Tag Archives: contemplation

When working on yourself doesn’t feel like you’re working on yourself

When you’re in pain and life is hard; when your self esteem is at its low point and you are struggling. As you work on your issues, you work through painful feelings and you feel like this struggle counts as ‘working on yourself’, and it is. One way of coping through difficult times is by listening to music. You can listen to happy music that inspires you and changes your mood. Or you can, like I have preferred doing, listen to music that expands or plays out your feelings in way that you are not able to. The song helps you emote.

The video above is best reflects my self-esteem when it’s at its lowest point. I imagine my self-esteem taunting me sarcastically in the lyrics to this song. Paradoxically, it makes me feel better.

Another way of working through feelings is by using sound. Sound without a melody and without lyrics. The focus is on the vibration of the notes, and the harmony between the notes. Using sound and vibration for healing does not rely on words to process the feelings. It does not require the use of the left side of your brain – the logical, thinking side.

A simple practice that you can do to begin understanding the use of sound as a healing tool is toning. Toning helps with reaching a meditative state and getting some vibrational movement into your body and through your energetic fields.

Sit down in a comfortable position, sit cross legged on the floor; or in a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Preferably without shoes on.

Do 1:2 breathing: Inhale slowly through your nose, hold your breath briefly and then exhale slowly through your mouth. While inhaling, count up – for example when I inhale slowly I can count (in my head) up to 10. So then, on the exhalation, double it to 20.

When you feel comfortable, on the exhalation instead of silently breathing out, start toning by saying vowels. Say each vowel 3 times to start. As you say each of these vowels, place your hand on your heart chakra and notice the vibration that each vowel creates. Place your hand on your solar plexus or throat chakra and see if you can feel the vibration. Experiment with different notes, different vowels to see what you feel. Don’t worry if you can’t actually feel the vibration initially, the vibrational energy follows your intention.

As you do this on a regular basis, you may notice a greater affinity to a particular vowel; so you can feel free to say that particular vowel more often.

say ‘aaah’ (as in ‘pot’)

say ‘ehh’ (as in ‘fest’)

say ‘eee’ ( as in ‘feet’)

say ‘oh’ ( as in ‘fold’)

say ‘u’ ( as in ‘food’)

If you are new to using sound as a way of healing, toning through difficult times may not feel like you are ‘working on yourself’, but it is! One aspect of toning is the meditation which is calming; and then the toning vibration clears up emotional and energetic blocks that allows you to have greater clarity about your situation.

Let me know if you try this exercise and tell me how it goes! As always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me or ask in the comments section.

My little hater

A while back, the church I attend announced that it planned on raising 1.5 million dollars through it’s parishioners in order to give the church a makeover. My spouse immediately said ‘I’m going to get involved!’ and I thought to myself that this would be a waste of money as the church would never raise the needed money.

More recently, Marianne Williamson – an ‘internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer’ – announced she will be running for congress in her district in California. I love Marianne; I’ve read many of her books, attended her lectures; and think that it would be great if she could be elected to Congress. But then I thought: ‘she won’t get elected’; ‘the general public won’t go for her’. I read some of her website, there were some parts in her FAQ’s that I felt were a little awkward; so again, I pondered that maybe she was putting energy into a losing battle; ‘she’ll feel bad if she loses’. I read some of the comments, and already there were some haters posting ridiculous statements.

Sometimes I look at the comments section of Youtube videos, or of articles that I read and there are always haters commenting, no matter what the topic – sometimes important, divisive topics; and at other times quite innocuous topics. A few years back, I had posted a Youtube video that I had taken while on an airplane whose wings were being ‘de-iced’. I put the video to music and posted it. It was innocuous enough for me that I could post it, I wasn’t putting something dear to me online – but still, there were hater comments. I’ve wondered about the haters that have time to post toxic commentaries online, and I wonder who they are in their ‘real’ lives. But then, I don’t really have to look too far, because I have my own little hater.

The church placed this fundraising thermometer with their goal amount. I was embarrassed for the church, that they would set themselves up for such a major disappointment. As the weeks passed, slowly but surely the red marker kept rising. Eventually, and this didn’t take a long time either, it reached it’s goal and then surpassed it. I was stunned, and I felt it was a lesson learned. The church benefited by having many people who were like my spouse – they took the leap of faith and put their money where their mouth is.

I don’t know if Marianne Williamson will win, nobody knows that. But she is taking that leap and doing what she feels called to do. It is a major leap, that won’t be easy – but what is life, if not for the leaps?

All of these negative thoughts I have – about the church’s inability to raise money; how they’ll embarass themselves; how Marianne will be disappointed to have put herself out there – are comments that I make to myself. My projections. I am my own little hater. Statements that are preemptive strikes to any action that I may desire to take. ‘this is stupid’ ‘people won’t understand’ ‘nobody would buy that’ ‘it’s not good enough’ ‘I’m not an artist’ ‘I don’t know enough’.

Do you have a little hater? How does your little hater stop you in your tracks; slow you down; make you doubt yourself?

Working with music and sound in therapeutic ways is something that I am feeling called to do. In doing this work, I have to bring in all of me. I do have something to offer despite being imperfect. As this blog evolves; as I evolve – I hope that you will be able to get something that you could use for your own personal growth and healing.

http://www.holynamebrooklyn.com/

fundraising thermometer
fundraising thermometer

http://marianneforcongress.com/
Marianne Williamson


Beating the Little Hater

sound bites – the elements and mindfulness

Click on the top left corner of the image to hear the sound for that image. These short Vine videos help you focus on individual sounds that may go unnoticed around you. After browsing through these, take time throughout your day, to notice the sounds in your immediate environment. What element does it represent?

EARTH – what is an ‘earth’ sound – footsteps, metallic sounds? The earth is unmoving, solid below our feet. Do you feel grounded, steady or stuck and unbalanced?
pawsteps

footsteps

walking in the grass

subway – underneath the earth (lower your volume!)

WATER – what are the variations of water sounds that you could think of? What sounds suggest the element of water? Water flows down the path of least resistance but with quantity or over time, can effect much change in the landscape. What do the sounds of water bring to mind?

morning dew by a stream

water in a bowl

dripping faucet

water fountain in pond

FIRE – As compared with water, which flows down, fire rises up – it transforms. what images or sounds elicit the idea of fire?

lighting a match

AIR

Stages of Change and the Chakras

The Stages of Change is a ‘transtheoretical model of behavior change’ that discusses the steps a person goes through before making a change. There are 5 stages in this model: 1) precontemplation 2) contemplation 3) action 4) maintenance 5) relapse.

Precontemplation
Have you ever told someone they need to ‘do something’ about a particular behavior and they look at you like you’re nuts? They are in the precontemplation phase. They do not see this behavior/issue/situation as a problem. This could be addictive behavior such as smoking or drinking; or it could be whether or not eating GMO food or watching TV is something to be concerned about. A person in this phase would say, ‘not a problem’; ‘I’m good’; ‘if this was a problem, I wouldn’t be doing as well as I’m doing’.

Contemplation
In the contemplation phase, a person will entertain the idea that the behavior may be problematic, but are not really interested in stopping or modifying what they do. So, in the above examples a person would agree, that their behavior is not necessarily good for them but are not interested in stopping. “I know I watch way too much TV sometimes, but I enjoy it, it’s not a problem, and leave me alone’. “Maybe I’ll stop one day, but not any time soon”

Preparation
In the preparation phase, the individual decides that they must make a change. Something happens that tips the scale – new information, increased consciousness about the issue. For example, a near miss car accident due to drinking too much; your TV malfunctions and you see how much you are able to get done in the 2 days it takes for you to get a new TV. You see a documentary/read a book about the impact of genetically modified food.

Action
You make the change.

Maintenance.
The action of stopping is one thing, but staying stopped is a whole other ball game. This phase includes going 2 steps forward and 3 steps back and actively learning new skills and to use new tools for coping with the changes. You become aware of new things as you make your changes: wonderful things that you have not been previously able to do or see due to the problematic behavior – such as going for walks in the evening due to not watching TV; waking up refreshed in the morning due to not having a hangover; as well as other problems that surface now that you are not occupied by your problematic behavior. You stop drinking and you realize how much you dislike your job; you get rid of the TV and notice how messy your house is.

Root Chakra
As you move along the stages of change, you enter into the world outside of you. In precontemplation, you are solidly on the earth, everything is in its place; no flexibility. There is isolation; self-sufficiency, no trust, solid mass, no change, no movement, stability, all your needs are met (or so you think).
Sacral Chakra
In contemplation, you see that there is a duality – the possibility of something other than what you know. Suddenly there is a stream in this barren earth that grows into a river, dividing the land in two. You meet this increased awareness with a gasp as an unexpected intruder that you are not sure is friend or foe.
Solar Plexus Chakra
In preparation – there is the beginning spark of aspiration and hope for something better. You may feel washed away by the river of uncertainty, but the landscape is becoming lighter and greener. The intruder holds a torch and extends their hand to you saying, ‘come’.
Heart Chakra
In action, you involve your heart – you take the leap of faith – you face the fears that have been obstacles to your change. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you don’t realize it’s a leap until you look back and see where you have come from. Other times, you see the dark chasm in front of you and you have to gather up all your will, faith and energy to take that leap.
Throat Chakra
As you move into maintenance, you learn how to communicate more clearly and honestly. You say what you mean, and mean what you say. You dip back down into the energy of your solar plexus to fire you through and transform your thoughts, your words and your actions.
Third Eye Chakra
You learn to develop and then trust your intuition as you enter into relationship with others. As you do, you travel back through your root chakra struggling with earthly stubborness – changing your mind about change; and through your sacral chakra – you know you can’t do it by yourself but who can you trust? You exert your will, your desire for something better and move up through your heart where the door has squeeked open to let some air in and as it opens further, it lets in light where you can see – both physically and intuitively – what is around you.
Crown Chakra
As you look around you, you realize how big and how small you are within the universe and you set aside some time to pray.