Tag Archives: optimal health

Guilt: The Ultimate Betrayal of Your Soul

“Guilt is to the spirit what pain is to the body.”
~~  Elder David A. Bednar

maynews1Guilt….  Who doesn’t have it? Even my young dog appears to feel guilty when she has done something that she knows is against the canine rules. But in truth, she’s just being herself—a dog. So, although I need to scold her at times for her safety, it is difficult to stay upset with her for long.

Soul Health is all about “aligning with spirit for radiant living”. In other words, it is about living a life that fully aligns with who you are, your values, and what is best for your overall health. But so many people live under a shroud of guilt that it makes it impossible to live completely in their truth as well. This only mis-aligns them in their experience of life and often causes them to act in other ways that don’t line up for their optimal health.

Take, for example, the common challenge of emotional eating. Many people use comfort foods to “eat away their hurt, frustrations, and anger” instead of speaking their truth, asserting themselves to meet their needs, or setting boundaries that will assure their own self-care. Then, because they already feel misaligned, they seek comfort in foods that will take them even further away from a sense of peace, despite the fact that their initial thought was to lessen their discomfort. I see this cycle almost daily in my therapy practice.

According to the dictionary, guilt is defined as maynews2“Having committed an implied offense”. Take a minute to think about this…. Is it really an offense if you live in your truth? Does saying “no” imply that you’ve committed a crime? Are you wrong for wanting to create a life that is aligned with your values and needs? How much time do you spend thinking about how your behavior would impact others rather than simply choosing what is right for you?

Allowing yourself to feel guilty is the ultimate betrayal of your soul. When we agree to do something that we don’t want to do, or feel guilty for attempting to take care of our needs, our soul aches. These soul wounds can accumulate to a point that guilt runs our lives. Instead of allowing your innermost ally to lead the way, you are essentially choosing to mis-align yourself, and thus, choosing to lead anything but a radiant life.

maynews1Are you staying in a relationship out of guilt? Are you putting your needs aside for the sake of someone else’s? Are you afraid to say “no”? Do others intentionally attempt to make you feel guilty when they don’t get their way?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then perhaps it is time to assess how you might be choosing to mis-align your life by living through guilt. Your soul health is your responsibility and yours alone. If you stumble over the same guilt-related situation over and over again, your soul is likely trying to get your attention so that you can evolve beyond a perceived responsibility and move into a much more aligned and radiant life.

As Charlie Luken stated, “It is not about guilt or innocence. maynews4The point is, it is time to turn a page.” If you are committed to soul health, then, the time to outgrow guilt is now.

For more on how guilt betrays your soul, watch my You-Tube video: 

Drench Your Soul for Optimal Health

Water is the soul of the Earth.  ~  W.H. Auden

Many people—including myself—talk about feeding their soul.  Although this can apply to eating an amazing meal, it usually means nourishing one’s very being, which goes far beyond what food can do.

water droplet

Our body is made up of approximately 60% water– with our blood consisting of 92%, our brain and muscles 75%, and our bones 22%.  With this in mind, it makes sense that we spend some time exploring our relationship with water and the many ways we can use it to achieve optimal health.

For starters, many know that we can go about a month without food, but only about a week without water. Although there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that we actually need to drink eight glasses of water a day, it is strongly advised that we stay hydrated not only for our physical, but also for our emotional health.  Did you know that dehydration can cause both physical and emotional fatigue as well as symptoms similar to depression?  Research also shows that most Americans are chronically dehydrated which might contribute to the relatively high rates of depression in the United States.

20150628_133915While hydration is certainly one way that we can drench our soul, there are many other ways that water can enhance our lives.  Many use it for relaxation—whether taking a long, hot bath, a casual walk by the beach, or go for a nice, cool swim. We often enjoy water elements as part of our environment—through placement of fountains in our homes or workplaces or by choosing to live by lakes, streams, and oceans.  Socially, we may opt for boat rides with friends and family, tubing or rafting trips down a river, or water-skiing, surfing, or parasailing for the more stingrayadventurous. Intellectually, many are fascinated by water and the creatures that live within it and choose to visit aquariums and wildlife preserves to learn about our amazing friends in the sea.  Spiritually-speaking, many use water as part of ritual and celebration, whether through baptism, blessings, or other ceremonies held on or around water.

From the soul’s perspective, water is an essential element.  It quenches our body’s thirst, but also washes away the energetic residue we carry as a result of the human condition.  I have a fountain flowing nonstop in the waiting room of my psychotherapy office to help clients relax before appointments.  As part of my own self-care ritual, I look forward to my long salt bath at the end of each week, ai20150619_120247ding in my own release of stress and tension picked up since the weekend.  At times I crave time at the ocean or make a trip to a mountain lake for a weekend hike.  I chose a house in a neighborhood with four small lakes, all offering daily sightings of water fowl, turtles, and frogs.  I also take the occasional trip to the spa where I can soak in a salt pool, complete with massaging waterfalls.  And yes, my drink of choice is water, getting in between 6-10 glasses of water a day.  There’s no doubt about it—water is soothing, body, mind, and soul.

With so many ways that H2O helps our lives to flow better, why is it that we take it so much for granted?  Over 70% of the earth’s surface consists of bodies of water, yet, we overlook the vital nature of this important element, both as a part of our planet, but as an essential part of our lives.  Consider how the “flow” of water in your life can also enhance the flow of your soul.

From Crab Legs to Consciousness

snow_legsYes, I’m really writing about both of these in one blog article.  It may sound like an odd combination, but bear with me.

When I was in Colorado in July, I visited my long-time friend in Castle Rock.  She happens to love crab legs and whenever we see each other we generally make a visit somewhere to partake in the adventure—or challenge perhaps—of eating these crazy crustaceans.  She is much better practiced at cracking the shell and removing the tasty morsels, but I go along and make a mess of myself just out of support and sometimes from my competitive nature of who will do the best and fastest job of getting through the pile.

Anyone who has eaten crab legs knows that it’s a messy process. No matter how adept you are at the crack and peel process, you inevitably get remnants of the crab meat and splatters of butter all over you.  On this particular night, there were two other women at the table next to us who also ordered healthy portions of these appendages and who also dug in to the job of excavating the crab from their prickly shells.  No one was really paying attention to anyone until I felt something smack my right leg and realized as I looked down that one of the claws from the other table had made its way over to assault me.  We all laughed and just went on about our messy business.  We finished our meal, went to wash our hands, and continued on our way.

But on my walk the next morning, my overactive mind—as it often does, started drawing similarities between crab legs and consciousness.  As I meandered my way through my friend’s neighborhood, I realized that our consciousness process is much like the crack and peel process—sometimes it goes smoothly with a seemingly easy and intact pay-off, while at other times we must crack through some very tough material in order to open our minds and become more aware of what is beneath the surface.  Regardless of the ease, most of the time it still feels like a messy process, complete with shrapnel and debris that needs to be sorted in order to assimilate new growth.  In the end, the taste of evolution is sweet and satisfying, but the process is often an untidy struggle.

I told a client about this metaphor just today, and she got it.  She was struggling with some pretty prickly parts of the human condition and seemed somewhat eased at the idea that the hard “cracks” of life she was experiencing would provide something good in the end.  She understood the metaphor and left my therapy office feeling more hopeful about her future.

images

Consciousness is often a messy and challenging process.  Even in our most difficult moments, we must realize that something good will come of the situation in order to open ourselves to growth.  If we do our work to carefully extract or remove the sweetness of life, we can go on feeling emotionally and spiritually nourished by the events that challenge us instead of feeling victimized by the process of being cracked and peeled.  However, when we remain focused on the prickly shell of life, we also tend to lose sight that anything good could come from within.

The beauty of consciousness is that we get to decide whether we enter the crack and peel process of expanding our awareness or remain in our shell.  You choose….

Becoming a Student of the Soul

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

                When you do things from your soul you feel a river moving in you, a joy.  When action comes from another section the feeling disappears. ~~ Rumi

DSC01102There are two core emotions that humans experience:  love and fear.  All others are simply variations on one or the other.  However, one is purely soul-based, while the other is most reflective of the human condition.  It’s not difficult to guess which is which.

Love, of course, is a soul-based emotion.  It is the return to our most natural state of being—one we all desire.  This is what we strive for, hope and yearn for.  All sense of joy, compassion, peacefulness, generosity, unconditionality, gratitude, ease, hope, empathy, and all other positively charged emotions are love-based, and as a result are also soul-based.  When we remain in the soul, life feels good.  When we deviate from our soul, we feel bad.

We feel fearful when we move away from the love and peacefulness of our soul.  Through our fear, we react instead of reflect and respond.  Our daily lives and cares take over, anxiety rises up, and instead of observing our situations and reflecting on how to regain this sense of peace we react through the fear of never reaching that state again.  We don’t take the time to recognize that, in that moment, fear is the voice of our soul urging us to learn from our troubles to find the path back to peace.  If we aren’t alert to this voice we may sink further into the fear and become more deeply mired in the human condition.

Anger, sadness, resentment, frustration, worry, irritation and so on are all symptoms of the human condition, yet they are initiated by the soul for the sake of our evolution—for the sake of re-establishing peace in some way.  All fear-based emotions are negatively charged, but they serve as vital cues that something in our lives requires work.  Anger represents a fear of not protecting the integrity of our soul in one way or another.  Sadness usually indicates a fear of losing—or having lost— something that is dear to us.  Resentment is an indication that we allowed something to happen that had a negative impact our soul.  Worry represents the fear that our resources aren’t enough to overcome troubling events or situations.  Irritation typically represents a mirror in something we have seen in someone else that we need to work on or change within ourselves.

In fact, our emotions have nothing to do with another person.  They have everything to do with our soul.  Our reactions come from a lifetime of accumulated experiences in the human condition, many of which don’t work toward our sense of well-being.  Recurrent emotions, then, are the red flags that alert us to something we are to learn about ourselves, not something that someone or something has done to us.  The purpose of life—and our experience of emotion— is to expand our awareness, which means to expand or evolve our souls.  Our emotions offer the chance to protect the health or integrity of our soul if we reflect on them and make the necessary changes in our lives or perceptions.  Though they can be fierce and arise without warning, once a person accepts these difficult emotions as possibilities for growth, he or she can respond from the soul instead of react from the human condition.  A soul response is the only way to evolve beyond any emotional reaction.

Sad Teenage GirlAs mentioned earlier, depression and anxiety are complex symptoms of the soul.  Although we may be biologically predisposed to them,  depression and anxiety appear only in response to troublesome experiences.  Even if we have a genetic link to certain psychological issues, these will never emerge unless our experiences trigger them.  It is inaccurate to say that these conditions are strictly medical—which is why psychotropic medications do little to fix the situation, although they may offer relief from uncomfortable symptoms.  Disregarding the human condition’s role in these psychological conditions only disregards the voice of the soul.  One does not become depressed without experiencing something that challenges one or more branches of their well-being.  One does not become anxious without an anxiety-provoking event.  The soul speaks whether we like it or not, and sometimes it has to yell.

As you can see, all emotions, no matter how perplexing at first, are quite logical in nature.  Something that makes you feel empty is a sign that you need to fill something up.  Something that makes you angry and resentful suggests that you allowed things to happen that went against your soul.  And sometimes our emotions have to feel overwhelming in order to guide us to a subtle sense of peace.

In essence, all emotions are valid indicators that something is threatening your soul’s integrity—your soul health.  These indicators could apply to any or all branches of soul health, depending on the emotion that is triggered.  Much as the body has its own language, the language of emotions is interpretable depending on your level of consciousness.  Many people don’t believe they have a right to feelings and emotions, particularly if they come from families or cultures that choose to dismiss them.  However, sometimes a sense of invalidation can teach us greater self-respect in the long run as a soul-based and loving movement toward our evolution.  Choosing to learn about our souls through our feelings and emotions is a critical step in our growth as human beings.

To become a student of the soul means to embrace our feelings and emotions as key elements in our growth.  As we listen to—and heed— the voice of our soul, we can begin to partner with our greatest ally to promote optimal health.  When we create this key alliance with our soul—our inner wisdom—we create a joint effort not only toward healing from our emotional wounds, but toward our evolution beyond them.

 

(To read further, purchase Soul Health: Aligning With Spirit for Radiant Living at

www.drkatherinetkelly.com, www.amazon.com, or www.barnesandnoble.com)

Resetting Your Soul for Optimal Health

Early in the year I dedicated my mission to create a year of “you”— a year to focus on getting to know yourself and being yourself in order to fully experience soul health.  The more we know and live our truth, the closer we come to reaching our most optimal state and the more fulfilled we feel in life overall.

ImageWhen we are out of sync with our soul our health suffers.  We feel overwhelmed, fatigued, grumpy, and any number of other things.  But these are all reminders that we are misaligned in some way and all we need to do is stop to listen deeply within to gain the instructions on how to get back into our soul’s natural rhythm.

What would happen if you stopped to relax when you felt the need to?  Or if you took a nap when you felt sleepy?  What about if you stopped to read a magazine, look out the window, or chatted with a friend or neighbor when you were feeling overwhelmed, tired or just needed a break?

The American culture is notorious for working ourselves to the point of exhaustion without even stopping to take a breath.  And yet we are also a country that is often very disconnected from our soul— hence the over-eating, over spending, over-doing, and so on.  But if we learned to get back in sync with our soul, we could easily overcome all of these concerns.

Getting back in sync means stopping, listening, and learning.  reset buttonOur inner wisdom always provides  the information that we need, but we often ignore the urge to take a break— often out of guilt or obligation.  However, if we took the time to honor our internal timing, we would lead much more satisfying lives.

How often do you push yourself to do something despite your body and soul telling you not to?  How do you know when you are out of sync with your own soul?

For just one week, experiment with paying attention to your energy level and aligning your tasks accordingly.  Some may be concerned that they won’t get as much done, but what I have found is that somehow everything is completed in it’s own time and at the perfect pace.  Spend the week recognizing when you are going against your natural rhythm and find ways to realign.  When you do, you can sit back and watch your life satisfaction improve— one day at a time, one minute at a time, and even one breath at a time.

 

 

The Soul’s Tempo

I learned a new word yesterday.  Entrainment“the process by which different rhythms fall into synchronization with each other”.  Like many, the word is used in various ways and by many different fields of thought.  Nevertheless, all definitions tend to lean toward the idea that everything has a rhythm and depending on the strongest of these rhythms, they will all fall into sync in one way or another.metronome

Oddly enough, I learned this word as a result of my body falling… well, actually, crashing into sync with my soul.  Per usual, I’ve been on the treadmill of life… seeing my typical full load of clients, doing classes, workshops, and various talks, developing and scheduling more classes, workshops, and talks, checking in on ailing friends, helping friends prepare their home for sale, making attempts to keep up with my own housework, paperwork, yard work, exercise, self-care, etc.  I felt myself getting worn out mid-week, and tried to have a relaxing evening at home at the end of it.  However, deep down, I knew I needed a  bigger and deeper break.  I needed to let my soul catch up with the rest of me.

I woke up the day before with a slightly scratchy throat.  But, despite feeling wilty, I elected to continue the plan of running errands and shopping with a friend for some items that would hopefully help her to sell her house.  I felt fine while I was out, but by the time I returned home I could tell that my body had overstayed its welcome and my soul was starting to take over.   I spent the evening fluctuating between chills and fever and I awoke in the morning to feel like a small truck had run over me—very fatigued, fever burning, continued scratchy throat, full-skull headache.  I got up long enough to feed and let the dogs out, then headed straight back to bed, where I slept for 3 more hours.  In the midst of my second wave of sleep, I was aware that I was burning off a fever, but dove deeply enough into my slumber to not be fully disturbed.  The second time I got out of bed I felt a bit better, but clearly I wasn’t out of the woods.  I went into the sunroom and stared out the window for a while.  Then I turned to look at the stack of books beside me.  About a month ago, I had started reading a book called “Timeshifting” by Stephan Rechtschaffen, the founder of Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York.  The title drew me once again and I lifted the book and sat reading several chapters as it resonated with what my soul had been trying to tell me throughout the week:  slow down, notice, reflect, rest……

In one chapter he wrote about entrainment and how we tend to fall into the rhythm of those around us regardless of whether it is our own natural rhythm.  The energy of a city has a different energy from a town in the country and the rhythm of the different lifestyles are entrained in the individuals from these respective homes.  As a physician, he spoke of his own shift from an entrained life in a busy medical practice to the more relaxed rhythm he created when he founded Omega– the center that I call the “Camp Hiawatha” for adults as it is a learning center in the Hudson Valley where you do, in fact, feel transported back in time.  The word, entrainment, though stuck with me throughout the day—even after I returned to the bed for yet another extended period of sleep.

Like so many, I had been ignoring my soul.  I was dismissing the message deep within to stop the race against time and just be.  My shtick is to encourage others to listen to their body, mind, and spirit to hear the cues that will guide them to their optimal health—their ultimate experience of life.  And yet, I fell prey to the entrainment of the American Way…. to the rhythm I despise just as much as I embrace.

thermometerMy body rebelled because I was out of sync with my soul.  I knew immediately that my symptoms were a message from my inner ally.  If I wasn’t going to slow down on my own, my soul would have to take over my body in order to make its point.  And, boy, did it!  I can’t remember the last time I had a fever, but I surely knew to listen to my body and get the rest I needed.  I gave in, slowed down, listened, read a much needed bit of information from a nearby book, and now my body only has remnant reminders that I was down for the count.

What would happen if we lived our lives fully in sync with our soul?  I am certain that the rhythm of my own is often outrun by my ambitions—less so than in the past, but like today, I occasionally still find myself missing the beat.

If in sync, what messages would be hear—or at least hear more clearly?  How would our lives be different?  What turmoil would we outsmart?  What obstacles of our evolution would we avert?

The soul has its own tempo—one that often doesn’t match our human lives.  Oddly enough, everyone I know yearns for a slower, more balanced experience of life, yet few discipline themselves enough to have it regularly.  Some of us might know when we aren’t following our desired rhythm, but due to the entrainment of our society, culture, or other influences, we often fall in sync with everything but the cadence of our soul.  I am usually better than most at listening, but today I am reminded of the importance of that ultimate synchronization with our most treasured ally.

I accept that I am human, but my soul no longer tolerates when I become entrained in alien rhythms.  My soul knows what I need.  And I am once again humbled by its wisdom.