Archives for posts with tag: self- awareness

Gatekeepers

Are you a gatekeeper?  Have you ever looked around and paid attention to how many gatekeeper positions exist?  If we start with the highest place to go to, assuming it is a place, the pearly gates have a gatekeeper called St. Peter. And if we go to the netherworld there are also gatekeepers called devils by some, who let us in if we are blacklisted.  But, let’s face it, these gatekeepers whether real or mythological are not the ones that make it or break it for us in this lifetime and external world.

Try calling the President, not difficult to know there is not only one but a trail of gatekeepers to get to the top,  they are tiered and numbered. Try calling someone you don’t know, even if they are not important as in the case of the role of President and even there you run into a series of questions or machines.  Gatekeepers are everywhere.  They sometimes are in the form of machines and some are in human form acting like machines.  They serve a purpose.  Who gets in and who does not. They have criteria that must be met for us to get in if they are strictly objective. However, we do know that in the exercise of power, some let you in just  because they know you or are related to someone they want to know.

In every world, whether it be business or personal, there are gatekeepers.  We are a gatekeeper ourselves. Think of when you shut your phone off, do not answer the door, bolt the door, connect your friends to each other or not, relay messages or not. Think of how you feel with the sense of power you get when you let someone in through the gates on your own criteria or when we make exceptions to the criteria we should follow to let them past the gate.

In the external world, the gates and gatekeepers are too many to count. We navigate them daily, some of us lose ourselves just to get in through some gates and gatekeepers as is often the case with power, fame or fortune. We sometimes sell out for power, fame or fortune.

Yet, fortunately,  we are the only gatekeeper to our inner world.  We are the only ones that can enter that world, explore it, learn from it, clean it, heal it, expand it, keep it small and tight, or large and bright.

Sometimes, when we trust someone, we let them into this very personal world. We become vulnerable to them in trust. We also become prey for betrayal.

It is this inner world where we have our personal power, not given by roles, fame, prestige, money or criteria of the external world, but by our birthright of being spiritual beings in this human experience.

Some of us fear going past this gate into our inner world, thinking we will only discover the “prodigal” shamed, unacceptable, ugly, worthless, loveless self.  But, this is only that, a “thought” turned belief, about ourselves shaping our self concept and feeding our self-esteem . One we created or learned, albeit, with the help of early caregivers who were the first mirrors of our self and from which we got the raw material to birth our first self concept and sense of self and self-esteem. But we do not have to carry that self-concept into adulthood.

Fortunately, we leave childhood physically by chronological age, unfortunately, some of us never leave it emotionally or psychologically. None of us leave it unscathed by the milieu of our upbringing whether it was a good one or not, but we do leave it with the freedom to re-invent ourselves or better yet, to rediscover who we really are underneath all these thoughts that keep the gate closed to the endless power of our true spiritual self.

If we want to evolve to higher consciousness, we must go past this gate and past these blockages of our fears and thoughts and beliefs of who we “think” we are and enter the realm of being.

Entering our birthright of being a “being of light”, one in the union of the one spirit from which all life comes. But we must go past the gate. Criteria: fearlessness, courage, desire to come home to love and being and living in that interior space of light and love. For only from this place of transformation can we transform and heal others. Are you a gatekeeper?

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

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Managing Expectations

Expectations can get us into trouble if they are unspoken or unrealistic. We  hear some individuals say we should  let go of expectations and outcomes to avoid disappointments and not miss the process of living and being in the moment. Yet, it seems impossible to be in the vast nothingness of having no expectations.  Even being present to the moment, can have its own expectation, for then we expect to be in the moment and when some thought drifts us away, we get disappointed we missed the present moment!

It seems life would have a sense of futility if we had no expectations, it would be devoid of meaning in many ways and feel quite disconnected to the continuity of life. Yet, being unaware of our expectations we have of anything is like being on automatic pilot and inviting total reactivity to our living…we totally release our power and feed  “victimhood and powerlessness”, quite pointless indeed if our goal is consciousness and empowerment.

Do you know what your expectations are?  Feelings can give us a clue to our expectations. Observe your feelings of disappointment for a day and be entertained by your expectations.  Ask yourself if they were realistic expectations, for at times they are just fanciful ones, and also ask yourself if you had spoken out about your expectations or remained silent and assumed everyone knew what you were expecting.

When we become aware of our expectations we can begin to manage them better on both counts…realistic versus fanciful, spoken or unspoken.  If our expectations are reasonable then we have conversation and negotiating points, if they are not, then we need to make the adjustments and lower the tone of our drama and disappointment.  If our expectations are spoken then no one feels misled, and unmet expectations can also become conversation and negotiating points.

Good communication skills will allow these conversations, negotiations, to take place, (these skills will be addressed separately as communication skills is a topic in itself), however, when we manage our expectations life becomes simpler and less wrought with surprise emotional landmines of disappointment and misunderstanding.

If we think we have no expectations, think again, maybe they are not  complicated ones  but even when we  click to access this blog we expect to find it easily and not run into technical issues. (although this seems to be a fast new norm now, many technology errors too often, too complicated, too disruptive to our immediate goals, etc, etc.). It is amazing how many expectations we have and how they often are the source of many of our maladies. It is a welcome insight each time we become aware of our expectations for then we can manage them in a way that is more useful and productive to the goals of living in higher consciousness.

 

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

 

Decisions

Decisions…make one and you can create a new world or a new reality. Open a book and get transported to a new world or dilemma, get your worldview challenged or feast your fantasy. Pick up the phone and you may find frustration with the phone tags, machine responses, or joy in the solution you seek. Some decisions have the capacity to change a moment, others a lifetime.  “I do ” at the wedding altar is quite different from the “I do” on the witness stand to the “I do” when asked if you own something you are claiming. Yet they are all decisions.

Some decisions can be made in our mind only and our circumstances do not change only our perspective, others are executed and our circumstances change for the better or worse.

Indecision can buy us time or create hell (as per Dante’s definition of hell: indecision). Make a decision and change your mind if things do not work out.  Yet some re-decisions and decisions create major life inconveniences.  We are always deciding from the moment we awaken to the time we fall asleep. Shall I have coffee or tea, call them or not, wear a coat, take an umbrella, make a lunch date, pay a bill now or later or never, break up or ignore or forgive. Little decisions, big decisions.

Decisions are powerful and are a tool we often undervalue.  In retrospect we know the decisions we make consciously or unconsciously as the evidence is before us due to their consequences.  But can we make decisions mindfully and proactively or leave it to chance and say “let’s see what happens” and be reactive when the circumstances change without our input. Not to decide is to decide.

For when we offer no input others basically decide and we abide or balk.

All decisions are powerful when they change our life, yet the most important of all decisions is to choose the attitude with which we will respond to all events in our life. Viktor Frankl in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, movingly shares his experiences and insights as he lived his days in Auschwitz and invites us to explore the choices he made through the power of decision.

There is a process for decision making. Most of us  may know it but it never hurts to review.

1. Know what your are deciding.

2. Know all your options.

3. Weigh each option against your values.

4. Know the implications of each decision to the best of your ability as there will always be unforeseen consequences. Guaranteed!

5. Live out the decision in your mind only and exclude all other choices for a period of a week or two and allow all feelings related to the decision to surface.

6. Explore all the feelings that surface with the decision and process them.

7. Make another decision based on your options and repeat the mental and emotional exercise.

8. Determine which decision you can live with in peaceful co-existence.

9. Make the decision.

10. Execute

11. Re-evaluate after a period of time to see it if still fits into the goal you were seeking.

Which decision will you make next?  Will you decide to heal and become the best you?  Will you choose to evolve and rise to a higher state of consciousness and being.  A state of unity not division?  A state of love not fear?   Can you live in these decisions, sustain the decision with the actions they require?  Or is it all just “lip service?”  There is an adage that says:

“Put your money where your mouth is!” What will be different in your life as a result of your decisions or indecisions?  Decisions…make them and your world changes.  Create a new world, a new reality with a decision.

 

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

 

Coping…How Do You Cope?

 

Coping…how do you cope?  Coping with life simply means how you deal with what comes your way in life.  We all cope.  We learn to cope as children within the milieu we find ourselves in (called family or our origins) and through no choice of our own are thrown into this world in a rather vulnerable state.  We attempt to figure out how to survive this milieu. We learn many ways of coping.  We leave this milieu and have our survival plan in place.  What we learned may or may not serve us well.  We do not always have the best models in life but we have learned our coping skills from our first school called family.  Can we change them? Certainly we can if they do not serve us well because they are all learned behaviors. But will we stop and examine our coping to determine if it is serving us well?  Not always.  

There are two kinds of coping…positive and negative.  Do you know what your coping is like?  Negative coping is dealing with life in ways that do not really solve the problem, but rather escape it or keep you numb from the pain of the problem and by utilizing this negative coping, create another problem.  For instance, you drink or use drugs to escape and numb out painful feelings or you shop beyond your financial budget, but you do not solve the problem or address it, just escape it and by keeping up this behavior to cope, create a problem for yourself…too much drinking that could lead to abuse, addiction or in the case of shopping, lead you to debt beyond your ability to pay. Do you have any negative coping skills? They become the crutches we walk through in life and remain crippled and disempowered.

Then there is positive coping…the kind that does not hurt the problem or make it worse, it helps you to stay in a centered place to solve your problem in the best way. What positive coping skills do you have?

Some positive coping is simple…just breathe through anything, or talk to someone to process your thoughts and feelings and come up with an action plan, creative expressions of music, dance, poetry, writing, journaling, singing, praying, exercising, meditating, maintaining hope and many more you will undoubtedly identify in yourself or others.  Positive coping is the higher option, less destructive to our health of all kinds (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual) and the one that will heal and evolve us. 

Have you taken a look at your coping style and whether it is serving your higher purpose?  If it is not in the realm of positive, remain hopeful for all behaviors were initially learned and can be unlearned.  And if perchance you have an addiction of some kind and it can be traced back to genetics(nature), beyond the learning( nurturing ) then this too has a positive outlook as far as change for the better and our healed and evolved selves for there is help to manage our addictions with professional help.

Coping with life is what we all do, some better than others, some because of better modeling, some because of better genetics, some because there is more opportunity, and still others because of greater intelligence and still others because of maturity.  Wherever, you are in life now, realize that only you can make the choice to cope in better, more positive and healthier ways. It is a matter of awareness and choice.

Coping…how do you cope?

 

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

 www.mariahildapinon.com

 

A Prayer of Thomas Merton

 

Dear God.

I am not sure where I am going. I do not see the road ahead. I cannot be certain where it will end.  I do not really know myself: sometimes I fool myself, pretending to follow your will, yet knowing I am not. But I believe this: that the desire to please you, does in fact, please you. I hope I have this desire in everything I do.  I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road, though I may not know it at the time.

Therefore, I will trust you always and I will never be afraid, because you will never leave me to face my troubles alone.

Thank your dear God, for all you have given me; for all you have taken from me; and for all you have left me.

 

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

 

The Wisdom of the Enneagram

 

The STAGES of the WORK

 

If we were to really observe ourselves, we would become aware of our habits.

If we were to become aware of our habits, we would let go and relax.

If we were to relax, we would be aware of sensations.

If we were to be aware of sensations, we would receive impressions.

If we were to receive impressions, we would awaken to the moment.

If we were to awaken to the moment, we would experience reality.

If we were to experience reality, we would see that we are not our personality.

If we were to see that we are not our personality, we would remember ourselves.

If we were to remember ourselves, we would let go of our fear and our attachments.

If we were to let go of our fear and attachments, we would be touched by God.

If we were touched by God, we would seek union with God.

If we were to seek union with God, we would will what God wills.

If we were to will what God wills, we would be transformed.

If we were to be transformed, the world would be transformed.

If the world were transformed, all would return to God.

From The Wisdom of the Enneagram  (Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson)

 www.mariahildapinon.com

 

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

 

Poetry in E-Motions

Poetry in emotions can be discovered and an excavated gem. Just like music and new behavioral rituals.  There is an adage that says that “in all of us there is a bit of a poet, musician, and insanity.”  When we FEEL strongly we often seek expressions of the energy.  If we use this energy creatively we can even capture and immortalize a moment. Thus in all our feelings we can find a poem, lyrics to music or behavioral rituals that may look insane to some individuals (such as having a party by the tomb of the deceased) that not only help us emote creatively but keep us sane.  Sometimes “abnormal” in an abnormal situation is normal. Have you ever caught yourself in any of these expressions?

Moving the energy of feelings so that we do not get stuck in it is healthy and the goal of healing.

This is another exercise for creative expression of feelings, whether they be sad, happy or of any color of the rainbow.

Exercise: Think of things that remind you of something or someone that nudges your heart in a downward spin or if you prefer an upward spin of emotions such as loss, pain or joy. List the things.  Use the poem below of as an example of how these things can all be triggers for these feelings. Create one in a similar style with the things that are unique to what you jotted down.  In the end celebrate what you have created with the power of words and how you have captured and memorialized something or someone special to you.

 

     IT’S YOU I MISS 

It’s the phone call I’ll never get

And the number I’ll never dial

The fresh cut rose from your garden I will never smell

The chocolates we won’t taste and share

Nor the toasts we’d make over wine we’d sip

It’s the books we’d read and discuss at length

And the music we danced and sang to all night

The meals we’d prepare to dine without hurry

And the stars in the sky we’d count for hours

The strolls by the lake we would often make

And the country drives we’d often take

It’s the peaceful sunsets we’d contemplate

And the morning songbirds we’d awaken to

It’s your touch

Your taste

Your smell

Your gentleness

Your caress

Your kisses

Your embraces

Your voice

Your caring

Your presence

 

It’s you… I miss

 

This is a poem on page 24 from Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

Welcome Poetry in E-Motions and discover the unique poet in you and the gems of poetry that can be excavated in all e-motions.

 www.mariahildapinon.com

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

With an understanding of the process and roadmap of grief…it is time to do some work to release the old lingering feelings of loss. This is an exercise to help us work through any of our losses.  It is a process not a onetime event and exercise so repeat as often as necessary. And by all means seek professional help if you or others deem necessary.

First take an inventory of all the unfinished loss you are carrying around. Go as far back as you would like and is necessary. The size of the loss is not what matters; it is how you feel about it. It can be loss about innocence, youth, ideas, jobs, relationships, dreams, pets…anything you have given meaning to. Make the list as long as is necessary to dig up all the toxic pile.  Jot each one down in one word or statement.  

Take a deep breath as you think about each. Write one salient feeling associated with each one. On a scale of 0-10 (10 being the strongest possible feeling) rate each one. Work with the strongest ones first or weakest ones if you prefer. You goal as you experience each one is to slowly see a drop in your rating scale of each so that a 9 becomes an 8 and so on, until it is at a 0 when possible.  (There are some losses that will always leave a residual sting and perhaps a zero is not the desired goal such as when a parent loses a child. Yet it is possible for many to get to zero.) Remember lowering the rating scale is about the intensity of the feeling, not about your level of care for the loss.  You will always care about it but it will be a source of joy and strength in the future when your grief work is over.  

How do you know which losses are still lingering?  How do you know when your grief over a loss is over?  How you feel about it when you recall it will tell it all.

Whenever you think about or see anything that reminds you of your loss, you will feel a shift in your emotional state.  If you are not finished with your grief work, the shift is downward, diminishing, and restrictive, you may not want to go there as you “will feel bad all over again”. The emotional strings get pulled and you have a reaction to stop the feeling, escape, make it go away, make it go under a façade again.  Usually they are feelings of anger, sadness, guilt, fear or shame.

Welcome this visit from your feelings instead.  This is the opportunity for coming face to face with these feelings that pull us down and are tying up our energy in the wrong direction. Sit with your feelings and letting them just be and experience their aliveness in our being until they dissipate. Resist holding onto them or pushing them away. Just letting them be gives a sense of relief, just like when you go empty your bladder. You will feel better and lighter.  The feelings may surface again at a later time, but let them be. Name them and let them visit and let them pass through you. Repeat as often as they visit. 

Eventually you do run dry and then when empty you can be filled with more light and loving energy that is always there waiting to drop in on us. Remember when the feelings are reduced you will be able to hear the thoughts related to those feelings and can explore and challenge any self-defeating or limiting ones.

If when you think about it, you feel truly peaceful and can find strength in the experience of the past and have drawn insights or just feel complete with the ending, then your grief over that issue is over.  You will have no adverse feelings, only peace and perhaps joy as it was a great learning opportunity for you and now a part of your life history you can stand on with calm and acceptance.

Do this exercise as often as you need to and work on as many issues as are necessary. The reward is more energy for being more of the best you.  The healed and transformed you. Remember you are the author of your life.

www.mariahildapinon.com

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

Let your pain refine you rather than define you.  How many times do we stay stuck on pain to the point that it becomes the shield or badge we hide behind or organize our life around indefinitely oftentimes permanently?  It becomes the excuse for just about everything and we do not realize our potential or dreams. This may not be intentional and at a conscious level or it may be, but all the same it leads to the same place: energy tied up to pain rather than powering our dreams and developing our potential. 

Pain is a natural result of being human and daring to care and invest our time and energy in the human laboratory of life.  I am neither minimizing nor discounting pain as it is an occupational hazard of life. However, pain can be worked through and healed.  The circumstances that created the pain and the story of how our pain came to be does not have to create our future. It can be a part of the past, a healed past that becomes a springboard to the future without any strings of the past influencing our tomorrows. We can learn from the past so our future is navigated with greater clarity. Turning back to our history brings us smiles rather than tears.  We can draw strength from the past rather than allowing it to diminish us and keep a hold on our energy needed for the today we live and the tomorrow we can still create.

Time heals wounds goes the adage, but we have to do our part. We need to call the pain by name, experience the feelings it generates to the fullest.  We neither run from them to avoid the pain by burying then behind anxious busyness or anesthetize them with drugs or alcohol or hold onto them for life like a “scarlet letter”.  We allow them to be in us. We accompany the feelings and allow them to teach us about what they want us to know about ourselves. And we let them pass through us and dissipate, until they show up again and we repeat the process.  Ask your feelings…what is this about for me? Do not cut them short due to the discomfort as they will take you on a journey beyond the surface of the first answer.  They can take you to the core of your deepest and oldest wounds by asking yourself.  When did I first have this feeling?

With the thoughts revealed that accompany this feeling you suddenly have the power to change a disempowering thought and release feelings associated with these thoughts. Our feelings of loss can be so strong and loud that they do not let us hear our own thoughts. So this is why we have to feel them to release them until they become more manageable and we can actually hear the thoughts related to those feelings.

It requires courage to stay on the healing task which means you will have to tell your fear it is uninvited in this process.  Keep breathing through it all for fear will hold you back.  Fear will consume your energy and rob you of your power to heal and release pain.  Fear will convince you that somehow this pain is crippling for life and now you will just have to live with it and drag it around like a ball and chain. How tiring!

Be not afraid to live through your pain, get support when needed, but do not live in it and with it for the rest of your life, just for the duration that is normal and necessary in your process of healing the pain…after all neither fear or pain pay rent to you, so evict them, they do not have squatters rights unless you allow it.

The pain of loss has the power to transform you. Heal your pain and evolve. Heal your pain, evolve and you will be able to give more to the world to transform and evolve it.

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

 

Life can be like a ledger, tracking gains and losses.  Few of us suffer pain when we gain or lose if we agree with it and want it.  It is when we do not consciously choose it that we run into the emotional downward spiral.

At an unconscious level we choose everything for there are those who say it is what the soul has chosen for this lifetime. So everything even though it may feel like a painful loss is actually a gain. This premise presumes we are experiencing life from a higher level of consciousness.

Yet precisely on our journey to higher consciousness, we will stand in agreement with the above perspective and welcome all experiences as a doorway to growth and higher conscious evolution.

In the meantime, life happens, it gets messy and painful, jobs end, relationships end, earthly life ends, finances burden and redesign our lifestyle etc. and with these events a windfall of pain accompanies them unless consciously chosen.

The pain is what keeps us stuck, and into patterns of unconscious repetition unless we heal the pain, move to higher understandings and let it go…move on, release the grip it has on us.  We do not have to let go of the story of what caused the pain, it is the pain we need to let go of.  This is where healing is.  The art of healing our losses is indeed an art and a journey in itself.

Yet we often stay stuck not only with our pain, but with our story, seeking others to validate our story and make us right and someone wrong rather than validate the pain and realize that the story is a perspective and may or may not be right.

However at a higher consciousness it is not about being right or wrong, but living from a higher realm of understanding and being that does not invest time or energy into being right or wrong, but just staying in the light, expanded in our highest being and in unity. 

Seeking to heal all pain from our stories so that we can convert each painful experience into a diamond of light and draw strength from what has already happened is something to aspire to.  For as we release the pain and transform it, it will no longer diminish us, but expand us spiritually.

Loss in whatever size it comes must be grieved in order to heal…and that is an art in itself. More on this art of grieving will follow in other reflections.

In the meantime, take some time and make an inventory of where you are now on your ledger of gains and losses.  If there is a salient loss you are living now, “do not sweep it under the carpet” as they say, but spend the time to work through it, not around it.  When we experience the feelings fully, we can begin to release them, if we shortchange this process, it tends to last longer in our emotional bodies and will resurface later, reminding you that your work is not over.  Avoidance guarantees we will relive it again for “what goes under comes out sideways”, “what is not talked about gets acted out”.

We are invited to heal all our pain in order to evolve and shift to a higher consciousness…

 

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com