Tag Archives: human condition

Persist or Resist? What is Your Commitment to Radiant Living?

newsl1I admit, Soul Health is an ideal. It is something to strive for—a vision to work toward in our never-ending “condition” that humans experience every second of every day. Reaching soul health is, undoubtedly, a process, not a destination.

So, why present a model of optimal living that is difficult to attain? Simply put, because we are evolutionary creatures on an evolutionary path.

The biggest questions that most people face include, “Why can’t I stay on track with a healthy lifestyle?”, “How do I overcome the urge to cheat on my diet?”, “What will it take to get me to exercise?”, “When will I stop spending so much money?”, “Why can’t I get motivated to change my life?”, “What makes me stay in an unhealthy marriage or relationship?”, or “How come I can’t leave an awful job?” I’m sure you can think of a few of your own questions that leave you puzzled and confused.

Let me hit the nail on the head for you….. The bottom line leads nws2to a lack of self-love. Cliché or not, the less you love and care for yourself, the less you take the steps necessary to meet your goals—and in essence, the less you will evolve. This is why we return to old patterns as well as why we never really get started in changing them from the beginning.

Why do you put that extra piece of chocolate in your mouth? Because you care more about the sensation of eating it than you do loving yourself.

What makes you sit on the couch instead of getting up to go for a walk? Because you are having a love affair with the couch instead of with you.

How do you get yourself into debt time and time again? Once again, because you care more about the items you are buying more than you do your sense of financial security, and consequently, your overall well-being.

The questions could go on, but the answer will always be the same. We resist our evolution because we don’t love ourselves enough to move ahead.

nws4As I said today to a client, and have said many, many times before– fear always precedes transformation. It is natural to feel uncomfortable when we are facing change, particularly when we are trying to outgrow something that no longer fits us or our needs. We often choose to fall back into the comfort of an old pattern (no matter how uncomfortable this pattern might make us feel!) rather than face the distress of taking a step forward into a healthier unknown.

So, how do you step into self-love to overcome your challenges? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Next time you go to the cupboard to eat when you’re not hungry, ask yourself, “Will I love myself more or less after I consume this?”  Then choose the path to love and walk away.
  2. When you are hemming and hawing about hitting the gym, ask, “What would I feel best about doing by the end of the day—exercising or not exercising?  Then grab your bag and go.
  3. Give yourself a little self-love nudge when someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do by questioning, “What would be the best thing for me regardless of what someone else wants?”  Then pat yourself on the back for saying “no”.
  4. The next time you need some time to yourself, but have a lot to do, inquire, “What would feed my soul more—to take some time writing in my journal on the back porch or finish up the dirty dishes?”

Hopefully, your brain is scanning the various ways you resist your own evolution. We all do it and, yet, we are all left with regret and frustration as a result of doing so. Be honest… there’s something you’ve been putting off for the sake of others… Or something you haven’t felt worthy enough to claim for yourself…. nws3Or something you long to do but think it would be selfish to do for yourself.

Whether or not loving yourself is a foreign concept, remember that the only guarantee in life is that self-love—without fail—will ensure your soul’s evolution. And that always leads to optimal health.

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.

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.

nws2

The Playground of the Soul

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

To share laughter is to connect with Soul. ~~ Alison Stormwolf

012Play is a great way to connect with others. Laughing and having fun not only helps us to bond more deeply with other people, but also to enter a deeper understanding and connection with our own soul. Laughter unlocks our resistance and releases inhibitions, thus opening us to close connections that might not arise without this mutual joy.

The soul craves connection. It wants to be understood, heard, and embraced by those who can appreciate and honor it—oneself, especially, but close family and friends as well. Only then can the soul itself play. It wants the freedom to revel in whatever elicits its joy, experiencing every aspect of fun and elation that life has to offer. However, as we all know, there are times when life could not offer less fun. Those are the times when a playful connection with our own soul and others’ is most distant, yet most vital.

Just like any playground, the human condition can create bumps and bruises amidst the fun and laughter. Yet even in the worst of times, it is often our ability to see the humor in our situation that allows us to muddle through it. Finding joy in the midst of darkness allows us to soften the impact of life’s challenges and open us to the possibilities that something good could come from our pain. The key is to understand yourself well enough to know when you need a good dose of fun, or when laughter will be your own best medicine.

Exercise

What is fun to you? Stop right now, and list ten things that you do or could do on a regular basis that would be fun. How difficult is it to create this list? Who do you have the most fun with in your life? How often do you spend time with these people? Who would you invite into your personal playground if you could?

What relaxes you? Stop, and list ten leisure 12 Dec pic2activities that you do on a regular basis. How difficult is it to create this list? Who do you relax with the most? How often do you take time to relax with those who make it easy for you to do so?

Answering these questions will help you to create your soul’s playground. By identifying what and who helps you strengthen your recreational branch of health, and by committing to doing what enhances it, you will give your soul reason to sing. You will also enhance its evolution.

No one can deny that they feel the most radiant and alive when they have had a good dose of pure fun. Our driven culture often dismisses and even denies how important simple joy is to our health, yet the lack of it drives many of our vices and unhealthy behaviors. The reality is, if we tuned into our inner joy more often—regardless of our daily struggles— our soul health would be much brighter. Instead, we keep losing sight of the inner light and are frantically searching for other ways to soothe our discomfort.

What do you need in order to commit to joy?

 

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

 

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)