Judgment Distances Us in Our Relationships

JUDGMENT

by Alex Katehakis at the Center for Healthy Sex
“Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more
important than the judgment we pass on ourselves.”
~ Nathaniel Branden

 
Judgments can create a wedge in relationships through our own insecurities, and keep us from loving more deeply or at all. Judging can prevent us from exploring our own intimate and sexual limitations because it’s easier to diminish the other person than to look at ourselves. In the electric flash of a single thought, we can turn the reality of another to rubble. But hidden in the debris are our own silenced truths. Cultural and familial programming creates false standards that hijack our focus and block us from our greater humanity.
One of the greatest truths we can realize is that everything perceivable is in process. When we judge ourselves and others, we are judging works unfinished. “He’s not worthy.” “She isn’t good enough.” “They’re on the wrong side.” All we think, we convey nonverbally, and our negative judgments only reinforce our prejudiced, narrow-minded positions in a relentless loop. We can’t change people, but we can change our judgments through risking intimacy. Each performance, project, gesture expresses the reality of the person who creates it, and the reality of each of us is irrefutably, ipso facto, beyond reproach.
Constant judging is akin to saying “I hurt. I need help.” But we rarely offer love and empathy to those who judge. No; we judge them in turn. Yes, sticking to our principles and perceptions is valuable. But our own false judgment, which hinders rather than helps someone’s process, is a wholly learned form of psychological abuse. No one should play the role of Higher Power for another. Only when people seek our expertise may we serve the spirit of the wisdom with which we’ve each been tasked. Ask permission before offering unsolicited advice, and know that internal negative judgments make us lose our connection with true life.

Questions for Reflection and Awareness
  • What recurring judgments do you make about others and about yourself? How are your judgments different from objective evaluations? Whose voice from your past is really speaking through you?
  • Know that your judging mind is a product of your past. Today, recognize your judgments for what they are, and let self-love fill the void gnawed out by carried shame. Love yourself and others. See how intimacy creates new reality.
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Culture, Religion, and the Impact of Color

psychology of color

“The mainstream of creativity appears to be the same tendency which we discover so deeply as the curative force in psychotherapy – man’s tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities.” ~Carl Rogers On Becoming a Person

“Nature always wears the colors of spirit.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The whole point is to live life and be – to use all the colors in the crayon box.” ~RuPaul

The Impact of Color

Color plays a big role in our feelings, perceptions, and actions. It can set a mood, draw attention, and even influence purchases. Color has historical context and cultural effects. Different colors invoke physiological reactions and impact our thinking. Color is a powerful influencer for our behavior, physiology, and mood.

Cultural Context

Culture can sway many meanings we have for color. Common phrases like “green with envy,” “the grass is not always greener on the other side,” “red with rage,” or “feeling blue” portray shared cultural influences.

Cultural associations have malleability. They change with time. For example, in the 2000’s, the color red emerged as an association with the Republican Party and the color blue implied the Democratic Party. Pink is also on the forefront that represents breast cancer.

History of Color

The first discoveries of cave paintings dates back to 25,000 BC wherein red ochre compared to the common place of black today.  Iron-rich soil made the red pigment readily available for expression and communication.

Over time, a palette of black, brown, yellow, red, and white emerged as artists mixed animal fat, burnt charcoal, chalk, and soil.

Iconic hues progressed from cochineal insects that produced a popular red pigment. Later lapis lazuli, a gemstone from Afghanistan created some of the most sought after and hefty priced paintings.

Green came from toxic arsenic and then later mixed with copper. Cezanne, Monet, and Renoir all used the vivid yet poisonous pigment.

Colors of Religion

Color helps express core beliefs and traditions of the foremost religions. The Christian Bible, the Buddhist scriptures, and the Torah have many references made to color and symbolize specific principles and ethics.

Christianity

In Christian countries, red is linked to the blood of Christ. It symbolizes pain and suffering and some times used as an alternate color for the Season of Lent.

Blue is the color of royalty. The hue is used to welcome the coming of a King, symbolizes the night sky and the birth of Christ with the rising star.

Violet is associated with repentance from sin. Black is a traditional color of mourning. White and gold partake in celebrations, holy days, festivals, and any presence of joy and brightness.

Buddhism

In Buddhist traditions, the highest level of meditative achievement is the rainbow body wherein the body is transformed into pure light. To achieve the rainbow body is to possess pure light, which contains all colors.

Red is one of the five color bands in the flag. Red (Lohita) is the Blessings of Practice, wisdom, virtue, achievement, dignity, and fortune. Red is a marker of sacred areas and a protective color often seen on the garments of monks and shamans.

Orange, also in the Buddhist flag refers to the Buddha’s teachings of wisdom.

Blue, a strip in the Buddhist flag is representative of healing, tranquility, purity, wisdom, and universal compassion.

Yellow is the middle path in Buddhism. It means avoiding extremes and emptiness.

Similar to Christianity, black refers to darkness, hate, anger, and evil. White represents purity, longevity, and knowledge.

Judaism

The history of Judaism dates back to 2000 BCE. It is one of the oldest religious practices in place today. Blue is a common pigment of the Jewish faith. It represents the Divine and the color of God’s Glory. Blue is part of the Israeli flag, the Star of David, and in fringes. The blue threads, or tzitzit often are worn on the corners of garments to separate the eating habits from those of gentiles’ and discourage acts of sin.

White symbolizes purity, intelligence, and innocence.  Red has contrasting symbolism of joy and happiness and sin.   Purple is the purification from sin.

Psychological and Physiological Effects

Color influences our physiology. For example, the primary color red is often associated with injury accompanied by the sight of blood. Red often associated with anger or embarrassment may cause a flushed face. Red also has been known to increase heart rate and blood pressure.

Red is also stimulating and evokes passion often times seen in women’s cocktail attire, ruby red lipsticks, and in sports. Research conducted at the 2004 Summer Olympics found competitors who wore red were more likely to win.

Blue, another primary color is often associated with tranquility, relaxation, nourishing, and calmness. It is the color of the sky, water, and sea. Blue is a cool color of sadness and may evoke feelings of depression for some.

Yellow, one of the three primary colors has shown to speed up metabolism. Yellow requires intense focus and grabs people’s attention.

Bubble gum pink tends to relax and have a calming effect on children. A pilot study conducted at the San Bernardino County Probation Department in California showed that a room painted bubble gum pink tended to reduce violent behaviors of children. When the youngsters were put in the 8-foot by 4-foot cell painted pink, they stopped yelling, banging, and fell asleep within ten minutes.

Conclusion

Color has many common associations. Readily obtainable mineral mercury gave way to the use of cinnabar, or red, during rituals in the Iberian Peninsula territory between Spain and North Africa, burial sites in the ancient culture of Yangshao in China, and in weddings and special occasions in the Chinese culture. In India, red is seen as a color of luck.

White across all cultures and religions symbolizes purity, light, and innocence.

Blue is also quite popular and universally represents wisdom. Red esteems condescending meanings across all cultures from passion to anger.

However, there is no definitive connotation to pigment. The article is intended to stimulate your thinking about color and its personal meaning to you. Colors can be contradictory and ambiguous. It is up to you to explore your color palette and what associations you have concerning color.

Here are some inquiries to ponder taken by Cathy A. Malchiodi, ATR, LPCC Using Art to Express Feelings: Drawing on Loss.

  • How do you use color in your dress, in your images, in your home décor, to express emotion?
  • Do certain colors have specific meanings for you?
  • Does your family, religion, ethnicity influence your associations to certain colors?
  • Do certain colors remind you of a specific holiday or event?
  • Are there colors that you wear for a specific occasion or situation?
  • What colors have you used the most in your artworks, wardrobes, or decors?
  • Are there areas of heavy uses of color? Light uses of color?
  • Do you like to use particular combinations, such as black and white; earthy, golden colors, pastels, deep, dark tones; colors found in nature?
  • Have you noticed any changes in your feelings, meanings, and preferences for colors over the years?

Synchronicity Comes In Mysterious Ways

cricket

“Jung introduced the idea of synchronicity to strip off the fantasy, magic, and superstition which surround and are provoked by unpredictable, startling, and impressive events that, like these, appear to be connected.” ― C.G. Jung, Synchronicity

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Susan has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, severe agoraphobia, panic attacks and dissociation after being robbed at her place of employment. While being held up at gunpoint, she was still able to remain composed and pack the thiefs’ backpack as he demanded.

She returned to work after a week but she remained in the fear response and couldn’t manage the constant feeling of intense danger.  She was overwhelmed and thus came to see me.

We have been working together for almost a year with some progress. Her intense fears cloud her confidence and her critical voice keeps her stuck.

She rather leap forward and “return to normal” than confront her fears with small steps.  She feels the fear and then criticizes herself for having the thoughts at all. She understandably just wants the fear and anxiety to go away.

I have used many of the techniques inside my toolbox.  I introduced mindfulness meditation, four square breathing, grounding exercises, and positive, compassionate self-talk to soothe anxiety. She is able to relax in session and regulate her fears but once she leaves my office, her attempts at home empower fear and her critical voice belittles her efforts.

The Anatomy of Anxiety

Neuroscience has helped us understand how trauma effects the brain. Physiological changes occur even before the conscious mind knows why you’re afraid. The classic fear response located in the amygdala alerts other brain structures resulting in a burst of adrenaline, a shutdown of digestion, a rapid heart rate, sweaty palms, and increased blood pressure.

The circuitry from the amygdala alerts the thalamus and the cortex, the conscious thinking portion of the brain. After the fear response is activated, the cortex and thalamus kick into gear. The thalamus processes sights and sounds and filters incoming cues and directs them either to the amygdala or the cortex.   If the data streaming in through the senses assesses there is imminent danger, the body stays on alert and the thinking part becomes limited.

Once the circuitry proceeds into an elevated stress response for a long period of time, physical, mental, and emotional aspects remain out of normal working conditions. Tools like mindfulness meditation, walking, deep breathing, listening to soothing music, and positive mantras can help regulate the stress response and return your neural circuitry back to normal.

As confidence is built in your ability to self regulate emotions, it is possible to slowly expose yourself to your fears in small doses. Susan was stuck in the stress response and had depleted her self-esteem to try and normalize her emotions.

Symbolism and Synchronicity

While we were in a recent session, I decided to have us switch chairs to engage her into a sense of empowerment. The physical change didn’t help.

But just when things seemed so unhopeful, a cricket appeared. I had been in the office all morning without a cricket in sight. I mentioned seeing the bug crawl on the floor.

Susan lit-up. She said, “My daughter and I were sitting in the backyard the other day and saw a cricket. I was about to kill it but my daughter stopped me. She said, “Mom, crickets are good luck. Don’t kill it. You’ll ruin your luck.”

Was this a coincidence or synchronicity? In Cameron’s book, The Artists Way she described Carl Jung’s term synchronicity as a fortuitous of intermeshing events. Whatever you want to call it, it helped Susan. The belief in seeing the cricket sparked her hope again.

According to many cultures, crickets are a symbol of good fortune and wealth. The cheerful chirps of crickets make us happy. Even William Shakespeare writes about the joys of crickets in his play, Henry IV. In scene IV, Prince Henry asks Poins, “Shall we be merry?” Poins responds, “As merry as crickets, my lad.”

In The Cricket on the Hearth, Charles Dickens writes, “It’s merrier than ever tonight, I think.” And it’s sure to bring us good future; John! It always has done so. To have a cricket on the hearth is the luckiest thing in the world!”

The Chinese observe the cricket as the threefold of life. Crickets lay their eggs in the soil and lives underground as lava. Then they transpire and convert into the imago.

The Irish considered crickets wise and household spirits. They understood all that was said and it was unwise to speak badly of crickets. The singing of crickets keeps the fairies away.

There is much evidence from many cultures and timespans that crickets are a symbol of good things are to come. Sometimes it’s a spontaneous symbol like a cricket that can bring positive change. I am hopeful that Susan will normalize her fears and anxieties.  Soon she will reflect back on the experience as major turning point in her life as a way to make new meaning and sense of a more expanded and renewed sense of self, compassion, and gratitude.

By the way, I never saw that cricket for the rest of the day. I believe it to be a synchronistic event meant only for Susan!

How To Overcome Fear

We all have worries and fears. They can easily disempower us and keep us stuck. I’ve seen it in myself and with others.  Falling into the trap of worry and fear doesn’t have to be the default.

Here is an example of how I worked through some of the fears with, Susan, a pseudo name of a person who came to me to free blocks that were preventing her success.

Susan began the session sharing worries, doubts, and uncertainties in her business model.  She even discounted her abilities. She said, “I am excited about my vision.  I know it’s a good business model.  I just have such a long way to go before it will come to fruition. It’s so overwhelming and keeps me stuck. How can I keep sane and make it to the finish line?”

I empathically replied, “One small step at a time. Look at what you have already accomplished. You have written the blueprint and have an outline to follow. Most people don’t even have the courage to take the time to think of a concept out of their normal routine job, let alone write the procedures. Give yourself credit and recognition of how far you’ve come.”

“True, true. But it still feels so overwhelming,” Susan responded.

It is overwhelming when you think of the overarching picture. It’s easy to think of where we want to be and not acknowledge how far we’ve come. Self-criticism and judgment is NOT helping the matter now.

Stay in the Present Moment

The present is all you know and can control. Acknowledge the past accomplishments, give praise where praise is deserved and then ask yourself, what can be done now?

Thinking into the future, brings worry. The future can feel like light years away. Forward thinking is daunting and overwhelming. It does nothing but stop you in your tracks. And that certainly isn’t moving forward at all.

Learn from the Past

You can reflect on the past, think about other goals you’ve tried and didn’t succeed. There might be some belief you’ve developed that’s keeping you stuck. Could it be something from my childhood? Was there a time in your past where you worked hard and circumstances unexpectedly took them away?

Susan began a story about a time when she was thirteen. “I was so excited for the upcoming dance recital scheduled for the end of the season. I had prepared for months going to dance class religiously. I consistently did my chores, saved my weekly allowance and bought my uniform. I hung it proudly in my closet anticipating the big day. And then bam, it was taken away. I got into trouble hanging around the wrong crowd and my punishment was I could not go to the dance recital. It tore me apart.”

Susan, that must have been so disappointing to work so hard, to feel so proud, and then have it shattered. I can imagine that hurt and disappointment and betrayal can feel like it may at any moment come back. But what is different now versus being that thirteen-year-old little girl?

Susan thought for a moment, “I am an adult and nothing is going to be taken away because I have no one to answer to but myself. I am the only one stopping me now. “

Yes! As a little girl you have no control over how your parents respond, but you are not living under their roof anymore. You are not dependent upon them for your survival. You are taking care of yourself now. You have worked hard, are able to pay your mortgage, buy your own food, and live comfortably with friends and others that support you. Many changes have taken place.

Susan was able to shed some light on her beliefs and move to a new perspective in a loving manner and as a grown, mature woman.

Worry and anxiety comes from a place focusing on the past or the future. The solution is the present. Concentrating on the past hinders what can be done in the present. To get unstuck it is important to focus on the present. What can be done now?

Unfold the Full Truth

Acknowledge what is going on right now. Name the fears and then assess each one. The truth of the matter is that you are fearful of possibilities of the future. Perhaps failure, even success, looking like a fool, or that no one desires what you have to offer.

Those are all possibilities. But what other possibilities exist? You can handle any disappointments and learn from them. Obstacles are pieces of information on how to improve.

Success can be controlled. If you are so successful, you can back off and regulate what makes you feel comfortable.

You may look like a fool to yourself, but I bet some people find your vulnerability courageous. It takes great bravery to expose your endeavor.  You have worked on your project for a long and hard time.

Lastly, if you desire what you have to offer, what makes you think you are the only one? You made a big leap and gathered some friends who were willing to do a practice run. You received invaluable feedback.  Acknowledge the courage it has taken to achieve the progress you have made.

Worry, fear, and despair will never disappear but it is those that learn to acknowledge the fear and move into it that succeed. You can’t thrive unless you try. Reflect upon your past, learn from it, and then use positive self talk to encourage your progress.

When worry and fear overwhelms, stay present and unfold the whole picture.  Anxiety may seem to cloud other emotions but next to anxiety is excitement. Find the excitement within your stress and you can then move forward. Anxiety likes negativity. The overall picture is never one-sided. Find the positive to counter the negative.

Positive Affirmations Don’t Work but the Truth Will Set You Free

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”  ~Thomas Jefferson

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” ~Buddha

I have noticed it with myself that when I decide I’ve done all I can to make this all happen and I decide to just let it go and move on, that’s when the universe takes over.

The minute you release your tight grip on the vision, the vision appears. I believe there are no accidents.

Oprah gives a great example of the belief, ‘there are no accidents.’ While she was living in Baltimore she was asked by her boss to attend a party at her house who happened to be one of the wealthiest people she had known. When Oprah arrived, she noticed the house was large but what amazed her the most was that the host had six large trees in her backyard. She had never seen a property with so many trees. She thought to herself, “Oh rich people have trees. If I ever have some money that’s what I want, six trees in my yard.” She could care less about fancy pocketbooks or cars but she was sure she was going to get those trees.

Just a few years ago, Oprah stood in her kitchen looking out the window as she made her morning coffee and she saw six trees. She was so taken back by that moment that she went onto the back porch to actually count them. That’s when she realized that she could dream the six trees but beyond that were thousands more all in her yard.

What she witnessed was way more than she could have ever imagined for herself. Suddenly it clicked, she could imagine and dream the six trees but all that there is due to the forces of her life, her experiences, and that only the universal energy, God could see way beyond that number.

Dream and Dream Big

The point is to surrender to the bigger dream that life has in store for you. Oprah admits that she is not special but claims that she was obedient to the call of the dream.

What is life’s dream for you? What is the universe dreaming for you right now? So many people spend their lives hoping, and wishing, and desiring things. But what is certain is that you don’t get what you hope for or wish for; you get what you believe. Surrender the dream for your life to the bigger, more divine flow that is your life.

Positive Truths

One way to go about changing your beliefs is positive truths. Many people have heard of positive affirmations such as, “I can achieve anything.” “I am beautiful inside and out.” “I am a great public speaker.” “I have an abundance of money in my bank account.”

Repeating them throughout the day can certainly improve your mood. You may feel empowered, ready to conquer the world. Unfortunately, they never stick. After awhile, you begin to feel like you’re lying to yourself.

A large unexpected bill, a rejection from a recent pitch you made, or even a friend not returning your call, can cause the mind to flood with anxiety and fear again. Nothing changes.

The truth of the matter is positive affirmations don’t feel authentic. The difference between positive affirmations and positive truths is that positive truths define what is really happening.

Personal permanent transformation takes honesty, respect, and love. When you say, “I have an abundant of money in my bank account” and you know you only have a few hundred dollars you are trying to fool yourself. The reality is you don’t have unlimited funds. Your mind knows this and angrily lashes back.

Positive truths look for the truth and put a positive spin on your honesty. They work because they are scripted with total honesty.

Here are some examples of positive truths:

  • I am frustrated with my lack of income, but I am exploring new ways to bring in more money and networking every week.
  • I am scared about my new business venture, but I am learning to have confidence in my ability to achieve my goals and reach out for help when I need to.
  • I am sad that I’m still single after all these years, but I am meeting new people and taking action. I am learning to listen and trust myself in the process and relate to diverse individuals in a more open capacity.

As you begin to write your positive truths, sense what an unlimited back account would feel like, and then use your imagination to visualize abundance. Repeat the mantra for two minutes a day, three times a day, and with consistency watch things start to shift in your life.

It may be helpful to create a collage, a painting, or some art piece as a symbol of your abundance. Each time you see the finished piece, take the time to sense the feeling of abundance and say your mantra at least ten times.

Positive truths are honest, self-respecting and loving assessments about your present situation and actions taking place to change them. They are friendly reminders of how you are taking care of yourself. You aren’t just sitting on the sidelines of life. You are living life, feeling all your feelings of joy, sadness, fear, gratitude, and worry. You are honoring who you are, what you are doing, and affirming your truths with compassion.

You are capable of becoming your dreams.

You honor yourself with honesty, self-respect, love and positive truths. Then let go of the rest. Let the energy of the universe take care of you and the rest will come.

About

As a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC #96155) residing in Los Angeles, I offer a safe and comfortable environment for individuals, couples, and groups to heal from emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, and neglect; anxiety, depression, grief and loss, and adapt easily through life’s many transitions. We meet weekly for 50 minutes in a non-judging environment in West Los Angeles, or via Google Hangouts or FaceTime. We work together to determine your goals, access your needs, and create a healing plan. Mindfulness, ACA tools, and nurturing support in the here and now are part of my approach to unleash critical thoughts, destructive beliefs, and assist in helping in parenting the child within. I welcome you to contact me at april@aprilwrighttherapy.com. l will contact you within 24 hours of receiving your email.

Happiness is Possible Every Day

“My awareness is aligned with the creative power of the universe.” Deepak Chopra

Time is the constant in the changes and seasons of life.  It is up to us to determine our perspective and use of that time.

Age

Many people worry about age. Children want to quickly grow-up. A favorite pastime of mine as a little girl was to play dress-up. I would raid my mother’s closet, searching for the perfect outfit, trying on many changes of clothes. I scavenged through her make-up drawer and would paint my face with various shades of pinks and purples. It was a fun past time imagining myself as an adult.

As I’ve gotten older, I now reflect upon times when my hair was a little thicker, fine lines weren’t quite as apparent, and my skin was plumper.

No matter the timeframe, the focus was on my outer appearance. One thing I value, as I’ve gotten older is my experiences have led me to be wiser, more confident, and self-assured. As I’ve become more aware of whom I am, I feel more at peace and ease with the natural flow of life. I am less forceful and resistant and more open and flexible.

With age, there are certainly changes but overall time allows for more gifts than drawbacks.

Oprah has been fortunate that she has never been one to worry about age. Her belief is it doesn’t matter how many candles there are on the birthday cake, you get to choose how you feel and see that number.

She shares such a wise perspective. Just as a little girl, I hoped to be older and as I aged, I thought at times, I’d love to be younger. The similarities exist in that both describe wanting to be something I am not now.

We all have a choice on how to view age. When Oprah turned 60, she felt, okay, I’m grown now. She said, “I am more myself than I’ve ever been.” Her outlook is throughout the years she’s been taking lessons from life’s experiences and today she is in awe of her journey on here on planet Earth, as it continues to unfold.

Feeling Alive is a Blessing

All our lives, no matter your background has been blessed with so many miracles.

Today it is our chance to feel alive; not just be alive. Admit just to be alive and breathing is a miracle. You can choose to be healthy and strong in whatever capacity available to you. It’s the comparing to others and wanting to be something we are not; just as I have done many times in my life, causes suffering. The moment I choose to accept this moment as I am right now, I find that peace I spoke of.

Oprah has learned from her milestone occasions, turning 30, 40, 50, and now at 63 is that if you allow yourself to breath in the depth, and the wonder and also the difficulties each year brings, you can live fearlessly. Look what you have already overcome and you’re still here.

You Are Timeless

YOU are timeless. Every experience brings to you a piece of the fullness of your life including the disruptions; the trauma, the divorce, the loss. Even the moments of pain and suffering offer the opportunity to explore the question, “ Is this worth my time?”

What is the best way to approach the issue of leading a happy life?

People have their own perspective on how to answer this question. Some work hard during their productive years, sacrificing happiness and fulfillment until they retire or until the children leave the home.

Some grind away five days a week and save play for the weekend. Only a fraction of the population thinks about happiness as a daily requirement. Positive psychology which studies optimal psychological states suggest the best strategy for a happy life is to have happy days.

Happy Days

The late 70’s/early 80’s hit show; Happy Days was wiser than it’s time. The lyrics to the theme song stresses every day is a choice to be happy and to be free to share in our happiness.

Sunday, Monday, Happy Days,
Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days,
Thursday, Friday, Happy Days,
The weekend comes, my cycle hums
Ready to race to you

These days are ours
Happy and free. (Oh Happy Days)
These days are ours
Share them with me.(Oh baby)

Goodbye grey sky, hello blue,
there’s nothing can hold me when I hold you.
Feels so right you can’t be wrong,
Rockin’ and rollin’ all week long.

Saturday, what a day
Groovin’ all week with you

Sunday, Monday, Happy Days,
Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days,
Thursday, Friday, Happy Days
The weekend comes, my cycle hums

Ready to race to you
These days are ours
Happy and free. (Oh Happy Days)

These days are ours
Share them with me.(Oh baby)
Goodbye grey sky, hello blue,
There’s nothing can hold me when I hold you.

Feels so right you can’t be wrong,
Rockin’ and rollin’ all week long.

Sunday, Monday, Happy Days,
Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days,
Thursday, Friday, Happy Days
Saturday, what a day
Groovin’ all week with you

Happiness is a Conscious Choice

Striving for happiness is a conscious strategy. To consciously make each day a happy day, find ways to mediate, to journal, and to reflect inward. Treasure an approach that works best for you to have some time alone, some downtime and some playtime. This process is part of treating yourself with love because you can taking the time to cherish you.

Connection

Another important aspect of a daily habit of happiness is to connect with those that are close and important to you. The time can be spent on the phone, through email, or in person. The more personal the contact, the stronger the emotional bond.

Seasons of Life

According to Deepak, a successful life means that with each season of life we become more conscious and we continue to evolve.

The seasons of life begin with infancy and early childhood where biology dominates. Genes mainly at the cellular level control our development.   Divided by parents’ influences children don’t bare the responsibility for major life choices.

Personal choices loom larger after childhood as biology and family influence become less dominate. By adulthood everybody is involved in some sort of project; building a sense of self. Yet most people don’t see that this is happening.

Happiness Begins Within

Instead, most people focus externally on relationships, work, and family. But these can’t be fulfilling without personal evolution, a self that continually grows throughout all ups and downs of external events.

Although society offers a template for each phase of life such as going to school, getting a job, raising a family, then retiring. These stages are not a guideline to evolution. The only guide is within. Personal growth is measured by your vision of life as in your individual values, self-awareness, character, and fulfillment.

Evolution can’t be quantified on a chart. We are the judges of our lives. We determine whether we are happier, more loving, filled with kindness and consideration, more open to differences, and finding new outlets for creativity and self-discovery.

Happiness is a Conscious Daily Practice

The journey of consciousness unfolds each day from dawn to dusk. Our full life span, from beginning to end is an opportunity to grow in character, self-awareness, compassion, and understanding. We learn as students, we progress through our career choices, we grow via our choices for family or not, and later toward retirement. Every phase offers opportunities to stay in the present moment. Each day brings occasions to be the observer of your internal and external experiences. As we become more aware of our character and values, fulfillment is possible at every stage of our life.

How Your Wounds Share Wisdom

Many people begin their spiritual journey focusing on all that is whole and good in their life. Gratitude for the things we value is a key to having mindful living but equally important is continually excavating the long buried wounds you’ve hidden beneath layers of a protective shell.

Oprah says, “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” She likes to think of it as this way, “When you are triggered by something, like an argument, pressure at work, money issues, or even someone cutting you off on the road, this is an opportunity to bring awareness to your feelings and how your body feels.”

How to Let Go of Pain

During triggered moments, unresolved feelings of anxiety, confusion, and frustration will rush to the surface.

Pause.

Take a deep breath.

Become still long enough to ask the question, “What is this experience here to show me, or to teach me?”

As you learn to interpret your internal responses, you’ll begin to recognize a pattern. We all have them.

The more you become familiar with that emotion, allow it to rise and unfold without resistance.

Welcome it.

Experience it in the body.

Release it.

Spiritual Disturbances

Think of these moments that trigger something inside of you as spiritual disturbances. A spirit of disturbance is a troubled heart, a stress-filled life, or a disturbed heart.

Since stress is part of most of our personal lives, either in our homes, part of our families, found in our churches, and experienced in our nation. It is slowly killing and robbing us of our daily peace of mind.

Pharmaceutical companies make a fortune off prescriptions to help reduce stress and other spiritual disturbances.  No matter how hard we try, pills can’t and won’t cure a disturbance of the heart when it is really a spiritual issue.

Spiritual disturbances lose their power the moment you stop pushing against them. The result is a constant and exhilarating sense of flow.

Perception of Time

Our perception of time changes according to our stages of awareness. This means our awareness can be a powerful agent for healing the past.

We’ve all heard the adage, “Time heals all wounds.” This is not truly accurate. Time does not heal all wounds because this implies a passive attitude; just wait long enough and time will do everything.

Attitude With Time

For this to be true, our attitude toward time has to be active, not passive. We need conscious responses, not unconscious reactions.

The negative experiences that happened yesterday or years ago linger as memory and trauma. These wounds are the main obstacles to making every moment matter.

Emotional Debt

Whenever we relive the past or anticipate a painful future, we are allowing old wounds to take on new life. Some psychologists call this emotional debt from the past.

Emotional debt can be equated to a bank. During negative experiences, when we react by just putting our head down and getting on with it, this response builds up emotional debt. Anger, hurt, stress, and grief withdrawals money out of the bank while conscious awareness, relaxation, and nourishment deposits money in the bank.

A Healing Approach to Past Pain

Things we have choice over, attitudes, beliefs, lifestyle, and self-care; allow us to consciously heal the wounds of conscious time and avoid their unwanted effects.

A healing approach to time begins with noticing your reaction in the moment. When you are in a stressful situation or are reminded of painful experiences from your past, take a few deep, long breaths, and be aware of how you feel. Notice your emotions and how your body feels. Be aware of any instinctual reactions, to retaliate, to resist or runaway.

Recognize that those responses are coming from your past hurt but your inner awareness, which notices these reactions and feelings is not hurt or limited in any way by the past.

This conscious presence is your real self. And it is the place through which you are free to choose a new response, different from your conditioned response.

Continue breathing and open yourself to an appropriate response to the situation that isn’t solely determined by your past pain.

But don’t try to respond like a saint or pretend to be indifferent. An artificial response does not heal your past hurt because it’s not coming from your present moment awareness.

As you become more familiar with the remaining connection to the conscious self during stressful situations, you become free from your conditioned reactions and heal your past.

By directing your attention to your inner awareness, you align your heart and mind to living in the present moment. When you learn to live from your timeless self, every moment of time is healing and everyday is filled with the joy of transforming yourself.

This is what is means to make every moment matter.

Centering Message

A centering thought for mediation is, “I heal my past by being in the present.”

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