Intricacies of Grief
July 7th/ Jake White
Why do we feel guilt and shame in relation to loss? When I talk to people about loss and grief, there always seems to be a component of guilt that moves into the conversation. Through energy healing sessions, I guide individuals into releasing the energy that is associated with these complex feelings and thoughts of shame and guilt in relation to grief. When I recently lost a loved one, I also experienced the intense repetitive thoughts that are associated with looking at the past and trying to figure out what I could have done differently in order to change the outcome of losing someone I loved. In this article I hope to provide some information as to why we feel guilt in relation to loss, how this helps us adjust to the reality of our loss, and the role compassion can play in helping us heal and find the way forward during the grieving process. When we lose someone, a part of us dies as well and guilt is the space in between the past and our future. Knowing that this is a natural part of the process of grieving can help us be gentle and guide ourselves through this stage with grace and understanding.
When I recently experienced a loss in my life, I consistently looked back at what I could have done differently to change the outcome. I thought to myself, could I have reached out to this person more; could I have made more of an effort to help them; why was I not there for them more? When I ran through these thoughts I knew that I could go through thousands of different scenarios that could have potentially changed the outcome of losing one of my best friends and family members. It is natural to look back and want to change the past. Of course I could have done more to help my friend because there is always more that I can do. This is what our mind does in relation to loss: it looks back and tries to figure out how we can preserve ourselves through a devastating experience and we do this for a very important reason. It helps us to bargain for more time to adjust to the loss that has occurred. In relation to my loss, thoughts of wanting to change the outcome of what happened brings this loved one to my mind and in a sense brings them back to me. This is how I create more time for myself to adjust to the truth of what has occurred. This is the purpose of our guilt and shame is that it brings this person to our consciousness and, in the case of my loss, helps me find ways of preserving this person in my life. Understanding this process and the pain that is caused from placing the burden on ourselves is one of the first places where compassion can become a part of our process. It is completely understandable that we would want to find ways of keeping a person that we lost present in our life. It is also completely understandable that we would want more time to adjust to the reality of our loss until we feel more stable in relation to the intense feelings that are associated with losing someone. This is the purpose of guilt in relation to loss, and understanding it completely can bring compassion back to our process.
In my recent experience with loss, I knew that the reality was that the person that I loved was gone. The truth was that I would never see them again and the place that they occupied in my life was now empty space. For me the time that I spent thinking about what I could have done brought up the reality of what had occurred and the space inside of myself that that person would no longer occupy in my life. My attempt to preserve this person through bargaining for time did bring up the realty of what had happened to them. This was hard for me to bear but did connect me to experiencing the fact that I had lost this person. In this loss, there is no more time or actions that can make up for it. In a way, I would call this acceptance, but it is not what we normally consider acceptance to be. Acceptance in relation to loss is an acknowledgement of what has happened and the reality of our experience in relation to our loss. In energy medicine, we are taught that all healing happens through the heart because it is the space of the now. All experiences that we have gone through are healed by being present for them in this moment. When I experienced my loss, this is where I landed when I started to move toward the truth that I could not change the outcome of what had happened. In many instances it is this deep feeling of sadness that we avoid in relation to most processes of healing because we are taught that deep emotions are out of control, unsafe, weak, messy, or untimely. For me, it was moving toward the heart that helped me find a more positive outlook in relation to my loss.
When I felt the full envelopment of losing my dear friend, it was unquestionable how deeply I felt for this person. It hurt to know what happened to them and that now there was nothing that I could do to change the outcome. I had to be with the experience of my loss and the emptiness that I was experiencing. Having guided people toward feeling the energy of loss that is absent of the guilt and shame that brings us away from it, I knew that I needed time in this place. I needed time to be with my feelings in relation to my loss. In our guilt, there is always a message that is being sent to us. For me, it was a way through my grief and a more positive approach to dealing with loss. I felt that I could have done more for my friend and I could have been there for him. When it comes to healing, it is these messages that get us through loss. The message for me was, I need to give myself more time to grieve rather than spending time trying to fix everything around me; I needed to take better care of myself through this process just like I felt I could have taken better care of my friend; and I needed to be around people that I love and share my process just like I felt that I should have been there for my friend. Over time, what this did for me is release the responsibility I felt for my friend’s death and helped me talk about the challenges of my experience. After some time I found that I could talk more about the joy of my relationship because I had released the burden of guilt and fully honored the place that my loved one had occupied in my heart.
Grief takes us through the unthinkable, into a future that feels incomprehensible, and often times one that we do not want. Grief teaches us about acceptance and the strength of our own heart to bear the unthinkable and make it through the other side. Knowing that everything that we experience in relation to grief is a part of the process can make us feel that things will be ok and that we are healing. Guilt and shame take us to acceptance and strength and in the end, will result in remembering the positive and loving space that someone occupies in our heart.
The Inner Child
April 17th, 2017/ Jake White
We all want to feel whole and at peace with ourselves. You may search for this wholeness and pursue it in your life, but what if it was already here with you? What if wholeness was a process of letting go rather than accumulating? I want to journey through this topic of the inner child with you to help create an understanding of how the joy of the inner child is always waiting for you. You will learn to identify the nature and qualities of your inner child, discover experiences that may have made you distrust this part of yourself, learn about the steps you took in order to distance yourself from your inner child, develop some practices that can help you see how and why you create separation from your joy, and learn how you can reclaim it in your life. There is a joyful part of yourself waiting on the sideline that is never far away.
One of the first things you can do to identify your inner child is remember a time that you were alive and excited in your life. As a personal example while I was growing up on my family farm, it was my job to take care of any sick animals. I remember being a little boy and bottle-feeding a sick calf: reaching down and intently caring for the baby calf. I looked into its eyes with a sense of compassion. I wanted the calf to be taken care of so it could be healthy enough to be in the field with its mother. When you conjure your inner child within these memories, it is important to identify what you were doing and the qualities that were shining through at that moment in time. When you identify your inner child, you are looking at the most fundamental part of yourself, which shows you the natural flow of your expression and how that currently wants to manifest in your life. Going back to my previous example, the qualities of that little boy feeding the calf were care, compassion, focus, and love. As I identify these qualities, I can see that they are currently expressed in my life through my practice as an energy healer, healing groups that I lead, and talks that I give. So as you identify a memory and the qualities that are associated with it, you can ask yourself: “Do I currently express those parts of myself in all aspects of my life?” If the answer is no, the next step is to look at what you created around your inner child that stopped you from living out these qualities.
When you look at this sense of separation, you are actually looking through the perspective of a child. The thing about this perspective is that it currently influences the choices you make in your life. What has created separation in your past still influences you today. This separation is something you rely on to find safety, comfort, and security within yourself. In order to realize what causes separation, you have to start with the most basic part of yourself: your inner child and the qualities that you fully embodied. So what is the perspective that you created? To provide a personal example, once when I was a little boy, I was sitting on the side of a soccer field, watching adults play, and I remember feeling a sense of peace and wholeness. On the field, the grown men were clattering into each other and fighting for possession of the ball. My dad appeared out of the crowd of men and ran toward me. As my dad approached me, I immediately felt a sense of insecurity and confusion. I knew in that instance that my dad was going to make me participate in the soccer match. Once my dad approached me, he knelt down and told me that I needed to be big, strong, ferocious, and confident. As he said this, he pointed toward another little boy and said that I needed to be strong just like him. It was in this moment that I knew I needed to change in order to fit in with the soccer match that was unfolding and to also fit in with the expectations of my father. From this little moment, I began to learn what I needed to do in order to get approval from my father, which would make me feel a sense of safety and security. For me this change came in being big, competitive, ferocious, which leads to being acknowledged and seen by others. Separation is ultimately a form of coping with feelings that are painful and we learn to structure ourselves around avoiding this pain. To use my example, the safety and security I was feeling on the sideline did not fit in with my environment, so I began to feel that that part of me is the source of disconnection and needs to be abandoned in order to feel at peace. When you look at your inner child and create this image in your mind, you can ask yourself: “What experiences did I have that made me feel that I was not accepted in my environment? What were the feelings that I experienced when I was not fully accepted?” Then you can begin to explore how you changed yourself in order to find acceptance. This is the sequence of events that you went through that created separation from those qualities of your inner child that we identified earlier. This “inner child perspective” plays out over time and influences the way that you live your life now. In order to heal this limited perspective from your past, you have to become aware of these moments in time and how they shifted and altered your way of being.
If I look through my own eyes as a little boy, separation came from needing to be big, strong, ferocious, and confident. In my adult life, this played itself out as I pushed myself to be better than others, criticized myself for not being the best, and consistently needed to be the center of attention. Over time this led to a breakdown of my ability to sustain these choices, and a feeling that I would never become the confident person that I wanted to be. As I began feeling smaller and smaller, my comparison to other successful people that I envied kept getting larger and larger. You may see this dynamic playing out in your life now. So what do you do to change this in your own life?
There are four steps to begin healing this sense of separation from your inner child.
- Identify the actions and patterns that have influenced your life.
- Let these patterns go, by no longer taking the familiar paths or choices. For me, this meant no longer pushing myself to win or stand out in the crowd. I taught myself to relax when I felt that I was going to lose. When you let go, you are actually stopping the familiar and natural way that you would react to familiar situations. Since you are no longer moving away toward familiar patterns, this means that you can slowly move toward yourself. Reaction is then replaced by presence for the feelings of vulnerability.
- Be with your vulnerability as it is felt in the physical body. What this looks like is taking a moment to clear your mind and focus your attention on your feelings. Let yourself completely feel your body’s natural reaction without moving toward your thoughts and conclusions. Focusing on vulnerability is how you move down to yourself and begin to provide the presence that you were missing during a time of instability in your past. It is presence that we are all searching for which is a way of unconditionally holding our feelings and reparenting ourselves by now longer moving toward the familiar thoughts and patterns that are always linked to the conditional ways that we searched for love.
- Choose the direction of your joy. This means to completely let go of separation and choose the unique path of your heart. For me this looked like letting go of competition and moving towards sensitivity. As I made the choice to be vulnerable and sensitive, I gravitated towards healing and a desire to see people become healthy and successful. So choosing joy is actually finding the intelligent way that your life wants to unfold. This means finding the very specific purpose that you are meant to express yourself in your life. This is both subtle and has the power to change and alter the way that your life unfolds. So you choose joy by knowing yourself well enough to let go of separation and move toward the qualities that you are meant to express through your choices.
Working with the inner child is how we reparent ourselves. This takes on the form of restructuring and transforming the way that we live life. As you have learned about the inner child, you have identified your true qualities, begun to create the perspective of how and why you separated from this part of yourself, learned four steps to become reunited with yourself, and discovered how joy moves you toward the specific ways that lead to fulfillment. As a way of continuing this practice, become aware of your actions and see them as a way that your inner child reaches out for you. Always choose to be gentle on yourself and focus on your feelings, let go of reactivity, and begin to relax. From this practice you are embracing yourself and becoming the support system that can choose to fully love and bring your creativity out to the world. The inner child is the most sacred part of yourself, and when fully embodied, leads to purpose, passion, and fulfillment.
The Energy of Trauma
January 24th, 2017/ Jake White
In this article I hope to provide you with a greater understanding of trauma and the role it plays in healing our body and mind. Of course, in our future, we want to stay far away from traumatic situations and experiences. However, our past trauma has a role to play in our lives and should be something that we are willing to look at. In this article I will provide a personal story about my own trauma and the lessons I learned from my own experience. From this personal experience I will explore what the energy of trauma is, what aspects of ourselves keep trauma alive and active, and how compassion and love develop when we choose to bring the energy of trauma to a conclusion in our life.
We all have experiences with trauma, but in many ways, we don’t fully understand it. We often don’t look at trauma as an experience that we all go through. Of course there are varying degrees of trauma and some people have had to walk through experiences that are far worse than anything I can personally share with you. I do, however, think that no matter what we have gone through, it is always an opportunity to learn about what that situation was trying to teach us and to reclaim the strength that pushed us through these challenges. From my experience, trauma starts with a moment in time and often creates a lasting effect in our life. Sometimes we are acting out our trauma without being aware that it is still impacting our life. This sudden surprising impact of experience has the power to influence the potential of our future and impacts our moment-to-moment decision-making. I have worked with many people through energy medicine and have seen how frustrated they are with their personal limitations. What I can see is an individual who is attempting to break free of the experiences that are keeping them from fully expressing themselves. Trauma always seems to reverberate out into our lives and create limiting factors in our current expression. In order to break free, we have to first be able to define trauma, which always seems to come out of nowhere and impacts us greatly because we are not prepared for it. The energy of trauma is a moment in time that is quick and impactful and leads to confusion, disorientation, feeling lost, and afraid. It is often this first shocking moment that leads to a domino effect of reactions in which we are not able to fully process and integrate in a healthy and supportive way. The Energy of Trauma can be simply defined as a single moment where an outside force caused shock to our system, which resulted in confusion. As a specific example to show you the impact that a moment in time can have on the picture of our life, I would like to focus on an accident that relates to me. When I was seventeen, my dad was bucked off his horse and broke eight ribs and his collarbone. When I heard about this accident, I experienced the energy of trauma and was deeply hurt and overwhelmed. While I was aware that I was hurting for my father, I was not fully conscious of how much I was hurting and how big of an impact it would have on my life. At the time of this event, my father needed help on my family farm; he was stuck in bed and I was supposed to be the one that helped my father. My reaction to this event, and the responsibility of farming, was to ignore it and move toward my friends. This initial shock of my dad’s injury, and the responsibility to step in his shoes, sent me in the direction of focusing on friends and specifically a girl that I had recently started dating.
It is during trauma that we begin to see what follows and ultimately what keeps it alive in our consciousness. When we look back at trauma, we are starting a process of becoming curious as to why we currently find ourselves in conflict and why our current conflicts often mirror our past experiences. This mirroring shows us that our current life is being heavily influenced by an event that occurred in our past and is pointing us back to resolving the situations that we reacted to. In my own situation, I was not able to feel the impact that my dad’s accident had on me because my response was to run toward a loving relationship with my new girlfriend. What I can see from my own story, and what you can uncover from yours, is that when we move away from an event toward our coping, we find ourselves off our center and out of balance. In return, we also begin to put the pressure of our own happiness and stability off onto whatever we are using to cope. Healing comes when we begin to see that what we are relying on for security is not consistent, and in return, creates and leads to the perpetuation of the dynamics of our own trauma. These dynamics encompass the movements of ourselves that separate us from trauma and leads to a dependence on security that is outside of ourselves. What was alive for me in the experience of my father’s injury was the feelings of shock, the need to be responsible for taking care of the farm, and the patterns I have enrolled in over the past eight years to fix the guilt I felt for not being there for my father when he needed me. What perpetuates trauma is never the trauma itself, but the steps we take away from feeling and healing what occurred in the moment of shock. The way that we currently heal trauma is by allowing ourselves to feel what has occurred in our past and beginning to let go of the patterns that separate us from our suffering.
Suffering is always the opening to a love and compassion that is far larger than we can imagine. We don’t know how big we truly are until we begin to look at our trauma and see that every way we have moved to cope and deal with our suffering can be felt and observed by ourselves. My personal story has shown me that I am bigger than what has happened, and I am also larger than the years of reactions that I took in response to the impact that my dad and I experienced together. We are always larger than our suffering, and it takes the desire to change our current suffering that leads to loving all of ourselves. It also forces us to become aware and reclaim the parts of ourselves that perpetuate trauma. In my own experience, I felt responsible and wrong for not helping my dad, and spent years attempting to fix this dynamic. I forced myself to farm, even though my desire was to escape and pursue my dreams of practicing energy medicine and teaching on the topic of spirituality. When I am aware of my futile attempts to fix myself, my guilt, my farm, and my father, I can finally see and love the parts of myself that were stuck in this dynamic. We can simply never fix our past through our personal will; we can only choose to know it and decide to no longer live it out. By being completely aware of how trauma played out in my life, I give myself the power to choose to let go and follow my heart. I have never seen a person that does not reach this conclusion when they have the desire to follow through with their healing. Trauma is attempting to show us back to the message of our heart and to bring the history of our beliefs, thoughts, and patterns to a conclusion. Trauma always brings us back to a place of wholeness before we ever experienced the event that sent us on a course away from ourselves. The conclusion comes when we are so completely aware that we see the first initial step into the dynamics that were created around the events of our past. This first step is to experience the shock that occurs and make a choice to process the information of the CURRENT situation and to decide not to spin into our thoughts, beliefs, judgments, and patterns of coping. Love and compassion means to feel our current suffering with out condemning someone else as the cause our source. When we practice this, we are beginning to keep our trauma in check and no longer perpetuating it out onto our external life.
Trauma is our greatest teacher and helps us to see our history. When I have worked with the energy of trauma, I have seen that the desire to change our current suffering is a sign that we are beginning to feel the gravity and weight of a past event that is pulling us toward resolution. This gravity and desire to end our current suffering shows us that the movement of trauma is coming to an end and we are slowly beginning to turn around and find a source of stability that is greater than what we have learned to rely on to cope with our trauma. If we are willing to understand and define what trauma is in our life, discover the parts of ourselves that perpetuate the movement of trauma, and begin to love how it has touched and painted our life, then we will find a self that is in alignment with the one true energy of love and compassion.
Here are some videos to support and provide more information about this topic:
December 12th, 2016/ Jake White
I have found that through Energy Medicine there is a natural movement toward taking complex inner and external conflicts and bringing them down to specific words that simplify our experience. In many ways the complexity of our perceptions and identity are based around words that we create from our personal experiences. Words have the power to both externalize onto the world around us or to connect us to our internal feelings.
I found for myself that being more aware of my actions helps me to identify why I make certain choices. This question of why is how I began to understand where the complexity of my life boils down to experiences that I have had in my past. This initial desire to know ourselves helps us to create shifts in our energy that starts out by simply being able to provide the words we needed to hear during times of extreme vulnerability. Most of our words of self-judgment come from times of uncertainty and are linked to our emotions. Moments in our past where we did not feel capable, enough, or accepted. These words are born from not feeling capable during unrest. Our egoic conclusions are always connected to our capability of being present or secure in ourself.
Of course we can focus on the many negative conclusions we have made about ourselves during time of past stressful experiences, but I would like to instead focus on the words that help us bring closure to insecurity. These words are vital to us when we are experiencing a current challenge and are often exactly what we needed to hear as a child. During energy healing sessions with clients we often develop these simple words that we needed to hear and see the soothing and often life change effect they can have on our mind and body.
An example of a simple phrase that I found helpful for my self is, I am here no matter what, or no matter what happens I will love you. This may seem like a simple phrase that I could say to myself and of course I would feel better, but when it is brought down to the context of a child in a past challenging experience of being alone and afraid these words take on a stabilizing effect. It is often the case that insecurity is developed around the absence of someone being present for us. When we don’t feel that someone is there then we start to create our identity of not being enough or not being capable of handling the immense insecurity that comes from being alone and unable to manage complex emotions as a child. So these words when applied to our current insecurity in any part of our life send a signal to our self that we will be there for our self no matter what. In so many instances of insecurity we begin to enroll in our words that are based in a lack of capability and help us to externalize this experience with what could be causing these challenges. Our Simple words that we say to ourself reverse this movement and send a signal to our entire body that we are here this time and we will be here no matter what. These words have meaning and power because they are linked to unconditional love and are also linked to our own presence. During past occurrences of emotional stress we were looking for someone to say that it was ok and that they would not leave. Insecurity in our psyche always comes from a lack of presence both internally and in our external world.
I encourage you to begin to look closely at your insecurities and simply look inward at what may have caused them in your past. What are the current emotions that you are experiencing and where in your life have you felt this way? Our challenge with dealing with current conflicts often comes from the emotions that they bring up and how we have not learned how to be present for these experiences. When you identify where you have felt similarly in your past to a current conflict then begin to formulate what you needed to hear at that time. Often what you needed to hear is so simple and is linked to your own presence. I am here, its ok, or I will always be here no matter what, is a reminder to yourself that you are now together and whole within yourself and there is nothing that will arise in life that will take you away from your own living presence.
(The big turn around)
October 17th, 2016/ Jake White
When we are searching for forgiveness then we are searching for peace. Conflict is the way in which we move away from peace. When our relationships become conflicted then we often experience separation between ourselves and another person. When we are in this space of separation then we often lose track of what brings us back to that space of peace. It is important to realize that any meaningful relationship starts out in a place of love and connection. It is the recurring experiences of hurt that make us move away from love. When we see that relationships are centered around a deep connection with love then it helps us forgive in order to move toward where our relationships began.
There is a spark of creation in any relationship. There is something that draws us to a particular person and there is a sense that we will receive some form of completion or intimacy from the relationship that is beginning to form. Over time the relationship may move away from this intimacy and we will find ourselves at a distance from what brought us so much joy. This movement away from connection is what we have to learn to forgive. Forgiveness is the way in which we can repair the distance that forms between ourselves and another person. Ultimately forgiveness is what brings us back to an intimacy with ourselves and helps us see how we move away from ourselves in a search for intimacy in our external life. Relationships start in a place of intimacy and because of the ways that we have learned to separate from a deep connection with ourselves begins to overshadow the original connection that we found in our relationship.
We often can see that while we may find ourselves in a current conflict with someone and we feel a sense of hurt and pain in a current relationship. It is often the case that our current separation is linked to past relationships that caused us conflict. We will often find that in our current relationships they have moved in a direction that was similar to the past. This is where we can see the link between what is occurring now and what has happened in our past and the choices we make that keep our past alive. This means that by understanding our past conflicts we are able to resolve what keeps us from true intimacy currently.
An example of this for me was when I was a young boy I was playing soccer with a bunch of men that had come to my farm to celebrate the end of the recreational soccer league season. I was off on the sidelines feeling intimidated by the size of the men that I was playing with. My dad saw me on the sideline and quickly ran over to me to help me get involved in the game. My dad pointed out a boy my age that was playing and told me to be as bold as he was. All I remember feeling at this time was a need to be better in order to be ok in this situation. It is from this feeling of needing to change that we begin to separate and lose a sense of intimacy with ourselves. I felt that the little boy that was quiet and timid was somehow not good enough to match the men that were boldly playing a game of soccer. It is the beginning of this separation that causes conflict in our current relationships. For me I saw that in my close male relationships I was constantly attempting to overshadow and out perform. This created a need for me to be actively attempting to prove rather than be at peace with who I was. In these relationships I could see that there was a lack of intimacy because I lost touch with that little boy that was ok with quietly observing the action on the field. I did not need to perform and I was content where I was. For me the forgiveness comes when I can look at the choices that I have made in order to protect and separate from that part of myself and the ways that I continue to recycle this old story in order to get approval or value from my close male relationships. I can forgive myself for needing to perform, I can forgive myself for always comparing myself to other people, and I can forgive myself for not being able to sit and enjoy who I am. Our connections originate in peace and it is the conditions that make us move out into a conflict with the way that we truly are. When we are able to forgive ourselves then we begin to turn away from the people that made us feel that we were not enough. Forgiveness ultimately brings us to our feelings that are linked to our past experiences. When I can look at my feelings of disappointment and dissatisfaction with myself in my life currently and in my past circumstances then I am able to see what feelings I formed around that little boy that needed to fit in in order to feel accepted.
Our forgiveness is always complete when it is focused and includes everything that we have done to protect ourselves. It also shows us that separation does not always come from other people’s actions but in many cases comes from the stories we create in relation to them. When we can journey back to ourselves with forgiveness then we are willing to walk toward the part of ourselves that we left on the sideline. We are able to forgive how we changed ourselves in order to fit in with our environment. Ultimately when we forgive we begin to reclaim the qualities that we felt were not of value in our close intimate relationships. Of course my choice to no longer be quietly sitting on the sidelines was the way a little boy thought his dad wanted him to be. This was a search to receive approval and intimacy from my father. Over time this led to separation from myself and to male relationships that were based in conflict and ego. It is forgiveness that helps us see the cause of our conflicts and how it originates with a simple choice to move away from our true self. When we forgive we are asked to turn around and forgive everything that we did in order to move away from ourselves. When we finally see the value in our own sensitivity then we are able to pick ourselves up and reclaim the qualities that are in touch with a deep sense of love, so much so that we were willing to change ourselves in the name of love.
August 4th, 2016/ Jake White
In Integrative Energy Medicine, we often talk about shifts that can occur in our consciousness that change the way that we think and feel about ourselves. When we see the different aspects of ourselves as love, we begin to grow and expand our self-awareness. We often get caught in a spiritual way of thinking and lose the more practical side of spirituality. "It’s all love" can become a reason to not address some of our approaches to life that no longer serve us. Awareness is our way of beginning to witness and listen to what is going on inside of us. It is a way of accepting what we are currently experiencing and seeing it unconditionally. Unconditional love is an active and practical process of listening and witnessing what runs through our body and mind.
When do we begin to step away from unconditional love? Is it when we begin to think negative thoughts about ourselves? We move away from unconditional love when we stop listening and we begin to believe that the content of our mind is true. I often think of awareness as a form of care and compassion. When we are aware of our thoughts, we are reaching out and listening to ourselves in an unconditional way. Unconditional love is a space of listening and inclusion. It is a part of ourselves that extends out to whatever inner content we observe so we can begin to value it as a part of ourselves. Often the first stage of awareness is to bear witness to the content of our mind and listen. The next stage is noticing that thoughts do not operate as separate from ourselves. Thoughts are actually an extension of ourselves out onto the content of our life. An example of this can be seen as a judgment of another person’s actions. Whether we like it or not, there is a part of us that reacts to another person. That part of us that reacts to another person is representing an aspect of ourselves that is unresolved and not at peace with whatever that person is doing. Part of us becomes unsettled based on that person's actions and reacts in order to find the source of discomfort and in order to find an approach that will minimize and settle our own reactivity. This reactivity can be a need for that person to stop what they are doing, a need for us to escape the situation, or for us to justify what the person is doing as ok which in return ignores our initial feeling about the situation. What is important to understand about this sequence of reaction into thought and into the external causes of our discomfort is that our heightened reactivity is not completely caused by another person; rather, it is caused by our way of relating to the situation based on how we have developed and dealt with situations in our past. The reaction is a part of ourselves that has already been established. It is content that already exists and is being triggered or brought to the surface by our current circumstances.
Understanding our reactions as a part of ourselves that have already been established is an amazing tool for getting to know ourselves and the formation of our energetic response to life. There is nothing that we experience that is separate from our past, and when we witness a reactive response to life we are rediscovering an old experience that needs our awareness or unconditional love. This is where awareness serves to heal our body and mind. Awareness is listening within the present moment. It is also our way of refocusing our attention back to ourselves. When I am reactive and circulating in my worries, concerns, and their causes, all I have to do is become more aware.
It is not the content of my mind that takes me away from unconditional love; it is my lack of listening.
Reactivity is based on unresolved parts of myself from the past igniting in the present, asking me to look at them in order to return back to a place of acknowledgement, love, and self-acceptance. We are far larger then the negativity that cycles through the mind. This negativity is alleviated when we decide to listen and feel what is present as an energetic reaction to life. This puts things into perspective when we can see that the people that seem to cause us the most turmoil and anguish as, instead, the people that ignite the most essential parts of ourselves to listen to.
A Buddhist monk, Thich Naht Hanh, said, “If your compassion does not include yourself then it is incomplete.” An example of this for me personally has been a recurring thought that I was lazy. Growing up, I struggled to connect and stay engaged on my family farm. I would often wake up late for work and would resist what I was supposed to do. When I was in the fields working, I would be focused on everything but farming. Based on this relationship with farming, I began to believe that I was lazy. My reaction to this thought was to attempt to force myself to continue farming and force myself to work harder and wake up earlier. Sometimes I was successful in my effort to stay engaged, and at other times the same patterns of being disengaged would continue. The only thing that was consistent was the negative belief that I was lazy. Whether I worked hard or arrived late and distracted, both states of mind were perpetuating an underlying feeling that I was not good enough.
In this situation, it was developing self-awareness that helped me see the reality I was creating. Trying to force myself to work harder and prove myself was causing tension in my mind and body, and the perpetuation of being in tension made it grow and solidify until it felt a constant weight or burden. Once I became more aware, it helped me let go of the idea that I needed to be a farmer and helped me realize that I was relating to farming from a place of tension because farming was not what excited me. I later found meditation and energetic healing, which became a source of excitement and inspiration. I understand now that when I am struggling, it is often because I am not listening to myself and pushing myself in directions that I am not meant to go.
Awareness is always the first step toward making adjustments in our life and looking at ourselves from a place of unconditional love. From a place of awareness we are able to take the steps necessary to be in a place that is the most supportive and loving for ourselves. Self-awareness is our way of breaking old patterns and creating more authentic ways of expressing ourselves. We have to be able to love our negativity in order to create change that leads us to a healthier relationship with ourselves. When we finally get to the fullness that life is taking us toward, then we are aware and listening to our joy, freedom, and passion.
June 6th/ Jake White
When we look at our challenging situations or people we have to see how we are tied to it. In any situation we get the chance to let go of our challenging emotions and to move into a deeper connection with ourselves. What we can hopefully see when we look closely at our challenges is that we need to begin to forgive ourselves for what we have decided to believe in.
Beliefs are our ways of externalizing situations and creating toxicity in our relationships and when we judge a person or situation as right or wrong, we are leaving ourselves out of the equation. It might be much easier to look externally to judge or condemn but ultimately this diverts the attention away from ourselves. Forgiveness asks us to look closely at ourselves to see what a challenging situation brings up for us and what it is that keeps us in a place of anger, resentment, frustration, disappointment, or conflict. The truth is that we may have a lot of validity in our frustrations and resentments, but ultimately these emotions keep forgiveness at arms length.
When we are running through our resentments, it is helpful to look closely at how we are reacting to the situation. The resentment hurts our body and causes energy that is tense and anxious. It is this connection to the body that helps us realize who we are actually hurting when we stay stuck in negative thoughts and feelings. By looking closely at the energy in the body, we can become aware that we are creating toxic emotional and mental patterns. This reaction to a current challenge can help us see how we use resentment in order to protect ourselves. Often this protection is built up over time and is rooted in our beliefs about ourselves. When we look closely at our resentments we notice that in most cases it is tied to our past, and our current situation is asking us to let go and forgive.
A great example for me of moving into forgiveness and seeing the underlying belief that I needed to acknowledge was with men who I was holding anger, frustration, and resentment toward. In most of these relationships I had experienced some type personal criticism or repeated confrontation. Most of the time I experienced this abuse as they pointed out a flaw that I was guarding or protecting. If we have nothing to protect then most of the time a criticism will roll off of us, in the case of these men they were pointing out wounds that were already in place. As a young kid, I believed that there was something wrong with the way that I was. Other men and boys seemed more aggressive, confident, and bold while I felt sensitive and quiet. It was my belief about myself that there was something wrong with me that kept me in a place of conflict. I had condemned the quiet, sensitive, and vulnerable parts of myself in order to be strong. This placed me in situations where I did not measure up to my own expectations and placed me in relationships with men where I guarded my sensitivity in order to fit in. When I struggled to prove myself, I would often crack under pressure. When this happened I was open to criticism and my vulnerability would shine through. My boldness and confidence was a shaky structure that often came down when I needed to perform. This led to a lot of anger towards men and even more anger toward myself for not being the confident and bold young man that I strived to be.
Forgiveness brought me to a place of humility and to a deeper understanding of myself. It helped me see that there was a belief that I had about myself that kept me in a place of conflict. When I looked closely at this belief I could see that I had developed a judgment that there was something wrong with me in comparison to my Father, my Grandfather, and to the other men in my life. Once I began to identify a core belief I was able to forgive myself for believing that there was something wrong with me. I could also then let go of my expectations and my resentments for the men that had belittled me or exposed my vulnerability.
Through forgiveness, I was able to see what was truly in need of my attention: my core belief that I wasn’t enough. In any of our conflicts we are guarding a deeper belief that we have about ourselves. By observing our judgments we are able to see how this connects back to our own feelings of vulnerability and insecurity. When we can come back from our judgments, we are able to release and let go. We can forgive those involved and most importantly, forgive the part of us that condemned and labeled ourselves. When we forgive our own self-judgment we become the sensitive and vulnerable person we were meant to be. We no longer circulate in negative judgments and reactivity in order to protect ourselves. Forgive the people involved in any situation, but ultimately forgive yourself for believing that there was something that you needed to defend or protect. Forgiveness is an act of letting go so your most authentic self can shine through.
An exercise in forgiveness
Write down the situation as if you were looking down on it. Include who is involved and what is happening. Look at it as if you were not involved. As you explore the situation, check in with your body and see how you are feeling as you write.
Once you notice the feelings, write them down and begin to sit with them. The feelings could be anger, frustration, sadness. Once you identify the feeling, it is easier to let go of your mind that labels others as the cause. Just assume that the feeling that you are sitting with is already in a place of forgiveness.
As you sit with the feeling, you can begin to see if there is a deeper insecurity that you are protecting. See if the relationship to this person is tied to a belief such as being wrong, not good enough, unwanted. From this place you can forgive yourself for this belief and stay engaged with the vulnerability. You are becoming more secure in your feelings and forgiving the people who are the perceived cause of internal conflict.
Always attempt to bring any complex external situation back to a feeling in the body. This brings us back to the source of conflict, which is always an internal conflict that is projected onto external causes. Forgiveness is a process of intentionally letting go of internal conflict and forgiving those that may have caused us struggle or pain. If we recognize the source of conflict in ourselves and have decided to make healthier choices or leave a painful situation than it is much easier to look back and forgive. If we are still stuck in a painful situation then forgiveness is a process of seeing and feeling the painful situation that we keep ourself in. The above steps are a way for us to identify the situation, the feelings involved, and the beliefs that keep us stuck in unhealthy situations. When we forgive we are able to discover our role in unhealthy patterns and then begin to move into a healthier relationship with both ourselves and our life
Forgive, Forgive, Forgive
When to Utilize Energy Medicine
April 29th / Jake White
Energy Medicine is an incredible tool to create shifts toward a fuller way of healing in all aspects of our life. We may not realize that we need some type of aid in healing. Most of the time we keep going the way that we have in the past with out taking time to search for a new approach or to create new tools for ourselves. We often don’t reach out for help until we have run out of options or are hitting the edge of our ability to manage our situation as it relates to our physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual health. Crisis is not the best indicator that we are in need of some support in our life. Unfortunately this is often the time that we seek it out. Energy Medicine in its simplest description is preventative care and is designed to touch on all of the different aspects of our psyche. The time to seek out energy medicine is when we are feeling fatigue, having migraines, stress in our personal relationships, physical trauma, grief, anxiety, feeling stuck, having trouble making decisions, holding on to past challenging relationships, or recycling old anger, fear, disappointment, or resentment. All of these are indicators that we are in need of an adjustment and to begin to see how we can heal what is becoming a symptom in our life. Symptoms are not just physical they are also mental and emotional and they are an indicator that we have moved away from health and healing. Integrative Energy Medicine is utilized to get us back to healing and to find the deeper meaning to our surfacing symptoms.
Most disruption in our bodies starts out as a mild or subtle experience and then expands and surfaces as a more profound and challenging circumstance. When we can identify the subtle symptoms in our bodies then we are able to touch on it before it becomes a larger issue. While we generally focus on the physical aspects of healing we often don’t look at the body as interconnected; an issue in the physical body has an affect on our mind and emotions. Energy Healing sees our body as a whole and uses subtle adjustments in order to bring the body back into a place of healing. This is done through seeing what is causing disruption physically in the body and utilizing energetic healing techniques in order to relax and soothe the physical symptoms. As we do this then we can begin to talk about the other components in life that are adding stress. A physical symptom can then be related to complex issues in life that are causing strain. Adjusting a physical component of the body may bring to the surface a challenging relationship, an old emotional wound, an unresolved situation, and etc. Through Energy Medicine we are able to see how the physical components of our body are connected to our mind and emotions, healing is complete when we touch on all of these aspects. This shows us that the point of any imbalance is to bring us back to a more complete way of living our life. Understanding this connection helps us to take ownership and care for the physical, mental, and emotional components of healing and to see our body as whole rather than operating as different aspects separately.
An example of this whole body approach occurred as I was working with a client dealing with an injury to the leg. As we began to soothe and adjust the energetics of the leg we then began to have a conversation. The client expressed having hurt that same leg when they were younger, their mother reacted to their injury by saying they did not have the money to go to the hospital. This is an example of the deeper connection that is being made and the surfacing of old wounds needing to be healed fully. The client was then guided toward speaking about this situation, how it felt, and how it has caused a current fear around finances. This is how we can bring a deeper connection to physical symptoms and see how it relates not only to past circumstances but also to current fears and anxieties. As the client made this connection she was able to understand that her fear and anxiety comes from a past experience and by relaxing and adjusting the energetics she was able to see that the healing was complete once the leg physically healed, when she was able to process an old wound around her mother, and begin to see where her financial worries and fears come from. This is an example of how complete healing can be and how all the different aspects of our consciousness are being utilized in order to heal.
So when can we utilize energy medicine? Energy Medicine is designed to be an aid in your healing process. This means that as you are experiencing some type of physical, emotional, or mental strain then energy medicine is a wonderful technique to quicken the healing process. Energy Medicine is not designed to replace traditional Western Medicine but is designed to work along with it. It is an incredible tool and can lead to life changing adjustments to our whole self. Use energy medicine as an aid to getting back to health and as a way of deepening your own self-confidence, care, and compassion where all healing is meant to take you.
The Development of Patterns
April 15th / Jake White
Developing patterns as far as our lifestyle choices, our thinking, actions, relationships, perceptions, critiques and judgments are varied. Our choices often are based on habit and focus on a need to find relief. When I look at myself I can see that while my patterns and choices can be varied and complex they also narrow down when there is a realization of why I do the things that I do. All of us have patterns and ways in which we act in order to create what we think will lead to the greatest sense of security. I like looking at our choices, as our search for security, wanting to feel safe is why we do almost everything that we do. Security can be seen as a space of integration where we are ok and secure with in ourselves. We might not always feel secure but we are always searching for it. Often security is projected outside of ourselves onto the conditions that we must complete in order to feel safe. An example of this for me, especially in my past was a need to be confident. If I was confident then I would feel secure in myself and of course there were allot of choices I took in order to feel confident. Some examples were a need to win or outshine other people. So while security was obviously important for me it was conditioned based on the need to show other people that I was confident and secure with in myself. This is how we form our patterns that we think will bring us a feeling of security, but almost always reinforce the underlying energy of security being based on what I can do and ultimately the way people see me.
In order to bring healing to these patterns it is important to be completely honest with ourselves and begin to look closely at the truth. In this pattern of needing to be confident I am attempting to show people that I am secure within myself. The only problem with this is that it is based on a feeling that I am not secure with in myself and therefore need to have some type of action in order to show people that I have value. This is common for all of us and it is important to ask yourself; what do I do in order to appear secure in my life? These external actions and choices are our patterns. The most important thing that we can do is begin to be honest with ourselves and see what it is we do in order to appear a certain way. Patterns do have a purpose in our life and there is nothing that we do that does not have some purpose. We always make choices based on what we think will bring us the most relief and security even though this can be the farthest from the truth.
The most basic purpose of patterns is actions that we take in order to keep people close to us. If I am confident than people will love me and will want to be around me. This is how I can keep people close to me and feel secure. Of course there are many patterns to be observed but the important thing is to see the innocence of our patterns. They are not wrong; they are based on the need for security and safety.
Patterns project security outside of ourselves through actions and control of life. If I go back to my example of confidence and the need to be seen, the root of this pattern is an insecurity with the way I am and therefore a need to do something in order for people to see me, want to be around me, and to approve of me. Looking at this example it is clear that the purpose is to feel more confident but the result is to continually reinforce the root of the pattern, which is a deep seated insecurity about myself.
How do we bring security back ourselves rather than reinforcing our patterns? In order to heal and bring a completion to old patterns we need to start at the root. The choice for me was to begin to look closely at my insecurity and see that all of my attempts to look and feel confidant were not working and if they did work it was a temporary relief. I like to think of our patterns as a river or stream. This stream flows because we choose to flow a certain way in our life. The more I choose to not look at my insecurity and in affect convince others that I am strong and confident the more unstable and farther away from the source of true security I get. To not reinforce this pattern and inevitably allow it to fade, die, or find completion. I have to become present for the truth and feel the deep sense of insecurity within my direct experience and no longer take the actions that I have in the past to appear secure. I must bring a closure to my pattern and make a choice for something new that is not based on denial or remaining unconscious of my feelings. This has shown me that my insecurity and patterns were never the truth. I was not insecure I was just doing what the best thing that I knew how to do in order to bring relief to insecurity. Becoming aware of insecurity and allowing ourselves to feel is the ultimate form or security, because it places our attention back on ourselves rather than projecting it out onto our external world. The answer to our patterns is simply to heal the root causes of instability and in return create a new pathway that is more in alignment with safety within ourselves.