I am a Healer, Psychologist, educator and Sound Therapist with an avid interest in consciousness and transpersonal experiences. Oh and did I mention Astrology?
I am teaching a basic astrology course at the moment. This really is the very first steps in how to make sense of all the symbols and how they are positioned in what at first looks like an incredibly complex arrangement. What lies beneath however, is the development of pattern recognition. Such skills are incredibly important in all walks of life if we are to grow and move forward. Symbols play a greater role in our day to day than we may imagine, not just visually but also on a subconscious level affecting our behaviours and motivations.
When we start to question how the roots of our emotions have developed and how they influence our reactions to people and situations we begin to recognise the patterns in our own lives. It is by understanding these that we become empowered, learning to choose how we act rather than permanently finding ourselves at the mercy of our habitual behaviours. We then no longer play the role of pawn, victim or martyr but have some control and influence upon outcomes.
Astrology is a remarkable tool for recognising our traits and characteristics. It brings to light many hidden aspects of our self, including innate abilities as well as inhibitions. By providing a quick and relatively easy route to the psyche we can access supportive strategies and develop these by utilising our strengths. This in turn allows us to balance our development on all levels.
Pattern recognition, whether from a chart or from everyday reality, is powerful. Often people will shy away from any introspection as they are fearful of what may 'turn up'. We are all creatures of habit and the phrase "better the devil I know" is true of the vast majority of us most of the time. We would rather sit with what we have, even if it is uncomfortable or plain dreadful, as the thought of doing the necessary 'work' to change is far more daunting. In addition we all have experiences where we have let go and trusted only to find that something worse has taken up the space created in our lives. This memory prevents us from moving forward as once again fear dictates how we react.
When working introspectively or reflexively it is always good to have a trusted friend alongside (professional or otherwise) who can help us to see the best in ourselves and offer support and companionship along the way. An astrological chart can also assist in providing a suitable map of the terrain.
It is very fashionable to speak of limiting beliefs these days. There are innumerable therapies and coaching techniques to help you overcome them. So what is going on here. What are they? Why do we have them? How do they affect our lives?
Firstly a belief is not necessarily something you are aware of. Often it is only when you come into a situation which directly confronts you that you realise that you have certain beliefs about something. A lot of research has been undertaken regarding people's innate prejudices for example, the results of which often suprise the participants who had no idea of their innate beliefs and in fact would have argued that they didn't hold them until presented with the 'test' situation. Beliefs are then strong convictions which rarely surface into the conscious mind but have a very particular influence on how we behave and how we emotionally react.
Most of our beliefs have been absorbed unconsciously through our cultural, religious, social, economic, and family values which we have been immersed in since birth. It may be argued that even prior to birth we have been subjected to these influences. I also believe we have a soul contract and have chosen to be born into such circumstances and bring certain attitudes with us into our new life. However, it happens, it certainly happens. We do not process everything consciously and are greatly affected by our subconscious minds.
Limiting beliefs can therefore be quite pernicious. They act in such subtle ways that we have no idea we are acting on them. They build up over time without our conscious agreement and work slowly and quietly in the background. Often they have formed from negative things that others have said about us or to us.
Somewhere inside something shuts down and we begin to believe that we are not good enough, can never get it right etc. etc. The list is endless. You may well recognise these two examples but they take on many different forms apart from the obvious and gradually seep out into our lives through our reactive behaviours.
If these beliefs remain unconscious they can seriously undermine our sense of self and often lead to depression. Limiting beliefs are also the foundation for repeated outcomes no matter what tactics and methods we use in a situation. Trying to do something differently doesn't necessarily achieve any more than any other attempt because our internal beliefs about our in/ability to achieve remain the same.
It is for this reason that it is a very good idea to attempt to trace beliefs back to their origins and to question the motives that have built up around them. A very simple one is the fear of 'power'. Perhaps you were bullied at some time in your life and as a result felt that power is always a bad thing and that you never want to intimidate anyone ever! This may make you passive and willing to be used as a door mat. An inability to express anger may result. Anger when repressed becomes resentment and leads not only to dissatisfaction with life but eats away at the self creating further negative energy. Finding ways of learning to be self assertive can help alleviate this. It is about reclaiming your power without manipulating others.
Whatever the limiting belief you may have become aware of in your life, it is always empowering to face it and challenge its origins. By releasing these 'shackles' we suddenly find we have more energy and, even better, our life starts to move forward in much more positive ways.
There have been so many times in my life where I have felt literally thrown in at the deep end. People, circumstances and unwelcome opportunities have redirected my life and the inevitable loss of control can be overwhelming. It is at these junctures that we learn so much about ourselves and our willingness to face the world in unexpected ways. How versatile are you or do you feel? How flexible are your plans and aspirations? How strong are your underlying convictions that you have the ability to cope whatever?
It is our 'locus of control' which is most challenged at this time. We all have a sense of either being in control of our lives or of being at the mercy of life's vagaries. Those of us who have worked hard to develop a sense of Self will find it easier to manouever through the changes. Those of us who are less secure in our sense of Self may find that we become victims of circumstance and feel a complete loss of control and ability to influence outcomes.
I cannot reassure anyone that it is an easy route to Self awareness as our inner demons need to be faced and all sorts of prejudices, judgements and qualities we never knew we had, need to be challenged and faced up to. Often the 'best' or 'nicest' characteristics alongside our real strengths, have metaphorically been consigned to a locked chest (sadly a closed heart) in a dark understairs cupboard, never to be allowed to be revealed to the light of day. This is generally due to situations we have faced in the past, usually when young, in which we have not been appreciated or have been bullied into submission in some way.
The voice that tells us we are no good or not worthy is something we have imported from other's beliefs in the past and very rarely tells us the truth about ourselves or about the world around us. Our own quiet small voice or intuition is quite different. This is the one that prompts us to 'know' when things are right, that we actually have more value and worth, and that we are able to find ways and means to cope. We all know which has the loudest voice and the more persistent message. However, when we start to value the intution, something slowly and surely changes inside.
The best way to do this is to consistently seek out people, places and circumstances that make you feel good. This will reinforce the positives in your life and gradually you will be fed by these events and grow in ways you had never imagined. If your own emotions have been severely suppressed then accepting compliments and praise can be very uncomfortable and unsettling. We often avoid it as a defence mechanism, afterall if we are better than we thought then we may have to live up to these new expectations!
The treasure that lies beneath is however worth the hard work and sometimes pain of digging it up. Once you have started to reclaim your inner strength, your world changes. I have found that when something unusual crops up I am now able to view it as an opportunity to test myself. I have chosen to jump off into the unknown without a parachute so many times, rather than wait to be pushed, that I have a certainty that I shall be held and supported in some way. If it turns out 'badly' you can always walk away, this is not failure but asserting your right to know what works and what doesn't work for you. And if it goes well, well you have succeeded where you never thought you could!
Many of us are struggling to readjust in the world as the financial crisis has laid waste our foundations. Jobs, homes and possessions have been lost in the last few years as a series of cutbacks, like an earthquake, has uprooted and destroyed many lives.
As those affected try to rebuild, self-employment seems to be the only option. The wake up call has been a steep learning curve if you have always been employed and employable. On the positive side however, there is an opportunity to turn a dream into a service. Business, work and selling one's skills can be fun and lucrative it is said if you follow your heart and do what you love doing.
Personally I've not found it that simple. There is the 'School of Hard Knocks' to overcome alongside other's scepticism that you will ever make it in your chosen profession. In an aggressively competative market how are you ever going to be successful with a caring, sharing attitude?
I have learnt a very important lesson in all of this and it is the example of Socrates and the dog. When Socrates first started teaching he often found that no one came to attend his lectures. On one occassion it is said that a dog wandered into the hall and lay down to sleep. Not to be put off however, Socrates just carried on and gave his lectures and teachings AS IF he had a following and an audience. He lived approximately between 470 and 399 BC and is one of the greatest acknowledged philosophers to have ever lived. He is still revered today. His persistence obviously paid off!!!
It is through persistence and by turning up regardless that the Universe 'gets it'. "Oh, so you are serious about doing this then? Ah, well we had better help you!" I may be thought of as stubborn by some and foolhardy by others but I do know that if you persist then circumstances eventually conspire in your favour. It may take a seemingly endless time to get there and like King Sisyphus you may have to continually roll that rock up the hill only to see it roll all the way down again. Despair is easy to come by when the pressure is on to pay the bills but if you have a dream in your heart, don't succumb to negative thoughts. Hold tight, and keep turning up regardless!
Laughter is a wonderful way of releasing stuck energy. It is also a gift of sharing in a safe way. Most people are happy to laugh together but would never show tears to another.
What makes us laugh varies from person to person, from culture to culture. It is however an universal experience. This suggests that laughter is a vital component of our human nature.
Laughter, it has been suggested by research, is as good for you as physical exercise. Not only do we breath more fully but we use muscles that otherwise don't get much movement. In doing so we are massaging internal organs in the process! The hormonal transmitters produced during laughter are reported to be those that increase our levels of happiness and boost our immune system too.
Of course we are not talking about lying prone on the sofa watching a comedy here. A good belly laugh is what is required. Shared with friends, this becomes even more powerful as we have the social element there too. When we share our emotions in a positive way it has a very powerful effect producing oxytocin. This hormonal transmitter brings about feelings of connection to the people around us and also is very good for our heart. All in all Laughter is therefore a great facilitator of community as well as bringing healthy benefits for our mind, body and spirit.
Oh, go on, have a laugh!!!!
I have given myself time and space to review a few things going on in my life. There is never a good or bad time to do this as it is a useful exercise in which we can look upon our decisions and plans with new eyes. By taking a deep breath, trusting that all is well and rising above the drama of emotional undercurrents, we have the opportunity to completely change our attitude.
I know full well that I, being human, do often dwell in the 'broken record' mode expecting similar situations to produce similar results. It is usually the seemingly less attractive/positive outcomes that stick in my mind and rear their heads up at me as I once again try to move forward. However, with that meritorious 'PhD in Hindsight' that we have all been awarded from the University of Life it is possible to see things differently. Afterall, if I can reassure myself that I did the best possible under the circumstances with the information available to me at the time, then I know that whatever transpired was set in motion with the best intention. I would ask no more of anyone else, in fact I would ask them to forgive themselves and praise their attempts at achieving perfection. Why do we find it so hard to be as kind to ourselves?
Looking back therefore offers us the chance to weigh up the pros and cons of our actions. It is often the case that what appeared to fail in the past did actually lead us down a path we would never otherwise have chosen. Yet, this 'meandering' may well have set us up for a great new adventure that actually had more far reaching and important lessons for us, from which we have gained a wealth of experience.
It is in appreciating and being grateful for the accumulation of this massive wealth of experience that we can rejoice in our lives. Our superficial ego/personality wants to control and allows our pride to have a tantrum when things don't quite go our way. Like a spoilt child it causes us pain and suffering by constantly complaining. By letting go and understanding that we are only part of the picture we can better appreciate how our role is far greater than that of the petty egoistical wants. Through cooperation and sharing of ideals, assisting and being present for others, our lives are enriched and our senses enhanced. Rising above the mundane, chaotic world which is an enticing trap of the egoic mind, we can release, relax and enJOY. Abundant inspiration and positivity is the resultant prize. Practicing gratitude is one of the best ways of achieving this.