Tag Archive | kindness

You Might Be a Soul Evolutionist If…

Are you a Soul Evolutionist?

You are a soul in evolution, awakening over time to who you are as a human being, and who you are in your divinity.

Our friends at Mirriam Webster define evolution in this way: “To develop by evolutionary processes from a primitive to a more highly organized form.”

Soul Evolution, then, is the process each soul goes trhough to develop from lesser to greater awareness of itself as Pure Energy, part of the Infinite Presence of the Universe.

We are all in this process together; so, you might be a Soul Evolutionist if…

You want to be connected to that Infinite Presence, and want to develop that connection even more.

You have a desire and longing to feel your connection to something greater than yourself, and feel that longing in your heart and whole being.

When I was 19 years old, I had just completed my term as International President of the Youth of Unity (Y.O.U.), the youth group of my denomination. It was a fantastic year, filled with joy and loving connections across the country. I felt satisfied as I entered my sophomore year in college. Over the second weekend, my roommmate had gone home, and I decided to clean our room (primarily my mess!). I put in a cassette tape (eek) of some of my favorite spiritual chants to listen to while I was cleaning. My favorite one came on, so I sang along with the words: “I surrender to the Love of God, flowing through my life.”

I sang these words over and over again as I moved around the room picking things up. Suddenly, I started crying and dropped to my knees. As I watched myself cry from the inside, I wondered, “Why am I crying? Everything is going well; I have no reason to cry.”

I then “heard” a loud, booming voice. I turned to see if someone was in the room with me, but knew it was coming from inside of myself.

“Don’t be done with God, just because you’re done with Y.O.U.”

A montage of images flashed through my mind, showing me how one part of me thought I was doing my spiritual service for the accolades from family and friends. What this “voice” was showing me was that I was acting out of the deepest desire of my heart. MY heart; not anyone else’s. I adjusted my life plans to align with this desire from that day forward.

What is your deepest desire, and how do your actions align with that?

You might be a soul evolutionist if…

You know there is a “morfe” to life than what you experience with your five physical senses.

We call this intution, and it is an innate appendage to who you are. The more you use it, the better it works for you. Call on it. Ask for guidance in the little things to help hone and strengthen your awareness of and trust in your intuitive promptings. The Soul Evolutionist knows to turn to that inner resource in life circumstances, big and small.

You might be a Soul Evolutionist if…

You want to understand why things are happening inside and outside of you.

You see the injustices of the world and wonder why they exist. Why is my son a natural musician and I fizzled out of my piano lessons when I was ten years old? Does God love him more than me? Is he special and I’m chopped liver? Or, did he work hard to deveolp that talent before he came into this world?

There are answers to these questions, and the Soul Evolutionist is no longer satisfied with the mystery. You ask “Why?” and forge your way deeper into learning the workings of the Universe, while at the same time beginning to understand your own inner workings.

You might be a Soul Evolutionist if…

You know that you are responsible for taking part in the awakening of yourself to your Self, and you embrace that active participation.

It’s not just about knowing a little bit about meditaiton, or forgiveness, or intuition; it’s about realinzing that with that knowledge comes a palpable responsibility to do something about it–to put your spiritual understandings into everyday practice. How do you use meditaiton to support your awareness? How do you use forgiveness when up against someone who is really pushing your buttons? How do you incorporate your intuition in every area of your life?

How do you consciously, willingly, triumphantly support your soul’s evolution?

Thank you for watching, and please join me for a workshop delving deeper into this concept of Soul Evolution!

Monday, September 24, 2018
7:00 to 9:00 pm
Infinity Foundation
1280 Old Skokie Road
Highland Park, IL 60035
Link to register: http://www.infinityfoundation.org/courses/spiritual-inquiry-practice/soul-evolution.aspx

Video recorded:
2018 July 22 Lynn Barrette Unity in Naperville, Illinois

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This Ain’t Your Mama’s Idea of Forgiveness — Part III: How to Forgive

Let’s talk about how to forgive! In this video, I give you a few specific processes for how to work your forgiveness need, covering the steps from previous videos in this series: Acceptance, Compassion, Release.

You can find the Seven Steps for Moving through Difficulties worksheet that I discuss in the video, as well as that for the Seven Steps for Successful Life Transitions, on this page.

My websites for my spiritual mentor, Jane Elizabeth Hart :
Center for Enlightenment
Soul Evolutionist

Other Seven Steps resources:
Web radio podcasts

Free downloads:
Seven Steps workshops, CD/mp3
Spiritual Power Tools – Support for Your Soul (pdf, ebook) (Contains detailed explanation of each step in the Seven Step process.)

Please share your questions and reflections on forgiveness from your own experience. It’s an important topic!

Thanks for watching!

 

This Ain’t Your Mama’s Idea of Forgiveness — Part II: Redefining Forgiveness

In my previous video post, we took a thorough look at what forgiveness is not; this time we are going to look at what forgiveness is, in a way that is healthy and palatable.

Forgiveness is the process of Acceptance, Compassion, and Release.

The first part of forgiveness is the acceptance that something has happened. If someone has hurt me, for example, I can’t do anything about that fact; it is what it is. I don’t have to like it, approve of it, or try to get anyone else to see or understand it.

When we’re dealing with the facts of what has happened, we are willing to be honest about those facts overall, not just the facts about what the other person did, or what the circumstances threw at us. Maybe I lashed out when I was hurt by another person, maybe I withdrew for a while, maybe I stood up for myself in the moment, maybe I was the one who screwed up first. All these are part of the facts that we accept.

Why is acceptance important? If we deny the facts of a situation, we’re not fully able to deal with our responses or the other person’s behavior, or process the forgiveness need. We know what really happened, even if our thoughts—or those of people around us–try to turn it into something else.

For example, if someone was sexually abused, but their family members are giving an alternative reality to that situation, it becomes difficult for the victim of that abuse to make peace with their own internal experience and reaction, which affects the healing process–which in turn has lasting side effects. When our experience is denied, by others or ourselves, we don’t have the clarity necessary to deal with the otherwise heal-able trauma around the event.

We must give ourselves permission to acknowledge facts. That goes back to what forgiveness is not, right? It is not denying ourselves the truth of what happened, or pretending nothing happened. Working with the facts helps us through our own emotional responses more efficiently.

Forgiveness is acknowledging the facts of your experience.

The second part of forgiveness is compassion, being able to look at the whole situation beyond our own emotional experience of it. This is where we put ourselves in the other person’s shoes to try to see what they might have been intending or going through in that moment. We also try to see where we were coming from in the moment. We look above the facts in this step, to try to see the hurtful experience within the context of the time it happened, as honestly as possible.

In this part of the forgiveness process that we can learn what we need to about ourselves, about the other person. We see what we need to about our part in the situation, and what the event triggered in us. We see what we need to about the other person, and learn how to adjust ourselves given the new information we have gathered. (See my video post on Discernment versus Judgment for how to see behavior for what it is without getting all judgy about it.)

I’m not saying this is easy! Often it’s harder to have compassion for ourselves than it is to generate it for others. And sometimes we don’t want to have compassion for the other person; we want to hold on to the anger and resentment. But that’s why forgiveness is a process, right? We work at it until we are ready to rise above our emotional response. We don’t forget what happened, remember? We simply work with forgiveness process so that we can come to this point of compassion, and the next step, release.

Forgiveness is working toward compassion for the other person and yourself.

The third part of forgiveness is release. This is the point at which we are willing to release the emotional pain created by the hurtful experience. That pain is going to come up over and over and over again until we release it, so this is a vital step! We won’t forget to do our work, because life will remind us that our work isn’t done by those little triggers from the past. They poke at the emotional pain like when you poke a bruise on your arm and it hurts a little. That means the bruise hasn’t healed, right? Our emotional body is the same way. It will keep feeling sore until it is healed. But unlike our physical body that heals itself, we have to put conscious effort into the healing of our emotional pain.

When we have done the work of the first two steps, Acceptance and Compassion, the Release step is the action step of being aware when the emotional bruise gets poked at, or triggered, and reminding ourselves, “Oh yes, there it is. I am letting this go now.” And we pull ourselves back to a peaceful state of mind, not indulging in the pain or the story. This is the step where we choose Acceptance and Compassion as our reality moving forward, instead of holding onto resentment and emotional pain as our reality.

Release is the step where we choose acceptance and compassion as our reality instead of resentment and emotional pain.

And that is what forgiveness is.

In my next video, I’m going to talk with you about how to forgive. I have a couple tried and true processes to share with you to help you with your forgiveness work, so stay tuned, and thanks for watching!

This Ain’t Your Mama’s Idea of Forgiveness – Part 1: What Forgiveness Is NOT

Hi, Lynn Barrette here, licensed clinical therapist and spiritual counselor.

I want to talk with you today about forgiveness. Forgiveness can be a heavy topic sometimes, so this is going to be a several part series to help us break down this concept and make it palatable and accessible, because if we can’t forgive, we get stuck, and we don’t want to do that, right? So we’re going to take some time on this one.

Anytime I bring up forgiveness with clients or in workshops or classes, I always like to clarify what forgiveness means because there are so many ideas and misconceptions about what forgiveness is.

When I help someone define forgiveness, I start with what forgiveness is not. And that is what this video is about: What forgiveness is not.

First of all, forgiveness does not mean “forgive and forget”. Our brains aren’t made up to forget things unless we get a severe head injury or some other brain trauma, like a stroke. We are simply not biologically wired to forget things. We have beautiful memories, and whether you are more spiritually-minded or more scientific, we are created like this for a reason: those memories are there to ensure that we learn from our experiences and evolve as a species and in consciousness. So how can we be expected to forgive and forget when we’re not wired to do so?

Forgiveness does NOT mean “forgive and forget!” It means that we learn and grow.

Another misconception that comes up is that forgiveness means everyone gets a fresh start, even the person who did wrong, and we pretend like nothing happened. That’s not it either. If we are learning from our experiences, we take our new understanding with us every moment, and apply that new understanding moving forward. If someone hurts me, I have learned something: Sometimes this person is hurtful, and she certainly has been hurtful to me in this situation, so I need to adjust my mental, emotional, and sometimes physical behavior so that I can either deal with being around her, or make sure I am not around her anymore!

Forgiveness does not mean to pretend like nothing happened. It means adjust your internal and external behavior to support yourself, your safety.

A final myth I often hear about forgiveness is that if we forgive, we’ll be letting the other person get by with something. That’s not it either. Once we have taken care of our part of an interaction with someone—either by confronting them, adjusting ourselves internally and externally, or staying the heck away from them—our part is done.

There is a law that is scientific both in our physical and spiritual realm that states that whatever energy we put out comes back to us. And that is true at the physical, emotional, and mental levels of our existence. This doesn’t mean we turn that into some kind of superstitious curse on another person, as we often hear that “Karma will get them”! If we are saying that about someone, our forgiveness is not done! When we forgive, we are releasing ourselves from having to be a part of this person learning what they need to be learning. We don’t have to be responsible for seeing that “they get theirs”; we are only responsible for our own behavior, and what we are putting out at those physical, mental, and emotional levels. That’s a big job in itself, isn’t it?!

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that anyone gets by with anything; but it does mean we don’t have to worry about it.

So if all that is what forgiveness is NOT; what is forgiveness? That will be in my next video for you, so hold tight, it’s coming!

Thanks for watching!

Lynn Barrette, LCSW

http://www.dynamiccounseling.info

https://lynnbarrette.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/dynamiccounseling/

The Secret to Smooth Holidays

img_5340The holiday season is upon us, and for all the joy the holiday brings, for some of us it is the time when we gather with people we probably shouldn’t be around. Alas, blood is sometimes thicker than one’s mental health.

Most likely, you know your family members pretty well. You know who is going to get drunk and embarrassing, who will get nasty, who will be emotional and demanding, and who will be enjoyable to be around. Chances are, they haven’t changed all that much since last year!

So, why not proactively enter the holidays with an attitude of forgiveness and resiliency?  We are here to evolve into more conscious, responsible individuals. Often, mental health issues arise when we resist what is happening around us and our equilibrium gets out of whack. It is restored as we embrace and adjust to life situations, knowing when to be accepting of others’ less-evolved personalities, and when to get the heck out of their way. A difficult discipline, and a soul-strengthening one!

Having a new experience of the holiday season requires us to examine past decisions and expectations, learn from them, and move on. Uncle Delbert the Drunk will not likely have changed, unless he has successfully gone through treatment. Bringing our old ways of thinking into a situation where we want change can lead to depression: Not clearing the air of our own inefficient and undesirable beliefs and patterns, but expecting new results!

A powerful forgiveness and resilience tool is Jane Elizabeth Hart’s Seven Steps for Successful Life Transitions. Jane Elizabeth created this method for releasing old patterns, beliefs and other life situations, based on her personal experiences of change, loss and spiritual growth. Each of the Seven Steps deals with an aspect of the situation at hand.  For holidays, she suggests working with the family system as a whole (rather than each person individually) through each step. Journaling is suggested, tissues should be on hand, and laughter at some point is a must. (http://www.cfenlightenment.org.)

Step one is ‘Gratitude and Acceptance’ and deals with all that we are grateful for in regards to our family gatherings and members thereof.  Write down all the aspects of these events that you are grateful for.  What joy have these situations brought to you?  Don’t worry if you can’t think of anything; simply return to it when you can.

Step two looks at the ‘Good Times.’  Think of specific situations in the past that have been enjoyable for you at these family gatherings.  There might be something that keeps bringing you back for more.  Again, skip it if you need to.

Step three allows us to look at our ‘Hopes and Dreams.’  What do you hope will happen?  What have you dreamt that these gatherings would be like?  Who do you hope you don’t have to see when you’re there?  Who do you hope will behave differently?  Who have you wanted to get to know, but never have approached?  Get those thoughts from swimming around in your head, creating unnecessary stress!   It doesn’t mean that these hopes and wishes will necessarily come true; this is to help you let them go.

Step four deals with those ‘Disappointments and Difficulties.’  Ah, yes, the confrontations, the embarrassments, the arguments, the losses—everything.  Can you see why you have dreaded these events?  Can you see any unresolved issues within yourself that are surfacing to be healed?

The most important step is the fifth step:  ‘Forgiveness.’  This is how we heal.  Who or what circumstance is the hardest to forgive?  Why?  What does it mean for you if you don’t forgive?  What does it mean for you if you do?  If we can find it in ourselves to forgive obnoxious behavior, we can handle it much better when it greets us with a wet kiss.  We are not condoning unacceptable behavior—dealing with that is a whole other article—I’m talking about the annoying and the petty.  Forgiveness requires a certain leap of faith—whatever ours may be—into a space of allowing another to be what they choose to be without it throwing us off-center.  Forgiveness pulls us out of the mindset that someone can ruin our day by not meeting our expectations, and puts us into a space of compassion and non-resistance toward less-conscious behavior in others (and ourselves!).  It’s tough, but if we are willing, it could just save our holiday.

Finally, we ‘Release’ all these in the sixth step, and affirm our ‘Completion’ with the process in step seven.  I like having a ritual for my completion process, sometimes burning my journaling notes, or using Hart’s Seven Step meditation.

The most important relationship is the one we have with ourselves; and when we are okay with ourselves, we can be open to better possibilities.  If you get stuck on a situation that has happened in your family, be sure to seek professional help.

No matter what has happened in the past, every new year—every day!—opens new doors for us. Our job is to prepare our minds and hearts for those opportunities to come forth, not so Delbert the Drunk will change, but so we can.

Happy holidays!

The Joy Is in the Giving

yellow-tulips

One of my favorite sayings of my spiritual mentor, Jane Elizabeth Hart, is “The joy is in the giving.”

It has taken me many years to appreciate this as more than just a pretty platitude–especially moving into the holidays!

Finding joy in giving means to understand that when we are acting only for ourselves, that energy has no where to go but back to ourselves. This is important, to replenish and refresh ourselves sometimes. But when we give freely with joy and loving kindness, that energy ripples out into the far stretches of the universe! For that moment, we have expanded ourselves far outside of where our energy normally resides. It is like an amazing, huge yoga stretch!

Plus, finding joy in giving makes us want to give more—to re-experience that joy, that refreshing stretch beyond ourselves. Once we get out of our box, we don’t want to go back inside that small space!

Recently, I helped some friends pack Christmas gifts for children in other countries. There were several boxes, and as we filled each one, we were silently blessing each toy and piece of candy. I could imagine the love and joy the child would experience as she or he opened the box—an explosion of love and light! I could feel my own energy expanding beyond myself, beyond this country, rippling throughout the planet.

The song I sung in childhood that reminds me of this concept is “Magic Penny”. Do you remember singing that song? Did you ever realize that the magic penny symbolized your own energy, multiplying and supporting you in infinitely greater ways? Here are a few of the lyrics:

Love is something if you give it away;
You’ll end up having more.
It’s just like a magic penny:
Hold it tight and you won’t have any.
Lend it, spend it, and you’ll have so many
They’ll roll all over the floor.

As you give this coming holiday season, no matter how big or small a gift, put your energy of love and joy into it, and don’t let it stop flowing at your gift’s recipient—see that love and joy rippling out, sending a wave of blessing throughout the planet.

The joy is in the giving!

Love Encourages Change

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Each new year brings new energy and desire for change! Often when we have something we want to change in ourselves, the first response we have is anger, frustration, rejection. We then try to go about our desired change with a hammer over our heads!

How many of us do well while getting bossed around, criticized and rejected? It might work for a little while—or a long while, if we are super-tolerant—but after a time, we stop trying so hard, or try to get away from the hammer, thus avoiding the task at hand.

We do better at change when we have encouragement, acceptance and a caring eye guiding us in the new behavior.

Who is the best person to do that for you? Maybe you have a supportive friend, or an encouraging therapist. But you are with you all the time! You are the one who will walk with you through all of the ups and downs of life!

Here are a few ways to encourage yourself through any change you want to make:

  • Love first: Ask yourself, “What is there to love about the situation as it is?”
  • Take one change at a time. Too many changes too fast wear us out! This is why so many New Year’s resolutions are abandoned.
  • Visualize yourself already changed. What does that look like? See yourself happy and enjoying the results of your efforts! Spend five minutes each day with this exercise. Take notes on how it feels. You will likely come up with new steps toward your goal!
  • Imagine what you would say to your best friend who was going through a change. Is your self-talk matching what you would say to someone else? If not, write down encourage statements, affirmations or mantras, and place them around your home, car and work.
  • Remember these kindnesses when you are working with others during changes. Patience with others helps us have more patience with ourselves.

A little love goes a long way to melt raw materials and create a masterpiece. Take a best friend with you throughout 2014…YOU! Happy New Year, and happy new YOU!