Sometimes what keeps us from changing is a big bunch of nothin’ that we create in our minds. When we want to make a change that will open us to greater Soul contact, the ego knows it is about to be displaced, and fights (with false beliefs) for its existence more than ever!
Years ago, I was guided to enter graduate school to become a therapist. I was so excited by the new adventure! But once I started, the voice of guilt kicked in: “You are abandoning your children. You’re not doing that extra work around the house–shame on you! You are being selfish.” Over and again I would hear these words within myself. While this didn’t stop me from continuing with my studies, it did get in the way of feeling good about my decision.
Journaling about these feelings, forgiving myself for holding limited ideas of what a “perfect” mother and housekeeper is supposed to look like, and letting go of that former, limited idea of myself, helped me through this major life change, this transformation from the old me to a more expansive expression of my soul.
What is that false “voice of doom” saying to you that stops you from pushing through your transforming changes? Journal it, stand up to it, kick it out, and move forward!
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?
Lynn Barrette, here, licensed clinical therapist and spiritual counselor, talkiing to you about how it takes a whole lot of “no”s to make a “YES”!
As we set up a goal, the first thing we do is have an idea for a goal. Perhaps we’d like a new job, behavior change, relationship, or life tranisition of any kind.
Next we define that goal: What it looks and feels like, what action steps are involved, and so forth.
Then the tricky part comes in: Keeping your focus on your goal, and aligning your actions and choices with that goal! That includes saying “no” to anything that doesn’t back up your goal.
Let’s take, for example, the goal of eating healthier foods. You say “Yes” to healthy foods, and “No” to all the tempting sweets and processed foods that aren’t going to fit your goal. Yes to greens, no to cookies. Yes to whole fruits, no to that third piece of bread; and so forth. Each time you say no, you are brining yourself back to your goal and strengthening your resolve and building confidence and assurance wtih it.
In this video, I give a personal example that I’ve been working on, that came to a wonderful fruition just this week. As I describe my process, as a side note I mention a journaling and release process called “Seven Steps for Successful Life Transitions“, and promised to include the link, so simply click for a pdf download of the wonderful tool.
Through the process of saying “Yes” and “No” toward your goal, you define and refine your focus, then you know when your goal is achieved, that it is exactly what you are looking for. Be willing to say “Yes!” but don’t forget that your “No!” is just as valuable on your journey.
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!
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!
Do you ever wonder where motivation comes from? Do you have goals that go by the wayside because your motivation seems to have waned?
This is definitely goal-setting season! There is a process for reaching a goal that I put into a graphic a while back that helps to define where we are in our goal-achieving process—and waning motivation is simply part of the process! It is also where our work really begins.
I call the process, “Process for Taking a Spiritual Step”, because any goal or change we are working on is a spiritual step within itself! The steps are: Commitment, Resistance, Strengthening, Triumph, and New Energy. The more we understand this process, the more readily we can cooperate with it, and do our part to generate the motivation to make it happen!
Commitment The first thing we do, obviously, is to define and commit to a goal. This is the step where the motivation energy comes in to support us. We feel excited about our commitment, we are enthusiastic about taking steps towards it, and goal-achievement seems easy!
For example, let’s say my goal for the year is eating healthier foods. I may feel energized by thinking about how to incorporate healthier foods in my diet everyday: what I’ll buy at the store, what recipes I’ll try out, what I’ll add to my diet and what I’ll keep out—all those might be fun to think about!
Resistance …for about three weeks. Then the novelty wears off, I don’t feel the new energy of my commitment as strongly as I did at first, and the new behaviors I need to incorporate just aren’t as fun anymore. This is the resistance stage. It is where our new behavior runs up against our old behavior, and we hit what I call the “Wall of Status Quo”. This is where the real work begins.
We are status quo beings. Our bodies are designed to maintain functioning at a status quo level, and our minds and emotions operate that way as well. In my example, eating poorly might have been my status quo at the time I set my goal. That status quo was built on thousands of small choices that created a thought-form in my mind, brain, emotions, and body, that made eating poorly the automatic mode of behavior. When I try to change that behavior, I am going to naturally run up against these systems that have been used to a certain way of being. That is the Wall of Status Quo, and it will start talking to me in ways that could pull me back into that old behavior. That resistance talk might sound like, “I’ve tried this before and failed, why bother?” Or, “I really don’t want to do this anymore; it’s not fun now.” Or, “This is too hard.” Often, it will turn into the critical voice we all battle, and get really nasty with us.
But when we can see it is just the old behavior trying to maintain itself, we can impersonalize it a bit and stand up to it. We could say, “No, I understand that you’re just the old behavior talking. I am making new choices now.” Or, “Oh, I see you, silly Wall of Status Quo! You can’t fool me!” Or, “My excitement doesn’t feel as strong, so I have to make my new choices even when I don’t ‘feel like it’”.
Strengthening Many times a day we have to redirect ourselves back to the new behavior. We make those little choices to withdraw from the old behavior and reinforce the new. It takes time, persistence, and patience.
Triumph But eventually we win out. Eventually, our new status quo is created and becomes part of who we are.
New Energy and Insight We begin to see things in new ways. In my example, it might be easier for me to choose kale over cookies, fruit over sugar, salad over bread. I can remember that it used to be hard to make those choices, but now it seems easy. Why? Because I have created a new status quo for myself!
The process then starts over and repeats with the next commitment we want to make for ourselves. It’s a process! And we can cooperate with it and generate motivation through our awareness and moment-by-moment choices.
What goals do you have for the new year? How are you generating your motivation?
Usually when we talk about the glass ceiling, we are referring to that organizational block that keeps us from moving up the hierarchy of a company. But have you ever noticed a glass ceiling on your life’s journey? Have you felt a block that stands between you and the fulfillment of your heart’s desire?
Similarly to a dead end job, our inner glass ceiling can make us feel hopeless, helpless, and like the victim of circumstances. The glass ceiling makes us feel it is impenetrable—why should we even bother trying? Yet, there’s something inside of us that keeps reflecting to us those wonderful possibilities! There are always options open to us, if we are willing to look at them—and take action on them—and allow ourselves to be transformed.
When we moved from Kansas to Michigan, I went through a difficult bout of depression. Even though my children were still young, I had been wearing the identity of “stay-at-home mom” for some time. But, it was no longer working for me, and I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t see any other options—and besides, I loved my family very much, so of course I should feel terribly guilty for not wanting to be home with them all the time, right?
Guilt and shame made up my inner glass ceiling. I shouldn’t be feeling this way, was my daily mantra. I could hear the possibilities on the other side, but I didn’t know how to get there. As I worked on uncovering the solution through journaling and meditation (and the help of my spiritual mentor and an awesome therapist), I realized I had work to do to move beyond that glass ceiling! Finally, I had the divine idea to go back to school and pursue a career as a behavioral health therapist, blending my spiritual education with psychology to support others in the best way I can.
It cost me time and effort. It forced me to move beyond the guilt and shame of being a full time student, a wife, and a mother—having less time with everyone (but still plenty to go around!). I spent many nights working on ten-page papers, feeling guilty for doing that instead of putting my kids to bed. I worried that my beautifully understanding and supportive husband might feel resentful of his new home duties.
I released my stay-at-home mom self using Jane Hart’s “Seven Steps” process—over and over again until I felt adjusted to my new role as a partner to my husband as we parented together in a new way. I said goodbye to the helpless victim in me as I embraced my new responsibilities as a self-employed therapist and business woman.
The thing about any glass ceiling is that it is only made up of a thin veil of doubt and false beliefs—and perhaps a sprinkle of fear and laziness here and there. When we feel ourselves hitting our heads against it, that’s our call to put our courage on and charge ahead!
What is your glass ceiling? Ask yourself, “What calls to me that I don’t believe is possible for me? What keeps me from trying? What do I need to give up in order to make it happen?” Find those answers within yourself, then move on it, one step at a time. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!