Guided Meditation to Heal Heartache

“The human heart has a way of making itself large again even after it’s been broken into a million pieces.” 
~ Robert James Waller

“What happens when people open their hearts?”
“They get better.” 
~ Haruki Murakami

The energies of this week are all about forgiveness and opening our hearts, and throughout December they support joyful connection, gratitude and time spent on important relationships.

But what do you do when your heart is hurting? When you want to open up your heart but it’s bruised and battered and your faith in love and life is in tatters? Or when your heart is grieving the loss of loved ones, or time past?

I have a little guided meditation that might help. It’s one I recorded a while ago, but it’s perfect for the energies right now. It takes sixteen minutes, but I would suggest allowing extra time at the end for you to integrate the energy of the meditation.

All you need to do is find a spot to sit or lie quietly, and then follow along to the sound of my voice.  Feel free to hold a crystal of your choice if that feels right for you.

When you’re ready just click on the play button below:

 

You are beautiful, worthy and lovable just as you are.

You can heal, and you can know love. Love is your pure nature. It is what we have come from and the energy to which we will return.

Holding space for you to move back into an energy of flow, peace and light,

Nicole   xx

Don’t Isolate Yourself When the Going’s Hard

“No person, trying to take responsibility for her or his identity, should have to be so alone. There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep, and still be counted as warriors.”
~ Adrienne Rich

 

I’ve noticed a worrying phenomena lately. People are going to great lengths to make their life look incredible for social media, while behind the scenes they suffer alone and unsupported.

What happened that suddenly we can only talk up the good stuff, instead of living truthfully in the world?

As our extended family structures break down, and we become more and more remote from our neighbours and communities, we become more emotionally isolated.

We stop inviting people through the door. We stop sharing the small everyday details of our lives. Instead, we carefully curate our instagram images and facebook feeds.

There is a power to living vulnerably and being able to be open about our feelings and our lives.

Of course I advise using your intuition and discretion. Not everyone is a safe pair of hands. But with so many people stressed and overwhelmed by life, with rates of anxiety and depression and chronic illness escalating, with many of us caring for children with special needs, or single parenting or caring for elderly or ill loved ones, all of us need that extra boost that caring human connection can bring.

Image by Black-Avenger on www.deviantart.com

Image by Black-Avenger on www.deviantart.com

It can give us a powerful injection of hope or resilience to find that someone else has experienced our situation or feeling. We become less isolated. Our problem becomes more a condition of life than some shameful thing to be hidden away behind the posts of artfully photographed meals or ‘effortlessly gorgeous’ glamour outfits.

My Nana always used to tell me that a problem shared is a problem halved. As a young girl that never made much sense to me, but I can see the wisdom in it now, and I agree with that wisdom entirely.

Sometimes we genuinely do need to pull back to recalibrate our sense of centre, but please don’t isolate yourself entirely. Find ways to reach out, to ask for help, to sit in the company of others, to be able to share or smile or laugh or cry with people who welcome you into their space and allow you the freedom to feel (rather than hide) your emotions.

If you know someone who is going through a rough patch, reach out to them. Let them know that they’re not alone. Ask them if they’re okay.

We’re all in this together, and no-one’s getting out alive. Let’s all practice kindness for self and for our fellow journeymakers and make life’s journey better and more real and supported for everyone.

Sending so much love your way,

Nicole <3 xx

Sad Unicorns OR Is your New-Age Thinking Positively Unhelpful?

Sad Unicorn by theGREENER on flickr

Sad Unicorn by theGREENER on flickr

“Great heroes need great sorrows and burdens, or half their greatness goes unnoticed. It is all part of the fairy tale.” 
~ Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

“People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.” ~ Jim Morrison, The Doors

*Warning – The following post is not all puppies, rainbows and unicorns…

1uni

If you are a regular reader of my blog you’ll know I’m all for cultivating an optimistic outlook, for practicing gratitude, kindness and counting blessings. I also believe that thoughts are things, and that what we focus on and attach strong emotion to tends to manifest in our lives. Positive thinking and self-love bring many benefits.

So what I’m going to say next might sound like a contradiction, or even come as a shock…

I think that some of this Positive-Thinking Law-of-Attraction stuff is getting dangerously out of hand!

Emotions just are. They are human and useful, and part of the scenery as we journey through life.  No point in being too attached to them – they change all the time, based on how much sleep we’ve had, our current health and relationship status and a myriad of other factors.  Emotions are mostly transient, but haven’t you noticed that there is a big push lately for us to be enlightened enough to somehow stay happy and calm and in a permanent space of unconditional love, which we then beam out from us to others to help them feel happy, calm and loved too?

This same train of thought suggests that all those ‘lesser’ emotions, those ‘negative’ ones, are there merely for us to transcend, and it is a sign of our awareness (and for some, spiritual superiority!) to no longer entertain negative thoughts or emotions in any situation.

'Angel Melodies' by Josephine Wall

‘Angel Melodies’ by Josephine Wall

I disagree! It is NORMAL as a human to experience anger, pain, sadness, depression, guilt, shame, fear and regret at different times.  It is APPROPRIATE to feel these emotions in response to certain situations. I also believe that it is unrealistic in these circumstances to expect ourselves to easily and readily ‘snap out of it’ and be all Love and Light.

There is also a New-Age belief that by feeling negative emotions or thinking negative thoughts we are then creating further negative energy in our lives.

222928250275415032_dUSnKrX8_c

You’re thinking people, so I’ll ask you to draw your own conclusions about the following scenarios:

A beautiful young woman rang me yesterday, utterly distraught.  She has a four-year-old son, and an eight-month-old daughter, whom she is still breast feeding.  Both children were conceived through IVF, and shortly after she became pregnant with her daughter, this woman’s husband of ten years left her, and began a new relationship.

She and everyone else had thought it was a happy marriage. It was a complete shock. One day he was beside her and the next he was gone. Her husband had tied up most of his assets in protected structures, and there was no money available.  A protracted battle was entered into. The man has told his ex-wife that he wants nothing to do with her or their children (he has never seen his daughter, and has had no contact with his son since he walked out) and he says he will let the courts decide what minimum he has to pay toward their upkeep. The young mum ended up moving back in with her parents as she had no income of her own, her health was poor and she was completely devastated by the unexpected end of her marriage.

Of course this has been a stressful time for this young woman.  Her husband deserted her, she went through a difficult pregnancy entirely without him, and she was anxious about the future of her little family. On top of that she had ongoing problems with a hot, sore breast during pregnancy and, later, severe mastitis.  No matter what she tried it just didn’t get any better, and she consulted several nurses and doctors.  Finally one of them sent her for some tests.  She was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, so advanced that there are no treatment options available.  All they can do is provide palliative care. She has weeks left.

And here’s the saddest part.  In a desperate attempt to prolong her life this woman went to a respected doctor who is also an alternative medicine practitioner. One of the first things the doctor said, upon taking this woman’s recent medical and life history, was that the young woman’s anger and negative emotions towards her husband had most probably caused her cancer.

Really?

Can it be as simplistic as that? And if so, why isn’t everyone else going through great life upheaval and trauma suddenly manifesting life-terminating cancer for themselves?

So here I have this traumatised young mum sobbing into the phone, wracked with guilt that her recent pain, anger and depression have manifested a cancer that will now deprive her children of their mother.  Over and over she said to me, “I’m so sorry. I just don’t know how to fix it. I truly didn’t mean to do this.”

She wanted me to help her have a sparkly-clean mind, filled with love and rainbows and unicorns and hope.

Somehow, if she could get a mind like that, miraculously she would heal…

722064c6ej2tr3v

Another friend has long suffered with serious depression.  It was brought about after an incident that would change anyone’s life; the death of her younger sister and brother in a car accident (not her fault! – they were slammed by a drunk driver at nine o’clock in the morning just outside their school) when she was a newly licensed driver. It left her with a legacy of physical pain and disfigurement too.  She has battled to get out of the hole, and truly it has been less than helpful when well-meaning friends and even health practitioners kept telling her to ‘get over it’, and that her happiness is a choice.

Their words implied that she was to blame for the place she was in, and she was left even more guilt-ridden and shamed over her inability to get unstuck. Truly, she was trying, but at that time she didn’t have the tools she needed to start turning things around. Every time she posted positive affirmations around the house, or repeated them endlessly, she felt more and more of a failure, as she measured the disparity between her current situation and where the affirmations told her she could be. Positive thinking made her feel even less worthy and deserving of help, change and even life itself.

This beautifully illustrated journey through depression from one of my favourite blogs, Hyperbole and a Half, explains this place so well:

Adventures in Depression

Eventually my friend found her way back to a place of balance. She is a counsellor, working with others, and her life has meaning again for her. There’s even laughter and happiness.  Sure, she still has hard days but we all do.  That’s life.

Life is a crucible that forges us through fire, and it is our trials and troubles which often truly enable us to grow and transform, more meaningfully and more lastingly, than any amount of positive thinking.

It belittles us, and it cheapens the human journey, to use trite phrases about positive thinking in the face of real struggle.  Life is wonderful, and at times heartbreakingly sad, hard and just plain awful. Sometimes we are helpless and powerless in the face of our own pain, or the suffering of another.

The magnificence is in finding something within us that enables us to keep going, even if we bumble and fumble and drag ourselves along, until we get from that place of darkness back into the light, forever changed.

Every decent book I ever read had a hero or heroine who faced disaster, betrayal and every other form of hardship. The way they travelled that difficult road is why we stuck around – so that we could be inspired, cheer them along, learn from them and eventually watch them grow into the sorts of people we desire to become ourselves.

There is a place for positive thinking, and for wanting to manifest our future by aligning ourselves with a vision of abundance that makes us feel good, and excited about what’s yet to unfold.

But there is also a place for experiencing the fullness of emotions created by being in the now. And sometimes that now will be paved with pain rather than rainbows.

The rainbows come later, after the rain. After you’ve ridden out the storm.

444cf91f646918b31d43debd8bacd2770b1434ec384a11b6ef70e13cc2c5d6635g

Burning the Past – A Ritual for Cleansing Pain

Image from www.fanpop.com

A friend of mine has gone through some hard times recently, and now that they are behind her she asked me if I had a ritual to help her let go of that painful period in her life.

I love the use of rituals in our lives.  Rituals cause us to take pause, giving weight to things that are significant for us. They help our brain focus and pay attention, and they help us orient ourselves emotionally and spiritually.

Burning has long been used as a ritual of release, so today I’m going to show you a simple burning ritual for cleansing and releasing situations and relationships that have caused you pain.

Many years ago, after a particularly painful relationship breakup, my sister, a girlfriend and I went to the local park and had a ceremonial burning of old letters and photographs one afternoon. I used a great big cauldron from my kitchen and we sat around on the grass, sipping champagne and feeding paper into the fire.  The flames were green and blue from all of the chemicals in the photographs.  A little boy walked past with his mum and said exitedly, “Look Mum, real Witches.”  That made my day, although let’s be clear – I am no witch – it was just a very Macbeth moment!  On the downside, my cauldron was never the same again…

Image from Hecates Cauldron

Burning Equipment – a large flame-proof pot or bowl, or an outdoor fireplace.  Matches. Long tongs.  Don’t use one of your good bowls or pots! Go to a second-hand store and find a big old saucepan or cauldron, or see if you have an old brass or metal bowl in the back of a cupboard.  You could also use a barbeque pit or a campfire, or a terracotta pot.  Be sensible about your burning. Burn outside, observing fire restrictions and keeping your fire away from anything that might catch alight.

Gathering Your Burning Fodder – Never burn in the heat of the moment!  A calm, thoughtful and considered burning is much more powerful and effective.  Begin by finding images, letters or other material related to the situation.  Don’t burn any legal documents.  Don’t burn anything out of spite.  All you are looking for is material that can REPRESENT what you wish to release.  For example, old photographs or letters, old newspaper clippings or advertising – anything that holds emotion for you and that you can afford to send up in flames.  If you have no images or material, then sit down and write a letter to the person or persons involved, or a summary of what has gone wrong and what you wish to let go of.

The Ritual

You can burn alone, or you can burn with friends or loved ones.  Choose what is appropriate to you.

Sit in front of your pot or burning space, hold the images/paper in your hands and just speak from the heart about what this represents to you and why you need to let this go.  Finish with the words I release you. I am done.

Then burn that stuff to ashes!  Feel the flames eating up and rendering that old energy into nothingness.  Let it all go.  That’s why we need to do this ritual outside, where the old energy can escape and be diffused on the wind.  You don’t ever want to do this ritual INSIDE your home – you want that old energy gone!

Honour any emotions that come up for you, but allow the ritual to give you a sense of finality.  When it’s cooled enough, dump your saucepan in the bin or keep it in the garage or garden at home for future burning needs. Celebrate the end of the Releasing Ritual with a beverage or some food – head out for a meal, or go home and have a cup of tea or a drink. Allow yourself reflection time, to recognise that you have closed the door on that part of your life.

In burning the past, you leave yourself free to claim a brighter future.