Friday, August 22, 2014

Know Thyself OR Bathroom Cleaning Revelations

This week has not been the greatest. This week has been fracking fantastic. Yeah. That's me. Bouncing all over the emotional spectrum. *sigh* I get really sick and tired of it, to be honest, and I try really hard NOT to do it. But why?

Why do I fight myself--my feels? Because I think I'm supposed to be this peaceful yogini, always serene, always calm, always relaxed.

Bwahahaahahahahha! *wipes tears from eyes*

Yeah, right. *rolls eyes* But that is just not me and fighting my nature is the very definition of misery...for me.  Probably for some of you, too. So why do we do it? Torture ourselves over how we feel?

Why do we tell ourselves, "I shouldn't feel this way." Or "What's wrong with me? Why do I get so depressed? Why can't I be happy?"  Or any number of disheartening, cruel things. You know what? It's because that's what we were taught, that we "shouldn't feel" certain ways.

Think about it. When you were say nine or ten, someone in your life--a well-meaning parent or say a teacher--told you you SHOULDN'T feel a certain way about a certain thing. I remember an adult in my life once saying, "Why are you so sensitive? You SHOULDN'T let what other people say upset you so much."

Seems reasonable, doesn't it? I mean, we SHOULDN'T let people rent space in our heads, and that is good, solid advice. Sort of. Here's what's wrong with saying that to a child: it changes their brain. It changes the way they think about emotions. When they hear "you SHOULDN'T feel that way" enough times, they become programmed to believe it.

The thing is once the emotion is bubbling up, there's no real way to stop it. Emotions are chemical reactions in the brain and body. That reaction takes about 90 seconds to run its course. We can't NOT feel it for those 90 seconds. So, being told not to feel it is incredibly frustrating because there is nothing we can do to stop it. We may push it down, but it will come back with a vengeance.

And instead of those uncomfortable emotions ending in the 90 seconds, we create more uncomfortable emotions by battling what can't be defeated. It becomes a vicious cycle. Bad feeling rises, we struggle against feeling it, a new bad feeling arises because we can't stop the bad feeling so we feel bad about ourselves because we SHOULDN'T be feeling these bad feelings.

But trying not to feel something is like trying not to think about something. Try this: DON'T think about a blue baboon playing basketball.  The harder you try, the more difficult it is.  Actually, for me, the harder I try not to feel something, the worse I feel. And the harder I try not to feel it. And the worse it gets. This leads down a very dark path, my friends, of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness.

Even when we escape the "bad" feelings, there's this specter lurking around every corner. In the back of our minds, we're waiting for the "bad" to attack, again. Because, strangely enough, deep down inside we know we can't escape the "bad" feels. They WILL come again.  And even more strangely, instead of embracing this knowledge about ourselves, we resist. We tense, waiting for the inevitable blow. We fight.

We rail against the cruel injustice of it all.

And when this shadow boxing eventually exhausts us, we sag in defeat. :-( And that can lead us to some dark conclusions, because we become terrified of the inevitable. We can't stand the idea of going to that dark place one more time. It all seems so pointless, this endless "stiff upper lip", this endless struggle to find our happy thought.

I wonder if this is at all what Robin Williams experienced. Why he took his own life. I don't know and don't presume to know, but its been on my mind since he died.

But, while cleaning the bathroom this morning, I had a clear, sparkling revelation. As I scrubbed the toilet and wondered how the heck the boys miss the bowl so much, I stopped mid-swipe, utterly stunned with a thought...

What if we let go of our expectations? About how we SHOULD feel, how our lives SHOULD look, and how we SHOULD be in this world?

And more specifically, what if I embraced myself with all my erratic feelings, crazy ups and downs, and stopped SHOULD-ING all over myself?

What if...hang in there with me for a second...what if it's more than okay to feel shitty? What if it's, I don't know, a good thing? Not only would accepting our emotions as is be a relief, it would be liberating!

Holy heck! You mean feeling sad is a natural response to certain stimuli? Wow!

Try this:  Instead of always trying to "fix" what we perceive as "wrong" with us, how about we love ourselves, accept ourselves, and dare I say celebrate ourselves exactly as we are, right this moment, bad feels and all.

And maybe to prevent passing down this misunderstanding about feelings, we rephrase our parents' good advice: We don't have to feel angry or sad or hurt in response to other's actions. We can learn to let things outside of our control go. And with time and patience and lots of practice, we may stop having those emotional response. But in the meantime, when we do feel sad or angry, it's okay. It's just one of many emotions designed to alert us that we need to pay attention. Sit with it. Let it ebb and flow. Don't feed it and don't fight. Let it be. And shortly, it will run its course.

Later, we can spend some quiet time reflecting or researching about that emotion. In some cases, we need a professional to help us sort through it. What are our emotions trying to tell us? Do we need to change something? Or was someone being mean? It's quite natural to be hurt when someone is cruel, but it doesn't say anything about who we are. It does, however, say a lot about the person trying to inflict the pain. Funny how we take responsibility for someone else's cruelty, as if we deserved it.

Give it a try. Let me know how it goes. I love hearing from y'all and sharing in your life.

Namaste.




Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Crown Chakra OR How to Stop being a No Fun for You Nazi

Sometimes, life gets on our nerves and we turn into the Fun Nazi. You know what I'm talking about? As in "No Fun For You"? From the telemarketer phone calls during dinner to the latest jabberwocky rants going around Facebook, there are a zillion things to get our knickers in a twist. When I allow myself to get caught up in these swirling vortices of negativity, it's hard to break the suction and I end up spreading the nastiness.

For example, angry debate is the norm in our culture, but lately the Israeli/Hamas and Amazon/Hatchette ones have flooded my news feed. I've had to step back and step away because my frustration over these issues has affected my peace of mind. I'm snippier than usual and easily irritated, like when my kids started rough housing the other night. They were giggling, shrieking, and chasing each other around, wrestling on the couch. Basically, they were having fun. My reaction?

"Will you two knock it off?! I can't hear myself think! Something is going to get broken or someone is going to get hurt! Get away from each other."

Translation?

"Will you stop having fun with each other?!? Go sit in your rooms and be lonely! No fun for you!"

Bwahahahahahahaha! I can laugh about it because that's exactly what I ended up saying to the kids next. I heard my own words and couldn't believe my over the top reaction. Trust me, I was yelling and it wasn't pretty. Well, we all burst out laughing and in a much gentler tone and lighter heart I informed my progeny that they needed to either take the wrestling match outside or tone it down some.

Don't get me wrong; as a parent, I know there are days when the kids are out of control and they need to be separated, but this wasn't one of them.  I was in a negative place and spewed the caustic slime I'd let build up inside all over my kids.

Ewwwww.

In energetic terms, my Crown chakra is probably out of balance. How do I know? Because some of the symptoms of an unbalanced crown chakra are frustration, irritability, and a disconnection from others. That's just a few. Do a search on Google and you'll find everything under the sun can be blamed on an unbalanced Crown chakra, but there's a reason for that.

The Crown chakra, a.k.a. Sahasrara, is our source of spiritual connection with all things.  It rules our central nervous system, and let's face it, that's everything. It's our perception of ourselves, of the world, others, the Divine, you name it.

Mental disorders such as psychosis and schizophrenia are supposed to be a result of a wonky crown chakra. Think about in terms of "breaking with reality" and you'll see how it fits. Other dis-eases traditionally thought of as mental disorders such as manic-depression, anxiety, and depression are considered Crown chakra imbalances and there is a school of thought that says depression is too much living in the past and anxiety is too much living in the future.

So what do I do about this? Here are some ideas for balancing the Crown chakra:

1. Sit in silence.

I recommend an hour per day, but most people give me the "you're a nutty fruitcake" look when I say that, so try 5 minutes to start. And I mean no radio, television, iPod, etc. It's okay to have street noises and the air conditioner hum. Don't try to create a sensory deprivation chamber. Just...sit in silence. That's it. If you want to know more about it, Claudia Altucher did an amazing job explaining why and how in the book The Power of No she collaborated on with her husband James Altucher

So, why does this help balance the Crown chakra? My instincts tell me it's because the Crown chakra is about letting go of the mundane so that we can open up to the spiritual. And sitting in silence, well, helps us to let go in general. It's also great for depression.

2. Declutter

Take 5 minutes out of your day and pick up, put away, giveaway, and throw away. Don't try to "fix" the whole house or office at once. Start creating a daily habit of decluttering your environment.  How does this help? Letting go. Clearing space. All those magazines and receipts and stray socks are distracting whether we acknowledge it or not. Let go of some physical clutter, and it will clear some space in your head.

3. Disconnect from the virtual world and connect with the natural world.

What I mean is silence the cell phone, shut down the laptop, and turn off the television. When the anxiety attack fades, turn to your significant other and have a conversation. Go out in the backyard with your child or take your dog for a walk. Make a cup of tea and watch the squirrels tear your bird feeder apart.

I like to sit on my back deck with a glass of water and watch my own personal version of Wild Kingdom. Any time of day or night, there is a show in progress. One night there was a kerfuffle in the backyard (keep in mind we live a tenth of mile into the woods and are surrounded by tulip poplars and oaks). My hubs ran out on the deck with a spot light and there were a dozen rabbits zipping around like, well, mad hatters.

Then we heard this whisper of wings that we wouldn't have heard at all if they weren't gliding through branches and leaves. The bunnies froze! I mean all at once as if they were playing a game of freeze tag and someone had given the signal. And this owl dived! Next thing, the rabbits scattered in all directions and the owl gave loud chase. Amazing! My heart was thumping. Brilliant.

What were we talking about? Ah, yes. *shakes self* Okay, so how does this help balance the Crown chakra? It helps us to connect with the bigger picture and stop getting mired in the illusion of life we've created. The virtual world is fabulous; please don't get me wrong. I'm writing this for the web from my yurt and here you are reading it from where ever you are. Brilliant!

But we need to make sure we're not lost in the illusions. We need to come up for air and connect with what's real and where we've come from. We like to talk about  being the stewards of nature, but really, we are not above it. We are of it. And we need to dig our toes in the dirt or sand or wiggle them in water once in a while.

You can also wear amethyst jewelry, eat purple foods, and spend some time in meditation to help bring your Crown chakra into balance. There are a ton of ideas out there and I've gathered a few on my Pinterest board, Crown Chakra. I'm always updating and adding so feel free to follow my boards. I have a board for each chakra and a general board for Chakra information, too.

So, I've been spending some time today in silence and plan to continue that practice, as well as disconnect from the virtual world on a regular basis. The decluttering is an ongoing project around here.  Maybe I'll do something with blueberries for dessert tonight.

I'm working on not letting the things in the news and the unkind diatribes on Facebook get to me, but I'm only human and I care about the pain and suffering going on in the world. While there's not a lot I can do about most of these issues, I look for small ways to spread some love and light. That's another good thing to do for the Crown chakra, by the way. Give. Shine your beautiful light. Spread the love.

Be positive. Like when you catch yourself sniping at the kids, let them know you know and make light of it. Stop ranting and start laughing, preferably with someone you love.

Oh, and have some fun!

Recognize any of the things going on with you in this post? Tell me about it. I love hearing from you. Share this post if it spoke to you and tag me. I'd love to connect with you.

Have a beautiful day, my friends.

Namaste

Friday, August 08, 2014

ECHO is LIVE! #5 in the Little Flame Series

Buy ECHO at:






Description:
The 5th installment to the Little Flame Series


Things are heating up fast on the East Coast, and even L.A. may not be far enough away from the impending inferno. Word is the fix is in and I’m about to come head-to-head with my worst nightmare.

Or my dreams are about to come true.

Either way, I still have to figure out if the voices in Max’s head are figments of his imagination or spirits trying to warn him of danger. I’m kind of hoping for the former, because a little insanity I can handle. Ultimate sacrifices and possibly losing the first guy who’s actually cared about me in over 200 hundred years—not so much.

Life may have been lonesome as a renegade healer, but it was a hell of a lot simpler before I lost my heart to the music man.


Get caught up on the series:
#1 Nine30

About the Author
Melissa Lummis considers herself a truth seeker, a peaceful warrior, a paranormal and fantasy writer, an avid reader, a thru-hiker GAàME ’98, a Penn Stater, a wife, a mother, and a free thinker.  She believes the universe conspires to help an adventurer.   And if we live our lives as if it is a daring adventure (and it is!), then everything we need will find its way to us.

Her books have been described as new age suspense in a fantasy setting, but they are also straight up, steamy Paranormal Romance.  The Love and Light Series is currently available at most ebook retailers, as well as the Little Flame Series, a spin off focusing on the character Fiamette from the Love and Light world.

She lives in rural Virginia with her husband, two children, an Alaskan Malamute, and a myriad of forest creatures.  The nature of her mind dictates that she write to stay sane.  Otherwise, her fertile imagination takes off on tangents of its own accord, creating scenarios and worlds that confuse the space-time continuum. Namaste, dear friends.