Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Looking Through A Different Set of Colored Glasses

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a week now, but have been delayed – busy work week and the recurring migraine headache that blunts my focus and energy.

It seems as though the theme was “looking through a different set of colored glasses”, a phrase that I often use with my clients.  As I shared this wisdom with those who had similar themes with different circumstances, I was also listening to my book of the month learning, The Body Keeps Score, a wonderful work by psychiatrist, Bessel Van der Kolk, regarding trauma and its imprint on the body.

In fact, I have been using this framework with clients for years, but as I listened intently, it brought up not only my own past circumstances, but I thought about my parents, again opening my eyes to awareness, compassion and a different point of view.

As I’ve listened to my Dad’s stories about the army, witnessing his buddy’s suicide, hearing about another friend shot and killed overseas, and others of my grandfather chasing my Dad while on a drunken rage, I’ve learned to see some of my own Dad’s behavior as his self-protective armor, not allowing anyone inside to witness the sad and fearful young boy and man that he was.

And with my Mom, I recall her telling me about her childhood – witnessing her own mother in and out of hospitals, moaning in pain with doctors coming and going.  When she was just 9, she was sent to stay with an aunt on the cape for an entire summer, not knowing the reason, but sensing something wrong.  It was during that summer that she developed asthma and upon coming home, learned that her mother had little time left to live.  Mom often told me that as a little girl, she would sit and rock back and forth to soothe her own  panic.

Both Mom and Dad had their own traumatic experiences and it shaped who they became as adults and for years, I carried my own set of beliefs about them – angry, defensive, anxious, depressed, controling – along with many wonderful attributes that I have talked about in other blogs.

I find myself often assisting my clients to see the broader view, and while not diminishing their pain and reality, also slowly opening them up to view these experiences with compassion for themselves and those who may have inflicted pain.  The forgiveness piece is pivotal for any healing to occur and this forgiveness is of self and others.

I am especially thinking more about this in light of the recent bloodshed in France.  While terrifying to hear about this, also knowing that Ashley is in Europe for the year completing her study abroad, she and I had a long discussion about the situation just yesterday and found ourselves not looking at us vs them, but more from a humanity viewpoint.  As humans, we all need food, clothing, shelter and these political/religious wars do no really take this into account, but instead, dangle the carrot for groups to gain more control.  I also thought about an exercise that I did while in a transformative weekend program called The Landmark Forum.  All 200 of us needed to face one person at a time, looking into the eyes of the other for 60 seconds.  We needed to face each person in the room in this way.  The amazing revelation was that form dissolved – we were one with each other.  This exercise has been one of the most profound experiences that I have had with another.

How do we reconcile trauma and devastation?  The first place to begin is to recognize that our truth is merely our perception and that is where opportunity begins.  Slow down, breathe deeply, go inside and remember that we are all one – change those glasses – instead of the dark defensive pair, choose the rose colored ones instead!

With love,


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Cards and Meaning In Our Lives

Over the past few years as I have adopted rituals into my spiritual life, I find these to bring such focus and an uncanny association with issues that I may be wrestling with.

While in Germany doing alternative care, I was told by the shaman that color would be a good area for me to explore and upon arriving home, I began to look more closely at color healing, chakras and stones/crystals.  This became a fun past-time as well as another avenue to explore not only for myself, but for my clients.

I tend to do things for a while and then become side-tracked like anyone and today, I felt an urge to pull out my Color Cards and Healing with Angel Cards.  No coincidence in what I pulled!  Blue was the color which is aligned with activating one's healing power and to calm the nervous system.  It is also my birthstone and a color that I am drawn to.  When pulling the Angel cards, I decided to choose 3 - one for past, one for present and one for future.  My past was Dreams - looking into the meaning of one's dreams. On occasion, I will awaken and journal about what I am dreaming about, but have not done so lately.  My present is Nature - a very powerful healing presence in my life, something I crave and am able to enjoy on a daily basis here by the water.  On the weekends, I try to get out even more - walking and cycling and sitting by the harbor.  My future is about Balance - this is key and something that my girls remind me in many of our conversations.

Balance also came up during an astrological therapy session - being busy, achieving, learning - all things that are important to me, are also where I get caught in my blind spot.  For me, it is all too easy to feel that I am not enough, do not know enough, will never catch up.  While intellectually I know this is not true, the ego and emotions easily take over, revving up my nervous system, thus creating imbalance.

I work daily on these themes and am in the process, so to speak, just as the many wonderful people I come in contact with as well.  My friend, Jamie wrote this song, "We're All In This Together", and this is so true.

Next time you are fretting the past or worrying about the future, stop, have a ritual that is meaningful to you and really focus on the wonder and beauty in your life.