Tag Archives: consciousness

Self-Love: A Cliché? Or the Key to the Universe?

Tina Turner might have been speaking about the confusion love creates when falling for another, but love baffles even more people when they think about showing love to themselves. Admit it… can you even say to yourself that you love “you”?

I had an epiphany not too long ago. It seems silly to think that after almost twenty-eight years of providing mental health services that this notion only just recently arrived in my brain. I’ve spent countless hours talking to people about their chronic depression or anxiety, their ongoing and repeated bad (and sometimes abusive) relationships, their horrible self-esteem, their exhausting obsessive thoughts, their crippling body-image issues or concerns with over- or binge-eating, their immobilizing lack of assertiveness, their shattering hurt feelings, their relentless old habits, and so on. Whatever “broke” their spirit and souls, I was committed to helping them reclaim their lives. Throughout all of this work, if asked, I couldn’t even count the number of times I spoke to someone about self-love, itself.

My recent “ah ha” moment stopped me dead in my tracks. It dawned on me that every single concern or challenge a person struggles with throughout their experience of the human condition is related to a lack of self-love. And I mean EVERY single concern. Give that some thought…. What does everyone want most? To be loved and accepted. What do we lack the most within ourselves? Yep!… Love and acceptance.

marnws4After realizing this, I also realized that each emotional struggle or wound that exists stems directly from the fact that a person doesn’t love themselves. For over ten years, my mission has been to teach others about Soul Health, with the main concept pointing to our willingness to align the ten branches of the human condition with our souls in order to experience what I call “radiant living”. But can we really align our lives without self-love? Can we really sustain change and foster growth and evolution without accepting ourselves? The answer is a definitive “no”.

Research, in many ways, indicates that self-love enhances our overall health. Not only do studies show that self-acceptance improves satisfaction with life, they also show that self-compassion provides the motivation we need in order to change our lifestyle and maintain healthy behaviors such as getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and even success with smoking cessation. Other research indicates that self-compassion and acceptance reduces stress and can prevent procrastination because it helps us recognize the downside of an unhealthy behavior before we engage in something we might regret.

A study in the journal of Psychological Science confirmed that self-love can also help us to deal with adversity, showing that divorced individuals who spoke compassionately toward themselves were more able to recover from the separation than those who spoke with self-criticism. Reading this research and pondering my work with clients helped me refocus on the importance of self-love as a person evolves.  But an even bigger awareness shifted my approach to both working with clients and working my way through my own concerns within the human condition. Humor me for a moment….

Why do we repeat old patterns? Because we haven’t evolved beyond them. Why haven’t we evolved beyond them? Because we haven’t learned to—or are willing to love ourselves enough to do so. So, if you wonder why your life is in a vicious and unhealthy cycle, perhaps it is time to work on self-love.
For those who believe in reincarnation—the rebirth of a soul in a new body for the purpose of evolution—the concept of self-love also answers why our soul comes back for another round. You might want to consider your unfinished business or karma as a sign that your soul is missing out on a little (or a lot) of self-compassion. If we repeat old patterns because of a lack of self-love, it makes sense that on a bigger scale, we also repeat lives because we haven’t figured out that love has something to do with it… self-love, that is.

For you Beatles fans out there, I’m sorry to say that they forgot a verse to their song, “All You Need is Love”. The remake will have to include the key to the Universe—that self-love is the answer to all of life’s challenges. If you want to evolve beyond your old stuff, then get to work on loving yourself at least a little bit more today.

For more information about self-love, check out this article from Spirituality and Health Magazine, titled “Five Self-Love Exercises”.

How Emotions Help Us Evolve: Explaining the Karmic Connection

IMG_5321Do you embrace the times when you feel depressed?  Does sadness bring you down or pump you up?   Can anger be a good thing?  Is anxiety your friend or your foe?

Most people don’t like emotions.  They avoid them, stuff them down, and feel they make us weak when they arise.  However, emotions are the most definable part of the human condition.  While some animals do express some feeling, human beings have the privilege of experiencing the widest array of emotion.  We are also the most able to observe and process our emotions, regardless of whether we view that as a blessing or curse.

Stop to think for a moment about how emotions have changed your life.  Would you have learned whatever you were supposed to learn without them?   Would you have known that something was amiss if you didn’t experience the discomfort?  How did your emotions alert you to something that needed your attention?

Emotions help us to evolve.  They are the cue that something is misaligned in our lives and the alert that something needs our attention.  Without emotion we would not grow.

Embedded in our emotions are the lessons of life—the “karmic” opportunitiesFullSizeR to evolve.  Although many view emotions simply as a chemical imbalance, their impact for growth goes far deeper.  Karma is the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding fate for our future as well.  In other words, when explored, many people can see how they have grown from the challenges they have experienced in life.  Their “karma” is expressed and stimulated by their emotion(s), and once the lesson is learned and a new course of action is taken, the feeling dissipates.  Peace and contentment inevitably follow.

In my therapy practice, I’m constantly asking, “What do you think you are supposed to learn from this experience?”  While some resist the idea that something good can come from their situation, they soon realize that there is a great deal of empowerment in being able to consciously consider their circumstances, which allows them to heal and, better yet, evolve.  Once a person makes sense of their predicament, both their worrisome thoughts and emotions are put to rest.  This is conscious evolution.

How often do you dismiss your emotions?  How have you avoided them?  Do you allow your soul the time necessary to explore what the message might be behind your discomfort?

marnws4Soul Health is all about aligning each branch of your life in order to create and experience radiant living.  Emotions are simply a cue to act on something that is getting in the way of your sense of peace and balance.  Consider spending a few minutes each day assessing your emotions to help you identify what might need some attention in your life.  This investment of time will pay dividends in your ability to evolve in such a way that helps you reach your highest potential.  In doing this, you will resolve any karma that may be urging you to grow and you will “graduate” to the next level of enjoying the human condition.  In this way, emotions are just the cue—you are the agent of change.

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.

Prescription for Closure of 2016 and a Vibrant 2017

dec1

Many of you are familiar with my “Prescription for Soul Health” that comes at the end of each year. I have participated in this process for decades and wouldn’t be where I am without a conscious dedication to both clearing out/releasing the past and setting clear and conscious intentions for the future.

Here’s your Prescription for Soul Health:

First, take some time to evaluate your year to determine whether you evolved in the way or pace that you wished. Note what is “same, different, better, or worse” than at this time last year. Consider what you could have done differently, what you did well, and what you would like to add or change for the next year.

Second, make a list of all of the things you’d like to dec2let go of from this year, including the thoughts that no longer serve you, the habits that get in the way of your growth, the beliefs about yourself, others, or the world that inhibit your evolution, and anything else that you know you need to change or eliminate in your life in order to move forward unencumbered.

Third, set a time/date before December 31st in which you will burn this list. Create a ceremony or ritual around this sacred burning so that you can mindfully and intentionally commit to letting go of the items on this list. Consider also burning and releasing old journals or diaries that hold negativity or difficult memories. Although many believe these documents are parts of history to be maintained, these items also contain the sometimes painful energy behind many difficult events and eras in life. Perhaps it is time to release the energy behind these events so that you can consciously evolve beyond them.

dec4Fourth, spend some time before the end of the year cleaning out your home—remove items that no longer interest or serve you. Clean out clutter and excess material objects. All of this extra “stuff” energetically impedes our growth and slows down the flow of evolution. Go room by room and attempt to remove at least one or two items that you no longer need or want. Once removed from the home, you will inevitably feel lighter and less weighted down.

Fifth, consider setting a “theme” for 2017 that will guide dec5your evolution. New Year’s resolutions and most goals fade within the first couple weeks, but setting a theme can last the full 365 days. Once set, you can weave in endless ways to work on your theme so that this becomes part of your framework and foundation by the end of the year. For instance, a theme of self-love might entail daily affirmations, periodic pampering sessions, healthy behaviors, and more—all to be incorporated as an investment in that aspect of your soul health. (The options are endless!)

dec6Sixth, on December 31st, pause long enough to acknowledge that the year is coming to an end and that you are consciously committing to your growth in 2017.

Finally, on January 1st, take a few dec7minutes (or more!) to celebrate the  opportunity for a new year of evolution in whatever way(s) you choose. Your commitment to consciousness and your intentionality in following through are the most important ingredients in your prescription for Soul Health.

Get to work on your evolution! Do one thing every day that will contribute to your growth and evolution. Get creative, and you’ll see the results on a daily basis.

Remember, evolution takes time. By choosing to consciously evolve, we ensure our radiant health and overall life satisfaction. See what your prescription for health will bring to you by this time next year!

The Light of Consciousness

(Taken from Chapter 4 of Soul Health: Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living)

11 Nov picReaching radical consciousness of emotions means you are mastering the language of your soul. You have earned your advanced degree in understanding the human condition and consciously committing to your evolution. Strangely enough, once you get the hang of it, the work not only becomes easier, but also more light-hearted and amusing along the way. You learn to laugh with your soul each time you see that you are reacting to your old habits of the human condition. You give yourself a break and move through difficult emotions much more quickly and easily.

Which do you want—to heal a wound or to evolve beyond it? Even the question elicits a radiant response! There is something inexplicably exciting about feeling like you can outgrow your old skin. There is an energy behind it—a momentum—that once begun doesn’t want to stop. This is the soul’s radiance urging you toward your evolution.

Emotions carry energy. And because everything around us consists of energy at the most basic level, it stands to reason that we are most attracted to things that make us feel light. Moths to a flame are drawn to an external light they seek as their own, and die in the pursuit of reaching it. We, however, are able to pursue our inner light, and our emotions are nothing more than a signal pointing the way to find it. But unfortunately, we get mired in the human condition and buried in our emotions instead of using them to find and return to our inner radiance. We all know people who emit a simple yet desirable brightness or light. Much like the moth, we are instinctively drawn to these individuals and want to catch a bit of what they seem to have and that which we seem to lack. This light is for our taking, but we must find it within ourselves.

In essence, we are all beings of light.We are meant to emit brighter and brighter radiance if we allow ourselves. This happens only if we evolve, and we evolve only if we use the voice of our soul to do so. If we do not, our lights dim and we just fizzle out. There is no more light and no sign of growth.

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

 

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)