Be the Light in the Darkness


light-in-darkness

I feel like many of the people who follow this blog are spiritually minded, empathic, lightworkers, healers and peace loving people. I like to think that you read my posts to look for insight into life and living as a better person. I try to share my own experiences in exploring spiritual growth and self-awareness. I occasionally get a bit ranty about social injustice, but for the most part it has been an introspective journey.

Now, I suspect that many people who think (or feel) like I do have hit a wall. The state of the world and the blooming of racism, hatred and social injustice has left a huge, painful hole in our heart. Those of us who are extremely empathic may literally feel the effects physically. We are at a loss for what to do.

I have historically tried not to be too political on this blog (ranty bits aside), but this may mark a change in that policy. Not so much to argue which party is better or worse, but because I feel that the time has come to stop being a quiet supporter of human rights and become a more vocal supporter. It is one thing to simply believe. It is another to do.

water-drop-384649_640I think that part of the problem is that most of us who are highly sensitive, loving people tend to try to avoid negativity as much as possible. We avoid it because of its effect on us physically and mentally. (Not to mention, people might notice us!) We try to spread peace quietly and unobtrusively, but we don’t want to cause too much fuss, not ripple the water too much. Certainly not make any waves.

Unfortunately, it would seem to me that the time has come to break out of our comfort zones and start making sure that EVERYONE knows that we stand up for peace, social justice, and humanity. Too many politicians take for granted the words of a vocal few ignorant, hateful people whose ideals match their own. We need to make Humanity the new political party. We need to do our parts to not let the last 150 years of civil rights and social justice backslide any further than they already have.

What can we do? Find the niche that speaks to you. Write about it. Call your government representatives. Counter messages of hate and disenfranchisement with those of love and inclusion. Learn more about religions that are different than yours and speak up to defend them when you hear someone speak disparagingly about them. Come up with ready responses to hate speech, racism, bigotry and intolerance. Be an example.

How can we protect ourselves from the emotional and physical impact this is bound to have on us? I have written a few things on this you can refer back to, and I’ll try to share more helpful information going forward. Meanwhile, you can check out this post:

I feel like one of the important things to try to remember when we’re working to counter intolerance is to not let ourselves drop to their level. It’s so easy to feel defensive and argumentative, to let hateful words spark our own hateful responses. Rise up. Try to keep your words calm and rational. This is why I recommend having some prepared responses for certain situations, it allows you the opportunity to step back and respond rationally, with less emotion. Don’t be condescending.

Do your research. Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet (even things you agree with). If you’re going to share educational information or statistics, make sure they’re accurate, maybe go one step further and provide resources. Be the smart one.

candle-1338927_640For my first step forward into the darkness, I will be attempting to use this blog to bring awareness to social issues and hopefully sharing some ideas for what spiritually minded, empathic people can do to help. Additionally, I will continue to try to encourage and support you with guidance on self-awareness and spiritual growth. It’s time to step out of the shadows and do our parts to bring light into the darkness. Be the beautiful lightworkers you are.

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Good News Day 16: Harvard Launches Free Online Class To Promote Religious Literacy


Sales of the Quran skyrocketed in the United States following 9/11. Perhaps it was a search for answers, or a desire to parse out certain stereotypes, that made some people turn to the Muslim holy text.

But the increased circulation of the Quran due to the recent Paris attacks and rise of the Islamic State has not always helped people to better understand and respect the faith. If anything, fear and prejudice toward Islam has risen.

This is one example of the “widespread illiteracy about religion that spans the globe,” said Diane Moore, director of Harvard Divinity School’s Religious Literacy Project to The Huffington Post.

To combat this illiteracy, Moore and five other religion professors from Harvard University, Harvard Divinity School and Wellesley College are kicking off a free, online series on world religions open to the masses. The courses are being offered via an online learning platform called edX, which Harvard University launched with Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012 …

Read More Here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/harvard-world-religions-online-class_us_56c76b55e4b041136f16dd0a

A Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide


Dandelion fluffI’ve seen quite a variety of posts ago by recently on how to recognize if you, your significant other, friend, family member, and so on is an introvert or an otherwise highly sensitive person, and how to handle/what to do/live with them. What I don’t see frequently addressed is what to do if you are that highly sensitive person.

I believe that most people who consider themselves introverts are probably introverted because they are highly sensitive. Sensitive to the emotions and energies of others, namely. This means that large crowds of people, or even just a small group of overly emotionally charged people, can be overwhelming and exhausting. Highly sensitive people are pretty much emotional/energetic sponges that tend to soak up all of the surrounding emotions or energy, good, bad, or ugly.

It’s no wonder then that as introverts, we feel strongly inclined to stay home in our own safe comfortable, less crowded environment. While this does have its appeal and its advantages, it can limit our growth and life experiences. And even introverts can get lonely and crave social interaction. The problem is we usually wind up needing a nap afterwards.

I’ve given this more thought recently because of an experience that I had a month or so ago. I am naturally inclined to be an introvert, and I work from home, which is a sensitive person’s dream. But I do make an effort to stretch my comfort level through leadership roles, singing, art and writing. So, I’m not a complete hermit. I do get out and socialize, though I generally find that I avoid situations with a lot of new people. The largest groups I tend to actively participate in are maybe 30 or so people for our community choir.

So anyway, back to my experience. Several weeks ago I had a rare chance to go to a symphony orchestra/choral performance, and was very excited. I settled in early and the theater filled up. The music played and it was beautiful and relaxing, including works by Brahms and Tchaikovsky. I noticed that I became very sleepy. And at first I thought it was the music. I frequently use classical music to help me sleep, so maybe it was just a natural response.

But in the second half, the choral singers joined the orchestra and the music’s energy level kicked up significantly. I, however, remained significantly exhausted through the remainder of the performance. I was completely worn out and actually felt physically ill, kind of like that feeling when you’re coming down with a cold. I took a nap when I got home and began to feel better, but I was left wondering what the heck had happened.

Then, as I was recalling the afternoon, it dawned on me. In my mind’s eye, I saw the packed theater. It was the season finale. Hundreds of people. And all of their baggage. And I, accustomed to my relatively small social network, had just sort of blindly wandered into this figurative hornets’ nest of people, energies, and emotions without so much as a psychic raincoat to protect me. No wonder I was exhausted!

IMG_0016.jpgSo, how does the sensitive person step out of their introvert cave and develop those social skills, without sending themselves into a spiral of exhaustion or anxiety? The first step is in recognizing that you are sensitive and probably absorbing other people’s emotions.

  • People may call you overly sensitive
  • You feel tired, drained, and stressed in crowds
  • Noise, smells, excessive talking, and “close talkers” set off your anxiety
  • You need time alone to recharge

To read more about how to tell if you’re an empath, check out this post.

The next thing you need to do is identify the source of the emotion or energy that is affecting you. If you’re feeling an emotion that doesn’t make sense to you, examine your situation.

  • Are you in a crowd or a group of people?
  • Are you sitting next to someone who may be giving off that emotion?
  • Try moving several feet away from the crowd.
  • Change seats if the source seems to be one particular person.

Once you’ve identified that an energy or emotion is affecting you, distance yourself from the source and take a moment to calm and center yourself.

  • Concentrate on your breath. Take a slow, deep breath and hold it a few seconds, then release it slowly.
  • As you release your breath, send the negative emotions into the earth, and with your next deep breath, imagine filling your body with warm, golden sunlight.
  • Do this a few times until you feel calmer.

You can prevent or reduce the effect of a situation by going into it with a bit more of a plan. Create an energy shield around yourself. You can imagine it a bit like the Star Trek force fields, visualize a bubble of protective energy around you, bouncing back negative energies and emotions. You can make the energy shield a color to enhance the effect.

  • Using pink light allows love and positive energy to flow in while repelling negative.
  • Blue can help calm you and maybe even those around you.
  • Green light can help heal.
  • You can use any color that appeals to you and comforts you. I sometimes use a mix of colors, like the iridescence in a soap bubble – pink, gold and green.

Other preventive measures can help lessen the effects of large crowds, or groups of emotionally charged people, or any other place that you know triggers you. Take a moment to deliberately visualize your shield in place before you even leave your house, and when you arrive, do a quick review to assure yourself that you are protected.
IMG_7741.jpgPay attention to particular people who have an effect on you. Some are like vampires, draining energy from you or leaving you emotionally exhausted. Remove yourself from their presence if you need to. Put another less sensitive person between you and them if the situation requires you to stay near them. Make a point to ensure that your shield is in place when you know you will be around them.

  • Eating protein before entering into situations that wear you down can help strengthen your defenses.
  • Eating protein after can help you recover if you were caught off guard.
  • Eating a little chocolate can also help you feel more grounded (Professor Lupin even recommended it after a Dementor attack in Harry Potter!).
  • Create a private time or space for yourself, where you can recharge and defuse. Let others who share your space with you know when you need some down time.

Not all crowds are bad. Create positive experiences. Put yourself into some positive group activities with people you trust. Start small and build up your ability to shield yourself and hang out with increasingly large groups of people.

Most importantly, be compassionate. Be compassionate towards the person/people dropping their emotional payload on you. It can help to diffuse the effects. Be compassionate towards yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for being the wonderful, sensitive, kind person that you are. The world needs more people like you!

To Bee or Not To Bee


Bee on Dandelion

It’s spring in Maine, finally! The insect life is waking up, and I’ve had a few encounters with bees recently. I try to pay attention, and even follow my own advice when I have more significant or unusual animal encounters. If an animal makes significant repeated appearances, or if you find the appearance particularly meaningful, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s something you should pay attention to.

In this case, the bee encounters certainly stood out. There was one or two bees who chose to follow me for a walk, another one very determined to get into my car, and a fourth one was a bumblebee just meandering through the produce section in the grocery store. So, should bees of any variety make their way into your life, it might be time to look into what the buzz is all about (just one pun, I promise!).

Bees have long been a powerful symbol in many cultures, representing the sun, fertility, royalty, gods and goddesses. Their seemingly improbable ability to fly can represent achieving the impossible. They gather pollen and contribute to the fertility of countless plants, creating food for themselves and ultimately the world. In their creation of honey, they transform sunlight into liquid energy.

If the bee is buzzing into your life, you may need to find faith in your ability to to take flight and achieve the impossible. Maybe you need to become more aware of what information you gather, distribute, or ingest. Make sure you’re taking the good parts of life and leaving the destructive bits behind. Share only the positive, energy giving honey.

Are you being too much of a worker bee and attempting to do too many things? Do you need to take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labors? Maybe you’re working so hard that you’ve forgotten that you even once enjoyed what you’re doing. Wallowing in the labors of collecting your pollen and forgetting to enjoy the beautiful sunshine that has made it all possible.

A visit from bee may be reminding you to stop and smell the flowers, value your own productivity, creativity, and industriousness. Take time out to enjoy the sun and the honey. Trust in your ability to get done what you need to without working yourself into a frenzy. And maybe, just bee.

An’ do what ye will…


Forest lightPeople who have made the decision to walk down the path of “non-traditional” spirituality, or have chosen to openly declare themselves a psychic or a medium, know what an interesting and sometimes extremely challenging path that can be.

There are, of course, inherent challenges to any type of spiritual path. To do it right, you really need to be willing to work on your own personal emotional and spiritual baggage. Much of what we share with others, be it in a psychic reading or spiritual counseling, is the result of our own experiences, soul searching, facing our inner demons, and learning to trust in what is frequently an intangible source of information and guidance.

And then, there are the social challenges. In my experience, things are a lot better today than they were 20-25 years ago. One of my first psychic fairs was picketed. I was accused of being a Satanist. One “friend” regularly told me he feared for my soul and that I was going to go to hell. Fortunately, I do not hold much stock in the “going to hell” aspect, and when I told him I thought he was hilarious, he gave up on me. 🙂

For these reasons, a lot of psychics over the years have taken on pseudonyms. Primary to avoid professional or private life repercussions related to what might happened if the “wrong person” discovered what they do.

Forest BrookIn recent years, despite setbacks caused by high profile scam artists or well-intentioned fakes, the general metaphysical world seems to be viewed with a more open mind. Some of the same growing public open mindedness that has helped other fringe communities slowly find more mainstream acceptance has at least minimally decreased the number of people who freak out, react negatively, or sidle cautiously away when they hear about someone’s psychic work. At the minimum, I think there is more of a sense of live and let live. As long as you aren’t hurting someone, go for it.

For those who vehemently object to or publically scoff at the idea of psychic phenomenon, energy healing and people who communicate with spirits, it’s an interesting juxtaposition of ignorant and hypocritical thought patterns. I’ve heard the argument that science has been unable to conclusively prove that extrasensory perception, psychic intuition, or spirit communication works. Yet, ironically, some of the same people who forcefully deny the possibility of psychic phenomenon frequently believe fervently in an unseen, omnipotent god force or benevolent messiah.

These same people believe in the power of prayer, messages from god, and communing with Jesus, despite the fact that science has been unable to satisfactorily prove the existence of any of these beings either. Religious leaders heal with their words and their presence. They share the messages from God as presented by people who were called prophets. All the while only having minimal tangible proof of their existence.

I find it ironic that these beliefs somehow lead people to the conviction that it’s impossible for there to be unexplained phenomenon outside of a church, synagogue, or other religious institution. That they can’t find it within their hearts to believe that the God who works in mysterious ways can somehow work in other, even more mysterious ways.

Do not confuse a psychic or other intuitive who does not consider themselves religious with not being an otherwise extremely spiritual person. Most true, conscientious psychics work from a very strict set of moral, spiritual, and ethical standards.

Azure BluetVarious versions of the adage “And it harm none, do what ye will” hold sway in Wiccan and psychic communities. The laws of karma have bearing around the world, and the idea that you give back what you give out. They work in the best interest of all involved, and they learn important rules of ethics, and seeking the permission of the people they’re reading for. Many of them spend years working on their own personal baggage in order to be better able to help with yours.

That’s not to say that every practicing psychic is a good person, or follows these rules exactly. Any more than every religious leader is an infallible, godly person. We are all human beings. We make bad choices, and we bear the consequences of these decisions one way or another.

So, I’ve rambled on for quite a while now, but the main point of this conversation was to remind people to think about the mysterious ways the universe works. Whether you’re considering someone’s psychic abilities, their belief in the paranormal, or even their religious beliefs, consider the possibilities presented by the things you DO believe in. Maybe there’s a lot more out there than even you believe.

When the Storms of Life Rage On, Don’t Get Too Prickly


I’ve had people tell me that hikes are boring. They clearly haven’t gone for a hike with me! I think that people kind of forget that there’s more to hiking that just plodding along the trail. Sometimes you never know what’s just around the corner, or hidden in the brush alongside the trail.

StormyLast week on a hike, I was racing a pretty ominous looking thunderstorm. Let’s just say it turned into more of a jog than a hike, as I turned around to beat feet the 1.6 miles back to the car. I decided I had a better chance of not getting struck by lightning if I turned around rather than trying to continue another two plus miles to finish the loop.

Along the trail, I was startled by something ambling along the path. A chubby little porcupine! He got into the underbrush and it was difficult to photograph him, so I chalked it up to a fun memory. About five minute later, I see another chubby little shape ambling down the trail in front of me. Another porcupine! This one didn’t seem to care that I was hiking along behind him, but it was just far enough ahead that I had a hard time capturing a good photo. I did however start to think about the frequent appearance of this prickly little critter.

Porcupines amble along through life, and with the exception of a few predators – primarily fishers and mountain lions – have earned the respect of the animal kingdom. They are generally peaceful, they don’t “throw” their quills, and their major defense actually requires that an attacker get close enough to truly harm them before it does it’s job.

PorcupineCabelasSpringfield0511In animal wisdom, Porcupine often represents a reminder not to spend too much time caught up in the seriousness and gravity of life. Honor your playful spirit, and take time to wander through nature, or simply through your imagination, and hunt for treasures.

Don’t let negative old barbs or pain from the past haunt you and drain the happiness from your present. Don’t allow yourself to become so prickly that people are afraid to come near you. Trust that when you really need it, your defenses will help protect you.

Go forth and shed your quills.

Love & Laughter,

Tricia

It’s the Little Things


forest smallOkay yes, it has been a while since I wrote anything. To be fair, it’s been a kind of hellacious summer, and to be honest, I’ve kind of let it get to me. However, recently I’ve decided that even if I don’t give myself time for much else, I need to at least take some time out for what I’ve been calling Nature Therapy. I’ve been making a point to get out and appreciate nature and the truly beautiful state that I live in, Maine.

Getting outside for a hike or a paddle changes my mindset, even if it’s only for a little while. I take my camera with me, and I go with the intent of finding and appreciating the wonder that is nature. I walk along, thinking about the flowers and critters and smelling the balsam fir and the fallen leaves. I listen to the songs of birds, the buzz of bees and frequent scolding from red squirrels. I revel in that non-silent silence that you find when you’re deep out on a trail with no modern distractions.

When I was preparing to finally get back to writing on this blog, I kind of first planned a bit of a rant about being judgmental, but I could not quite get it to flow the way I hoped. Two things changed my mind. red squirrelOne was this Sunday’s message from my minister, who spoke about “Something is Wrong”, and with it she spoke about the judgment and treatment of our fellow humans, and it gave me a different spin on the thought that I want to write about. So, watch for that coming up next. (You can listen to this message here. This particular message starts at 11:30)

The other thing was that afternoon’s walk in the forest, where I had an entertaining encounter with a red squirrel and another one with a damselfly, and I realized that what the world needs now is good news. It made me think that sometimes what we need are the little things to help us change our mindset, turn down a different path, or look at the world in a slightly different light.

I decided that one of the things I would start doing on this blog is also writing up some of the entertaining things that end up happening to me on my walks in nature. A reminder to everyone to take the time out, find your nature therapy or book therapy or whatever little thing makes your world even just a little bit better.

spiderwebA reminder that sometimes when you’re trying to see the forest for the trees or staying on the path, because that’s how you get to the end, you miss the journey. You miss the cheeky red squirrel, the ambling porcupine or the spider web glistening with rain drops.

So, yes, I will write about personal and social responsibility and growth, but I’ll also take the time to share some of my nature therapy with you, in the hopes that it will help inspire you to go experience some of your own.

Peace & Hope

Tricia

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