Tag Archives: friendship

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)

Family Relations and the Soul

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

Your soul is a dark forest. But the trees are of a particular species, they are genealogical trees. ~Marcel Proust

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A standard joke for many people is that they tolerate family holidays so that they can enjoy the rest of the year. Once we arrive in this world, we are generally stuck with the families into which we were born. In cases of neglect, abuse, or some other tragedy, this may not be the case. Whether we have a large or small family, one or more parents (including step-parents, adoptive parents, or foster parents), siblings (including step-siblings and half-siblings), grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins, the influence family has on us—both positive and negative—is lifelong. Research clearly indicates that a sense of a healthy family community not only extends our lifespan, but also contributes to better overall health and wellness.

Like many things in our evolving life, family structure has changed significantly over the last several decades. “Family” has come to mean different things to different people. The following list is a compilation of descriptions for family from several sociologists:

Nuclear Family—the previously traditional idea of family: husband, wife, and one or more                 biological or adopted children.

Single-Parent Family—one parent with one or more biological or adopted children.

Blended Family—a couple and one or more children from previous relationships.

Common Law—a couple who is not officially married but have lived together long enough to meet criteria for legal partnership; may or may not have children.

Childless Family—a married or unmarried couple without children.

Extended Family—includes, along with one or more parents and their children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and all other blood relatives; may or not live in the same household.

Gay Family—same-sex couples who may or may not have children, and may be legally married.

Because of our changing times, many people now have an even broader idea of what family means to them. Close friends, spiritual communities, and pets are now often considered part of a person’s family depending on how the individuals define the term for themselves.

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

Over the Edge: When the Human Condition Wins (Sept. 30)

Those who read this blog know that it’s been more than a rough patch for me lately.  From December 26th of 2014 until now, it feels like I’ve faced one challenge or loss after another:  everything from unexpected (and large!) car, home, and pet expenses, an extremely busy and stressful work schedule, and somewhat alarming health concerns (for someone whose doctor has always thought she had a boring health record), to the loss of 2 beloved pets in the spring and summer and most recently, my mother just a month ago,   For the most part, I’ve weathered it well and many are surprised to see how I seem to be effectively managing the stress and grief despite what the human condition has thrown my way.  That is, until about an hour ago.

house fireI received a text message from my best friend from Colorado saying, “This is what I had to deal with at 11:45 last night.”  The text included the picture to the left, which clearly shows a house fire with a car in the garage right next to the flames.  I sat looking at the picture… jaw dropped, stunned, confused… but realizing that she must be ok because 1) I didn’t hear otherwise sooner, and 2) she was texting me this as if it was an everyday event.  Of course, I immediately called her.

She told me that she had arrived home from a volleyball game around 8:30 p.m., did some nightly chores, talked to her sister around 10:50, then went to bed.  She awoke around 11:30 to her home alarm sounding, but because in her previous home the alarm would get tripped by the slightest thing, she just laid there wondering what had triggered the system.  After a few moments of listening for intruders, she made her way down the stairs to turn off her alarm.  Just as she reached the control panel, she heard something in her garage, went to open the door, and was met by a wall of flames.  She immediately closed the door, rushed upstairs to get her work and home cell phones, then ran out the front door to call 911.  Luckily, there is a fire station just down the road and 3 fire trucks, an ambulance, and various police officers arrived on the scene.

Being that she moved into this newly-build home in June, she was having some work done on the interior to make it more her own.  The contractors apparently left some flammable solvents in a trash can, which spontaneously combusted, sending flames throughout her garage.  The right side of her the SUV she bought just last year was melted, windows were shattered, and her garage door opener was singed, causing the door to open on its own, but then was burned as the flames swept up toward the ceiling.

The good news is that my friend is ok, other than a bit of her own shock, and likely post-traumatic stress from having escaped a situation that could have been much worse.  Given that her bedroom is upstairs, had the fire alarm not been triggered, she would have likely been trapped or worse, she would have died of smoke inhalation before she ever knew what had happened.

Although I would have wanted to support my friend sooner, if she had called me to tell me what happened, it likely would have sent me over the edge.  I think she knew that.

VZM.IMG_20150430_225626She and I had some deep heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul talks when I was home for my mom’s funeral.  I’ve known her since I was 14 years old, and she knows me better than anyone, including my biological family.  She has been through the good, the bad, and the ugly of the human condition with me—and me through hers.  Her sister died 9 months before my dad did in 1990, we cried our way through college and graduate school together, we shared each other’s heartbreaks with relationships, we fretted about job and career issues at the same time, we traveled to different countries and many states together, we’ve moaned about the state of the world together, we listen to each other’s frustrations with health and aging, we’ve joked with each other about our gray hair emerging, etc.  If there ever was a soul sister, she is most certainly one of them.

After my mom’s funeral, she and I just sat and talked… both about memories I had of mom, but also of how life had changed, looking and feeling different almost instantaneously, even though I couldn’t quite explain how.  In the midst of the conversation, I said, “Promise me that you won’t die anytime soon.”  She just looked at me and smiled… but this turned out to be a premonition that was too close for comfort.

Like many, my mom always said that God wouldn’t hand us anything more than what we could handle.  But enough is enough.  I honestly think I would have lost my footing on this one.

No one knows how much they can handle.  And no one knows until it’s already happening, whatever “it” is.  But once again, consciousness bit me in the tuckus, making me realize that despite the fact that worse was already worse, the human condition can dole out yet another dose.  Although my friend is apparently getting a reality check of her own, my new awareness is one of gratitude.  When life doesn’t seem like it can get worse, it can.

When you take even one moment for granted, the universe knows. Yet another reminder that consciousness requires constant attention.

Awakened, Alive, and Awestruck in the Andes, Part III – A Guide to Home

Given the previous two blog entries about my trips to Peru, you can see that my adventures go far beyond the physical.  I didn’t know this would happen until I went the first time, but now I expect a widening of experience and a deepening of connection, both with myself and the land.

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After I returned from my second trip in 2011, I began talking more with a close friend about her own interests in visiting Machu Picchu.  As it turned out, she began remembering brief glimpses of scenery that she had never seen in published pictures, but ones that I had captured during my first trip there.  She described certain scenes and I produced images that matched what she had seen during meditations and energy sessions.  As we talked, we came to realize that our connection went beyond our friendship in this lifetime and dated back to my memories of having been a priestess several centuries prior.  Her own memories included images of being an Incan warrior, which explained her strong need to protect me in this lifetime.  When we first met in 2005, we had no idea that any of this would unfold.

We decided to plan a trip for 2013, but various things stopped our journey.  Because we both have a great deal of trust in the Universe, we knew it just wasn’t the right time.  However, once summer of 2014 rolled around, we knew we needed to make our move.  Everything went smoothly in planning, which affirmed our aspirations to go, but we also realized that, once again, this was more than a simple adventure.

15Throughout the summer, we talked and pondered what might take place and what we were going there to do.  My friend is a energy healer and through a couple sessions, several in-depth conversations, and a few meditations of my own, I started gaining clarity that we were to return to Machu Picchu to finish what we had started so many years ago.  We were there to help the mass consciousness make the shift from fear-based living into one of a more enriched and desirable love consciousness.

Anyone who has kept up with spiritual literature understands that there is a major shift going on in our world—one that is far overdue, and one that is very much needed in order to restore our planet to a more cohesive and amiable way of living.  You see, hundreds of years ago, a shift occurred that instilled fear as the main element of human life—causing discord, disconnection, wars, and hatred of all sorts.  That was the point in time when true love—unconditional, nonjudgmental love—became a thing of the past.  But despite what one might say by watching the news, the shift is occurring and many people are being called to re-instill loving consciousness in their own ways to create a collective “oneness” once again.

Although we knew this was our mission, we had little idea what we were supposed to do.  We had both collected some prayers and rituals common to the Peruvian culture, but until we visited Machu Picchu, we were unsure how the ceremony would transpire.

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When we arrived in the Crystal City, I realized that the ruins were partitioned off differently than two years prior.  Apparently, due to unruly tourists, the paths previously taken had now been re-organized to guide visitors through the ruins and sacred temples in such a way that you must follow a designated path instead of roaming freely.  We walked through all of the ruins of Machu Picchu, stopping at the Guard House, Inti Watana (sacred pyramid), the Condor Temple, the Royal Residence, the single tree in the plaza, the Artisan’s Wall and all other sacred temples throughout this amazing ancient city.

Although the guided paths didn’t keep us from visiting the parts of the ruins that we felt we must, it did create a bit of a maze-like journey to our main destination, the Sun Temple.  Once at this temple, we paused as we faced the tomb held within.  This moment proved to be the key to opening our awareness for what we needed to do the next day, but also served as confirmation that we were there for the right reasons.  As I stood facing the tomb, I became overwhelmed with emotion and started crying.  My friend came and stood to my right and placed her hand on my shoulder.  Soon after this, I glanced up toward the wall of the entrance to the tomb and saw our confirmation—a giant heart-shaped stone embedded in the wall, just above three steps that had been carved as part of the incredible structure.  46 I gasped and pointed to what I saw, and she too, was stricken with the awareness that we were in the right place—and apparently at the right time to complete our mission.  In my previous two trips to this sacred city I had stood exactly in that same spot but never noticed the heart-shaped stone.  However, on this third trip, it was clear that I was supposed to come face to face with that essential feature of the Incan artistry to solidify our mission.  (The three steps located just below the tip of the heart represent the underworld, the present world, and the upper world—the ascension process.  And because the tip of the heart meets the tip of the top stair, we realized it represented the ascension back to love.  Our mission was both blessed and confirmed.)

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Once we were able to compose ourselves, the clarity came for what we were there to do.  We spent about 20 minutes laying out the plans for arriving at dawn the next day, calling the mountain spirits (the Apus, as the Incans called them), saying some Peruvian and Incan blessings, then moving near the tree in the plaza to complete our call to the Universe to re-instill the love consciousness.

We awoke the next morning and did just as we planned.  The interesting part was that no one questioned what we were doing and no one interrupted our ceremony.   Although we had onlookers, it felt completely natural to do our work as if it were a daily task that had always been done.

56 At one point during the ceremony,  we were both overcome at the magnificence of the view above the Sacred Valley.  The clouds were extraordinarily beautiful and the sun broke through at just the right time and created a heart as the light bathed the crystal city.  Because we were in the middle of the ceremony we didn’t stop to take pictures.  But once we had completed our task, we were once again blessed with flowing images of clouds, mist, and sunlight and at that time we were able to snap a few pictures.

Our job that day was complete, but our work never ends.  I know others around the world who have been called to summon the love energy as well, both in the Andes and in many other corners of our planet.  I know we were blessed to be called to do our work that day, but I feel more blessed that I am one of many who are working together to bring our consciousness back to where it belongs—reinstating  the love energies so that our souls can grow and evolve.

Once again, I’m called to return to Peru.  But this time I am called to lead others “home”.  In creating and planning the Awakened, Alive, and Awestruck in the Andes Soul Health Journey, (see   http://www.drkatherinetkelly.com/peru2015.html ), I worked with Jorge Luis Delgado, the shaman I traveled with on my first two trips, to combine the best of both journeys into one trip.  As the itinerary was set, I began to understand that this was not simply a trip, it was once again something bigger.   While I once led an ancient population away from the Crystal City for safety as the country was being invaded by the Spaniards, I will now lead people back home to experience their own awakening.

I am honored to be a part of others’ journey to this home away from home.  Magic and awe guaranteed.

Soul-to-Soul Connections: The Power of Friendship

IMG_0729Friendship is priceless when it comes to creating soul health.  Numerous studies indicate how physical health is improved by having close relationships with even just a few people.  While biological family members may play key roles in our day-to-day lives, it is often our entire social network, or “soul family”, that brings us the most comfort and joy.

Although friends have always been important to me, it wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that I came to understand the different roles that they play—and these distinctions have stuck with me ever since.  At the time, I never really considered that different types of friendships existed, but since then many authors have offered descriptions that I now use with others to help them understand these key roles.

In their book Rethinking Friendship, authors Liz Spencer and Ray Pahl provide the following types of friendly connections:

Associates—those who share common activities like hobbies and sports;

Useful Contacts—those who share information and advice whether for career or other purposes;

Favor Friends—those who help each other in a functional, but not an emotional manner;

Fun Friends—those who socialize together but don’t offer deep emotional support;

Helpmates—friends who offer both favors and fun but little emotional support;

Comforters—similar to helpmates, but with some emotional support;

Confidants—those who share personal information with each other but aren’t always in a position to offer practical help (i.e., if they live far away);

Soul Mates—those who display all of the elements listed above.

Although different people might define friendships in different ways, the common denominator is that friends help us to feel that we are not alone in life.  In fact, many feel as if their friends are just as—or more important—in defining who they are as an individual than any other relationship.  In this way, our friends become part of our “soul family”, influencing, supporting, and teaching us in ways that we cannot deny the essential roles that they play.  As Aristotle says, “A true friend is one soul in two bodies”, which indicates the power of having a close connection with another human being.

The social branch of soul health emphasizes the need to have others in our lives.  These soul-to-soul relationships ensure that we travel through life with like-minded others, enhancing each other’s experiences as we grow and evolve.  In urging others to build strong relations, I emphasize the following three words:

  • Connectivity—identifying and taking part in mutually appreciated bonding activities, which enhance the connection between one soul and another;
  • Intentionality—taking steps to deliberately and purposefully interact with one another; and
  • Explicicity” (yes, I know that’s not an actual word…)—to engage in clear and direct communication with one another to educate them about your needs, interests, and desires.

Like all relationships, friendships take work.  By consciously creating your connections with regard to aligning with your own soul health, you will invite wonderful souls into your life to share with you the many gifts that these relations can bring.

What do you do to consciously connect with others?  Who do you invite into your soul group?

Aligning with Your Most Vital Ally

(Taken From Chapter 13 of Soul Health:  Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living)

To attain inner peace you must actually give your life, not just your possessions. When you at last give your lifebringing into alignment your beliefs and the way you live, then, and only then, can you begin to find inner peace. ~~ Peace Pilgrim

DSC_0059AAligning with your soul means getting to know it and learning to work in tandem with it to create the most optimal and radiant life you could imagine.  Much like entering a new friendship or other relationship, you must get to know yourself at the deepest level in order to truly experience soul health.  This has probably become obvious as you’ve worked your way through each chapter so far.  As you learn to understand yourself better in each branch of human health, you inevitably come to understand yourself more deeply at the soul level as well.  Building knowledge and awareness about yourself in regard to each branch, provides the roadmap to balance and enhance your personal tree of life.  Although this roadmap may change a bit from time to time throughout your life, the components that are most important to you will likely remain fairly stable.  They are your core needs—the nutrients—that your soul requires in order to thrive.   Working to fulfill these core needs will guarantee not only radiant health, but also your soul’s evolution.  Your growth is as simple as that.

It is impossible to separate our complicated daily lives from our soul.  When the human condition is making us feel bad, our soul aches, too.  We become unsettled, unhappy, and anxious and long for some sort of change, something that will soothe our dis-ease,—something that will soothe our soul.  Once we are calmed, the angst of our inner voice subsides and we return to a more contented satisfaction with life.  However, if we don’t attend to our discontent, it can fester into any kind of ailment that afflicts mind, body or spirit.  If, instead, we forge a working alliance between our human condition and our soul, our dis-ease can be amazingly short-lived and we can maintain a state of whole health.

DSC_0223Things arranged in tandem are “one behind the other.”  We might say, then, that our soul is behind us all the way.  Even if we aren’t aware of it, or familiar with it (being out of touch with ourselves), it is constantly backing us up, trying to get our attention and help us find our highest good—our soul health.  But many of us aren’t very astute about these inner stirrings.  Few have been trained or have discovered that this inner ally is our best defense against the hardships of the human condition.  The soul knows all the twists and turns that our lives can take, and it has the solutions for every one of them.  We just need to align with the soul —tune in and pay attention—to understand its supportive guidance more clearly.

000 Soul Health ModelThis is where consciousness comes in.  Earlier chapters mention that radical consciousness is essential to understanding ourselves, our condition, and our soul’s evolution.  As we become more aware of the whole picture, we can work more effectively with the soul to create our best possible experience on this planet.  That seems to be what we all want but don’t know how to achieve.  The Soul Health Model allows you to consciously examine each branch of your life in order to not only to live more fully, but also to collaborate with your soul to create your optimal health.

Partnering with our soul is the only way the tree of life can flourish—it is the only way we will thrive and the only way our souls will evolve.  When the ten key branches of our tree are cared for and healthy, they are aligned with our soul’s absolute truth, which sets the stage for our evolution.  This alignment gives us our most accurate awareness of who we are so that we can act with precision in fulfilling our soul’s needs.  Our absolute truth IS our radiance—it is the wisdom that lights our path to evolution.  Our radical consciousness of this is the key to radiant living.

 

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

Shared Universe

My accountant does agility training with her dogs. If you haven’t seen a dog work his or her way through an agility course, you should find a YouTube video today and take a look. It’s amazing. The dog’s owner works with their canine for months and even years to understand and obey commands that take them up inclined platforms, through tunnels, around poles, and over moving teeter-totter type planks. People who train their dogs in this way can become completely committed to the dog-training culture.

Although I’ve watched agility competitions on television, there is nothing like actually attending a live event. My accountant invited me to one of the competitions a couple years ago and out of curiosity I decided to check it out. I was expecting to be entertained.  I didn’t expect to be moved to tears by what I saw.

I arrived mid-morning. The events are usually held at county fairgrounds or a rural arena which makes the competition feel even more official. There were probably 200 people in the stands and at least two dozen volunteers who made sure the agility course was ready for each dog’s trial. The herding dogs were competing when I arrived, which was appropriate since I have an Australian shepherd (one which is much better at lying on the couch than balancing on any beams).

As I watched the competition, I couldn’t help being moved by how dedicated the dogs were to their owners—and vice versa. The canines’ eager will to please their owners and the owner’s focused determination to successfully lead the dogs through the courses converged to create an indescribable energy. Much like trying to explain the energy of the Grand Canyon without ever having been there, it is completely impossible to fully express what happens between an owner and their dog in that arena. All I know is that the canines fully partner with their owners in order to complete the course. If the pups miss a turn or jump they look as frustrated and disappointed as their owners—some even broken-hearted for their missed opportunities.

My accountant invited me to another event today. As I reminded her about how moved I am at watching the competitions, she talked about her own experience while on the course. She spoke of how focused she and her dogs are on one another—and how they enter their own private universe during that 3 minutes in the arena. Those words finally captured the energy of what I was watching—their own private universe.

In that arena, it truly is as if no one else exists but the dog and owner. Their choreographed movements and gestures speak a visual language only of their own. No one else can permeate the world those two enjoy for those mere moments, and it is nothing less than breathtaking to watch. Their momentary cosmos is just that—theirs and theirs alone.

It is rare that we experience those shared universes. The moments when our souls fully meet are few and far between— and easily missed in the midst of our human condition. Those moments can’t be forced. But when they do occur, time stops. We become entranced by the moment and fully conscious of the meaning embedded within—even if words fail to describe our shared universe of that moment.

One thing is certain. I will be sitting in those stands next week. I want to experience those shared universes once again—even from the outside. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. No R.S.V.P. required.


Katherine T. Kelly, Ph.D., M.S.P.H.
 is a licensed psychologist in her own psychotherapy and consulting practice in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her books “Soul Health: Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living” (release date – coming soon!) and “There’s No Therapy In Heaven: The Soul’s Guide to Mastering the Human Condition” (release date Summer 2013) are in the finishing stages with a final publication date soon to be announced.  She is available for workshops and conferences.  Please see herspeaking schedule and contact information.