Friday, September 28, 2012

Autumn is Here!

Autumn is in the air, can you feel it? The Autumn Equinox occurs on the cusp of astrological sign of Libra, the symbol of the scales representing the balance of light and dark. The beginning of the fall season is also the ideal time to set the intention to cultivate personal balance and inner harmony. From the Equinox forward, the nights become longer and the days become shorter. The word "equinox" comes from the Latin term that simply means "equal night."

When the Fall Equinox occurs, the universal energy on our planet shifts, and all of life begins to turn inward. Accompanying the Fall Equinox is a shift from the more "Yang" masculine, action oriented self, to a more "Yin" feminine, intuitive, receptive self. We are being invited into the realms of our inner-worlds, perhaps giving ourselves permission to sleep a little more and delve more fully into our subconscious worlds of dreaming, meditation, contemplation, prayer and creativity.

Autumn is Earth's designated time to turn inward and surrender. As the nights lengthen and cool, the trees change into their warm and varied colors we are reminded of the cycles mirrored in our lives. As we witness the trees begin to surrender their warm, bright and varied colored leaves, we may be inspired to surrender and relinquish those things that are a burden or no longer serving us. All religious traditions pay tribute to such acts of relinquishment. Fall is the time to practice getting out of the way and invite Spirit to take greater charge of our lives.

The beginning of the Fall season can be a powerful time to take personal inventory and reflect on the seeds you have planted and if those seeds have grown into fruition. It is an opportunity to acknowledge how far you have come and where you may want to go next. This is a potentially a transformational time, where you have the opportunity to take greater responsibility and refocus your attention on what you truly want to manifest and then set the intention to create it.

As we go deeper into the Fall, we celebrate the season of grace, gratitude and thanksgiving. The time of the abundant harvest is symbolized by cornucopias and horn of plenty, overflowing with great bounty. This is joyously accompanied by huge feasts, celebration, music and dance. This is the perfect occasion to consciously open your heart more fully in generosity and celebrate both your divine connection and human relationships. This is a beautiful season to begin a tithing practice or give more fully of your heart, energy, resources, talents and time.

Our time here on Earth is temporary and to meet the seasons with an open and vulnerable heart helps us experience a deeper and more soulful life. To venture forward courageously, with intentionality, while taking responsibility, can support each of us in becoming more empowered and more fulfilled. It can also help us cultivate greater affection and reverence for ourselves for each other and for the world.

Dr. Tammi Baliszewski is a holistic life counselor, author, artist and sacred art facilitator. To learn more about Tammi and her services, or to receive your free Manifesting Report and MP3 guided meditation, please visit her website at Tammi also hosts a weekly radio show Called "Journey to Center"

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Inner Child and Our Adult Relationships

Everyone wants to be happy and in love. So why after we meet that someone special does the drama set in? It seems as soon as the honeymoon phase is over, often romantic partnerships start to include the unpleasant qualities of drama and confusion. Even the most magical connections that start with instant recognition, fireworks and intoxicating joy, shift and evolve to also contain elements of hurt feelings, disillusionment and pain. In truth, pain is the most powerful gift of partnership. Relationships are not necessarily meant to have us live happily ever after, but to have the places inside that hurt be exposed for the opportunity for soul level healing. However, most people weren't taught this - or how to take advantage of the powerful gift of pain.

Anytime we are in a great deal of upset, there is a line of energy going back to an earlier time in our lives when we experienced hurt or disappointment. However, rather than addressing past hurts the tendency is to fight, argue, blame and defend our position in the present. The key to shift from drama and chaos to peace and happiness is the Inner Child.

As children we all have been hurt - even in the happiest of homes. Anytime we did not get our needs met, were not validated, felt abandoned, did not feel safe, supported or loved we experience an "emotional wounding." This wounding can stunt our growth and we start to collect our backpack of hurts. As adults, most have a significant collection of emotional trauma and are carrying around overstuffed, heavy backpacks of pain - even if they do not know it or cannot consciously recall the details of when, where or what caused it.

As a counselor I frequently work with couples that are experiencing challenges. Often couples in distress play the blame game, vie for power and fight to be right. They want to be heard but don't necessarily want to hear. My job is to support them in really listening to each other and then give them tools to bring peace, understanding and a sense of connection back to their relationship.

An example of the inner children affecting an adult relationship happened with my clients James and Linda. Linda often felt that James was not making her a priority. He would go golfing with his buddies but rarely had the desire or inclination to schedule time to do something special with her. This made Linda very angry. James in turn felt they spent a lot quality time together and wondered why Linda was making such a big deal about him having his guy time. He was confused, frustrated and hurt. Something I know to be true is underneath anger is hurt and underneath hurt is love. Since Linda was feeling the more intense emotion at this time I wanted her to speak first. As she explained what she was feeling, James started to defend himself. I told him for now his job was simply to bepresent and to listen.

I proceeded to ask Linda more questions: "Linda what does it bring up for you when James makes plans to spend the day with his friends." Linda responded: "I feel unimportant and disregarded." Then I asked Linda to remember an earlier time in her life when she felt this way. "Well, as a teenager I felt my boyfriend liked his guy friends better than me." I asked Linda to go back even further: "When is the very first time you remember feeling this way?" Linda was quiet for a moment, then her eyes began to fill with tears. "When my father told me he and my mother were getting a divorce. He promised he would come see me every week and that he still loved me. But he didn't come see me every week. Soon he remarried and had my half-brother. I never felt like my dad loved me as much as him." Tears were now streaming down her face. I asked how old she was when this happened, she told me she was seven. James heart opened in understanding and compassion.

Next I asked James to focus on his experience in this situation. What did he feel when Linda got upset about him hanging out with the guys. He said sad and frustrated. I asked him to follow that line of energy back to the first time he remembered feeling this way. He said he was probably eleven. James told us his mother would often make him include his younger sister when he wanted to hang out with his friends. He told us this made him feel embarrassed in front of his friends but also afraid because he did not want to disappoint his mother. We soon found out this dynamic had very little to do with golf and had everything to do with one another's wounds being touched and provoked. This situation reduced Linda to a hurt and abandoned seven year old and James to an ashamed and fearful eleven year old. As we explored these past hurts more deeply Linda and James started to have compassion and understanding for their inner children, for themselves and for each other. From this more aware place a great healing occurred and they were easily able to find ways to take responsibility for themselves and make plans to include each other.

Linda and James now have the awareness and tools to support themselves when hurt comes up. The first step is to "self sooth" which means to get in touch with the part of inside of themselves that needs attention. An easy way to do this is simply ask this question inwardly: "How old am I now" and "who inside of me needs my love and attention?" It is always a younger aspect of oneself. The second step is to listen to what the Inner Child has to say. What do they want? How you can take care of them and help them feel better right now. This simple two step process can support us in not only stabilizing mentally and healing emotionally but to evolve spiritually. When we unravel pain from the bottom up and from the inside out the natural byproduct is to see life, and our relationships, from a much clearer, cleaner and healthier perspective.

Once this simple exercise has been completed a more adult conscious conversation with ones partner can ensue. This conversation is best addressed as open ended questions and deep listening. Some examples might include "How are you feeling? What is coming up for you now? What is beneath this?" Remember beneath anger is hurt and beneath hurt is love. In order to go deeper and get down through the layers of anger and pain and back to love, it is important to be present, hold space, ask questions and listen. Learning to communicate through upset becomes a powerful healing opportunity and more about understanding, learning and listening than being right, being heard and winning.

Another simple technique I sometimes suggest is finding an object such as a stuffed animal, a crystal or a "talking stick." When one person is in possession of this symbol, they get to talk; the other can only listen, ask questions and/or be silent. Once that person feels heard, understood and are complete, the symbol can be handed off to the other and it is their turn to share their thoughts and feelings. This is a very different way of communicating and a powerful way of coming back to connection, understanding, respect and love.

Relationships can be hard, but they don't have to be. Once we cultivate a conscious relationship with our Inner Child, we no longer need another to be any different than they are or validate us in order for us to feel loved, because we know how to do it for ourselves. When we know how to take responsibility for ourselves, acknowledge ourselves, love ourselves and take care of our Inner Child we are on more solid ground within and we become more whole. This simple practice reduces the pressure and expectations we place on our partner, and renders us more capable of unconditional love, acceptance and peace. From this more healed and whole place heartfelt connections are more easily maintained, appreciation is more present, respect is natural and intimacy can flourish.

To learn more about the Inner Child listen to Dr. Tammi's interview with Cathryn Talor, best selling author of "The Inner Child Workbook" copy and paste this link to your browser

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Gift of Tears

As a Holistic Life Counselor I often support people in navigating through the confusing terrain of grief. During the healing journey deep sadness can bubble up as suppressed emotion from the past, or by virtue of a current situation which can unleash an unexpected river of tears. Last week one of my clients was in a great deal of pain and my advice to her was: "Do not fight or suppress your tears, allow them to wash through you. Relax into your feelings without resistance and eventually you will get to the other side." I wholeheartedly agree with Gary Zukav who has said: "Tears are the healing balm to the soul." However, it is potentially compelling to deny our tears, build walls around our hearts and distract ourselves from pain, because it hurts to hurt.

Pain is part of life - a basic ingredient of the human experience. Carl Jung has said: "Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering." Many people walking around on planet Earth are in pain and attempt to ignore, avoid or deny it. Unexpressed emotion can cause a disconnection within oneself and create a sense of detachment. It renders us incapable of authentic empathy or compassion for ourselves or others. It can leave us feeling dull and seeing our lives through a haze or gray fog.  As we attempt to squelch our pain, we also limit our ability to see the vibrant colors of joy. 

Many of us grew up hearing big kids don't cry. For some, tears may be perceived as sign of weakness or vulnerability. Hurts that were too much to bear as a young person can be locked away in the closet of the subconscious, take up residence in our psyche and control our lives from behind the scenes. My advice to anyone who will listen is: "Tears are a gift. Whenever they present themselves, let them flow. Accepting and allowing them without resistance can heal us on a very deep level." In Eastern traditions, the element of water is associated with emotion, which is meant to flow without obstruction. The shedding of tears can be a release for what is too much to sustain in the body, mind and heart. When feelings or emotions become frozen or crystallized in the energy field it can cause harm in multiple ways.

Recently I had the opportunity to take my own advice. I received a phone call and was informed that a friend of mine had been killed. The news was shocking and utterly heartbreaking.  As I sat down dizzy with the news, I felt my heart begin to shatter into a trillion pieces. No sense can be made of such a tragic situation, the only thing I could do was cry. I wanted to run, I wanted to hide, I wanted to escape, but there was no place I could go that would minimize the pain. And so, I acquiesced to my anguish, and I wept.

The following day a friend reminded me pain and tragedy is a part of life and my dear sweet friend is in heaven and in the arms of God. He spoke to me of truth; that each person in this situation has their own curriculum and we cannot begin to understand what that might be. Though I knew his words were the "Truest Truth," they did not alleviate my hurt. Perhaps soon I will feel a greater sense of acceptance. But for now I give myself permission to surrender to the grief and allow my tears to flow.

Marianne Williamson has a powerful quote: "If you have 100 tears to cry 98 will not be enough." Allowing all of our tears to fall is vital if we are to be healthy, happy and whole. Being fully human means be able to experience the full spectrum of emotions. I am certain most of us would prefer to avoid suffering, but if we do not only do we risk neurosis, we lose access to our inner compass and the alignment to our own heart and soul.

When we avoid feeling hurt and pain we also limit our ability to experience to authentic happiness, connection and true love. What I know from having experienced loss and supporting others in walking through grief, is it can be a gift. Acknowledging and processing our deep pain can refine, hone and help us become more empathetic, compassionate, loving, soulful beings. It can increase our ability to be fully present with another as they walk through their own pain. Fully allowing our grief can open our hearts and assist us in being of greater service in the world. It also keeps us open to experiencing and embracing the higher realms of vibration such as gratitude, faith, wonder, celebration, magic, miracles and joy.

So the next time you feel the sting of tears threatening the back of your eyes, remember they are not your enemy or something to suppress or ignore. Instead they are your friends, a gift and important companions on this human journey. Tears are the healer of hurts, the tangible expression of emotion and the redeemer of angst. The release of all your tears can help clear confusion and lift the heavy gray clouds of grief so you can, in time, see all the brilliant, spectacular colors of the rainbow and reclaim the experience of being truly, vitally and vibrantly alive.

For more about emotions, listen to my conversation with spiritual teacher, Chuck Danes, at: