Finding Answers Within, You Have All the Answers Within You - Today's DailyOM - 10/15/2012

October 15, 2012
Finding Answers Within
You Have All the Answers Within You
When you realize that you always have the answers within yourself, you can stop searching outside of yourself.

Many of us seek the answers to life’s questions by looking outside of ourselves and trying to glean advice from the people around us. But as each of us is unique, with our own personal histories, our own sense of right and wrong, and our own way of experiencing the world that defines our realities, looking to others for our answers is only partially helpful. The answers to our personal questions can be most often found by looking within. When you realize that you always have access to the part of you that always knows what you need and is meant to act as your inner compass, you can stop searching outside of yourself. If you can learn to hear, trust, and embrace the wisdom that lives within you, you will be able to confidently navigate your life.

Trusting your inner wisdom may be awkward at first, particularly if you grew up around people who taught you to look to others for answers. We each have exclusive access to our inner knowing. All we have to do is remember how to listen. Remember to be patient as you relearn how to hear, receive, and follow your own guidance. If you are unsure about whether following your inner wisdom will prove reliable, you may want to think of a time when you did trust your own knowing and everything worked out. Recall how the answers came to you, how they felt in your body as you considered them, and what happened when you acted upon this guidance. Now, recall a time when you didn’t trust yourself and the results didn’t work out as you had hoped. Trusting your own guidance can help you avoid going against what you instinctively know is right for you.

When you second guess yourself and go against what you know to be your truth, you can easily go off course because you are no longer following your inner compass. By looking inside yourself for the answers to your life’s questions, you are consulting your best guide. Only you can know the how’s and why’s of your life. The answers that you seek can be found when you start answering your own questions. 

Combating Emotional Vampires - From the Combatting Emotional Vampires On-Line Course 10/13/2012

October 13, 2012
Combating Emotional Vampires
From the Combating Emotional Vampires On-Line Course

by Dr. Judith Orloff 
The following is an excerpt from the "Combating Emotional Vampires" on-line course. If you would like to take the entire course, click here. 

Relationships are always an energy exchange. To stay feeling our best, we must ask ourselves: Who gives us energy? Who saps it? It's important to be surrounded by supportive, heart-centered people who make us feel safe and secure. It's equally important to pinpoint the emotional vampires, who, whether they intend to or not, leech our energy. 

To protect your sensitivity, it's imperative to name and combat these emotional vampires. They're everywhere: coworkers, neighbors, family, and friends. In Energy Psychiatry I've treated a revolving door of patients who've been hard-hit by drainers--truly a mental health epidemic that conventional medicine doesn't see. I'm horrified by how many of these "emotionally walking wounded" (ordinarily perceptive, intelligent individuals) have become resigned to chronic anxiety or depression. Why the blind spot? Most of us haven't been educated about draining people or how to emancipate ourselves from their clutches, requisite social skills for everyone desiring freedom. Emotional draining is a touchy subject. We don't know how to tactfully address our needs without alienating others. The result: We get tongue-tied, or destructively passive. We ignore the SOS from our gut that screams, "Beware!" Or, quaking in our boots, we're so afraid of the faux pas of appearing "impolite" that we become martyrs in lieu of being respectfully assertive. We don't speak out because we don't want to be seen as "difficult" or uncaring. 

Vampires do more than drain our physical energy. The super-malignant ones can make you believe you're an unworthy, unlovable wretch who doesn't deserve better. The subtler species inflict damage that's more of a slow burn. Smaller digs here and there can make you feel bad about yourself such as, "Dear, I see you've put on a few pounds" or "It's not lady-like to interrupt." In a flash, they've zapped you by prodding areas of shaky self-worth. 

This is my credo for vampires: Their antics are unacceptable; you must develop a successful plan for coping with them. I deeply believe in the merciful message of The Lord's Prayer to "forgive people their trespasses," but I'm also a proponent of preventing the unconscious or mean-spirited from trespassing against us. Taking a stand against draining people is a form of self-care and canny communication that you must practice to give your freedom legs. 

What turns someone into an emotional vampire? First, a psychological reason: children often reflexively mimic their parents' most unflattering traits. A self-absorbed father can turn you into a self-absorbed son. Early modeling has impact. Studies of Holocaust survivors reveal that many became abusive parents themselves. The second explanation involves subtle energy. I've observed that childhood trauma--mistreatment, loss, parental alcoholism, illness--can weaken a person's energy field. This energy leakage may condition those with such early wounds to draw on the vitality of others to compensate; it's not something most are aware of. Nevertheless, the effects can be extreme. Visualize an octopus-like tendril extending from their energy field and glomming onto yours. Your intuition may register this as sadness, anger, fatigue, or a cloying, squirrelly feeling. The degree of mood change or physical reaction may vary. A vampire's effects can stun like a sonic blast or make you slowly wilt. But it's the rare drainer that sets out to purposely enervate you. The majority act unconsciously, oblivious to being an emotional drain. 

Let me tell you the secret of how a vampire operates so you can outsmart one. A vampire goes in for the kill by stirring up your emotions. Pushing your buttons throws you off center, which renders you easier to drain. Of all the emotional types, empaths are often the most devastated. However, certain emotional states increase everyone's vulnerability. I myself am most susceptible to emotional vampires when I feel desperate, tired, or disempowered. Here are some others: 

  • Low self-esteem 
  • Depression 
  • A victim mentality 
  • Fear of asserting yourself 
  • Addiction to people-pleasing

    When encountering emotional vampires, see what you can learn too. It's your choice. You can simply feel tortured, resentful, and impotent. Or, as I try to do, ask yourself, "How can this interchange help me grow?" Every nanosecond of life, good, bad, or indifferent, is a chance to become emotionally freer, enlarge the heart. If we're to have any hope of breaking war-mongering patterns, we must each play a part. As freedom fighters, strive to view vampires as opportunities to enlist your highest self and not be a sucker for negativity. Then you'll leave smelling like a rose, even with Major-League Draculas.                                       
  • The Start of Change, Breaking Family Cycles - Today's DailyOM - 10/12/2012

    October 12, 2012
    The Start of Change
    Breaking Family Cycles
    Breaking the chains of family cycles can be done, and it only takes one person to step and take action.

    It is easy to believe that in leaving our childhood homes and embarking upon the journey of adulthood, we have effectively removed ourselves from harmful and self-perpetuating familial patterns. In looking closely at ourselves, however, we may discover that our behaviors and beliefs are still those that were impressed upon us during our youth by our parents, grandparents, and the generations that preceded them. We may find ourselves unconsciously perpetuating cycles of the previous generations, such as fear of having enough, not showing affection, and secrecy patterns. Yet the transmission of negative patterns from one generation to the next is not inevitable. It is possible to become the endpoint at which negative family cycles that have thrived for generations are exhausted and can exert their influence no longer. Breaking the pattern is a matter of overcoming those values imprinted upon us long ago in order to replace them with pure love, tolerance, and conscious awareness.

    Even if you have struggled with the cumulative effects of family cycles that were an expression of established modes of living and a reflection of the strife your ancestors were forced to endure, you can still liberate yourself from the effects of your family history. The will to divest yourself of old, dark forms of familial energy and carry forth a new loving energy may come in the form of an epiphany. You may one day simply realize that certain aspects of your early life have negatively affected your health, happiness, and ability to evolve as an individual. Or you may find that in order to transcend long-standing patterns of limiting beliefs, irrational behavior, and emotional stiltedness, you have to question your values and earnestly examine how your family has impacted your personality. Only when you understand how family cycles have influenced you can you gain freedom from those cycles.

    In order to truly change, you must give yourself permission to change. Breaking family patterns is in no way an act of defiance or betrayal. It is important that you trust yourself implicitly when determining the behaviors and beliefs that will help you overwrite the generation-based cyclical value system that limited your individual potential. Many people are on the earth at this time to break family cycles, for all of you are true pioneers. In breaking negative family cycles, you will discover that your ability to express your feelings and needs grows exponentially and that you will embark upon a journey toward greater well-being that can positively impact generations to come.

    The Upside of Irritation, Things that Annoy Us - Today's DailyOM - 10/11/2012

    October 11, 2012
    The Upside of Irritation
    Things that Annoy Us
    There will always be factors and people that we cannot control; how we respond can determine the quality of our lives.

    There are many stories of spiritual masters embracing the presence of an annoying student in their community. There is even one story that documents a teacher paying an irritating person to live among his students. From an everyday perspective, this is difficult to comprehend. We generally work hard to avoid people and things that we find annoying so they don’t bother us.

    From a deeper spiritual perspective, however, irritation can be an important teacher and indicator that we are making progress on our path. Being able to remain centered and awake even when we feel uncomfortable is much more impressive than doing so in an environment where everything is to our liking. No matter how good we are at controlling our circumstances, there will always be factors and people that we cannot control. How we respond to these experiences to a great degree determines the quality of our lives. The goal of spiritual development is not to learn to control our environment—which is more of an ego-driven desire. And while having some measure of control over our external reality is important, it is when we are confronted with a person or situation that irritates us and we can choose not to react that we know have made progress spiritually. It is when we have mastered our internal reality that we will have become the masters of our lives.

    The more we try to eliminate annoyances, instead of learning to handle them gracefully, the further we get from developing the qualities that come with spiritual growth, such as patience, tolerance, and acceptance. It is often in the presence of people and experiences we find annoying that we have an opportunity to develop these qualities. Fortunately for most of us, our lives offer an abundance of opportunities to practice and cultivate these traits. 

    Best Friends, A Warm Refuge - Today's DailyOM - 10/10/2012

    October 10, 2012
    Best Friends
    A Warm Refuge
    Our best friends are a warm refuge in which we feel free to be fully ourselves.

    By the time we reach adulthood, many of us have had the good fortune to have at least one best friend. If we have moved around or changed our life situation repeatedly, we may be lucky enough to have had several. The best friend relationship is often our earliest intimate peer relationship, and it can be a source of great warmth and connection throughout our lives. The details of best friendship change as we grow up and grow older, but the heart of it remains the same. Our best friends are a warm refuge in which we feel free to be fully ourselves, to share our deepest secrets, to rest when we are tired, to celebrate when we are happy—a place in which we feel utterly welcome to give and receive that most precious of all gifts, love.

    Most intimate relationships hit bumps from time to time, and one of the hallmarks of an enduring best friendship is its ability to ride out the turbulence and remain intact even as it faces changes. Our best friends are those who manage to love us through all of our transitions, as we do the same for them. We find ways to embrace and appreciate the differences that set us apart and offer love and support no matter what. We allow each other to be exactly as we are at a given moment, even as we allow each other to change over time. In this way, best friends sometimes feel like family. We know we will stick together regardless of where our individual paths lead.

    We may be on the phone with our best friends every day, or we may not have spoken for a year, yet we know that our bond will be strong and immediate when we do connect. This bond ties us together even when we are apart and draws us blissfully back into the warm refuge of each other’s company when our paths bring us together again.

    Animals in Nature, Messengers of Direction - Today's DailyOM - 10/9/2012's DailyOM - 10/9/2012

    October 9, 2012
    Animals in Nature
    Messengers of Direction
    Animals in nature always have a message for us, start noticing what animals show up in your life and when.

    Animals share our planet with us, but experience it differently—each has its own abilities and gifts that allow them to interact successfully with the natural world. Since we are merely one manifestation of the universe’s energy in action, when we feel the need for direction we can turn to animals in nature for guidance. Animals can show us different ways to approach and deal with our challenges.

    As we hold a question in mind, we can begin to pay attention to the animal activity around us. Staring out a window we may notice a bird soaring high in the sky, showing us how to look at our situation from a greater distance. If we don’t get an immediate answer, we can remember that the universe has its own perfect timing that doesn’t heed the ticking of the clock. Instead, we can release our question into the universe’s care, and then trust that an animal messenger will carry inspiration our way. In the meantime, we align ourselves with the universe’s rhythm—opening, humbling ourselves, and shifting our perceptions so that at the perfect time we will be ready. Then, even weeks later, the sight of a small bird hopping from branch to branch may signal for us to use a talent other than our greatest strength and to take small leaps rather than fly over details. A squirrel bounding across an open expanse of grass to stash its latest prize may remind us to check our favorite hiding places for forgotten treasure. Even if we don’t see actual animals, their representations may hold messages; whether we see them in a shape in the clouds, a picture, or a show on television, their symbolic meaning is the same.

    Animals are closer to the rhythms and cycles of nature and have fewer distractions from it than humans do. That is why they are the perfect messengers when we are in need of advice. Just by being themselves they remind us of the wisdom of the universe, and that all answers are available to us when we reconnect with our source and with those who know how to be nurtured by it. 

    Centered Stillness, Laughing Meditation - Today's DailyOM - 10/8/2012

    October 8, 2012
    Centered Silliness
    Laughing Meditation
    When we laugh, we give ourselves over to the immediacy of the present moment and transcend stress.

    Many people might be surprised to think of laughter as a form of meditation. Yet not only is laughing meditation one of the simplest forms of meditation, but also it is a very powerful one. The physical act of laughing is one of the few actions involving the body, emotions, and the soul. When we laugh, we give ourselves over to the immediacy of the present moment. We also are able to momentarily transcend minor physical and mental stresses. Practiced in the morning, laughing meditation can lend a joyful quality to the entire day. Practiced in the evening, laughing meditation is a potent relaxant that has been known to inspire pleasant dreams. Laughter also can help open our eyes to previously unnoticed absurdities that can make life seem less serious.

    There are three stages to mindful laughter. Each stage can last anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. The first stage involves stretching your body like a cat and breathing deeply. Your stretch should start at the hands and feet before you move through the rest of your body. Stretch out the muscles in your face by yawning and making silly faces. The second stage of the meditation is pure laughter. Imagine a humorous situation, remember funny jokes, or think about how odd it is to be laughing by yourself. When the giggles start to rise, let them. Let the laughter ripple through your belly and down into the soles of your feet. Let the laughter lead to physical movement. Roll on the floor, if you have to, and keep on laughing until you stop. The final stage of the meditation is one of silence. Sit with your eyes closed and focus on your breath.

    Laughter brings with it a host of positive effects that operate on both the physical and mental levels. It is also fun, expressive, and a way to release tension. Learn to laugh in the present moment, and you’ll find that joy is always there.