Tag Archives: Personal development

THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL; the madness of change

When profound changes occur in life, there is a crisis which creates inner madness. Most people who come to me are in the process of change and to most of them it is as if the rug was pulled out from under their feet. We all go about our lives believing that we know what tomorrow will bring, thinking we know ourselves and we form habits and patterns to ensure us of this safety. For some people the change comes in the disguise of illness, loosing a job, death or birth. For others it is something that creeps up over time; a sense of discontent or un-fulfillment. Whatever the reason, madness occurs. Not the kind where we lose control and run screaming through the streets, though we might like to, but a silent, inner confusion where we feel that we are traveling in unknown territory without a map.

A lot of people get scared and think they are “loosing it”; they’re not. Change is profound and for this to occur all our old habits and patterns are shattered to make place for the new Self. This is the dark night of the soul (The great mystics called the dark night of the soul a gift of grace), a moment of inner death. Once you pass through this madness you can reconstruct yourself on personal and spiritual values, finding clarity within. Life-changes may be dramatic but they are necessary for personal evolution, to find the true calling in life.

The same thing happens to anybody who trains for a therapeutic profession; every student I ever trained went through this process and they had to change their lives in some manner to fit with the truths they found within. When I did my own training my whole Self was ripped to pieces and I felt confused, scared and lost (the dark night of my soul). Over time, with guidance, I found my path in life and little by little I reconstructed myself from within – as opposed to being a product of my environment.

This process will happen as sure as night follows day. Every person who works with the development of others; therapists, coaches or teachers, need to be aware of this and have some kind of plan how to help people through it. If you don’t have the knowledge yourself, make sure that you have back-up from other professionals to whom you can refer.

Tao te ching

Tomorrow I start living the Tao. I will document this in a special blog:

http://annastao.wordpress.com

In this blog I will chronicle every aspect of the journey; frustrations, learning and understanding. I believe it will take about a year. If anybody else is doing, or about to do, anything like this, please share.

FEAR

Fear is the most effective way of control. Fear is one of the strongest emotional drives within every individual; Fear of dying, fear of failure, fear of being shunned, fear, fear, fear.

One of the biggest fears in society is about money and economy; to not have enough. Upon this fear one of the biggest institutions in society is built; the banking-system, the great ruler of wealth. But look what happened; the banking-system crashed and actually not that much changed for most people. They still go to work, collect their pay-check, pay their bills… The monster was slayed, and the expected crisis to every last person didn’t materialize. And now, a couple of years later, there is already talk about a rising of the economical system…this crash was apparently quite easy to “heal”.

So what happens when we are ruled by fear: We stop taking chances, stop dreaming, stop changing, stop advancing. We stay in our place and hope that nothing bad will happen to us. We are afraid to lose our belongings, status and security and we are totally prepared to close down our creative inner sources to stay in the illusion of safety. Fear breeds jealousy; towards the people who have more, or the ones that follow their dreams and, most of all, towards those who keep their freedom and joy.

So let’s strip away fear; its like the onion, layer upon layer of excuses, programming and ideas: Start with the obvious fear and question yourself through the layers: For each question there is an answer that needs to be questioned, until you reach the very core where release will be your prize. You will learn so much about yourself and you will start seeing possibilities like never before. You can do anything you like, usually the only thing stopping you is – fear. So go for it; start questioning yourself.

FEARLESS:

THE BRAIN

Previously I have talked about how we react to scents and how essential oils can interact with us through the limbic system of the brain. We constantly program our brains (subconscious) with different information; the more emotional the information is, the stronger the programming. Every time we are subjected to an impulse we immediately go to our archives and do a rapid search to find a correlation. Once some kind of correlation is found, we judge the latest impulse from this.  By doing this we are re-acting on impulses instead of acting upon them as something new and unknown, which hinders us from learning and experiencing. Another result from this is that we stop being in the present which lowers our ability to learn because the mind is associating to a known past or unknown future. Children are amazingly good at being in the present,  learning and remembering continuously.

Children learn better than adults on average not because they have better brains, but because they are still using their brains in the way they were designed to be used, and have not yet taken on board so many incorrect formulas” Tony Buzan

I have looked at the work of Tony Buzan and I like the simple way he structures thought and learning. By doing the mind-map work you stay in the present and by working creatively you enhance the memory. The mind-map is nothing new, I have done this off and on in my life, and I am sure plenty of you have done too, especially when you were kids!

Here is an interesting page where Tony Buzan tells his story, it’s well worth a read.

SELF-HELP

There is a saying; “don’t give them fish, teach them how to fish”.

Many people who  come to see me want a “quick fix”, hoping that I will wave my magic wand and all that is difficult will just vanish. It doesn’t function like this. We have become so used to the quick fixes of medicine and drugs, that we have become unaware of how we live and influence our lives. When there is imbalance, be it physical, emotional or whatever, something needs to be changed and a quick fix only postpones this moment of change.

Often people are shocked by what they need to do to change a negative situation; nutritional habits, sleeping habits, medication, drugs, thought-patterns…. and they get upset by this. Well, we often sit in our imbalanced situations because we allowed ourselves to get there through bad habits and/or choices. We are all responsible for our lives and we are the only ones who can change anything. And no, it’s not easy – but who ever said it would be? If we really want something badly enough, we go for it – no matter the cost or work it entails. This is how we should live our lives.

Some people call me a life-saver, thanking me for saving their lives, others say that I do nothing for them. To both groups I say the same: “I am only a tool, albeit a very good one, but you are the one doing the work and using me as a tool. Results or no, it’s all up to you”. And the people who do the work and stick with it always, ALWAYS, reach their goals. Sometimes we fall down, or off the wagon, but that is also learning, look for the mechanics; why did it happen? then get up, brush yourself off and get on with it. Nothing is ever lost because of small “mis-takes” on the way, but they can be valuable lessons and keys to success.

Everybody can do it


HOURLY STRESS-RELIEF

Plenty of people come to me for help with stress, expecting that a session or a workshop will make it all go away, which, of course, it doesn’t. Looking around I am not entirely surprised over this naivete, stress is on everybody’s lips and the definition of what stress actually is has been lost along the way. No matter where the stress comes from or what the stressors are, stress is always personal. Each and every person that comes to me with problems of stress are different; personalities, results of stress, what the stressors are etc. (An informational tid-bit: The word stressor (stress + or) was “created in 1955)

As I have said before, negative reactions to stress is a lifestyle problem. Knowledge and understanding is needed to isolate and understand the problem, and very often some important life-style changes are needed to heal. But this is individual so I won’t go into it here. If you have serious problems you should find a therapist or a coach to help you. For daily measures following advice makes a big difference; if you do this every hour it will take 5 minutes of your time and increase your effectiveness and well-being: But you need to remember to do it, nobody will do this for you…

  • Smile, even if it is fake. The mere muscular movement of pulling your mouth into a smile sends signals to the limbic system in the brain to secrete more “feel-good-hormones” and boosts your immune-system: Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine found that laughing also “lowers serum cortisol levels, increases the amount of activated T lymphocytes, increases the number and activity of natural immune system killer cells, and increases the number of T cells that have helper / suppresser receptors.”
  • Stretch; stand up and stretch your whole body, really feel how circulation increases in your muscles – like bubbly water, making them warm and free. Do this every hour and you will experience much less tension and aches.
  • Check your posture; how do you carry yourself? If you straighten up your body automatically sends signals to the brain, making you feel strong and positive. How to do it: Stand up with your knees slightly bent, arms by your side. Lift your chin and do forward shoulder-rolls, 3 times (really lift your shoulders up and around and release them to feel your arms growing longer), and then do backward shoulder-rolls 3 times. Now your chin should be lifted, your back straight, your arms are longer and your shoulders lowers. Your chest should be open and lifted. Do this exercise every hour and each time you think about it. You will find that it makes a huge difference to your energy-levels. Constantly check your posture in mirrors and shop-windows, correcting as needed.
  • Drink water: One 25cl glass each hour keeps you hydrated. You will have better energy, improved mood and no head-aches or heavy feeling. It helps flush out toxins in your body-system, keeping you healthy and balanced. Every cell in your body needs fresh water to function well. With every soda, coffee or alcohol intake, drink extra water to balance the dehydrating effects, and help the body to handle the toxins.
  • Breath; 3 deep breaths deep down in your stomach. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Keep it nice and slow, really filling up with fresh air and breathing out all staleness, exhaustion, irritation from your system. Do this every hour, every cell in your body needs oxygen, stress and sitting still deprives you of oxygen.
  • Thoughts; Pay attention to your thought-patterns. Every time you notice negative patterns, change them to the positive. Think of beautiful places, somebody you love, something that makes you happy.
  • Re-connect with yourself; Every hour take stock of how you feel; both physically and emotionally, and give your body what it needs; water, relaxation, movement, nutrition.
  • Cut out sugar; this is a tough one, I know, but sugars (especially fake sugars) are pure toxins to the body. It wreaks havoc with your hormone-systeme, digestion, mood… Eat fruit and nuts (unsalted, non-sweetened, non-roasted) if you need a quick fix. Your body and mind will thank you for this.
  • Stimulants; coffee, tea, alcohol, cigarettes; try to keep it to a minimum. Go for green tea or herbal teas (mint-tea is great for added energy) Check out all the natural teas in the health food store.

Once you start listening to your body and give it these hourly relief-moments you will also learn what you need. The greatest stressor is not paying attention to inner needs. Nutrition, sleep/relaxation and exercise are the 3 most important ingredients to staying healthy and combating stress. Learn about nutrition and proper eating because everything you put in your body will be used as fuel, so what you eat and drink really matters greatly to your health. Your body and mind are totally connected; all what you think/feel will be lodged in your body, and whatever is going on in your body will affect what you think/feel. Here is a small example; when you feel fear, you round your back, pull up your shoulders and cross your arms in front of you…feelings influence how you use your body.

Remember: All what you do or don’t do to yourself today will influence the quality of the rest of your life.

GOAL-SETTING

Lately I have been wrapping my head around the whole idea of goal-setting, really trying to break it down into the smallest possible components. Goals are like onions; layer upon layer, each layer hiding the one beneath…no wonder it can be so difficult to set goals.

I think most of us are the same; when asked what is the biggest wish/dream/goal our brains go into a chaos of random pictures, ideas, needs and wants. From this random chaos it is really very difficult to figure out what is the main goal; money? health? a baby? a job? a house? freedom? travel?

Simplify:

  • Goals don’t need to be realistic – go limitless – who said it wasn’t possible? Don’t ever limit yourself!
  • Goals need to be clear, no matter how limitless they are.
  • You need to be passionate about your goal. You need to want it.

Most often we set our goals after needs; they are usually passion-less and will take us to the absolutely most basic point of filling the need, but there is no abundance. Instead of setting goals after our needs, we should set goals after our wants, and the result will automatically take care of the need. Let me give you an example: Say you need more money to meet rising costs of living; Instead of setting the goal of “money enough to cover costs”, set the goal where you are affluent enough to live in abundance, and  your needs are automatically met. Allow yourself to dream.


The next step to realizing goals are to take them out of your brain and into the world: write them down, paint them; make a wish-list, story-board, dream-movie. Think about your goal(s) constantly. Make them so real in your mind that you can actually touch and taste them. Think of them in present tense and exclude all negations. Read your goals every day as often as possible. Do one thing each day to make your goal reality. Each goal can be broken down into little parts – like a journey starts with one step and continues with each following step – so does your goal. Take a step on your goal-journey every day.

VISUALISATION + VERBALISATION = MANIFESTATION

Essential oils that might help to open and ground your visionary self:

  • Frankincense (boswellia carterii) spriritual
  • Cedarwood (cedrus atlantica) spiritual / earthbound
  • Sandalwood (santalum album) spiritual
  • Myrrh (commiphora myrrah/c. molmol) spiritual / healing
  • Hyssop (hyssopus officinalis) vision /creation
  • Rose (rosa centifolia) heart
  • Angelica (angelica archangelica)  vision
  • Pine (pinus sylvestris) vision
  • Cypress (cupressus sempervirens) transformation
  • Palmarosa (cymbopogon martinii) subliminal