Sacred Sundays

No doubt due to my Catholic upbringing, I hold Sundays as sacred even though I no longer subscribe to an organized religious dogma. In my youth, Sundays meant attending Sunday mass and getting Dunkin’ Donuts afterwards.

As a young wife and mother we made it family day and either went out for crepes or we brought them home. No matter the tradition, Sundays have always felt special. Like they were the one day of the week when All Possibilities were palpable.

Even as a college student at St. Teresa’s, in Winona, Minnesota it was a day to stay in pajamas, be cozy, and share with friends. We often took a walk around the lakes.

Sundays feel like clean slates.

Today, I reserve Sundays as Sacred Self-Care. There is no one particular tradition, other than I don’t work unless entirely inspired to do so. There’s no agenda on Sundays. What gets done, gets done. All the rest can wait until Monday.

Sundays are for resetting.

Monday through Saturday are work days. Whether it is working for your employer, your self, or keeping up with the household chores. Sundays should hold little to none of that. Sundays should be about fueling our souls. Connecting with our highest selves and recharging.

I find limiting my television watching on Sundays has spilled over into the week. Even ‘having it on in the background’ seems to take energy from the environment. Replacing that background noise with soothing new age music positively charges the air and nurtures the Spirit.

Reading books for leisure, and not work or research related, also is a nice activity for a Sunday. Especially those cold snowy Sundays, here in lower Michigan. I include in this category, pulling out old photo albums or scrapbooks and taking a stroll down memory lane. Double bonus points if you can find someone who will sit with you while you do it.

I work with Oracle Cards as well as other card decks and often do a reading for myself using one of my many decks. Journalling about each card, it’s message and how it pertains to my life is a very therapeutic use of a Sunday.

I rarely do small screens on Sundays. No computer. No internet. It is so freeing. No drama to get caught up in. No rabbit holes to go down. Just peace in my world.

I know it is Monday at the time of this posting, but perhaps you can think this week on how to make your Sundays more Sacred and let me know if it makes a difference next week!

Peace Be With You,

Jade

Interfaith Ministry

“I’m not religious. I’m spiritual.”

I have heard this more often than not in the past 15 years. It is how I’ve described my own Faith system for more than 30 years now.

And it is exactly why my compulsion to serve in a spiritual role led me to my recent induction as a First Responder Chaplain.

When my daughter was born 27 years ago, I sought a church that would meet my/our spiritual needs in a broader capacity. I enjoyed the ritual and community of church, but not the dogma. My search went on for years as I researched and explored many different faith systems.

Along the way, one thing became clear – spirituality resonated with me, religion did not.

I grew up in a very Roman Catholic household. My mother’s brother was a missionary priest stationed in the Amazon and their two sisters were School Sisters of Notre Dame nuns. My uncle would say mass in our living room when he was home. It is here that I developed my love of ritual, I’m sure of it.

I went to a Women’s Catholic liberal arts college where we attended mass either in the lounge in our pajamas or in the beautiful chapel and full of dancing, singing and poetry.

After college I attempted to find that same sort of relaxed, inclusive, interactive atmosphere, to no avail. Studying other religions, philosophies and ways of life not only enabled me to expand my knowledge and understanding, it also enabled me to collect rituals, beliefs and practices that resonated as True for me.

I learned how similar all religions are in their core teachings, and how much of what we know as organized religion was appropriated from nature religions and Eastern philosophies.

For my own spiritual fulfillment I found solace in the nature religions with added appreciation of Eastern Philosophies.

In 2003, I became an ordained Minister in the Universal Life Church, because I wanted to offer an alternative officiant for anyone identifying as ‘spiritual, not religious’.

Since that time I have offered what I refer to now as Interfaith Ministry. While the dictionary defines ‘Interfaith’ as “relating to or between different religions or members of different religions,” I do not. That same dictionary defines faith as follows: noun -1 complete trust or confidence in someone or something -2 strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

I believe Faith goes beyond the boundaries of religion.

People can have faith in one another, in God, in the Universe, in Jesus, in a Creator, in Yahweh, in Muhammad, in Buddha, in Life, and in themselves. Faith is not reserved for those who find solace in religion. Faith is what we call the system of beliefs a person holds. Period. Thus, interfaith is relating to or between different faith systems that may or may not include religion.

So, it is here that I landed in order to offer spiritual support to any person in need. I can as easily sit and read the Bible to a non-practicing Catholic woman, as I can read The Good Book to a Humanist, as I can read from A Course In Miracles for New Age believers, as I can read poetry and prose for those more secularly minded.

More than a few times I’ve been in a situation where chaplaincy services were offered to me and I regretted accepting them. I am not a fan of having other people’s beliefs imposed upon me, but that is exactly what happened. There was no room in the conversation for exploration and true processing of my feelings and emotions in that time of suffering. I found no comfort in their words and their beliefs. I found myself shutting down and saying whatever I could to get them to leave the room as quickly as possible.

So I set out to provide actual interfaith, nonjudgemental spiritual support sans agenda. I wanted to provide what I couldn’t seem to receive from anywhere. Perhaps it is my social work training, or maybe it’s my innate nature, but in my mind spiritual support is supposed to provide comfort. Comfort does not come by disputing a person’s belief system, unless the belief system itself is creating the suffering.

I have attempted to serve in a more official spiritual capacity for many years, however most roles are Christian based and require Theological training (heavily Christian) which I have not chosen to pursue. So, when I met a woman who talked about just becoming a First Responder Chaplain my ears perked up and I enrolled into the very next training.

The training was definitely geared towards Christianity but because of it’s 501(c) status, they could not refuse training to a non-Christian. In addition, I received no ill treatment because of my different belief. In fact, it was clear that they respected my different faith system and saw where I could provide support that they were uncomfortable providing. Win/Win. That said, I will tell you there were things that I felt were imposing and I let that be known.

My intention is to serve those who

  1. have followed a solo spiritual path
  2. are at a crossroads, in celebration or in crisis
  3. in need of guidance, support or ritual within their framework of faith
  4. and find themselves without a spiritual advisor.

To provide this service to, and in conjunction with, our First Responders to make death notifications or offer support in times of trauma is a privilege I do not take lightly. Not everyone who receives bad news or is involved somehow in a traumatic event will be comforted by traditional means.

I do not think that my perspective is unique in this, although I do think it is a well kept secret. To some extent there is still backlash experienced when one is vocal about not being Christian, so those who have alternative faith systems tend to be silent about it. However, more and more I have been privy to officiating rites of passage for groups with mixed faith systems and the experience is more beautiful than you can imagine.

The key to live harmoniously is to focus on what unites us, not on what separates and divides us. To close ourselves off from others because on the surface they appear to be ‘different’ doesn’t serve our highest good. Our highest good is served by creating brotherhoods and sisterhoods; by forging unimaginable alliances; by not investing ourselves in being right, but in being happy.

Happy people don’t do harm. They don’t seek to judge. They don’t seek to impost their beliefs on another. They don’t seek opportunities to convert others to their way of thinking and believing. Happy people recognize the happy in others. Happy comes in all shapes and sizes.

Chaplaincy, Spiritual Guidance or whatever else you name it, needs to be about one thing…holding the Space for Light to enter. That Light might be the breath in your body, the love in your heart, the God within you or the gods above you. It is not for me to dictate that to anyone. I take it as my solemn responsibility to hold a mirror up to reflect and magnify the Light in each person I serve, in whatever space I’m in, in whatever way brings comfort to those around me.

Peace Be With You

Soul To Sole Sacred Space

Being raised strict Catholic and then a young adulthood of exploring many religions I find comfort in rituals and know the importance of taking time to connect with Spirit.

I no longer resonate with organized religion, but I do resonate with connecting with other like-hearted Souls with soles (live people, as opposed to just spirit people) and creating a community of both!

Last week I had the awesome opportunity to do the first Soul To Sole Sacred Space devotional hour and it was a game changer. I had the battery power for the difficult week ahead and from the messages I’ve received, it has been a game changer for others as well.

I may not share all my future broadcasts here, in the blog, but here’s the link to the first one so that if you are interested you know where to find us every Sunday at 9:30 am EST. Like me, it is unedited, fresh, authentic and imperfect.

Consider this your formal invitation to join us!

I love you.

~Jade

Making Your Life A Masterpiece

Today I saw a meme that had this to say:

The past is your lesson.

The present is your gift.

The future is your motivation.

As I read it, I heard loudly these words in response:

The past is your portfolio.

The future is your inspiration.

The present is your canvas;

Paint the shit out of it.

I am now spending the day reflecting on this. I love it. We cannot allow ourselves to be burdened with our past. We cannot allow ourselves to be defined by our past. However, in reality our past is the journey we took to get to who we are now. That deserves to be honored. It deserves a place of reverence and accommodation because without it you would be someone completely different and that is unacceptable because who you are right now, is simply amazing.

Today will be tomorrow’s Past. Can you stand to just let that be discarded? I mean what is the point of bettering ourselves if we completely discount who we used to be?

This might shock you, but I have a past. Some might call it sordid. Some might call it tragic. Some might find inspiration in it. Others might find it boring. But its mine and with it’s colors I have painted my life.

I have no shame in my game.

I am so much wiser for the experiences I’ve had. I have empirical knowledge of so many challenges that plague other people which gives me the advantage when asked for assistance.

I paint my canvas of today with the palette of colors I’ve collected along my journey. I choose to use some more than others, but I’m not afraid to color with any of them. I cherish each one for the depth it brings to my life.

beautiful calm clouds dark
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The concept of our Past as a portfolio is delicious to me. I love that notion of a living breathing scrapbook to flip through creating no more shame than that of a third grade hairstyle in a school picture.

The notion that our Future is our inspiration is also very delicious to me. Each tomorrow is created from the vibration of the days before it. So it stands to reason that the future offers inspiration to create a Masterpiece of each and every day. The future is filled with the new colors of possibility and hope.

The Present is the only one of the three we hold in our hands – once a day for just 24 hours. The act of being present is the stroke with which we swipe the colors of our palette across the canvas. With it we create magnificence or mundanity.

We cannot create magnificence with blindfolds on. We cannot create magnificence with blinders on. We cannot create magnificence with dark colored sunglasses on. We can only create magnificence with our eyes wide, glasses off and hearts open. This is how we make the most of every canvas.

Paint the shit out of it! My most favorite part. What good is it if you are so careful that you miss the part of passion? The part that lies in the mess. The part that lies in between your fingers as the paint oozes through them. The part that lies in the unexpectedness of each moment and the subsequent color strewn across the blank canvas.

Take all the colors and make them sing! Use them sparingly or commandingly as you see fit. You and you alone are the Creator of this Masterpiece. You and you alone choose the colors. You and you alone choose the breadth, width and pressure of your stroke. You and you alone.

Paint the shit out of it, my friends.

Paint. The. Shit. Out of it.

I love you.

~Jade

 

 

Lessons From The Water

I recently started swimming again. Who knew you could join the fitness center and pool at the local high school? I certainly didn’t! What a gift!!

barefoot beach blur break
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I have always loved to swim. In pools. In lakes. It never mattered. I love being in the water. With my new found pain free existance and my physical alignment, I am moving better and realized how amazing my body feels after swimming now.

What I didn’t realize is the emotional stuff it would impact as well.

Water represents emotions and I knew that going in (to the pool.) I wasn’t surprised that it gave me inspiration, but I didn’t expect it to stir up my emotions. Which is kinda funny, because why wouldn’t I? Why didn’t I?

Movement does that. And movement in water would do that more. I have been paralyzed to some extent for a long long time because of the inflammatory effects of the foods I was eating. This storage system was a perfect keeping place for my body to hold the energy of past events. So, as my body has come into alignment with my spiritual alignment things are being released and experienced as they move up and out of my body. Movement in water, would only enhance the emotional releases.

So, quite literally I’ve been swimming in old memories and the emotions related to them. One after another rises up to my conscious without warning – like they tend to. At first I was stunned. “Why would this come up, now?” “Where is this coming from?” It was a quick minute to realize that this was resurfacing and I did not allow myself to get stuck in the current revisitation of it.

There is a point where you can get caught up in that resurfacing and begin to relive it rather than release it. Its a choice you make. Or maybe its a habit (though a habit is indeed a choice.) It just takes a simple thought to keep us on track, “This isn’t current. This is making its way up and out.”

Though these memories catch me off guard, I have decided I like them. I like that they are resurfacing and leaving my body. I love it, actually. Its new for me, and I welcome it. I do. I feel like this is just another Healing Rite of Passage! Sort of like going through my house and purging out all that no longer resonates and the satisfaction I get at each bag of trash or donation items I take out.

How do I know these are resurfacing to be released? Well, the curious thing is that these are memories I haven’t thought about in years…decades even. They just popped into my mind in relation to a thought about a body part, ie: the throat, for instance. When the memory picture popped up there was only a shadow of the emotions felt at the time. I could’ve easily fallen back into them with my thoughts, but did not. Then, lastly, after that the memory is gone and I cannot at this moment remember anything other than it occurring. No memory of the specific memories that resurfaced.

How cool is that? But that’s not all…

Swimming is more than exercise for the body, it is exercise for the mind (meditation) and for the Spirit (metaphor for the Universe) and for the energetic body (aura cleansing). Water is the elemental representation of the Universe. All the things that are true in water are true in Life.

  1. If you struggle, you drown. (Struggle indicates misalignment aka suffering)
  2. To float you must surrender. (Go with the flow)
  3. When you float you are fully supported by the Universe with no effort on your part. (The Universe is conspiring on your behalf)
  4. It is never good to hold your breath, but rather to breathe fully, efficiently and at the right time. (The breath of life is an even in and out, receive and release motion.)

We are Spiritual beings in an Elemental vehicle. It is a mistake to choose one over the other as more important. You cannot attend to one and neglect the other. And when you attend to the elemental vehicle, using as many of the the elements as possible is important: air, water, fire and earth. Find ways to incorporate all of these into your physical care of your physical vehicle.

Suggestions:

  1. Swimming
  2. Bonfires
  3. Sunbathing
  4. Boating
  5. Hiking
  6. Picnic on the ground
  7. Meditation on the ground
  8. Moonbathing
  9. Brisk walking
  10. Sauna
  11. Hot baths
  12. Floating (in a float room)
  13. Hot yoga

Anything that uses at least two of the four elements will be more beneficially charged. Swimming outdoors on a sunny day in a lake would be the optimum as it incorporates all four elements of air, fire, water and earth.

Too many of us are locked inside concrete walls and have time outdoors marked as superfluous or for special occasions. We need the elements in our daily lives, even if in just small doses at first. In the midwest, this is almost automatic in summer with yard work or #lakelife, but we need to make it a priority in the winter as well. A good ole snowball fight is just as beneficial as time spent swimming in a lake. And out in a snowstorm?! Even better!!!

Let me know what miraculous things happen for you when you use the elements like this!

I love you.

~Jade

 

Personal Development Is More Than Just Meditation & Positive Thinking

I grew up hearing Robin Leach’s voice chiding, “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams” while most people were ‘living on a beer budget’. Thus the era of DIY was born and stores like Home Depot, Lowes’ and Menard’s got their boon.

My husband remodels and renovates homes for a living and the pitfalls of DIY are prevalent. An abundance of flipping and fixer-upper television shows has only made matters worst in recent years. Good for us, as their ‘oops’ keeps him in business. Why all the ‘oops’?

There are things you can’t know, you don’t know.

You just have to look at the myriads of ‘Nailed It‘ Pinterest posts to really understand how something ‘so simple’ can go ‘so wrong’. Now imagine that with two by fours and tile.

In the eighties, health clubs were the ‘in’ place to be and a slew of personal trainers hit the market. Everyone who was in the vicinity of being physically fit was calling themselves a personal trainer and charging outrageous fees for their time. Not everyone who has gotten themselves into shape have the skills and tools necessary to help others in their goals, however. Yes, you know how your body responded, but everyone’s body is unique and you can do real harm. There are things you can’t know, you don’t know. Eventually the industry began to regulate itself, some standards were put in place and now there is some consistency and quality in the profession.

Today I see that same thing happening in the area of personal development, self-help, and/or spiritual evolution whatever you choose to call it. A lot of people are hanging up their shingles with titles such as Wellness Coach, Lifestyle Coach and Life Coach (to name a few), offering their services to patrons who might not really even know their own needs. Yay that you raised yourself above your situation, but again there are things you can’t know, you don’t know when working with other people. Just like the Personal Training industry established standards to ensure consistency and quality, I have every faith that the personal development industry will do the same. In the meantime though, it is buyer beware.

Concerns

There are two categories that concern me. The first is the “I Just Went Through A Really Hard Time And I Want To Help Others” type. And the second is the “I Walked Away From A Six-Figure Corporate Job To Follow My Dream Of Being A Coach”. Some of these may or may not have a certification to do such a job.

Honestly, a certification is just an attendance indicator. It certifies that ‘this person attended/participated in this training and fulfilled all the requirements’. You have no idea what those requirements were. You have no idea what the qualifications of the certifying institution are! You have no idea how well the person integrated the information presented. You have no idea how well the person implemented the information into their own life. Do they walk the walk or just talk the talk? Think of it in terms of a degree or diploma…you know the person graduated but you have no idea what their GPA was. No wise employer hires someone strictly on the basis of having a degree alone, they always do an interview, right? They ask important questions and listen to the answers. This is how you need to hire any kind of personal development professional, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Back to the two concerning types:

“I Just Went Through A Really Hard Time And Now I Want To Help Others…”

This type is well intended. They are on a high from their shift in perspective and want to do something more! They have the drive!! That’s awesome, however that drive really needs to be applied to their own further development. DIY personal development is awesome, you certainly can get very far on your own with a few tools, this however does not translate automatically into your being a good teacher for others. I see so many starting to work with others before they are even done working on themselves.

There is a personal inventory that needs to take place. Yes, you have left this relationship and you feel amazing, but have you adjusted the things that caused you to call that into your life in the first place? Just understanding it wasn’t good for you and making the decision to end it does not mean you now have the skills to have healthy relationships, nor does it mean you have the skills and tools necessary to help others do it. I’ve been watching online entrepreneurs in this arena for the past four years. I have seen the majority of coaches ‘out themselves’ and I don’t think the anyone is paying attention. I have seen this time and time and time and time again…

They start off with promotions of beautiful professional photography in front of houses, cars and relationships they’ve ‘manifested’. They have great copy talking about how great their life is and how they can help you too. This goes on for awhile, then one day you might realize you haven’t heard from them in a bit. They disappear only to resurface later with new promotions; “I’m six months sober and I have learned so much. Let me help you too!” or “I finally walked out of my abusive marriage and found the love of my life. Let me help you too!” I am left wondering how many of their clients in the meantime wasted their money -or worse – were damaged while these ‘coaches’ were still figuring out their own lives.

Before you begin your path as a personal development professional you have to have your big ticket items handled.

Beyond that, you have to have a certain amount of time with them under your belt, because you don’t always know you have it mastered until you are challenged again…that’s how the Universe works. This is not to say that as Personal Development professionals we do not have things we still need to work on, nor that we won’t have situations come up. There is always room to expand and life always has curve balls, but how that is handled distinguishes the professional from the amateur.

The second type: “I Walked Away From A Six-Figure Income To Follow My Dream…”

What have they done exactly that might indicate they are good at being a personal development coach? Ok, so they had a six-figure income. That alone is not a measurement of personal development, we have only to turn on shows like “Real Housewives” to prove that. How does having that background indicate higher evolution? What credibility does it lend? What have they done exactly? Ok so they followed their dream. Do you know what that dream was? How long did they follow it that now their dream is working with others? Or is this just a way to make more money than their dream affords? They have left a high paying job, to pursue selling themselves to others as an expert at something and yet actually proclaim nothing. Ok, so they quit, learned to meditate, spout positive thinking and this makes them inspirational? I don’t think so. I think they have cornered the market on self-promotion and that is all. They are selling the unsuspecting buyer on their image with no substance. Personal development is more than meditation, magical thinking and motivation.

How can either of these types help their clients build solid foundations for getting through challenges and improve their experience of life? Foundations that will last the rest of their life? Maybe they know what worked for them, but how do they know what will work for another?

Personal development is real and deep work. It doesn’t happen by just repeating affirmations, stating goals and thinking positively. Nor does it happen by mimicking what another has done.

There is an influx of ‘coaches’ in the personal development field. A wave of well-intentioned motivated individuals dedicated to help others traverse rough terrain in Life. In truth, I love it. I love that so many who have done their work are breaking free of the problem focused models of Psychiatry, Social Work, Therapy etc. to embrace a more solution-focused model. What I don’t love is those who haven’t done the real work to move on to the next step in being a personal development professional. This isn’t about ‘being new’ because everyone has a starting point. This is about 1) doing your work, honestly and truthfully and realizing that you must always stay on top of your own stuff; and 2) about doing the additional work to gain the skills to help others.

Its about understanding why what worked for you, worked and why it might not for another. Its about understanding how the human mind works and why it works that way. Its about understanding the Soul and how it works within the elemental body.  Its about understanding the differences in learning styles and how one problem might have several solutions. Its about knowing how to facilitate for others so they can determine which of those solutions is right for them. Its knowing how to set someone up with the right lifetime tools for them. Its about understanding how every problem has a unique origin and a single cause as the same time.

Ya ya ya, but do I need a professional?

So now that I’ve laid all this out, how do you know how to choose the right sort of personal development professional or even if you need one?

Let’s start with how to determine you even need a personal development professional. It isn’t a question of how to determine if you need personal development. I happen to be of the mindset that personal development is a lifelong journey. As long as I am alive I am developing personally. Some don’t have that notion. They would not be interested in personal development and that is certainly ok!

So you are interested in personal development, you don’t have any self-limiting beliefs or irrational fears, things are going great in your life, and when bumps come up you have a healthy network of supporters and excellent coping skills. You understand that the Universe conspires on your behalf and you see that clearly, even when things don’t go the way you expected. You don’t need a personal development professional. 

You are interested in personal development, you have a ton of self-limiting beliefs and irrational fears, things are not going according to plan and you notice you keep dating the same sort of person who may or may not remind you of one or both of your parents. You smoke, eat sugar like its candy (hee hee hee) and don’t like to talk about your problems. You need a personal development professional.

You aren’t opposed to personal development, have everything you could ever want but you still are not what you would call happy. Something seems to be missing. You have a good job (or not) but it doesn’t fulfill you like you thought it would. You struggle in relationships often wondering if something better that might come along, but a bad relationship is better than no relationship. Your friends don’t seem to have this figured out anymore than you do. You need a personal development professional.

Of course there is a full spectrum of examples, but this should give you some kind of idea.

Now for you DIY type people, I suggest you re-read the first part of this post, and possibly look up some Pinterest-gone -wrong posts as well, just as a refresher. You are a responsible grown adult (assuming) and you have all the capability in the world to DIY personal development. The thing is, you don’t know what you can trust. You can’t trust your programming because you’ve already decided it hasn’t been working thus far. You can’t know, what you don’t know. This programming has been installed since your birth by your parents, community, school church and peers. It is this programming, insidious in nature, that is creating the problems you haven’t yet been able to isolate, eradicate and replace. You can’t see you from where you are sitting. In some instances this would be like cleaning your house with the lights off at midnight. Technically, you could do the job, but it will take you much longer and you are bound to miss stuff that will show up when the sun rises. Fresh eyes on the task, not to mention a fresh brain with a wealth of new resources to pick, will make for swifter success and results that are more likely to stick.

Whom To Choose

Wow, now that one is not so easy, because no matter how hard I try I will forget (or not be aware of) someone. Forgive me if you are personal development professional and I’ve left you out.

There are money coaches, mindset coaches, life coaches, business coaches, love coaches, relationship coaches, NLP coaches, manifesting coaches, holistic health and wellness coaches, transformational coaches etc.. (Are there any without the term ‘coach’? I couldn’t find any.) There are the metaphysical types; psychics, mediums, intuitives, empaths, and energy healers.  Energy healers include Reiki, QiGong, Crystal, Therapeutic Touch, Shiatsu, Bars and so so soooo many more!  This list is not exhaustive by any means, but you get the idea.

How do you possibly choose? Good question.

First of all decide whether you want a more metaphysical or practical approach to your adventure. That cuts things in half right there. Secondly, decide what you want your focus to be. Do you need extra help with your relationship with money or in romance? Is that your focus? Or do you see yourself needing to address issues across the board of your life? Is your business your main focal point? Are you experiencing some chronic or acute physical issues? Answering these questions will further narrow down your search.

Once you’ve narrowed down your focus you need to start googling what you can expect of that genre. If you think a money coach is what you need for instance, google money coaching and see what comes up. Educate yourself on the trainings and programs out there. Research those institutions, look up their curriculum/accreditations/qualifications. Note which sounds most responsible to you. Then start looking for individuals. Remember that certifications are just indications of participation. Do not let them be your only criteria. If someone has raised themselves from rags to riches that’s pretty good criteria, too. (Just be sure to vet the story, as stated next.)

After you’ve selected a few individuals its time to do your due diligence in researching them, too. Cyber stalk them…well, not really, but flush out their social media presence. Do a deep dive, don’t just take their website’s word for it. Go hunting on social media platforms. Note if they have all positive messages one week but then go on rants the next. Google the snot out of them. If a recent arrest record comes up, you can easily scratch that one off the list. What relevant jobs did they hold previous to this? Scroll back on their personal pages as far as you can (send a friend request if you can’t). Look for discrepancies in their timelines. Note if they might have a personal profile and a separate professional profile, what does that say to you? Yay or Nay? Research them thoroughly, you are about to put your life in their hands for remodeling. You don’t want to treat that lightly. If you see reviews on their social media business page then see if you can message that reviewer to get more information.

Narrow it down to no more than three individuals and schedule interviews. From their professional side of things they will call it a ‘discovery call’ or a ‘free consultation’, but you need to control that narrative. You are interviewing them as much as or more so than they are interviewing you. If you don’t feel the vibe, then pass. Use your intuition rather than your logic. Too often logic takes us away from what we need rather than towards it (because logic is instilled programming and is highly influenced by fear-based propoganda). We can be ‘sold’ on something because it can seem logical, but in the long run not actually in our best interest.

Finally

So there you go. My manifesto on personal development professionals. I never intended it to be this long, but if it serves its purpose (to get the right client in the hands of the right professional by educating the consumer) then my work here is done.

Personal development drives me. It has driven me ever since I can remember. It drove me into Social Work, where I had less occasion to assist others in this manner than I envisioned. And it drove me to pursue opening up to assist others in a full-time professional capacity as well. I love it. I love everything about it. I love how we hold the truth within our own selves and how amazing that realization is when it comes. I love how we have the power to heal ourselves in so many ways! Sometimes we just need a little guidance on how to focus that power, that’s all.

I’m here if you need me. You know that.

Oh…

and I love you.

~Jade

 

 

 

 

 

My Divine Quest

I have been on a quest as of late, to discover -for myself- an understanding of ‘Divine Feminine’ and ‘Divine Masculine’.

The Quest started with my search for the Divine Feminine and how I could connect with it more, since I have been experiencing left sided physical issues. The left side is energetically aligned with Feminine energy. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve been aligned with the Feminine for some time now, so what the fish is going on???

Back Story

I was not raised to honor the Feminine, much less think there was anything Divine about it. I was taught that my menstrual cycle was a curse, that women assist men and that my body is something to hide from men’s attention. I learned to dismiss my femininity. I learned to not say anything when someone made me uncomfortable or touched me inappropriately. I learned I did not have a right to say no. I learned to turn the other cheek and look away.

What I learned best is that masculine = acceptance.

Not too much though, because then you swing over into being rejected again because you are ‘too masculine’.

Masculine is not bad, its just not Feminine – and to operate effectively we need a balance. As a young child I had loved going down to my father’s service station. I was only two or three, but I have snippets of memory that show up whenever I smell the inside of an auto repair shop today. I also shared a dream with my best friend to be the first female players on the Chicago Cubs National League Baseball team. This was not denying our femininity, it was expressing our unique combination of masculine and feminine energies.

However, when your masculine energy is encouraged and your feminine energy is shamed, you learn to emphasize the masculine.

As I look back, I recognize all the ways I was instinctively drawn to the Divine Feminine. Everything from thriving at a woman’s college, to exploring the feminine deities of several religions. Growing up, I absolutely adored and was fascinated by my aunts and their friends who were nuns.

Instinctively, I was searching for something to fill the void I felt operating with an excess of masculine energy. It’s no surprise that I married someone who also negated my femininity. Someone who did not appreciate my yin qualities. Someone who called me needy because I wanted quality time. Someone who denied the best parts of me and I denied them too.

On my journey I have intuitively found my way to the Divine Feminine. Starting with my love of Mother Mary right through to my obsession with Quan Yin, Kali and Green Tara. I appreciate my body for all it provides. I love that it served its purpose in cradling my beloved daughter. I love that it knows what to do better than I know what it should do. I love that it has unique curves and nuances. I love how amazing it is.

All that though I kept rather hidden in my private life.

Real women act like men

I was taught that to be successful, a woman must behave like a man, dress like a man and most of all think like a man. I was taught that men would appreciate this and respect me for it. Thus I opted for Logic over Intuition, Rationalization over Feelings and Empirical Evidence over Internal Guidance to name just a few.

So, while I was instinctively drawn to the Feminine, I was externally trained towards the Masculine and it was an imbalanced affair. This is how those ailments afflicting my left side took hold.

In short I was trying to be something I wasn’t.

Oh, in case you were wondering…contrary to what I was taught, no man ever respected me for this.

The Quest

So now we come to the present day Quest. In an effort to rectify this left-sided dis-order, I set out on an adventure to explore the Divine Feminine and see if I could find my missing piece.

In my Rolfing experience the practitioner mentioned the possibility of right sided imbalance causing the left sided pain. As I did my research it became clear that metaphysically this could be the case as well.

While my childhood was filled with improper training contributing to this, my marriage of two decades only cemented the fate of my left-side. While married, I was essentially single carrying the load of both parents, mother and father.

In my profession, I also continued the dual role as I worked in a field populated by women, yet ruled by men. While healthcare and social service workers are predominantly female, the positions of power are almost exclusively male. I found myself constantly minding how I might communicate issues, with masculine verbiage, to my superiors in order to achieve harmonious resolution and existence.

So, I decided to dig deep. And in digging deep I realized that I truly did not have a clear idea of what ‘Divine Feminine and Masculine’ was.

Enter the disclaimer.

What I am about to share with you is purely personal. This is my interpretation. My understanding. Mine and mine alone. I have read everything from blog posts, to books, to oracle cards; then I meditated on what I’d learned. I had visualization journeys around it as well. I let it all sit and marinate until I could form some sort of organizational chart around it. Whether or not I am able to communicate this idea via the written word remains to be seen, but I am going to give it a go.

It could also be that this is not new to anyone but me and I’m the last one on the bus, so to speak. If that’s the case, then that’s ok by me, but I will be disappointed that you didn’t share it with me as soon as you found out.

Defining the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine

We recognize there are two distinct energies in our Universe; Masculine and Feminine. This duality concept of Feminine and Masculine is akin to the Taoist philosophy of Yin and Yang. While there may have been lifetimes or Universes in which the Feminine reigned supreme, in our recorded history on this Earth the Masculine has had an ever encroaching reign of power.

First let me share with you some examples of Feminine and Masculine energy.

The Divine Feminine vs The Divine Masculine 

  • Feelings vs Rationalize
  • Intuition vs Logic
  • Thinking vs Action
  • Receiving vs Producing
  • Emotional Body vs Physical Body
  • Internal Guidance vs Empirical Evidence
  • Meditation vs Physical Activity
  • Creation vs Adventure
  • Nurturing vs Guarding
  • Playful vs Protecting
  • Nature vs Industry
  • Moon vs Sun

If you are like most people you will read that and find yourself on both sides of the list. That’s because everyone (and every thing) has a balance of Masculine and Feminine Energies. Imbalances do exist, however. You will find some people are heavily down one side or the other. Let me point out that this list is not a breakdown of female and male characteristics. Every human being has a unique recipe of masculine and feminine energies in their make up and it is not related to gender in the least.

Each person’s make up is as unique as their fingerprint and it is only when it becomes pathological (severe imbalance) that we need be concerned. Pathological can be what I call straight ticket, down one side or the other, or a mix of pathological from both sides, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Simply put, you are imbalanced if it is not serving you.

We all have aspects of each one of these characteristics, this is not an ‘all or nothing’ kind of list. Its a matter of  which ones are more prominent than the others. The more self-actualized we become and further along on our Spiritual evolution journey the more we will hit right in the middle of the two characteristics, striking a solid balance. This optimal balance is Divine.

Divine is the highest expression of Source we can achieve through our personalities here on Earth.

If Divine is optimum, then Pathological is the antithesis. It is a complete imbalance of Feminine or Masculine energies. On the spectrum it sits at the furthest point away from the Highest Version of your Self. On our journeys we will find ourselves at multiple points on the spectrum at any given time. As we raise our awareness, our vibration rises and this is evidenced in our behaviors.

The Feminine Spectrum: Divine / Pathological

  • Gentle / Afraid
  • Authentic / People Pleasing
  • Introspective / Isolated
  • Guidance / Passivity

The Masculine Spectrum: Divine / Pathological

  • Honor / Greed
  • Diplomacy / Conflict
  • Leadership / Aggression
  • Adventurous / Reckless

Putting It Together

It is important to emphasize that every person, every situation, every life lesson, every single encounter with another human being has elements of Feminine and Masculine energy and may occur at any point on the spectrum. If you truly wanted to examine yourself you could plot your qualities on a Cartesian plane (four quadrant graph).

Divine Femine and Masculine

As you can see, the Divine Feminine and Masculine energies work in complement not in competition. Complement here, would be Divine Feminine and Competition would be Divine Masculine. Competition is not categorically an undesirable trait. Competition in games might be desirable, competition in a partnership would not be.

This is the Divine Partnership.

What I’ve Learned

My quest has offered me a new paradigm of relatedness when it comes to understanding our Spiritual Journey here on Earth. I learned that my left sided issues are a result of avoiding the Divine Masculine action that makes me uncomfortable by opting for a more comfortable Feminine one. For instance, I employ Diplomacy (Divine Masculine) well in an effort to avert Conflict (Pathological Masculine), but occasionally conflict happens and when it does, instead of remaining in Diplomacy (Divine Masculine), I tend to switch to Passivity or being Afraid (Pathological Feminine) instead of standing in Guidance or Gentleness (Divine Feminine).

Does that make sense?

The theory being, if Conflict (a pathological Masculine) arises despite employing the Divine Masculine quality of Diplomacy, then a Divine Feminine quality (not a pathological Feminine) would be required. Hence, the strain on my left side. Another example would be if I were employing a Divine Feminine quality instead of the appropriate Divine Masculine quality. Say a situation requires me to employ Leadership, but I am not comfortable with that so I opt to employ Guidance instead. The optimal setting is a nice balance of all Divine, not one Divine over another. One should be comfortable in one’s Divine skin, as it were.

As I went further down this rabbit hole, I came to a new understanding of the Expression of Source in our lives. Source is “All That Is” and has no duality, therefore the Divine is the fullest expression of Source on Earth with its duality being the Divine Mother and the Divine Father. That the Divine Feminine/Masculine is the Divine Mother/Father. *It’s important to note this is the energy of Divine Mother and Divine Father, and not the Earthly gender roles* From there the devolution of the expression of Source on Earth splits into just plain Feminine and Masculine (this is sort of the neutral point – as much Source as Ego), then to Female and Male (a smidge more Ego than Source), to Matriarchy and Patriarchy (much less Source and more Ego – gender bias power structure), with the least evolved being Hierarchy (the least amount of Source to the greatest amount of Ego – arbitrary bias power structure). This is not to say that the amount of Source in you is less, but that less of It is showing. (Think of it like a dimmer switch.)

Divine Expression (1)

So, Now What?

Now, I have knowledge and understanding of that knowledge and can get to work really balancing out my expression of the Divine Mother and the Divine Father. I can see clearly now how this has led to my imbalances and I look forward to applying this new understanding in my self-healing.

I also look forward to sharing my results with you at a later date!

I love you.

~Jade

Heal Your Feminine

Everything in this world is a balance of Yin and Yang – feminine and masculine energy. Both are equally important and thus must be equally nourished and fostered. However, yang qualities tend to be favored disproportionately.

In short, Yin has the qualities of darkness, moon, feminine, shade, rest, sunset and North. Yang has the qualities of light, sun, masculine, brightness, activity, sunrise and South. Because Yang energy is active and our society values active (doing) it tends to be Yang heavy. Think of how many times you or someone you know has said “I can’t just sit and ___________, I have to be DOING something!”

There are even some platitudes to help with this programming! How many heard your mother say “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”?

Yang gets the glory, but Yin requires some acknowledgement as together they are the foundation of our dualistic experience here in life on Earth.

We avoid the dark to find the light. We embrace the sun, only occasionally glancing at the moon. We have been taught feminine as weak and masculine as strong. We throw ‘shade’ as an insult. We say one is ‘resting on laurels’.

For decades now women have put their femininity to the background to prove their worth in masculine traits because feminine traits are not seen as equal. To be treated equally it was required that we mimic men.  Then when we did we were called ‘bitches’ or ‘sluts’. What was good for the goose most certainly was not good for the gander!! And in fact, it shouldn’t be!

In order for life to continue in balance we need masculine and feminine energy. We need to celebrate them both!

The world needs us to heal our feminine! Whether you are male or female, it is time to start paying attention to your Yin to balance out your Yang tendencies.

I have had a series of injuries to my left side (left side is feminine), not coincidentally I spent much of my life diminishing my Yin trying to operate fully in Yang to prove to males in my life that I was of value. My Yin traits were judged as silly, impulsive, irrational and lazy by more than just one male in my life. This left my left side vulnerable to injury because my Yin had not been nourished or cultivated.

While the masculine is about creating manifestations, the feminine is about allowing manifestations. We participate actively in the creation process, but part of that process is stepping back to allow what is meant to come forth. This is just as important as any active step, maybe more so.

Honoring our Yin means we rest to fully restore our energy supplies; take time to reconnect with nature, to plug into Mother Nature; gaze at the moon with as much admiration as we relish the sun; find beauty in the dark and not just the bright.

Above all of this I want to emphasize the importance of the quality of Yin’s allowing.

Allowing manifestations to come forth at their own pace after you’ve put in good faith effort. Put the project to the side and forget about it. Transcend the impulse to force something into being. Find peace in knowing that what is yours will come as long as you are open and aligned. Allowing permits us to surrender to the process and really understand the magnitude of our manifesting capacity.

When we let go of control we can truly understand just how much control we have.

I believe the condition of the world today is the result of malnourished Yin. Yang has run amuck and without the balance of his partner he becomes destructive.

Love your Yin, my friends.

I love you.

~Jade

 

 

 

 

 

Integration

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What do you know about integration?

To integrate: “verb [with object] 1 combine (one thing) with another so that they become a whole: transportation planning should be integrated with energy policy. combine (two things) so that they become a whole: the problem of integrating the two approaches. [no object] (of a thing) combine with another to form a whole: the stone will blend with the environment and integrate into the landscape”

Wow. Doesn’t that sound important? How often have you integrated new information on personal and spiritual development? How often have you heard healers, mentors or advisors speak on it? I’ve never heard anyone mention it.

When we introduce something new to our bodies, environments or minds we need to allow and effort to integrate the new ways/thoughts/ideas with what remains.

My husband and I are in the process of adopting a new dog. We have two already but there are many years between them and we thought the younger one would appreciate a playmate. When you bring a new dog into a family, you have to integrate it. You don’t just toss it in and hope for the best. The dynamics change and a new order must be established. You can expect fights, bites, growls and howls. You can expect at one time or another someone is going to be ready to call it quits (this might be you). You can expect that it will take time to do all these things.

The key is to keep your expectations low and your alert status high. Keep a watchful eye and nip any aggression in the bud. Redirect and allow for time out as necessary. Eventually things will fall into their own rhythm and peace will reign in your new expanded family.

The same is true for Rolfing (any energy healing too). If you’ve read my previous stuff you know I’ve been rolfing to attempt to relieve some physical symptoms I experience. Between sessions seven and eight she allows for integration. A period of time where no new sessions are done so that the body can catch up with the work that has been done and come to a new normal. A better normal. Thus the body integrates the new ways of operating.

During this time you can experience detoxing, aching, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, irritability and general discomfort. It might even get worse before it gets better (healing crisis). In short, you can expect fights, bites, growls and howls. You might even feel like calling it quits. Once your body adjusts and settles into the new commands your connective tissue is giving your muscles though, peace will reign in your new expanded body.

Our minds are no exception. When we discover new paradigms of thoughts/beliefs and introduce them into our lives we must allow for integration. Some old outdated thoughts/beliefs will be exchanged out simultaneously without issue. Still others will be forced out as the new set in. Still others will sort of fall off, without much mention, after the new has been allowed to integrate.

During this time you can experience irritability, discomfort, fear, anxiety and restlessness. You can expect fight, bites, growls and howls. You might even feel like calling it quits and just go back to the old paradigm. But once you introduce new paradigms it is hard to go back. Once you settle into the new rhythm, peace will reign in your new expanded mind. Then your Spirit will be joyous because your experience of it will be expanded as well.

Integration is likely the most important step of all -especially in personal/spiritual development- yet it is often overlooked. We live in an instant gratification society that leaves no room for integration. Today it is seek-find-ingest-move on. Where is the integration? It’s a little like shopping-purchasing-chewing-spitting out. Where is the digestion?  What good is the food if you are not digesting it? None, that’s what.

Integration of personal and spiritual development information allows for movement, acceptance and expression of the new shift.

  • Movement – allowance for the new balance to be established by the introduction of the new and replacement/reduction of the old.
  • Acceptance – to allow the new to work in your life on purpose, not default.
  • Expression – to practice this new way whenever possible – not to just ‘think it’ and retain old bad habits associated with the old (aka walk the talk).
But How?

Sit with it.

When you are introducing a new spiritual paradigm of thought, meditate on it. Sit in silence with it. Notice where it resonates (or doesn’t) in your body. What thoughts come up around it? What feelings come up around it? What emotions come up around it? Do you feel smaller or larger consciously because of it? Does it expand you?

Stand with it.

Challenge other related thoughts and beliefs you hold against the resonance of the new. When you’ve sat with something and decided that it does indeed resonate with you then weigh it against related beliefs that you’ve long just grown accustomed to. You might find that they too have outgrown their usefulness and will be replaced or just merely drop away. How does the new fit in with the old? Look for consistency and congruence. Something that is true will be true in all scenarios (with some exceptions, perhaps), so play devil’s advocate with yourself. Challenge yourself to think bigger with this new paradigm. See what else it shakes loose.

Walk with it.

Take it out for a spin around the block. Start conversations with others about it. If you don’t have any friends who get into this sort of thing there are many people on the internet exploring just these subjects (hint hint). Reach out. Conversations about such things are free. While asking for free advice on specific personal issues is not appropriate, opening up exploratory conversations is generally welcomed by all. Share your process, your conclusions and your expectations of what this new paradigm could do for you. Entertain whatever questions or doubts they might share with you. This is your chance to see if what you’re integrating has merit.

Then wear it.

Don’t be ashamed of your new shift. Wear it proudly. While it may be tempting to ‘shout it from the rooftops’ that can be obnoxious. So shout if you must, but expect you’ll turn a lot of people off. If that helps you integrate, then by all means don’t let putting people off deter you. I however, prefer to just wear it into a room. What that means is that I let the Universe determine when the information needs to be shared. When a subject comes up that relates to my belief I share it. I do it in the best possible way for it to be heard. Sharing things in certain ways will guarantee rejection before that other person really even hears it. Wording things in a non-threatening manner allows for the maximum amount of people to hear it and expand with it.

That’s integration – in a nutshell.

Questions? Start a conversation with me at jadewillowsong@gmail.com or in my too quiet facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/willowsongfirekeepers/

And as always remember…

I love you.

~Jade

 

 

Let’s Talk “Spiritual Bypass”

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Have you heard this term?

It has become a new buzzword in the personal and spiritual development worlds. First of all, I find it redundant. What I understand spiritual bypass to be is nothing more than regular old denial/distraction, with a spiritual flavor. No need to call it something else.

Secondly, its really convenient for those who wish to stay stuck to have a really special name to discount the next step of growth.

Spiritual bypass: just another name for denial/distraction

Denial is ignoring that a problem exists and when we are in denial we tend to distract ourselves from the work to alleviate the problem.

If you’ve been following me you’ve probably heard me say at some time that anything can be an addiction. Anything. ANY. THING.

When we think of addiction, we think of things like recreational drugs, alcohol, and prescription drugs. Then we might think of gambling, shopping and sex. Rarely will you think of work, exercise or even relationships. Anything is an addiction if you are using it to avoid processing something.

That said, spirituality can indeed become an addiction and used to usurp the current human experience you are facing and deny yourself the experience of feelings. This, from what I understand, is spiritual bypass. But its not just a bypass, its an addiction.

Spiritual bypass is when one avoids the icky sticky messy feelings of our experiences by explaining them away as ‘meant to be’ or ‘serving our highest good’. It isn’t the philosophy (‘meant to be’ or ‘serving our highest good’), its the using of it to dismiss the experience and not engage in it in the moment.

Every event in our lives needs to be processed. This is why repressed memories reap issues many years later. Like undigested food in our gut, these memories unprocessed by our mind and spirit will infect our body. Can you imagine what would happen if we had undigested food sitting in our intestines for years?

We can’t develop shortcuts to avoid the real work. Just like you can’t eat junk food, take diet pills but work out obsessively to be healthy.

Convenient label

More than a few times I’ve had the term ‘that’s spiritual bypass’ thrown at me while discussing changing perspectives to look at something in a new way to find healing. There’s no questioning, just a venomous application of the label and attempt to incite an argument.

How convenient. How nice to have a handy little term that relieves you of your obligation to improve. Don’t like what someone says when you want your victimization validated? Just accuse them of spiritual bypass. And wait until you see how many people are ready to jump in on that ambush! WOW!

It’s easy to understand how some could see it this way. In fact, there was a time when I also had that same response (without the label) to something the Dalai Lama said about attachment or suffering. I’m not sure, because now, no matter how many quotes I read, I can find nothing that resembles what I thought I read back then. What I remember clearly is this visceral reaction to someone taking away the justification I had for experiencing more suffering than is necessary.

I remember thinking, ‘that is usurping the human experience’. But as I continued to expand spiritually, I came to realize that honest emotion is not suffering – and not to what he was referring. Honest emotion are the normal human emotions we are meant to experience as part of this human being-ness.

That’s what we can’t shortcut our way through. The other stuff though. The stuff implanted into our brains by well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning individuals that creates premises that foster unnecessary suffering.

When we understand things as ‘meant to be’ or ‘serving our highest good’ after feeling the emotion of loss (for instance), we use the painful experience to expand. Pain is not equivalent to suffering. Suffering is the unnecessary struggle between your highest self and the conditioning of society. Pain is the wound, suffering is the infection.

The wound is grief after the loss of a loved one. Suffering is, after the initial period of grieving, delving into deep depression because of a belief that we only get one true love in life and you just lost yours. Suffering sets in at the time that healing should be beginning.

A compliment

More recently the term spiritual bypass was tossed at me in response to an inspired post I made about a tough subject. I love important discussions and this one was/is super important. Not only did someone I consider a spiritual mentor suggest my thoughts were spiritual bypass, but another suggested it was ignorant.

I was taken aback, to say the least. Not about the the second one, but about my spiritual mentor. I was shocked and shock leads to shift. (Ever notice that?) I realized that the image I had created in my mind about this ‘mentor’ was entirely fabricated. It was based on ego – mine actually – my idea that this ‘mentor’ was something I wasn’t and had something I didn’t. So, I was totally shocked when she couldn’t see my point and mentioned spiritual bypass. I could see so clearly how this situation is just a further evolution of the spiritual laws and beliefs that she and I had discussed and that she teaches. Why couldn’t she?

It wasn’t until writing this that I realized being accused of spiritual bypass is a compliment if you’re living resonantly. If you are living resonantly, you can’t inadvertently slip into any addiction, let alone spiritual bypass. You can’t. You spend too much time analyzing, weighing and pondering the vibration of things to be in denial! Those vibrations don’t align! Someone telling you that you are ‘spiritual bypassing’ when you have given your idea much thought and reflection is a great compliment. It means you’ve vibrated past wherever they are and have been tasked with presenting them with an opportunity to expand! What a gift that is to both!

If you are one, quick to call ‘spiritual bypass’ make sure you aren’t the one on bypass…

 

I love you.

~Jade

PS – The June 16th event is closed. July 14th is the next available Healing Rite of Passage Me-Treat and Workshop. Make sure you register before this one closes too! If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to feel pure joy, heal old traumas or do energy healing. We’ll be doing all that and more. If you’ve felt blocked or stifled on your journey then this is the perfect opportunity to explore alternative therapies and perspectives that will enhance your experience of life.