November 2014

Passionate Living Newsletter - Fall 2014

Table of Contents

  • What is a Passionate Life and What it is Not
  • It's That Time of Year
  • What’s Your Story?

What is a Passionate Life and What it is Not

Time and time again I am asked about what I mean when I encourage people to live a full and Passionate Life.  Often the people asking do not know what a Passionate Life would look like for them.  There is a tendency is to visualize a passionate life with too narrow a frame.  Such as a Hollywood screen version or on the other hand elevate it to such an unreachable standard that it appears to be out of ordinary grasp.

A fully lived life may have its fair share of romance and eroticism, but it is so much more. My work addresses all that it can be, as well as how to process and free up from many of the universal obstacles that stop us... Sometimes a first step towards attaining what we desire is through the back door of knowing for sure, what we do not want. My focus is on the importance of knowing what we do not want.

Why then do I send you in the direction of what you do not want?  A necessary and important step is  to stop and reflect on what is really going on .When we stop the busyness,   patterns of behavior that prevent a deeper relationship to self, we may not like what we find, but therein lies our truth.  Frequently when we stop, we find a low hum of negativity that we need to become aware of, in order to resolve.  We find that it is constant and powerful enough to keep us distressed. Layers of negativity go around in the vapors of our mind, until we are stop and become aware of how much of the heavy energy we are carrying. Until we stop, resolve and release what we do not want, it will be almost impossible to know and have what we really want.

Sometimes we keep that which is most important, so tucked away that we do not know what it is. While closed off from knowing ourselves, we are unable begin our journey into a larger more expansive life?  Early in life, the habit of pushing down feelings is formed in order to be more acceptable to others, and not disappoint them. It may not have been safe to express or expect others to help with our feelings and confusions. In the process of suppressing parts of self that we believed undesirable for some reason, we became a mystery to ourselves.

Are you willing to go deep within to excavate the hidden parts of self?  What is hidden and split off is not available to us, and leaves us with the feeling that something is missing; and so it is. My work shows you how to unearth what is suppressed  and reclaim  your unknown parts .Doing so allows you  to get to know the whole self ,discovering as you go along what you really want and do not want in life .Let go of judgment and resistance to whatever you  find.   In being open to know all that is within, you are able to disarm the unconscious and start your journey into wholeness

A spiritual teacher once told me that to evolve on the spiritual path; we have to have an authentic self to surrender. This is also true when you start getting clear on what you want in your life and what you do not. Essentially, you have to know your core self in order to proceed.

We spend time whining, complaining, judging and talking about what we do not want however we do not define it write it down and let what is superfluous go. We keep feeding the negative with revolving thoughts that are of the same ilk.

A word of caution here: A Passionate Life is not one that is planned. Rarely does passion come out of the studious application of joining the right schools, clubs, or marrying the right person.  I have worked with clients who checked all of the right boxes, and found themselves at midlife in terrible distress wondering why they are so unhappy, or living lives that are flat lined...Frequently, the refrain is, why me?  I have done or tried to do all the “right” things.  The problem is in the question.  Too much planning as well as attention paid to what other people think you should do in regards to your life.

Move towards knowing yourself with curiosity and kindness and you will be more able to honor all that you find  As a result of your risking you will be more likely to have a full life, an authentic life, a full and passionate life.

So stop and reflect, start where you are, accept what you find and know that no day is better than today!!

It's That Time of Year

The last two months of the year usually finds us in a frantic state of shopping, decorating, cooking and travelling, so is it any wonder we are more stressed than cheerful.  Having so many "to do" lists, we are wound up and too exhausted to enjoy that which normally makes us happy, as in cherished traditions and intimate family gatherings.  There is an underlying expectation at this time of the year, that everybody is supposed to be cheerful, and to some degree caught up in the frenetic activity.  The external pressure of being 'merry' creates an unrealistic goal for many of us.

Who do we have to thank for the pressure to have an over the top Holiday Season besides ourselves.  Well there is Madison Avenue flashing the perfect holiday scenes into our living rooms by Halloween as we are nudged to start preparing earlier and earlier every year.  The illusion is that if we start sooner, do more, consume more, while translating  the advertising images of perfection into our lives and project them onto our real families, we can have a 'Currier and Ives' experience.

  Whatever possesses us to imagine that our holidays will be a cocoon of love, warmth, acceptance, and safety?  It will be that way only to the extent that our lives are like this throughout the year.  We yearn for warmth as well as intimacy and somehow believe that if we go the extra mile, prepare delicious meals, go without sleep, shop for the perfect gift in throngs of people, this year will be different.

What occurs when the Holidays are over is that we feel tired, irritable and somewhat empty.   The tendency is to feel inadequate because we did not pull off the season as we hoped...  Our culture tends to promote the belief that if we try harder, we can have a snapshot of beauty frozen in time, and somehow we will magically evolve into a finer representation of ourselves, eschewing the usual family dysfunctions.

. Dysfunctional family members under the pressure of the season's expectations become more of who they really are. Issues in families that are tamped during the year often rise to the surface becoming turbulent and weird at a holiday gathering.

  • Aunt Sue will drink more to medicate her empty feelings, becoming sloppy and obnoxiously loud.
  • The control freak becomes a micromanaging intrusion into everybody's business.   This behavior is more prevalent because he cannot control the holiday hustle and bustle, thus he becomes more and more anxious.
  • The rageful one sends family members tip toeing around, in order to avoid out and out volatility.
  •   Agatha, your sister is more critical and demeaning in an attempt to lessen her envy of your success.
  • Uncle Mike who is fundamentally distrustful of the Christmas experience is more cynical and fully into his Bah!  Humbug! Personality. (It is noticed however that he is interested in the receiving part, sizing up his gifts against the number and value of others years).
  • What about You in this mix?
  • Do you have fantasies of pleasing this tribe?

Read more:

What’s Your Story?

We all have an inner story, whether you are aware of it or not, and it’s quite a powerful influence on the way we live our life and whether it is mostly full and passionate or leaving us feeling that something important id missing. The story is generally formed around a cluster of core beliefs, passed down to us when we are very young by members of our tribe, i.e. family.  We like sponges absorb everything, as if it were the truth.  We are not old enough to question when this happens as we cannot reason or express.  The beliefs of others influence us significantly, whether we are aware of them or not.  If we were lucky, what was passed down was not too damaging, but, for most of us, some of these beliefs have cost us dearly. One’s tendency to identify with the inner story, which is usually unconscious, actually limits how we live in the present.

Sometimes the story may go as follows. No matter what I do, it’s never enough.  So one pushes oneself more and more, while at the same time believing, it won’t matter, it won’t be enough.  This story or life script is a familiar one to me as a psychotherapist. It is usually instilled in the child’s unconscious by exacting, critical parents or teachers.  Other familiar story lines go as follows; everyone I love leaves me; it’s my fault, if I had been a good girl, they would not have quarreled, being violent, or divorced.  If the patterns that the core beliefs cause are deep and persistently interfering in your life, it’s important that you consider psychotherapy to root them out. In such situations, I use several techniques in addition to talk therapy to hasten the healing.  I use hypnotherapy, guided imagery, breath work, as well as accessing the inner child for healing purposes.  All of these methods access the unconscious, where the client’s story is rooted.

Freeing up from your story:  

When you live your life, as if your story is true, you unwittingly create situations that replicate the original belief system.   An example of early influence showed up in Milly’s life over the years, Raised by a controlling inflexible father, whom she could not please, she found herself  struggling with many male figures to whom she gave authority.  She over- extended to please them, and generally was left feeling it’s not enough which at a deeper level translates as “I’m not enough.”  This feeling of “not enoughness” created problems for Milly in romantic and intimate relationships as well. 

We believe our story, and as a result we don’t seem to realize that the illusion we are under is like living in a deep pervasive fog.  It’s a real struggle to see with clarity where the arrows of our life are pointing.  We go the way we are pointed, the way of illusion, given us by others.  If your story isn’t working for you, it’s time to examine what it really is, not what you would like it to be.  We have to accept that we can’t change the past, but what we choose to do right now will change our lives as we go forward, for better or for worse.

What is your story around money, religion, God, weight issues, relationships etc.?

Begin by stopping to reflect:

What you bring your attention to has power to transform you.

Will you start today?

No day will be better.

Greg's Plate

Greg's Plate will be back: hopefully in the next issue.