Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The Journey to Self-Love

Self-Love and Happiness are closely related.  People who love themselves have an easier time being happy and their happiness is not necessarily connected to something external; it is internal.  People who lack self-love usually correlate happiness to something external.  Happiness to non-self-loving humans is often associated with distraction.  They seek something that is apart from themselves.  They might be less introspective, but more introverted, but if they are extroverts they might feel insecure underneath their masks.   

Self-Love is more important than we think. It shapes and influences everything we do and experience.  Cultivating self-love from a place of non-self-love is very important.  It should be taught in schools, but who could teach such a subject?  Most of us do not live in societies that care about the inner life of an individual.  Our societies are greed driven and are concerned about what they can get from human beings.  It is harsh. Self-love is the opposite; it is warm and cozy.  How can we cultivate self-love in a world that values hiding emotions and feelings in order to be more efficient?

I believe that within each of us is a blue-print of a remedy for every type of negativity known.  There is a secret intelligence inside of our beating hearts that point us to salvation if we can listen to it.  However, there is a lot of noise in this world, a lot of chatter in our minds, and a lot of distractions to take us away from our centers.  Even if we know our own heart and what makes it beat, we might be swayed away from knowing ourselves.  Cultivating self-love involves the challenge to listen to our deep knowing of who we really are and what makes us feel centered and whole.   Knowing information and acting on inner guidance are two different things.  We might have a strong feeling of knowing who we are, but we might be very conditioned to not listen to our inner truth.  Society has done a good job at controlling us and diverting us away from our core, from our passions, from who we truly are.  It sometimes takes an esoteric battle to meet ourselves and pursue what is true.  Taking on that challenge is the biggest step towards self-love.  Being concerned with our ultimate happiness is a sign of self-love.  People must be ready to enter into the sometimes fierce challenge to be who they really are. 

It is easy to love oneself and be happy when we have parents and teachers who help guide us to our own deep, true selves.  But, most people don’t have that.  It is rare to be valued for who we really are; that is an inside job.  We learn from an early age that value is often defined by pleasing another, by fitting in, by conforming to a way of being that might be opposite from our inner guidance.  The challenge to break out of conformity, to break out of the mold of who we are supposed to be, and meet ourselves truthfully can be overwhelming.  Some cannot enter into this type of challenge.  Some go to battle and fail.  Some are exhausted before they even start. However, there are a few of us that are driven towards happiness and self-love.  If our desire is strong, we will be guided by a silent force that pushes us over and over again.   We may have glimpses of our true selves as if passing by a still pond and for a moment being able to see our own reflection.  We may lack patience and introspection to be able to embrace our truth and instead reach for a flat stone to skip on the surface of the water thus shattering the still mirror image that was trying to show us something.  Our own busy mind cannot often stand still enough to listen to divine guidance that seeks to show us our inner selves so that we may strive to be who we really are.  We might fail time and time again into what seems like eternity, until one lifetime makes the ingredients of determination strong enough.

Taking on the challenge to reach self-love and true, deep, inner happiness cannot be separated from this pursuit to be who we truly are.  We might have to defy society, defy who we thought we were, defy everything we have been taught about reality. It might be such a swift challenge that some might end up taking their own life.  Yet, there are a few who have faced the challenge and have won.  They evolve to be their authentic selves and serve as a way-shower for many.  It is these people who have something to give billions of people: hope.  Combine hope with perseverance.  Add determination to learn to know who we truly are.  Take inspired action to express this inner light.  Perhaps if enough of us do this, then the world will truly be an uplifted place to call home.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Non-violent Communication Distilled #4

Chapter 4 of the third edition of Non-violent Communication: A Language of Life by the late Marshall Rosenberg, has to do with understanding feelings.  In reading this portion, we realize just how vague feelings are in our language and culture.  We are taught to be in our head, not in our heart.  We are taught to think about situations and living beings, to evaluate them, to form an opinion about them.  Seldom do we connect with our own feelings or the feelings of others unless we have had some formal training on the importance of listening to and feeling our feelings.  Most of us don't have a language of feeling, instead we have a language of thinking.

Rosenberg seeks to change this paradigm completely with his teachings of NVC (non-violent communication).  The second step in NVC is expressing our feelings.  (The first step is observing without evaluating)  It is important to be vulnerable and to let the other know just how we feel in response to a certain circumstance.  This is something we are not used to doing.  If we feel fearful about something, we are taught not to express that feeling for fear of appearing weak.  We are taught to fear being vulnerable and to pretend to be strong and callous even if we don't feel that way inside.

However, being vulnerable is the only way we can be real.  Only if we are real can we have heart-felt experiences with others that satisfy our need for connection.  Otherwise, we have shallow encounters void of real feelings and emotional intimacy.  Since we can live our entire lives behind a mask of thoughts, far away from our essential feelings, we might not at first understand the depth of importance of NVC.  We may not see it as the gift to humankind that it is.  It enables people to communicate with a language of feelings in order to cultivate compassion and deep understanding.

Without a language of feelings, we remain in a world that is hostile, aggressive and cold.  The more we are in touch with how we feel, the more we care about others' feelings.  The more we care about others, the more we change to become a more compassionate group of people.   The more compassionate people there are in the world, the less violence we have.  Eventually, people will be able to fully love one another, animals and plants and treat them all with tender respect.  NVC is a path to get to this peace.  It becomes a spiritual practice, in a way, because it leads to a world of Love and Compassion. 

It is important not to confuse opinions, evaluations, and other thoughts for feelings.  For example, one might say that they feel ignored.  This is not a feeling.  This is an interpretation of the actions of others.  One might feel hurt when they thought they were being ignored because they wanted to be involved.  In another example, someone said they feel unimportant to co-workers.  The word "unimportant" describes how they think others are evaluating them.  Actually, they might be feeling sad or discouraged. 

On pages 44 - 45 of this third edition of the book, there are lists of words that convey how we are feeling when we are getting our needs met and how we are feeling when we are not.  These lists might help us when we feel that we don't have an internal language of feelings.  Most of us don't think about feelings and needs and we are not able to observe without evaluating or make requests without sounding demanding.  NVC is clearly a new way to communicate with compassion that ushers in a new world of peace.   

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Non-violent Communication Distilled #3

The late Marshall Rosenberg wrote the book Non-violent Communication: A Language of Life.  He is responsible for creating NVC (non-violent communication), a compassionate process of communicating using a language that is based on compassion.  Our language is limited.  Many words in it convey criticism, put-downs, judgment, comparisons, aggression.  Our world is a reflection of the language we speak.  We can help to change our world by changing the way we speak, the way in which we use our language. 

Marshall explains, in chapter 3 of this book, that we should separate our observations from our evaluations.  Our minds judge; we evaluate.  If we are conscious enough to be aware of ourselves and the effect we have on others, we can curb our evaluations of people and circumstances.  Until then, we tend to automatically evaluate and analyze.  That is the function of a busy mind distracted by chatter about things, people, places and circumstances. 

We are warned that if we express our observations with evaluation, we create strife for ourselves and others.  People will automatically distance themselves from us when we express negative evaluations.  However, we can connect with people in healthy ways when we simply express what we observe and what feelings and needs arise from that.   For example, the staff at a school meeting were very aggravated by a principal who was long winded when he shared his anecdotal stories from his life.   The meetings lost focus and the participants were upset when the principal spoke unconsciously, rambled on and on and consumed a lot of their time and energy.   When Marshall asked the staff to tell the principal what they observed, they did so by passing rude judgments.  They did not have any knowledge of being able to use their language in a constructive manner.   Some of the staff rolled their eyes and poked one another, checking their watches when their principal spoke.  Someone finally blurted out that the principal had a big mouth. That is an evaluation.

No one knew how to express themselves effectively.  They mixed observation with evaluation.   It was explained to them that they needed to just express what they observed without putting any emotions into it.  They finally were able to convey to the principal their concerns about his storytelling.  It was apparent that it had become an unconscious habit. The principal was able to receive what they had said because it was delivered to him as an observation, not as a criticism.  He had wished they had told him before it had become a problem for them. They developed effective ways to let the principal know when he slipped into his old habit.  With Marshall's guidance, they were able to use language to solve the problem in a compassionate, gentle manner.  It was a win-win solution because they learned to use their language in a totally different way, as non-violent communication.

Though this seems simple, we have practiced using our words to hurt rather than to express our observations, feelings, needs and requests in compassionate ways.  The shift to speaking with awareness is one of the most important skills one can develop to improve their lives and the lives of others. 

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Non-violent Communication Distilled #2

This is the distillation of the second chapter from Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-violent Communication: A Language of Life, 3rd Edition.  He explains that imbedded in people’s language are words that purposely induce certain behavior that influence our lives, how we think about others and ourselves and how much power we have over our own decisions and actions.  History and how people are/were governed has shaped the way we speak and, ultimately, has made us small, removing our sense of personal responsibility for how we live our lives. 

When we use phrases such as “have to” in our sentences about things we must do in our lives, it removes our choice of how we could create our lives if we had more freedom.  We say “there are things you have to do, even if you do not want to.” This implies that we have no choice and no responsibility to be who we really are.  Society controls people by such phrases.  We also learn to use language that shows comparison.  We compare people to other people and use blame and shame in order to evoke certain responses from people.  All of this falls under violent communication.  We pit people against other people to coerce them to do certain things or behave in certain ways. This instills guilt. 

Compassionate communication uses none of these ways to convey information.  It aims to create a sense of responsibility in the speaker so that he/she feels empowered about their choices and who they are.  Rosenberg shows us that speaking from our feelings and needs bypasses any tendency to overpower another using shame, blame, control, comparison, etc.  He calls debilitating language that cuts people and ourselves down, life-alienating communication. 
If you carefully listen to people’s language, you can hear moralistic judgments.  People are constantly judging themselves and others using words that blame, insult, put-down, label, criticize, compare and diagnose.  For example, if you listen to most people’s conversations, you can hear people say things like, “he’s lazy, they’re prejudiced, it’s inappropriate, they are liars and cheats, we are selfish, you are wrong.”

Someone I know believes they are being helpful by giving out information and often begins his sentences with, “Let me tell you where you are wrong…” It always feels alienating.  He does not know he pushes people away by the very words he chooses to use.  They are considered violent words.  They instill in the other person a sense of alienation as they push one away and label them with a judgment.  We often speak this way to ourselves, criticizing ourselves for what we should or should not have done.  We have learned to think and speak this way from other societal members.  This type of language perpetuates a style of living that is hierarchical.  It can be traced back to times in history where people were governed by strict government and were required to be subordinate in order to survive.  Families often use words to create subordination in order to control others.  They may use violent communication in order to chase a feeling of being powerful that they bargain for by using words to put others down. 

When we live in this kind of violent communication based world, we become deprived of knowing how we feel and what we need.   In short, we lose sight of who we are.  If we cannot compassionately express our feelings and needs and if our language does not support our inner exploration of those deeper parts of ourselves, then we live in a violent world.

Non-violent communication is a compassionate way of speaking based on communicating our feelings and needs.  It does not assert judgment or dominate another through words.  It does not alienate us from each other and ourselves.  For example, NVC teaches that instead of saying “violence is bad,” we can say instead, “I am fearful of the use of violence to resolve conflicts; I value the resolution of human conflicts through other means.”  Rosenberg believes that it is our natural state to be compassionate.  His teachings are his way to bring us back to this compassionate way of being.  

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Non-Violent Communication Distilled #1

The late Marshall Rosenberg founded Non-Violent Communication (NVC).  The Center for Non-Violent Communication (CNVC) offers certification and classes in this compassionate style of communication. NVC should be taught to people at a very young age. Perhaps every mother can listen to audible NVC books while pregnant so that children are born with a propensity toward effective and peaceful communication. Reading or listening to any of his books many times over can help people have better lives.  It does not matter if we come to this knowledge late in life, any time is a good time to learn something that can greatly improve all of our relationships. 

I will do my best to paraphrase key points in his books.  I am starting with the book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, 3rd edition.  On the cover, there are the words: empathy, collaboration, authenticity and freedom. If we dwelled on those four words, they would be a good conversation starter to have with others in order to move forward to a deeper way of living.

The purpose of NVC is to have deep, real, peaceful, meaningful connections with others and to contribute to their well being. It is about living from the heart, being generous, understanding and compassionate.  When we deeply listen to another, we are giving to them.  We give them our focused attention.  When we listen with a feeling of wanting to give and receive peacefully, our interactions with others are harmonious.

The basic four components to successful communication according to Marshall Rosenberg are observations, feelings, needs and requests.  In the first part, we observe what one is saying or doing without reacting or passing a judgement.  We simply state what we are observing in a neutral manner.  In the second part, we express how we are feeling when we observe the situation.  For example, we might feel hurt, frustrated, scared, joyful, amused, irritated, etc.  In the third part, we state what needs of ours are connected to the feelings we have identified.  We become more self-aware when we examine our feelings and needs and whether or not those needs are being met.   

For example, a husband nearly trips on his wife's shoes that she has left in the middle of the room. Using NVC, he states to her that he has observed her shoes in the middle of the room and feels uneasy since he nearly tripped on them.  He states his need to feel confident when he walks in the common room without having to look down for possible obstacles.  He then follows this with a request and asks if she would be willing to put her shoes on the shoe rack near the front door.  The request addresses what we want from the other person that would benefit our lives.  We ask our request with the preface of whether they would be willing to comply instead of expecting them or coercing them to change.  We need to speak clearly when expressing these four components (observations, feelings, needs, requests) and be able to receive the same four pieces of information from others. 

If someone does not know NVC, we can connect with them by sensing what they are observing, feeling and needing. After we establish an understanding, we can discover what request they might have that would enrich their lives. These are the two main parts of NVC: We communicate using these four components honestly and we receive by listening empathically.  We express ourselves using this four step non-violent communication and we learn to receive these four pieces of information from others by getting in touch with our ability to sense what is really going on within another.  In order to become proficient in NVC, it is necessary to listen deeply to another and to receive what they say with words or silence.  Instead of reacting to their words or actions that might seem harsh (like a jackal), we "put on our gentle listening ears" (like a giraffe) and feel into what is really being expressed.  Note, this is not a formula, it is a process that can be spoken or felt in silence, it can be adapted to various situations and cultural differences. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Medical Medium Experience #2

Days have gone by since I started juicing celery juice, drinking other juices, paying attention to eating more whole foods and even more fruits and vegetables.  Since I am already a vegan, it is easier than having to change my whole diet.  I am merely adding more of a good thing, there is not much I need to remove, save for heavy metals probably as well as hidden viruses and foreign bacteria.  I believe a lot of not feeling well is connected to our thinking and our energy flow. 

If we notice our energy waves, it will tell us a lot about what is going on in the body.  Our energy should be running smooth like a well functioning car that doesn't sound like a frog jumped into its system and is trying to find his/her way out.  People don't feel well when their energy is erratic, all over the place, uncertain, bothered, uncomfortable: stressed out!  How can we put clean organic celery juice and organic cucumber, apple, asparagus with cilantro and parsley into a chaotic system and expect to run our energy clean and smooth asap?  We can put this lovely organic juice into our bodies and the plant energy will help us to calm. But, what if we don't notice our energy system, our pace, our thinking, our feelings and our chaotic stance that rubs against the flow?  How can we expect to heal when we don't pay attention to our energy?

It can cost a lot of money and time to put good organic juices, blender drinks and food into our bodies without addressing our energy flow.  In short, we have to ask, what is bothering us?  If we do not feel well, something is usually bothering us.  We may be in denial and pretend not to notice, but something is not the way we want it to be, not the way we dreamed it would be, not the way we envisioned life to be.   We usually don't investigate.  We just go along and call it good, call it okay, call it life and do the best we can do with what we have, but do not want or what we want, but do not have. 

Sometimes we think we cannot control things, we have to accept what is and deal with it.  We may not try to change anything.  We may just succumb to what is and suffer silently.  It wreaks havoc with our lives.  We desperately try to put good stuff into our bodies and this can make us feel a lot better because those organic plants have a higher vibration than our own energy flow that is stressed out with some sort of fear.  Energy wants to flow, it cannot when we are stressed, when we are not enjoying our lives, when something is out of balance, when we are not being who we are. 

Putting organic plants into our system is borrowing their lovely energy to help us.  But, we must do more than that if we want to have real Change.  It is important to know ourselves, to pay attention to what we are thinking and feeling.  If we are facing challenges and our energy feels exhausted because we don't have answers, don't have solutions, not sure which way to turn and feeling chaotic inside, we need to investigate. 

If there is something you feel that you need to do but clearly don't want to do it, investigate.  You may be trying to push yourself in a direction you think you need to go but really don't feel aligned with that intention.  If you do not feel in alignment with something that you feel you should be doing, stop pushing the river.  Perhaps there is another river somewhere else that would feel better.  Perhaps you are not speaking the same language as the life flow that wants to tell you something about yourself. 

Focus inward for a time and feel your energy flow.  Does it feel like there is a foreign highway taking you to an energetic place where you don't want to go?   You might notice that your energy is not running in the direction it wants to go and you might be forcing yourself into a box.  Keep listening to yourself.  There is a voice that wants to be heard.  Don't try to change everything at once; you are just beginning to listen to energy flow, just beginning to listen to an inner voice that is telling you something is not flowing the way you would prefer it to flow.   How can you change something when you don't have the resources, when it seems impossible to change, when there is a mountain in a place where you wanted there to be a stream? 

Just put yourself into the energy flow of the way you prefer to feel.  If you think that a certain situation would help you to feel wonderful, then focus on the energy flow so that you can influence the energy to flow in ways that feel great.  Then the outside circumstances will change.  Things do not change unless the energy flow changes first.  We can put a lot of effort into something, but if we don't focus on the feelings that we desire, then we manifest more of the same chaos, it just may look differently. 

Deliberately change the energy flow of how you are feeling; that is controlling your life and taking charge.  Otherwise we let our minds and feelings take over our lives.  We allow our thoughts about what we should be doing or not doing run the show.  Keep listening to your own energy flow and nourish yourself by listening to your heart. 

Juicing celery and other organic plants and drinking detox drinks helps one to have clarity on other parts of our lives.  Putting in clean organic plants to clear out negative debris helps us clear out the debris in our minds.           

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

My Experience of Medical Medium Thyroid Healing Book Day 1

My first day of reading the Medical Medium Thyroid Healing book was filled with hope and enthusiasm, worry and skepticism.  I read the good and bad reviews, saw the negative sites and some positive YouTube videos.  I know enough about using food as thy medicine and eating an alkaline diet with enough organic raw fruits and vegetables to know that I wouldn't be harming myself.  I fasted in the past and went on various cleanses and I am already eating a vegan diet, so I decided to jump in and try it.  I wanted to purify my diet anyway and this offered a good opportunity.

I was worried about my condition and knew that my doctors would push taking meds.  I had taken levo-thyroxine in the past since my TSH levels were on the high side.  I got sick from the medication, so after a little over a month, I took myself off of them.  The endocrinologist I was seeing sent me to UC, Irvine's endocrinology department for another viewpoint.  The doctor there confirmed that I didn't need the meds because my levels were not that high.  Nothing was mentioned about diet.

Less than a year later, I really didn't feel well.  I had the same symptoms, only worse: tired, listless, brain fog, difficulty remembering some things, insomnia, tinnitus, digestive issues, plantar fasciitis that had not completely healed after about a year and a half, joint issues, etc. etc.  I took a blood test that revealed that my TSH had shot up to 10.  I was upset with myself for not taking more kelp pills for iodine; I had only taken one a day, as directed on bottle.  I stopped taking L-tyrosine since my endocrinologist didn't think it was a good idea (nor did a naturo-path I had spoken to) to take an amino acid all by itself without the balance of others.  I listened to them and drank plenty of complete protein powders, ate my fair share of beans and rice, quinoa and legumes, cut out all soy products, and had plenty of fruits and vegetables.  I hadn't realized how much cruciferous vegetables I was actually eating until I read a more complete list.  Although Anthony William believes that we would need to eat a very large amount of those to make any difference in absorption of key thyroid nutrients, I decided anyway to limit my intake.  I had been eating cruciferous vegetables, raw and cooked, about twice every day for years.

Instead of getting back on levo-thyroxine for hypothyroidism as my doctor urged, I decided to cleanse and fortify using the fruits and vegetables, herbs and minerals that were put on this planet to nourish and sustain our bodies.  A good friend of mine had always pushed fasting and alkaline diets and was extremely healthy, so this wasn't new news.  I also decided to use oregano oil (sparingly since it's very strong) since it's anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.  I also took a vegan pro-biotic.

I started on the celery juice in the morning, made vegetable soup with added ingredients not mentioned in the recipe, drank the tea, had a smoothie with some added ingredients also not mentioned in the recipe.  I didn't have all of the herbs and foods on the list, but I improvised as I knew I would from the get go.

In the past, I would have been on a cleansing diet first and not fortified myself with anything, but since I was so exhausted and drained for so long, I decided to listen to a good percentage of ideas from the book and eat the cleansing diet alongside eating pure, clean fruits and vegetables to fortify.  To my knowledge, I had never cleansed and fortified at the same time, but I liked the premise of not over-taxing myself and not having to follow a strict diet meticulously. 

I ate organic baked potatoes with kelp flakes that supplied a lot of iodine.  I ate about 4-5 Brazil nuts, made a cucumber juice with ginger, parsley, cilantro, apples: all organic.  I drank the tea and the water with lime juice.  I had plenty of soup to last me a few days.  I felt armed with good nutrition and a good mind set.  I was ready to cleanse and fortify, remove heavy metals, viruses, bad bacteria, and all sorts of toxins from my being.

I knew that my liver needed to be dredged for some time.  In Chinese medicine, liver is the seat of anger (each organ corresponds to a feeling or emotion); I knew that I had lived a life that caused much of that to be stored in my body.  I even had dreams of being anger that I was processing out of myself at night.  I drank dandelion tea as well and tried not to be around angry people as much as possible.

I also believe that our physical dwelling place corresponds to our body and our life (i.e. my own abbreviated version of feng shui).  Alongside cleansing my liver, I am cleansing my dwelling. I began to get rid of things in my cupboards that were outdated or unused, get the garage in order, and look at what I was physically accumulating that I did not need from my rooms.  I had done that for a while, but this time I was doing it with conscious awareness, feeling that my inner cleanse corresponded to my outer cleanse. 

Stay tuned as I go through my experience of the Medical Medium Thyroid  Healing.  I wish you the best of luck on your journey.