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Gratitude and shifting consciousness

gratitudeFirst of all, I would like to express my gratitude to all of those individuals who have supported my journey through this incredible process of raising my own awareness and shifting consciousness to where I am today.  Of course, there is so much work still to be done… there always will be.  But I do try to stay on course and contribute to the improvement of the human experience to the best of my ability.

This year, my own personal life lessons have been around gratitude and empathy.  The most important shift happened during a journey workshop which I began attending in January 2015.  At first I found the marketing for this work off-putting, and wondered if the work was this powerful did it really need such hard advertising.  My doubts were lifted when on the first day of the workshop I felt a transformation within myself.  Suddenly my feelings were given permission and the space to come to the surface.  In the past, my true feelings were suppressed with shame and anger.  This was a life changing realization. I was given permission (by myself) to address my deeper feelings, no matter what they were.  I was learning self-empathy.

The value of this lesson has been exponential. The walls of protection I had built around myself came from a difficult childhood; being lied to created self doubt, growing up in a dictatorship left no space for negotiation, communication, or reconciliation.  I was part of the greater family unit that has been dysfunctional for generations (aren’t most families??)  My point in saying this is only that the process of working on my own ability to be self-empathetic has made me more empathetic to others as well.  This has had a powerful effect on my family dynamic, as we deal with some complicated ongoing issues, and six strong personalities.  My ability to make decisions based on the needs others is now filtered through my own highest being.  I have begun replacing the protective and impenetrable walls I had built around myself.  These walls were ineffective, because what was on the inside could not get out, which meant that when I let people in, I became vulnerable to their needs before my own.  The walls are being replaced with a filtration system that is my empathy.  This of course is a process that needs to be checked on regularly.  It is an easy process for the nervous system to go back to the ‘automatic’ responses to stimulus that the nervous system finds familiar.

I don’t believe that we intentionally create mental blocks within ourselves, nor do I believe that anyone wants to be miserable.  I believe that many people have not learned to reflect on their feelings, why or where the source of these feelings occurred.  We are raised to respect our elders and parents – and this is a good thing however what many people are not raised to do is to trust their own feelings FIRST.  Sometimes the most innocent thing can create blockage, a simple experience could cause us to create a mental vow that can be damaging to us.

Every year at this time, I try to reflect on the lessons of the year, the positive moments and the challenges that came up.  I try to see if hindsight can offer any wisdom on the situation, as well as what personal growth may have happened during these times.  Loving kindness comes from the heart, and should not be shadowed with any intention other than itself.  As soon as any shadow appears on our purest intentions the problems of human existence appear.

This Holiday Season, I am going to collect all of the objects that are abundant and underutilized in my home especially warm clothing.  It is a good year to help others, as we will have many innocents arriving who may not have experienced the challenges of a Canadian winter.  I hope that we can all embody a little more gratitude and self-forgiveness.  No matter what your belief system, it all starts with self.

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