DARKNESS and LIGHT ~ Babs '12
Raven Spirit teaches us about duality and the magic that comes from moving through the dark times in our lives. Out of the dark, comes the light. If we do not experience challenges on our journey we would be unable to recognize and bask in the blessings that come from those dark times.
Ravens are one of the strongest, smartest, and hardiest of the winged ones that fly among us. They endure cold, dark Arctic winters and remind us to hang on and move through the seasons and cycles of our lives, trusting that winter does not last forever.
It's not always easy moving through the dark and challenging times in our lives, in whatever form they appear. It seems we humans find it easier to resist accepting times of pain and hardship and feeling like life isn't fair, when it is, in fact part of life. If we learn to embrace those times, meaning we accept them as part of our life experience, at some point we understand the reason. We will see the blessing in disguise that comes from such a time. The good isn't always apparent immediately, but if we trust that it is there, and will show itself eventually, we will have an easier time making sense of this life and all that appears to work against us.
When dark times fall upon us, we have an opportunity to learn forgiveness, peace and to open our hearts rather than close up more and resist life on life's terms. Dark times often see us experiencing an outpouring of love from others who are aware of our pain. We can oftentimes use these experiences to heal and get stronger then help others who will experience similar hardships after us.
Take Hurricane Sandy for instance (or any other 'tragedy'), we can look at the devastation and see only that, or we can help by praying or donating and watch and listen to the stories of love that come as a result of the darkness. People have opened their hearts and homes to help others in a city where many people were walking through life numb and taking daily blessings for granted.
If, while we are experiencing grief and sadness and chaos, we are looking for the crumbs (and I say crumbs because sometimes that's all there is) of goodness among the debris, the experience can't break our Spirits.
For me personally, and only in the past ten years after a very dark time in my own life, I've found myself getting closer to Spirit instead of further away (where I used to go). While I don't always understand the bigger reasons right away, I trust there is a grand plan that is bigger than me and us. I've also found that because of my dark times, I've found my heart more open than it's ever been. I've allowed it to soften my hard edges and find myself experiencing joy on levels I'd yet to experience. If I'd not known the dark, I'd not have recognized the light and for that I am truly grateful. I've also come to know that I am strong enough to move through whatever is coming next.
Winter doesn't last forever, only for a season.
Peace, Love & Duality
We humans certainly are a funny bunch. There is this thing we do when an uncomfortable emotion surfaces (usually triggered by something or someone outside of ourselves...which I've recently experienced again) where we feel we don't have a right to have that feeling (for me it's anger). So instead of accepting that feeling, just sitting with it, or moving through it, we argue with it because we 'feel bad' for having it. Or worse, we blame other people for OUR feelings!! Other people may have triggered us to feel a certain way, but we are ultimately responsible for our own feelings!
When we don't allow ourselves to 'feel' our emotions, they will continue to surface in some way. Maybe an inappropriate outburst of anger or rage, illness, an accident, or depression. We humans have been conditioned NOT to feel. "Don't cry or I'll give you something to cry about" sound familiar? If we were taught how to express our anger or fear or sadness in healthy ways, I definitely missed that class!! Men especially, have been conditioned not to feel. Personally, I have been a 'stuffer' of feelings my whole life. This has surfaced in a few of ways for me, a struggle with depression, 'snapping' and inappropriately lashing out at the wrong people, sickness, accidents, and/or turning to drugs and alcohol or whatever other diversion I could find in order to avoid FEELING.
I've learned through doing my inner work (which is pretty much a constant thing) and through coaching others, that forgiveness (of self first and foremost) is one form of letting go and one of the ways to inner peace. While I definitely believe that to be true, I see us sometimes skipping a very important and necessary step on the way to forgiveness. Expressing our feelings! When we are holding on to unexpressed hurt or anger, we will never be able to truly let go, forgive and move on, until that hurt or anger is expressed, despite our willingness to forgive.
Our pain usually goes back to something that happened in our childhood, when we weren't able to understand our feelings, let alone express them in a healthy way. Throughout our lives we end up attracting similar circumstances or people who cause us to feel that old pain again, giving us opportunity to face it, feel it, forgive, and finally move on. When the uncomfortable feelings surface, instead of really feeling them and taking a look back in order to identify then express the 'old' painful feeling, we will 'react' to it by one of the many ways we 'avoid' feeling. Each human has different ways to numb or procrastinate when it comes to 'feeling'. Some people smoke, do drugs, drink, shop, gamble, eat, have sex, game, or turn on the tv for hours, all to avoid experiencing the uncomfortable feeling. You'll notice if or when you try to stop your addiction of choice, uncomfortable feelings will usually surface more than normal, which makes you crave your addiction more because you are trying not to feel it. The wheels on the bus go round and round!
I've managed to slowly identify my feelings by asking myself in the moment of reaching for my choice of 'diversion' "what are you avoiding or feeling right now Barb"? I'm not gonna lie, this self-awareness gig is hard work?! The willingness to be transparent to myself however, has been and continues to be the most rewarding gift I've ever given myself. It's still a work in progress and I love that I've made myself my own project!
We really do have to feel it to heal it. If we don't allow ourselves to feel our painful emotions, we will never truly heal them. If we keep reaching for whatever form of diversion or addiction we use to numb the feelings as they surface, we will never be free from the old pain. The numbing device will definitely provide temporary relief and sometimes even a feeling of elation, but it will be just that. Temporary. It won't be long before the pain surfaces again giving us another opportunity to feel it so we can heal it.
You can't change what you don't acknowledge so the first thing on the list is to acknowledge the feeling, feel it, then move it. Here are some ways I've used to move my feelings. It's important to move emotion. Motion changes emotion. If we don't move it, it gets stuck and continues to cause havoc in our lives.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY done with the intention of moving anger is a great release
JOURNALLING our feelings, or writing a really angry letter to anyone and everyone we feel anger towards, allows us to move those feelings out of us and onto the paper....really let loose then burn the letter unless you feel you need to give it to the person
PUNCH PILLOWS or a BAG
SCREAM really loud into a pillow, or while driving (with the windows rolled up of course lol)
CRY....balling our faces off (watch a sad movie and let 'er rip...whatever it takes to get those tears flowing!)
SHARE feelings with someone we trust....confiding in one person for the purpose of moving emotion (as opposed to telling ten people and creating a drama)
CREATE art, music, poetry, or your story ... some of the most amazing artwork, songs, poetry and books have come from people's painful experiences
There's a flow,a pattern in this process...feeling arises, acknowledge it, accept it, feel it, move it...repeat :)) Healing tends to happen in layers so we need to be gentle with ourselves and the process, understanding that the same old feelings will continue to surface until we've worked through them. The more the layers fall away the more room there is for the happy feelings!!
Most importantly we need to be gentle and patient with ourselves and the process, as we would be with a best friend.
I'm not perfect and don't have everything figured out that's for sure, but I can share what I've learned and continue to practice on my own journey and maybe that will help you on your journey :)
Peace, Love and Feelings.....
As humans we are free to choose, but we are not free from the consequences of our choices.
This is a tough one for alot of people, especially parents I would think. To watch our loved ones who we can see are in painful places as a consequence of their actions, or that their current choices will lead to obvious pain, isn't the most comfortable feeling that's for sure.
Not only can we exhaust ourselves by spending energy trying to convince others to make a better choice for themselves, we are sometimes interfering with the way in which they are meant to learn. Of course there are a million different scenarios but the simple analogy I find myself using alot is how we can tell a child ten times not to touch a hot stove, but sometimes they need to actually touch the hot stove and experience the burn in order to learn and understand for themselves. It is only then that they will choose never to touch a hot stove again.
Even though our intentions are well and good in attempting to prevent that child from burning their fingers, we've just exhausted ourselves by telling them repeatedly what we know will ultimately cause them pain, then we get mad because they didn't listen. Sometimes things need only be said once or maybe twice and then we need to trust that human to rely on their own senses. By attempting to 'save' another person from something we can so obviously see will ulitimately hurt them, we prevent them from using and building their own intuition and life experience to become who they came here to grow into.
We don't know what another soul's purpose is. So if someone who's soul chose to come into this life to help addicts for instance (whether that be alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, food, etc.), that person would have likely chosen a path of an addict. That way they would have the opportunity to experience a 'bottom' and therefore have a choice to help themselves heal and get strong, so later in life they could help others do the same. People tend to better relate to others who've had similar experiences as opposed to someone who's lived a charmed life but has a degree on the wall.
One of my biggest lessons in this life has been to know when to go out on a limb to help someone. It's taken me a long time to know when to shut up and watch a situation unfold, even if I can clearly see someone I care about heading for pain. I can offer to listen and offer my spin on things but most people don't want to hear. They want to experience for themselves. I have literally exhausted myself in the past trying to help others from obvious bad choices (meanwhile I was making my own pretty bad choices!! haha).
People who love me have also at times exhausted themselves attempting to convince me not to do something. I wasn't listening because I needed to learn my own way, and while I appreciate the concern, that energy could have been better spent on themselves.
I think our power lies in using the energy we so desperately spend trying to convince others to make better or different choices, to make ourselves better and make better choices in our own lives. There's no greater way to teach or help others than by walking our talk and teaching by action.
Letting go of wanting to control the choices that people in our lives make, is actually the best gift we can give someone. The freedom to walk their own journey and learn how they are meant to learn in the time frame in which they need to learn. We only have power over ourselves. This doesn't mean we don't care, we can still be there when they fall, to listen, advise and assist if they are open to that.
The tricky part is knowing when to advise and when to walk away! If we find ourselves around people who continuously make the same painful choices and continue to complain about the same painful consequences like a broken record, it might be time to walk away and save your energy. They are choosing the victim role because it's familiar to them and they do not feel they deserve better so continuously choose the pain because that too, is familiar for them. Maybe we are in a similar pattern too but are so busy trying to help them, that we aren't looking at us! Only they can make better choices for themselves and only we can make better choices for ourselves If we find ourselves sticking around and feeling sorry for them every single time, we are enabling them, and we are feeding our need to be needed.
We can all be there for each other in healthy and supportive ways, only when we are supporting ourselves in healthy ways : )
Peace and Love Freely
Re-Post: Mercury has just gone retrograde again (November 6th) and will remain so until November 26th....here's a reminder about the energies this cycle brings and how to use it in your life if you so choose :-))
‘That’s not fog. It’s dragon’s breath. It’s magical. When the dragon’s breath comes, when the fog appears, it is a magical time, a mysterious time. Things begin to change.’ ~ The Lessons of Love by Melody Beattie
I’ve been working with the moon cycles and this cycle called Mercury retrograde for quite some time now and have found that life has become easier because I am aware of, and use the energy of these cycles for my personal growth. Let me say first off that I have a basic understanding of Astrology, I am not an Astrologer, and it’s not my intention to make believers out of those of you who have no belief or interest in this stuff. I’m simply sharing my knowledge and personal experience for those of you who are interested in the unseen energies that move in and around us constantly. They can be very helpful for personal growth and awareness. As above, so below.
Much like the description in the lead-in quote above, Mercury retrograde energy can feel at times, like a fog has set in on our lives. If we can understand and accept that change is in the air and magic is happening behind the fog, we can easier move through the fog with patience and in anticipation of a time in the future when the fog lifts and things are clear and flowing once again.
There are three to four Mercury retrograde cycles per year and they last approximately three weeks. There’s a shadow period for days before and after the actual retrograde period when the energies are felt, just not as strongly as during the actual retrograde.
The planet Mercury in general, rules thinking and perception, processing information, education, travel and communication. So when it goes retrograde, it often affects these areas of our lives. For instance, we might notice more than usual, missed messages, misunderstandings, text messages and emails send to the wrong person, taken out of context, or not being received at all. As well there’s often travel mix ups and delays, problems with computers, cell phones, tv’s, and vehicles. You might also notice situations, people and issues from the past resurfacing. Especially notice what was happening in your life during the last Mercury retrograde because whatever was going on in your life at that time, will likely resurface in some form so you can face that part of yourself again and continue to clear old unhealthy patterns. Sometimes it's so you can see yourself in a new light and see how you've grown since the last retrograde.
It can be a frustrating time for some people, especially if you are not willing to be honest with yourself and make necessary changes in your life, or if you are pushing and trying to make something happen when it's not time for it to happen. It could be that your flight gets delayed or cancelled, you buy a new cell phone and it’s a total dud, or your computer crashes. Basically it’s life not going according to ‘your’ plans. Try to remember something bigger is happening behind the scenes and you are ultimately not in charge even though you think you are!
This is not a time to make firm decisions, move forward on projects or plans, or sign legal documents or contracts. It can feel at times like we are pushing against a strong wind, so why not wait until the planet moves forward again, and have the wind CARRY us instead? When we insist on pushing forward at this time, we will often find out later that the paperwork couldn’t be completed because of some unforeseen circumstances, the contract or deal falls through, or new information is revealed that might have been important in our decision making process. It is also not a time to purchase a vehicle or electronic equipment of any kind as there are often issues that surface later with respect to that equipment or vehicle or it could be we just get a dud.
The best way to use this retrograde phase is to research a new project, or work on unfinished projects, reflect on life and recent situations, revise, review, relax, renegotiate a contract or situation, clear out the old things (personal patterns that aren't working anymore, emails, computer files, paperwork, closets, garage, vehicle) that no longer serve you in order to free up energetic space for the new to come in.
New information is often revealed to us by the end of this cycle, as there is likely something more to learn or release before moving forward on our path. People from our past will often times surface at this time. It’s a great practice to back up our computers before Mercury retrograde! Confirm travel itineraries prior to travelling and do be prepared to be patient should your travel end up cancelled or delayed. I’ve learned to roll with the travel delays over the years…I used to be SO anal!! Now I understand the universe can see ten steps ahead of me and I watch for new people I might meet or circumstances that transpire that I might have missed due to the delay. Maybe it’s there to teach us patience, maybe it’s there to save our ass. It’s best to trust those delays.
Personally I love Mercury retrograde!! I used to dread it when I owned and ran a travel agency though! Yikes. Although having an understanding of the energies of this cycle and keeping a sense of humor helped! When wires got crossed or computer systems went wonky, I could find some humor in it knowing full well that Mercury was behind it! Now I use this time to reflect, do a life review, watch what old stuff is coming up for me emotionally, and I put my energy into researching new projects or pulling out old unfinished projects. I also clean out old emails and outdated files on my computer. I am simply aware, and do a lot of deep breathing and practicing patience, all the while knowing full well that clarity and a time to take action awaits.
So? Mercury Retrograde, friend or foe? You decide.
"The several days before Mercury reverses direction are called the storm and it’s a good time to read what is going on in your life. The Mercury storm is like the tidal surge before a hurricane. It’s an experience that gives you information about what the ingredients of the retrograde period are likely to be.
Every Mercury retrograde has different ingredients, but some themes are more likely than others. Among the most prevalent paradigms is the discovery of that which has been concealed or otherwise escaped notice. The revelation of information is one of the fringe benefits of going back over the same ground.
p.s. Moon phase and mercury retrograde calendar can be found at www.astroprofile.com