It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Being Vulnerable

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Even if it takes years, it is important to heal the wounded places, so we can recover the full use of our heart. For the parts of our heart that are left wounded and unresolved remain preoccupied and not available for us to use in living. If unprocessed, the wounded places become dark and hard. Being vulnerable allows us to recover our heart, because being vulnerable and tender allows our wounds to soften and heal.

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The Root of Your Bad Moods

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We’re visited by negative states so often, most of us have come to take them for granted as an expected part of living.  Such as:

“Yesterday wasn’t too bad, but today I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and I’m in a bad mood. I feel a little down, probably because my boyfriend didn’t respond to the text I sent him at 3:00 in the morning. But,isn’t that natural?”

Having frequent bad moods is common, but that doesn’t mean it’s natural.

Blaming your boyfriend – or anything else – for the way you feel is also common. It’s the answer you give yourself to the question of why you’re in a bad mood this morning.

But here’s a more important question: What’s the real reason why I’m in a bad mood so often?

The Answer to Why Our Bad Moods Are So Frequent

Just as with anything else we spend a lot of time with, we spend a lot of time in negative states because we value them.

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Upset? Script a Plan for Change

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Vent, Reflect, Think Positive, & Resolve for Your Emotional Health



Getting cut off in traffic. Receiving that raging email. None of us like to have things like that happen. But when they do, how do you handle it? Do you smile and hope it all just goes away? While it might blow over sometimes, other times that’s just not enough.

When you are in a highly charged emotional state, you have to express your feelings. Otherwise they will soak into your energy system, causing more problems later and making it tougher to get them out. It’s kind of like spilling red wine on the couch. You better get it up right away or it is most likely never coming out!

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Embracing Our Dark Side: Healing Anger and Shame

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Through accessing our spiritual guidance and learning to love our wounded self, we CAN heal anger, fear, shame and judgment.

Our wounded self is our dark or shadow side, not because it is bad but because it is cut off from the light of God. It lives in the darkness of fear and the heaviness of false beliefs instead of in the light of love and truth. Moving toward "enlightenment" is moving into the light of truth from our spiritual guidance. When we heal our fears and false beliefs, our energy lightens. We may even hear from others, "You seem so much lighter!"

Doorways to Darkness

Just as the light of God enters our hearts when we choose to open to love, the darkness enters when we choose to close our hearts and act from anger, fear, shame, judgment or hurt. This is what happened in The Return of the Jedi, the last of the original Star Wars series. In this movie, the emperor, who was the epitome of darkness, was trying to get Luke to join the dark side. He knew if he could just get Luke angry enough or frightened enough, he would want to kill his father, Darth Vader, and then the emperor would own Luke as he had owned Luke's father. The emperor knew that anger and fear were the doorways to darkness.

Our anger, fear, shame, judgment and hurt are the cracks in our energy field through which the darkness enters. The darkness can also enter when we cloud our energy with drugs, alcohol, nicotine or sugar. Do you recall the trial in San Francisco that employed the infamous "Twinkie defense"? About twenty years ago, the mayor and a city supervisor were shot down inside City Hall and their killer got a short sentence because of his "diminished capacity" due to having eaten a diet of only junk food.

In one of my dialogues with my spiritual guidance, she challenged me about darkness. She said, "Margaret, you have worked for many years to be physically healthy. Not only that, you have striven to be immune to illness. Likewise, for many years you have sought to become a more loving person. Now your task is to become immune to darkness." I was blown away. Becoming immune to darkness means never acting out of my wounded self's feelings of fear, anger, shame, judgment or hurt but always moving into an intent to learn about these feelings as soon as they come up. I can tell you, it's quite a challenge! I don't know if I will ever accomplish this, but it certainly is a worthy goal!

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Beware of Anger

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Have you been wronged?

The Practice:
Beware of anger.

Why?

Anger is tricky.

On the one hand, anger – feeling annoyed, irritated, resentful, fed up, mad, outraged, or enraged – alerts us to real threats, real injuries, and real wrongs that need correcting, and it energizes and fuels us to do something about them. In my family growing up, my parents had a monopoly on anger. So, I suppressed my own, along with a lot of other feelings, and it’s been a long journey to reclaim my interior, including anger, and be able to feel it fully and (hopefully) express it skillfully.

Whether in personal relationships or in the halls of power, people in positions of authority or privilege often tell others that they don’t deserve to be angry, they shouldn’t get so worked up, it’s their own fault, etc. when in fact they have every reason and right in the world to be angry. It is certainly important to know in your heart what is actually happening, how bad it is, what the causes are, and what to do – and decide for yourself how much you want to get or stay angry.

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Stop Being Tricked into Feeling Bad About Anything

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No one really wants to talk about it, but the truth is, there is a kind of “evil spell” hanging over each of us and our world as well. In fact, part of this global spell is our denial of its existence. It is called suffering. Everyone does it—and, like hypnotized captives, everyone believes that their suffering somehow benefits them. That’s how the spell works. Why else would anyone punish themself with unhappy feelings unless they had been tricked into somehow perceiving self-hurt as self-help?

 Let’s examine one of these instances. First of all, to be angry is to suffer. It doesn’t help anyone to get angry. Anger hurts whoever is angry. It burns. Anger ruins relationships, causes heartache and regret, and devastates health. And yet, in spite of all of these facts, when we are angry it feels right. Somehow, in some unseen way, anger proves to whoever is experiencing its heated feelings that he or she is right—even though, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. The same scenario holds true of worry, anxiety, resentment, doubt, guilt, or any other dark state.

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Accepting What You Can't Control, Controlling What You Can

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Coming to grips with what you can and can’t control opens the door to true emotional freedom and personal power. I frequently receive questions about what to do in situations where someone is behaving in an unloving way, or a way that’s painful for them. For example:

  • My co-worker never answers emails, making it very hard for me to do my work, as I need his input.
  • My wife never wants to make love.
  • People often ask me intrusive questions that I don’t want to answer.
  • My husband is often late and never calls to let me know he is going to be late for dinner.
  • My friend got together with a bunch of our friends for lunch and didn’t invite me.
  • My parents are forever criticizing me.
  • I often feel invaded and demanded of by family and friends.
  • My husband sits at the table when we go out to dinner absorbed with his phone instead of talking with me.
  • My children are disrespectful toward me.
  • My wife has a male friend whom she talks with all the time and sometimes meets for lunch, even though I’ve told her I’m uncomfortable with their relationship.
  • My wife often wants to talk about what I’m doing wrong. 


Two Healthy Choices in Conflict

It is important to remember that we have only two healthy ways of dealing with conflict – two loving responses when another is behaving in a way that is upsetting or hurtful to us.

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Whose Feelings Are You Responsible For – Yours or Others?

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Do you believe you are responsible for causing others’ anger, hurt, sadness or anxiety? Is this causing you to feel guilty?

“My wife is so upset that I have to travel more on my new job,” Chuck told me in our phone counseling session. “She feels so alone and lost when I’m gone. When I talk with her she is either crying or angry. I feel so badly and guilty but I don’t know what to do.”

“Do you feel responsible for her feelings?” I asked him. “Do you feel that you are the cause of her feelings?”

“Yes.”

* * * * *

“I’m just starting to date again after my divorce and I’m having a hard time with it,” Jeanette told me. “I just don’t know how to let a man know that I’m not interested in dating him any more, or in pursuing a sexual relationship with him. It feels like such a sticky situation.”

“Is it sticky because you are worried about his feelings?”

“Yes. The last man I dated hung his head and looked so distressed when I asked him to leave. I know that he was really attracted to me and I wasn’t at all attracted to him. I felt so awful that he was so hurt.”

“Did you feel responsible for his feelings?”

“Yes.”

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Feeling Heartbroken or Disappointed?

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A lot has happened here in the United States and I want to do my best to help support you in the place that you are in … knowing that everyone is in a different place … that everyone feels a little bit differently because of a different perspective, different experiences, a different frame of reference … and that’s how it’s meant to be.

Let’s talk today about the pain, the sadness, the fear, the anger, the overwhelm, the frustration, the nervousness so many people are feeling and being activated by what they’re witnessing.

You may be one of those people that are feeling disappointed in the human race … or disappointed in who we are, disappointed in the way that people are showing up, or feel heartbroken or have a heavy heart.  I want to take a moment first off to tell you that whatever it is you’re feeling … wherever the things that you are witnessing and experiencing are taking you … you have a right to those feelings.

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How To Forgive When You Feel Hurt

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How do you forgive and what do you do if you've been hurt and you really want revenge?

You know folks in life as human beings. We have all been hurt at some point and many times you may have loved big and gave your heart and soul to friends, family and relationships. 

You’ve pulled your resources, your energy, your time, your trust. Nothing hurts more than loving someone, trusting someone and giving them everything, and maybe they didn’t appreciate you. Maybe they didn’t honor you. Maybe they betrayed you. 

As human beings, this human experience and relationships can be difficult and challenging in moments. They’re never easy and can be complicated.

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Transform Ill Will

touch-someones-life-with-kindness-picture-id599898694 Good will cultivates wholesome qualities in you

Do you bear a grudge?

The Practice:
Transform Ill Will.

Why?

Goodwill and ill will are about intention: the will is for good or ill. These intentions are expressed through action and inaction, word and deed, and-especially-thoughts. How do you feel when you sense another person taking potshots at you in her mind? What does it feel like to take potshots of your own? Ill will plays a lot of mini-movies in the simulator, those little grumbling stories about other people. Remember: while the movie is running, your neurons are wiring together.

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Stand up to Bullies

violence-in-today-schools-picture-id1125699891 “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” - Maya Angelou

Do you see a bully?

The Practice:
Stand up to bullies.

Why?

Humans are profoundly social. Woven through the tapestry of our relationships are several major threads. One of these is power. The only question is, do we use it for good or ill?

The abuse of power can be called many things, including intimidation, fraud, discrimination, and tyranny. I’ll use a term that’s down-to-earth: bullying.

Bullies are unfortunately common. Throughout history and right now today, from homes and schoolyards to the halls of power, they create a vast amount of human suffering. What can we do?

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Does Another’s Wounded Self Trigger Your Wounded Self?

this-relationship-is-not-working-for-me-anymore-picture-id1165046683 Stay centered and connected
Jenna was angry that she kept getting triggered into her wounded self when her husband, Seth, was in his wounded self.

“I work hard with my Inner Bonding process to get into a centered and connected place. I’ll be doing great and then out of nowhere Seth blames me for something and it all goes out the window. I get so upset at him for blaming me and then I feel off center and down for days. Maybe I shouldn’t be with him? Maybe my guidance is telling me that I’d be better off without him so I can stay in a good space?”

“No Jenna, that’s not what your guidance is telling you. While it’s hard for you to see this right now, Seth is providing you with a wonderful opportunity to learn to stay centered and connected, even in the face of his wounded self. Can you imagine being able to do this? Can you imagine how good you would feel to not disconnect from yourself just because he is disconnected?”

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Be the Light

Julie-Murphy-7-7-2020-blog The World Needs Light

There’s so much going on around us these days. Does it feel like we’re almost in this surreal experience? An out-of-body experience? I can only imagine what it’s like for those who are feeling all of this anger and sadness about what’s going on. As with most of us, it’s been a challenge for me to know the best way to navigate this time but there’s something I’m super clear on…


Anger Comes from Sadness

I learned from one of my teachers that anger is a deeper version of sadness, and that rage is a deeper version of anger… which is also sadness. I experienced a lot of anger and even rage as I was going through the last parts of my marriage, which  actually seems really small compared to what's going on today, but I think it can help us understand a little. 

I really learned that this anger and rage I was feeling was telling me something. It was revealing how sad I was. So if you’re feeling a deep sadness or you’re in a place of rage and anger and you’re super triggered… ask yourself, “Why am I sad?” Don’t simply live with anger and rage. Question yourself, “Why am I sad?”

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What Do You Do When Someone Hurts You?

butterfly-mating-in-nature-picture-id1003137420 When someone does something that scares or hurts you, do you lovingly manage your pain or do try to control them?

When I was a very young child, I quickly learned to jump out of myself whenever my mother was angry at me – which was often. Her anger was very scary to me and I wanted to get her to stop. Sometimes I felt so crushed and shattered by her anger that I felt like I was going to die. So I would jump out of myself to try to please her, hoping that this would get her to like me instead of hate me.

Of course, I continued doing this in my marriage, as my husband’s anger scared me just as much as my mother’s. I didn’t realize that any time I went out of myself instead of going inside and tending to my own feelings (which I couldn’t do as a child and didn’t know how to do as a young adult) I was abandoning myself.

Today I’m so grateful that I know how to go in instead of go out. 

I want to share with you exactly what I do now.

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Triggers: Acting Out or Acting In

daytime-thunderstorm-picture-id165823307 Triggers: Acting Out or Acting In

Most of us have at one time or another been ‘triggered.’ A trigger is an event, situation or interaction with a person or group of people that activates the fight, flight or freeze stress response. A trigger is usually related to a past event, interaction or situation that was very painful or traumatic

One of the eventual results of practicing Inner Bonding is that, over time, we develop a strong loving adult self – capable of being aware of when we are triggered, rather than acting unconsciously in response to a trigger. Our consciousness of when we are triggered gives us the choice to act in rather than act out.

 

Acting Out

When we act out in response to a trigger, we do what we naturally do when the stress response is activated: we get angry, blaming, agitated, impatient, annoyed or irritated, or we shut down, withdraw, numb out, go away or disassociate. These are the natural actions of the wounded self during a threat to survival.

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Let’s talk about loss

Let’s talk about loss Let’s talk about loss

Let’s talk about loss. I would say the majority of the planet right now is experiencing loss in a variety of different ways, right? Loss of their independence, loss of their jobs, loss of their connection to their families or their friends, loss of their ability to be out in the world, loss of their identity because they’re not working – so now they don’t know who they are, loss of relationships – many people have been challenged to maintain relationships during this time, loss of even some of people’s beliefs – like their faith …  loss all over the place.

If we dig in just a little bit more, I would say that we’re grieving. We’re grieving the losses.

So, we’ve experienced the loss. We felt the loss and now people are having grief, right?

You’re experiencing the grief from the loss and grief shows up in a lot of different ways for different people.

One of those ways is anger. One of those ways is shutting down or disconnecting. One of those ways is to deny it or ignore it or pretend that it doesn’t exist. And, eventually, we come around to acceptance and oftentimes come back full circle into a place of appreciation. But that isn’t always like in a week or in a month even – sometimes it’s in a decade.  I don’t think there has to be a right and wrong amount of time for that process to happen.  But it is important for those things to happen.

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The Truth About Anger and Hatred

frustrated-african-american-businesswoman-surrounded-by-her-in-picture-id1176305941 The Truth About Anger and Hatred

To be angry and hateful is to suffer. It doesn’t help anyone to get angry. Anger hurts whoever is angry. It burns. Anger ruins relationships, causes heartache and regret, and devastates health. And yet, in spite of all of these facts, when we are angry it feels right. Somehow, in some unseen way, anger proves to whoever is experiencing its heated feelings that he or she is right even though, in the eyes of reality, nothing could be further from the truth. 

How can something so wrong seem so right? Feelings of anger and hatred feel like they’re in your best interest because, at the time of their intrusion into your life, they temporarily fill you with a powerful false sense of self born out of fierce but lying feelings that can only exist without your conscious consent or awareness of it being there. This negative-self’s interests are not in your best interest. This conjured-up temporary identity is nothing but a self-of-suffering.

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Stay Out of the Places That Steal Your Happiness

Stay Out of the Places That Steal Your Happiness Stay Out of the Places That Steal Your Happiness

It is important to understand what it means to be in the wrong place. The right place isn't just where your body is sitting. Have you ever been in the right place physically, paid a lot of money to go there, and then sat there resenting the fact that there was pulp in your orange juice? You can be in the most exquisite spot in the world and at the same time be inwardly in the most exquisite fear, worry, or pain, despite what you have put together for yourself. When we're in the wrong place inwardly, it simply doesn't matter where we are outwardly. 

What is it that must take place in our life so that we can begin the process of recognizing the simple truth of that idea? The most beautiful truths, are the simplest ones. Our problem is that we just don't know when we're in the wrong place. We can be in the wrong place even while thinking we're in the right place. 

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Racism and White Privilege: The Hard Look

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It’s hard to look unflinchingly at the full extent of racism in the U.S.; it’s ugly, brutal, inhuman. The knee on the neck that chokes the breath out of a living person, the lynching rope that has choked the life out of generations of African Americans. White people have looked away, not wanting to see that cold-blooded brutality or the systemic racism built into American institutions created by white men and slave-owners. Black people don’t have that choice, that privilege; they face racist reality full-force every second of their lives. Parents have to instruct their children how to behave when they encounter a police officer (“hands up”). The adults carry fear in their hearts just living an ordinary life because they know they could be killed no matter what they do or don’t do (George Floyd, Breonna Taylor). Black lives have never mattered in the history of this country; the inability or refusal to see that is white privilege. This is the harsh reality of racism in America.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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