Tag Archives: awareness

Evolving Through the Seasons

As you likely know by now, I’m a bit stuck on the word “evolution”.  Even as a young child, I was almost obsessed with how things grew and couldn’t get enough of Darwin’s theory of evolution.  My mother humored me with these passions, allowing me to grow carrots in a wheelbarrow that she dubbed as my personal garden. marnws2 “Specimens” from my prized crop (carrots that were about 2 inches long….) remained in the freezer until they could no longer manage the elements.

I will never tire of talking about evolution.  While I’ve moved on from growing miniature produce, I will forever immerse myself in learning new ways to help others expand their souls to their highest potential.

Conscious evolution is just that—becoming and remaining conscious of how we can best grow, then taking action to make change a reality.  While scientists say that the human body has evolved about as much as it is going to, our soul’s evolution is infinite.  What does this mean for you and I?  It means that, if desired, we can continue to grow beyond our everyday challenges so that we thrive throughout every moment of life.  By aligning our lives with the needs of our soul, we can reach radiant living—or at least create a much more joyful and content experience of the human condition.

marnws3Evolution is a process.  It requires patience, perseverance, and commitment.  That’s why I can’t provide an answer when clients ask me how long it will take to complete therapy.  For those who believe in reincarnation, as will be discussed in future newsletters, evolution of the soul is clearly an ongoing development.  We are presented with lessons throughout each lifetime to help us learn and evolve, sometimes repeating patterns until we outgrow certain circumstances or dynamics.  In the case of this lifetime, our evolution is still up to us.

As cliché as it might sound, awareness really is the first step.  If there is something that you want to outgrow, whether it be an unhealthy habit, an old relationship pattern, or a thought or feeling that no longer serves you, we must first become aware of this imperfection, identify any obstacles to change, then take steps to get our evolution underway.

My Soul Health Model provides the blueprint to radiant living, but remember that evolution is a slow process that requires us to make a conscious marnws4commitment to our infinite growth.

As a gift to you, I invite you to sit back, relax, and take yourself on a journey to your soul’s evolution by watching the visual meditation offered below.  Allow yourself to gently explore the growth you have already witnessed, as well as ponder the change that is yet to come.  I hope you enjoy your journey— feel free to forward this meditation to anyone you know who also needs a gentle nudge on their path to evolution.

Living a “Love Conscious” Life

feb2There is no better time than the present to explore the idea of love consciousness. You’ve likely heard me mention this concept before, but I want to take the time to explain more deeply what it means, because it pertains to all of us—especially as you consider Soul Health.

Our human condition creates much turmoil, judgment, and criticism. It is estimated that American adults have approximately 60,000 thoughts a day, with two-thirds of these as negative thoughts about ourselves or others. That is nearly 40,000 unpleasant or unkind thoughts that pass through our brains each day! It is impossible to align with ourselves on our path to radiant living when we constantly question or berate ourselves or those around us.

heart pupil in eyeThe definition of consciousness is the “awareness by the mind of itself and the world”, while “an intense feeling of affection” defines love. Therefore, love consciousness can be defined as an awareness of loving affection toward oneself and the world”. Because all emotions lead to either love or fear, it is reasonable to assume that, today, the vast majority of folks live through fear consciousness rather than through love.

Let me explain this idea through two personal examples: For years, I have been frustrated and dismayed by the nature of other drivers. Admittedly, I had been known to curse when someone would cut me off, drive too slowly in the fast lane, or suddenly slam on their brakes. Each situation would frustrate the heck out of me and would cause my blood to boil. I’m certainly not perfect, but I do tend to take into consideration the safety and needs of others. Because I wanted to change my reaction, I now try to send these same drivers many heart in tree barkblessings and good thoughts to wish them safe travels instead of letting them ruin my day—and my blood pressure. Although I still occasionally catch myself becoming irritated, I quickly shift my thoughts to something more positive.

Another example is learning not to take personally someone else’s negative intentions. Everyone experiences the darkness of others’ moods and actions, making it difficult to engage in healthy conversation and relationship. At one time, I would take this terribly personally, but now I try to remain intensely aware that other peoples’ actions, statements, and beliefs all come from their own personal experiences, perceptions, beliefs, and most importantly, their wounds. Although challenging, remaining in love consciousness helps me to release these misgivings and use discernment to decide which situations and relationships are healthy enough to maintain. This is done without judgment, which enhances my own soul health by remaining positive and loving toward myself and others.

So how can you live a more “love conscious” life?  Consider the following:

Listen to your thoughts. Pay attention to the messages you send to yourself and others. How many of them are negative? Do these enhance or diminish feb5your soul health? Are they based in fear—or love?

Remember that “junk in” always equals “junk out”. So if you fill yourself with negative thoughts, your life and overall health will be tainted. Also, remember that negative thoughts toward others are always fear-based. So, judging or being critical of others always sends an energetic slingshot back in your direction.

feb6Observe your reactions and turn them into responses. When we react, it is usually an unconscious activity. It happens automatically and usually without awareness of our impact on others. However, when we observe ourselves more deeply, we are more able to respond out of love and awareness, regardless of which of our buttons might have been pushed. Love consciousness allows us to quickly take into consideration the impact we will have on others, as well as prevent any unnecessary hurt to ourselves and those around us.

feb7Vow to yourself that you will change your old ways.  Make a promise to love, honor, and cherish yourself as much as you might another person.  Dedicate your life to living more positively by eliminating all negative thoughts and judgments toward yourself and others.  As a result, your soul health will be greatly enhanced, not only by nourishing and nurturing your inner ally, but also by engaging more positively with those around you

feb8Examine and Evolve beyond your old ways. Consciousness requires us to examine our actions and assess a need for change. Love asks us to respond in a loving and affectionate way. Conscious evolution is all about widening the lens enough to recognize when we need to outgrow old patterns that are diminishing our soul health. When we live through love, we consciously commit to a life that will lead us down the path of radiant living.

Many years ago, a wise woman pointed out to me that dog spelled backwards is “god”. As many of us know, dogs are the most loving creatures on Earth. I don’t know about yours, but mine seem to be far more love conscious than most people I know. Perhaps February should be deemed “dog month”, as we have much to learn from these amazingly loving and unconditional creatures. Next time you catch yourself sending a negative message, ask “What would Emmy or Chloe do?”  No doubt, you’ll learn love.

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Social Health: Soul to Soul Relations

(Taken from Chapter 5 of Soul Health: Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living)

We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth. ~~ George Bernard Shaw

09 Sept picHumans are pack animals—we are meant to be with people. No matter how “independent” we think we are, we still depend on those around us for at least some things, and we obviously wouldn’t have been brought into the world without the help of others. In most cases we could not survive, let alone thrive without the help of parents or other caregivers, teachers, friends, neighbors, pets, and others. What makes the world go around is our connection with others and the sense of community we receive through these interactions.

All of our relationships can have a direct impact on soul healthIf I were to guess, I’d say nearly 90 percent of people come to therapy because of their relationships with others in their lives. Depression, anxiety, grief, adjustment, low self-esteem, job stress, body image, weight-related concerns, physical injuries, traumatic events, anger management, abuse, and even some ongoing physical health concerns can be attributed to either present-day interactions with others or to the ideas, values, or beliefs we were taught as children.

The social branch of soul health encompasses all the relationships we have in our lives. This chapter discusses the many types of connections we have with other people, not only those close to us, but also others we may see less frequently—store clerks, dry cleaners, mail carriers, receptionists, pharmacists, manicurists, massage therapists, hair stylists, and even coffee baristas. Many people, including me, also consider pets and other animals to be significant contributors to our overall social health. No matter how connected we are to those who appear regularly in our lives, they are all part of our personal flock.

(To read further, purchase Soul Health: Aligning With Spirit for Radiant Living at www.drkatherinetkelly.com, www.amazon.com, or www.barnesandnoble.com)

Physical Health—From Basic Needs to Body Language

(Taken from Chapter 3 of Soul Health: Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living)

You don’t have a soul.  You are a soul.  You have a body.  ~ C.S. Lewis

07 July picHealth is a deeply personal thing. From the common cold to chronic illness, every physical ailment has an impact on how we experience the human condition. Any indication that we are not well threatens the quality or duration of our existence, and, more seriously, it affects the core of our being—our soul. Our health is multidimensional; it involves each and every aspect of our lives, which, cannot help but suffer along with the body. When we are ill, we often feel down emotionally. Our relationships suffer, and in some cases we lose them. Our jobs may be jeopardized, we neglect our surroundings, struggle to find or maintain inner peace (which may go out the window altogether), lose sexual interest, perhaps lose money as well, and certainly are not in the right frame of mind for good fun and leisure.

In 1955, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit priest and philosopher, wrote in Le Phénomène Humain (The Human Phenomenon) that “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” And there is nothing more human than our physical bodies. They may be finished evolving, but they are necessary to the soul’s continued evolution.

People spend an inordinate amount of money each year not only on health and physical fitness products, but on beauty products as well, which demonstrates the value they place on the state and appearance of their bodies. However, this focus on the physical body often ignores other aspects of overall well-being. This chapter explains the complex effects that our physical health can have on all branches of our vitality and illustrates how our body’s health reflects the health of our soul.

(To read further, purchase Soul Health: Aligning With Spirit for Radiant Living at www.drkatherinetkelly.com, www.amazon.com, or www.barnesandnoble.com)

Sacred Finance

(Taken from Chapter 9 of Soul Health: Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living)

Man cannot be satisfied by wealth. ~~ Katha Upanishad

There is nothing sacred about money itself—sacredness lies in the meaning we ascribe to it. Often it is in having less, not more, that we build the platform on which our souls can grow.

08 Aug picIn his book , Sacred Economics, Charles Eisenstein outlines the history of money as well as the influence money has had on our overall sense of separation from ourselves, each other, and the world at large. Eisenstein writes about how communities of the world have become fractured by getting lost in concepts of money, and points out how money, rather than an inner life, has become the focal point for most people. He emphasizes that both the meaning and power of money have morphed into ends in their own right rather than the means of supplementing growth and consciousness.

Another author, Lynne Twist, provides a philosophical view of money through the eyes of both the rich and the poor. Her book, The Soul of Money, offers a broad view concerning ideas about scarcity, prosperity, abundance, and success. She interviews everyone from Mother Teresa, who dedicated her life to aiding the poor,  to others who are vastly wealthy. In her work as a global fundraiser, she has woven her experiences into her writing and captured the essence of everyone’s longing for financial security.

Both books offer views that can be helpful in developing your own financial well-being and applying it to soul health.

(To read further, purchase Soul Health: Aligning With Spirit for Radiant Living at www.drkatherinetkelly.com, www.amazon.com, or www.barnesandnoble.com)

Joyful Soul

(Taken from Chapter 12 of Soul Health:  Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living)

Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. ~ Norman Cousins

06 June picI have long lost track of how many people have entered my psychotherapy office bringing with them their sorrows, but leaving behind any sense of joy. They have lost their enjoyment and feel as if their zest for life has completely disappeared. When asked, few can say what used to make them smile, let alone remember the last time they really laughed. When I ask what they do for fun, the all-too-common answer is “nothing.” Certainly, when people are anxious, depressed, grief-stricken, stressed, or in any other state of turmoil, their experiences of joy are rare. But reacquainting with what brings them joy is guaranteed to free them from the gravity of any challenging circumstance or situation.

Our soul is nothing without joy. Without joy we are void of all light that reminds us why we live. In times when the human condition has us in its darkened grip, our experience of joy is less tangible, and so is our connection with our soul. We cannot see as clearly how to make decisions that suit our wisest ally, and we often go further off track rather than closer to our inner wisdom. Consequently, it’s not unusual for people who are distressed to report that they no longer know who they are, as their despair further disconnects them from their soul.

Our sense of joy—or lack of one—, thus, serves as another measure of our soul health. Our sense of joy is much like the pilot light for our inner ally—as long as it is lit we are still experiencing at least some pleasure in life and are able to tolerate the darker sides of the human condition. However, when that light is dim or snuffed out, nothing seems to matter—not even oneself. Therefore, awareness of what brings us joy is of utmost importance to our overall health. Essayist Logan Smith notes, “If you are losing your leisure, look out; you may be losing your soul.” Indeed, our souls do define us; and if we don’t listen to them, we will never find our way back home to this inner ally. More tragic is the risk of losing who we really are.

Joy stems both from the fun and leisure we create06 June pic2 in our lives and from the meaning we place on the activities we choose for recreation. Individual recreational needs may differ as widely as the people on the planet do. What we all have in common, though, is that fun and leisure not only buffers the unpleasant aspects of our human condition, but also fortifies or feeds the soul.

The recreational branch of soul health relates to both the fun and the leisure we allow, invite, or create in our lives. There is a difference between the two, though. We experience fun through “acting playfully”—reacting in a light-hearted, humorous, or jesting manner —at home, work, or social situations. Leisure time, however, allows us to find respite from our responsibilities—personal and professional—which usually represent the heavier aspects of our human condition. Both fun and leisure are necessary in fortifying our soul and promoting its evolution.

Unfortunately, most people don’t make or take time for fun and leisure. In a 2010 survey, an online travel agency found that only 38 percent of Americans use all of the vacation time they were allotted. This may not be surprising, given the standards for long hours of work in this country; however, the physical and emotional cost may outweigh the praise we get for the long hours worked. In fact, there is often a direct impact on physical health when people don’t take time to relax. One researcher found that people who don’t take time to slow down from daily life may find it harder to relax in the future since the neural pathways that produce feelings of calm and peacefulness become weaker, making it increasingly more difficult to shift to less stressful states of being. This demonstrates that our bodies are indeed restored when we are at rest or at play—and that this is necessary in sustaining our well-being.

(To read further, purchase Soul Health: Aligning With Spirit for Radiant Living at www.drkatherinetkelly.com, www.amazon.com, or www.barnesandnoble.com)

 

Intellectual/Occupational Health: Conscious Cognitions

(Taken from Chapter 7 of Soul Health: Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living)

The soul becomes dyed by the color of its thoughts. ~~ Marcus Aurelius

05 May picThe human species is known for its brain. It is the central processing unit that most defines us as human, and yet it eludes its researchers’ full understanding. Scientists remain both baffled and amazed by not only its inherent capabilities, but also by its power of adaptation. Although some species exhibit certain levels of conscious thought, we hold the bar for advanced cognitive processing.

Our ability to think is essential in the work force. According to the American Time Use Survey, U.S. citizens spend more time working (8.6 hours) than they do sleeping (7.6 hours). Work occupies nearly 60 percent of our waking hours, though many spend much longer hours at their jobs. Clearly, if one is unsatisfied, overwhelmed, or simply bored with their work, their soul health will inevitably suffer.

Life presents many other opportunities to think, solve problems, and reflect on ideas, actions, and beliefs. Students, retired people, stay-at-home parents, avid readers, volunteers, and those who explore creative or artistic talents also pursue mentally stimulating activities to enhance soul health.

Our intellectual and occupational health includes our pursuit of creating and maintaining an intellectually stimulating life— it is our human quest for knowledge and skill. Although for many this does, in fact, include a job or career, this branch of health also describes our ability to develop or maintain a strong cognitive capacity. Our intellectual health depends on mental stimulation, a curiosity and drive to learn, a willingness and ability to engage in effective and conscious thought processing, intellectual clarity and adaptability, the insight necessary to integrate our perceptions of the world, the assimilation of new concepts, exercise and maintenance of memory, and the ability to reason between right and wrong. Simply put, whether we are mentally over-stimulated or bored to tears, our level of intellectual health can affect our overall experience of soul health.

What do you do to enhance your cognitive abilities? 05 May pic2What keeps you sharp? What challenges your brain? What dulls it? When are you the most curious or interested in something? When are you the most bored? What helps you to think clearly? And what serves to distract you? How does creativity affect your life?

While knowledge is the ultimate human quest, we must also remember that knowledge also allows our souls to evolve. As we expand our minds-learn and grow as human beings- our souls expand as well. This is especially true within the context of consciousness—and even more so when we become “radical” in its pursuit. Those who become increasingly conscious about how they are living their lives open themselves to the greatest opportunities for evolution. This 3-D method of living— the ability to recognize a depth of meaning beyond what is right in front of you — allows the human condition to become our classroom.  In other words, we can learn to be more conscious about how we can best learn! Thus, our soul’s quest for growth depends greatly on how we consciously use our brains to evolve.

For more information, take a look at my recent video which shares more about the importance of “conscious cognitions”.  https://youtu.be/T2wJZpKKmOE