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 20: New Zealanders Crowdfund Themselves a National Park


New Zealanders pooled their money to successfully purchase a pristine beach out from under developers and make it part of a National Park.

Source: UPDATE: New Zealanders Win Bid to Buy Beach By Crowdfunding; It’s Now Public

Good News Day 2: A Kentucky Domestic Violence Shelter Helps Women Grow Food—and Confidence


IMG_4472 cropI can attest to the healing power of nature. Sometimes just a simple walk outside can make a huge difference in my mood and outlook on life. I also have a close friend who has experienced positive mental and physical health benefits from cultivating her own little farm. This article is wonderful news! ~Tricia

 


 

Many survivors of domestic violence have had their attempts at work and creativity sabotaged for years. On these 40 acres of rolling farmland, they’re being restored.

A version of this article originally appeared at edgeofchangeroadtrip.org.

As mist hovers over the rolling fields of Kentucky and the sun is still low in the sky, the women of Greenhouse 17 emerge from the house they share, clippers in hand. They spread out over a field and cut bouquets of fresh flowers.

The small farm and business on a 40-acre site outside Lexington, Kentucky, provides the women with both shelter and employment, giving them a chance to gain skills, confidence, and a renewed sense of self-worth…

Read the rest of this article at YesMagazine.org

For All The Childless Mommies On Mother’s Day | Owning Pink


A beautiful post from Owning Pink:

For All The Childless Mommies On Mother’s Day | Owning Pink.

Walking the Line


balanceOne of the things that I don’t always see addressed when I read about building self-confidence is finding the balance of self-confidence somewhere between no confidence at all and overinflated ego. I know that one of the things I worry about when I find the self-confidence to say out loud, “I’m good at that” is, do I sound confident or do I sound like an egomaniac?

Granted, the fact that I worry about it probably means that I will tend not to get too overinflated, but I think that people who are tentative about their own value, and working up to healthy levels of self-confidence may find themselves underselling their talent for fear of looking egotistical. You might say, “I have pretty good luck training dogs”, when in reality, you’re a highly skilled, successful dog trainer. You might tell someone, “I don’t have any professional training, but I take halfway decent photos if you need some,” when you actually take beautiful photos, training or no.

Highly sensitive people tend to be acutely attuned to the opinions and reactions of others, and may worry about offending people, or coming across as a “know it all.” It’s some of this sensitivity that tends to lend itself to encouraging us to downplay our confidence and talents. We may not be aware of it, but we may picking up on the person’s jealousy, or perhaps their own self-doubt or feelings of inadequacy. It can be difficult to separate out others’ feelings from our own, and also to not put so much stock in their emotions and reactions.

In addition, while it may in fact seem like the opposite is true, people who over exaggerate their own value, hype their talents, brag, and belittle the value of others are more than likely operating out of just as much poor self-confidence as the rest of us. An egotistical person can be a bit like a skunk, a whole lot of show, a big stink, and a hope that you’ll be distracted and not notice their weak spots.

finding balanceA confident, balanced person is able to feel comfortable saying that they’re good at something without the need to show off, brag, or otherwise make a big fuss about it. Part of my own sensitivity, I think, is that I can tell intuitively when someone is feeling frantic about their own lack of confidence, as much as I can when they are quietly stewing in it, and it tends to put me off.

If you are also sensitive, you might feel put off or repelled by these people. If you further investigate the source of what you are feeling, you might sense a certain frenetic, frantic energy behind their words and actions. A sense that they are over explaining their worth. They (inadvertently or on purpose) belittle or trash talk yours or someone else’s work. (Which of course only serves to squash your fledgling confidence).

So then, the goal is to find a way to be opening and accepting of your own worth. You should be willing to share it (calmly and honestly), and refrain from shouting it out to anyone who’ll listen, loudly proclaiming your greatness and causing sensitive people to want to avoid being around you (further diminishing your self-confidence).

Well, how the heck do we do that? As I have often mentioned in this blog, the answer lies in part in being self-aware, paying attention to the words we use and the things we say about ourselves and others. Keep it simple. When people complement you about something, all you need to do is say thank you.

When someone says they need help with dog training and you know how to help, say “I have experience with that, I can help”. Offer references if you don’t feel comfortable explaining your skill level. If someone says they need help taking photos and you know you can do it, you can simply say, “I would love to take some photos for you.” And again, if you’re not so confident yet to say just how good a photographer you are, you can always direct them to samples of your work. No need to say “Oh my GOD, don’t use HIM, he’s SO expensive, and blah, blah, blah!” Over exaggerating yourself, particularly at the expense of others, is a big turn off, particularly if the person you’re speaking with is also sensitive to such things.

Walking the PathI find this all particularly interesting/challenging as a person who does a lot of things that require the ability to self-promote. Art, writing, even healing and psychic work require you to put yourself out there in order to actually work and earn a living. Which of course puts you out there to the opinions and criticisms of others, and requires a huge leap of self-confidence. Yet, you don’t want to come across as so egotistical and filled with hot air that you turn people off and lose their interest in your work entirely.

I suppose that like someone who loves dessert, you can choose to eat cake and cookies every day, or completely deprive yourself. Or you can find a healthy point in between, where you can eat the things you love occasionally without gaining 100 pounds. Like everything in life, be it food, finances, or self-confidence, it’s all about finding balance.

May you find your own balance and make it safely (and sanely) across the wobbly suspension bridge of life…

[Recommended Reading]: Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach


Jonathan Livingston Seagull is appealing on many levels. First of all, it’s about a seagull, and the animal lover in me loves a good animal story. It is a also a short, simple story that speaks volumes about being yourself, exploring who you are and reaching for greater heights.

Jonathan breaks the rules of his society, exploring more and more daring flight, experiencing the joys of flying and following his heart despite being told that this is not what “normal” seagulls do.

This book is for anyone daring to follow their heart, whether it be spiritually, creatively or otherwise.

Tricia Goes on a Rant -or- If You Don’t Have Something Nice to Say, Don’t Say Anything At All.


Okay, brace yourselves. This is purely editorial, no research, and no citations. Just a rant.

Super-Bowl-Football_Copl

It is sparked, I confess, by Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show; or rather, by the reactions to it I have seen on Facebook, Twitter and other internet sites. In particular, the comments about Madonna being too old, too flabby, to wrinkled, etc.

What the HECK people?????

First of all, how many 53 year old women have you insulted by making these remarks? It’s hard enough in today’s society to feel good about how you look and what you do with your life, particularly as you age. Then, to hear how awful someone like Body Image. The subjective concept of one's physical appearance based on self-observation and the reactions of others.Madonna looks, when you’re already comparing yourself to her and how much better she looks than you (even if you’re YOUNGER than 53!), is probably a crushing blow to anyone’s self-esteem.

Then, consider the comments or insinuations that she is too old to be dancing around and singing on stage; something that she LOVES! Does this mean that 53 year old women should stop performing? Should they not enter marathons? Should they not climb mountains? Should they stay home and quietly “act their age” and not present themselves as an affront to the “rest of us”?

There is an alarming propensity in this society to bask in all that is negative, inflammatory and even cruel. Reality TV show hosts tear people apart on national TV. Reality show contestants insult and backstab each other for our entertainment. Websites and print media revel in hunting down or making up negative information about celebrities; pointing out every wrinkle, patch of cellulite, error in judgment or character flaw.

How, in the face of seeing people that we admire and maybe aspire to be like, are we supposed to nurture the last vestiges of our self image?

Political campaigns are filled with hateful attack ads, but we perpetuate the cycle by continuing to vote for the people that condone them.

On the RocksOur children get bullied in school and on the internet.

They say that children say the cruelest things, but does it occur to us that they might have learned this at home? We come home from our day and vent about our co-workers or customers or people we saw at the store. We criticize their intelligence, their looks, their behavior or their usefulness to society. Sometimes even right to their face.

What happened?? How did we get so… MEAN??

What happened to that old adage, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all?”

Why has it become okay to tell an empowered, talented, vibrant woman that she is too old?

How can we expect our children to grow up kinder and gentler when these harsh criticisms, mockery and cruelty are so common place?

Let’s start with a little self-censorship. Maybe it’s okay to criticize Madonna’s artistic choices for her halftime show, but really… her AGE?? Her LOOKS?? I say way to go Madonna for having the level of energy, enthusiasm and physical fitness she does at age 53.

Girls, don’t listen to those negative comments? YOU CAN accomplish amazing things regardless of your age. You ARE a beautiful, wise and powerful woman.

Brotherly LoveLet’s resolve – it’s early enough in the New Year yet – to cut back on unkind words, encourage each other to aspire to accomplish anything and follow their dreams, point out each others good points instead of the flaws.

I confess, I slip and criticize or bitch about people on occasion. I have my opinions and it’s hard not to voice them. But seeing these things happening leads me to consider the cost of words, the energy they can carry. Don’t you think that the more you focus and comment on the negative things in life, the more power you give them?

Stop. Think before you speak. Let go of your negative criticisms. Say something positive. Give back power to the things that are good in this world.

Or don’t say anything at all.