Sense-Focus Exercise to Reduce Anxiety

Jasmin’s Worksheet #54
Sense-Focus Exercise to Reduce Anxiety
When you are in fear, you are obsessing on scary thoughts.
It’s as though you are stuck in a dark tunnel.
Here is an exercise to redirect your attention to the world around you.
You can do it with someone or take a piece of paper to write down your answers.
It will only take a few Minutes and it helps to go outdoors for the exercise.
1) Take 3 deep breaths. Tell yourself: “I am here. I am breathing.”
2) Inhale very deeply and hold your breath for the count of 7; exhale easily and evenly; repeat 3x
3) Look around, up, notice your surrounding
4) List 5 things you can see in nature. Look up to the sky, also
5) What colors do you see?
6) Count how many different greens you can identify
7) Can you see any birds or squirrels? describe
8) Is there something else that is noteworthy, usual, unusual? A plane, blimp etc
9) List 4 things you can hear at this moment
10) List 3 things you can touch
11) List 2 things you can smell
12) Identify 1 thing you can taste
Notice that you feel much calmer and breathe more deeply.
Repeat the exercise whenever necessary.

Unknown Waters

It’s not at all about arriving anywhere
Or achieving anything.
Neither is it about being better
Or even being good at it.
It’s all about experiencing,
Watching, sensing, partaking,
And continuing on your own, too
If that’s what’s up.
Allowing some doubts,
But keeping dread and worry
From taking over.
Just breathing and carrying on,
Learning to navigate the raft on the
Passage into utterly unknown waters.
Most important to look up
At the enchantingly blue sky
And the gatherings of birds (with delight),
Seeing and welcoming each and every visitor
(human and otherwise),
And moving on when the time has come.
Listen to the wind, add your rhythm
‘cause being there is all there is.
“Keep going in the face of adversity” – quote, Janwillem van de Wetering

Solange es nicht ablenkt vom Rhythmus

Es geht ueberhaupt nicht darum,
irgendwo anzukommen,
oder irgendwas zu erreichen.
Auch nicht darum, besser zu sein,
oder überhaput tatsächlich
gut zu sein dabei.
Eher schon darum,
einfach nur dabei zu sein,
zuzuschauen, mitzumachen,
und auch alleine weiterzumachen,
wenn das grad angesagt ist.
Die Zweifel zuzulassen, aber
die Unsicherheit und das Grauen nicht
überhand nehmen zu lassen.
Einfach atmen, weitermachen, durchhalten,
wie bei einer Überfahrt auf einem Floss
in gänzlich unbekannte Gewässer.
Ganz wichtig wäre es auch, immer mal wieder
das Morgenrot mit Entzücken zu erleben und
vielleicht dem Wind zuzuhören, sowie
alle Besucher mit einem Lächeln zu begrüßen,
solange es nicht allzuviel Mühe macht
und ablenkt von der Melodie und dem Rhythmus,
denn das Dasein ist doch schon alles.

Unknown Waters

It’s not at all about arriving anywhere
Or achieving anything.
Neither is it about being better
Or even being good at it.
It’s all about experiencing,
Watching, sensing, partaking,
And continuing on your own, too
If that’s what’s up.
Allowing some doubts,
But keeping dread and worry
From taking over.
Just breathing and carrying on,
Learning to navigate the raft on the
Passage into utterly unknown waters.
Most important to look up
At the enchantingly blue sky
And the gatherings of birds (with delight),
Seeing and welcoming each and every visitor
(human and otherwise),
And moving on when the time has come.
Listen to the wind, add your rhythm
‘cause being there is all there is.
“Keep going in the face of adversity” – Janwillem van de Wetering

Autistic & other Solutions

Life style choices much later look unrelated.
Leave baby parked alone in square room,
baby cry, need to be held, no safe,
make him adjust to adult schedule,
baby brain helpless like kangaroo,
spanked, scolded, tears dry again, look up to walls,
screaming, left to stew, not know how.
Shy choked with fears of forgotten sorrow,
hypervigilant to surrounding, suppress self,
desires loud, can’t hear inner voice,
thoughts vague and nebulous, confused.
accommodating the parents, and the others, always,
Hedonistic strivings upside down.
Parents unavailable, dominating, have own needs.
Mother cool and skinny, forever young, get laid.
How to find the joy of life.
no stifle smother squash suppress.
Bold autistic, resist directives, no adjust adapt,
rigid, uncompromising, just howl and kick,
see all detail to understand.
Sociopathic solutions, no feather ruffle, just slide by,
no compassion, no fear, no care. Smooth.
Change brain, lotsa drugs, forget the lonely.
Sex addiction, be held by stranger any time.
Food addiction, self-feed, self-soothe.
Anger, make-believe big strong Tarzan.
Say, I am, don’t push me! Say, no! I don’t wannu.
Spread his wings, be himself, find what it is.
Imagine alive and free, both.
Seek safety heal trauma a little bit.

Relational

• You don’t own anybody
• Everyone gets to live out his/her own fate
• You want to be loved without paying a too high price for it
• The loss of autonomy or personal development is a too high price to pay.
• What price to pay? Is it worth it?
• You’re not loved because you deserve it, but because you offer something that the other person needs, and also because you have something in common
• Love is a gift and you can lose or destroy it if you don’t know how to handle it
• If the presence of your partner isn't sweet to you anymore, it’s usually over
• If you feel unloved or jealous, you show your worst side. You may insult or threaten your partner, possibly even with a bright-red face
• Don’t take yourself so seriously
• When a couple breaks up, it’s not because another lover is better, but because one doesn’t feel understood or appreciated, two people living next to each other rather than with one another
• It’s easier to see fault in the other as you don’t really see yourself
• A self-righteous attitude and blame are useless and poisonous to the emotional climate
• Refrain from expectations and you will minimize resentments
• Clearly state what you want, and your partner gets the chance to reply, yes or no. If you don’t do that, you will build up resentments, which drown out the love, and eventually you'll want to get away
• When you're upset, think first whether it is really necessary to express your discontent. If so, use I statements to state what you want, rather than what the other person has done that seems wrong to you
• Parents will always be parents and children have a right for continuity of parenting
• Don’t assume that you’re right. You may both be right or wrong. It may not matter either way
• More humor and less ego make everything easier
• Disrespect destroys love
• Give what you want to get
• Ask yourself, am I a joy for my partner? If you ruin his/her mood too often, there is a problem
. • Offering loving kindness is the way to own your power and create joy
• When in doubt, ask, what would love do now? Do that!

BEZIEHUNGSKISTE

• Keiner gehört einem anderen.
• Jeder soll und darf sein eigenes Schicksal leben.
• Man wird nicht geliebt, weil man es verdient, sondern weil man das anzubieten hat, was der andere braucht, und auch weil man was gemeinsam hat.
• Liebe ist ein Geschenk des Himmels und man kann es verlieren oder kaputtmachen, wenn man nicht weiss, wie man damit umzugehen hat.
• Der Mensch möchte geliebt werden ohne einen zu hohen Preis dafür zu bezahlen.
• Verlust von Autonomie oder Weiterentwicklung ist zuviel verlangt.
• Welcher Preis ist zu zahlen? Ist es das wert?
• Wenn man sich in der Gegenwart des anderen nicht mehr wohl fühlt, dann ist die Liebe meistens vorbei.
• Wenn ein Paar sich trennt, dann ist das NICHT wegen einer anderen Person, sondern weil man sich schon lange nicht verstanden oder geschätzt fühlt, weil man nebeneinanderher lebt.
• Man sieht die Schuld gern beim anderen, weil man sich selber nicht sieht.
• Wenn man sich ungeliebt fühlt oder eifersüchtig ist, dann zeigt man sich von seiner schlechtesten Seite, d.h. womöglich bedroht und beleidigt man den anderen, gerne auch mit rotem Kopf.
• Selbstgerechtigkeit und Vorwürfe sind nutzlos und vergiften die Atmosphäre.
• Wenn man mehr Humor hätte und weniger Ego, wäre alles viel leichter.
• Wenn ein Mann seine Frau rechtlos behandelt, dann wird das die Liebe und den Respekt zerstören.
• Wenn du sagst was du willst oder brauchst, dann hat der andere die Chance, Ja zu sagen, oder auch, Nein.
• Wenn du das aber nicht tust, dan wirst du so viele Aggressionen aufbauen, dass die Liebe erlöscht, und dann willst du nur noch weg.
• Die Eltern werden immer die Eltern sein. Kinder haben Anspruch auf ihre Eltern.

If You Should ever Wake Up

If you should ever wake up in deep sorrow about the suffering of humans and animals at the hands of humans, I am with you.
Flooding with global issues via social media can be overwhelming. This is what I do:
1) I must remember that I am created with some power to help. It is limited though. Extensive ruminations on such things are not helpful to anyone.
2) I can do something in my immediate vicinity, show up for the people in my life and my own animals; give or send some money to help where it’s needed or possible.
3) Do a little prayer asking God to care for all sentient beings, visualize giving them all to the care of the creative source of the universe.
4) Set timer for 20 Mins (or less).
5) Find a seat at a comfortable place, best near a window where you can see the sky for a moment. 6) Close your eyes. Settle in your space. Straighten your spine. Sit still.
7) Listen to the air surrounding you. Imagine the depth of the space beyond the sounds. Imagine that God is the wind (the air).
8) Focus on your breath. Tell yourself, I’m breathing in, I’m breathing out.
9) Hold your breath to the slow count of 7, release, repeat 2 more times.
10) Focus on your inside, find the physical location of your discomfort (probably belly, chest, or neck); hold it lovingly, give it your full attention, breathe into it.
11) Visualize that you inhale golden, divine, loving, healing light energy with every breath; breathe in and out, in and out, let the golden energy fill your inside and make you glow; let the grey energy of fear and sadness flow out, fading easily.
12) Smile, open your eyes, attend to this day.

Teenagerjahre in München

Manchmal wünschte ich,
dass sie mich liebevoll verstanden hätten,
aber so war’s halt nicht.
Mit tränenerstickter Stimme habe ich damals
Immer wieder versucht, mich verständlich zu machen.
Es ist mir bis jetzt nicht gelungen,
auch dann nicht, als ich mehr darüber wusste.
Auf meiner Seite war immer nur ich.
Das war mehr eine innere Angelegenheit.
Nach aussen hin hat es gar nicht so schlecht ausgesehen.
eher normal, das Ganze.
Vielleicht war das gerade das Schlimme,
denn Nichts daran war normal, gar Nichts.
Es war ja ein bodenloses Grauen.
Ihre ironischen und abfälligen Worte klingen
mir heute genauso in den Ohren wie damals, vor 50 Jahren.
Von allen Seiten weiss immer jemand was.
Sie wollen es so gerne relativieren
durch willkürliche Vergleiche mit Anderen,
bewaffnet mit irgendwelchen Fakten und Ursachen
und sie sympathisieren genüsslich mit unseren Feinden,
einfach so, weil sie das können.
Sie ereifern sich und wollen es rechtfertigen.
Sie würfeln Namen, Zahlen, und Bilder mit hinein.
Eigentlich haben sie keine Ahnung,
wie das ist als Jude in ihrem Land geboren zu sein.
Der Mensch ist gefangen in seinem Kopf.
Man kennt ja doch nur sein eigenes Schicksal
Und selbst das ist nicht ganz so, wie in der Erinnerung.
Vieles will man gar nicht sehen oder man kann es nicht.

Wie Sand

Wie Sand ist es mir durch die Finger gelaufen,
das Leben, waehrend ich lachend und
weinend entlanggetänzelt bin,
zögernd und beschleunigend
auf der Suche nach dem versteckten Weg.
Der Dichter erwähnt Deutsche Orte
Und mir schiessen die Tränen in die Augen,
Weil ich mich erinnere an heisse Sommertage am See.
Zwischendurch will ich mich festhalten
an irgendwas, einem Menschen.
Es kann auch ein Buch sein oder sogar
nur ein einziges Wort, manchmal,
Damit ich nicht wegrutsche in den Abgrund
Meines Kindheitstraumes,
Der schon so lange verblasst war
Und dann wieder voll da ist mit seiner Beklemmung,
Wo die Menschen unerwartet zu Schreckensgespenstern,
Werden, manchmal, wenn sie unberechenbar sind,
und hasserfüllt sich Sachen ausdenken,
Von denen man gar Nichts weiss und schon
Will man sich dringend verteidigen,
Aber sie wollen nichts davon wissen
Und sie spucken mir die Vorwürfe einfach so hin,
die sich durch jedes weitere Wort
nur noch mehr aufblähen bis sie platzen
Und das Unschöne hinterrücks den Raum erfüllt
wie Geruchsgeister. Man entfernt sich, aber
man kann das Geschehene nicht ausradieren.

our spaceship

human history
is the history of
love & aggression,
cooperation & migration,
creation & procreation.
nothing new there.
people believe
they know some shit
when they don't.
nothing new.
the only essential issue
of our time
is the irreversible destruction
of our magical blue planet,
but it exceeds our imagination
and so we regress
to seek survival
within our own little tribe
while destroying the spaceship
that carries all of life,
but i'm over it, really.
i have arrived at acceptance.
it is what it is.
fuck it.

Captives of Childhood

The realm of human experience can be divided between the internal world and the interpersonal. The internal world develops early on when we begin to experience ourselves as we learn and do things; for example, a 3-yr old builds a little lego tower and expands her sense of self, “I can do that.” The interpersonal realm involves the others and our reactions to them, often w/out really understanding what happened, essentially beyond control.
Within a good childhood environment we develop our abilities w/in both these realms, progressing toward balance and a sense of mastery and comfort. If the child lacks safety and guidance, her attention will be mostly on the outside, craving to be held and loved. While expecting threats or dangers and bracing herself against life, she may become hypervigilant and defensive, possibly hyperactive and inattentive, or she may withdraw and isolate. When these strategies are practiced for a while they become habitual.
Most addicts have survived extensive ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences). We began to experience ourselves as victims, passive recipients on the receiving end, uncertain and powerless, resentful and defensive. Forever looking outside of self, we remained anxious and the lens of perception got stuck on the outside, where we saw the others, but couldn’t really see ourselves. We grew up without developing self-awareness or a solid sense of self, feeling empty inside, in need of pleasures and distractions form the outside. We were lagging abilities and interests, in need of soothing and exciting delights as the inner voice poked fears and resentments. Unaware of our own part in creating problems, we expected certain behaviors from the others and we got deeply dejected and indignant when they fell short, when they didn’t provide reliability, safety, and whatever else we desire. We placed the blame on them, always on the others. While we were busy holding on to victimhood we remained captives of childhood. It’s not a recipe for happiness and so we tried to numb out and forget reality with the help of drugs, sex, and other behaviors, too. It took all we got, and eventually we were left empty-handed and defeated.
In recovery we undergo a metamorphosis*. In AA we are taught steps to look at ourselves – and we begin to see who we are. We develop the narrative of our lives, we change our own behavior patterns, and cease to experience ourselves as powerless victims. Identification with the wounded child we once were, fades and the mood improves. It changes everything. The more we look at our part, the less we have the need to stay resentful. This is the psychic change that relieves suffering and makes it possible to stay sober. Otherwise people continue to create their own chaos by translating negative thoughts into sadness, fear, and anger, while blaming others forever and a day.
Recovery is about taking my spirit back from finding fault and claiming my own freedom for today. The alchemy of gratitude turns shit to gold. By altering my thought pattern, I transform and adjust skewed perceptions, and consequently my emotional climate – my inner world turns from despondency to hope, from fear to faith, from wrath to hope. It’s a metamorphosis, like the tadpole turns into a frog. Magic. Finding recovery from suffering is a grace. Most alcoholics never find the way out.
“Resentment means that I sacrifice today’s freedom to someone for something that happened in the past” – quote, unknown
* metamorphosis – profound transformation into a new type of animal, e.g. tadpole to frog

The Broken Child

People remain captives of childhood
when injuries had to be endured, which were intolerable.
Based on defenseless times, at the mercy of others,
development is compromised, the inner world
is shattered, and reality gets distorted.
Joe must inflict on others what happened to him,
playing out again and again the film of being hurt,
showing to all, “Look! This is what they did to me.”
Blind and indifferent to the injuries of the others
he must be paid attention to and indulge
in the excitement of tasting the forbidden fruit.
It’s a sweet dream where he is the player,
the one who holds the power.
Josie never got permission to say, “No” to anyone.
She goes along with it, whatever it is.
Attention by any man is exciting,
she shows up for enchantment
only to find herself in the same movie
again and again.
Jane has remained a blamer,
attracting men who keep the past alive,
wrongdoers to accuse with unrelenting vengeance,
oblivious of the futility of punishment.
Unaware of herself, she rejects forgiveness
within the big picture that is human nature throughout the ages.
All of them disown the power,
seeking relief and distraction on the outside
while foregoing their own existence as is,
doomed to keep the past alive with an ongoing
slam dance on the precipice.
The broken child inside wants to be reeled in and held.
The path to freedom leads through metamorphosis.
Some of us find the gates of forgiveness for us all
and get the chance to become whole.
* metamorphosis – profound transformation into a new type of animal, e.g. tadpole to frog

Tartuffo with Vatile *

The woman on TV says to tell each other
How we feel. I just never knew about that.
I guess I wasn’t really asked such things.
The next best thing was watching silently,
Pointing out the behaviors of the others.
How to talk to my mom and dad?
“This is what happened and how it affected me.”
I wish I could tell them. I’d like that.
These days I feel only pure love for them,
Just sweet and sentimental love.
My mom was lovely, but she wasn’t really there much.
I’d be told how to love her and resisted it.
Not sure. We were close and different, too.
She’d annoy me by saying, “I know you better than
you know yourself.” Did she really?
She saw me as awkward, not a womanly beauty like herself.
People would tell me how pretty she was.
I just never knew, why? Why did they tell me?
Why was I so resentful, really?
She bought me pretty clothes at “Muttilein” downtown.
Smuggling nylon stockings she took me along to Yugoslavia.
I was 4 perhaps when she told me to sit
Quietly and wait for her outside, in the car,
Fearing she would never come back,
That I was forgotten in front of that foreign little store,
Until I realized that she’d come back for the car…
She needed the car.
Mom came and went, came and went.
I am forgetting how sweet she sang to me.***
She came to see me in Austria where I was left
with relatives to spend the summer before first grade,
missing my mom terribly until I was sent back home on the train,
told to hold on to my seat for the whole day,
Crossing the border to Germany with my passport, alone,
I did, I was the good girl at 6 years old.
They came to pick me up at Münchener Hauptbahnhof**
Holding my little sister Nina between them.
She had learned to walk. It felt as though
they hadn’t noticed that I was gone.
It was good at home with Oma*, peaceful.
She would cook and bake, sing and tell stories to laugh and cry.
She spoke of losing her mother at 10, leaving behind home and
language as a refugee after 2 world wars, crossing
the Carpathian mountains on a horse carriage in the knee-deep snow
with her teenage daughter and no man for protection.
She would threaten suicide on occasion.
Memories with Vatile - we went to eat Italian
Chocolate ice cream with nut-flakes outside and liquor inside.
We sat together at a shaky little table, just him and I.
Proud and happy moment from a childhood.
Thank you, Vatile, I can almost remember your voice.
You smiled. The ice cream at the Eisdiele "Lido" at the Maxburg,
It was called Tartuffo.
* Vatile - German for daddy; Oma - German for grandma
** Munich main railway station
*** My mom, she sang to me:
Es war einmal ein kleines Buebchen, das bettelte so wundersueß: "Mamatschi, schenk mir doch ein Pferdchen ! - Ein Pferdchen waer' mein Paradies." Darauf bekam der kleine Mann ein Schimmel-Paar aus Marzipan. Die sieht er an. Er weint und spricht: "Solche Pferde wollt' ich nicht."
"Mamatschi, schenk' mir ein Pferdchen ! Ein Pferdchen waer' mein Paradies. Mamatschi, solche Pferde wollt' ich nicht."
Die Zeit verging. Der Knabe wuenschte vom Weihnachtsmann nichts als ein Pferd. Da kam das Christkindlein geflogen und schenkte ihm was er begehrt. Auf einem Tische stehen stolz vier Pferde aus lackiertem Holz. Die sieht er an. Er weint und spricht: "Solche Pferde wollt' ich nicht."
"Mamatschi, schenk' mir ein Pferdchen ! Ein Pferdchen waer' mein Paradies. Mamatschi, solche Pferde wollt' ich nicht."
Und es vergingen viele Jahre und aus dem Knaben ward ein Mann. Dann eines Tages vor dem Tore, da hielt ein herrliches Gespann. Vor einer Prunk-Kalesche standen vier Pferde - reich geschmueckt und schoen. Die holtem ihm sein liebes Muetterlein. Da fiel ihm seine Jugend ein.
"Mamatschi, schenk' mir ein Pferdchen ! Ein Pferdchen waer' mein Paradies. Mamatschi, Trauerpferde wollt' ich nicht."

Spiritual Election

Spiritual Election
The spiritual laws teach us that
life is divine energy
flooding through our bodies.
Law of Attraction teaches us that
we attract what we are,
what matches our vibrational state.
The thoughts we are offering create reality and
the focus about what we (don't) want
empowers and attracts it.
Psychology teaches us that
our subconscious mind doesn't know a negative
as though we try not to think of a pink elephant.
Traveling teaches us that
any journey has a direction.
Sometimes we’re lost and don’t even know it.
Voting for a leader,
we are meant to consider the highest good for
all. If we all think and talk about a
dangerous and incompetent candidate,
we are empowering that candidate.
On the wave of our common consciousness
he may surge to power and there is no turning back, ever.
On this day I could use my attention
for gratitude, which is a lovely vibrational state,
regardless whether it attracts what I want,
although apparently it does.
I choose to be grateful for the lovely blue sky,
the love for my furry critters, and
compassion for humans (including myself, too).
I focus on peaceful and humble acceptance
of the outcomes of millions of years of evolution,
which have taken us to a state
where human greed, sex, and aggression
destroy the magnificent creatures on
this magical blue planet while
ignorance, fear, and wrath make us forget
to tread lightly during this fleeting little dream
that we call life.

The Color of Love Meditation

It can happen that you awake with worries and anxieties, possibly in the wake of a dream or alcoholic agitation. Either way, prayer and mediation is of great help, providing the relief you need. Do it upon awakening and repeat throughout the day whenever agitation returns. We know now that a daily practice of prayer and meditation actually changes the brain.
The Practice:
Sit comfortably in upright position. Notice the expression on your face and smile slightly like the Mona Lisa does. It sends a feedback to the brain and influences your mood. Begin by giving thanks for waking up and unknown blessings on the day ahead. List all the good you can think of in a gratitude prayer, such as: Thank you, God, that I woke up, thank you that I am clean and sober, that my body is healing, that I am recovering my mind and my soul and becoming whole again, that I can see and hear, breathe and swallow, walk and talk, that I have food and water and a bed to sleep in. Thank you for the chance for a new beginning. Thank you for my life and the love in my life. Thank you for the people in my life (list them by name). Let me bring love and joy to others and let me forgive us all for everything.
Give your worries to HP (Higher Power), ask for guidance: Please show me the right way. Whatever, God, Your will be done (trying to enforce outcomes is futile, anyway). Focus on your breath, inhale, hold your breath to the count of 7, release, repeat 2 more times, or 6 times if you feel anxious, nervous, fearful, or agitated. Imagine inhaling hope and peace, with Divine love flooding through you, always, as you connect to the life force of the universe with every breath you take. Imagine the color of love filling your inside with a pale lavenderish pink energy cloud. Smile a little as you exhale. Repeat for 2 or 20 Minutes. Don’t worry about the time frame, just do it. As you like the effect of resetting your mind to a sense of ease and serenity, you might want to get used to it and practice on a daily basis.
Make sure to look out and up and give thanks for the spectacular blue sky. Good.
Namaste means that my soul recognizes your soul - the Divinity in me greets the Divinity in you. Think of Namaste when you meet us all today. Our feelings affect each other. We are One.

Dope for the Somnambulist

My Story
“I will never forgive you for what I have done to you” – quote, unknown author
I wish I could tell you otherwise… but I have never been a sunny girl, not even when I was little. During her pregnancy my mother vomited until she had to be hospitalized. Let’s just say that I was desperately unwanted at the time. Did it permanently affect her unborn baby? Who knows these things for sure? What we do know is that my mom’s continued anguish would have exposed me to a somewhat toxic prenatal environment; and then there’s epigenetics, which describes that extreme emotional experiences are passed on genetically.
I felt lost, like a displaced person, and they gave me the striped passport as "Foreigner Without Home Country". It was post-war Germany and my folks were Romanian refugees, traumatized by WWII, the Holocaust, and unimaginable circumstances on their trip over the snow-covered Carpathian Mountains on a horse carriage (one of the two horses died on the road). In Salzburg, Austria my beautiful teenage mother quickly fell in love with a handsome Jewish man who spoke her language. When he left for Munich, Germany, she followed him… Unmarried and pregnant at twenty-one she sent a letter to her mother in Austria, “If you want to see me alive, come NOW”. So my grandma came to the rescue and never left. She ran the household while my parents tried to get a go at things. My dad would ride his bicycle around in the rain, selling nylon stockings until he almost died of pneumonia. Although he eventually became a successful businessman, an anxious poverty consciousness was transmitted to me. My family’s legacy was a sense for moving on, in search for greener pastures, and not looking back too soon…
I was essentially on my own. They loved me a lot, but they were busy. They would tease me for crying, “Oh look, the little mimosa, there she goes again”... and my mom did spank me a couple of times for lying. I would feel so humiliated and insulted that I would not talk to her for days… and it resulted in my compulsive need to tell the truth (I do have to make a deliberate effort to avoid unnecessary disclosures…).
In elementary school I concluded that I am stupid. It never occurred to me that other kids might be getting some help with their schoolwork. My grandma didn’t really know how to help me with my little issues and neither did I know how to tell her about things. I felt ridiculously out of place. I fantasized about being invisible and being able to walk through walls. It didn’t happen… Noticing that adults seemed inflicted with a condition of collective amnesia regarding the hardships that must be endured during childhood, I made a pact with myself to remember my childhood suffering... And I do - my heart goes out to all the sad and lonely children.
As teenagers we had discussions in which the Jews were ridiculed and blamed for not having assimilated with the Germans, while the Aryan right to supremacy remained undoubted. They thought the Germans are better. My people thought the Jews are better. I was told to identify with the aggressor. I was told to identify with the underdog. I chose the underdog and began to read and learn about it, but it was futile. I couldn’t fight against everyone. My best girlfriend had a parrot who, apparently oblivious of the political changes during its lifetime, would occasionally screech: “Heil Hitler”. I often went home crying, but could never tell my parents, knowing that my dad would be floored with all that. I was left alone with my shame in secrecy.
At fourteen my dad would ask me at the dinner table: “As what do you feel?” and I was supposed to say Jewish, Romanian, or Israeli – but none of these options really applied, though. I couldn’t identify. I didn’t belong anywhere. I brought up teenage pregnancy, and he would threaten to disown me… I didn’t like these family dinners. I did a lot of crying there. Eventually I gave up and embarked on a life of denial and confusion. So I met a German boy and we fell in love. He was the cutest of them all and I was enchanted. We did what teenagers do and I told him that Jewish girls don’t have sex. He laughed and said they are lying. When I turned sixteen we had sex and I got pregnant. My mom manipulated my dad to go on a business trip to Italy so we could secretly fly to Yugoslavia and get me an abortion… I had to promise her that I would never see him again, which turned out to be an impossibility (to this day). It did cause us all a lot of heartache.
I realize that my childhood does not look tragic. After all, I was not physically abused. I’m guessing my more or less catastrophic over-reactions to life cannot be sufficiently explained by imposing all the responsibility on to my family’s behavior. It looks like I was just born with an uncomfortable vulnerability to people and reality in general… which predisposed me to anxious ruminations, resistances, and self-destructive acting-out that seemed like pleasure seeking. I wish I could have brought some joy to my poor daddy… but his need for control and my stubborn defensiveness against his blaming didn’t leave much room for such things. We weren’t exactly playful about it, either… We were locked into that thing. Feelings of shame and the need to blame became hurtful and toxic.
Without necessarily knowing what I was doing, I had the irresistible urge to go far away. Eventually I left for California, where supposedly people wore flowers in their hair because it never rained… My musician lover in London hooked me up with his brother on 129 ½ Doheny Drive in West Hollywood, who took me along to a couple of recording studios. I met some famous musicians… my decision was made promptly … and I moved to Los Angeles. You’d think I was finally happy when I was free to hang out at Malibu Beach looking onto the surf, but no - I felt confused, lonely, and depressed, and I missed my home and my friends. There I was … many years and thousands of miles apart from my childhood plight… and my feelings were the same as they had always been. At the sunny blue Pacific Ocean my internal climate had remained foggy and gray.
So I became a psychotherapist… found a man to love and marry, gave birth to a perfect baby boy, but when it came time to bury my mom and grandma, the bubble burst and I could not go on. Something inside of me imploded and I lost the path. I began to smoke, drink, and use drugs more and more. I destroyed my marriage and career, and with it the opportunity for a good life… and for decades I sunk into the swamp. In 1984 I ended up returning to Munich – divorced, penniless, with a little boy who didn’t speak any German, “Daddy, I’m home!” He was not amused…
Back home I got myself a man to love and a cool little shoe store to finance our lifestyle. We stayed up all night for years and I’m not going to lie - we did have a lot of fun. Then came the years where I tried to be asleep before the birds start to sing at dawn. I needed heroin to get up and Johnny Walker to make it through the night, silently suffering through the hellish hangovers and attempts of kicking. We crashed. It was harder on him and he was hospitalized many times. I married him for visits at the psych ward… when his mom tried to keep me out. It got dark around the house.
Locked into our own little world, we had to go on until one of us couldn’t do it any longer. Meanwhile, my son had gone to Hawaii for an exchange year and I went to visit him for his eighteenth birthday. During a long-distance phone call I realized that my husband had found himself a little lover… and the bondage was released. I was free to go. I knew that my ex-husband was in recovery and asked him for help. He let me go to his rehab and I took the chance to get out alive. On May 2, 1999 I came back to L.A. to get clean, seized the lifesaver, and held on. I did cry every day about my son’s childhood. Eventually, the recovery work helped to forgive us all. The truth is – we just couldn’t help it.
Meanwhile, I have understood that words have the power to destroy people and that our words say more about us than about the other person; also, that blame is hurtful and useless, no matter how justified it may be. Responding to aggression with stubborn defensiveness and resentments keeps the lock on misery. While nothing gets resolved, we stay stuck in a vicious cycle and it interferes with healing. Essentially, we sacrifice happiness for blame.
In the past I have judged others while wanting to be understood. I see now that it’s not a recipe for happiness. These days I try to understand and empathize. I have learned to look at my own actions, pull my spirit back to the present moment and look for the joy; had to give up my inflated self-importance (unless I forget), as well as over-identification with the past. Instead, I embrace the ability to have some experiences, look at what I bring to the table, and make myself useful. I’ve gone from “Whatever it is, I’m against it” … to… “Bring it on!” I like it a lot better that way.
* Somnambulism is defined as walking in one’s sleep or in trance; sleepwalking

the chakras

Meditation and The Chakras
There is really nothing fancy about meditation – my cats do it all the time. Essentially it is about sitting still – with your eyes closed so that you may tune out the outside world and attend to your inner process. For one, you cannot do anything destructive during that time... Meanwhile, you calm down, allow yourself to get centered, grounded, and aware of yourself. Keeping your back straight is helpful so you won’t fall asleep. Not that there would be anything wrong with that – it’s just not meditating. They say the chakras should be aligned in a straight line, meaning you sit with a straight back. Sounds easy enough – may take a while until you begin to create joy and relaxation in this manner. We are so used to distractions. Meditating is about getting to know who you are without identifying with your behaviors or others’ reactions to you. If you do it every morning you will find it empowering and soothing.
The chakra concept is an ancient metaphorical system that outlines human development toward higher consciousness. The eight chakras address the main levels of human experience as we mature. On a physical level they are believed to be power centers in the body, which radiate energy. It is understood that they begin at the base of the spine and continue upward to the top of the head. Chakra is the Sanskrit word for wheel, and people with psychic vision supposedly are able to see the chakras as rapidly spinning wheels of different colored light and to interpret the state of our energy and implications for our wellbeing.
Concentrating on one of the chakras (or all of them in sequence) can be a pleasant starting point for meditation if sitting still and doing nothing is an unfamiliar task for you. Read one of the following papers on a chakra before you settle down for your meditation, do some conscious easy breaths (or breathing exercises). Envision the meaning of the metaphor. You could also imagine that you energize the chakra’s color by breathing into it until you make it glow. Enjoy it, too!
__________ *** __________
The First Chakra
Tribal
The first chakra is the basic level, the merging of the spiritual and the physical – the overriding need to live. The survival instinct is all about being alive and staying alive. Physically, the first chakra is located at the base of the spine, connected to the immune system, bowels, and our legs and feet. The color associated with the first chakra is red. This level is our foundation, our genetic heritage – it provides us with a sense of identity, grounds us, and connects us with our family and beyond, with all mankind, and all of life. It is helpful to understand and embrace our ethnic legacy. The tribe provides a cultural home where we are shown how to behave in society. There are norms and rules to follow. We copy role models and respond to peer pressure, too. Loyalty is rewarded and defiance to the traditional path is punished - and so we become socialized. Our tribe teaches us what it means to be a human being, and this guidance accompanies us through adulthood. Family life is not necessarily what we want it to be, though, where problematic behaviors get passed down over generations. We need to belong, but some of us must survive abandonment and abuse and find it impossible to follow in the footsteps of their elders. Some parents are incapable of being good role models - they teach useless or destructive behaviors. Growing up then means finding one's own path, but emotional disconnect from the tribe can trigger distress and intense discomfort. And so it may become necessary to seek outside help for healing and overcoming adverse childhood experiences. Processing psychological injuries takes time and perseverance, but it contains the key to liberation from the bondage of the past. If one gives in to fears and avoids mastering this hurdle, one may get stuck in the victim role and even recreate childhood issues throughout adult life. If you come from a loving, supportive, and nurturing family, great - you probably feel confident and interested in life. If that’s not the case, your life instinct may be compromised. You may feel depressed and not caring much about life; or you may be angry and aggressive, where the death instinct has become more pronounced; or you may suffer form fear and anxiety, continuously seeking safety. Either way, there is a way to make peace with your past. Do not rest until you see a way out of blame! Find a psychotherapist, teacher, mentor, sponsor, or friend. Do whatever it takes to find resolution and healing! In the history of mankind, nobody has ever found happiness through resentments, no matter how justified. Pray for their happiness – and you will find forgiveness. Take your spirit back from the error of perception that there was a mistake, that the circumstances you are faced with are wrong. Respect your heritage – even though human nature can seem unacceptable at times. Healing is not about forgetting, but processing experiences and finding serenity. It is about owning your fate as is and moving forward, in spite of it all. It can be about standing up for yourself and not do unto others what has been done unto you … Sometimes it’s about claiming your right for happiness. It could be about introducing hope and change - with gratitude for surviving adversity. If you were hurt and abandoned… you know to break the chain and NOT pass on the pain to your children. Be kind - people are ignorant and flawed... Leave them (as well as yourself) some room for growth and improvement! Finding compassion helps. Always. Bless your family and your tribe! Feel connected to the chain of life throughout the ages! As recipient of a legacy you embody the link to the next generation. It’s about what YOU do about the past and how you tie it to the future. Own what you got and consider the footprint you are leaving behind.
Today it’s your turn.
__________ *** __________
The Second Chakra
Dual
This is the energy of sexual instinct and creativity – survival of the species. Going beyond one’s own survival and getting together with another is the task here. Physically, the second chakra is located at the lower back, hip, and genital area. Its color is a pale orange, the color of mangoes. At this level we have outgrown childlike dependency and are choosing where to direct our energy. Choices are to be made wisely, because each choice is creative - one thing leads to another. As we try to get our needs met, we weave our spirit into life and create connections with the people we attract. Our choices contain the energy of either faith or fear – and the outcome reflects to some extent that faith or fear. Motivated by fear we can easily fall prey to dependencies, obsessions, and addictions. Any choice made from faith keeps us aligned with the Divine Forces – and draws help to us when we need it most. We need to create – so we follow our desires and passions, as we initiate and respond to movement and change. We are meant to establish some balance between productivity and procreation. In search of a way that works we wrestle with opposing forces. The opposing forces at this level have been called yin/yang, male/female etc. The typical second chakra duality takes place between our sexual urges versus our needs for other creative expressions – potentially causing intense conflict and painful consequences. If we allow ourselves to become obsessed with romance and/or sex, our energy is tied up to forces outside ourselves, beyond our control. We could find that our desires bring into existence a vicious cycle of insatiable needs. Creativity brings our internal process out into the world – and we can find happiness in doing what we like to do. We are good at what we like to do, and we like to do what we are good at – this is the red thread to success. In order to achieve some sense of contentment we must find a way to balance the need for loving/sexual involvement with the need for creative expression. Not an easy feat. If a person is blocked at this level, they will be listless, finding life boring, empty and exhausting. The shadow side of this chakra is resentment, the desire for vengeance. It can become necessary to get your spirit back from the illusion that people have come into your life for destructive reasons. Everyone in your life plays a role in your fate, although it might not be obvious at the time. If we cannot find a way of blessing them, we become morbid and toxic as our own biological system becomes chronically flooded with poisonous negativity. It’s not fun, either. Think about bringing love and joy – but stand up for yourself and set boundaries when necessary. Use your power deliberately! Interact with kindness and compassion – especially when it appears as though the other person is aggressive and at fault. It’s not about being right. It’s about your inner emotional climate as well as the quality of your interactions. Don’t waste your energy trying to convince people that you are right and they are wrong. We are meant to respect the lives of others, rather than demanding that they ought to fulfill our needs and desires. Instead of over-indulging in strife, ask yourself, “What would love do now?” This includes love and respect for yourself… Seek to give rather than to get! Whatever it is that you want – give it to the other person. Look to form relationships of mutual support and encouragement! It may not always be about your expectations, but neither is it about allowing people to exploit you. Sometimes we outlive certain circumstances and relationships – and find that it’s time to move on. Instead of complaining for extended periods of time that someone is “wrong” – it might be much more useful to look at your options…
Visualize inner balance!
_________ *** __________
The Third Chakra
Personal Power
The third chakra is the energy of personal power, ego, personality, intuition, and self-esteem. Physically, it is believed to be located around the navel center, encompassing the digestive system, liver, pancreas, kidneys and the adrenals. Its color is yellow. At this level we want to be authentic – expressing ourselves and feeling good about what we have done –- and true to our innermost selves. There is a need to feel good about ourselves in order to feel worthwhile and deserving of good luck. Also, for the spirit to thrive we must develop some level of mastery. We want to be good at something, content about what we have planted, built, and created. Mastery is joy. How we feel about ourselves determines the quality of life. This includes our capacity to succeed in endeavors and appreciate it when we do. As we develop a sense of self, our intuition becomes stronger and more reliable. At this level we are meant to develop the power of endurance required for maturation, success, and healing. A person with a well-developed third chakra is usually energetic, organized, and goal-oriented. Along with this comes a well-developed sense of will power, commitment, personal strength, and stamina. The ability to handle a crisis, the courage to take risks, as well as strength of character are associated with this level. A person with weak third-chakra activity tends to be scattered, unfocused, without the energy to achieve their goals, and consequently frustrated or angry – as their life lacks meaning. Anger is the shadow emotion of the third chakra, as is fear of rejection and all insecurities about one’s appearance. If you give in to temptations and act out on these emotions, going through life inflicting pain and humiliation on your people, you compromise your spirit. Disrespecting yourself and others in this manner breaks your strength. While you might think that you’re are despising others… you won’t be able to respect or love yourself and you may end up sabotaging your own happiness without even knowing it. This is the path of self-destruction and addiction. Accept yourself the way you are. You won’t ever be anyone else. The challenge at this level is to find your truth and live accordingly. Deceit, manipulation, and lies compromise your inner clarity and power. Raise your awareness to the consequences of your actions and you will see that you cannot really afford wasting your lifetime on such activities. Nothing should be more important than following your own intuitions. Avoid confusing yourself with excessive diversions and illusions. Make your choices based on acceptance of current reality rather than resentments about yesterday’s rain. Do the right thing according to your own inner wisdom – and you won’t have regrets. Play your cards right and avoid doing foolish things to be ashamed of - and you won’t feel ashamed. Lead a life where you can respect yourself – and you won’t have to rely on others for approval. Life presents you with chances – be present and attend to the moment, so you won’t miss them. They may not come again. Use the gifts you have been given for manifesting your dreams - instead of envying others who do. You will build self-esteem by doing estimable acts. If that sounds like a bit much – do it only for today. You have the rest of your life to practice it. Living your truth is not really negotiable, don’t you think? If that means that right now your truth is that you feel insecure or confused or whatever it is - so be it. Own it! That’s where your power is.
“Happiness is a by-product of living the right kind of life, of doing the right thing. Do not search for happiness, search for right living and happiness will be your reward.” – Richmond Walker, Twenty-Four Hours a Day
__________ *** _________
The Fourth Chakra
Love & Compassion
This is the energy of unconditional love and compassion – of loving kindness and benevolent action. Physically, the fourth chakra is located at the center of the chest. Energetically, it is connected to the heart and circulatory system, breasts, lungs, shoulders, arms and hands. It is associated with the color green. Every sentiment emanates from the heart center. That is why it is the most powerful chakra and can be dangerous if not guided properly. When the heart chakra is not balanced, we tend to become overly attached to some object of affection. Life problems are often created on this level - through blind pursuit of passions. The goal is to be nurturing towards another person while receiving nurturing in return, as well. We have to love ourselves, too, look for beauty in all things, and seek emotional balance – so that we create harmony rather than getting lost in dependencies and compulsions. Fourth chakra energy is the power of joy. Put your attention towards hope, confidence, compassion, and acceptance. Think love! Shine your light freely. We lose power by investing in low-grade emotions such as fear, despair, hate, envy, and jealousy. The “wounded child” within holds painful memories and turns them into negative attitudes, which in turn shape our behavior. This is how we perpetuate our childhood pain. We create what we fear most, e.g. abandonment can turn into fear of abandonment, which can turn into fear of commitment, which tends to create abandonment. People stay out of balance to get negative attention when they feel that their life is worth nothing without the love and attention they crave. This can be the reason why people don’t heal – in essence they sacrifice their life on the altar of love. A better solution is to live life with the attitude of “what would love do now?” and do that. When you give love you are always surrounded by love. Whenever you feel the need to control another person … let go … pull your spirit back to your own breath, reminding yourself to ground yourself in the moment. Work through your resentments as they keep you from becoming whole and moving on, and holding on to judgment can keep your wounds from healing. Your wounds do not hurt the people who hurt you - they hurt only you. Healing is possible through acts of forgiveness. Self-love means caring for yourself enough to forgive people in your past and allow a healing to occur. Within all experiences, no matter how painful, lie spiritual insights. At the fourth chakra level we get to know ourselves through our emotions – when we have strayed and have been hurt too much, we may even find that it’s time to change, that it’s not OK to pass on suffering for any reason, not even when it’s deemed justifiable. We can realize that others don’t have to fulfill our wishes, needs and dreams – that it’s not necessarily their task at all. When you love someone it can mean to allow them to be on their own path – even when they aren’t fulfilling what you think your needs are. It is your task to give love freely and joyfully – with self-respect, but without expectations. Ultimately, compassion and the desire to bring love and joy is considered the high road of connecting with other humans, and really all sentient beings. Love is the way of least resistance.
Live Love!
_________ *** __________
The Fifth Chakra
Living your Truth
This is the energy of will power, judgment, and choice - of your truth. Physically, the fifth chakra is located at the throat, including neck, shoulders, mouth, nose and ears. Its color is blue. Through verbal expression we present our feelings and thoughts to others, thereby integrating heart and mind. Thought patterns, maintained over time and even more so the spoken word can have a lasting effect on your life. Words do matter and they resonate back to you like an echo. You become what you think and say. From a spiritual perspective, our highest good is accomplished by turning our will and our life over to the power of fate. By living in accordance with the Divine Forces we walk the path of least resistance: take what is given, listen to what is being taught, and appreciate what appears on our path. Riding the waves of life by being aligned with these Forces relieves conflict. We can learn to listen to our own intuition to guide us on the spiritual path. The essence of the fifth chakra is faith. At this level we begin to understand that fear creates mountains, while faith removes them. As you learn about your will power, you go through painful struggles. You may fall prey to the illusion that forcing your will onto others would bring you happiness… If you invest your spirit in manipulations, deceit, illusions, or denial – you’re straying from the right path, while causing confusion and suffering (for yourself and others) in the process. Lying means that you compromise your own truth for something that seems more important – and you will pay a price for it… The most costly energy consequences come from acting out of fear. While you act on the illusion that what you fear is true you manifest your fears. Or your fear might tell you that you must defend yourself and attack. When you are angry and aggressive, you feel a flush of energy – this is your spirit leaving your body and attaching itself to the object of your judgment… not a good thing, you need it with you. Practice restraint of tongue, pen, and email – especially when you’re upset and agitated. When vicious words hit a desperate person… they can kill. Direct your will to the highest common good – and make yourself useful. We don’t live long enough to waste too much time with destruction, revenge, or other spiritual errors. Stand up for yourself, so you do not build resentments - they get registered in your cell tissue and make you sick when your own negativity overwhelms your system. In confession you can purge yourself and return to humility. You are not expected to live flawlessly without ever erring BUT you must learn from your mistakes if you are to move on. Use kind words if you want to create a good life. Bring an attitude of compassion. A judgmental attitude is a spiritual error – mistakes cannot be avoided by anybody. All of us learn as we go. Much better to bring compassion and humor. Close your eyes, use your will, and command your spirit back from places, thoughts, or fears you have sent it to. Imagine your thoughts coming back from judgments. Think before you speak – a spoken word cannot be retracted… Sometimes it can be an act of kindness not to say anything. Always remember that your words are creative!
“In the beginning was the word, and the word became flesh” - Book of Genesis
_________ *** _________
The Sixth Chakra
The Mind
This is the energy of the mind. The sixth chakra is the “third eye”, located at the center of the forehead. Physically, this chakra encompasses brain, mind, intelligence, and the eyes. The color associated with the sixth chakra is indigo. Your consciousness is what sets you apart from the primitive state of animals. Cherish your consciousness – it is the most evolved part of your being, although it does require maturation throughout life. The challenge at this level involves integration of mind, emotions, and spirit – what we know, what we believe, what we remember, what we fear, what we wish. At this level we begin to develop intuition and wisdom through opening our mind to a higher truth. We are free to choose - and we must live with the consequences of our actions. Confusion and limiting beliefs are the shadow side of the sixth chakra - the opposite of intuition. Thought precedes form – thoughts turn into feelings, which prompt us to act, and consequently others do react to our behavior. In response to faulty perceptions, delusions, and illusions we create an ongoing toxic emotional climate, which doesn’t allow us to respond constructively to reality. For example - when we habitually think scary thoughts, we experience persistent anxiety, which prompts us to withdraw – and so we get stuck in an unhappy and limited world of our own creation. If we are lost in confusion, we create chaos. If we’re in the habit of indulging in self-obsessed neediness, we create dependency and powerlessness. It would be wise to attend to our thought content so that we can adjust and correct it if necessary – and won’t go through life creating what we do not want. By raising our awareness we learn to detach from illusions and see the symbolic meaning below the surface of things. Ordination represents our calling in this life, some form of service to others – as a teacher, friend, healer, mother, or whatever matters to you. You find it by going with what you love – with the intention of bringing love and joy. Put your attention to making a contribution – and you counteract your own fear, anger, and depression in the process. Just think of bringing something good to the world. It doesn’t have to be the biggest or best… The contribution of a loyal housekeeper can be more influential than an ambitious piece of art. You have not been given your magnificent mind to obliterate and poison it – oblivion never ever delivers solutions. Listen to your inner voice in meditation and eventually you will begin to hear your intuition. Look for meaning and you will tap into your inner wisdom. You are exactly where you are supposed to be for the next step on your spiritual path. No matter how you feel – if you watch, listen, and learn from everything – you promote clarity and find your way to move on. If you can remember to look at all experiences as opportunities to mature and evolve – you will find peace of mind. The Masters say, there are no mistakes.
Use your knowledge for the common good!
___________ *** __________
The Seventh Chakra
Sublime
This is the energy of higher consciousness. Located at the top of the head, this chakra can be understood as the entry point of the life force, which energizes the major body systems, the central nervous system, and the skin. Its color is violet. It represents our connection to a Higher Power, which we address with prayer and meditation. It is said that in prayer we speak to God, during meditation we listen. Spirituality contains the energy of grace - we build up good energy with kind thoughts and actions, based on faith, compassion, and prayer. The primary strength at this level is faith in the presence of the Divine. The primary fear at this level is the fear of spiritual abandonment, expressed in the notion “God is dead”, and resulting in loss of connectedness, and lack of meaning. At this level we are required to welcome our fate – and release the belief that things could or should have been otherwise. While enduring difficulties – we get the chance to overcome them. As we live through pain we can learn the importance of kindness, compassion, and respect. We can choose not to do onto others what we don’t want done onto us. Spiritual awakening is usually the result of having gone through some hellish experience. Since we don’t seek God when we dwell in the light – we may have to find a Higher Power in the darkness. Most of us only resort to prayer when we are faced with insurmountable tasks, life-threatening fears, or heart-breaking loneliness. By walking through these experiences we may become willing to give up the known – and break through to a higher level of consciousness. It is part of life to endure doubt – we must make our choices without knowing why things are the way they are and how it will all play itself out. Even the Masters had to face confusion and indecision on their spiritual path; it didn’t come easy for them, either. None of us know without the shadow of a doubt what we came to earth for – and yet we must find a way to do life. No one is given the promise of a life of bliss. Our perception changes through overcoming extreme challenges. While we face our fears alone – we may find that we are not alone, after all. The truth is that we are on a spiritual path whether we are aware of it or not – all of us. It is our conscious awareness of it that makes all the difference. It is not the result of what we do, but the surrender to the Divine Forces that matters. In order to rise above an ordinary mundane existence we undergo a transformation – and understand that our essence is spirit, which temporarily dwells in a physical body. We are required to call our spirit back from attachments again and again. We let go and become whole. And so we move on and gradually we get to remember our true nature. Pain alone is not enough - we are meant to bring everything we got - bold courage and faithful surrender… and don’t forget - the metamorphosis from an earthbound to a sublime being requires some weightlessness at the right moment. That’s what it takes.
“… and when you come to the precipice of all you have known, and you must jump into the unknown, faith is knowing that you will find solid ground under your feet or you will learn how to fly. This is the leap of faith.” - Quote
__________ *** __________
The Eighth Chakra
The Aura
This is the energy of the aura. Our body is surrounded by a radiant electromagnetic field that extends up to nine feet. The color associated with this chakra is white, although the aura can take on different colors depending on our mental, physical, and spiritual condition. Essentially we are our own little world, our own center of gravity. The goal is for the spirit to become stronger than the body – that is true power, the power to perform miracles. The term charisma pertains to someone’s particularly powerful radiance. Messages carried on neural pathways are transmitted electrically. Raising our consciousness actually changes our biochemistry. Welcoming and accepting reality as being exactly the way it is supposed to be is most empowering for the spirit. That is the way to become aligned with the Divine Forces – no more energy waste on resistance. A focus on bringing love and joy to the world is best for our own empowerment. As a result our energy state is most vibrant and powerful, magnetically drawing people and things to us, and repelling negativity. Dwelling in judgment of reality, criticism of human nature, and resistance to fate deplete our system of vital energy, because it is futile. As a result we become anxious and/or depressed, which can make us so weak that we become almost invisible. Anger is the attempt to make ourselves seen and heard - to act powerful when we feel powerless. As a result we repel people and things, which increases our sense of helplessness. Try to remember that your power could be used so much better – to your benefit as well as the benefit of others. No matter what’s going on in your life, you are whole, you are complete, and you are enough. You are a Divine child of God, equipped with all that it takes to make it through your earthly experience. Your aura will attract precisely what you need in your life so you can grow and evolve – if you don’t interfere with it. Look at an enemy, friend, or teacher for the message they are carrying for you. Look at all experiences as lessons – your joy indicates when you are on the right path. Your emotional pain may be telling you that you have hit a wall because you lost your way - listen to it. Poisoning your system with chemicals or low-grade emotions interferes with your ability to deal with whatever the problem is. On the spiritual path we seek to do the right thing – it’s not about having found certainty in all matters. You can actually increase the brightness, strength, and vitality of your aura just by thinking about it. Your radiance is strongest and most vibrant when you are doing what you came here to do, when you find your purpose. You cannot know it all just yet, but you have your whole life to find out.
“The spiritual path is about seeking God, not about having found Him.” – quote
__________ *** __________
References: “Anatomy of the Spirit” - Caroline Myss; “The Eight Talents” - Gurmukh

The Function of Psychotherapy in Recovery

“Who are you?” – Lyrics, The Who
Alcoholics Anonymous addresses THE DISEASE OF ALCOHOLISM (or addiction) and outlines the most successful approach to recovery – twelve steps - an elegant little formula to take responsibility for one’s actions, stop blaming, and begin to make oneself useful, while also aligning oneself with the Divine Forces, AKA God’s will or fate. This is summarized as, “Clean house. Trust God. Help others.” The AA recovery community embraces the newcomer with the slogan “let us love you until you love yourself.” It is understood that the alcoholic is dealing with a chronic condition, requiring ongoing treatment and support – provided by lifelong AA membership. Some alcoholics achieve sobriety and begin a new life as they follow the suggested twelve-step program. So far, so good.
An estimated 85% of addicts suffer from CO-OCCURRING DISORDERS – having survived emotional trauma in childhood, such as neglect, abandonment, death, sexual and emotional abuse, and/or violence. Such a child is not encouraged and empowered to develop properly and remains fear-based, forever seeking attention and pleasure to “take the edge of.” If the abuse occurred within the family, most likely the victim role has become part of the person’s identity and they don’t even know it. This is incorporated in the victim’s sense of self – and s/he sees herself as hopeless and helpless, wile endowing “the other” with power, forever blaming and expecting the outside to fix her. About 85% of addicts experience depression, consistent anxiety, PTSD or other overwhelming emotional states or intrusive thought processes, struggle with an anger problem or other difficulties with relationships – AND THIS IS WHY many addicts relapse in spite of their best efforts, finding it impossible to maintain sobriety with AA alone.
EARLY RECOVERY can be stressful when the addict becomes overwhelmed with troubling thought content and high-intensity desires and aversions. Flooded by feelings s/he doesn’t understand, she may try to self-medicate. This can trigger a regression, a return to fragmentation, and she would lose interest in getting better - and shift to process addictions, such as sex & love addiction, eating disorders, thrill seeking, gambling, shopping, or relapse with substances (street drugs or prescription) etc. A survivor of child abuse typically lacks self-love and self-care and proceeds to re-traumatize herself during a life-style of suffering and agitation. It’s just what she knows.
This is where INPATIENT TREATMENT comes in. Peer support, psychotherapy, counseling, guidance, psycho-education, and safety within a stabilizing structured environment for 90 days minimum – is a known time frame for change of habitual behavior patterns. In residential treatment the addict is protected from herself and her own self-destructive behaviors. On a practical level it is about establishing and practicing new habits, while also developing endurance – a solid foundation for ongoing recovery.
In PSYCHOTHERAPY the patient gets to check in with her own consciousness on a weekly basis, thereby creating continuity of the mental process, which is otherwise fragmented and acted out by unpredictable and destructive behaviors. Psychotherapy counteracts the vague resistant indifference that can creep in and precede a relapse. Twelve-step work is about learning the “language of recovery,” but if the foundation is crumbling, the patient finds it impossible to tolerate her overwhelming fears. In order to face the wreckage of the past and establish a functional life the patient needs the chance to heal her childhood and make sense of the underlying issues, which cause such devastation in her life. Otherwise, many patients may not have the willingness to “hang in“ long enough for the psychic change to occur –– and give up.
THE WORK IN PSYCHOTHERAPY is about developing a sense of self and discovering her truth in the presence of another person who kindly “holds up a mirror.” The therapist provides a “safe holding environment” for a “corrective emotional experience” to take place. The relationship itself is the main aspect for healing to occur – a kind of re-parenting, where adverse childhood experiences are transformed. The patient gets to be seen, heard, and understood, knowing that her thoughts and feelings do matter, after all – her forgotten and hidden memories become known and s/he gets the space to put it all together. Dysfunctional thought patterns are gradually replaced by insight and good judgment. S/he develops impulse control, while new neuronal connections are established in the brain – and hyper-alertness* wanes over time. Evidently, such processes take time. On the basis of a good therapeutic alliance, emotional injuries can be processed and the psyche can (eventually) become whole.
A GOOD THERAPIST becomes irreplaceable, just like a friend or family member (although one eventually outgrows the therapist). Such a therapist has the function of a healer, confidant, priest, rabbi, or shaman. S/he carries hope that healing is possible, that the patient is not fundamentally broken, in spite of everything that happened, in spite of guilt and shame over unspeakable experiences and actions – and that the patient deserves to stand up for herself and set boundaries when necessary. While the time frame in residential treatment is necessarily limited and solution-focused, psychotherapy can make the metamorphosis possible. Otherwise, some addicts turn around and go back into the swamp… It happens.
“We must work through our story, before the unresolved elements of our story kill us."
- quote, Jeff Brown
* see also cognitive restructuring and neuro-remapping