Tag Archives: love consciousness

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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Grateful for Gratitude

Gratitude is a salve for the soul. In challenging times, it is easy to slip into the doldrums, allowing our souls to dim. But despite the difficult realities of the human condition, our ability to remain grateful can serve as the best anecdote to all of life’s problems.

Thankful listWhat is your biggest struggle right now? What is dragging you down? As you focus on these concerns, you will notice your energy and mood taking a dive. Now, take a few moments to list at least 5 things for which you are grateful. How has your mood changed? Do you feel more energy? Now, list a few more positive things about your life. See how quickly your outlook improves?

Emotions are seductive. When we allow our attention to drift toward sadness, worry, or grief, these feelings seem to pull us in, inviting us to feel the insidiousness of each emotion. Like a vacuum, our psyche draws us deeper into whatever it is that is disrupting our lives. However, by injecting gratitude into any situation, we can not only prevent a downward spiral, we can also raise our consciousness about what we are supposed to learn from life’s challenges.

During the last several months of my mother’s life and the two months since her death, gratitude has greatly soothed my soul. I remain grateful for the many beautiful experiences we shared and the invaluable time spent with her in her final weeks and days. I’m well aware that the upcoming holidays will likely stir the grief of my recent loss, but I’m already actively working on lessening this by allowing the many memories of years past to enter my awareness, taking note of the blessings, joy, and laughter that permeated our annual events.

gratitude

As the year winds down, take stock in the gift of gratitude. Allow yourself to realize that life could not only be much worse, but also that it is much more tolerable—and even enjoyable when we become grateful for what we have, who we are, and the ways in which we have grown.

Most important, give thanks to yourself for investing in your growth and evolution—the most priceless gift you could offer your ultimate soul health.

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.

The Perfect Ending: Death in the Eye of the Beholder (Written September 4, 2015)

eye in cloudsOf course, there is no such thing as perfect, especially when it comes to death and dying.  But like many things, the perfection of how one makes their transition is in the eye of the beholder.

Those who follow this blog on a regular basis know that my mother’s health was declining for the last few years, with a dramatic drop over the last few months.  She was in incredible pain from severe arthritis and also from hips that likely had crumbled during a series of unfortunate falls.  Because of heart issues surgery was not an option, so she had to endure as best she could.  If that wasn’t bad enough, she contracted a horrible intestinal bug a few months ago, followed by a worse infection when in the hospital to fix the first one.  In the midst of diagnosing these issues, the doctors also discovered cancerous tumors on her lungs.  Yes, it was a mess, and yet there were beautiful moments right up until her death, which occurred earlier today (September 4, 2015, 3:00 p.m. MST).

I received word this morning that my mother was unresponsive and likely wouldn’t make it through the weekend.  I immediately hopped on a plane, wondering if I would arrive at her bedside before passing.  I tried… but didn’t succeed.  I received word while in the stop-over airport (Atlanta) that she had passed.  I was sad I wasn’t with her, but also immensely relieved that she was no longer suffering and was in fact, at peace.

I’ve made several trips to see her this year, but the most profound visit occurred just two weeks ago.  My previous posts have talked about some of the things that occurred.  But others will always still stick in my mind.

Once I arrived there two weeks ago, all she wanted me to do was sit next to her bed and hold her hand—morning, noon, and night.  I complied as much as I could in-between getting her up for bathroom breaks, meals, and turning her over in her bed.  She just wanted me to sit with her.  And I did.  One particular night I had my phone by me and responded to check-ins from several frietextingnds who were sending their warm thoughts my way.  I mentioned my mom’s hand-holding wishes to a friend and she replied that her mother wanted nothing more than the same thing at the end of her life.  This reminded me that my father also requested this simple gesture when he was in the hospital prior to his death.   After this awareness, I started to notice that as my mom stirred or startled awake, she would open her eyes, make sure I was still there, then tighten her hold and go back to sleep.  I wrote to my friend that I felt as if her soul was testing leaving her body, but wanted an anchor to keep her here until she was really ready to make her final transition.

The next morning my mom left me absolutely stunned.  As usual, I got her up for breakfast and administered her morning meds. But just after I cleared the dishes, she said to me, “I want to thank you for something.”  I looked at her and casually said, “What’s that?”.  Although her thoughts had been blurred the few days prior, she was clear as glass in her response.  She said, “I want to thank you for assuring me of what my body was doing.”  My mouth dropped and I sat there speechless.  How could she have known what I texted to my friend?  I hadn’t said the words out loud—I only typed the words into my phone.  In retrospect, I wish I would have asked more about how she knew what I had typed, but it really didn’t matter.  She understood, was assured, and that’s all that really mattered.  She went on to share stories from the past that I’d heard a hundred times, but I listened without complaint, knowing it might be the last.

phone cameraThroughout my time there, it was a challenge to get her into comfortable positions as her poor bones constantly ached.  Later in the day following our morning discussion, she woke from a nap and said she was so comfortable that she wanted me to take a picture of how I had laid her down so we could remember the position for the future.  This time I was puzzled.  Anyone who knows my mother also knows that she absolutely loathed having her picture taken, let alone one being snapped when she was lying in a hospital bed.  Baffled, but compliant, I took a couple pictures with my phone.  I mentioned it to a friend and she agreed that it was a strange request at the time.  Mom made no further mention of the pictures.

However, I now know why she had me capture her pose.  Today, while sitting in the airport on my seemingly endless lay-over on my way to Colorado, my best friend called to see how I was doing.  I mentioned to her that I was torn for whether I wanted to see my mother’s body before she was cremated.  The funeral home was going to allow me to come view her lifeless shape since I hadn’t been there for her passing.  While talking, I remembered the picture mom had requested and realized that she somehow knew I wouldn’t be there at the time of death and so she wanted me to see her lying comfortably—a much better pose than what I would see now that her soul has left her body.  When I got off the phone I looked at the picture on my phone, smiled immediately, and just shook my head.  My mom had given me the gift of a VERY rare photo, so that I could be at peace with my absence while she made her transition.

A bit later, I decided to walk down the hall to grab a cup of decaf, mostly to warm me since the airport’s A/C was running full blast.  I had about an hour before my plane would board, so I sauntered to Caribou Coffee which was part of the commons area on the concourse.  As I walking to the café, I pianist 2heard a pianist playing in a courtyard bar and mentally acknowledged how unusual this sight and sound is for an airport.  She was playing some lively song as I walked by, but I didn’t recognize it and just went on my way.  As I was sprinkling cinnamon into my latte, I noticed a sudden mid-song switch to a jazzy tune my mother would play on the organ in our living room while I was a kid.  I have no idea what it is called, but I haven’t heard that tune for at least 30 years.  I stopped and looked at the pianist, started smiling and shaking my head, then of course, broke into tears.  The pianist played that song for about 20 seconds, but it was just enough to let me know that mom was right there with me… while I was getting myself a cup of her favorite beverage—coffee.  (Truth be told, she hated anything other than the straight stuff, but we’d joke that I’d share my latte or mocha with her if she wanted… which she always quickly turned down.  BTW, my brother told me that the song is called “In the Mood”, but Glen Miller.  I will never forget this title again.)

So, although my mom went through the trenches on the way to the world beyond, she created beauty on her path nevertheless.  I hated seeing her struggle and suffer, but I now see the perfection in a seemingly messy and imperfect end.

20150101_181947AI’ve yet to make it home, still on the plane in route to a house with one less soul.  When my dog passed away in the spring, his spirit visited me that night, letting me know he was okay—dancing freely after his own two-year illness.  I hope mom’s soul does the same tonight when I lay myself down for the night.  I know I will sit in the recliner I bought her for Christmas, where she spent much of her time until she could no longer maneuver her way out of it.  It is in her bedroom where she passed gently today.  I want to feel her energy, her soul, our history.  I want her to know I’m there… and I want her spirit right there with me.

When I was waiting for my first flight today, I texted my sister to let her know of my arrival later this evening.  I asked her to tell mom that I loved her and that I was on my way, but if she had to go before I got there, I would understand.  Whether my sister told her or not, I know she knew all was well with me if she needed to leave and she could fly to higher ground.  I have her peaceful picture.  I heard her jazzy tune.  I drank her favorite beverage—well, a variation, at least….  And it is, indeed, the perfect ending.

Miami, DC, etc. 202 (2)Although, in my world… it’s only the beginning.  Soar high, mom.  Soar high.

(The picture on the right was taken on mom’s 80th birthday, when I surprised her with a dream of hers– a ride in a helicoptor!  She told me after my father died in 1990 that she wanted to do this before she passed away.  She forgot she said this and likely never thought it would happen.  The 30-minute journey took us through the Royal Gorge, near Canyon City, Colorado.  It was quite the ride, indeed– full of twists and turns, skimming the canyon walls.  Right before this picture was taken, she said, “That was great– can we go again?”.  Given that this was six weeks after a surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm, I didn’t want to push my luck. I gave her strict orders not to have any cardiac events in the following year so I wouldn’t feel responsible for weakening her heart during the flight.  I’m certain this day only strengthened her heart though, as it most certainly did mine.  Here’s to wonderful memories and dreams fulfilled, mom!  I love you and wish you well on your part of your journey.)

Love Through Loss, Not Loss of Love

Loss can mire us if we let it. A myriad of emotions can erupt when someone dies, catapulting us into sometimes overwhelming levels and kinds of grief. I was guilty of this during the seven years following my father’s death at age 21. But now I understand both loss and love differently and can now embrace this inevitable part of life.

tree_hands____by_tine85When we lose someone or something, a void appears, forcing us to recalibrate our lives regardless of what is no longer there. Allowing yourself to become conscious of what I call the “grand matrix”—the web of consciousness in which we all play a part—can help you understand how loss can propel us forward, despite a feeling that we just can’t go on.

Everyone experiences loss. And with every ending, there really is a beginning. Whether you lose a loved-one to death, experience a shift or break-up of a relationship, undergo an unexpected end of a job, or endure some other form of loss, it always provides an opportunity to grow and evolve. At first, we may experience great sadness, depression, anxiety or dread. However, as part of entering the new era of love consciousness, we are charged to remember that these emotions are all based in fear, not love. They are all normal reactions to life events, but each one offers the opportunity to examine our lives, redefine our direction or purpose, and/or re-evaluate our actions and motives. In shifting to a more loving approach to the experience of loss, not only will we move through this passage of life more easily, we will also be enriched by the experience along the way.

My mother’s health has been deteriorating for the last several years, but holding hands has worsened significantly in the last few months. It has been an ongoing challenge to see her struggle and know that she will not be with us for long. In looking back at how I reacted during my father’s last few weeks and the subsequent seven years, I know now how mired in fear I was at the time—concern for both my own future and my mom’s, regret for how the relationship was left, sadness for what could have been and what would never be, anger—well, at the world, I suppose….. and so on. I now recognize that all negatively-charged emotions are fear-based and actively work to live a more love-conscious life.

On a recent trip to Colorado for my mother’s 86th birthday, I arrived to find her exponentially worse than she was a month prior. I decided at the beginning of the year that whatever happened with my mother’s health, I would commit to remaining in love-based compassion rather than fear-based frustration or sadness. The result has transformed me. When she became tired, short, or cranky, I worked to affirm her discomfort rather than take it personally. When she turned the conversations back to herself—like many people who are sick, in pain, or pre-occupied do—I worked to release my frustration and understand that she is experiencing her own crisis of the human condition. When she asked me to help her get out of bed every 45 minutes throughout the middle of the night, I did my best to remain patient and recognize how losing her independence must be affecting her.

heart in handsThe result of all of this? She has told me that she loves me more often in the last year than ever before. She has connected with me soul-to-soul in ways I never would have imagined. She has listed the ways she appreciates me—ways in which she wouldn’t have previously noticed or mentioned. On one particular night during my last trip, she had been particularly restless—both from pain and worry about her future.  After the 4th or 5th time of calling me to her room in the middle of the night, she once again made the request. Having had minimal sleep for the previous three nights, I admittedly stumbled out of bed mumbling to myself, “What, now???”. When I walked into her bedroom, she held out her arm and said “I just want to tell you something.” When I leaned over and took her hand, she said, “I just want you to know how much I love you.” My heart melted, I returned the words, hugged and kissed her, and then decided to spend the rest of the night in the recliner that was in her room, which comforted her enough to be able to rest more easily throughout the rest of the night. Her loving message was a cosmic reminder that love conquers all.

When I committed to living through love-consciousness, it opened my mother to it as well. When I decided to live in love and not fear, our interactions became more authentic and deeper. When I responded through love regardless of the situation rather than reacting through fear, it eased the pain for both of us. In other words, by choosing to remain in love regardless of the impending loss, we both experienced multi-fold levels of this sacred emotion.

love consciousness grid

Living in love consciousness through the “grand matrix” touches every life around us, and most of all enriches our own. But often we become stuck, resentful, and mired in our fear-based grief, instead of looking at the loss—or potential of one—as a new beginning, an opening, or fresh start. Whatever the type of loss, living in love will always raise the bar on our overall soul health and will allow your soul to grow swiftly beyond your fear-based grief.

Take some time to explore how you live in fear in times of loss. How can you shift away from fear-based living and commit to a more love-based life?

Dancing to Death’s Door

When you spend time with a person who is dying, you become painfully aware of what really matters.  I just spent a long weekend at my mother’s home in Colorado, both to relieve my siblings from her 24-hour care and also to be there for her 86th birthday.  To be honest, when you have lost a parent at a young age, you constantly wonder when the other one will go.

borkenMy mother took pride in the fact that she hadn’t been to the doctor from the day I was born until about 8 years ago when she started having TIA’s (mini strokes).  From that point on, one thing after another has happened to cause her health to deteriorate, some of which might have been prevented had she done, well, her “preventative” care.  But as her forced acquisition of a physician said to her, “parts wear out”.  Unfortunately, at this point, she’s not fixable.

As of a month ago when I was there for my last visit, my mother could still shuffle around using a walker, venture into most parts of the house (a tri-level, so no easy feat), and had a fairly clear mind so that conversations flowed, although slower than in previous years.  Now, my mother is confined to a hospital bed and wheel chair, with very infrequent field trips into a room next door to watch the occasional t.v. show.  When I arrived, my sister updated me on her medications, her current habits, and also how to transfer her to and from the bed, to the commode, the wheelchair, and back again.  She said that with mom’s confused state they have learned that the best way to they get her to and fro was to stand her up, wrap your arms around her, then tell her to dance with you so you could more easily direct her to her next seating arrangement, while supporting her crackly and brittle bones.  Luckily, mom was able to joke about this as I moved her, but it was clear that she was in complete pain and equal dismay at her situation.

free-broken-heart-hd-1280x800My mother has always been a person of pride—perhaps part of her Leo character or maybe just her way of life in general.  She has always valued her independence and stubborn nature, and was able to hold these titles until the last couple years—mobile, capable, and resourceful.  Needless to say, seeing her like she is now could break even the most concretized heart, but once again, it is a wake-up call for how to become more conscious of the nuances of end of life.

Being who I am, I am constantly wondering what is going on in my mother’s mind.  She has never been one to share much or talk about her feelings, but it wasn’t difficult to decode—during this trip in particular—that reality was setting in.  She told me the second day I was there that she thought everything would be better once I arrived, but it hit her earlier that evening that there was no future.  These were hard words to hear, but they also indicated a new level of consciousness that her passing was imminent and undeniable.  Perhaps this is an awareness we all reach when we are preparing our psyche and soul to leave this world.

3DAs an agent of conscious evolution, I listen to what people say from a grand scope.  I take in where they are in their process of day-to-day awareness, as well as consider their place in this intricate matrix that we call life.  Because I believe in reincarnation, I can see my mother both reviewing her 86 years and preparing to let go so she can enter her new life, whatever that will be.  Through the eyes of consciousness, I can see the dynamics that are playing out between she and I, my siblings, my deceased father, and various others in a 3-D sort of way.  I understand that some karmic ties are being completed, while others are likely going to need to be worked out through many lifetimes—unless people commit to doing their work.  Understanding the matrix brings me peace in a complicated, but enlightening sort of way.

After my father’s death, there was a great deal of healing to do—grieving for what could have been, for what was, and how the grand matrix might have played out differently had we known to do our work when he was alive.  It took me seven years to release the pain and come to understand the major role(s) he played in my life.  But in reality, it played out exactly as it was supposed to in order to give me the opportunity to learn what I was supposed to.  In my training to become a psychologist, I learned a great deal about how to manage and heal, and through my understanding of the Universe—the world beyond the world—I now know how to evolve as a result of each loss.

MatrixI’ve done my work with my mother.  For the most part, our karma is dissolved and I will grieve much differently for her than I did my father.  In doing my anticipatory healing, I can now see the beauty in a person’s passing.  I will never enjoy seeing another suffer, but now I know that how a person plays out the end of their life is also part of the grand matrix.  It is both part of what they chose to learn before they make their transition and is also part of everyone else’s matrix who is touched by a particular loss.  There are often huge things to learn as a result of our pain, and grief provides a necessary catalyst to moving forward—or backward—depending on whether we learn what we are supposed to in order to evolve beyond the loss.  Unlike my father’s death, I already know what my mother’s transition will mean to me at the time it occurs, not seven years later.  I know what it will mean for relationships I have with other family members, friends, work, and many other aspects of my life—many of which are already shifting.  I know that with every ending there is a beginning, and that the results will play out in both big and small ways.

Throughout my time with my mom this weekend, she kept saying, “And when people ask what you did on your trip, you will tell them you danced with your mother.”  Indeed, I will.

Ironically, Dancing With the Stars was one of her favorite television shows over the last few years.  She watched religiously and picked her favorites.  She often told stories about how she and my father would go out for a night on the dance floor and how she would wear her high heels, do the polka and other sorts of jigs.  It is somehow comforting to know that she is ending her life how she lived it in her earlier years.

Dancing feetMy guess is that next time I see her, she will either have passed or be even nearer the inevitable revolving—and evolving—doorway of demise.  Regardless of dancing with her on the way to death’s door, I can honestly say that our recent swaying will be the most beautiful dances of my life.

Thank you for this dance, mom.  It will not be forgotten.

A Living Hell: Breaking Free for the Sake of Conscious Evolution

heaven-or-hell_bWhile working on a chapter from a book a few years ago (yet to be finished, but on the list of things to do), I researched the origin of the word “hell”.  As it turns out, the original meaning did not depict a life of fire and brimstone.  Instead, the word simply meant “to keep hidden”.  The fiery meaning didn’t evolve until years later when it was used to describe the hell that so many came to fear.  The book, Dante’s Inferno, still flashes through my mind when I think of my high school literature class as this was one of the books we were assigned to read.  It never made sense to me that there were only two options with death.  And to this day, when I think about hell, I think about the world we live in, not a destination that we will suddenly drop into once we kick the bucket if our “bad” list is longer than our “good”.

As a psychologist, I’m well aware of how much people keep hidden in their lives as an initial attempt to cope:  childhood abuse, bad habits and addictions, relationships outside of a “committed” relationship, fragile financial circumstances that they don’t want to admit, body image concerns, sexual or gender identity issues, mixed thoughts about religion and spirituality, the tendency to hoard or clutter an environment, and a myriad of other things.  The fact is, everyone I know, including myself, hides or camouflages something in their lives, whether they know or would admit to it.

What have you been hiding all of your life?  How does this impact each and every behavior, thought, and emotion? How much energy have you expended in your own living hell—hiding something for the sake of others—or to preserve your own emotional and physical safety?

When I was in high school, I also read Walden Two, a book about a utopian society—everyone worked together and everyone got along.  Like heaven and hell, I’ve honestly never understood war.  I don’t get it.  I can’t grasp why people choose to fight about things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things—many of which are listed above.  I can’t understand why one person can’t express themselves, be understood by another, disagree if you have to, and then both go on to live a more connected and aware life.  I also don’t get why REAL stuff isn’t talked about, put on the table, resolved, and closure made, instead of harboring ill thoughts and feelings.  In my world, everyone just gets along.

truthBut the truth is, people can’t handle the truth.  People would rather hide from what is real then simply step into reality, deal with what is in front of them, and heal—and evolve beyond—any concerns.  This is fear-based living for you—nothing love-based about it.

Like many families, mine was in the camp that nothing was ever wrong… as long as you didn’t talk about it.  Conflict and difference of opinion were unacceptable, and frankly, were just ignored.  But I don’t fault my family—it was just a sign of the times.  It may seem ironic that I’ve become an agent of truth—perhaps both in response and self-defense of my own upbringing.  In my work, I help people come out of their darkness and into their own light, releasing them from their hell and inviting them into a world of conscious living.  This is healing, but this is also part of their soul’s evolution.

On a global level, I look back as the last few months and can observe more instances than ever that heaven has overtaken hell.  As a nation, we’ve finally cracked the seal on many “isms” to the point that many no longer have to stay hidden.  Same-sex couples can finally openly marry, blacks are finally receiving more compassion and awareness with the confederate flag coming down, and President Obama’s comments about Bill Cosby’s inexcusable actions has opened the box for many women to feel vindicated and freed from their own hell of oppression in their sexual traumas.  I could list many more.  So many layers peeled back… and yet, so many more to go.

I don’t suppose that we will reach utopia in my lifetime.  But the growing awareness that difference is against our nature is growing in popularity.  For the first time in many, many years, I am hopeful for our future.

peace heartMany think it’s “frilly” and “woo woo” for me to talk about the evolving love consciousness—a changing mindset that many are turning away from fear-based living to loved-based instead.  What does this really mean?  Many things.  For one, it means people are finally waking up to realize that we are all connected in one way or another—whether by race, gender, country, religion, or whatever.  The bottom line is that we need each other.  But if this is true, why are we hating, killing, and belittling each other?

The hard truth is that some have come to this planet to sacrifice themselves in order to stimulate love-consciousness.  The nine people who were brutally murdered in the church in Charleston played the role of change agents because their deaths raised the reality of racism to the level that brought the confederate flag down.  Bruce—now Caitlin Jenner—has courageously served the purpose of elevating the subject of transgendered living to the forefront of people’s minds to allow others to simply live as they truly are.  All of these individuals—and more who have not been mentioned—have served their purpose and did it strikingly well.   There are many things people don’t like about what is changing in their world, but my question will always go back to “what is it that you are hiding and what is your own living hell?”

Just think of a world without hiding… a world without secrets… a world without hidden baggage.  I would be out of a job, most certainly.  But I’d rather sacrifice that then know there are mountains of pain that people are burying for the sake of others’ faulty ideas and fears.  I’d be more than happy to give up my day job if peoples’ personal hells could magically be turned to nirvana.

Sigh….  to dream of a world without hell……  A refreshing and hopeful thought.   If you could give up just one secret and live authentically… how would life be different?  I urge you to give it a try.  It’s time to allow yourself into the light.