“You’ll never have peace if you don’t make peace with where you are right now.”
One of my guides said this during my meditation this morning and I must confess, I found his wisdom both annoying and of course, irritatingly true.
I’d been mentally stamping my feet because my planned relocation to Italy feels like nothing more than a pipe dream (it was planned for late June 2020). Let’s face it, with Covid-19 we have no idea when we will be able to travel safely overseas again, so I feel like I’m in a holding pattern.
I have plenty to do, books to write, friends to talk to, people to help and so on. And I’m grateful to be here in Australia where our government is taking a cautious and protective approach for the health of our citizens. But still, my frustration cup sometimes boils over because I am not where I want to be – hence my guide’s wise words this morning.
It’s healthy to acknowledge and feel my very real feelings in the moment. Heck, sometimes I will let them take over for a lot longer than that! But, sooner or later, I need to let those feelings go so I can achieve some peace and focus in the now.
It doesn’t mean I’m giving up on my dream. I’m still thinking about it and making plans. But I also know that I’m in this place right now for a reason (even if I don’t like it or know what the Universe’s reason is). Time will also go a lot faster if I focus on the present instead of wishing my life away into the future (or lamenting the past).
Basically, I have to make the best of it otherwise I will drive myself crazy and I can give myself the gift of peace – I just have to choose it.
Don’t you hate it when your guides are right!
Is it really that easy to use our intuition every day? My answer is HECK YEAH! Using out intuition enables us to live more in alignment with our values, more connected to the things we truly desire and more able to live our Soul’s Mission. Here are my 9 EASY STEPS to help you live intuitively for a day by growing your awareness, presence and connection.
STEP 1: When you wake up in the morning (before those thoughts begin scurrying through your mind about what you ‘should’ do that day) ask yourself, “What do I need to do for myself today?” then go and do that thing. Remember, it won’t be about obligations or meeting someone else’s needs. Instead it will be about you know you intuitively need to do for you.
STEP 2: When you eat throughout the day ask yourself, “How does this food make me feel?” “Does it make me feel nourished and light?” If so, keep eating it. But if it makes you feel heavy and gluggy (yes, I did just use that word LOL!!) then choose something else to eat. By doing so you will be listening intuitively to your body and what it needs.
STEP 3: Notice how you feel when you interact with people throughout the day. Do you feel energised or drained afterwards? Intuitively tune into how their energy makes you feel.
STEP 4: How do you feel when you are in certain places e.g. on the train, the bus, the supermarket, your office, a meeting room? How does your energy respond to the environment you are in.
STEP 5: When you get an intuitive lead, follow it. An intuitive lead is when something catches your eye and for a moment you think, “That might be cool/interesting/something fun to do…” then your mind usually steps in and tells you why it’s not practical, you’re too busy, people will think you’re weird, etc. Instead of listening to your mind, follow your intuitive lead and see where it takes you. It could be the start of something amazing!
STEP 6: Connect to the earth. Find time to stand on the grass in your bare feet and just focus on your breathing for a few minutes. If you can’t go outside for some reason, then simply close your eyes and visualise yourself doing it. When we connect to the earth in this way we improve our ability to be present and able to connect into our inner voice.
STEP 7: Turn off technology 2 hours before bedtime. Our iPhones and other devices are incredibly valuable but they take our energy and focus outside ourselves and this makes it more difficult to tune into and hear our intuitive voice. Take a break from technology and do something you enjoy that brings you back into this moment.
STEP 8: Meditate. Many people resist meditation because they think they can’t do it right. But at its core, meditation is simply about being present and breathing. When we practise this regularly, we help to shut out the noise that prevents us from tuning into our inner voice.
STEP 9: Journaling is an amazing way to clear out the debris from our minds and get clear about how we really feel and what we really want (separate from everyone else’s expectations). Spend 15 minutes writing about how you felt throughout your Day of Living Intuitively. Did anything surprise you? Did you learn something new?
>>>If you’re ready to clear out the obstacles that have been holding you back, kick your indecision to the kerb and harness your intuitive power so you can live your Soul’s Mission, check out Nights for Spiritual Beginners. EARLY BIRD OFFER CLOSES 11.59PM (AEST) 30 JANUARY 2019. Spaces are limited so don’t miss out on your chance to transform your life, empower yourself, make a difference and begin creating the changes your Soul is longing to make.<<<
Pic: Renee Lavin Photography
Today I thought about Barack Obama while I did yoga. I also thought about other less admirable politicians (Donald Trump, Scott Morrison and so on). I realise it’s not what I should have been doing during class. I should have been 100 percent present, focusing on my breath. In and out. In with love, out with hate. In with joy, out with fear. In with…well, you get the picture.
But I wasn’t. And then I thought about why I wasn’t. And on it went. You can tell my brain wasn’t ready to let go this morning.
With so much going on these days, it can be really challenging to switch off and just be present. At this point, I know many of you will start thinking about that lovely trendy word ‘mindfulness’. But, before you do that, I want you to step back and take another look at what I’m really talking about.
I’m talking about being present. A quivering moment in time when you are simply here. It’s not about your mind at all. My mind was in charge for some of my yoga session this morning. And watching my thoughts, mindfully, was not going to help.
The answer does not require thinking, but being. Being here.
You may argue and say, we need to control our minds. But what I’m suggesting, actually no, that sounds way too uncommitted. What I’m saying is that all this focus on our minds is not serving us. What if it is simply about focusing on now?
This morning what eventually brought me back, was my breath. In and out. It wasn’t thinking more about the thoughts that were scurrying through my head about the lamentable state of political leadership here and in the United States.
A friend said recently that, what you focus on, you get more of. She’s a pretty wise chick so, by her measure, the more you think about what you’re thinking about, the more thoughts you will have.
So please, please, stop thinking about your mind and how you can control it and make it submit to your will. Honestly, it’s always going to be there, hanging out in your skull and attempting to twist you into knots when it’s feel like partying.
Focus instead on presence, on your breath. Focus on being here, right now. Don’t focus on the marauding thoughts raping and pillaging your mental faculties. Don’t pay them any mind at all (sorry, bad pun but I couldn’t resist).
I know I’m making it all sound deceptively easy and I know it’s really not simple to do. My yoga class this morning is an example of my own brief ‘epic fail’ in this department.
But trust me, eventually, when you use a focus point like breath, all those marauding thoughts eventually gallop off back to where they came from. They really do.
So, forget for a moment or two about your mind and about controlling it. Focus instead on being here, nothing else, and let all the rest go.
Lucretia is an author, psychic channel and transformational teacher who helps women harness their intuition so they can live their Soul’s Mission. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram
Today’s blog might be a bit controversial. I’m about to venture forth into a space I’ve only skirted around up until now. But I can’t stay silent about it any longer. I. Just. Can’t.
Because it’s getting worse and I’m seeing it a lot. Friends and acquaintances succumbing. Dropping like flies as we say in Australia. Their connection to self so broken that they will avoid their inner voice so they can just keep doing what they’re doing. So they can just keep going to keep everyone else happy; so they can maintain the status quo.
I’m not about the status quo. So I’m going to say it. And I’m sorry if it offends but it’s not my intention. Instead I just want to shine a light on something that’s getting worse. Here goes…
It’s Valium. It’s sleeping tablets. It’s the anti-depressants doled out like candy at the corner store. Women medicated to block out the sound of their soul whimpering to be heard.
I’m sorry if I’m being obtuse. Let me be more specific. Sometimes women are medicating themselves because it’s easier than standing in their power and owning their inner voice that is yelling for more. More than ‘this’ – whatever ‘this’ is for you.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-medication. I spent about a decade on anti-depressants in my 20s and early 30s. I saw psychiatrists and counselors at the same time. I was frequently a miserable, anxiety-ridden, tear-sodden mess. I had no idea who I was and I was sensitive to everyone else’s energy around me too. No one had ever shown me how to connect to my inner voice, the one that kept jumping up and down and causing all that anxiety because it wanted me to know there was ‘more’. No one ever told me that maybe I should ask if the feelings I felt were mine or were being picked up from the person next to me.
No one ever showed me how to trust my own judgement and then let the cards fall where they may.
So I was medicated. I chose it. Just like you’re medicated now. Yes, you; the beautifully gifted woman who is reading this blog post. I was you! I thought it was the best way, the only way to function, to be normal. And it did help, for a while. Kind of. But it wasn’t a long-term fix. It never could be. Not for me.
So what am I going on about then? Am I saying mental illness isn’t real? No, I’m definitely not saying that.
Am I saying that people shouldn’t take medication when they need it? No, I’m not saying that either. Sometimes medication is part of the solution that will keep you sane.
But when you have anxiety and you don’t sleep, I’m suggesting that maybe, just maybe, we’re culturally trained to be in too much of a hurry to muffle those emotions that are rising up and causing our disquiet.
When a woman tells me she wakes in the middle of the night for no reason because she feels like she’s forgotten something important and then, when it happens repeatedly for months, she medicates to block it out, I really feel there’s something wrong.
When another woman tells me her anxiety is out of control and her first response is to get medication to shut it up, but she’s not looked underneath to see what’s caused it, and she just wants to keep going because she ‘has to’, I really feel there’s something wrong.
When another one tells me her psychologist advises her not to meditate (which is simply the act of being present with yourself), I really feel there’s something wrong.
If we cannot ‘be’ with ourselves then there is a reason. And the reason in so many of the examples I hear is because women are not allowing themselves to ‘be’ with themselves. That disquiet we’re feeling, the anxiety that overtakes our minds and paralyses us is caused by our bodies trying to tell us something. It’s a response with a message and that message comes from deep within. It’s our soul telling us, ‘Hey, there’s something you need to look at here.’ Yet too often our response, our culturally-conditioned response is, ‘I can’t stop and listen to that voice. I can’t peer under those layers because I don’t have time. I have to keep going. I have to keep doing, doing, doing. I have to look after everyone else.’
So we medicate.
It breaks my heart. It makes me angry. It makes me feel despairing. When our first recourse is to medicate rather than heed our inner voice, I believe that is a tragedy. Because your inner voice is worth listening to. It’s yours. It’s trying to tell you something. But when you medicate unnecessarily you muzzle the messenger.
And that messenger is you.
When the idea for this blog arose a couple of days ago, I felt a bit tentative about it. Anxiety, and its loathsome sidekick depression, are sensitive issues and experiencing them, or witnessing someone we care about in depths of these rampant destructors, is traumatic, soul-destroying and deeply personal.
Nevertheless, after reading the thoughts of Chris Nicholas in his blog about mental illness and the need for us to do more (see Introspection and Loss), I felt compelled to share my story in the hope that perhaps, by sharing my own experiences, it might help one another person to navigate their own journey more safely and easily.
Anxiety was my very frequent and unwelcome companion throughout high school. It stalked me at every turn and manifested in a unique propensity to cry at the drop of a hat. I cried all the time. Whenever I was faced with new experiences I usually felt overwhelmed and the tears would start. Fear would turn on the taps and the salt water would pour forth. I can remember starting my first ever clarinet lesson in Grade 8 and crying because I felt so out of my depth. I had barely started and the newness of the experience and the unfamiliarity of the teacher was all too much. I lasted three lessons then never returned.
By Grade 12 I was crying less but inside I was still a mess. I was the lead in the school musical, secretary of the student council and had a diverse and large group of friends. But in my room at night I struggled and often felt like I was climbing the walls. My parents had done their best to get me help over the years with counselors but none of it seemed to work and I guess, as a highly-strung and chronic perfectionist, I became good at hiding my inner torment. On the outside I was an above-average, successful student. On the inside I was a basket-case.
By 23, I was on anti-depressants. Over the following 10 years I’d regularly visit a psychiatrist and numerous counselors as I sought to vanquish my anxious and depressive demons. The demons wreaked havoc in my gut and the medication messed with my weight. But every time I eased back or off the medication entirely, the symptoms would return within months. However, throughout all this time, I was a success on the surface with a good husband and a growing public relations career. I was also a highly judgmental young woman and had a view of the world that was strictly black and white. It wasn’t until much later that I’d realise those harsh judgements of others were the direct result of my own cruel judgement of myself.
Fortunately for me, life began to change in my early 30s and it was this shift that would ultimately help me force that anxiety and occasional depression back into the box where they belonged. Looking back now, I can put these changes down to a journey where I would finally uncover my self-worth and ultimately become a far more grounded human being.
Like a lot of people, I’d never really been shown how to value myself and trust my own judgement first, above all others. As young people we seek the advice of those older than us and, if we are insecure (like I was), we will often think others (even our peers) know best or more than us because we have no faith in ourselves whatsoever. Self-reliance and encouragement to go within for our answers is not frequently taught. Perhaps this is because it would encourage a little too much free-thinking in certain situations and this would disruptive?
Taking steps to connect more fully to who I am, and valuing myself and my capacity to make good decisions for me, has been an integral part in managing my anxiety and depression. But it’s not the full story.
The second component has involved learning to live in my head less and in my heart and body more. As a strongly energetic being (a psychic channel, no less), I am susceptible to picking up the energies of other people. This coupled with a mind that is strongly molded in the Western traditions of rationality and logic, has created numerous conflicts within me. My mind wants to reason everything through and weigh everything up (I am a Libran after all) while my intuitive self and my heart know there is often a very good reason to turn down reason and instead listen to the messages the Universe sends to help me on my journey. In hindsight, I wonder how often I was picking up the energies of others while I was growing up without knowing it. I also wonder if this fed my anxiety and twisted my mind into finding ways to reason through emotions, impressions and my own responses that simply had no rational cause.
Living in your head all the time also means you’re frequently not feeling connected to your body and that equals ungroundedness – a feeling of not being connected to the earth and not being present in the moment. It’s taken me a very long time to know what being grounded feels like and it’s an ongoing practice that I’m still seeking to perfect. But, I have to tell you, being grounded makes managing myself and the daily stresses of life a whole lot easier.
Thankfully, I left the anti-depressants behind in my early 30s. And these days I manage my rare bouts of anxiety with strategies ranging from acupuncture to meditation, exercise and natural remedies. Occasionally I will also see a counselor to talk through and release the thoughts scurrying through my mind.
Will I need medication again in the future? Who knows. If life throws me some unforeseen, painful or traumatic event then maybe I will. And that will okay too.
Do I think my process is a magical cure for everyone. No. I don’t. Everyone’s body is different and some people may always need medical assistance to manage their anxiety and depression. Others may take medication for a while, get better for a while, then regress. That’s the sometimes unpredictable nature of mental health and for everyone it is a unique and very personal journey.
However, I firmly believe that my lack of self-worth and being ungrounded were strong contributors to my personal experiences of anxiety and depression. I also believe that people are happier and more balanced if they are strongly connected to their inner selves, have strong self-worth and are grounded in their bodies.
Perhaps if we can teach our young people how to access these feelings and connections they will be less stressed-out and able to live their individual purpose on this planet with more ease and grace. And if my story can help just one other teenager avoid my less than ideal experiences, then that would be a true blessing indeed.
I am a classic over-thinker. I can’t say it’s a gift exactly but it is definitely a strength of mine. The ability to run scenarios through my head about what could happen, when things might happen and how I can contrive for things to occur when I want them to has, until recently, been a regular activity.
I’m well aware that I’m not alone in this propensity. As I chat to friends it is obvious that many of us suffer from the same affliction.
But you will note that I’ve said ‘until recently’ and yes, the truth is I’ve begun to wrestle in earnest with my over-thinking and, in some situations, I’m surprising myself with success. Instead of wearying my brain with numerous options, I am practising the enemy of over-thinking. That is, I am being present.
Being present is a glorious alternative to over-thinking but needs constant practice. It also requires you to keep a strict vigilance on your mind because, if you’re like me, your mind loves to over-think. I would even say we’re bred for it. For example, take a look at how we need to consume information today. Facebook, Instagram, emails, Google, What’s app, Viber. Every corner we turn there is more information to be accessed and it’s a bombardment. Log in to Facebook and before you know it, you’ve lost three hours scrolling through a news feed featuring information you’ve absorbed but can’t remember.
Add this to the common expectation that we all need to know what we’re doing, where we’re going and our need to ‘have it all together’ and our minds go into over-drive. Seriously, it’s insane what we do in our minds every single day.
We forget that no one really knows what they’re doing. Most of us are making it up as we go along. But somewhere within our cultural conditioning we’re taught that we need to plan and control everything in our lives. We’re taught that we should ‘know’ what we’re doing. But we don’t so we keep coming up short and that just makes us think more about what we’re not doing or should be doing and how we can fix it.
All of this is exhausting and, if you look at it more objectively, it’s kind of ridiculous. It’s like when someone says to me they have a strict five-year plan for how their life is going to work out and I think to myself, ‘Well honey, by all means put a rough structure around it but you actually don’t know what life is going to throw at you tomorrow so be prepared to be flexible.’
The truth is, the only thing we can control is what we do right now, right in this minute. Everything else is in the hands of the Universe and aligns with a plan we know nothing about. So over-thinking it is (how do I put this kindly), not overly helpful.
As I mentioned earlier, the solution is the practice of being present and it’s a challenge for almost everyone. It is the practice of consciously stepping back from the information channels that litter our lives and choosing instead to move to an inwardly focused place of calm. Of course, to get to the calm you must first face down the thoughts that tell you that you must be doing something, fixing something or learning something right now. You must say to your mind, ‘Thank you. I appreciate you are doing what you think is best but it’s really not helping. For now I am going to focus on the now and being present.’
Your mind won’t like it when you start this practice. It will do it’s very best to distract and draw you back to those multiple information channels where your attention is surely immediately needed. It will tell you that if you think about things a little more then you will work everything out and create neat order in your life. But I encourage you to resist its badgering and persevere with your intention to be present because what will happen is really something quite magical.
You will slow down, feel calmer and better able to manage your life. You will also become more accepting of yourself and reduce self-judgement as you begin to realise there is less need to hurry and a greater need to be still. And through this practice you will find the answers to your questions often come more quickly because they don’t need to fight through the noise your mind has been making. You will also feel a lesser need to control everything and become more accepting of the flow of your life.
I promise you, it is possible for this to happen. But it is a practice and you will occasionally slip back into your over-thinking. Lord knows, I do. However, I’m encouraged by my own attempts to be consciously present because they are helping me to navigate relationships and my life so much more effectively. Instead of worrying about what might happen, I am going with the flow more often and with my over-thinking tendencies, this is truly one of the greatest gifts I could give myself.
So, if you’re ready to throw off the curse of the over-thinker, find a way to consciously step back from the information bombardment, and let go of trying know all the answers and control every outcome. Find a way to be present and kindly but firmly tell your mind to rest for a while. I promise you it will be worth it.