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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40 Days of Good News: Epilogue


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Photo by Tricia Griffith

I spent the last few weeks trying to adjust my focus a bit. The constant barrage of violence, suffering, and hateful politics had kind of reached a point for me where my already elevated stress levels were reaching overload. I needed some good news, and maybe a lot of it.

The arrival of the Christian season of Lent was my inspiration for 40 Days of Good News. Instead of giving up chocolate (inconceivable!!) or something like that for 40 days, I just wanted to dial back how much I looked at the news and went on an angry tirade or felt horror or despair. I wanted to know – despite the media barrage of bad news – good things were still happening in the world.

Good things are still happening in the world, though it might be kind of hard to tell. While it wasn’t impossible, I found it depressingly difficult to find the kind of good news I was looking for. I wanted to go beyond the light, cheery news of dogs getting reunited with their humans and cats having cool jobs. Yes, I did find one cat with a cool job. I also shared a fair amount of news about animals and nature because those are things that make me happy.

What was I looking for in terms of good news? I was looking for stories of people making a positive differences to each other and our planet. I was looking for signs that Earth isn’t hurtling towards mass destruction. I was searching for people who care about something. I wanted to get past racism, hatred, violence and pain. In addition, I added in a few things that maybe help readers find a little bit of hope and peace of their own, whether it’s good news around chocolate, meditation, or massage.

The ugly didn’t stop during these 40 days, of course. I didn’t stop watching the news or reading things that made me angry. Trying to live a positive life doesn’t mean that it’s always going to be wine and roses. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there living hateful, angry lives that are bound to bump into yours on a regular basis. All we can do is look for the positive in a situation or look somewhere else, and do what we can to spread hope, peace, change, and maybe a little education along the way.

May you continue to find even just a little good news each day …

Love & Light ~ Tricia

 

Good News Day 40: Benefits of Massage – Not Just an Indulgence!


As you lie on the table under crisp, fresh sheets, hushed music draws you into the moment. The smell of sage fills the air and you hear the gentle sound of massage oil being warmed in your therapist’s hands. The pains of age, the throbbing from your overstressed muscles, the sheer need to be touched — all cry out for therapeutic hands to start their work. Once the session gets underway, the problems of the world fade into an oblivious 60 minutes of relief and all you can comprehend right now is not wanting it to end.

But what if that hour of massage did more for you than just take the pressures of the day away?

Read more here: Benefits of Massage || Massage Therapy Articles

Good News Day 5: America’s ‘Longest-Married Couple’ Wants To Give You Love Advice


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Image Credit: The Betar Family

This couple  is so adorable. I love them! Happy Valentine’s Day, and here’s to 80 plus years of love for everyone! ~Tricia


 

Meet John and Ann Betar. They’ve been married 83 years and have been named one of America’s longest-married couples by the Worldwide Marriage Encounter. They want to use their decades of marital experience and wisdom to help you this Valentine’s Day. Read more below!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/longest-married-couple-will-answer-your-questions-about-love_us_56bb4e72e4b0b40245c4c0a3?ir=Good+News&

 

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

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!

Taking Care of Number One


lit-candle-reflection ©public domainPsst… Hey you. Yeah, you. You know who you are. You are the perpetual nurturer, hand holder, volunteer, and shoulder to cry on. You’re likely highly sensitive, empathic, or just an all around generous, kind and caring human being.

The problem is, like many people who are nurturers and caregivers, you probably put taking care of yourself on the back burner over and over again. Pretty much the only time you stop taking care of everyone else is when you finally wear yourself down to the point that you get sick and are forced to lay low for a few days. Even then, you’re probably still cooking dinner, doing laundry and washing dishes.

Like a flashlight in the dark, if you keep on burning through the night without recharging your batteries, you’re light is going to burn out. Or think of yourself as the proverbial candle burning at both ends. Eventually you will run out of fuel, and those who have come to depends on you will no longer be able to reap the benefits of your kindness and generosity.

It is important to remember that you can only give out what you’re allowing yourself to receive. And this means that neglecting to take care of yourself can negatively impact the quality of care you give others. You’ll get cranky and short tempered with those who need you, skip important steps, or make a serious mistake.

Now, while a long vacation is certainly a fabulous idea, it’s probably not practical unless you really do happen to have a lot of vacation days that you haven’t used up. (And oh my god, if you do, I’ll take them!) At minimum, taking the time to recharge your batteries can be as simple as taking a half an hour a day to yourself. The important thing is making even just a little time to give yourself a break, show yourself some love, and maybe even a little pampering.

Here are just a few things you might try to give yourself a little recharge:

  • Take a walk in the woods, a park, or the beach
  • Sit quietly outside with a cup of coffee and your newspaper or book
  • Make a little time for a sport you enjoy, such as golf, swimming, canoeing
  • Draw, paint or do something else creative
  • Treat yourself to other hobbies that make you happy
  • Have a candlelight bubble bath
  • Get a facial, manicure or pedicure (or all three!) or do a home facial
  • Get a massage: some therapists offer shorter chair massages that can be more affordable than a full massage for those on a tight budget.
  • Have a Reiki treatment or other type of energy therapy
  • Enjoy a glass of wine and a book before bed
  • Animal Therapy: Play with your pets, walk your dog, or see if your local shelter needs people to walk dogs and play with their cats.
  • Take yourself on a date to the movies or lunch
  • Meditate (And if you think you don’t have time check out this book!)

This certainly isn’t the be all end all list of things to do, and you might find something completely different to be relaxing and rejuvenating.

Sand on my ToesYou don’t have to do all the things, and you don’t have to dedicate hours a day to taking care of yourself, it’s just important that you think about your own well being every day, even if it’s just a quick meditation break or a walk around the block.

Once you’ve taken care of yourself, I promise, you can go right back to taking care of everyone else!

Love & Light.

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