Isn’t it great when science catches up to what we already know?
Brain scans demonstrate that people in the act of giving have the same reward centers activated in the brain that food & sex activate–releasing dopamine and other neurotransmitters that can stimulate feelings from contentment to euphoria.
In a 2010 study of 4500 adults, it was demonstrated that 89% felt better after volunteering, 73% felt reduced stress, & 68% felt healthier. Read the rest of this entry »
May was rough for me. As much practice as I’ve had living in the Place of Not Knowing (where we all live), preparing for the celebration of my father’s life over Memorial Weekend dipped me deep into the grief that I’ve not expressed–I simply hadn’t been able to feel.
His transition seemed unreal because I was in China last October for three weeks when he left, and I missed everything. Dreary as they can be, burial services do offer some closure.
But this was a Celebration– a family reunion–a 1700 mile round trip from Atlanta, nearly to Lake Erie–Meadville, PA, where my parents met at Allegheny College, and where many cousins had grown up.
Cousin Deana (from Asheville) & I grooved to James Brown, Emmylou Harris, Sly & the Family Stone, the Beatles and more on our road trip, and joined my sister, niece and @ 20 cousins for a feast at the Venango Inn the night before the service.
I shared my book on Orbs www.psychicinvestigators.net/html/orbs.html and asked everyone to be on the lookout in case Dad decided to show up with us in any photos.
Just as Anton van Leeuwenhoek introduced us to the realm of microbiology with his microscope, digital photography demonstrates other energies around us that weren’t easily visible before.
The next day my niece ran to me: “Antreece! Look at this!”
There it was–a righteous, sparkly orb right above my cousin’s head as if to say, “Honey, you were right! I am here with you!” (Thanks, Dad).
Our weekend together turned out fantastically well–all my amazing, endearing and odd family members trooping like escapees from a Diane Arbus photo through cemeteries to place flowers on our ancestors’ graves. Telling old stories and dropping by my grandmother GeeGee’s Victorian home and the “crik” a couple houses away where I used to catch crayfish as a kid.
Covenant Lodge 473 of the Free & Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania honored Joseph M. Dickey, Jr., 32nd degree Mason, with a moving Masonic Memorial Service, and several of us mused on what a strong, positive influence my father shared throughout his life.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad, a couple weeks in advance. Of course we know that time is irrelevant in other dimensions and that we should honor our fathers every day. Read the rest of this entry »
Some exciting miracles of self-awareness occurring in Values, Vision & Good Vibrations, my current Group Coaching Experience.
As we did our Values Exercise in this week’s session, one dear woman expressed that she’d been contemplating getting either an Executive MBA– OR a Master Gardener certification.
Successful in her career and now in her early fifties, earlier she had expressed that she wanted to be happy, with more time for herself.
Along the way she’s also raised four children; she enjoys a loving marriage and wants to travel. Read the rest of this entry »
If you missed me, in April I dropped off the edge of cyberworld, except for an exciting announcement (which I’ll share again below).
I’m glad to be ascending from that dark place once again.
I was deep into grappling with some MAJOR shadow issues which surfaced while researching past journals to add “eek”-ish, scintillating details (including raw, painful times that I’d repressed & stuffed down) to my current book-in-progress.
As the style editor said about my draft, it’s a page-turner, and people love stories about beautiful young people, sex, wealth and the South. And rolling in the mud.
But in my own healing process, do I have the guts to share these tales in hopes they’ll help others heal as well? (It does help that my parents are no longer around to read them. Mercy!)
As we release our limiting old stories of victimhood we help to shift global consciousness.
As we heal ourselves, our energetic presence and possibilities help heal others.
As we lighten up, we light up the world.
Enjoy my Feature on grappling with the shadow.
P.S.– I’m sponsoring my writing mentor Tom Bird’s “Write Your Publishable Book in a Weekend Workshop” October 6-8 in Atlanta– Early Bird Special of $700 off is happening until Memorial Day!
The response to our pre-registration for Tom Bird’s Write Your Publishable Book in a Weekend Retreat over Columbus Day Weekend (October 6-8, 2012) has been GREAT!
To take advantage of the early sign-up ($700 discount off the regular $1495 investment in the retreat), simply enter the discount code of 0795 when you register and check out at Tom’s site: Tom Bird
I’ve believed in Tom’s amazing, heart-centered writing method since my first book BACK TO THE GARDEN: Getting from Shadow to Joy won five inspirational awards after being mentored by him. Since then I’ve sold thousands of copies of that book for thousands of dollars.
Need a payment plan, no problem. Just give Tom’s office a call at 928-203-0265 and they’ll be happy to work with you. Or call me at 404-294-9333 and I’ll answer any questions I can.
If you take advantage of this offer and register before Memorial Day and don’t need a payment plan you’ll receive a free advance copy of Tom’s latest book (to be released this summer) currently titled The Write Your Book in a Weekend Way of Life ($24.95 value).
Just didn’t want you to miss out on this deal because more than 1/3 of the seats under this special offer have already been claimed. Take action now and register! Tom Bird
PS– We’re finalizing the venue now–you’ll be alerted as soon as details are available.
Here’s the link again: Tom Bird
PPS– Maybe you want to use your book as your business card or to promote your expertise. Maybe your book is simply to leave a legacy for family and friends. Maybe it’s a lifelong dream that is bursting to come forth from your heart.
Whatever’s holding you back, let Tom help you LEAP over it with his stream-of-consciousness technique that banishes the Inner Critic. I KNOW this technique works because I experienced it in Scottsdale, AZ, in February and I’m now deep into the revision of my book.
At one point along my path I was involved with a lovely man who did computer graphic design, had been in recovery from alcohol & drugs for ten years and was actively involved with Alcoholics Anonymous.
After one year with me he’d fallen off the wagon into alcohol relapse, partially because we weren’t on the same page & he was never the right person for me. But I did learn some valuable lessons in his presence.
On his mantel perched one of those cheap statues of a goofy-looking ghost with the slogan he’d put on it: “Have you hugged your shadow today?”
In other words, have you accepted even those dark & squirmy aspects of yourself and your behavior that you’d prefer to pretend don’t even exist?
The idea in AA is that if you CAN’T ACCEPT and even LOVE the shadow aspects of yourself, & can’t embrace your weaknesses in every way, that your recovery is doomed. Recovery simply can’t take the perfectionism (ego-mind) that wants to project your “wrongness” onto everybody else–thus making THEM the problem–the cause of everything that ails you.
Of course we know that WE are the co-creators of everything that comes up in our lives…. and if your life is not going well, that may be really hard to accept!
Here are some of the ways I allowed myself to hug my shadow in the past several weeks– a time of real grappling & self-reckoning:
1. I was challenged to state honestly what I really want out of any relationship with a man–and what kind of man I would want to be involved with–which brought me face to face with how shallow,superficial and (yes) snobbish I can be regarding where I would choose to expend time & energy. Yes, I admit it: my ego confesses I am an education snob– though I know Steve Jobs was a college drop-out!
My Self–my Heart–knows that degrees don’t make the person, but yet superficiality and Ego are running their program here, and I have embraced that shallow aspect of me. It’s a challenge.
The Bible verse says, “Judge not, lest you be judged.” What that really means is that when you judge others, you’re judging yourself FAR MORE HARSHLY. Judgment is NOT conducive to a happy, healthy life. And yet, I hug my Inner Judge. I want to pinch her scrawny little cheek-and give her a big kiss! She knows who she is–and by God, she doesn’t care!
2. If we are co-creators of everything that happens, in order to learn, WHY did it take me so long to get the lesson of no longer lettingmyself be overpowered (physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally) by men?
Those who know me today might marvel at this notion, but reading those old journals has been like dredging the Mississippi River.
At age 13 my mother sent me to a child psychiatrist who helped me get the concept of “a healthy degree of self-assertiveness”–but as I look back, I see it took a LOT of self-examination, self-awareness, and then PRACTICE.
3. “I am my own movie.” A friend in a poetry-writing class in college penned this evocative line that I took to heart and used as a guiding light throughout some very tough years in my twenties.
As I witness the reels spinning along, I’m happy to say that by learning to embrace my shadow, I no longer need to create major drama in order to feel fully alive. How’s your movie running lately? Have you hugged your shadow today?
A hearty round of applause to this junior Elvis who really knows how to work a room!
The Path does not need to be hard. It can be gentle.
God did not put us all here on earth to have hard, difficult lives, although we certainly have the option for a harder path if those are the lessons our soul has chosen for this lifetime.
Some people deliberately choose a harder path– a choice to live outside of the Flow, ignore it or struggle with it. If we choose that path through ignorance or ignoring the Truth, we can correct that. Read the rest of this entry »
A few years ago, within my own small circle of friends and family, three dealt with breast cancer; one had experienced two rounds of ovarian cancer surgery and three job losses within two years. Another had dealt with prostate cancer. My father and sister were in the process of divorces. And Fred had just “gone to Glory” after his two-and-a-half month knockdown fight with pancreatic cancer.
What about all the health challenges, the family changes and the job losses? What are they trying to tell us? Read the rest of this entry »
A whirlwind with TomBirdSeminars “Write Your Publishable Book in a Weekend” recently, after a climb up Cathedral Rock in Sedona, one of the MAJOR Energy Vortexes in the world. Specatcular!
While standing on top of the rock, amazed that I’d even made it, still huffing & puffing a bit–a yoga teacher who’s not accustomed to climbing rock faces at high altitudes can be blown out of her comfort zone ;- } — I stretched my arms out to the sky and asked God, my Guides and the Universe to pour through me and assist me in penning forth whatever I’m supposed to write!
I did have a preconceived notion of what it’d be–something about my healing journey through breast cancer — but what came out during that stream-of-consciousness marathon turned out to be more about the healing journey of LIFE– 37,000 words worth! Painlessly and completely in the flow. A phenomenal experience & I highly recommend it to anyone who “has a book in them”–and that is about 85% of the public. Tom Bird Seminars
(Remember, Jack Kerouac used this same technique in penning the classic best-seller ON THE ROAD–but I did it without drugs–well, except maybe a little ibuprofen after all the rock climbing).
SO many powerful healing tools exist–and I believe writing or expression through the heart center via art, song, music, dance, yoga, are among the best.
In the feature I’ll share an exercise with you that might help you get unstuck and open up to all the good that is pouring down around you! Ask and you shall receive!
A class member in my “Get the Life You Love” currently at Emory University’s Continuing Education remarked that she’d stowed her Vision Board in the back of her closet after we created them the week before.
This proved a bit of a conundrum to me, until I thought about how so many of us push away the world’s gifts, or even our own gifts to ourselves (such as allowing ourselves even to HAVE a vision of a life filled with freedom, happiness, a loving partner, more meaning, fulfillment and the joy of connection).
Then I remembered another friend who, when given gifts, would store them in his garage or basement and never even bother opening them.
That, I thought, is extremely odd. Why would anyone NOT want to receive a gift?
A few ideas came to mind:
*By receiving, perhaps he thought he’d be put in the position of owing something, or would be expected to render up something in exchange.
*Possibly the gift would be less perfect than one he could choose for himself, so he didn’t want to raise his expectations by opening it.
*He didn’t want to take the time. (I informed him that it’s an insult not to open gifts that people have given you, then to acknowledge them in some way).
*Perhaps he didn’t feel he deserved it. (I am not worthy!) -Careful what you tell the Universe about yourself– the Universe pays attention to our heartfelt beliefs.
*Possibly by receiving, he felt that he would lose control–whereas while giving, he stayed in control.
I think in my class member’s case it was more a question of DEFINITION–How does one DEFINE HAPPINESS?
So here’s the exercise, an ACTIVE IMAGINATION DIALOGUE with Happiness.
Active Imagination is a process where you get relaxed with some deep breathing, sit up straight at a writing table with both feet on the floor and your heart center open, handwriting in your journal so as not to impede the flow. Write as fast as you can–don’t over think it– this is a right brained flow state of consciousness, tapping in to your true essence. It is NOT analytical so please leave analysis/paralysis out of it. (Typing is a more left-brained activity, but if you really must, use your laptop).
Pose a question to My Happiness and respond as Me.
ME–Dear Happiness, what do you look like?
My Happiness: I look like such & such…
ME–Why are you so elusive?
MH–Because I…… and because you……
Continue the dialogue for as long as necessary (you’ll know when you’ve resolved it–or not) until you can ask Your Happiness for a gift. Who knows what it will look like or what insight it might bring?
The gift may unblock you to open up to your good. Don’t you believe you deserve to be happy?
I know you deserve it.
Excerpts from “One Year’s Celibacy” from my award-winning book, BACK TO THE GARDEN: Getting from Shadow to Joy BTTG on Kindle or paperback
I was personally challenged to stop medicating with relationships for a year by one former longtime boyfriend. He also happened to be my former therapist. Obviously I’ve earned the right to expound on all these self-defeating behaviors because I’ve lived them myself!
It sounded like a death sentence. As we parted ways he told me, “You need to be celibate for a year; you need to learn to be on your own.”
1. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive refers to thoughts. For example, I think I may be going crazy. Contrast this with the idea, I’ve had thoughts about going crazy before and I’m still functioning.
Behavioral refers to how we act. Learning how to act in new ways produces new results.
2.Support Systems: Form a support system of encouraging and understanding persons. Sometimes this can come in the form of constructive confrontation–people gently letting me know how my behaviors adversely impacted others.
3. Medication: In a great film called Panic Prison, Dr. Jack Gorman talks about the irony of people who are afraid to take prescription medicine to allay anxiety symptoms, yet continue to use alcoholic beverages. Of all the anti-anxiety treatments, he notes, the one most likely to cause great harm in the long run is alcohol.
And there are more, including Education, Spirituality and Taking Risks.
If you have a loved one suffering from panic disorders, agoraphobia, or even Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder (OCD) –(Blaise said he made the sign of the cross so much while playing for his high school team that the coach asked him what was going on), this wonderful, heartfelt book may shed real sunshine into the black hole of self-doubt and help them reconnect with life.