Tag Archives: Soul Health Model

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.

Setting Your Soul Mission for 2017

jannws2You might remember that I urge folks to set a “theme” each year for what they want to work on in order to further their soul health and also enhance their soul’s evolution. Your theme might be something like “to be more authentic”, or “to practice self-love”. Themes allow us to anchor our growth on an idea or trait that we want to “weave” into the tapestry of who we are, while also providing us with infinite opportunities to do so.

For those who want to take their theme to a deeper level, you might want to consider writing a personal Soul Mission Statement of your intention to act as a good steward to your soul.

A mission statement is a timeless definition of a) who you are, jannws3b) your main purpose or goal, c) your core values, d) your reason for existence, and e) your mission, or task you aim to fulfill. It may seem odd or cumbersome to write a mission statement to your soul, but the act of creating one is another exercise in knowing yourself ever more deeply. In carefully and consciously crafting your statement, you come to know exactly what you are striving for and whom you are serving at all times; it is the ultimate commitment to your soul and your evolution.

As I wrote Soul Health, I constructed my own mission statement to read as follows:

     I am a vehicle of consciousness whose mission is to elevate others to reach radiant health and ultimate soul evolution. I strive to educate others to thrive in life while also serving as an ongoing role model in seeking and maintaining my own optimal soul health. I see life as a healing journey, one which is available to all souls, most of all one’s own, but one which is always subject to the curiosities and challenges of the human condition. I am committed to my own soul health, growth, and evolution both for myself and for the souls that I am fortunate enough to serve.

jannws4Although the first sentence of this mission statement sums up my love of helping others, it is the commitment to my soul that allows me to do this. It also allows me to anchor each year’s theme on a concept that will reinforce my overall mission. Once you recognize what your mission statement is, it shapes your entire tree of life in service of soul health. Finding your mission in life often takes time, but in many cases you are already fulfilling this mission, you just don’t know it. This may seem like an overwhelming task, but when you break it down to define each of the aspects noted above, you can connect them to complete a statement about your overall life purpose. Writing my own statement served to not only clarify what I’m all about, but also to instruct me each year about how to set my theme to better complete my mission.

Take some time now to develop your Soul Mission Statement, jannws6based on what you know of yourself at this point. Keep in mind that although mission statements are meant to be timeless, you will likely change and refine yours as you get to know yourself and your soul better over time. Your evolution is a lifelong process, but keeping your statement in mind will help you balance the branches of your tree of life, stay aligned with your soul health, and set your yearly theme for soul’s growth.

Stewardship to your soul is a never-ending process. Although it takes time to reach radiant soul health, daily soul stewardship is what allows you to get there. By committing to your soul, you are ensuring your growth and evolution. Your Soul Mission Statement will set the stage for doing this throughout your life.

Soul Health

(Taken from Chapter 1 of Soul Health: Aligning With Spirit for Radiant Living)

All the evolution we know of proceeds from the vague to the definite. ~ Charles Sanders Peirce

Numerous studies illustrate the importance of spiritual and religious beliefs in recovering from various health problems. But little is written concerning how our soul interacts with—or inspires—our well-being to create overall wholeness. Even less is written about our soul’s most natural state—its evolution.

In working with thousands of clients and workshop attendees, I have come to believe that there is a complex interplay between our overall well-being and the inspiration of our soul. This interplay represents the interaction between our ways of dealing with the human condition (the everyday struggles we encounter and our reactions to them) and our deepest and wisest core. Without an understanding of this complex interplay, not only do our human lives remain unbalanced, but our souls simply cannot fully evolve.

Unlike general wellness models, the Soul Health Model emphasizes the complex and key interplay between our human condition and our soul, not just a basic approach to life balance. Because our soul’s evolution is dependent on both our life balance and a conscious awareness of our soul’s influence, it is the combination of these forces that is unique to this model.

10 Oct pic

In the Soul Health Model, the soul is depicted as the life force within an ever-evolving tree. Much like the growth of an actual tree, which depends on sunlight, clean water, and air, our soul’s evolution depends on the health of the elements available to it and only thrives when the essentials of our existence are balanced and fulfilled. In the model, these elements represent the various aspects of our human condition—the health of our everyday life. Therefore, in order for an individual’s soul to reach unimpeded growth, the individual must consciously maintain this healthy balance. This is not an easy feat given how persistently the issues of daily life get in the way. When we are overwhelmed, it is less and less likely that we will hear our soul. However, it is through physical, emotional, and other forms of dis-ease or lack of contentedness that our soul attempts to get our attention—to inspire us—in order to bring us back into balance and restore a sense of overall wholeness. Only then can our soul continue to evolve.

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

The “Contraction” and “Expansion” of Evolution

When it comes to soul health, it is necessary for us to experience times in our lives when we both contract and expand. What does this mean? Essentially, it means that there are times when pulling back to evaluate, rest, or recharge are more important to our evolution than the times when we perceive ourselves to be growing and expanding. The truth is, both contraction and expansion are necessary processes in our evolution. While we might avoid or resist either process, it is important to embrace the ebb and flow as a necessary part of our growth.

As many of you know, 2015 was a particularly challenging Sick Tree aka SoulAyear for me. The long-term illnesses and loss of both my mother and a 16 year-old dog, multiple unexpected car and home expenses, a very busy work/travel schedule, stressful family dynamics, and health concerns of my own left my own “tree” feeling rather wilty. Although I take pride in self-care, regardless of what I did, I just couldn’t muster my typical amount of energy to do much more than see clients, go home, and sit on the couch with my pups. I was spent.

I “measure” my energy in percentages, and early this year, I estimated that I was functioning at less than 25% of my typical energy level. My tank was pretty much empty. In order to “fill up”, I set upon practicing what I preach about Soul Health by cutting back most activity, canceling classes and workshops, minimizing any extra commotion, and basically pulling back on anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary to get by. Anyone who knows me also knows that I don’t like to slow down. However, I had no choice but to “contract” in order to assure a future “expansion”.

fall-newsletterBeing a travel junkie, I scheduled a long weekend at the beach, took another extended weekend away at a retreat center, and planned a trip to several national parks in July with my best friend, knowing that visiting majestic sights is one of my most effective medicines. Sure enough, by August I was feeling much more like myself. Another important healing “salve” for me is to learn something new. So, throughout the summer,
I also underwent some further training that will enable me to provide many more healing and educational opportunities for others. I just returned from another soul-nourishing workshop that left me feeling much more integrated, excited to launch some new services, and much, MUCH clearer about what I will be doing in the near future.

The moral of the story? My forced “contraction” was exactly what I needed for my evolution. If my energy hadn’t been so low, and had I not heeded my typical words of healing wisdom, not only would I not have acquired my newfound clarity, but I also wouldn’t have the energy it will take in order to implement the plan that has formed over the last year. Contracting from the world helped me heal and restore so that I could expand and grow.

Although I don’t like to think about cutting a tree to look at it’s rings for signs of growth, they do clearly show that contraction and expansion are necessary parts of life. The thinnest rings indicate times of slower growth and stagnation, while the wider rings illustrate what happens when it is time to thrive and develop. Like my own reduction in activity, trees need these times of seeming stagnation in order to store up energy for the next seasonal expansion.

Fall is a natural time of contraction, one when many people pull back from typical activity to reflect and recharge for new growth in the spring. The season provides the opportunity to re-evaluate where your growth has taken you and also where you want to be in another year. Make use of this beautiful and symbolic season so that you, too, can embrace the ebb and flow of your evolution.

Physical Health—From Basic Needs to Body Language

(Taken from Chapter 3 of Soul Health: Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living)

You don’t have a soul.  You are a soul.  You have a body.  ~ C.S. Lewis

07 July picHealth is a deeply personal thing. From the common cold to chronic illness, every physical ailment has an impact on how we experience the human condition. Any indication that we are not well threatens the quality or duration of our existence, and, more seriously, it affects the core of our being—our soul. Our health is multidimensional; it involves each and every aspect of our lives, which, cannot help but suffer along with the body. When we are ill, we often feel down emotionally. Our relationships suffer, and in some cases we lose them. Our jobs may be jeopardized, we neglect our surroundings, struggle to find or maintain inner peace (which may go out the window altogether), lose sexual interest, perhaps lose money as well, and certainly are not in the right frame of mind for good fun and leisure.

In 1955, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit priest and philosopher, wrote in Le Phénomène Humain (The Human Phenomenon) that “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” And there is nothing more human than our physical bodies. They may be finished evolving, but they are necessary to the soul’s continued evolution.

People spend an inordinate amount of money each year not only on health and physical fitness products, but on beauty products as well, which demonstrates the value they place on the state and appearance of their bodies. However, this focus on the physical body often ignores other aspects of overall well-being. This chapter explains the complex effects that our physical health can have on all branches of our vitality and illustrates how our body’s health reflects the health of our soul.

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

Joyful Soul

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

Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. ~ Norman Cousins

06 June picI have long lost track of how many people have entered my psychotherapy office bringing with them their sorrows, but leaving behind any sense of joy. They have lost their enjoyment and feel as if their zest for life has completely disappeared. When asked, few can say what used to make them smile, let alone remember the last time they really laughed. When I ask what they do for fun, the all-too-common answer is “nothing.” Certainly, when people are anxious, depressed, grief-stricken, stressed, or in any other state of turmoil, their experiences of joy are rare. But reacquainting with what brings them joy is guaranteed to free them from the gravity of any challenging circumstance or situation.

Our soul is nothing without joy. Without joy we are void of all light that reminds us why we live. In times when the human condition has us in its darkened grip, our experience of joy is less tangible, and so is our connection with our soul. We cannot see as clearly how to make decisions that suit our wisest ally, and we often go further off track rather than closer to our inner wisdom. Consequently, it’s not unusual for people who are distressed to report that they no longer know who they are, as their despair further disconnects them from their soul.

Our sense of joy—or lack of one—, thus, serves as another measure of our soul health. Our sense of joy is much like the pilot light for our inner ally—as long as it is lit we are still experiencing at least some pleasure in life and are able to tolerate the darker sides of the human condition. However, when that light is dim or snuffed out, nothing seems to matter—not even oneself. Therefore, awareness of what brings us joy is of utmost importance to our overall health. Essayist Logan Smith notes, “If you are losing your leisure, look out; you may be losing your soul.” Indeed, our souls do define us; and if we don’t listen to them, we will never find our way back home to this inner ally. More tragic is the risk of losing who we really are.

Joy stems both from the fun and leisure we create06 June pic2 in our lives and from the meaning we place on the activities we choose for recreation. Individual recreational needs may differ as widely as the people on the planet do. What we all have in common, though, is that fun and leisure not only buffers the unpleasant aspects of our human condition, but also fortifies or feeds the soul.

The recreational branch of soul health relates to both the fun and the leisure we allow, invite, or create in our lives. There is a difference between the two, though. We experience fun through “acting playfully”—reacting in a light-hearted, humorous, or jesting manner —at home, work, or social situations. Leisure time, however, allows us to find respite from our responsibilities—personal and professional—which usually represent the heavier aspects of our human condition. Both fun and leisure are necessary in fortifying our soul and promoting its evolution.

Unfortunately, most people don’t make or take time for fun and leisure. In a 2010 survey, an online travel agency found that only 38 percent of Americans use all of the vacation time they were allotted. This may not be surprising, given the standards for long hours of work in this country; however, the physical and emotional cost may outweigh the praise we get for the long hours worked. In fact, there is often a direct impact on physical health when people don’t take time to relax. One researcher found that people who don’t take time to slow down from daily life may find it harder to relax in the future since the neural pathways that produce feelings of calm and peacefulness become weaker, making it increasingly more difficult to shift to less stressful states of being. This demonstrates that our bodies are indeed restored when we are at rest or at play—and that this is necessary in sustaining our well-being.

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