Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Anxiety About Change

In these trying times, we know not what life will offer us with regard to change.

My life changes every day, and I regret that I will never have the life which I've longed for, but I am blessed for the life that I have.

My life has changed, and I accept that. I wished, hoped and prayed for better, but I embrace the life I have with all of its realities and challenges and changes.

Change will occur in almost every aspect of our lives.

We can learn to embrace change while releasing the past with grace.

When we find ourselves going through any kind of change in our lives, our natural response may be to tense up on the physical, mental, or emotional level.

We may not even notice that we have braced ourselves against a shift until we recognize the anxiety, mood swings, or general worried feeling toward the unknown that usually results.

However, there are positive ways to move through change without pushing it away, or attempting to deny that change is happening.

Since change will occur in almost every aspect of our lives, we can learn to make our response to it an affirmative one of anticipation, welcoming the new while releasing the past with grace.

One thing we can do is change our perspective by changing the labels we use to identify our feelings.

We can reinterpret feelings of anxiety as the anxious butterflies in our bellies that come with eager expectation.

That nervous feeling, called "butterflies" also tells us something ... butterflies are signs of change and new life ... transformation.

With this transformation, we begin to look for the good that is on its way to us.

Though we may only be able to imagine the possibilities, when we acknowledge that good is there for us to find, we focus our energy on joyful anticipation and bring it into our experience while allowing the feelings to carry us forward.

We can also choose to do a ceremony to allow our emotions to process.

Every culture has created ceremonies to help people make the transition from one phase of life to the next.

We can always create a ceremony too, perhaps by burning written thoughts to watch the smoke carry them away, thereby releasing them, writing our transgressions onto the shoreline, or placing our intentions on parchment to be planted beneath flowers or trees.

Some ceremonial activities such as a farewell send-off or housewarming party, we may do automatically.

Society also has built-in ceremonies, like graduations and weddings, which may satisfy the need we feel.

Sometimes the shift from denial to acceptance is all that is needed to ease our anxiety, allowing us to bring our memories with us as we move through nervousness to joyful excitement about the good to come.

It can be very challenging to maintain a positive attitude and a measure of faith when we are in the midst of difficult times.

This is partly because we tend to think that if God loves us we will experience that love in the form of positive circumstances.

However, we are like children, and God is our wise Mother who knows what our souls need in order to thrive better than we do.

God is as much as a Mother as God is a Father ... there is no difference or separation.

Just as a young child does not benefit from getting everything that child wants, we also benefit from times of constriction and difficulty to help us grow and learn.

If we keep this in mind, and continue to trust that we are loved even when things are hard, it helps us bear the difficult time with grace.

We are suffering through very difficult times.

Our world is changing every day, and we are each experiencing change in income, family, and society.

This period of time in history is full of difficulty for a lot of us, and we may feel less alone knowing we are not being singled out.

There are extreme energy changes pulsing through the universe at every level and, of course, we are all part of the growing process and the growing pains.

It helps if we remember that life is one phase after another and that this difficult time will inevitably give way to something new and different.

Once again ... "This Too Shall pass."

When we feel overwhelmed we can comfort ourselves with the wise saying: "This too shall pass."

At the same time, when we truly feel that nothing is going right for us, it’s never a bad idea to examine our life and see if there are some changes we can make to alleviate some of the difficulty.

Gently and compassionately exploring the areas giving you the most trouble may reveal things you are holding onto and need to release: unprocessed emotions, unresolved transitions, or negative ways of looking at reality.

As we take responsibility for the things we can change, we can more easily surrender to the things we can’t, remembering all the while that this phase will, without doubt, give way to another.

With love & embracing care,


Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Newness of Spring


I love Snoopy. He is generally happy with life, he is a dreamer, and he cares about others.

Even when he is annoyed, his discontent only lasts until his senses are enlivened by something that makes him smile and his happiness is resurrected.

Look at how pleased and content Woodstock is.

Look at the way Snoopy sees and tends to Woodstock in the above cartoon, and how content Woodstock is knowing that Snoopy has provided a flower for his nest as he rests.

Isn't that what we strive to do?

We deliver daffodils, tulips, lilies and candies in hopes of externalizing the magic of the Season.

We share the celebration of the arrival of Spring and all of the newness and renewal it offers to us.

Now, I may be jumping ahead a little bit here for someone who lives in the Northeast of Pennsylvania. We've enjoyed a few scattered days of 70F at the top of the mountain, yet we are still facing the probability of a dusting of snow and impending frost.

Spring doesn't really "happen" here until June, when most others are embracing Summer.

However, when Spring does make her earthly appearance, it is when when the earth is enticed by lengthening days and warmer temperatures and she begins to awaken from her Winter slumber.

She stretches open and reaches forth to receive the rain that gives drink to flower buds and seedlings. She takes a deep breath, and on her exhale the leaves on trees unfurl like tiny flags heralding her revival as baby animals tumble forth, trumpeting the good news to all who will listen.

Rebirth and repopulation fill the void of winter with flurry and fury as what appeared to be gone forever comes into being once again.

Even though it happens this way every year, we stand in awe, our insides trembling sweetly like the legs of a new foal as we too are reborn.

Does this not seem to happen overnight?

Aren't we also called to awaken from our Winter slumber, stretch forth and receive what those around us have to offer in order for us to be nurtured and grow?

Aren't we also called to allow the warmth of the Season to melt away our ice and snow in order to replenish and supplement others?

Spring is when we fall in love again, speak without thinking, say "yes" to things we would normally refuse. However, all in a good way.

It becomes more difficult to say "no" when the whole world around us appears to be an astounding affirmation of the resilience, richness, and plain, perfect beauty of life.

We may find ourselves feeling several years younger and 10 pounds lighter without having changed a thing. We may feel the urge to cleanse our bodies with a new pattern of eating, clearing our cupboards of cold-weather comfort foods and filling them instead with lighter fare and fresh fruits and vegetables. We may clear our closets of old clothes or cut our hair to express a new facet of who we are, and who we might become.

Springtime inspires us to believe that, along with the earth, we too can change, releasing the past, and giving birth to new ideas, new prospects, new friendships, and new perspectives.

In honor of Spring, we could make a list of the many possibilities we envision for the future and plant it in the earth, surrendering the fertile seeds of our imaginations to the nurturing soil. In tune with the season, we can then watch in wonder as the last of the snow dissolves into the rich brown earth, and stark winter gives way to green possibility.

We might take a sheet of paper, compose our dreams, desires and prayers upon it, and bury it beneath a new annual plant before we embed it to the earth, knowing that for as long as earth permits, that plant will blossom and bloom along with our prayers.

As the last vestiges of Winter depart, all of nature enters into a lively and animated state of renewal.

In the Springtime, Earth’s life energy is awakened from dormancy, and the cycle of life begins anew.

We have the ability to sense this change taking place even before the seasonal flora around us blooms before our eyes. It is natural, therefore, that during Spring many of us begin to feel the urge to clear away the clutter that has accumulated while we've enjoyed being sequestered in our Winter nests.

Now is the time to let the fresh breezes cleanse the energy in our homes.

Interestingly, it is near the same temperature that in Autumn we shutter up and light a fire for warmth, that is Spring we open our windows and invite that same temperature air inside to enliven us.

Spring cleaning is traditionally a way to welcome a new season—one in which we open our doors and windows to let visitors and the sunshine in.

It is also a way to remove stagnant energy from our homes in order to prepare our personal space for the positive, verdant energy of Spring and Summer.

As we sweep away the dust and clutter that has blocked the flow of energy in our homes, we inevitably sweep away some of the issues that may have been blocking us in our lives.

Intention is important, so before cleaning, we might ask ourselves what needs to be cleansed, what can be discarded, and how we can make our homes a reflection of our best selves.

Also, we need to ask how what we cleanse and discard will allow us to reflect not only upon ourselves, but how we can shine forth in brilliance upon the world around us.

Then, we gather our tools and supplies around us, and we begin the cleaning process, much as we do when we work toward brightening, polishing, and shining up the world around us.

Once we've begun Spring Cleaning, we may find that with each piece of clutter we discard and each item that we clean, we begin to feel increasingly energized.

Divesting ourselves of unnecessary possessions can help us to regain clarity of mind while cleaning our windows can help us not only to refocus our vision, but allow others to see us more clearly.

As we clean, we invite healing and vital energy not only into our homes and our hearts, but also into the homes and hearts of all those with whom we know or meet.

Wishing you a brilliant Spring with sunshine surrounding you for all to see,