benefit your soul will be the only result. The ego will always be there, but when you let go of the expectation of the outcome, the ego is tamed.

    The perfect result in any situation will be that which benefits your soul. You can let go of all other results and trust that what you are given is the voice of spirit knowing what is best for your soul. Pushing to make things happen that are not of the highest purpose for our souls creates suffering. We push and push and suffer and suffer. Then we wonder why things just don t work out for us.

    Let go and trust that you are guided. Ask spirit and then listen, pay attention and be in awe of the results. Move yourself out of the way and trust that you deserve the best for your life and for your soul. When spirit comes knocking, who s listening?

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    The Spirituality of Politics

    I once participated in a 6 week tele-class from a popular, spiritual speaker which started just before the 2004 elections and ended shortly thereafter. There was no discussion of the election until the night of the election results. There were statements made by many in the Teleclass about how horrible the results were, how life would be ruined from that day forward, etc. Even the teacher participated in the feelings of ruin. I was disappointed that there was no discussion of hope or acceptance for what is.

    Every election year tensions rise. People argue about which party is right and who the perfect person will be to run our country. There will always be those who are disappointed in the results of an election. But, the results will be the results. The reactions vary but what good does it do to run around being angry?

    Let s take a look at how we can view our politics with a spiritual mind. All things happen for a reason. There are things that we will never understand why they happen as they do. If this is true that all things happen for a reason, then we must believe that this person was placed into office for a reason. The reasons can be that the country is to learn something from this person, or this is what the country needs for a reason we are not aware of yet, or maybe this person will do some amazing and wonderful things for the country.

    Once the votes are counted and the new president is chosen, all we can do is move forward. We can ask that the new president is surrounded in light, the light of Divine, of God, of Buddha, of whatever power is bigger than all of us. We ask that this new person who will be running our country and affecting our lives is surrounded and protected by the same higher power that we are.

    We ask that the new president make choices that are good for us and for our country. We ask that they be guided by the light and not by their ego. We ask that they follow their spiritual path. We ask they hold the light within.

    Now that we ve done everything we can to assure ourselves that our new president is well taken care of in respect to being filled with light and support from all of us, we can move on in our own lives. If we sit around and feel angry and disappointed, possibly betrayed, then we are not serving ourselves or our country. We are stopping the flow of light by remaining angry.

    If the world were to come to an end tomorrow, would you want to be surrounded by the light of Divine or by the darkness of fear in your last moments? There s no comparison of a new president to the end of the world, but I m using this as an example of how serious many take the elections. If we hold the light in every situation in our lives, then we are doing everything we can to assist and support what is. This moves the energy of anger into the light where the anger cannot reside or survive. We will then exist in more light and have less darkness such as anger. Anger sits in fear. Light sits in love. Which are you sitting in?

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    The Past Does Not Define Us

    Nothing from yesterday s experiences can change tomorrow if we decide to make each moment new by being as present as possible - Catherine Zeeb

    We are not our mistakes. Our past does not define us. It might feel like our mistakes define us because we remember them or we may still be talking about them, but the fact is, they are not the truth of who we are. What happened to us in the past is not tattooed on our foreheads. We make each moment and each moment can be better than the last.

    Right now as you read this column, how is this moment feeling? Is it a feeling you want to feel later? Is it a feeling you have had before? Are you living today as if it s a new day or are you stuck in the energy of yesterday? Are you thinking of events from the past and feeling like they are as fresh today as when they happened? We all make mistakes and we all beat ourselves up for them. We have a tendency to believe that once we made a mistake, it will forever haunt us. Families always seem to remember our mistakes and don t let us live them down. They forever remind us of them; like we have forgotten them and need to be reminded.

    Someone may have done something to us in our past, things happened that were unpleasant, or we did things that weren t of the highest ethics, but we can t change one thing that happened; it already happened. We can t change the past. There is nothing we can do about anything that happened (barring a legal incident, of course).

    What we carry from the past is the energy of it, i.e. anger, guilt, judgment, fear, etc. We think we carry the story of it and that the story defines us, but that is not true. If we learn to understand and release the energy we carry, we begin to heal.

    All energy can be shifted and released. The energy we carry in our bodies creates our thoughts and thoughts are energy. If we understand this, we can shift almost all energy held within. Releasing the energy which does not benefit us allows us to have room to grow and open up to other possibilities in life. We do not have to suffer to live this life and living in the past is suffering. The energy of the past does not benefit you and does not help you move forward in your life.

    What is a mistake anyway? It is a lack in judgment, an error, a sidestep in our life, a mis-step. We ve made a few in our lifetime but hopefully we ve learned that not every mistake is a disaster. Some are mis-judgments and do not seem to linger. It s the ones that we make important that hang around and get activated when another life situation comes up. It s the ones we tell everyone about or it can be the ones we never tell anyone.

    Learning to forgive yourself is important. We only did what we knew at the time. Now that you know different or better, you can do different and do better. You have the opportunity in each moment to forgive yourself and to move forward. It is not being asked of you to carry the burdens of yesterday. Only you decide what you want to carry within your body, mind and spirit. You decide each moment so decide to be clear and to be free of old stuff, old pressures and old judgments. Move on and move forward. Don t sit around worrying about things you can t change. Decide what defines you today.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Spiritual Marriage Counseling

    When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see them, you will see yourself. As you treat them, you will treat yourself. As you think of them, you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in them, you will find yourself or lose yourself. -Marianne Williamson.

    Marriage as we know it has to change. The divorce rate says it all. The basis of a spiritual marriage is a commitment between two people to assist in each other s spiritual growth. When spiritual partners marry, they begin a journey of souls, not just a journey of a marriage. They realize that their own spiritual development is essential and that they came together for that purpose.

    Having a conscious marriage requires each person to learn to view marriage as a new dynamic. The partners realize they are in the marriage to further their spiritual development, not just to create financial security or to buy the perfect house in the suburbs. A spiritual marriage is a commitment to each other s spiritual growth and everything within the relationship serves that.

    Traditional marriage counseling works with the dynamic of the couple. The counselor will make suggestions like have a date night or go away together. Not bad ideas but if you re not communicating, what good would a date night be?

    Spiritual marriage counseling works with the dynamic of the individual. Each partner may work with the therapist for two to four sessions before coming together as a couple. The marriage is hurting because the individual is hurting, not the marriage itself. The marriage is only as good as the individuals involved in it.

    The dynamic of marriage is complicated. People feel an attraction for each other, marriage follows, then children, and more. It s obviously been done this way for centuries. Sometimes the marriage lasts, most times it doesn t. There comes a day when one partner wakes up and realizes they don t know who they are let alone who the other person is. Communication is lacking and they become no more than roommates. Once each person learns why they entered into the relationship, once they learn what they are lacking in themselves, and once they learn new ways of communicating, the relationship can change. It will grow if both people decide that they are worth their own growth, first and foremost.

    Pre-marital counseling is essential. It will help each person to take a close look at why they want a relationship to begin with, why they want marriage, and what their expectations are of the other partner and of marriage. The dynamic of relationships should be taught to our youth; more people might enter relationships with open and clear hearts.

    Changing the way we view marriage is so important. If you truly want a spiritual relationship or marriage that will last, here are some things to think about and to work on:
    1 Know who you are before you enter into any relationship
    2 Be clear about what you want in a relationship
    3 Know your boundaries and don t be afraid to express them
    4 If the other person doesn t like that you know who you are or that you have discovered and express your boundaries, then let them go
    5 Be clear about what you want in a partner and except nothing less
    6 If you wouldn t allow a friend to treat you badly, don t allow an intimate partner to do it
    7 Don t be afraid to do your personal healing work
    8 - Being alone until you re ready for a spiritual relationship is okay

    May your relationships and marriages be filled with laughter, truth and open communication. May you find your best friend and marry them, in absolute clarity of feelings, truth and emotion.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Trust

    There once was a man sitting on the roof of his house after a flood took out most of his town. As he sat there, he prayed and prayed to be saved. Along came people in a boat and told him to get in. No, he said, I m waiting for God to save me. The water continued to rise. Along came a helicopter. The people in the helicopter said, Get in. No, said the man, I m waiting for God to save me. The water rose and the man drowned. When he met God in heaven, the man asked, Why didn t you save me? God responded, I tried; I sent you a boat and a helicopter.

    Do you trust that you are taking care of? Do you believe in miracles? How about synchronicity? Do you trust yourself?

    When you believe that the ability of your personality is what determines what is best for you, you stand in the way of a richness that is waiting for you. If you remove the stops you place on miracles, how do you know what the universe will provide? Let go. Trust.

    Let go of your control of everything. Trust that you are taken care of. Believe that you are supported and that you are not alone. Completely let go of how you think things should be or look. Just assume you live in the company of the Divine. Relax and live in the present moment. Don t always try to maneuver tomorrow.

    What if there truly are miracles and you are a part of them? The universe does not work the same as humans. You may not understand the workings of the universe, so let go of trying to make it work your way. If the events of the universe surprise you, these are miracles. If you enjoy the ride then you are a part of the miracle of the moment.

    Things will not always work out the way you want them too and rather than be upset over them, let them go. Trust that things will happen just the way they are supposed to and that you cannot always create the outcome.

    Trust allows you to give freely. Have faith in the fact that all you give will be returned triple-fold. If you demonstrate love and compassion to others, love and compassion will be returned to you. If you demonstrate criticism and fear to others, criticism and fear will be returned to you.

    Trust allows you to laugh at life. You can choose to live this life in laugher or tears. You can take it lightly or feel overwhelmed. The evolution of your soul depends on your outlook and commitment to growing and development. You choose either love or fear in every moment.

    You can choose that your soul will develop from a conscious choice or an unconscious one. Either way you will continue to evolve; you get to choose which way it happens. Choose to be positive in each moment. Choose behaviors that reflect the truth within and the trust you have that you are okay just the way you are.

    Trust that you are not alone. Trust that the universe works in miraculous ways and let go of the fact that you will never completely understand it. Lighten up and trust the flow of life.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Create Happiness

    Happiness isn t something that just appears or disappears. It is something we have to create. We tend to wait for something to make us happy happy when you get a promotion, happy when you meet the right person, or happy when you lose weight. We are forever waiting for that external thing to awaken our joy and happiness. The waiting is actually what keeps us lacking in joy and happiness. Happiness is a choice we make and we must continue to make repeatedly.

    If we continue to live in our unhappiness, that s where we ll be. You can make the choice to be happy. Even if you don t feel like it, you can do a few things to change the energy of unhappiness.

    Smile more
    Go for a walk and put an extra spring in your step
    Say thank you more often
    Tell yourself that you are happy

    This begins to shift the energy of sadness. We can choose to sit in our sadness or not. That s it. Doing these steps will not change your sadness or the event(s) that caused your sadness, but it will begin to shift the energy around your sadness. Practice makes perfect. The more you put yourself in a better mood, even if you don t really feel like it, the quicker you ll be in a better mood.

    When you smile the muscles in your face contract, endorphins are released into your blood stream, giving you that good feeling. Try holding a pen in your mouth, it will make you smile. The body will believe that you are smiling. The only thing that tells you that you re not smiling is your ego-mind.

    Picking up your step when you walk helps move the energy within the body. If you sit still and sit in your sadness, how can you experience anything else but sadness? Moving, picking up the pace, sends more oxygen to your legs, arms, torso and brain. You can t be in sadness in the moment you are in movement.

    Gratitude is a wonderful way to beat sadness. What are you grateful for? Sitting in sadness expresses that which we are experiencing and we don t think there s a way out. Sitting in gratitude expresses things that we love in the moment or things that we loved in the past.

    Tell yourself you re happy. Why not? Sadness doesn t feel good. Unless you re in grief and need to experience the grieving process, sadness doesn t feel good period. It s easy to stay in sadness because we re not taught that it s okay to not be sad. If you tell yourself that you are happy, you will act happy and begin to feel happy.

    Make the decision that you are not going to allow problems, challenges or obstacles to interfere with your happiness. Only you can decide to be happy. Only you can decide to be sad as well. What s your choice today? What if you walked around smiling? What if you felt better? What if you were just happy each day? We feel waves of serenity, acceptance, and joy as we relax into the flow of our lives.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    The Four Agreements

    This simple, yet complex book is one of my favorites of all time. I highly recommend it to everyone. I thought this would be a great avenue to tell you more about the principles held within. Principles that no matter what your spiritual or religious beliefs, when put into practice can help you create a more peaceful life.

    The author is don Miguel Ruiz. The principles in this book are the teaching of the Toltec. The Toltec were scientists and artists who formed a society to explore and conserve the spiritual knowledge and practices of the ancient ones.

    Agreement #1: Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

    Your words are powerful. Your world is created by your words. Your word can create beauty or destroy everything. Being impeccable with your word means that you use your energy towards truth and love. That what you say comes from the love of self and that is what you wish to express to the world.

    AGREEMENT #2: Don t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won t be the victim of needless suffering.

    No matter what someone says, especially if it s negative, it is not about you. Realize that it is their own emotional baggage they are dealing with. They are trying to hook you into believing something negative about yourself because they think it will make them feel better. It is not about you. Let it go. Don t attach to it and don t engage.

    AGREEMENT #3: Don t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

    When we make assumptions, we are asking for problems. We don t know anything; especially about other people and we can create drama for nothing. Clarity is the key. In relationships we tend to make assumptions. Our partner looks at us a certain way and we immediately think they feel something negative towards us, for example. We will cause all sorts of drama in the relationship if we stay in our mindset of assuming what the look meant. Ask questions and look for clarity, you will both be released from any drama when everything is understood.

    AGREEMENT #4: Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

    If you do the best you can in each moment without stressing over whether your best is good enough, you will live without feeling so tired. You will not deplete your energy by worrying whether or not you did your best or not. Know that the best you do in each moment stands firm.

    Take these principles, these four agreements, and try them for one week. Try just one of them. If the results feel good, then keep on using them in your life. Things really can be simple if we allow ourselves to let go of trying to make this life so difficult or always controlling it to be what we think it should be. If what you re doing now isn t working, why not try something new?

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    The Spirituality of Work

    Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in ways that served others - Marianne Williamson

    Work, your job, your career no matter what you call it are areas where you can do the best spiritual work. No matter what your work situation or the people in it, you can see it from a new perspective. You work to spread love. The key to success is to realize that what you do for work is not separate from the rest of your life. Business is not usually associated with kindness. It is thought to be the tool for making money. If we view what we do as our mission, then everyone we meet, every item we sell, every account we sign, will become a blessing. You have served this person, this situation, through love. We study about how to run a business and don t take the time to look at why we are in business; what is the soul purpose of our business.

    Many people have told me for years now to stop doing one part of my business; that it doesn t fit into what they see in me. I love what I do. I love that each time I teach and spend time with a group of people, I am spreading love. I may be teaching a particular subject, but it s being done through me. My voice and the words are expressed through and with love because I believe that each person sitting in front of me is a Divine being, no matter what their life situation. I see my work as an extension of who I am, not what I do.

    We can t care what others think about what we do. Nor do we walk around telling everyone that what we do is of love. We demonstrate this. We live this. We are this. We don t need to tell anyone, it will show in our smile, our laughter, our joy and those around us will feel good to be in our presence. Can you imagine what your workplace would be like if everyone thought this way? That what you do for a living expresses your love of service to others. You will reap the benefits back to yourself one hundred-fold.

    We all have the potential for greatness. It is trained out of us at an early age though. Think about this: what is greatness other than you knowing that you already are. It is not the ego expressing itself to the world saying, I m great. It is you knowing quietly and confidently that you are an incredible soul.

    We are as important as we think we are. How does playing small serve us? If you shrink, at work or in your life, so that others won t feel threatened by you, how does that serve you? How does that serve the world? Do not fear your power and your greatness. You walk on this earth to serve and you will benefit from all that you do. Do not see your job, your work or your career as dull and mundane. See it as a thriving, living extension of you.

    Radiate the light from within into your work and into the world. Experience the light within you and then shine it out for all to see. They may not know what s hitting them but they will like it. They don t have to know where it s coming from or why but they will like it. Go now into service. Smile, laugh and know that everyone, everything you touch is enlightened by the light from within you.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Spirituality vs Religion

    We hear and read the term spirituality or spiritual everywhere these days. What does this truly mean? Are those who call themselves spiritual, religious, and vice versa?

    Wikipedia defines spirituality as concerns with matters of the spirit, a concept tied to religious belief and faith, a transcendent reality. Spiritual matters are thus those matters regarding humankind s ultimate nature and purpose, not only as material biological organisms, but as beings with unique relationship to that which is perceived to be beyond both time and the material world.

    Religion is defined as a set of beliefs and practices, often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature, and often codified as prayer, ritual, or religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and religious experience. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction.

    Those who believe they are spiritual but not religious are still seeking their connection to all that is greater than themselves. Those who believe themselves to be religious are doing the same. Spirituality allows for exploration of all possibilities with no boundaries; religion usually discourages exploration and defines the boundaries. Neither is right or wrong.

    Spirituality encompasses the whole soul s journey. It explores that which is immortal within you. It connects the metaphysical reality that is greater than oneself, which may include an emotional experience of religious awe. Spirituality is concerned with matters of psychological health and to activate the higher potential of the human being. One working in a spiritual practice seeks to become free of the ego and more in tuned to one s true self.

    Spirituality asks you to explore and believe in the vastness of the answers. People who are spiritual may or may not use the words of religion writings such as God, Jesus, etc. They may find these words too confining in a world of exploration. This does not indicate that they don t believe in God, Jesus, etc.; the words do not define their beliefs.

    Religion is often described as a belief system of thought, unseen being, person, or object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the highest truth. Religion generally refers to organized gatherings; a coming together of communal beliefs. It defines morals, practices, values, institutions, tradition, rituals, core beliefs and scriptures. It is defined as a way of life. Religion asks you to believe in the written word and doctrine to follow the path or way. People who are religious may or may not use words of spiritual writings such as intuition, other realms, etc. Since these words do not have a definite answer, people of religious beliefs may find the words of a spiritual practice to be too undefined.

    These two beautiful and complimentary practices allow us to blend our questions of the unknown into a practice of belief. Spirituality is about being open, exploring and learning to ask questions. Religion is about understanding the provided (written) answers to our questions. Neither is right or wrong it is about personal choice.

    Wars are fought over who s right and who s wrong when it comes to religious beliefs. Enjoy who you are and enjoy your search for answers to the unknown, however you choose to do it. Being spiritual or religious doesn t matter the fact that you re studying or examining something to connect to is more important than doing nothing.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Spiritual Counseling

    We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. Teilhard de Chardin

    We are crying out for a new model of psychotherapy; a new choice of spiritual and intuitive therapy. The spiritual and intuitive therapist is the next wave in healthcare; someone who understands your dreams and inner visions and blends them with psychological expertise and knowledge of the body into a comprehensive picture of who you are.

    What is spiritual counseling? It is not standard psychotherapy. It is not religion. It is not hocus pocus. It is the art of learning to surrender things that disturb our peace. It is healing the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects. It is working with the depth of ones soul. It is the beautiful experience of looking at our light side and our dark side. It is unmistakably hard work surrounded by the grace of Divine.

    Spiritual counseling is: body/mind/spirit integration; transpersonal psychology; learning to connect to a higher consciousness; breathwork; meditation; retraining our thinking; coming back to our truth; learning new ways to deal with old habits and patterns; opening ourselves to new thought; releasing energy that no longer serves us, and so much more.

    How does spiritual counseling differ from standard psychotherapy? Spiritual counseling works with the mind/body/spirit connection. This integration is a relatively new concept in our Western culture. The body is the domain of the physician and the emotions that of the psychotherapist. The Body/Mind/Spirit counselor seeks to unify the concept of being One with Spirit. Spiritual counseling does not allow the client to participate from the mind only; the client is taught to listen to the voice of the body as well.

    The understanding of the spiritual aspect of the being is important. Spirit comes from the Greek word for breath. It is by breathing and listening to our bodies that we locate ourselves and can transcend old, restricting forms of consciousness. By aligning ourselves through our bodies we can balance our flights of fancy our thoughts are inclined to take. We see the body as a temple; a sacred place. Humans are unique energy systems. Energy is the form and expression of aliveness. All energy of thought manifests into our lives and into our environment. Learning to tame the ego voice, listen to the voice of the body and voice of the Divine within us can align our energy and clear old patterns and behaviors.

    Our thoughts are not just events of the mind, but are also physical events that take place throughout our bodies. Along with the practitioner s guidance, ownership of emotions and choosing to heal are the most important decisions the client may ever make for themselves.

    A safe place is created between the practitioner and the client to open up and explore the parts of ourselves we don t usually want to see. This is done in the presence of a higher power or higher consciousness, even if just on the part of the counselor. Even if you don t believe in a higher power or have any source to connect to, you can still experience spiritual counseling.

    We have things in our life we regret. We have incidences in our lives that we wish had not happened, either by us or by others. These events remain within our thoughts and remain in the energy held in the body. The spiritual counselor will understand this. The events in our past can never be changed, but the energy that is held can be changed or released if one chooses. We become attached to our energy like an old sweater. We get used to wearing it and may feel lost without it.

    Spiritual counseling teaches us that all things are in constant motion, constant change. Nothing has to remain the same unless we choose it to be so. All things change whether we want them to or not and the spiritual counselor will teach you to understand this. Without your permission and willingness to take a look at the energy held within, things will remain, seemingly, the same. As they say in AA, If you do what you ve always done, you ll get what you ve always got.

    In addition to talking with the client and depending on the experience, training and innate intuition of the counselor, spiritual counseling can also involve energy work. Energy healing is also unique and relatively new to our Western culture. More and more it is becoming a part of mainstream medicine as an added alternative resource for healing. Energy healing can come in many forms such as Breathwork or Illuminous Energy Healing; all of which are integrated into the therapeutic envelope for healing. There are practitioners who specialize in one or another type of energy healing work. No one practitioner can do it all, nor should they, and a good spiritual counselor will resource out work they may feel a client will benefit from.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Surrender

    Let go. What you ve been doing isn t working. Let go of the control of every situation and outcome. You really can t control it all. Surrender to the idea that you don t have to know everything, control everything and have everything your way. You ll feel like you ve released 1,000 lbs off your shoulders when you realize you don t have to do it all, have it all and control every situation.

    Do you try to control your mate, your work, your relationships? Is the outcome you expect better because you control it or would it turn out just as good if you let it go? We cannot live in the present moment when we believe we can carry the weight of the world. The thought that we can change the past or the future will begin to drive us crazy. We can truly only live in the present moment and be with it as it changes moment by moment.

    The moment seems so important and if you surrender it, how could it possibly turn out okay? Surrendering means you understand that you can t do it all. You give up your control to your higher power and trust that all will be taken care of and turn out just as it is supposed to. You learn that no matter how hard you try to control the outcome, you just can t. To surrender the outcome to something bigger than you is such a relief.

    When we are told to let go of something, we begin even if unconsciously, to wonder who we will be if we truly let go. When we surrender something, deciding it doesn t benefit us in this moment, we release the energy of it from the body. Energetically your being will lighten as well as the body and mind. Don t we have enough stuff in our daily lives to work through, work out and live than to carry useless stress, thoughts, etc?

    Make a choice right now of what s important to you - what s important in your life and what s important right at this moment. If everything in your body relaxes as you decide that something does not benefit your life at this moment, then you are listening to the answers held in the body. Take a breath and choose to let it go it doesn t benefit you. If you feel like you get an answer of yes, that this feeling or thought does benefit you, decide what you want to do with it. Whatever you do, do it without judgment. Do it, live it, without beating yourself up.

    Who will you be if you really surrender this thought, action or situation? You ll be exactly who you are, just lighter and freer. Take a moment and imagine how you will feel the more you learn to let go of things that do not benefit you? What an amazing thought! It s actually simple. The only thing that gets in our way of choosing to let go or actually doing it is our ego. There is nothing, there is no one other than you, making the choices in your life.

    Surrendering is work. Learn to surrender as you move through the moments of your life. The results as we learn to let go, slowly, piece by piece over time, is worth the practice. When we re so focused on our stuff and controlling it all, we have no room for new and exciting ideas and thoughts. Try it. One day say I surrender this and see what happens. Just see if it turns out okay despite your not being as involved.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Picking Up the Pieces

    Every challenge, every obstacle asks us to take a look at who we truly are. Catherine Zeeb

    There are times in our lives when everything falls apart. There are times when the way we shield and delude ourselves no longer works. The image we project doesn t fit either. The bottom falls out.

    This is when the pain settles in. It may feel like the world is crashing down on you. You may wonder who you are. The truth of who you are is being exposed and it doesn t feel good. You look in the mirror and see, what you consider to be, your flaws.

    When things fall apart we need to pick up the pieces. It is a test and this test can also be a kind of healing. We think we need to fix the problem and the truth is we can never really fix the problem. It will subside then show up again; subside and show up again. Life is like this.

    The healing comes in learning that we can allow the flow of life; things happen, sadness or grief comes in, happiness moves through. The healing comes in learning to allow these things to move through us and through our life. The attachment to these things is when it feels like things are falling apart. Allowing them to show up, recognize them and then move through them is when you heal.

    Expectations of how something will feel will cause suffering. Letting go allows us to experience, then move on. When we have expectations of what is to be or what is to come of something, we can get very disappointed. Things don t always work out the way we think they should. Things will work out the way they re supposed to though. Buddhism calls this cycle of hopelessness, samsara. The cycle goes round and round. We have an idea or an emotion, then we have expectations of how that is supposed to turn out or feel and when it doesn t we have disappointment. This is the cycle of samsara. These times are when we can choose to either wake up or put ourselves to sleep.

    When things arise for us to deal with and take a look at, whether these are things in our minds or things of the world, we can learn to make room for all that is happening. Making room means that we don t ignore, cowboy up, or pretend it s not happening. We allow ourselves to have the experience. In doing so, the pain, suffering, etc. will not linger within; it will be experienced and released. The old way must die when things fall apart. The challenge or obstacle is calling for a change; calling for things to not be the same. It is asking you to look at who you are, what you are doing and how you can step up in your life.

    This is when tenderness comes in to play. Faced with a change, especially one within, we may not like what we see. Like any obstacle that is arising, allow yourself to experience this change, allowing the old way to die. Be gentle with yourself. Love yourself in times of change and challenge. The fear is that we don t know who we will be when we come out the other end. You might just like what you see.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Energy Medicine

    We are our own healers. Our high tech, stressed out lifestyles has thrust many of us into chronic physical, emotional, and spiritual depletion. We suffer from overload. Most of us tolerate tired joyless states as normal. What good does it do to tell someone to get more sleep if you haven t shown them how to relax?

    Energy medicine views our bodies and spirits as manifestations of subtle energy or life force. It focuses on the importance of balancing our body and spirit to prevent disease. This is missed in mainstream health care but it is becoming more accepted and recognized.

    Energy medicine asks us to look within. There are many alternative practitioners who treat the whole person with energy medicine. There are acupuncturists, kinesiologists, homeopaths, chiropractors, Reiki masters, and masseuses. There are those who help with diet, food supplements like vitamins and minerals, exercise and health maintenance programs. There are those interested in shamanism and other ancient forms of healing. And, there is spiritual healing.

    Energy medicine works on the commitment of coming to terms with light and dark forces that shape us, excluding nothing. It is total healing with compassion. The most important thing to remember about healing methods is that there is no one way to heal. There is only one that is best and that is the one that works for you.

    As in any form of healing or practice, seek out those with the most experience. You will benefit greater and learn more from one who has years of experience over someone who is book learned. Like any profession of healing, education and experience has its place. An experienced energy worker will teach you how to help yourself. Where there is experience there is, hopefully, the best of intention and capabilities for your healing.

    Don t be afraid to ask a practitioner what they do for their personal practice, how long they have done what they will be doing with you and what they will be teaching you to do for yourself. If you are seeking out someone to do ear candling, find someone who has years of experience. If you are seeking out Reiki, find someone who is a Reiki master and has years of experience. If you are seeking out Spiritual counseling, find someone who knows what spiritual counseling is and has years of experience. If you are seeking out an acupuncturist, find one who is licensed and has years of experience. This will help you feel safe and open in allowing this person to guide and work with your inner most pain, life situation or illness. Don t hand over your healing to just anyone, take charge and ask how you can participate. Ask the practitioner to teach you how to heal yourself, or at minimum, how to maintain your health. Ask them to teach you how to manage or balance the subtle energies that reside within. Energy medicine is not just reserved for special people it is for all of us to experience and practice.

    I predict (and hope) that within twenty years there will be complete integration of science and holistic healing; combining spirit, intuition and technology. When modern medicine realizes it cannot heal everything, especially the spirit, it will begin to utilize alternative healing methods. It has been shown that when patients are involved in their own healing, they heal faster.

    Get involved with your body, mind and spirit. Healing can be done with compassion and grace. No matter what your life situation or your health, you can learn to feel better, to function better or to accept what is and live in grace and peace. That s what Energy Medicine can do for you.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Inner Power

    Inner power is not an exertion of your physical strength. Your physical strength or force will diminish in time. Inner power is not speaking a truth which harms another person. Inner power is not pushing down feelings and pretending they don t exist. It is not playing small. It is not your stories. There is no power in fear.

    Inner power is our source, Spirit, our connection to higher consciousness. When you find higher consciousness you find a power which will help you move chaos. There are many challenges and obstacles in life that ask us to step into our higher consciousness and take a look at who we are. Tapping into your inner power will help you. Knowing what your truth is will help you.

    Your inner power is available in your distress and in the good times too. It is your truth. It is what you know to be true and in that knowledge, all is well. Even if others are trying to damage you or talk about you or make your life miserable, you know your truth and that is your inner power.

    Your power is within. It is the connection to Spirit. It is the connection to your heart. It is the connection to your truth. The stories of your life are not your power. If you are so absorbed in the thoughts of your story, your thoughts cannot be directed toward your higher consciousness or your higher power. Your energy will wane and your personal power will be lessened.

    We must learn to come into our inner power with our whole body. To come to our power with only a touch of our consciousness would be a shame. It must be done with the whole body. When you do this, everything is One. Wrap every conscious thought to the level of your higher consciousness. When we are in fear, anger or worry, instead of flowing, our Divine Energy becomes damned up inside of us.

    We all have issues. If our health is good, then it may be that we have financial difficulties. If our finances are good then our relationships are bad. Issues cause frustration and frustration can turn into a sense of despair. We all work to bring prosperity, happiness, wealth, new ideas to our lives to which they usually fail. The reason for this is that these things need to be released from within instead of searching for them. This is the work of inner power; learning to release instead of forcing.

    If we learn to let go, connect to a source larger than us, have faith in the power within, we can find our true place. The actions that cause our issues in life become less important and the work/practice of connecting to the power within and its beautiful consequences become much more important and much easier.

    You may feel discontented with your life. This is a good thing. It is the discontentment which will help you find harmony and happiness. If you don t like your life situation, then change it. If you don t like your mind situation, then change it. You deserve to be happy and powerful. You deserve to feel that power and joy in each moment of each day. You deserve to live in your truth.

    Your inner power is the voice of the Divine, God, or whatever your higher source is. Listen, have faith and trust that all is well because you are being called to listen and sooner or later you will.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Lighten Up

    Craving happiness will not bring it to be Catherine Zeeb

    There are two parts to us: the soul which is the Light connected to God, Spirit, Buddha, Nature, the Universe, or Mohammad and there is the ego which convinces us that suffering is the way of the human condition.

    What is the definition of suffering? Suffering is pain, struggling, negative thoughts, cravings, desires, addictions, the desire to be better, struggling for power, belief that you are not good enough, etc. Learning to let go of these things will create a more blissful life. If you can create your pain then you can learn to create your happiness.

    It s hard to stop struggling. We believe that we are a separate self (the self not connected to a higher power) which suffers. Most people identify with and are addicted to this separate self. The drama that surrounds this separate self becomes reality. People tend to see themselves as the victim, have low self esteem and believe they are the definition of suffering.

    The separate self that struggles always feels it has to defend itself. People struggle as a way of fighting against the unknown. We cling to what we know even if it s painful and confusing. If you decided to let go of struggling you would feel lost and that would feel scary. The truth is that you wouldn t really be lost, but you would feel lost. This is because we ve not been taught that pain can actually serve a purpose.

    With an understanding that pain or suffering serves a purpose, comes an understanding that your soul is worthy of evolution. The truth is, though, that you don t have to suffer. Pain asks us to pay attention; pay attention to the fact that you are disconnected from your truth that you believe you are a separate self. At this moment of recognition, you may choose to release the boundaries that hold you to the pain.

    We are given the opportunity to choose to learn through wisdom or fear and doubt in each moment. Choosing to learn through fear or doubt creates pain. The lessons will be hard and fast and usually repetitive. When we choose to learn through wisdom, we release patterns of negativity that no longer serve us. The line between the personality and the soul becomes clearer. Choices are then made by recognizing that either the personality or the soul is making the decisions.

    Buddhism holds the Four Noble Truths about suffering: identify the presence of suffering, determine the cause of suffering, the end of suffering, and charting the method for attaining the end of suffering. For the sake of limited words here, suffering is desire and ignorance. By desire, Buddhists refer to craving pleasure, material good, and immortality, all of which can never be satisfied. Ignorance relates to not seeing the world as it actually is which leaves an opening for vices such as greed, envy, hatred and anger.

    Lighten up, let go and live. This life is so short and we think we can take it all on - that is suffering. If you think about how miniscule we are in the realm of the universe and think about how much we think we have to handle, it s overwhelming. Let go of the things that are truly not important. Let go of the things that do not serve you. Live this life as though your only purpose is learning to focus on the things that are important. Just think of all the room that would make in your life and your soul for the spaciousness of the Divine within you.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    The Power of Intention

    Where you put your attention and intention, there you are Catherine Zeeb

    What is intention? What do you intend with each action, word or thought? Your intentions drive the outcome in situations. If you are aware of your intentions, all outcomes will be filled with compassion and grace. If, on the other hand, you react to each moment unconsciously and then wonder why the outcome didn t come out the way you planned it, you were not connected to your intention.

    All intention comes from your will. Intention is that place within you that fuels all that you do and all that you are in the world. If you are not aware of your intentions, the strongest unconscious ones will win.

    If you are having trouble at work, let s say, and your intention is to have things get better, you would need to set the intention of change. The desire alone for work to be better will not change anything. If you are not clear with your intention, you will feel torn. If, for example, you want work to be better and on the other hand you want to quit, you will be torn because your intention is not clear.

    Your intentions create the reality you experience. It provides the lessons that you have to learn; through wisdom or pain. Every word you speak, every action you take has an intention behind it, whether conscious or unconscious. When you align your soul to your intention instead of your personality, your soul will be reflected. Intention = truth. The deep truth of what you are getting at in any situation, if you are consciously looking at your truth, is your intention. You know what it is. In any situation you may be upset by an outcome, but you know from the moment something arises, what your intention was. In truth, you know. It may feel like you don t know only because you have not practiced paying attention to intention. But on the soul level, you know.

    Practicing your awareness, being present in each moment, and not being afraid to look at your shadow side is one way to begin to understand and know your intentions. If, for example, you are speaking with a loved one and you bring up the subject about something they did years before, is your intention truly to ask about the old situation or is it to, by some old desire within you or habit, make them feel less or unworthy by bringing up this old situation again. Only you know what the intention is behind the question.

    This happens quite a bit in families. When you get around your family, they always seem to remember the things you did wrong. Many families don t sit around and talk about the joy you bring or the qualities you have. This is usually done under the guise of humor. But think about this in that moment the old memory/situation is brought up, are they not putting you right back to the energy of how you felt then or how they felt then? The old feelings come rushing right back in. You can laugh about it, but you never forget.

    Our intentions are not to make us feel bad. We need to be aware of what our truth is behind all words and actions. If you know something you are about to say or do will show someone else s weakness, then don t say it. What would be the purpose in it? We can practice and learn to reflect the beauty in ourselves and that in others just by paying attention to the intention behind our thoughts and actions. Speak well, speak clearly and speak truth for the alignment of your soul and to honor the alignment of others as well.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Healing the Soul

    The healing of the body is essential; but the thing that really matters is the spiritual development of the soul. Emmet Fox

    A physical healing is the outer evidence that a step in spiritual development has taken place. Physical healing is one of the most miraculous manifestations of Spirit, but it is not everything. If a physical healing is to take place, a spiritual healing must take place. This is not to take away from medical miracles and cures; this is healing through energy, or Energy Medicine.

    Many have asked their Higher Power why they are ill or in distress. The answer is that we have free will. We must consider what is required by the soul in order to be healthy. We need to be prepared for the change to happen on the soul level and in this, all healing can occur whether in the physical or in death there will be a healing.

    Modern psychology is beginning to understand the significance of spiritual healing. It does help, though, if a therapist is doing their own spiritual work in order to teach others. Otherwise, the process is only book learned and the therapists themselves may be in need of their own healing. An understanding of what spiritual healing is, is essential to teaching others.

    Spiritual psychology understands that a thought is not powerless. It is understood that a thought is not destroyed because we suppress it, but that it compresses into untapped energy in the body and will release one day through depression, physical violence or illness. Spiritual psychology also understands that in order for the spirit to heal, we need to examine our shadow side, both of thoughts and of actions. We can begin the process of healing the spirit by learning how our thoughts create our behaviors and our world. Once upon this path, troubles and difficulties will still come to us. The troubles and difficulties will come up from within to be released and dealt with once and for all. In the releasing is where most healing takes place. The soul s healing is the acceptance of what is to come. Once spiritual healing begins, what is to be, will be. Not in complacency, but in deciding which fight in life is the best for you.

    Spiritual healing is the healing of the soul. It is inner work. It is an understanding that our physical, mental and spiritual health all begins with believing that you can heal and that you deserve to heal. Physical illness can be a source of attention and it becomes a way of life. As harsh as this may sound, from a spiritual perspective, it can be truth. If we learn to not identify with our illness, not have it be the first thing we tell someone when we meet them, then it does not get the attention it needs to grow or remain and we can focus on our spiritual healing. The physical healing will happen, if it is supposed to, when we re on our spiritual path.

    Healing the soul means understanding, in truth, why an illness (physical or mental) benefits you. Once you understand the energy of the illness, you can begin the process of physical healing. Healing the spirit is the beginning of a beautiful journey. It is the release of the old and an understanding that everything can change in each moment. It is not easy. It takes work and it takes a practice to maintain a new/different balance in your life. Enjoy the journey and find good teachers to assist you on the Path.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    A Tornado and the Grace of Divine

    I was watching television - a huge tornado was heading towards Windsor! My son and his family live there. I called and called to find out where they were. The news was saying the tornado would hit Windsor in less than 20 minutes and I couldn t get a hold of my kids. Where were my son, my daughter-in-law and my granddaughter?

    The news was getting worse. They were warning people to take cover. This was serious. My daughter-in-law finally answered her cell; she and my granddaughter were at WalMart in Greeley. I asked her to stay there because of the tornado which she didn t even know was about to hit. My son was at work in Greeley.

    Within minutes and earlier than the news predicted, the tornado hit Windsor; a one mile wide tornado. There was nothing I could do but watch the devastation on TV. I saw the building where my daughter-in-law works completely demolished and know they live just a few blocks from there. I couldn t imagine what happened to their home and their animals.

    I tried to call the kids again no answer. Two hours later I got a hold of them and they were heading back to Windsor to see if their house was still standing. My son called me to say their house was relatively ok; minor damage compared to houses right next door. The next block and quite a bit of the surrounding area was almost completely flattened.

    My granddaughter graduated kindergarten that morning. Everyone attended including her other grandmother. Afterwards everyone left for their respective activities. My daughter-in-law took the day off work to celebrate with my granddaughter and decided to go with my son to Greeley while he got in a couple hours of work. She and my granddaughter hung out until he was done. She said she wasn t sure she wanted to go to Greeley but decided to instead of going home.

    Think about the grace of Divine. Had she gone to work, she would have been in that building that was flattened. Her daughter would have been at a home in Windsor for daycare. Had they gone home, they would have endured the tornado and the fear. My son would have been in a world of panic not knowing what had happened to them. BUT that didn t happen. They made choices on an unconscious level that saved their lives. Their house is standing and habitable. No one got hurt and damage was minimal. My son said that on his way to Greeley, he saw a large blow-up kid s toy blowing over in a yard. He realized there was a child in it and pulled over to help the mother get her son out. He said, Maybe by stopping to help out we were paid back with our house and lives saved. These are things we will never know.

    Why that large of a tornado happened is a mystery in itself. There hasn t been that large of a tornado since around 1987. Why it happened mid-day with most people at work is the grace of Divine. Why my son and his family were out of town on that Thursday is the grace of Divine. Why there were not more people injured is the grace of Divine. Why these things happen the way they do, we will never know.

    These are the mysteries of the unknown. To believe we are cared for and graced in good times and in bad is called faith. I m sure there are so many stories of choices that saved lives that day. Having faith in the midst of your child in trouble and not being able to do anything is the grace of Divine. It s never easy to think your child or others are ill, lost or suffering, but I am so happy I have faith.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Every Day's a New Day

    If my thoughts of yesterday created my today and my thoughts of today create my tomorrow, then what am I thinking right at this moment. - Catherine Zeeb

    When I wake in the morning, I thank Divine that I woke period. Before I go to sleep at night, I thank Divine for my day no matter how good or bad it was. I do this because I know that each day is an opportunity to do it better. Even my best days can be better because I view each moment as a miracle. If we open ourselves up to the creation of each moment, they are miracles and more miracles will appear the more aware we are.

    Begin from where you are right now, today, in this moment. No matter what we have done in our past, it does not define us. Our past is our experience but not the truth of who we are. We can, at any moment, start again. In Metaphysics, starting again or being born again (not to be confused with Christian terminology), is any moment you remember you can start again and any moment you decide to come home to the Spirit within you. For starting again or coming home is a new beginning no matter what you have done in your past.

    Forget about the end result. Every time you come to the end of one journey, a new one begins. We believe our past defines us because no one ever told us it didn t. It is not our past that defines us but our present. It is the moment and the energy of the moment that defines who we are. Think of anger. It can happen in a split second and it can last a long time or dissipate quickly. If we are aware that it is rising within us and choose a different way to deal with a situation, we become present in that moment of recognition.

    We are concerned that if we act or react differently than we always have we won t know who we are. You don t truly change. You will not suddenly become the enlightened one. You will still be the same person, but you will not want to live the same way. You may not do the same things you had been doing. You begin to speak from your heart instead of your head. You treat others with respect, even if you think they don t deserve it. You stop what you re doing to help someone over taking care of trivial things. You make clearer choices about what s important.

    So, if my present thoughts create my world, then I want to be paying attention. If I am angry all day, the world around me will be angry what else could it be? Once you gain a new perspective, the world will no longer seem so angry. You can, at any moment, decide how you feel and how you choose to act or react. If you want tomorrow to be better than today, then take a look at the thoughts you are having right now. We have to create our world. Don t you want to be the one to create it instead of someone else? Create your moment, change any negative thoughts to positive, loving, compassionate thoughts and see if your tomorrow is better. Blessings!

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Stillness

    There is stillness within; it already exists. It always has, it always will. The stillness is in every one of us. It is in those who do good and those who do bad. It is in those who are sick and those healthy. Silence, stillness and awareness cannot be produced or created. It just is.

    Through the veins of our truth lies the stillness. It is the quiet within, even though the voice seems to still be talking. It is the non-movement within even though there is physical movement. Stillness is where all of creation begins. Stillness is all knowledge. Stillness is power. Everything imaginable and unimaginable is created from stillness. Stillness is Divine, God, Buddha, Spirit, Mohammad.

    There are many concentration methods that teach us to find awareness, stillness. There is the use of breath, of walking in nature, of guided meditation, of music, of dance all to help discover stillness. These give us something to do as humans like to do something to achieve. The truth is that none of these truly need to be done to achieve stillness it is already there.

    What we are looking for is a method or tool to find the awareness. Our natural condition is one of peace and stillness. The mind is the only thing looking for a way to find it. The mind is the only thing looking for a technique. You are not the mind.

    Don t try to be still. Stillness comes with no effort. Once the mind tries to be still it has something to do once more. We ve all been conditioned to believe it is difficult to achieve stillness or meditation. This is only a thought. Sit down and feel that you just know.

    The aim of spiritual practice is to find your own present experience. Everyone wants to be happy. The spiritual yogi and the drug addict all want to be happy. They just go about it in different ways. Addictions, indulgences and desires that are used to masquerade as happiness are adolescent. When there is no more masquerading, there is no longer a need to use anything to achieve happiness. The seeker begins to not want for much.

    This is true stillness. Letting go, not wanting for enlightenment, surrender, not having expectations of how things should be this is stillness and happiness. By remembering stillness, your awareness will grow. You are tapping into All That Is. One conscious breath can help you remember stillness. Choose in each moment that you will come home to the Stillness of the Divine within. Remembering Stillness connects you to the Source of All Sources that flows through you, and with that you will begin to Know Who You Are.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    Celebrating Divine Mothers

    The Divine Mother abides in the heart of every being and universes without end

    It s almost Mother s Day. Tomorrow we celebrate the women who have given birth to, nurtured, cared for and loved us. There will be breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Flowers and gifts will be given in honor of this woman who, no matter how our life condition is or was, brought us into this world. We will honor the women who raised us in place of our biological mother. We will honor our mothers who have passed over. Mothers of all types are the creators, the givers of life and the caretakers.

    We know that mothers are more than incubators or wombs for carrying the unborn. Mothers are vessels of knowledge. They are our first teachers. They are healers, nurturers, communicators, and comforters. They are to be respected, revered and honored. They are seen as pillars of strength and buffers against the "outside world." And as irritating as our mothers can sometimes be, who in their right mind would not really want to have one?

    Not all spiritual mothers have children of their own; some are mothers to pets or other s children. There is a plethora of other spiritual mothers to be honored as well. Most cultures, philosophy and religion celebrate at least one Mother figure. There s Gaia Greek Goddess as Mother Earth; Durga Hindu Goddess that Destroys Demons; Ha Hai-I Wuhti Hopi Divine Mother; Isis Egyptian Goddess; Kuan Yin Buddhist Goddess of Compassion; Mother Mary Christian Goddess of Compassion; Shakti Hindu Goddess of Primal Energy; Venus Roman Goddess of Love and Beauty just to name a few.

    We hear the words Live Green all the time right now asking us to honor Mother Earth by recycling, using less pesticides, etc. Mother Earth is one of our most valuable and precious caretakers. Without her we will not survive. We need her. We need to care for her, honor her and make sure she lives forever.

    She is Mother Earth, a manifestation of the Divine. From this same perspective, we are much more than passengers on an impersonal planet; we are manifestations of the Mother and embodiments of the Divine. In effect, we are the Mother and she is us. Ayurveda, the holistic medical system of the Vedas, views the physical body and all of nature as manifesting from earth, air, fire, water and space. Mother Earth is the womb from which these elements arise and to which they all return in the elegant cycle of life and death. To love and honor Mother Earth, we must love and honor our bodies as physical manifestations of Her grace.

    A meditative practice can help us cultivate a personal connection with Mother Earth. Find a quiet place to lie down, maybe outside on a warm, beautiful day and close your eyes. Allow your body and mind to relax. Feel the strength of the earth beneath you. Take a few gentle breaths. Become aware of the support of this amazing core and strength beneath you. Feel the heart of the earth beat with your heart. Honor her. Honor all mothers in this moment. Notice the softening in your body and the gentleness you may be experiencing. In a few minutes you will feel more at peace. End this time with gratitude say thank you to Mother Earth, thank you to all compassionate mothers and thank you to yourself for taking this moment.

    Our communities need more spiritual mothers. And our children need to know that there are spiritual mothers always available to share their wisdom and their unconditional love with the younger generation. Connect to the Divine within, honor your mother and take care of the Divine Mother that connects us all.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    GRIEF & LOSS OF OUR PRECIOUS PETS

    They say that your pet will tell you when it s their time to go. They say it will be obvious. They say that it s not easy but that you must make the decision soon. They say it will be like having them just go to sleep.

    These are true statements. Not easy to say, not easy to live, but true statements. I do not believe I have ever grieved like I did when I had to put my dog of 11 years to sleep. You see, she had Cushing s disease which for her was cancer of the adrenals. They said she would probably only live a year once she was diagnosed but she proved them wrong and lived for another 3 = years.

    The last 3 months or so of her life, she developed Lymphoma. I was up with her the last 3 nights of her life. She was very uncomfortable. She couldn t sleep for any length of time as she would wake up whining. I knew the time was coming, but I was determined to hold onto every last ounce of love and time with her I possibly could. On the fourth day, all of her draining sores dried up and when I couldn t find her, she would be laying in a corner of the living room she never laid in before. I knew this was the day.

    It s been 3 = years now that she s been gone and this is still so fresh. Our precious animals can be almost as close to us as our own children. They are part of the family and when they die, we grieve the loss.

    The grief can begin before they actually leave though. The grieving may start when you know they are sick or if they are lost. It s good to understand how you deal with grief. What does grief look like to you? Do you give yourself permission to feel the loss? Or do you try to cowboy up and get on with your life it s just an animal?!

    We cry, we remember, we cry, we don t wash their blanket or bed, we cry, we know they can never be replaced and we cry some more. It never gets easier; we just learn to go on without them. When grief hits, it feels like it will never end. It feels like life will never be the same again.

    Anger, denial, guilt, rage, disbelief, loneliness you will experience one or all of these and more. It is no different for many of us when we lose a pet. It is hard for many people to understand why they feel so bad when it s just an animal. The interesting thing about our animals passing away is that you always seem to feel them around you a lot easier than our human companions. You may, for example, feel your cat walk across your bed or pillow during the night. You may get a glimpse of your dog down the hallway. You may think you hear a meow or a bark. And, of course, you may think you re going crazy.

    The fact is our animal companions are here to teach us about love. They don t talk back, they greet us eagerly no matter how we look or how bad our day has been and they don t judge us for the things we think are faults- they don t care about any of this. They only care that you pet and feed them and let them curl up at your feet or next to you. Their only job is to make you happy. Their only happiness comes from serving you and to see you smile or to give you comfort.

    We all will experience a loss of ones and that grief that is encountered during our lifetime. If we don t, we haven t loved.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    LIVING IN LOVE OR FEAR

    If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fear. -Glenn Clark

    A Course in Miracles teaches us that every thought we have is either from fear or love. There are no in-between thoughts; every thought is of fear or love. Fear, for example, is thoughts of anger, doubt, judgment, hate, jealousy, expectations, etc. Love is thoughts of peace, acceptance, compassion, kindness, love and light.

    Fear is of the ego. The ego is the voice that convinces us that anger, doubt, judgment, hate, or jealousy is the best way to think in any given moment. Fear drives us to believe that anger is the best reaction to a situation. Fear drives us to believe that judging others is the best way to feel better about ourselves. Please go to my website www.healing-spirits.net for more information in a past column on The Ego.

    Living and thinking with thoughts of love broadens our choice of how we react, or not, to a life situation. One statement I hear often when talking about learning to think and speak from this place of love instead of fear is I can t walk around thinking and living in love all the time, people and situations will hurt me or walk all over me.

    You will not get walked all over. It means that you learn to speak from truth. It may be that the truth is that the situation calls for no reaction or that you say what you need to say or do without anger, judgment, doubt, hate, jealousy, etc. You may find that you don t need to react as much as you used to. The only reason you would react as you did in the past is because the ego thinks that is the only reaction.

    Paying closer attention to our desired or habitual reactions helps us to stop and change the old habits or patterns; at this point we begin to think and live from love. We learn to step back, take a look at our perspective and choose the importance of a reaction or not. Living and thinking from this changed place, this place of love, opens our hearts to understand that the fear is not real. It only exists because we believe in it. The only power it has over you is the belief you have in it.

    Now, like most things, if we haven t thought of our fears like this, I m sure you re coming up with objections and justifications for it. One of my favorite authors, Emmet Fox, uses the example of the Bogey Man. He says that it doesn t really exist but seems real if you have a belief in it. You will bury your head under the cover, sweat, shake and even cry out, but it still does not have any power over you unless you believe in it.

    This works for our fears as well. If you give your thoughts, your actions and your energy to anger, doubt, judgment, hate, and jealousy it will seem real. If you give your thoughts, actions and energy over to love, nothing else will exist but compassion, kindness, peace, and acceptance - and it will be real.

    We can learn to live in the energy of love. Thinking and living from love is a freedom like you ve never experienced. You will be free from the hold fear has on you. You will be free to not carry around the baggage of negative thoughts. If it is true that we are what we think, are your thoughts from love or fear?

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    SPIRITUAL EMERGENCY

    It is possible to undergo a profound crisis involving non-ordinary experiences and to perceive it as psychological or psychiatric when in fact it may be accurately and beneficially defined as a spiritual emergency Stanislav Grof

    Spiritual emergency can happen at any time in our lives. The feelings may be that of a strong desire that things need to change to the extreme feeling that life is not worth living anymore. It is a transformative experience diagnosed as a possible breakdown, psychotic breakdown or even schizophrenia. Other cultures have names for this experience: kundalini awakening, psychotic visionary episode, the dark night of the soul or ego death.

    This is a time of awakening, a time for acknowledging that the way you re living may not be working anymore. This time may feel overwhelming yet can offer us an opportunity to make new choices. These choices can be in thought, behavior, attitude, beliefs, etc. We are being asked by the universe to listen. We are being asked to make changes now!

    This time may feel depressing, sad or vulnerable. But, before you run to a doctor and get on a medication you may not be able to get off of easily, check into doing some spiritual work. Sometimes just learning that this happens to others helps. Life happens. Life can feel like you re being attacked. Learning new ways to deal with your old emotions, how to tame your reactions to life and learning a new perspective about life can help.

    A spiritual emergency is our higher power s way of getting us to stop and listen. Even if we feel we are on a spiritual path, we may still have a spiritual emergency. Here s an example of a spiritual emergency: A woman who ran her own businesses for years suddenly has a breakdown. She checks herself into the hospital afraid she might hurt herself. The on-call doctor immediately writes her a prescription for an anti-depressant which she chooses not to take. She calls a therapist who in her egoless ness, realizes there is more going on then a psychological breakdown and refers her to a spiritual teacher. Once the woman spoke with the teacher, she learned that this was a spiritual emergency, not a psychological breakdown that requires medication and that with some guidance and work she can find a new way to deal with this phase in her life and move forward.

    This is not to indicate that we should not listen to our doctors nor take the medications they prescribe. It does indicate, however, that we need to be conscious of our life patterns, self-doubts, self-judgments and other ego-talk that finally hits its limit. Divorce is a situation where people feel out of control suddenly things change and they just don t know what to do with their lifetime of desires and expectations of what marriage could have been. This may feel like depression this could be considered a spiritual emergency time to change the way we view our life. There was a reason this marriage didn t work, the signs were probably there long ago the awakening feels hard but the truth gets revealed.

    In some situations of spiritual emergency, I teach this: look at a clock and give yourself permission to feel what you are experiencing for, say, 20 minutes. Really feel it cry, hit a pillow, curl up in a ball, scream into a pillow, do jumping jacks, etc. It s almost a guarantee that you ll be bored with yourself in 10 minutes.

    Not giving ourselves permission to feel, pushes the emotion/energy down and it will appear again in another situation. The more work we do on a daily basis makes it a little easier to do the work when life is overwhelming. Call on some help to learn new ways to continue to find the strength to move through this journey called life.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    MAKING ASSUMPTIONS

    Adversity introduces a man to himself. - Anonymous

    I had an incident happen in the WalMart parking lot today. I got out of my car and started to walk up to the entrance. A man yelled something at me. I looked over at him; he was standing there with about five shopping carts. First and foremost I couldn t understand what he said so I continued to look at him to make sure he was ok. He then yelled louder that I should take in a shopping cart as he pushed one toward me. I stated that I didn t need one to which he continued to yell at me that I was inconsiderate, didn t care about helping others and that I should go on with life thinking only of myself, and he ranted on and on as I walked into the store.

    I am not telling this story to expose this gentleman but to thank him for giving me a great topic for this column. This situation was a wonderful example and reminder of making assumptions about other people. In this particular incident, this gentleman thought I should take a cart in because he was doing it without concern for my life situation at that moment.

    How many times a day do you make, even an internal, assumption(s) of what you think others should be doing, how they should drive, think, etc? We all do it. Here are a couple of things to think about next time you find yourself making assumptions about others lives: 1) Do you know what is happening in their life; 2) Do you know if they re in a hurry or if something s wrong; or 3) Is there more going on with them that you can t see?

    This gentleman, for example, had no idea that I was in a hurry to get something before heading to my office for a session with a client. Now, had he needed help, I would have dropped everything to assist. But he didn t ask if I wanted to help take carts in nor did he ask if I had the time or if I was even physically capable of doing it. He made an assumption. Without going into the possible psychological reasons he was yelling, let s just say he was a good example of attitudes that we carry in society. Many of us just assume that we are right and others are wrong.

    The only person you need to know you are right with is yourself and your Higher Power. As soon as you throw your right-ness out into the world, you become judgmental, angry and discriminatory. Until we walk in others shoes, we have no right to assume they are even capable of doing/feeling what we think they should be.

    This attitude really shows up driving a vehicle. This is one area where people feel stronger than they would face to face. They have 3,000 lb+ of courage when they re behind the wheel. Next time someone drives slow in front of you and you feel you need to ride their bumper or honk at them, remember that you have no idea what s happening for them in that moment. Feel grace in this moment instead of getting yourself all worked up it s wasted energy.

    If in moments that you feel you need to tell someone how to live, who to be and what to do, stop and realize that you don t know what s truly going on. Feel grace in the fact that when someone affects you, you get the opportunity to take a look at yourself. In that moment with this other person, instead of fighting or pushing back, you can let it go. Walk away and say thank you that this person helped you recognize an old behavior that wanted to be exposed and that now you have a new behavior you can be grateful for.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    FOR THE LOVE OF ANIMALS

    If you talk to the animals, they will talk to you
    And you will know each other
    If you do not talk to them, you will not know them
    And what you do not know, you will fear
    What one fears one destroys
    - Chief Dan George

    I love animals. I love my animals. I have two old cats and three dogs ranging in ages from one to seven years. I can t imagine my life without them. They make me laugh, cry, are always entertaining and motivate me to get out and walk every day. Animals have been a huge part of my life as long as I can remember. I have been blessed to live at the beach and now the mountains where there is abundant wildlife. I used to run on the hard morning sand at the beach along with the dolphins cruising just off shore. I now live where I can watch the cattle and horses romp in the field right outside my back door.

    Animals have been the focus of folklore and mythology for centuries. They have been used in children s stories, movies and books. The healing of nature can begin with the respect we give our animal world. Animals communicate with us all the time. How do you know when your dog or cat is hungry? They certainly don t speak to you, but they do whine or walk over to their bowl or sometimes you can just look at them and know that they re hungry. This is communication on an energetic level. This is how they talk to us.

    Early priest/ess, magicians and Native Americans would wear skins and masks of animals which would endow the wearer with the energy of a specific animal. These rituals were usually performed during the seasons corresponding to the rhythms of a particular animal. To the rational mind, these rituals may seem silly and meaningless. But they are no less powerful today than they were/are to those who perform them.

    Animal totems depicting the strength and power of specific animals have been around for a long time also. One of my more powerful totems is Hawk. I am thrilled for this time of year as everywhere I drive I see hawks flying or sitting in the trees. As a totem, Hawk awakens our vision and inspires us to a creative life purpose. No matter how you feel about the idea of a totem animal, the fact that they exist fascinates those of us who study them.

    Our domesticated animals can provide us with the same information. Not only do they let us know when they are hungry or need to go outside, they feel our joy and our sadness. They will actually take on your sadness for you which may manifest in their own illness or depression. We don t need to wear their skins to feel their energy; we can see/feel it and respond appropriately.

    All animals are tapped into the rhythm of Mother Earth. They don t question the existence of energy; they just live it. They live love, peace and grace while living their natural habitat conditions. They are filled with unconditional love because they don t judge, doubt or rampage about the status of their lives or their political system. They express the love that we all have within no matter what their life condition.

    We love our animals. We grief their loss as if they were our children. They give us something that we all know we could use more of - unconditional love. Respect the animal kingdom and watch your own world fill with the love for this human race even with its doubts, judgments and rampages. We can move beyond these the animals always have.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    ENLIGHTENMENT

    Awakening doesn t mean you awaken. Awakening is awakening from the dream of a separate you into simply being Awakeness. Adyshanti, The Impact of Awakening.

    Spiritual awakening or enlightenment is not a goal. There is no destination. You do not get it and then you re done. You will not know everything and everything in your life will not be perfect. It is a process. Trying to become wiser and more loving is a constant battle with self.

    We all have profound wisdom. In the tradition of Zen, this is called prajna. It is the heart wisdom; the wisdom of absolute. It is a knowing, that at our core, we are at peace we are stillness. This wisdom exists in all of us. This is the essence of awakening to know this wisdom exists if you let go of your expectation of what awakening looks like.

    We must learn to listen. We must learn to listen to the wisdom of Spirit and not let our desires or judgments get in the way. Spirit speaks very clearly to us all the time. In our day to day activities, we usually don t stop long enough to listen. You don t have to change to realize who you are. Be still for just a moment and allow the wisdom to appear instead of being so busy that you push it away. Stop trying to make your life different or better for one moment. This is hard for most people. We try so hard to be enlightened that to stop for a moment seems a very high price to pay. The struggle comes in living the truth of your spirit instead of who you believe your personality makes you.

    You do not need to be something bigger, different or special. This is an illusion. As you awaken, your entire ego, personality traits and shadow parts of you will begin to surface. You cannot change or tame anything you don t recognize. This is most people s biggest fear the stuff. The stuff is what you believe defines you and is not a truth in the realm of Spirit.

    We, as human beings, function from the perspective that we are not whole or complete. We believe that if we read a good book or sit with a teacher and are able to quote things from them, we will be more complete. The truth is that we have to learn to live our own truth, our own awakened being. Learning your truth and living it are two totally different things.

    You believe you are not whole or complete because no one ever told you that you already are. You believe that you need to be different or someone else needs to be different because you were not taught that all is perfect just as it is. You believe that things always need fixing. To the ego mind, awakening is terrifying.

    Our growth as spiritual beings will create more awakened human beings. We will experience pain, grief, sorrow, sadness, joy, love, delight it is the human condition. In the realm of Spirit, we already are the stillness and the wisdom. We do not need to search for it like we re looking for the perfect recipe; it already exists.

    This is enlightenment. Enlightenment is gained moment by moment by recognizing when you are in your humanness, not good nor bad, just that it is. Take a breath in that moment and say to yourself that this is a moment of recognizing a thought of the ego-mind and the truth is that you are stillness, peace, compassion and kindness.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    TAMING THE EGO

    What makes your decisions throughout your day, your heart or your ego? How can you tell the difference? How do we know when the ego has us believing that we are speaking from our hearts? What is the ego?

    From a spiritual perspective, the ego is the illusion of individual existence. It is the part which believes it is the human being, and believes it must fight for itself in the world. With a small amount of space here to write about the ego, I will avoid too many perspectives of such. I would like to discuss how to recognize the ego-mind voice over the voice of the soul.

    The extent of the ego's inability to recognize itself and see what it is doing is staggering and unbelievable. To become free of the ego is not really a big job but a very small one. All you need to do is be aware of your thoughts and emotions - as they happen. This is not really a 'doing' but an alert 'seeing'. In that sense, it is true that there is nothing you can do to become free of the ego. When that shift happens, which is the shift from thinking to awareness, an intelligence far greater than the ego's cleverness begins to operate in your life. Emotions and even thoughts become depersonalized through awareness. Their impersonal nature is recognized. There is no longer a self in them. They are just human emotions, human thoughts. Your entire personal history, which is ultimately no more than a story, a bundle of thoughts and emotions, becomes of secondary importance and no longer occupies the forefront of your consciousness. It no longer forms the basis for your sense of identity. You are the light of Presence, the awareness that is prior to and deeper than any thoughts and emotions." - Eckhart Tolle's book on the subject, A New Earth.

    This is a concise explanation of the ego. The ego is, for the most part, the personality. If you picture your soul as holding the essence, the truth, of who you really are, then the personality holds the stuff the anger, guilt, doubt, judgment, etc. If we walk around all day in anger, it is the ego that has a hold of you at that time. If we recognize that we are angry and choose to live in the light of the Presence, then you can instantaneously shift your consciousness.

    We can learn to tame the ego. It is our discriminating voice, i.e. it will be the voice that speaks to you when you think you can run across the street with cars coming it will be the voice that tells you it will hurt when you get hit by the cars it is the voice that may even call you stupid for thinking you can cross that road.

    But it also is the voice that may call you stupid for things not as important as trying to cross a busy street. It is the voice that beats you up for the slightest mistake. It is the voice that judges others for their mistakes. It is the voice that convinces you that anger, not peace, is the best reaction to situations. It is the voice that tells you that if you lived in peace, if you let things go, you would be unhappy and bored.

    To tame the ego is to recognize when it arises and choose a new approach to the situation. By changing our thoughts, we begin to teach the ego that it is not the thing in control; that we know we are part of a higher energy and the lower energies of the ego will not be the driver of our bus.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    THIS AMAZING MID-LIFE

    I have more wrinkles than I used to have. My butt is too soft and my breasts are not where they used to be. I have memory gaps. Gray hair appeared recently. I used to call myself a multi-tasker, but now don t want to be that busy. When my kids talk about music, I have no idea who they re talking about. These are parts of me over 50.

    I m in mid-life. I love to admit that now. It s ok. I m not as young as I used to be and my body hurts more than it used to. I have friends who remind me often of how old I am, it must make them feel better.

    In our 20 s, we are involved in the world outside of soul time moves slowly. We almost always say yes. In our 30 s, we are involved with feeling successful, making sure of who we are. In our 40 s, we begin to like ourselves a little more and learn to say no.

    In our 50 s, we sit in our truth of who we are meant to be. We begin to live in the possibility of our dreams. We learn mastery. We are so comfortable with our being that many of us will step into a new career, a new creative process or a new knowing. We are in our second puberty.

    We don t have to sink into dowdiness or grandparentness. We may be grandparents, but we don t have to sit in a rocker and tell stories of the war. This is not a time to head towards the grave. People in their 50 s are beginning to realize that this is the time to be completely awake. We learn to be more in the present, understanding that the present may not last that much longer.

    There is a calmness that we don t have in our 20 s, 30 s and 40 s. There is a knowing that, no matter how intuitive you are, you will not embrace until you are in your 50 s. There is a true not caring what anyone thinks about what you do and who you are that you do not find in younger years. Our bodies may be changing, but through choice, we can create our mid-life into a new consciousness.

    This is an amazing time to take hold of who we are. We re not done yet. We can keep the mind and body active. This is not the time to stop working on ourselves. We let go of baggage. We move slower in order to move inward.

    Our bodies may be aging and changing, but we can learn to appreciate the history held within. Our spirit can open as our bodies continue on its slowing process. The reality is that the body will begin to fail; the truth is that it is all about perception.

    We could title our book of life as My Biggest Mistakes. Or we could title it, Forgiveness The New Story of My Life. You have a chance each moment to forgive yourself for your past. Divine does. None of your past mistakes are held against you in the realm of Spirit, God, Buddha, Mohammad, or whatever your higher power is. All the love you ever experienced was real. Everything else was only a story or your personality just trying to figure things out.

    According to A Course in Miracles, In the moment when you were not your best self when you didn t stand up as the most loving you could be then all the good you deflected is being held in trust for you until you re ready to receive it.

    Now go live your midlife. Be proud and do all the things you ve always wanted to do travel, paint, take up yoga, dance, marry, stay single, laugh, love and know that each moment you get a new opportunity to be a fully embraceable you.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    THE SPIRITUAL PARENT

    How do we help the next generation be a better generation? How can we raise conscious children? How can we expect our children to be wiser, more awake and ready to take care of this planet if we don t do it first? Who is going to teach them schools? Religious leaders? Babysitters? What about you, the parents?

    Spiritual parenting means that you do your healing work in order to teach your children how to be more conscious. It means that we no longer have expectations of the next generation to do it better if we don t show them how. It means that we learn to watch our words so we don t condemn before praising. It means we teach our children how unique they are, not try to shove them into the societal box.

    These may sound like wonderful, loving, compassionate ways to raise our children but the truth is how can we teach what we don t live. If your parents were alcoholics, drug addicts, angry, abusive, depressed, workaholics, blamers, avoiders. If they didn t pay any attention to how they spoke to you, if they told you constantly to shut up or go to your room. If they never hugged you or told you they loved you. If they never hugged each other in front of you or told each other that they loved each other in front of you. If you felt they gave more attention to one sibling over the other and you felt ignored. How did they teach you to be a conscious adult?

    This does not mean that our parents were nor are bad people. It means they could only raise their own children with the information they were taught. They could only pass on the emotions behind the way they were raised, which manifests itself in a variety of behaviors, to us. We will do the same to our children if we don t break the cycle. We can learn to gain a new perspective in life; to understand ourselves in a new light. In that new light is where we choose to raise new children.

    Think of how your life would be if you had been taught anger management, for example, in elementary school. If so, would you have become an adult who believes in hitting someone to be in control? Would you not get mad at the person behind the counter for being slow? Would you not care if someone didn t turn quickly enough into a driveway? If your children see you reacting out of anger over the slightest things, how could they learn to be calm and choose what is important to feel angry about? Not all things in life require our reaction. This is an important lesson. Where do you choose to expend your energy let alone hold the anger or non-expended energy inside? Teaching our children where and how to use their energy for their own lives, for their own creativity, seems so much wiser. But parents, you have to learn this for yourselves first. You need to be the role model, even of change, to the children of the future.

    Recognize the patterns of the past in your life that you are passing on to your children. If you haven t healed them, then work on doing so. You may even find the child within you can laugh, love and play more freely. We owe it to ourselves, first and foremost, to live in the truth of who we are not the residue of our parents. We will make room to become better adults today for the future our children.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF WHILE TAKING CARE OF OTHERS

    Bless you for taking care of your sick friend, your ailing or aging parents, your friend s children, people at your work, your community, your world, running a friend to the store, meeting a family member for coffee and helping a friend take her dog to the vet. These are all acts of kindness and compassion. There are not enough thank yous for all that you give and for all that you do. There never seems to be enough time to take care of all those you feel you need to take care of either.

    You worked all day and then ran around taking care of others. At the end of the day, you are tired. You get home and then maybe have to take care of a husband/wife, animals and children. You are tired. You take a shower and prepare for bed. You feel tired. You can t imagine why you can t get to sleep and then at an early hour of the morning, you can t imagine why you can t get back to sleep. Does this sound familiar to anyone out there? Giving is supposed to feel good and if it doesn t, something s wrong.

    All giving comes from within. If you don t replenish your soul, you will only have so much to give. You will feel drained by the end of the day or week, maybe even sick. Giving isn t always a virtue. There are many unhealthy versions of being a giver. Learning to give from the soul generates abundance. Giving from a place of codependency or being needy bleeds your life force, martyrdom and creates feelings of guilt.

    Soulful giving is a way of nurturing yourself which enlarges your capacity to care for people. The best indicator of whether you are giving from your soul or a need is your energy level. Giving is an energy exchange. Whether you give a gift that you wrap and hand over to someone or whether you help them in another way, there is an exchange of energy.

    As loving people, we equate compassion with giving. Compassion demands that we learn to set boundaries about how much energy we take in and how much we put out. When using kindness to avoid conflict, a no is the best answer. If you feel that your refusal to do something for someone will cause conflict, you may decide to do it anyway just to avoid the conflict. Again, bless your heart for helping, but how do you really feel now? Learning to set boundaries is important so your soul doesn t suffer. Take time to rejuvenate your soul.

    Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you give from compassion or need are: 1) Does this sustain or drain me?; 2) Do others help me as much as I help them?; 3) Do I get walked on?; 4) Can I set boundaries and say no?; 5) Can I give and still nourish myself?

    It is a must to take time for your soul. Your soul is yours to care for. That may sound obvious, but we forget that no other human being can do that for us. Others may lift our soul or they may burden our soul, but it is only you who can choose to renew and replenish. Only you can stop long enough to quiet the internal conversation now and then. Only you can learn to say no and not feel guilty. Only you can take a breath and connect to your own private, personal higher power. Only you can know why you give.

    Give and give in this lifetime, it truly is one of our most precious actions. But don t forget to give to yourself, first and foremost. From that place of health, light and peace, you will be able to give fully and not exhaust your resource your soul.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    OUR BODIES, OUR KNOWLEDGE

    If my heart could do my thinking and my head begin to feel, I would look upon the world anew and know what s truly real Van Morrison

    The body is a beautiful thing. No matter what your girth, your height, your physical condition, or your color, your body is a Divine tool. The body has its own intelligence. The body, mind and spirit are separate yet connected.

    The fact that the body is full of knowledge may be a new concept. In the world of energy, energy medicine and our Divine spirit, the body gives us answers to our questions and issues all the time. Our body holds every emotion and every experience we ve ever had.

    Our bodies, our knowledge. Our life information, our emotions, our thoughts and our connection to a higher power vibrate and are held in the body. It would seem from a logical perspective that these things reside in the head, or mind, but not in the body. From an understanding of energy, it is the beauty of the physical body which holds this information. We can learn to access the information and change our mind about it. We can t change the past, we can t change what happened in our lives, but we can change how we see and live it today.

    Here s one example of experiencing the way our bodies hold emotions. Let s say you see someone at the grocery store that you owe $20 to. The moment you see them, your gut twists, somewhere around the solar plexus, and you turn your cart quickly in the opposite direction to avoid them. This experience could be reflecting a feeling of insecurity or avoidance. This energy in the body will remain until you change it or release it and it will show up in a variety of situations in your life.

    If you walked up to this person and either handed them $20 with an apology for taking so long or with nothing more than an apology for not taking care of this, you could release the energy of guilt. There are lessons in every moment. The lesson may have been to learn to be your truth and stand up, even if it s uncomfortable. You will learn to do this in other areas of your life as well, just from this one experience.What you learn is that ignoring a situation does not work. It does not make you comfortable and it never seems to go away. If ignoring our emotions worked, they wouldn t come up again when we are faced with a similar situation. We would be able to move on and not re-live, re-think and re-play that emotion over and over.

    Our bodies react to all emotion happiness, joy, sadness, etc. It does not discriminate like our minds do. Our bodies will give us signs for whatever emotion we consciously or unconsciously experience from our past and it will express that through itching, twitching, illness, fluttering, hair standing on end, heart flutters, and so much more.

    In the world of energy medicine, one reaction our body may have to pent up emotion is illness. When western medicine doesn t seem to be working or they can t find what s happening, one tool you can do is learn to look at what emotions you may need to release. Many alternative healing methods help us to learn about our emotional state of mind, how to identify its cause and how to release it. Most importantly in my work, is not only how to release it, but how to live a new way once you no longer react in the old way or carry the old emotional baggage.

    Our bodies are a beautiful thing. Learn to listen to your body. Learn to recognize the difference between the ego mind and the language of the body. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you for it.

    Enlightenment--that magnificent escape from anguish and ignorance--never happens by accident. It results from the brave and sometimes lonely battle of one person against his own weaknesses. -Bhikkhu Nyanasobhano, "Landscapes of Wonder"

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    RELATIONSHIPS

    I would rather be alone and happy, then miserable with someone else - unknown

    We have relationship to everything. We have relationships with our partners, our work, our bodies, our children, our pets, our environment, our world, and our families. Our relationships reflect who we are and they provide lessons we need to learn. Relationships are not our savior; they will not provide you with the happiness you are lacking within yourself. They can be joyful and they can be painful.

    If relationships reflect who you are and where you are in your spiritual development, then who are you before you begin any relationship? Who are you while you re in the relationship? And, who are you when the relationship ends?

    If you seek any relationship to fulfill your own needs, gratify your emotional or sexual needs, you will find that your relationships are easily replaceable and that they always seem to be the same and have the same outcome. The new relationship (and remember, I m using relationship as a person, place or thing) is not really new. It will always reflect the same you if you have not taken a look at who you are and your truth about what you feel you need from relationships.

    To find and maintain spiritual relationships requires that we enter into relationships consciously and clearly. Being conscious and clear within yourself means that you do not make excuses for your behavior, nor do you make excuses for others behavior as well. Just because someone (friend, intimate, or a new job) is interested in you doesn t mean you have to jump right in. Pay attention to the reactions in your body as you talk with, date, or interview with this new connection.

    In addition, being conscious and clear within yourself means that you do your spiritual work on a daily basis; that you are clear about who you are and what you want. While working with clients on their relationships, I ve been told, I just want someone waiting when I get home. Someone to greet me with a smile and enjoy being with me. Is this fantasy? Relationships can get to a point similar to this, but if this is your goal, you re fooling yourself. You still have to talk with the person, grow and change. The fantasy does not last long.

    Relationships (especially friend and intimate) are not 50/50. They are 100%/100%. If it is a 50/50 relationship, you will find that you rely on the other person to fulfill something in your life; that together you make 100%. If you are working on your truth, your consciousness, your awareness, and the other person is doing the same, you are two awake human beings, working on their own souls, who choose to come together to create a spiritual partnership.

    We are not taught this way of thinking in our society. This new perspective teaches us to be more awake in every area of our lives. This is not a philosophy of judgment of others, i.e. I m on my path and they re not, so I won t be their friend. The spiritual work is always about you first and learning to make good choices. Your truth, no matter how difficult the road or how long the journey, will change the landscape of your life. No one needs to know what you are working on or going through or how you make choices about what is good for you or not.

    We care about others, we have compassion for others and we know we are part of a bigger picture. Relationships are a huge part of this bigger picture. We love with all we have and we feel hurt when it doesn t work out. If we remain true to ourselves, make choices based on our truth, the relationship road can be rewarding.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    MORE THAN WHAT WE SEE

    There is more to life than increasing its speed.
    -Gandhi

    I believe that there is more to this world than what we see. I believe that there is more to all of us than our physical-ness. I believe we have a knowing. I believe we have a connection to things seen and unseen. I believe we have communication with unseen energies; those with humans and animals. I believe we fear all of the unseen and that to describe what they are is hard to put into words.

    For those of you who have animals, you can understand this. Without words your animals communicate with you when they re hungry or when they are uncomfortable. If you ve ever looked at your dog and immediately knew that it wanted to eat how did you know that? Was it in its eyes? Was it just the right time of the day? Was it that they projected something to you and in that instant, you just knew?

    I m not talking here about being a psychic or mystic. I m talking about energy. We all have it; it flows in and around all of us. It flows in and around all things. Have you ever walked into a house or a room and could feel it in the air that something was not right, that there was some tension in the air? This is energy.Think of a time you walked into a church or a friend s home or a meeting and you felt tension the minute you walked in the door. You don t hear any loud voices or see anyone looking particularly angry. There is just something in the air. What is that? How can you have the feeling of some kind of tension or anger if you can t see it or touch it? This is the world beyond this physical world.

    Now think of someone you walk up to, whether you know them or not, and when you first see them you feel happiness or sadness coming from them. It s true that some of that information is coming from their body language, but how would you get that instant hit that they were happy or sad? Most people are good at acting one way while feeling the complete opposite. Again, it is their energy you are noticing and then interpreting that into happiness or sadness.

    Metaphysics examines this world beyond the physical - Meta meaning over or beyond and physics meaning nature. It is the study of the physical and beyond. It is the study of our physical bodies. It is the study of how our thinking creates our behavior and our world. It is the connection to a source of energy bigger than us, whether that is God, Buddha, Mohammad, Spirit, the Universe or whatever source feels bigger than you. It is the study of these things and all that they encompass.

    Metaphysics is the study of being. It is the study of the nature, the essence, of things. It is a philosophy. It does not tell anyone what to believe in, but asks that you believe in something. It teaches us to let go of our expectations of how things are (because they never are as they seem) and to believe they can be different. It teaches us to see beyond what we can see and touch. It teaches us to not just learn about these things, but to live them.

    Many people fear the world beyond the physical. It is not to be feared but to be honored. It exists. It s exciting and opens up a whole new world. The mundane of this physical world becomes so much more interesting.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    BALANCE

    I was asked to write about balance. The question was, My wife complains that I m always too busy with work and play to give her attention. How can I learn to balance my life so I can make her feel special?

    We are all so busy these days. It seems like there s not enough time for everything we need to do. We forget to balance our priorities. Our relationships are one of those priorities, as well as work and play.

    Balance is one of our most important lessons in life. Stop for a moment and think of what area(s) of your life is not working. When our lives are out of balance, everything and everyone suffers. This means that parts of your life are not getting your presence and your full attention.

    We are in balance when things in our day and our life are getting the best we can give them and when we are present in the moment with everyone and everything. Instead of flailing through life, being dragged from one thing to the next, from one moment to the next, stop long enough to be present. Take a look within and around you. Are the people and activities around you getting the best you can give them? We were not taught to balance our lives in school nor did most of our parents teach us to balance our lives as most of them did not do it for themselves. Relationships are one area where imbalance shows up. One partner always seems to want more of the other person or for the other person to do things differently or be different. Balance can be communication about what is needed. Instead of making assumptions and demands, communication can help.

    To balance your life you have to participate. You have to make choices about where you focus your energy. If you spend every night after work at the bar and your wife or husband gets upset, is there balance? If you spend every night after work at the bar and miss too much work the next day, is there balance? If you eat too many sweets, is there balance? If you always work and never make it to your children s events, is there balance? If you watch so much television that you don t get up and live, is there balance?

    Our souls really do like balance. Suffering occurs when we re out of balance. Life seems to be confusing, disjointed, demanding, unorganized or sad when we re out of balance. It can feel like everyone s out to get you or that they want too much from you and you just can t do it all. It isn t that they are particularly demanding as much as you may need to take a step back and take a look at what areas of life are not getting attention.

    Here s a few things you can do: slow down life is too short; manage your time thinking you can (or have to) do everything and procrastination can cause stress; share the load get your partner and other family members to help with some of the responsibilities; let things go decide what s truly important; simplify learn to say no and don t take on too much responsibility; and set priorities write them down and schedule time for each one.

    When the pressure to make everyone happy is too much stop long enough to examine what you can let go of or where you can ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, what you are doing too much of as a stress reducer may be more of the weakness. Think balance, think taking care of yourself and think taking care of those you love. Stop and set priorities. Balance your soul and your life will follow.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    CHOICE

    The great thinkers of history have recognized that man consists of body, soul and spirit, and that the key to controlling our lives lies in the soul or mind soul and mind being synonymous terms. Plato, for example, remarked that we should never attempt to cure the body without curing the soul. Jesus went much further and taught and demonstrated that it is the mind that heals the body and outer conditions. Jesus taught that whatever happens in the outer has had its inception in the pattern held in the mind of the individual. Everything originates in thought, and consequently, if we hold sick thoughts, limiting thoughts, these are going to be expressed in our bodies and in our circumstances. Emmet Fox, Diagrams for Living (page 194).

    A Belief in Choice - that was the title of my dissertation. We can change our outer world by changing our inner thinking world. This doesn t change who we are, it brings us back to the truth of who we are; that which we forgot. You cannot make better choices without first paying attention to the choices you do make.

    We get wrapped up in our personalities and forget there is a bigger picture. We tend to believe that our personalities and our emotions define us; that they are bigger than us and we just have to surrender to their whims. This is not true. It may feel true because you believe it at this moment. It is what we re used to. I m telling you today that this is not true. You can begin slowly, to change your thoughts about you and create the world you know to be true for you.

    My questions to you today, on this eve of the eve of the New Year s Eve, are: Is what you are thinking about now in your life working for you? Have you created the world outside that you truly feel inside? This is not an ego-mind question, this is a soul question. The ego-mind wants us to believe that the world inside may be in disarray but the world outside should be at peace. The ego-mind also wants us to believe that if everyone else had it together, there would be more peace. The ego-mind is not concerned with changing our thoughts to create our own world. If we change our thoughts to create a better world, what more would the ego-mind have to do? That is its greatest fear.

    The presence of mind when it comes to choice is to recognize that what we are thinking is being created in our outer world. If we live in a world of inner turmoil, it s pretty much a guarantee that our outer world will reflect that. If we begin to recognize our thoughts and choose more truth, love and peace than anger, resentment, judgment or doubt, then our perception of the world around us will change. It has to. The change will happen because we will be seeing it from a new perspective.

    Take your life in your own hands today and make it something worthwhile. Nothing that happened yesterday or ten years ago, or the fact that you failed to do something in the past, will prevent you from having harmony today. You choose every moment, so start today choosing the best you and creating the life you imagine.

    This will require your participation and effort. Notice the choices you have made to demonstrate your thoughts through anger, judgment or resentment. Notice if they ve been working, then make a new decision today.

    May you demonstrate the Light and true sweetness of your soul this coming year. Let go of this past year and reward yourself. Happy New Year with Love and Light to all, Cathy

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    FEAR

    It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out--it's the grain of sand in your shoe.
    -Robert Service

    We all have fear. We fear relationships, we fear death, we fear change, we fear ourselves at times, we fear who we will be if we don t have fear, we fear losing, we fear winning, we fear our beauty and our ugliness, and the list goes on and on. Choosing to recognize fear and when it arises can be difficult if not down right painful. Avoiding the reality of fear seems so much easier.

    We can change our perception by recognizing that fear is what may be driving a particular thought or reaction. Recognizing when fear comes up is not easy and I will not say that it is. We don t even want to admit we have fear and that fear is what is driving our thoughts and behavior much of the time. The healing that comes with learning to recognize and work with fear can be profound it can change your life and the way you walk in this world.

    A Course in Miracles states that we live in the energy of love or of fear. There is no in-between state of mind. When something happens in our lives, we can choose to see it through love or from fear. This doesn t mean you allow people to walk all over you. It means that you choose what s important and what you can let go of.Fear is powerlessness.

    Fear is of the personality, love is of the soul. Fear can drive you into blindness. From fear you may act in ways that are not true to your soul. If you feel that injustice has been done and your first thought is revenge, you are living in and acting out of fear. If you feel that injustice has been done and you want revenge but you don t act, instead letting it go or at least not reacting with violence or anger, you are living in and acting out of love.

    When you are in danger, fear becomes fight or flight and that may serve you. Otherwise, when does fear serve you? There is no power in fear or in any activity demonstrated by fear. Our reaction to life conditions out of fear creates a sense of helplessness which can then cause either lashing out in anger or caving in as a victim. These are a lack of self-esteem, low self- worth and an overall sense of feeling not good enough.

    War is a perfect example of fear. Most wars fought over religious beliefs are done so out of fear. Fear that their religion is not acceptable because it is different. It is the a mentality of, If it s not like us, it must be wrong. Challenge your fears. When you know fear is rising, stop and spend a moment with it. Recognize how it is causing reaction within you. You don t have to react from fear. According to Emmet Fox, the greatest mistake man makes is fear, which is the lack of faith. Fear prevents us from taking that next important step. Fear makes us distrust our fellow man. When we lose our faith, you place your trust in the negative, in failure.

    We are Divine no matter how many mistakes we have made and no matter what those mistakes were. If we react from fear and the actions we take are not positive, we can change today. That is the beauty of recognizing how fear plays in our lives. Don t be afraid of fear see it as a motivator moving you closer and closer towards your connection to your truth.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    BEING PRESENT

    Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present.
    -Unknown

    At this moment I am sitting on the floor in my office writing this column with my two dogs sleeping soundly nearby. I have flute music playing and a tranquil water fountain running. I am absolutely present at this moment. I m not thinking of what I have to do later or what I did yesterday. I am grounded and in this moment. I am delighting in this moment. I am recognizing the peace within and happy to be alive.Being in the present, in the moment, requires that we recognize when we re not.

    We can be at the gym, in a meeting, having lunch with a friend, walking the dogs, eating dinner, taking a shower, rocking the baby or trying to soothe a crying baby and still be in the moment. If, for example, you are trying to soothe the baby and you re thinking about a nail appointment you need to get to in an hour, you are not present, in the moment, with your baby. You may be feeling anxious, even if you feel you are not expressing that anxiety, and your child will feel it too. The moment will seem a lot more stressful than it probably needs to be.

    When we are present in every situation in our life, we are receptive to whatever is going on, whatever emotions are being presented, or whatever words another person is speaking. We listen more intently, we hear more clearly and we are more tuned in to our own energy and those of the other person. Being presents gift to us is that we become acutely aware of our emotions, how our body is feeling or reacting, our joy, our peace and how busy our minds are. Being presents gift to another person is that we are completely with them, in that moment, and not attached to or thinking about another event, past or future.

    We have many excuses for thinking we can t be present or in the moment. The hours in a day run together and the days in a week run together. Then we feel exhausted. Take notice throughout your day of how you, for example, don t remember conversations you have been having. Recognize that you may not have been present during those conversations. If you had been present, letting the rest of your day step aside for ten, twenty, thirty or sixty minutes, you just may remember every moment of especially special conversations.

    The more present we learn to be, the more we can learn to truly live. If you were told you would die soon, you may choose to live the best you could in the time you have left. You can learn to do that today; don t wait for an illness to get that across to you. Learning to be present in your life today just may give you the opportunity to enjoy this moment and every moment for the rest of your life. We never know how many days we get on this earth.

    Try it. Be present and see if you feel more peace. You may get to see something that you might have otherwise missed. There are so many miracles happening all the time don t be so busy that you forget to see each and every moment and say thank you.

    If my thoughts of yesterday create my today and my thoughts of today create my tomorrow, then what am I thinking right to create the best now so my tomorrow will be better. Catherine Zeeb

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU

    "First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others."
    -Thomas A Kempis

    Say this to yourself it s all about ME. It s all about ME. It s all about ME. How did that feel? This is hard for most people to say. Most of us were not raised to say it let alone believe it. We were taught that if it s not about them, then we re being selfish.

    Your healing, your spiritual beliefs, your religious beliefs, your gratitude is all about you. To truly heal your life and begin to do your spiritual work, let go of caring what others think about the work you will be doing; that you need to do. Your friends and family may support you and they may not. Your work is not about them. Think about this: an artist doesn t ask for approval from others before painting a masterpiece. They do what they know must be done, what they must produce, only for themselves. Their creation comes out of their internal creativity. You will shine from within as a result of your internal spiritual work.

    You are worth the time and energy to care for your soul. It s a beautiful thing to look good and to dress well, but does the way you look on the outside truly reflect the way you feel on the inside? If your internal conversation has you living confused, depressed or disconnected to spirit, but you look good on the outside, you are not truly caring for your soul. When we feel good inside, we will shine on the outside no matter what dress or style we portray.

    How do we take care of our soul? There are many methods, practices, philosophies and beliefs to help you do this. There is my favorite, conscious breath. There is meditation, prayer, yoga, tai chi, walking, stillness, silence, and any practice that has you stop long recognize the constant internal conversation in your head. A practice is not the complete answer; the end-all to the changes in your life. Your decision that you want something to be different in your life is the beginning of your work. A practice may help you on your way.

    A good practice will teach you to release any energy that does not serve you. But it is not the practice that will work; it is your commitment to your soul. A practice gives us something to do humans seem to need that. In the hustle-bustle of everyday, we forget to stop long enough to take a breath with intention let alone realize we need to pay attention and make changes to the constant conversation in our heads.

    You are worth loving you. You are unique. You are worth remembering the truth of your spirit and of your connection to your higher power. It s okay that you forgot what you are connected to for a period of time. It can change in an instant when will it begin for you?

    No one needs to know of the work you have chosen to do. When you begin to feel the work you are doing, you will then begin to show that work, that light, to others it will be a natural progression of your work. Then the work, the light, will shine into your families, the workplace, your life and your world. It is not selfish to do your work because your spiritual work will help them in the long run. By taking good care of your soul, others will benefit and you will give from a very powerful place within you.

    It all begins with you and it is all about you.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    FORGIVENESS

    "Forgiveness means giving up all hope of a better past."
    -Landrum Bolling

    According to Webster s Dictionary, forgiveness is defined as the act of forgiving; meaning willing or able to forgive. This definition doesn t exactly tell us what it is and, of course, no indication of how to do it. In Wikipedia, it is defined as a mental, and/or spiritual process of ceasing to feel resentment, indignation or anger against another person for a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution[1]. Throughout time we ve been told to forgive someone or forgive a situation and move on. What is forgiveness?

    How many of us have heard, To err is human, to forgive Divine or Forgive and forget or It s been so long since that happened, can t you just forget about it? We may have been taught to justify others actions with statements such as, They didn t really mean it or Forgive them for what they did, they only did the best they could or Your parents are only human, can t you just forgive them for what they did. How about, He brought you flowers, he didn t mean it. It won t happen again.

    When we think of forgiving, we usually think of forgiving the other person for their trespasses. What if you forgave yourself for the anger and the resentment held in your mind and body, the remembrance of things that happened to you and/or the things you did to yourself or the things that you did in the past that you now think of as bad. Many of us can t forgive ourselves. It is easier to condemn ourselves than to recognize our emotions.

    Forgiveness is more the act of forgiving yourself than it is forgiving another person. Holding on to resentments, the desires to punish others, or see them punished, to think about getting even, are all barriers to spiritual progress.What is the intention and purpose of forgiving the other person? Do they really need your forgiveness or is it judgment and criticism for who they are. If you feel compelled to tell someone that you have forgiven them, what are you expectations? If you tell them you have forgiven them and expect love or friendship in return and don t receive it, then what? This is why we work on forgiveness of self first. When we learn to let go of our judgments of self, let go of our resentments towards others remember, we can not change the past, we can only move forward we have room in our soul and clarity of our spirit to bring in more love and compassion.Forgiveness means that you do not carry the baggage of an experience. The experience and energy will stick with you when you choose not to forgive. Most of the things we feel need forgiveness are actions others took or actions we took. We can t change the actions of others, past or present, through forgiveness or wishing things would have been different. Nor can we change our own past actions or thoughts. But, we can forgive ourselves for seeing them or ourselves with hate, dislike, resentment, anger, jealousy or whatever emotion is attached to the remembered event.

    Choose peace within you. Others don t need your forgiveness. We can learn to forgive ourselves and move on with our lives. Forgiving someone won t change the fact that something happened. Forgiving someone won t change who they are. Only they can do that for themselves. So, forgive yourself for holding onto the anger, hate, guilt, doubt, or judgment and move on with your life. Lighten up space within your soul for love and compassion. This is true healing work.

    I can hear the comments in your heads now But, if you only knew what he/she did! or I would never forgive him/her for what they did, ever! or If you knew what I did in my life, you wouldn t forgive me either. I understand. Forgiveness is truly a question of how you want your life to be. If you live holding onto your anger, towards others or towards self, you cannot truly love. You will forever judge all actions, yours and others, against the emotion you are holding onto expecting it to happen again or expecting yourself to act the same way.

    True forgiveness is letting go. What are choosing today? Can you truly let go of the anger or resentment towards someone and move forward in your own life? Can you truly let go of things you did in your life? Is the resentment you are holding onto holding you back to live the most perfect life you can, that you deserve? If you can t forgive, why? How does holding on to the emotion serve you in your life? Forgiveness is a choice for your life only. What do you choose?

    "Forgiveness is having the courage to take down the walls that we think are there to protect us."
    -Suztes40

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    BREATHE

    Breathing in, I calm body and mind,
    Breathing out, I smile.
    Dwelling in the present moment,
    I know this is the only moment.
    Thich Nhat Hanh

    Breathe. It s a simple reminder. We do it all the time, right?

    Breath is life. It is our most primal function. It is completely automatic, yet totally within our control. We don t usually think about our breathing. We assume it will happen automatically just like it has until we die. I m going to talk about conscious breathing; taking breath into our whole body with intention. When we breathe through our whole body, we are aligning ourselves with the natural flow of energy connecting heaven and earth. Breath is the spirit of life, it is called chi, ki, prana or energy.

    The average person breathes at only a fraction of breaths potential. Your breathing can be healed, brought back to the level that nature intended. When we breathe on a conscious level, every system in the body begins to work better. We find that the breath itself naturally heals and renews the body, mind and spirit. Conscious breathing becomes a very powerful self-directed healing process. The breath reveals itself to be an untapped natural resource, a therapeutic tool for health, growth and change.

    If you are thinking of your breathing at this moment as you read this column, you may notice that you either hold your breath, breath only into the upper part of your chest or you may remember past breathing experiences. Breath is such a simple thing we can learn to do with intention and it s free!

    What does it mean to breathe with intention? One method within conscious breathing is to ask quietly from within what we would like this breath, at this moment, to provide us. For example, if you re feeling stressed quietly say to yourself, With this breath, I will bring peace and love to my mind, body and spirit I ask that all energy that I am holding onto and causing stress in my body be released in this moment. Take a breath and know that you are heard, and then relax into the breath. This takes one moment. It can happen that fast. As you practice doing this throughout your day, you will find that things you thought were important can be released, or at least redirected, without attachment to them.

    Breath is one of the most written and talked about methods of healing throughout time. Native Americans call each breath we inhale Spirit and every breath exhale Spirit. Yoga holds as a central truth that breath is the connection, the bridge, between mind and body, between the visible and the invisible. The Hindus call it prana, which means literally life that is life-force. The Chinese call it ch i, the Polynesians mana, the Amerindians orenda, and the ancient Germans od. In India it is named by the Sanskrit word prana; in Tibet it is called sugs, and in Aikido, Japan, ki. It is an all-pervasive organic energy. Breath connects us to each other, and it connects all of us to God, nature and existence.

    We cannot have relaxation and illness at the same time. Breath has healing agents that won t cost you a thing. Breath awakens our connection to our source, to the divine within us and to the healing energies that already exist. Whether you have physical or psychological issues going on, breathing, at a very basic level, relaxes the mind and the body. This in itself is a huge tool to begin your own healing.

    There are numerous breathing techniques. Opening and relaxing with the breath is like opening doors to your soul. Every breath induces relaxation. As you practice with intention, expand the properties of each breath. If you feel highly stressed throughout your day, take two or three minutes in your office, in the restroom, in your car or a room in your house, to take three to five breaths and breathe with intention. Working with a breathwork practitionerc an help you learn how to help yourself with illness and you can experience, at minimum, balance, and, at maximum, a healing.

    Take in a breath. Not a huge deep one, just a slow easy breath. As you do this, remember that each inhale is spirit, light, divine, God, Buddha the energy or belief that is within you. Each exhale is Spirit, sight, divine, God, Buddha the energy or belief that is within you. Imagine that this breath flows or vibrates from above the top of your head, the heavens or father sky, through your lower region, 1st Chakra, or your feet and into mother earth. This is your spiritual connection to your own soul.

    This is the beginning of your healing breath practice.

    For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth.
    Sanskrit Proverb

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    ADDICTIONS

    We all have addictions. We are addicted to our emotions, to drugs, to alcohol, food, sugar, work, exercise, sodas, gambling, and so much more. People do not particularly like the word addiction and you may want to argue this point with me, but most of us are experiencing now or have experienced an addiction of some sort, whether you want to admit it or not.

    I will not be talking here about chemical imbalance which can lead to addiction nor am I talking about severe addictions to drugs and alcohol. Although there is a metaphysical response to severe addictions, there is not enough space or time here to address it.

    An addiction is a thing we do too much of that causes an imbalance in other areas of our lives. Our search for well-being, and the lack thereof, can lead to addictions. When we do something and expect a certain result we either do more of the same to get the result we are looking for or we change what we are doing, only to do more of that to see if we get the results we want. We seek happiness in things outside of ourselves to provide the joy lacking in our lives.

    Let s talk about addiction to our emotions for a moment. The addiction may look like the inability to let go of sadness. It may look like depression that exists for what seems like every moment of every day and no way to get out of it. The addiction can look like a replaying, over and over, of a past conversation. It can look like should-haves, could-haves and would-haves. It may look like looking for love in all the wrong places. It can be just as difficult to detox from emotions as it is to recover from heavy drugs or alcohol.

    Our logical mind may find it ridiculous to think that we could be addicted to sadness, depression, or lacking love; but it becomes a way of life we identify with. If we aren t sad or depressed about something it would seem out of the ordinary. If we aren t replaying a conversation, we would have to let it go and maybe feel like we didn t win, if only in our own minds. If we aren t out looking for love we would fear feeling lonely, not needed or wanted by someone.

    Addiction can seem like a good thing too. You may think an addiction to exercise is a good thing, for example. If the need to exercise is so great that it takes away from work, family, and friends or is a threat to your health, it could be considered an addiction an imbalance in your life.

    I am not talking here about having a passion for something. I m talking about something you do too much of and something or someone suffers because of it. Having passion for something in life is wonderful and fulfilling. There is a big difference between having a passion for something in life and having an addiction towards it though. If, for example, your passion is women, lots of them, then don t get married and expect your partner to understand. If your passion is video games and you spend eight to ten hours a day playing them and don t spend quality time with your partner, children, family, or your work suffers for it, this is an addiction.

    Addictions are escapes from life. They are an escape from an emotion(s) that you re not wanting or willing to face. It may seem easier to be so busy that you don t stop long enough to truly take care of yourself or those around you. They are one way to avoid.

    It s all about balance. Are your children getting the best of you? Are you truly available for your relationship? Are you taking one moment a day to check in to see how you re feeling and how you re participating with those around you? Are you being the best you can be for you?

    We all want balance and well being. If you find that you recognize a possible addiction then change at least some of that behavior today. Addictions don t change without our participation. Our need to feel more balanced and our need to have a sense of well-being and unity in our lives is strong. We forget. We don t realize how it takes one moment to recognize something and one moment to change it.

    Live your passions and enjoy the balance that life can be. Your relationships will flourish, your children will thrive, and your work will succeed because you fully participate. Take a quick look at how you want your life to be and make it happen.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    GRATITUDE

    "Gratitude is heaven itself"
    William Blake

    When you think of being grateful, what comes to mind? Are you grateful for yourfamily, grateful for your health, grateful for having a roof over your head?These are wonderful things.

    When was the last time you were grateful for you? When was the last time youwere grateful for waking each morning? When was the last time you were gratefulfor loving yourself?

    Gratitude or grace is a practice in itself. When we recognize how special weare, how divine we truly are or even something as seemingly meaningless asrecognizing a negative thought, say thank you. Recognize your pets, yourchildren, your home, your car and begin to say thank you for all youhave. At that moment, we are in gratitude. It only takes a moment, and what abeautiful gift to your being and to your higher source. Take a moment and,quietly, in one breath, say thank you and expect nothing in return.

    Gratitude enables us to experience the sheer joy of being alive! November isthe perfect month to begin a practice of gratitude. From today untilThanksgiving Day, begin your own gratitude practice. Start by giving thanks forthe things close at hand. As we move closer to the feast day at the end of themonth, extend the boundaries of your thanks-giving to others. If that feelsgood, then give yourself permission to feel grateful for the rest of the year,next year and for the rest of your life.

    I find practicing gratitude to be beneficial in my life. Before I go to sleepeach night I say thank you for my day, no matter what the day was like goodor bad. When I wake in the morning, I say thank you for waking up (I m over50, so waking up is a good thing ha!) and that today will be a better daythan yesterday. Again, no matter what yesterday was like, I have theopportunity to make each day better.

    This is how I set up my day not from a daytimer and not withwhat-do-I-have-to-do-today energy. It sets up in my mind that I have a choiceto have a more positive day. Life will come at you, people will react andthings will happen that will try and change your new positive attitude that youset up at the beginning of your day. That s when you use this practice morethan ever. Take a breath and remember the choice you made in the morning andsay thank you. This may take a few times before you notice how it changesthe way you used to react or act in life, but you will begin to see howdifferent things can be.

    We are all so hard on ourselves. We have such high expectations for who wethink we are and who we think we can be or should be. Why is right now not goodenough? We are always on the lookout for a new us, a new thing, a new job, or anew partner. We have been given this body, this face, and these circumstancesin order to grow in acceptance of our divine being, and acceptance of others.Be grateful for who you are, what you have and for your friends and family (nomatter what the dynamics) at this moment.

    When we feel grateful for who we are, we begin to speak to others from ourhearts, and we treat others much more gently because we feel better aboutourselves. To learn the grammar of gratitude, practice saying thank you for happy and challenging experiences, for people, for animals, things,memories and dreams. Count your blessings and express your appreciation toeverything and everyone you encounter. By blessing, we are blessed.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    LETTING GO

    I will begin with a small story: There were two monks walking along, in silence, on their way to a monastery. As they approached a stream, there was a woman standing there unable to cross. One of the monks picked her up and carried her across the stream, setting her down on the other side to go on her way. The two monks continued on their way in silence. When they arrived at the monastery the monk who did not carry the woman over the stream said to the other monk, You violated the vows we have taken, to never touch a woman. The monk who carried the woman over the stream said, I just carried her over the stream, you are carrying her still. (Author Unknown)

    This story is a perfect example of not letting go. We hold onto thoughts, looks, ideas and the past all the time. How much do you carry? Is what you carry really that important? We cannot live in the present moment when we remain connected to the old story, or the look someone gave us and the story we attached to it or the remembrance of a past experience. We tend to believe that our experiences or the things someone did to us or said to us define who we are today.

    What does it mean to let things go? How do we let go of a thought or of a situation from our past? How do we let go of anything? When a therapist, television host or teacher tells you to just let it go, what thoughts go through your head? Do you think, Ok, I ll just pretend it didn t happen, or I ll ignore it and never talk about it again, or maybe There, I ve let it go and now I can just move forward in my life, only to find that in a short time, the same thought, the same remembrance of the past comes back to you with a fury?

    When we are told to let go of something, we begin even if unconsciously, to wonder who we will be if we truly let go of this thing we think defines us. We get so caught up in our story about a situation that we forget that the story is not our truth. The story is what we can learn to let go of. We all do this, we all hold onto our story, hence, the experience of the story remains in our minds and the energy of the story remains in our bodies.

    What if you made a choice today to let go of one story, one experience, one look that someone gave you, one comment someone made or one situation you were involved with? When you choose to truly let go of something, deciding it doesn t benefit you in this moment, you release the energy of it from your body. You will energetically lighten your being; your body and your mind. Don t we have enough stuff in life to work through, work out and live than to carry useless stress, thoughts, etc?

    Make a choice right now of what s important to you - what s important in your life and what s important right at this moment. If everything in your body relaxes as you decide that something does not benefit your life at this moment, then you are listening to the answers held in the body. Take a breath and choose to let it go it doesn t benefit you. If you feel like you get an answer of yes, that this feeling or thought does benefit you, decide what you want to do with it. Whatever you do, do it without judgment. Do it, live it, without beating yourself up.

    So who will you be if you let things go? You ll be exactly who you are, just lighter and freer. Take a moment and imagine how you will feel the more you learn to let go of things that do not benefit you? What an amazing thought! It all sounds so simple and the truth is, it is! The only thing that gets in our way of choosing to let go or actually doing it is our ego. There is nothing, there is no one other than you, making the choices in your life.

    Letting go is work. Learning to let go as you move through the moments of your life is a practice. The results as we learn to let go, slowly, piece by piece over time, is worth the practice. When we re so full of our stuff in life, we have no room for new and exciting ideas and thoughts. Make room laugh more lighten up and Let Go!!

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    THE POWER OF THE BODY

    The Today show recently featured Hoda Kotb as she shared her breast cancer experience this past year. One statement she made which sparked this column was that she, and I m paraphrasing, never paid attention to her body before. This statement is a very common one from a cancer survivor, but it is also a common statement coming from the majority of us.

    Do you know your body is full of answers? Do you know that you can wake your body up? Do you know that you can learn to listen to it? Do you know your body is capable of this?

    Most of us walk around thinking that our thoughts and emotions are who we are. This is not entirely true. Our body is not just a foreign object attached at the neck that we have to lug around. Our bodies are full of knowledge. Our minds hold our experiences and our bodies hold the energy of those experiences. If we learn to tap into the energy held in the body, release it and learn ways to heal the old energy, our bodies will thrive. Abusing our bodies with alcohol, drugs, foods that are not good for us and different forms of abuse, our bodies will eventually give in, give up. One way that can manifest itself is in illness.

    If we are not our bodies, then how can our bodies be full of knowledge? How do we not attach to the physical-ness of our bodies? Knowledge is not only from our brains. Remember everything is energy; the knowledge in our bodies is energy. Our thoughts are energy, our bodies are energy so the energy of our past and our present situations and circumstances are held in the body. We can learn to access this information and release it. The more we release the less toxic energy the body holds, the less illness may manifest.

    Give the body recognition at least once a day take a deep breath and notice if you are holding stress, anger or fear, happiness or joy. If you notice what you are holding is negative, in one breath choose to release it. Ask, in that moment, if this negative energy serves you. Within a few minutes of doing this, check in again and see if you feel a little lighter; if so, you are on the right path. You will not release all negativity in one moment, give yourself a break and know that you are going to choose to release a little each day. Choose peace - why not?

    When the body becomes ill, it is a wake-up call. We realize how fragile these vehicles are; paying attention to it like you never did before. A client once asked me, How do you explain what pain is? My answer, That you usually don t recognize or acknowledge happiness and joy, so pain is a way for us to recognize when we are not feeling happiness and joy. Sad to think that we recognize the pain over what feels good, but all challenges, such as illnesses, show up to help us recognize that we are not paying attention the rest of the time.

    We can learn to give attention to our body before an illness or challenge comes in. Pay attention today pay attention right this moment. What are you waiting for? Depending on how you view your body, mind and spiritual connection, you are more than this physical vehicle you walk around in. You can change the old way of thinking, think positively, put good things in your body, listen to and understand when your body needs something and listen when it tells you to stop what you re doing.

    Have you done this with foods, alcohol or drugs before? Think about it, your body is telling you by purging, headaches, shakes, rashes or a variety of reactions that what you are putting into it or on it, is not working. It is not only what we put in our body as far as food and drink but also emotion.

    The power of the body is amazing. It is here for us to listen to. It is the instrument of the soul. Begin paying attention to it before an illness makes you. Take the best care of it you can, inside and out. You are unique, your body is unique. No matter what your body condition is, feel gratitude towards it feel the grace of the Divine within you.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)

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    YOUR BODY, MIND, SPIRIT

    Having a doctorate in philosophy in metaphysics, being an ordained minister, teacher, therapist, workshop facilitator, mother, sister, daughter and friend, I will be writing this column bimonthly to provide a new perspective on life and maybe answer some questions about life. My hope is that this column will reach those who have not had a chance to attend one of my classes or workshops at Colorado Mountain Col­lege or at my office. I also hope that the ideas discussed here will help you make decisions about issues in your life that you may have been questioning.

    I would like to introduce myself, and then explain metaphysics. I started this column by stating some of the titles I hold. The most important titles to me are mother, sister, daughter and friend. All of the academic degrees and certification programs in the world may pro­vide information that can be used to counsel people, but human experience and personal healing count beyond words. When I decided to go back to school for a master's degree, then continued on for my doctorate, my personal healing was so profound that I had no option but to work with other people, to write my books and to teach.

    The personal transformation that I experienced throughout my time in school and the spiritual teacher I studied with changed the way I live my life, the way I look at life and the way I work with clients. I gained a new perspective on life and let go of my old way of living, thinking and reacting.

    Metaphysics is truly the connection among the knowledge of our bodies, the understanding of the workings of the mind and a connection to a higher power, whatever that is for you. It is not a study of the mystical powers of the world and universe. It can be, but so can any other study of philosophy depending on who is interpreting its content.

    What it means
    Metaphysics is the name given to a study of philosophy. It is the study of how our bodies are constantly giving us answers to life questions. Meta­physics urges us to learn to pay atten­tion to the energy within our bodies and to learn to listen to those energies and messages. It is the study of how our minds wrap around our truths, which are as individual as we are. It is our personal connection to whatever we consider to be a power bigger than ourselves, whether that is God, Allah, the universe, Mother Earth, Buddha, etc.

    Metaphysics is not a religion, nor does metaphysics claim to have the answers. It is truly learning a new per­ception of life. It is a way of living, not just learning. A good teacher is one who lives-demonstrates what he or she teaches. Reading a good book, then trying to teach the way of the book but not living the way in your own life should not be acceptable, not from yourself or from a teacher.

    This column will not tear down religion, but it may spark some controversy, especially involving terminology. Metaphysics does not care what you believe in; it just advocates believing in something bigger than yourself. If what you are doing in your life is not working for you, learn to let it go and trust a power much bigger than you. That is the basis of meta­physics. Metaphysics works with, examines and trusts that we are all energy, that everything is energy and that each energy affects another and another. By believing that every­thing is energy, we can learn to shift the negative in our lives by shifting the energy surrounding what we are thinking. As this column progresses, I will try to make more sense of this.

    The words "body, mind, spirit" are thrown around and used very lightly these days. What does the phrase truly mean? If we are all energy, then the body, mind and spirit are energy, too. We are not our bodies, we are not our thoughts, and we are not without spirit. If all is energy, then our body is on loan, our thoughts are created by our personality, and our truth and intellect comes from our connection to spirit. Future columns will include discussions on truth, intention, the ego, spiritual relationships, spiritual breakups, power of the body, power of the mind, connection to spirit, what hell is and what heaven is and much more.

    As this column is published, I hope to answer questions from readers.

    (To contact Cathy, please go to her website at www.healing-spirits.net, email her at cathy@healing-spirits.net or call her at 970-376-6660)


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