Tag Archives: self-awareness

The fog lifts hope for the future

164Number 6 in Lynette’s series

 

 

I was ill for a long time as I have said in previous blogs. I recently reconnected with an old friend who asked me, “When you were teaching me all of those years ago where you unwell?” “Well yes of course I was” I said. I asked her if I was any different and she said “Yes, I had a lot more energy”. A fibre myalgia client said to me that people just do not understand how ill one is with this illness. Fibre myalgia and M.E. are similar illnesses. “If you had a hand or arm missing people would see your pain and difficulty. Because the pain you feel is internal they can’t see it and so don’t understand the levels of physical pain you are coping with”, she said. This is very true and I would support that entirely.

There is a mental fog that is attached to this illness and the sufferers mental thinking is diminished for the duration of the illness. Some days it is worse than others of course. I found that the things that were so easy in the past were difficult on every level. Anything physical was hard and anything that required my mental capacity was also difficult as my brain just would not work properly.

I am a trained artist and designer and all of my life from my childhood I have used my creative capacity. When I was ill it was almost impossible for me to do anything creative. For about half a decade I did pretty much nothing but sleep. I could not paint, draw or design and it all felt lost to me. I read a lot during those times when I had a break in my illness. That reading took my on a new path. One that I had contemplated years earlier, but had set aside for my first love art.

My love of art started when I was a baby. My mother drew for me a cat. I must have been no more than eighteen months old as I know I was still being carried by her. I never forgot that day she drew the cat. There are times, days, circumstances, people and moments that touch us. They are the jewels of our life. Illness diminishes our capacity to engage fully with life. Both illness and life are experiences. My experience with illness has changed my life. That experience now helps me to connect to others who are going through the same or similar and help them on a road of recovery. For many people illness is a temporary inconvenience. For some it marks the end of their life and for others a road that has to be accepted and endured. Illness can be embraced, endured or fought. It is up to the individual and their circumstances what path is taken. There is no right or wrong way to emotionally deal with illness. The individual decides. I fought my way back to well health. I looked for those answers that would enable me to go home back to myself.

That road home challenged me on many levels. It took me from my own temporary resignation to my horrible situation to a deeper understanding of the human body, life, spirit, soul, and the forces of nature and the universe. Would I change anything? That is a difficult question to answer. I hated being ill and loosing every aspect of myself and self-respect. It is difficult to live with oneself, in illness. I looked in the mirror and I did not see Lynette for years. The strong feisty lady who rolls up her sleeves and gets on with it had gone. The struggle she endured during those ill years was immense on all levels, emotional, physical, mental and spiritual. It was a hard horrible time.

I came through it stronger, wiser, and clearer in my understanding of many aspects of life, more knowledgeable and more skilled. So my difficult time gave me something. It took something and gave me something else in return. So, would I change it? Probably not on balance, I think. I am still here with a somewhat different outlook on life. To be honest I am grateful to the universe for all it has given me over the past sixty years of my life. What is a little bit of fog between the universe and I?

Life is a Bowl of Cherries

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Life is a bowl of cherries. Not necessarily for every one though. It depends on perspective. What is to one person good and happy circumstances would be the lowest of the low to another person. It is a bit like hot and cold water. Depending on our previous experiences the water temperature will be perceived differently.

Life is– vibrant and full of variety. Each cherry varies in colour, size and flavour and the enjoyment you derive from this variety depends on perspective.

Compare the colour of red cherries beside another red object or in front of a red background. How red are they? Now put them in front of a blue background. How red are the cherries now? In front of the red background, the cherries may seem to have lost their vibrancy. When placed in front of a blue background, the colour contrast renders their red colouring as vibrant and intense as can be. This is the power of perspective.119168579 - Copy

It is the difference in how we experience these everyday phenomena that informs our unique life perspective. The variety of experiences we encounter throughout our lives enrich us on a deep level – as they say, “variety is the spice of life.” If we resist opening ourselves up to different experiences, life is the same –same –same. Boring! To add vibrancy, we must embrace variety and recognise the power of perspective when tucking into life’s bowl of cherries.

Let’s take this analogy a bit further. How often do you think about how your life experiences impact you? Most of the time, we just experience without thought as to what experiences add to the quality of our lives. It is commonly thought that to be happy we must only have happy experiences. This is not true. We must have variety of experiences to make us whole, balanced people.

To achieve balance, the key once again is variety. Balanced people are whole because they are at one within themselves and not at odds with the variety of life’s experiences. A machine that is broken – in pieces – is not whole or in good working order. In seeking balance or restoration of “good working order” for ourselves, we must at some point come out of balance. We must tip one way and then the other to discover the correct equilibrium of experience and variety.

Going too far out of balance can cause trauma, but it is important to know that no one has to keep trauma. An individual decides within the fabric of their own being how much trauma they retain or release in any situation. When a trauma is so severe it has become deeply internalised, you must first decide that it is to be released and then set in motion the tools for implementing this release.

Meditation and hypnosis are excellent tools for such release. Hypnosis and meditation are bed fellows – they are very similar but offer direct benefits for the release of trauma.

Life can be whatever we wish it to be; as individuals we have power.  For the most part, each person is in control of their own ship. All is perspective and view point. Life’s cherries can look equally delicious set against a red or blue background. It is up to the individual to decide which background they prefer and why.

Trust- A Force of Nature

If you take the time and make the effort to build trust people will do extraordinary things with you

If you take the time and make the effort to build trust people will do extraordinary things with you

Trust is a force of Nature

Trust is hard won. We are born into trust for it is the natural way. Nature is built on connectivity, interaction and synchronicity.  Birds’ eggs hatch just as the insects they eat begin to multiply, the squirrels bury their nuts as the autumn nights draw in and winter approaches and the sea’s tides are influenced by the phases of the moon.  Nature is built on trust.  The new born knows it must suckle, the fledgling birds knows it can fly just as the foal understands it must walk.  Everything comes in its own time and eventually fades away.

In her book “Mutant Message Down Under” Marlo Morgan describes a scenario when she must lead the Aborigine tribe in the Outback wilderness to food. Days go by without food and water and fear and terror mount in her as she contemplates her death and the death of the tribe. The Aborigine tribe members are unmoved. In time a meal appears in the wilderness and her relief is extreme. She discusses her anxiety with the tribe later on and they explain that they never lost their trust in nature- that she would raise to the task and provide or they would die. It is that simple!

Losing Trust and Gaining Wisdom

Trust is something easily lost. We trust implicitly as youngsters because we know no better. We are endowed with trust by Nature herself.  Why would we not trust?  It is against the natural flow of survival. Without trust we are alone and without friends or support.  As helpless youngsters we have no choice but to trust. It is our birth right. But it is easily abused, knowingly and unknowingly. This creates distrust and in that there is a loss of innocence, a barrier to open loving living.

As life experience shapes our understanding of the world we must lose our naivety without becoming cynical. We must understand that people are not always as they seem. People can hide their insecurity, fear, aggression and malicious intent towards us . If we do not realise this we become stung by the sharp stab of trust abused and the humiliation of being made to feel stupid or falsely taken in.

If we are to be open we must have trust. If we are to communicate and live without barriers to the world, there has to be an implicit trust in the world and the people in it. If all we have known is a harsh and unloving world it is hard to trust it.

With every personal disappointment in others we become more insular. Perhaps we need to look elsewhere for trust?

Where can Trust be Found?

Nature can be trusted upon. Every breath you take is a deepening of the trust between you and nature itself. You serve and support each other. You are there for each other.  Aren’t all of nature’s bounty free gifts?  Air is a free gift, expected on faith that it will be there and that you have the means to take it. We take it for granted, because Nature has always provided.  But should we take that trust for granted?

Many years ago I learned to SCUBA dive.  One of the important tasks that I had to learn was to share my breathing equipment with my diving buddy.  I had to learn various other important tasks as well to prepare me for a time when I may lose air for some reason below the surface of the water.

Once as I was performing these tasks, my diving instructor turned off my air supply!  The feeling of trying to draw air into my lungs when there was no air to breathe was terrifying.  I panicked and tried to race for the surface, the great sin in SCUBA diving for safety reasons.  My instructor coached me through the proper procedure and in time I breathed again, but for those few seconds the beauty of breath and the implicit trust I had in nature for providing my next breath was forcibly driven home to me.

On occasions I breathe deep, long and low and enjoy the calmness my body experiences as I feel the air rush into my lungs and nourish my body.

By being consciously aware of the air around us and inside of us and knowing that it is freely available to us given by nature itself, we can build trust in nature.  Perhaps we need to be more mindful of the things that are offered naturally without price.  They are given as part of the natural order of the world and the universe.

Our pets bring us pleasure and comfort. They trust in our kindness.  They respond to it.  There is a natural order in this. We trust them in turn. They are there when we feel sad.  They snuggle to comfort us, and are there to greet us constantly when we leave and return.

The Beauty of Trust

What can we humans learn about trust from nature and animals? Always be there. Be present. Be kind and generous.  Be compassionate and accepting. Realise our responsibility to others and live up to it. Be loyal.  Be trusting of the natural order.

Trust in people is built over time. It is earned.  People make mistakes and so it does not always follow that their mistakes were deliberately done. We must ask ourselves “Has it been done in error or with malicious intent?”  To interact with people at all let alone well we must trust them and be trust worthy ourselves.

To do great things with people we must trust and be trust worthy. If you take the time and make the effort to build trust people will do extraordinary things with you.

Some will be too fearful. That is fine. Some may be so fearful and distrusting that they abuse your trust and hurt you. Know that the fault lies with them, not you! Learn to tell the difference and with growing wisdom discern the relationships that diminish you and those that empower you.

Nature waits patiently.  It is always there, waiting for each of us to trust and begin the process of embracing it.  In return for our trust in it, it embraces us more deeply, sharing with us more of its wonder and secrets.

Nature can only do so much and we must be prepared to do our bit. Often we don’t take chances as we worry about our ability to trust the situation or the person.  Often it is a question of control or past pain.  We all have a need to protect ourselves from repeating mistakes in relationships and situations. We do not want to be hurt. Yet, to surrender to trust we must be prepared to take the chance and understand that there is the possibility of being hurt.  It is a tricky situation.

Building a Bridge of Trust

So how do we cross this impasse? How do we build trust, trust the right people and embrace that which is good? It takes time. It takes care and patience. Are you worthy of trust? Is the one in whom you place your trust worthy of it?  We can only discover this by taking small steps, in the full knowledge that we are taking a risk.  We build trust over time, making informed choices that will lead to greater openness as trust is upheld from both ends of the bridge.

This will lead to a strong connection and bond growing between you and others that will nurture your faith in trust and create a beautiful life full of millions of small moments- the smiles, the laughs, the touches, the kindnesses- that warm the soul and make life special.

Miss Stress Ball

Illness Why Me?

Illness Arrives
Illness is a funny old thing. It arrives on our doorstep one day and it seems often to have come out of know where. Illness happened to me like that. I was vacuuming the house one day and I had the most horrible pain at the back of my head. It made me stop what I was doing momentarily. I did worry for a moment but then let the thought go. I thought to myself that either this was nothing or it was the pre curser to some horrible illness. I had always enjoyed good health and so why would that change? I was thirty six and with life ahead of me and full of ideas for my future. Ill health was not on my agenda. When is it ever for anyone?

Some weeks later, I started to feel some pain in the right side of my face. I did not know what it was I just knew that I was in a great deal of pain. I went to my doctor prescribed anti-biotics and de-contestants. I did not know then that this was the very beginning of one of the worst periods of my life. Often when people become ill this is the truth. Their lives, as mine did, take a huge turn for the worst.

Unwelcome Inconvenience
Illness presenting itself in our lives is always unwelcome and a huge inconvenience. We often think of the beginning of our illness starting the moment we felt ill. However this is seldom the truth. The truth is more likely to be that the illness started years before. Its roots will have been in the past. It will have quietly entered your life and your body and the energy will not have necessarily been noticed by you.

Illness is a slippery customer. It seldom enters with bells and whistles to alert you to its presence. It enters quietly and then gets to work on you. It works its way into your life and body. In fact, the beliefs we hold about ourselves and the world around us are entwined with our life and our body. There is no way to separate them. When we become ill most of us become the victim. We say why me? What did I do to deserve this?

I Caused my own Illness
Sometimes the answer is plenty. For illnesses such as M.E. which I suffered from for many years, I can say that I did plenty to deserve all that my body put me through, although I did not know it at that moment and would find out the truth of this many years later. If someone had told me then that I had brought this illness on myself and it was my own fault I would not have believed them. Because as far as I knew about ill health it just happened, with no rhyme nor reason to who it struck down.

It certainly struck me down for it took me many years to recover my health. This was the beginning of a miserable time that was to last more than a decade and took me to places within myself that I did not know existed.

Worry and Burnt Candle
I had burnt my candle at both ends and I worried myself into the ground. That is a sure way to health disaster. This time led me on a journey and one that led me to learn lots of things about maintaining good health. If only I had known then all that I now know with regards to maintaining health. I could have avoided many years of horrible health and pain. Well we live and learn. I sure did.

This horrible health experience led me to write Nourish the Flame Within, in the hope that others will not suffer my fate, and go down the road of health doom and disaster.
The story continues with……….
Illness set in the past

To find the reason for my illness we would have to go far back into my youth.

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A Journey into Consciousness

 

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Where does your attention lie? Where do you focus your awareness?  Where do you direct the energy of your mind? Three questions posing a similar line of enquiry….. Wherever we place our focus determines our reality.  If we are attentive to thoughts of fear, doubt or jealousy our reality becomes contracted. If we think of love, compassion and peace our reality becomes expansive. The more our thoughts expand our awareness the more connected we become to life and its magic and wonder. My early life was consumed by fear and I am striving to fill my latter years with love and joy.

I was born to my parents at a time when their relationship was on the rocks. It has been said in the family that having me was an attempt to bring them closer together again.  Needless to say I had no such power. They separated when I was about a year old and my parents both retreated into themselves to lick their wounds and find ways to move on.  They did the best they knew how and I am grateful for that- but without words, for I was too young to understand them, their actions and thoughts taught me lessons that I would take into later life that made it difficult to trust and share, say truly how I feel and have the strength to authentically express myself and stand up for what I believed in and wanted for my life.  I felt truly alone in the world.  I learnt that loneliness was preferable as it helped me avoid pain.

When Yoda appeared in the Star Wars movies in the 1970s, I knew I had to meet a person like that- a mentor, teacher and spiritual guide.  I met such a man in my late teens who showed me a different way- that we have to open up to life and in doing so life’s gifts and magic enter us.  We close down to avoid pain, but when we close down, we close down to everything.  We cannot be selective.  If we are open, we are open to life’s joy and pain- we just have to be strong enough to deal with both, be open to both and learn from both.  It is hard, but it is by far the most fulfilling path.  We see the best of our self and of others and only very occasionally do we see the worst.

If we trust, we open our self to life and begin to live life fully in spite of our imperfections and the imperfections of others. We remove the barriers that we try to put in place to hide our self for fear of exposure, unburdening our self and becoming freer. We are all imperfect and that is as it should be. It gives us a reason to grow.  The sooner we accept this truth, the sooner we can go about living fully and removing the barriers we have put in place that mask us from a spiritual connection to life itself.

This spiritual connection is a link with the Consciousness of the universe, what the Chinese refer to as Tao or Chi, the Indians call Prana or Brahman and what world religions call God. In Nourish the Flame Within we discuss the idea that all things are energy whose source is this Consciousness, simply vibrating at different frequencies, which manifests in different forms, from gases to solids, from hot to cold, from inanimate to animate.

Different thoughts also vibrate at different frequencies. In her incredible workshops, Love and Above, Christie Marie Sheldon discusses how thoughts of fear and worry have low vibrations while thoughts of love and compassion have high vibrations. Consciousness is the highest vibration and it is our source. Spiritually, we are trying to return to this source in a vibrational sense. In other words, if we can cultivate thoughts of love, compassion and sharing, we begin to change vibrationally. If we can shift our thinking away from fear and contraction towards love and expansion, we are moving towards a vibration of perfection or Consciousness. The health, relationship and spiritual implications of this are nothing short of astounding.

As we develop through life, make stronger our connections with life itself, cultivate relationships with people, animals and places, harness our passions and put into practice the things that truly make us tick, we walk the path of our spiritual growth and increase our vibration. The closer to Consciousness we get the more at peace we feel, the more connected and related we are and the more empowered we become. We become aware that we are living Consciousness.

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Lynette Avis and David Brown are the authors of Nourish the Flame Within- a guide to connecting to the human soul for Reiki, Martial Arts and Life.  You can read more about our background and interests on the “About the Authors” link at the top of the page.  If you feel moved to do so please take a few minutes to leave a comment on this article- we are always happy to discuss the topics about which we feel so passionate.  You can also join us on the Nourish the Flame Twitter account at https://twitter.com/AvisandBrown and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LynetteAvisandDavidBrown .  We look forward to hearing from you.

The Flow of the Universe

The River of the Universe flows from a ubiquitous source, through a process we call time.  The Universe unfolds at every point expanding and evolving.

We are all a part of that process and we have no choice but to participate. It is up to us whether we are a willing participant or if we resist the endless force that drives us towards forward movement, growth and evolution.

If we choose to resist it is only temporary as we ultimately return to the Great Flow when we die.  To choose to resist can be a tiring and draining process.  It is an experience full of pressure, strain and stress that can debilitate and weaken us. If we resist all we are doing is fighting a natural law of the universe. That natural law is one of movement and change.

In time this resistance can cause Illness with in us and we may become stressed in some way either emotionally or physically.  We may have sensations of dissatisfaction and meaninglessness, we may feel despondent about life and we may think we are powerless.  The more resistance we give to natural flow the more pressure we will inevitably feel.  Nature can give us room to manoeuvre when it makes us aware of our correct path; it then gives us the opportunity to change our poor choices. Poor choices too are a part of growth and change.

These gentle persuasions of nature can be ignored by us as we have free will and choice.  If we choose to ignore them the negative symptoms within us may grow and affect us detrimentally.

There is wisdom in listening to nature and understanding her pulse. She has her own natural rhythm of which you know and understand at a fundamental level of your being.

To be consciously aware of that natural rhythm of evolution and growth can only enhance our lives. It will set us in tune and in step with all that there is. For you to access this knowledge the key is deep inside of your being and to find that key one must go on a short journey. There are many practices that will help you find that key and unlock the door to flow.

Meditation, martial arts, mediumship, yoga, Chi Kung, Reiki as well as all forms of energy healing all help us to connect to universal energy at a deep level.  Once we have found that connection we can use it for many purposes.

In artistic and all daily practice we can connect to the flow of the universe and loose ourselves in its power. In a moment we can become one with its inspiring movement. We can be in the flow of life and the universe itself.  In time we learn to understand its language and use its power to enhance our life and being.

A river does not flow for itself alone.  It flows for the fish and insects that live in it, the animals that drink form it. It is a repository for rain water and a reservoir if the land is dry.  It carves through the earth changing the landscape and moves the earth and water around the planet.  In doing that, it expresses its true essence.  A river cannot be totally isolated.  Its identity and reason are intrinsically tied into its environment. It is a part of the larger picture of life.

So too are we.  What are we without our environment?  How can we shine without a larger context, a greater environment and people to share our light with?

Being a small part of a lager whole is our natural state.  To acknowledge that and work in union with it is to serve a greater purpose. To be in the flow of life and the universe is to be at one with your-self and at one with all.

Personal Journey

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What has your personal journey been like?
My life has been exciting, demanding, full of chances to learn and grow, and has been filled with joy and some sadness, surrounded by friends and family. Although at times there has been loneliness too in my life. We can be surrounded by good people and still feel loneliness. I can look back at my life and I can see that there is a path-a thread that links all of my experiences together that has brought me to where I am now and I know will also lead me into my future. Periods of certainty within my life have often been very productive, however sometimes certainty can lead to stagnation. The times when I have been most lost have been when I have had to look at my life and re-evaluate the issues within my life and life itself and these have been periods of great change and new directions for me that led to greater vitality and productivity.

How can one begin their own journey?
You are already on it! The great journey of your life has already begun. What you make of it is up to you. The key is movement forward. Without that our lives stagnate and our journey becomes stale, boring and mundane. When I was young I sometimes became despondent about where my life was going and what I was going to become. My mother would say to me “Do something new every day”. It opened my mind to all of the possibilities that were whizzing around in my head and I would become inspired by the excitement I felt. There were times that this excitement would lead to difficult and sometimes dangerous situations, but more often than not it would lead to something exciting and exhilarating. This excitement might lead to a day-long adventure, or to a short chapter in my life, or even at times to a fundamental change in life-direction. The point is I never knew what twists and turns my life or situations would take until I tried them. It is as if we have to take a leap of faith in our self to truly discover our self.

What role does self-awareness play in one’s personal journey?
Self-awareness is so much more than an intellectual exercise. Self-awareness is mind’s awareness of the self being in the present. It is the mind’s awareness of emotions and its own inner state. It is also the awareness of the self being aware of the emotions and inner state of others. I include others in this, because we become far more in tune with other people when we, ourselves, are self-aware. In my experience, an awareness of one’s own core values is one of the most important aspects in the relationship between self-awareness and one’s personal life’s journey. An awareness of what we truly value is essential to making life choices that honor the things we truly value. It is easy to lose sight of these values in the busyness of daily living. We can sometimes become drawn away from our own self-awareness by becoming pulled into the sphere of things that may compromise those core values.
With greater self-awareness, we can also become more aware of the present, guided and influenced by events in the here and now, rather than by our interpretation of the past and our projection into the future. Being aware of what we bring into the present is important, as we can be mindful of what is real and what are only our impressions and emotions. By understanding that what is internal and what is external to us influences how we can project into the present and the future. Thus, altering the choices we may make and the outcomes to the interactions we have in our lives. We may for example have a particular fear of something which is holding us back from traveling along our personal journey. To face that particular fear requires an awareness of the process taking place within us and that can only be done in the present.
Intuition is a gift from life to the self to be used in the present and is an essential ingredient of self-awareness and your personal journey. Intuition is the tool by which you gain a deep knowing that has the ability to steer you, if you allow it, in the direction of some great benefit. It takes time to know and trust that inner intuitive voice. When you do so, and this is one of the wonderful mysteries of life, it never steers you wrong.

“Best wishes from David as you continue to nourish the flame within.”