Sound Healing, Pipe Organs & Royal Rife

Don’t Take on Other’s Stuff

5 Common Ways Of Transmuting Emotional Energies

| September 19, 2016 

5 Common Ways Of Transmuting Emotional Energies

by Michelle Walling, CHLC

Relationships are a gift whether you are on the giving end or the receiving end. Being able to share consciousness with another human being is a balancing act. There are 5 common ways of transmuting emotional energies that may cause conflicts within a relationship.

What do you do if you are suddenly the recipient of unwarranted anger or negative emotions? Our innate programming usually leads us to defend ourselves which is a natural deflection and return of these negative energies. One of the ego’s roles is that of protection and this action creates a behavioral pattern that can be broken with awareness and intention.

Emotions are energy-in-motion and are the unique tool of the human body that allows it to feel and create. Those that carry a high vibration have less negative energy and therefore exhibit less negative emotions. These people were either born a “saint” and never held anything against anyone else or they had a lot of work to do to get them to where they are now.

There aren’t many saints on the planet at this time, although the numbers are rapidly growing because people are recognizing these 5 ways of transmuting emotional energies and are learning to deal with them in a whole new way:

  1. Anger– This is the most common way to expel negative energies. This is usually triggered when someone gets their feelings hurt or when a deep seeded emotion of abuse from childhood or even from a past life is triggered.
  1. Crying– Some people may cry to release painful memories. This seems to be more of the female population that allows themselves to do this, as men have been programmed to think that they need to be macho. When a man falls in love through a relationship or with the birth of a child for example, the heart chakra opens and allows for crying to be a valuable tool in transforming energies. Again, it is not as important to know where these energies came from as it is to allow them to pass through and be expelled.
  1. Sarcasm– This is a quick witted way to move through negative energy using a little humor and laughter. It is a paradoxical way to let an energy out while at the same time transmuting it with laughter which is of a high vibration. Eventually someone who has removed their lower vibrational energy will not use this tool.
  1. Passive aggressive behavior– People who act submissive and indecisive to draw in conflict are using this as a tool to move energy without creating the conflict themselves. The ego likes to do this because it then says, “see, I didn’t start this argument. This is not my fault”. Those that are being passive aggressive are usually not aware of their actions and always think of themselves as the victim.
  1. Depression– The state of depression is the mind’s way of making the person’s world stop at a particular vibration so that it can be examined. This may involve long periods of isolation and deep unhappiness. Chronic depression is an extreme way to trigger a person to see that something has to change. The holistic way to deal with depression is to move that energy that is perpetually stuck. Many times the cause of the energy has to be uncovered and depression serves as the clue that this energy must be looked at on a deeper level in order to heal the underlying cause. Psychology, energy healing, and hypnosis or past life regression are better ways to heal depression rather than pharmaceuticals which only relieve symptoms of depression. In severe cases of depression, a mix of both pharmaceuticals and therapy may be necessary for a period of time, especially in those who have suicidal thoughts.

The thing to focus on if you are the recipient of someone expelling negative energy toward you is to learn how to not take it on as your own. This involves recognizing that you can serve them by being the witness of the anger or sarcasm tool used to say “pay attention to me, I am hurting and I have energy I need to transmute”.

Sometimes our jobs as loving soul mates means that we agreed to provide situation that trigger these emotions to come to the surface. Realizing this puts us in the right frame of mind to observe rather than react. If this becomes a repeated pattern with the person then it is showing that they are not completely letting go of the energy and you may need to assist them a little further by talking about it or perhaps with some energy work with them.

Another service you can provide is to create a shield of protection that not only keeps the energy out of your aura but also transmutes it as well. Here is a way to create a shield that you can put up daily.

Take several deep breaths, breathing in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Now imagine that you are a tree and that your feet and toes are roots that go deep within the Earth. Connect with the core of the Earth (the Earth’s heart) and imagine her energies coming back up through your roots, into your root chakra, sexual chakra, sacral charka, and finally settling into your heart. Imagine that you have a column of golden white light coming in through the top of your head that comes form Source (All That Is, God, or whatever name you choose). Imagine this light comes also comes through your oversoul and higher self into your crown chakra, then into your third eye, throat chakra, and meets the Earth’s energy in your heart. Turn the mixture of this energy into a ball of golden light that you then expand as a force field around you that keeps you protected. Intend that all negative energies that come your way are absorbed on the exterior of that force field and sent down into the planet to be transmuted. (There are loving elementals that do this as their service to the planet that can handle these types of energies.) Take a few deep breaths and thank the Universe and all beings that are working with you in your highest good for helping to transmute energies for all beings that need it who come around your energy field. You are now a walking transmutation golden bubble of Source energy, grounded into the planet!

Don Miguel Ruiz says it best with one of the Four Agreements from his book of the same name:

Don’t take anything personally- Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that we attract what is most like ourselves on a vibrational standpoint. If someone is angry with you, perhaps it may be a reflection of your own anger and they are giving you a clue by matching your vibration. This is a great gift because it can trigger the need to look deeper within yourself to see what still needs to be healed.

It is imperative that we learn how to be responsible with our own energies, thoughts, and actions. Intention and action to recognize and react differently to situations will break down the programming that has ./.kept us in a cycle of dissonance and unhappiness.

Our external world is a reflection of our inner world. As we shift the energy within, our external world has to change. The place of transformation is the heart center, which is made up of the highest vibration of love. Find your heart center and exist within it, and watch the world around you along with all of those that are in it either change to match it or leave your reality.


On Forgiveness

Forgiveness As The Ultimate Act Of Self-Love!

May 15, 2016

Forgiveness As The Ultimate Act Of Self-Love!

by Ellyn Dye
Guest writer for

Forgiveness can be a really sticky issue. Everyone knows it is “blessed” to forgive, yet most of us secretly—or not-so-secretly— harbor grudges, carry resentments, relive betrayals, and plot revenge, if only in our fantasies. After all, we “earned” those stripes through our own pain and anguish. If we let all that go, we lose part of ourselves, don’t we?? If we let it go, it means it doesn’t matter that we were hurt, doesn’t it?? Often people resist forgiving because they believe that in doing so they are condoning the bad behavior, invalidating their own experience and pain, pretending it never happened, and letting the person off “scot free.” That is simply not the case.

Forgiveness means acknowledging and accepting that something very painful happened or, yes, was done to you… and then letting it go and leaving it in the past where it belongs, so you can heal and move on in your own life. The other person probably moved on a long time ago!

And remember, it is totally up to you what, if any, future relationship you have with that person, and that will likely depend on whether he/she apologized, expressed true remorse, made amends, and worked to earn your trust again. Remember the adage: “Hurt me once, shame on YOU. Hurt me twice, shame on ME.” It’s true! “Turning the other cheek” may mean turning and walking away! We definitely don’t have to go back for a “second dose,” and it behooves us to learn from our experiences. We can only learn who people really are by observing, and sometimes experiencing, their actions. Every action is information about who a person is and whether we want him/her in our lives. And, as Maya Angelou said, “When a person shows you who they are, believe them!”

Holding on to past grievances is like permanently holding ourselves in the moment of the pain so we can relive it over and over again.When we are still stuck emotionally in a painful event, we are stuck firmly in the past, not moving forward with our lives, and we are giving our lives over to that single event. It becomes a defining moment for us. Many people actually define their entire existence in terms of what someone else did to them years, or even decades ago! Is it possible they want their entire life to become a shrine to one painful event? Why? What is the emotional payoff for that?

Think of it this way:  Someone walks up and hits you in the head with a baseball bat and walks away. Instead of going home to get first aid and heal your wound, you pick up the baseball bat and, over the next few years, periodically pick up the bat and hit yourself in the head again. By the end of five years, you’ve hit yourself in the head a few thousand times, with your built-up anger and resentment adding force to each blow. The person who originally hit you with the bat only did it once. So, at the end of the five years, who caused you the most pain and the most harm? That person or you?

Emotional pain, anger, resentment, and bitterness build up in our systems if we don’t vent them and let them go. Emotions are intended to be Energy in Motion, and emotional energies can cause all kinds of problems if they don’t move out of our systems. They are like toxic fumes that continually swirl around us. They make us sick and, worse, attract more toxic fumes… that will attract more painful events… that will emit more toxic fumes…

We create a continuing loop, and each time we relive the event in our minds, the neural networks that were created become deeper and stronger, so it is easier to “fall back” into that thought and feeling. It poisons our minds, our hearts, our bodies, and our lives, and often the lives of those around us. Before long, we view everything through that filter and our vision, our thoughts, and our emotional processes are so poisoned that the only thing we can see, think, or feel is pain, anger, resentment, and bitterness. We begin to believe that Life is defined by that, and we no longer allow anything else in, because our outer reality always proves that our beliefs are true!

It also traps us in victim mode. By holding on to past grievances and marinating ourselves in those toxic emotions, we give every ounce of our power away to the other person.We give up responsibility for ourselves and our emotional state of being, we wallow in our self-pity, and we give others power over our lives.

The truth is, no one can truly hurt us unless we let them.(OUCH!) Knowingly or unknowingly, we contribute to our own pain. We may not have control over what others do but, contrary to popular belief, we DO have control over how we respond. We can cling to the pain and relive it, or we can heal and walk away. In fact, it is never the experiences that create our lives and who we are, it is how we respond to them. Do we learn and grow and rise above, or do we fall and wallow and give up? It really is our choice.


As is so often the case, we can learn so much from the children. Kids know how to “shake it off,” unless the adults teach them to cling to their pain. A happy child falls, skins a knee, has mom “fix it,” and then runs out to play again. Kids accept that pain is just something that happens in life. They know all too well that sometimes people are mean and do things that hurt them, and they don’t let it stop them. We could use a lot more of that!

We owe it to ourselves to forgive. It is all for US, not for them. Forgiveness is truly a “selfish act,” and it really does set us free.

So how do we do that? When someone betrays us; abuses us; takes advantage of us; causes physical, mental, or emotional harm, how do we work our way to the point where we can forgive them and let it go? How do we, as Jiminy Cricket used to say, “Pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again”?

It isn’t always easy, and we generally have to go one step at a time, but it may be the most important part of our healing process. If we can reframe our understanding of the event, we can often change our perspective enough to forgive and make lemonade from those lemons. Here are some ways to reframe:

Recognize that everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have at the time. This includes ALL resources, such as emotional understanding and capacity, self-esteem, knowledge, wisdom, experience, energy, ability to empathize with others, and level of overwhelm. Most people are running on empty, especially in the last few years: they are stretched so thin, they don’t have enough time, energy, money, strength, or mental or emotional capacity to cope. People are running on auto-pilot, and when a complex situation presents itself that requires discernment, integrity, generosity, kindness, and love, often they only have the ability to react out of fear. They cannot think about the impact of their actions on other people, because they are struggling just to manage a situation and get through it.

Even when people do try to consider others, they still don’t really know the full impact of their actions; none of us can ever really know, because a person’s reaction to what we do is based not only on what we do, but also on their entire emotional history.

What other people do to us is not really about US. How we react to what other people do to us is not really about THEM.

What people do comes from their state of mind, emotional state, and emotional baggage. How we react to anything that happens to us comes from our state of mind, emotional state, and emotional baggage.

This is an important distinction: our reactions and sensitivities to what others do is our own, based on everything that has ever happened to us and how we have reacted. People can push our buttons without even knowing we have those buttons, and we can push theirs. Heck, I can push people’s buttons just by walking into a room!! What is perfectly fine for one person can be highly offensive, threatening, or pain-invoking for someone else. And we have absolutely no way of knowing that until we find out the hard way, when they react in a totally unexpected way. It’s the same for others and our reactions. The key for all of us is to identify the buttons we have and heal the underlying pain, so there is no longer a button to push!

Forgive them, for they know not what they do. To me, this request, attributed to Jesus on the cross, is one of the most important, and most difficult, lessons in the Bible. When we can recognize that every action, by anyone, is either an act of love or a cry for love,and respond accordingly, we have truly released our attachment to control and pain and moved into love and compassion. When we can learn to be in that space of love and forgiveness, we have taken a giant step in our own healing and evolution.

Even when someone does something intentionally to be mean, inflicting damage or pain on purpose, they still do not know what they are doing or why. They are still only acting from the depths of their own fear, pain, and insecurity, doing the best they can. If bullies were not so terrified and self-loathing, themselves, they would not feel the need to inflict pain on others. Because of the abuse they have endured in their own lives, they can only feel powerful or good about themselves when they are putting others down or abusing them. They are getting through life the only way they know how, by treating others as they have been treated. Instead of healing their own pain, they inflict pain on others. Sadly, it appears that our culture has created a society of bullies. “The sins of the father,” passed down from generation to generation, are the dysfunctional, self-loathing ways of being in the world, based on the accumulated unhealed wounds and pain.

People who feel good about themselves, who are self-aware, and who have worked on their own healing, generally have no need to intentionally cause pain or create conflict; and if they do so by mistake, they usually can recognize it quickly and rectify it or make amends. People who indulge in desperate acts feel desperate inside. People who inflict pain are filled with pain, themselves. People who act badly simply are unable, in that moment, to act any better, for whatever reason. They cannot be focused on you and your pain, because they can only focus on their own. Forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Recognizing how we often participate in causing ourselves pain is a humbling experience, and an important step toward forgiveness of ourselves and others, as well as toward our own self-awareness.

We must understand that no one can hurt us emotionally unless we “let” them. Nothing anyone else does is deeply painful unless there is something inside us that resonates with it. That unhealed emotional pain inside us—or our attachment to control of external events and others—sets up a resonance and attracts more pain into our lives. It’s those “buttons” again, that keep getting pushed. Used consciously, an emotional response can alert us to our deep, unhealed pain so we can heal it and eliminate the buttons. Unfortunately, we usually just cling more to each painful incident, thus increasing the resonance in an escalating cycle.

When we blame others for how we feel, regardless of what they have done; when we give others the power to hurt us and “ruin” our lives, we keep ourselves trapped in that resonance-pain-resonance-pain feedback loop. And if we feel, deep inside, that we deserve pain—or if we have been betraying ourselves by allowing abuse—then pain and betrayal will become the pattern of our lives until we break the cycle. And it is up to us, not someone else, to do the work to heal and break the cycle. If we allow ourselves to be doormats, we cannot really hold it against someone who wipes his feet on us, because we invited the action, consciously or unconsciously.

As Doctor Phil says, it’s up to us to teach people how to treat us, and we do that every day in every interaction, consciously or unconsciously. We do it by what we allow and what we don’t allow. Our relationships show us what we are teaching people about how we believe we deserve to be treated—and sometimes, that’s not pretty! We often stay in abusive situations, hoping the other person will change, because we are too afraid to empower ourselves to leave and create our own change. Or, deep down, we believe that we deserve it. (We don’t—EVER! And sometimes that’s our biggest lesson!)

We can also sometimes unconsciously “invite” or set ourselves up for disappointment and pain by harboring unrealistic expectations of others and/or by not clearly conveying our expectations to others. That is a trap, and no one wins. Often, we feel that others should somehow “know” what we need, want, or expect (possibly because we are afraid to express our needs clearly, or don’t believe we deserve to have them met). When others do not fulfill those needs or expectations, we take it personally, feel hurt, and hold it against them. But our needs are our responsibility.

We also may expect others to act in the same ways that we would in a given situation; we expect someone to act fairly because we would, or we expect someone to consider our needs and feelings because we would do that for them. We expect others to share our values and integrity and, perhaps to even act in our interests instead of their own. But again, these are unrealistic expectations, and unrealistic expectations only set us


Nourishing The Chakras

7 Sacred Herbs for Activating and Harmonizing the Chakras

7 Sacred Herbs for Activating and Harmonizing the Chakras

15th February 2016

By Justin Faerman

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

While the chakras themselves are energetic/etheric in nature, they each have corresponding physical organs, glands and systems in the body that can, and do, have an effect on their functioning. When the associated organ/gland/system is weak or out of balance, the relevant chakra will be under active; and when the associated organ/system is balanced and healthy, the chakra will generally be in harmony.

This interconnectivity of the physical and etheric bodies goes the other way as well—if there is an energetic imbalance in a chakra, for example, as a result of emotional disturbances, then this can also cause the associated physical elements to become weak as well. As such, it is important to not only address physical imbalances with herbs and lifestyle adjustments, but also on an energetic level as well with breathwork, meditation, kriya/tantric yoga, qigong or whatever your preferred flavor of energetic medicine.

It is interesting to note that in the system of Traditional Chinese Medicine each organ corresponds to specific emotional states. This is an important distinction because, as mentioned, emotional patterns also have an effect on chakra function in the sense that negative emotions tend to disturb chakra function and positive emotional states tend to improve it. By using herbs to balance the underlying organs, glands and systems of the body, and hence the chakras themselves, it has the added benefit of helping us to work through the associated emotional patterns that may be also negatively impacting the chakras as well.

There are many different practices—both energetic and otherwise (as outlined earlier)—with the end goal of healing and balancing the chakras that are effective to varying degrees, but, like putting water into a bucket with holes in it, if the corresponding organs, glands or bodily systems are weak for whatever reason, simply charging the area with Qi or Prana will not necessarily be as effective as simultaneously working to heal any underlying imbalances in the physical body itself. Besides general lifestyle adjustments, there are few methods as powerful and effective as the proper use of herbal medicines to bring the various aspects of the body back into balance.

In a general sense, you will get the most benefit by using the following herbs as an adjunct to the energetic/etheric practices outlined above. With that being said, I recommend two ways of taking these herbs for maximum benefit and to avoid imbalances in the bodies—etheric and physical. The first is slightly more sophisticated and requires you to understand what chakras or organs/glands/systems may be weak in your body. If you have this awareness and knowledge then you will generally want to take specific herbs from the list below to treat that specific imbalance. On the other hand if you are not sure what is in or out of balance then I would recommend taking a blend of a small portion of each of the herbs outlined below in order to maintain systemic balance and harmony so as not to overactivate or neglect any specific chakra or part of the body.

1. Root Chakra (Mooladhara): Perineal Gland and Urogental System

Recommended Herb: Shilajit

Although not an herb in the traditional sense, Shilajit is the byproduct of thousands of different herbs because it is the solidified resin of prehistoric forests compacted under the weight of the Himalayas for eons of time. As such it is very grounding, building and rejuvenating, rich in minerals and other compounds that literally restore the body at a foundational level. In that sense, the root chakra is also foundational in the chakric system and helps us stay grounded energetically. Shilajit also works on a number of other systems, organs and glands in the body and has many other remarkable benefits that you can learn about in the in-depth article I’ve written on it here: as there is simply too much to go into for the scope of this article.

2. Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana): Sexual Organs and Kidneys

Recommended Herb: Schizandra Berries

7 Sacred Herbs for Activating and Harmonizing the Chakras - Berries

Schizandra is an incredible herb with many positive effects in the body, but it is particularly well known for strengthening and tonifying the sexual organs in both men and women. As a mild diuretic, it is also cleansing of the various energetic pathways that run through this area of the body and is particularly nourishing to the kidneys, making it an excellent herb for the sacral chakra and healing any underlying imbalances therein.

3. Solar Plexus (Manipura): Digestive Tract, Intestines and Adrenal Glands

Recommended Herb: Pine Pollen

Manipura is in many ways the seat of power in the body both etherically and physically—our digestive system is responsible for turning the food we eat into the vital energy that runs our body. When the digestive system is weak, everything suffers. The third chakra is also the etheric-emotional seat of our self-confidence and sense of personal power. Correspondingly, when it is weak or there are imbalances in this area, it manifests as fear, worry and anxiety, as these emotions arise when we lack self-confidence. Thermal bio-scans of thousands of people in large-scale research studies at major universities have found these emotions (fear, worry and anxiety) are concentrated and most often experienced in the third chakra area.

In that sense, few herbs strengthen the body quite like Pine Pollen. One of nature’s most treasured herbal medicines, Pine Pollen is rich in DHEA, the body’s master hormonal precursor, which nourishes the adrenal glands directly and balances the entire endocrine/glandular system, which is foundational to our sense of personal power and self. Pine Pollen is also phenomenally rich in rare and important nutrients and nourishes the body at deep levels, supplementing weak digestion, which is remarkably common, and giving us added energetic support, no matter what phase of life we are in. There are few things which energetically strengthen the body like Pine Pollen, making it a perfect corresponding herb for the third chakra.

4. Heart Chakra (Anahata): Heart and Lungs

Recommended Herb: Reishi Mushroom

7 Sacred Herbs for Activating and Harmonizing the Chakras - Reishi Mushrooms

In the Daoist tradition, Reishi is considered a supreme heart Qi tonic, meaning that it increases the flow of vital energy to the heart and strengthens it directly as a result. It is also calming and balancing to the nervous system, which helps with our overall emotional balance, of which the heart is the center in the body in many ways. Reishi is also a supreme ‘Shen’ tonic, which translates to herb that nourishes the spirit. As the Anahata chakra is the ‘gateway chakra’ to higher consciousness and the heart itself is one of the key intuitive centers of the body, Reishi is particularly nourishing and relevant as a tonic for this area. Reishi also increases blood flow to the heart and lungs, further supporting the organ systems underlying the heart chakra.

5. Throat Chakra (Vishuddhi): Thyroid Complex

Recommended Herb: Kelp/Seaweed

While there are many factors that influence thyroid health, perhaps the most pertinent is the supply of bioavailable iodine in the body. And there are few better sources of iodine than seaweeds. Rich in iodine and other important trace minerals, seaweeds supply the body with abundant raw nutritional materials that are hard to get and conspicuously lacking in modern western diets, even for those who eat quite healthfully. Iodine and the minerals in seaweed also strengthen the entire endocrine/glandular system as a whole, making it a great dietary addition for anyone doing regular energy or healing work.

6. Third Eye Chakra (Ajna): Pineal Gland, Brain

Recommended Herb: Gotu Kola

One of the premier herbs in the ancient Indian Ayurvedic system of holistic medicine is Gotu Kola, a powerful herb for the brain and related glands and systems. Gotu Kola enhances oxygen uptake to the brain specifically and to the body’s cells in general and has been shown to actually increase intelligence in long-term users. It has also been shown to enhance and harmonize trans-hemispheric communication in the brain, which is likely why it has been traditionally used by meditators. Brain hemisphere synchronization produces measurable changes in brainwave state into the alpha, gamma and theta spectrum, which are associated with expanded states of consciousness. Gotu Kola is also said to act directly on the pineal gland in part through the above mechanisms and due to the fact that it is a vasodilator, causing both increased blood and oxygen flow to key areas and glands within the brain and body.

7 Sacred Herbs for Activating and Harmonizing the Chakras - Gotu kola

The Hindus also consider it to be a powerful herb for balancing the pituitary gland and the crown chakra, essentially killing two birds with one stone. In that sense, the plant acts as a sort of ‘shortcut’ to help one access higher states of consciousness and awareness and is a key herb for harmonizing the brain and higher chakras.

7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara): Pituitary Gland

Recommended Herb: Sage

I’m going to make a non-traditional recommendation here. Most know sage as the premier smudging herb, but it can also be taken internally and works in much the same way—to clear the etheric body and physical body of energetic blockages and imbalances, as well as destructive influences. As the crown chakra is the gateway between the higher non-physical planes/energies and the body, it is fitting to suggest an herb that is energetically cleansing and harmonizing rather than deeply physical in its effects, although sage certainly has those properties as well. Recently discovered in some fascinating studies is sage’s ability to increase perceptual awareness, intelligence, brain function and memory; and those intuitively tuned into the deeper effects of the herb will notice it also enhances sensitivity to subtle energies, which further cements its appropriateness as a tonic for this chakra. Taken in tandem with Gotu Kola, all of the physical organs, glands and systems correlated with the crown chakra are are addressed, strengthened and balanced.

As always with herbs, seek organic, wildcrafted/harvested or biodynamic whenever possible and choose those with minimal, low-temperature processing to preserve active constituents and enhance potency. Start slow and work your way up in dosage to what intuitively feels right for your body as you acclimate to their effects, and be sure to take a few days’ break from the herbs now and then to let your body rest and integrate the changes.


Connecting with Animals

How to Connect Telepathically with Animals: A Practical Guide

Join Dr. Linda Bender for the Evolver Learning Lab course, “Connecting with Animal Wisdom: Awaken Your Heart and Intuition,” to deepen your relationship with animals and learn how animals can connect you more profoundly to all of life, and expand your consciousness. This live, 5-part interactive video course starts on September 23. For this series, Linda has gathered five leading animal experts, advocates, and healers: Andrew Harvey, Ellie Laks, Sandra Da Feo, Rick Kaplan, and Michael J. Tamura. To find out more, click here.

This article is taken from Animal Wisdom: Learning from the Spiritual Lives of Animals, recently published by North Atlantic Books. It presents the first seven of 18 practices. 

When we love and spend a lot of time with any being—whether an animal or another person—we usually have a pretty good idea of what that person is feeling, and why. I do not believe that people who call themselves “animal communicators” are significantly more gifted in this regard than regular people. I personally do not like the term animal communicator, because it infers that someone who is labeled “animal communicator” has a special talent or gift that you do not have. We all come into this world wired to connect with all life.

When I need to know what ’s going on with an animal who seems troubled, I first rely on my veterinary training, what the animal’s human guardian reports, and what my physical senses tell me, as well as my “sixth sense” that all living beings are born with. An intuitive ex- change with an animal starts like any other—with physical cues—body language and gestures. From there we reach out from the silent language of our hearts; love creates alignment with human and nonhuman beings.

All life responds to offerings of respect, gentleness, admiration, and reverence. To do psychic or telepathic readings of individual animals is not my intention here and is something I’ve never seen as necessary or desirable. It is not what I will be teaching you to do in this chapter.

Whereas a psychic reading is an attempt to discover otherwise undisclosed information about its subject, my intuitive exchanges with animals are exchanges between equals, companions, about matters of mutual spiritual concern. Say, for example, I have an inner encounter with a dog in a rescue shelter. I probably won’t find out how the dog came to be a stray or who his previous people were. Instead I may learn the sort of thing a human survivor of a traumatic experience would share during a deep and searching conversation about the meaning of adversity. Or say that I myself am going through a difficult time. The spirit of an animal may come to comfort me and offer me some wisdom. The inner encounters I have with animals—and will be teaching you to have—are exchanges of meaning.

I’ve been able to connect with animals in this way ever since I was a small child. Nobody taught me how, and there was no particular technique to it. I was just doing what came naturally to me, exercising what I believe to be an ability all of us are born with. Because the ability is seldom recognized or affirmed in our society, most children lose touch with it at a very young age, and forget that they ever possessed it. So why didn’t that happen to me? As I mentioned earlier in the book, I felt somehow imprinted in my early years by the animals. My experiences with them in nature are deeply embedded in my core. Animals offered me the validation and interpretive help that children more usually receive from human adults. When they noticed I was open to connect with them, they taught me how to connect more. Also mentioned earlier in the book, scientific research shows that emotional need acts like a magnet in the intuitive process. Emotional needs are expressions of the heart.

Even if you can’t remember any instances of it in your own child- hood, I encourage you to think of intuitive, telepathic communication with animals as a natural ability that you once had and have temporarily misplaced, rather than as a supernatural power that you are trying to acquire. There is nothing supernatural or paranormal about it. An animal communicator does not possess a gift that you lack.

Now that I am trying to help others to reawaken this capacity, I’ve had to reflect more about how it works. So let me begin with my thoughts about that. It seems to me that the way in to the mind of any other being is through the mind of the Source. We all exist in the one mind of the Source.  Everything in the created world carries a spark of the Source, divine consciousness. It is what all creatures have in common. Though I appear drastically different from an elephant in out- ward form, insofar as we are both manifestations of the divine mind, we are made of exactly the same stuff. What makes an elephant alive is the very same thing that makes me alive. So when I want to experience a spiritual connection with an elephant, I start by connecting to the Source within me. It is the voice of the heart that takes over. As I said earlier, love creates alignment with all creation. Once I connect with that, the corresponding part of another being lies open to me. I don’t have to go looking for it. I simply recognize it, as one recognizes that which is perfectly self-evident. To be truly recognized is what the Source in every living creature most longs for. Every living creature just eats that up. When you are able to recognize the divine nature of other beings, you become transcendentally charming. Many beings are eager to confide in you.

So the first step in learning to connect with the spirits of animals is to connect to the divine within yourself. To do so, you need to quiet the mundane chatter of your mind and bring your attention into the present moment. I’m going to offer you a variety of practices that might help you to achieve that. You might already do some meditation or other practice that reliably gets you to an inwardly quiet and receptive place. If so, feel free to substitute that for my suggestions.

Practice #1: The Wildlife Photographer

Imagine that you are a wildlife photographer in quest of a close-up. You need to be very quiet and still so as not to frighten away the creature you wish to photograph. At the same time, you need to remain alert so that you will be ready to act as soon as that creature comes near. In a quiet place where you will be protected from interruption, settle yourself in a position that feels both relaxed and alert. Imagine that your thoughts are audible. The more long-winded and complicated a thought, the louder it is. If you become totally carried away with your thoughts, you will scare away the animals for sure. At the same time, imagine that when you exhale, you are creating a blanket of silence. Whenever you notice that your thoughts are becoming noisy, bring your attention to your out-breath to cancel the sound of them. The object here is to quiet the mind rather than to empty it entirely. Thoughts will continue to arise, but you can reduce the noise level by letting go of each thought and bringing your attention back to the out-breath.

Variation: Try this practice in an outdoor setting: your backyard, a park, or a nature preserve. See if you can become so inwardly quiet and outwardly still that the creatures around you are undisturbed by your presence and emboldened to come closer to you than they normally would come to a human being.

Practice #2: Bringing Your Attention into the Present

A quality all animals have in common is that their attention is completely focused on whatever they are doing in the present. Animals don’t multitask. They don’t make plans for the future or dwell on what happened in the past. In order to connect with an animal mind, your mind needs to be focused on the present moment as well. Here are some simple exercises for focusing your attention:

  1. Eat a meal the way an animal does, concentrating on the act of eating without doing anything else. Don’t read, watch TV, listen to music, or converse. Experience the meal with all of your senses. Whenever you notice your mind starting to wander, gently bring it back to your food and to the activity of eating.
  2. Often when we are driving, we experience the roads as an entirely manmade environment, constructed for our own convenience. But even in big cities, our roads cut through the habitats of other creatures—often to their peril. (Over a million squirrels are killed each year by vehicles.) Try driving as slowly as the law allows, remaining conscious that there are other creatures all around you, whether you are able to see them or not, and that you are passing through their territories. Be alert to the possibility that an animal may suddenly dart across the road, unaware of the potential danger because animals don’t interpret the road the way you do. Considering the road from an animal standpoint will make you a safer driver.
  3. Animals experience the world directly through their physical senses, and many of them are gifted with senses that are more acute than ours. Choose one of your physical senses and spend five minutes experiencing your environment with that sense alone. For example, if you choose the sense of smell, focus entirely on the odors and scents around you, noticing those that seldom come to your full awareness. Next time you do the exercise, choose a different sense. Try this practice both indoors and outdoors.
  4. If you have a dog, go for a walk together, letting the dog set the pace and choose the direction. Focus your attention entirely on whatever interests your dog from moment to moment. Try to keep the leash loose, so that neither you nor your dog experience any tugging or jerking. In order to do this, you will need to fall into a rapport, anticipating each other’s movements. Think of the leash as a symbol of your connection with your dog rather than as the physical means of staying connected. This is a terrific way of learning to concentrate your attention, and of discovering what the world is like from your dog’s point of view.

Practice #3: A Day of Silence

Silence is often practiced in the context of a spiritual retreat, but I find the practice even more powerful when it is incorporated into my ordinary life at home. What keeping silent means is to refrain entirely from the use of words—neither speaking, hearing, reading, nor writing them. (By this definition, animals live their whole lives in silence, even though they make sounds.) As you settle into silence, you will probably find that your attention gradually shifts away from verbal thoughts and toward sense impressions, emotions, and mental images. In this way, your consciousness becomes more like that of an animal. This is a wonderful practice to share with an animal companion, if you have one. If you normally use words to communicate with your animal, refrain from doing so on this day.

Opening the Heart

Once your mind is quiet and attentive, the next step in connecting to the divine within you is to open your heart. We are most likely to feel that our hearts are open when we feel warm, expansive, and loving. But if you are not already in that place, trying to get there on purpose doesn’t always work, and your effort can backfire into a sense of personal inadequacy. So when you work with the heart-opening practices, start from the premise that your heart can do no wrong. Whatever it is feeling—or not feeling—is true, sincere, and of value. Let your heart decide which of the practices it feels like doing at any given moment, and let it decide when to quit. Don’t try to force a result, and don’t evaluate. Whatever happens (or doesn’t happen) is fine.

Practice #4: The Keepsake Box

Picture a beautiful box in which you store mementos of love, compassion, and kindness that you have received over the years. Search your memory for items to place in this box. For example, recall a time when:

  • someone made you feel completely understood  and accepted
  • someone really knocked him- or herself out to help you
  • you received a gift that was far more generous than you expected, and exactly what you had been wanting
  • you did something hurtful and the other person fully forgave you
  • you were feeling worthless  and received a sincere and glowing compliment
  • you couldn’t meet some obligation and another person let you off easy

As each memory comes to mind, picture holding it at heart level and notice what happens. If you feel a stirring of warmth or joy or genuine gratitude, place the memory reverently in your imaginary keepsake box. If you’re not feeling it, set that memory aside. (Don’t tell yourself that you should be feeling something that you don’t truly feel.) Each time you return to this practice, begin by taking out and appreciating the items that you have previously placed in the box. Then add any new mementos that might come to mind.

We are most easily moved to gratitude when we have received a gift or a favor that we have done nothing to earn or deserve. Having awakened gratitude by recalling specific incidents like those listed above, see if you can extend the feeling to the blessings all of us receive every day—blessings that no one has to earn or deserve. We are blessed by the sun and the rain, the moon and the stars, the trees, and the flowers. We are blessed by the firm earth under our feet, the air we breathe, the water we drink and bathe in, and the warmth of our own blood. Even when nothing in your life is going the way you want it to go, you wake up every day to find yourself in this miraculously beautiful and supportive environment, and you get to live in it for free! Bring all of this to mind, and bask in the awareness of your good fortune.

Practice #5: Receiving an Animal’s Appreciation

If you have a companion animal, do something that makes that animal demonstrably happy. Get your cat to purr or your dog to jump up and down with joy. Bring the whole of your attention to the gratitude your animal is expressing. Think: “This is the God within me being praised.” Learning to fully take in the appreciation your animal bestows is particularly helpful if you’re the sort of person who has trouble accepting compliments or thanks that come from other people.

Practice #6: The Noah’s Ark of Emotions

Animals have a unique ability to touch the human heart. In fact, sometimes animals move us when nothing else will.

Imagine you have built an ark and need to populate it with all the different ways of feeling moved by an animal. Think of a story, a picture, a film clip, or a memory of an animal that moves you in a particular way: an animal who makes you laugh; one for whom you feel compassion;  one who inspires awe and admiration;  one who makes you go all mushy with affection. For the purpose of this practice you might want to create a physical collection: a file of pictures, anecdotes, and/or video clips. Return to your ark periodically, either singling out a particular item that evokes an emotion you want to feel at that moment, or just browsing to reexperience the various feelings you’ve had in the past. This practice can be especially helpful at times when you’re caught up in thoughts and out of touch with your heart.

Practice #7: The Heart on a Bad-Hair Day

Mystics and seers who are able to connect with spiritual beings usually advise detaching somewhat from the physical senses and the emotions. Since the spiritual beings don’t have bodies and aren’t very emotional, putting oneself in a neutral and somewhat disembodied state helps one to establish a rapport with them. Some people find that they can’t do this at all, and a great many people find that they are unable to do it at the very times when hearing from them, or perhaps a guide or an angel (or from God), would be most welcome. When we ’re sick or exhausted or in the grip of some powerful and painful emotion, input from above might really help, yet we feel we are in no fit state to present ourselves at the gates of heaven.

This is what ’s so great about animals as spiritual helpers. They’re incarnate just like us. They know what it ’s like to feel needy or threatened or sad. When you’re having a bad-hair day, spiritually speaking, you don’t need to tidy yourself up to connect with an animal. On the contrary, the strong emotion that makes it impossible for you to quiet your mind or fill your heart with love and light can become the very means of connection.

The next time you are in the grip of some strong emotion that makes it impossible for you to do any of the previous exercises, don’t fight it. Instead, bring the whole of your attention to what you are feeling. What you want to experience is the texture and sensation of the emotion itself, as opposed to the many thoughts you are probably having about the emotion. You want to experience the emotion through the body more than the head. For example, if you are anxious, your mind is probably full of worries and problem-solving schemes. If you are angry, your mind is probably busy replaying the incident that set you off or engaged in self- righteous diatribes. Instead, you want to focus on what anger or anxiety feels like on a physical level. Notice what part of your body feels it the most, and what the sensation is like. Instead of trying to get rid of that sensation, say “hello” to it and keep it company for a few minutes. Whenever your mind starts to veer off into anxious or angry thoughts, gently bring it back to what is happening in your body.

As you are simply sitting with the difficult feeling, invite an image of an animal to come. This may or may not happen. Don’t try to force it. Simply invite it and see what happens. Should an animal image appear, recognize the emotion you are feeling as your connection to it. This animal knows how you feel, and you know how she feels, because all living creatures experience emotion. You are not isolated in your distress. On the contrary: it connects you to something universal. All feelings are an expression of our aliveness, and a manifestation of the God within.


Light Is Not a Metaphor

The following is excerpted from Gift of the Body, published by the Essential Light Institute. 


Light is real, more real in its being eternal than the temporary structures it shines down upon. If you want to live an authentically spiritualized life, you need to see and feel the need for the light so badly that it becomes the only thing that you can’t live without. With the light, everything is possible. Without it, nothing really matters. When you are living in the awareness of being constantly bathed in light, you will see that up until that point you had been living your life looking through a cloud. The cloud is composed of the energetic material of your mistaken belief that light is merely a metaphor, a poetic spiritual image or that if it really exists, Light is reserved only for saints or the tiny fraction of humanity that can be called enlightened. Or perhaps that He/She—the Divine Intelligence, God, the Numinous, the Great Spirit or whatever term you give to that ultimate power—is the owner of the Light, parcels it out sparingly, and that you with all your faults are an eternally unworthy supplicant of it. All lies.

In terms of our discussion on the emotional body, what is useful to know is that, when you connect directly with Divine Light, anything in your HEV which does not match the vibration of that light has two choices. It can raise itself up, or it can leave.

Energetic congestion is dense and slow without being calm. Light is fast and high without being shrill. When the two meet in your emotional body, the interface of the long-held denseness with the light will shake the emotional body. It can feel like a battle, when really it is just a serious conversation. One part is holding on. Depending on how enamored you are with your stubbornness, it will hold on more or less tightly. The light is calling, cajoling, demanding that stuck material to, “Come on, let’s go.” The dance between these two energies can throw you around for a while. You might feel worse for a time. You certainly will feel more emotional turbulence than you are used to. You might even get sick. It is like a stream that becomes temporarily dirtier than it usually is because the stuck garbage that was hidden along its banks is getting peeled away by a speeding up of the flow of the water. Soon the debris will be swirled away, leaving the stream clean.

When the interaction of the Light that you invited to do its thing in you meets your congestion (which for many years has been used to the homeostasis)—when that Light starts to bend its way into the hidden places of your pain, stuff starts to move for real. You cry more, you shake, you dream intensely, you cleanse in lots of ways, on lots of levels. (Remember that the emotional body is the drain for all the bodies.) This clearing process can last a while, which is why it’s best to do it with the help of people who are ahead of you in their own healing process, preferably professionals. But your friends, your family, and community all have a part in helping you to move through what can look and feel like dying.

What will in fact happen if you go through it, is that you will be re-born as a free person. But in the short run, you can doubt that you will get through and question whatever possessed you to make that prayer for light to come and free you. For a while, you need folks to tell you it’s going to be all right, to keep you calm and feeling safe, while you feel naked and unprotected, because the boulder of emotional material that you’ve carried was ballast and shield for you. After a while, you will start to feel way better.

Is it a strange process? You betcha. Is it worth it? Guaranteed. The process is necessary because everything that you are carrying in your emotional body that is causing you pain is from the past, and mostly the distant past. You have been an energetic sponge—or a vault with emotion locked inside, or a sponge locked inside a vault—full to bursting, but with nowhere to burst. You have collected, and then held on to, emotional forms that have kept you living in the past, and that have been making you sick. Because you want to make room for light, because you love truth, and because you seek pleasure, you come to see that what you may need to undergo in order to get free is ultimately worth it, and that the only way out is through.

The key to authentic healing is to love freedom with its risks more than convention with its safety, and to demand and cultivate the love of the sensation of freedom in your bodies. Freedom is not just a concept, and not just the absence of rules. It is a palpable force.

Congestion in the emotional body feels like being in solitary confinement. We have to break out of prison with the key of light. But light doesn’t just open the door to the cell. It also cleans the prisoner of what got him isolated in the first place. Getting out of prison is a huge step. Refusing the habits that would put us back behind the familiar bars, and creating new habits that serve us to stay clean and present, is called “walking the path”. We need protection, but not the protection that comes from being emotionally loaded.

Emotional cleansing, that is motivated by the desire for freedom and held in Light, is almost always accompanied by the release of spiritual attachments. These are energetic hangers-on, thoughts and emotions and entities that have actual energetic, non-physical form, that need to be gently but firmly conducted from your HEV into that Light, which will in turn take them to a type of cosmic recycling station where they can be transformed away from you. Again, this is not metaphorical, nor is it actually “woo-woo.” Every- body on earth that lives in open contact with nature, or who relaxes their death grip on materialism, understands that the non-material population of our planet far exceeds that in any kind of material bodies. There are worlds within worlds. There are such things as spirits, angels, helpers, guides, nature spirits, and tricksters. These all have what we can recognize as consciousness, even if most of us can’t see them. They interact with this material world within strict rules of engagement. They are the small voice that whispers a warning (that you may or may not listen to) when you are about to do some- thing particularly stupid. They are the inspiration out of nowhere that gives you the creative idea you’ve been waiting for that resolves the seemingly impossible problem you are facing. They are the radiation that comes through a healer’s hands. They are the celestial voice that comes from a singer’s mouth. They are the non-material protectors and advisors that stand by you, as you choose to do the things that you came to earth to do. And they are the ones that will trip you up time and time again, until you learn to pay attention—and to recognize what comes with love and what comes with fakery. They are the ones reported on by every religion or spiritual path of every stripe—usually rendered with ideological interpretations that turn them into something cartoonish—yet still manage to convey a pure truth concealed underneath for those whose inner eyes have been opened and whose powers of discernment have been sharpened.

The fact that some of these energies are attached to you and exaggerate your pain is not really a stretch to comprehend, unless you have narrowed your vision to such an extent that you believe that all there is to reality is what you can access with your most rudimentary senses. That limited, materialistic attitude puts you in a tiny category, in terms of the totality of people who have lived on earth through the ages in deep relationship with the natural world and the layers of energetic reality that compose it. Discounting what is the major part of reality might make you imagine that you are sophisticated and intelligent according to a narrow definition of what is rational, but the exclusive reliance on physical senses and scientific inquiry to define reality isolates you, cuts you off from your true connection to the natural world, from your own life force, and your own wonder-filled spiritual being.

In our modern, present-day world, this attitude is understandable given the lack of actual spiritual education available to most of us. But as my teacher, José Rosa, once said to me, “It’s a good thing reality doesn’t depend on your opinion.” It is my hope and intention that your vistas are being broadened a bit as you read this book. Don’t believe it because I say it. Those days are past. Check it out for yourself. To do that, you need to allow the unfamiliar, humble thought that what you know is tiny and narrow, and reality is huge and wide and deep. Then get quiet, inside and out. Wait for an internal space where you don’t care one way or the other what the answer is to your questions. You just want the truth, as much of it as you are ready to handle. And then ask whomever, whatever, whichever you relate to, to show you, tell you, intuit you the truth of the matter. Be patient, and don’t let the possibility of being surprised out of cherished notions deter you from the truth.

What I learned through that experience is that we all have guides, or whatever you choose to call the unseen presences that assist us and may possibly disturb us, or both. It may be your great-grandmother that you never met who comes to you in the twilight world between sleeping and waking; the almost-seen person who is there in every dream that you wake from knowing that this was more than just a dream. Or the voice that comes from the right or the left side of your head, that you know somehow is male or female, young or old, that is always there to test you, challenge you, maybe even to try and drive you crazy so you come to know yourself. These protectors, guides, entities, whatever you choose to call them, are each hooked into you somewhere. They literally (although not materially) live somewhere in your HEV. What they are there for is for you to discover through meditation, prayer, and the gradual process of awakening awareness called dis-identification. There is, in you, both “you” and “not-you.” By learning the discernment to know who is who, you learn who is you.

Some of these consciousnesses are there permanently as your companions on your life walk. They have been there all along. When you are done with this vehicle, they will be sitting in the seat next to you on the new conveyance that will bear you back home. Some are there because, when you were one or five or twelve years old, you had a need to survive a life situation that felt overwhelmingly threatening. You called out to the inner planes for help, and along came help in the form of a protector being. Along with keeping you from saying/doing/feeling what was dangerous for you to experience or express in that setting, they gave you a necessary “bonus”; they kept emotional material in your energy body from being naturally processed and released. So when you get to that stage of being ready to be free, and you call the light to free you, the light comes to clean and transform that material. And then those no longer useful functionaries of your past internal program get challenged with the opportunity to get a new job. Your savior has become a prison guard, habitually holding in the prisoner who has realized their parole is up to them. They are functionaries doing their job long after the job has become obsolete. Some of them just need to be gently directed to look up. They go happily with a wave good-bye. Some others grip on and make every excuse as to why you are making the biggest mistake of your life to let them go. You will learn a lot about who you are in the process of re-negotiating the contract you made with them.

And when they leave, there is a lot of emotional material that they have been holding back that will swirl out. Knowing it is just part of the process allows us to, so to speak, step aside and hold the door open for the releasing to proceed without too much of our involvement. It goes much faster that way. It is, after all, just e-nergy that has been put into motion. The flowing energy of emotion is meant to enliven and connect us with our environment and with each other. It is not intended to run the show, or to be a show. Constant indulgence of emotion, living one’s life only according to how the winds of feeling blow, acting out emotion under the excuse of freedom, is not fundamentally different than repressing it and acting that out. Those who make a huge deal out of emotion in their reaction to imposed repression, both familial and societal, are giving emotion a prominence that it was not intended to have.

The information that we receive from accessing what we want, what we desire, is not the same as accessing accurate intuition. Intuition tells us what is best for all beings, including ourselves. That is oftentimes at odds with what our lower self wants, in its pursuit of what will satisfy its hunger. Intuition has to feel right, but in the short run, sometimes it doesn’t feel good. Desire and intuition come from entirely different places in our bodies. One is not better than the other, but they have different agendas and will guide us to different ends. It’s useful to know who and what we are following, both externally and internally. This discernment is absolutely necessary for living a useful spiritualized life, guided by something other than ideology.

We can learn the art of literally transforming our emotional material— from being painfully stuck into vitally moving. Then we become enlivened, and a tiny but real portion of the energetic atmosphere of the planet is eased. When we join with others doing the same, we become examples of joyful aliveness and community healing, however that is expressed. People who love freedom in their own bodies also support freedom for others in theirs. And complementarily, people who really inhabit their bodies, who embrace their emotional body as the alive-making mechanism that it is, without blowing its importance out of proportion, are also respectful of boundaries, both personal and societal. This doesn’t mean that we accept boundaries without question, or that we don’t choose to push through them at times, or even bust them once in awhile. Living freely demands a constant re-evaluation, in order to overcome the tendency of matter to stagnate and institutions to become self-preserving parodies of their original intent. To be grounded in the reality of our true emotions takes us simultaneously into inner contact with ourselves, and makes us better able to see other people without distortion, as not just an extension of ourselves.

As such, the world is not just a stage for your emotional expression or repression. We see that everyone is swimming in the vast sea of energy; we see the need to help each other to avoid the rocks, to care for each other when we flounder or become hurt. The boundaries are seen and acknowledged and respected, even as they are questioned and stretched.

People who love Light, and come to recognize it and cherish it as the liberating force for themselves, as that which heals and guides them, also come to recognize where it is absent both inside them and out in the world, and where it is only pretending to be present. When we are aligned with Light, with what is real, we are less likely to be fooled by pretty words covering empty promises. If we are temporarily fooled by the mist of unresolved emotion rising up, or by the mind’s attachment to a particular storyline, our inviolable link to Light will shortly remind us (through our intuition) of what is true. By our connection to Light, we become healers in our families and communities, and better citizens, even as we continue our own healing in our own bodies. We live out the truth that Light is everywhere, that Light is free and freeing, and that abundance is the truth of the universe. How far beyond our individual lives and our small groups can that commitment to Light reach? The answer depends on how many of us link-up, what we create when we follow that Light, where it wants us to go and what it guides us to do.


On Solitude

10 Amazing Things That Happen When You Learn to Enjoy Being Alone

10 Amazing Things That Happen When You Learn to Enjoy Being Alone

Story by: Tony Robinson (


Some people think of “being alone” as a bad thing. It either means you’re anti-social, or unwanted, neither of which are a good position to be in.

But actually, being alone isn’t’ necessarily a bad thing, as there are a handful of benefits that emerge once you learn to embrace solitude.

I’m not advocating you go all Tom Hanks in Cast Away, because no one can argue the benefits, and the joys, that come along with fulfilling relationships with other people.

But I am saying that once you learn to enjoy being alone, you’re going to grow as a person.

Below are ten amazing things that will happen in your life when you start to enjoy being alone.

1. Youll get to recharge.

Often times when we’re surrounded by other people, we’re expending a lot of energy. Trying to keep others happy, make them laugh, soothe their egos, read their emotions, and all of the other rigors that come along with regular interaction.

It can be mentally draining if you’re constantly connected to other people. A little alone time lets you recharge and take a break from the emotionally and mentally taxing job of constant interaction.

2. Youll reflect more often.

Your life is always moving at a crazy fast pace. So fast in fact, that it’s probably rare when you have a moment alone to sit and reflect on your life.

Being alone gives you the perfect opportunity for a little self reflection. Since you aren’t spending so much time processing the thoughts and feelings of others, it’s the best time to turn your focus inwards.

Solitude provides the perfect environment for reflection.

3. Youll get in touch with your own emotions.

Again, when you’re surrounded by other people all the time, you’re constantly trying to read, and cater to, the other persons’s emotions. So much so, that you could end up losing touch with your own.

When you start to enjoy being alone, you’ll gain a greater perspective for your own emotions. You’ll create a deeper understanding of what makes you happy, what upsets you, and what saddens you.

With that knowledge, it’s then easier to regulate your emotions. But it all starts with understanding how you feel, and that comes from a little bit of solitude.

4. Youll start doing things you actually enjoy.

When you’re constantly in the company of other people, you’re always making compromises in order to find solutions that the entire group can enjoy. And unfortunately, the things you want most, may not always line up with what the group wants.

So it’s easy to enjoy being alone once you realize that doing so gives you more freedom to do the things you actually want to do.

5. Youll become more productive.

Being in the company of other people can be fun and entertaining, but it can also seriously affect your productivity. There are times when the company of other people acts as nothing more than a distraction from getting your work done.

Time spent alone can be some of the most productive time in your life—mostly because there are less distractions, and you can just put your head down and get to work.

6. Youll enjoy your relationships even more.

When you spend time alone on a regular basis, and eventually start to enjoy being alone, you’ll come to find that you also enjoy your relationships with other people even more.

And that’s because the time spent alone gives you a greater appreciation for yourself.

But it also let’s you appreciate all the great things that come from your relationships with other people, most of which you were oblivious to before.

7. Youll feel more independent.

Once you enjoy being alone, you’ll feel more confident in your ability to actually be alone. And that naturally leads to you feeling more independent.

You’ll no longer feel that anxiety, or burning desire for company, once you learn to enjoy being alone. You won’t feel the need for constant interaction with other people, or the anxiety associated with looking around and seeing no one but yourself.

8. Youll get a break from constantly trying to keep other people happy.

Life is filled with relationships, and most relationships only last when both people are kept happy. And that can turn into a draining job depending who that relationship is with. Now, this does’t only apply to personal relationships, but every kind of relationship.

Once you’re alone, the only person’s happiness you have to worry about in that moment, is your own. You can treat yourself to thing that makes you happy, but may have upset someone else.

9. You wont have to apologize for anything.

When you start to enjoy being alone, you’ll quickly see that solitude means you don’t have to keep apologizing for what you’ve done. So often, we do things that end up upsetting other people, or hurting someone else’s feelings, and then have to quickly apologize for it.

But when you’re alone, you don’t have to apologize for anything. And that takes a lot of pressure out of most situations. You get to stop second guessing everything you say, or every move you make because you’re afraid someone is going to be offended, or saddened, and angered.

10. Youll stop looking for validation.

So often we feel we the need to get the “OK” from our friends and family before we take action. We constantly look to other people for advice on what we should do next.

Of course, there are times where it’s not only perfectly acceptable to ask for advice, but downright necessary. But there are also times where we’re perfectly capable of acting on our own, be we instead of looking to others for an answer.

When you start to spend more time alone, you’ll learn to trust your instincts and make decisions without any third party validation.


On Anger

The Downside of Anger

Because anger is such a forceful negative emotion and makes people uncomfortable, taboos about expressing it are widespread. How many of us have heard some variation of this refrain while growing up: “If you are going to stomp around the house you can go to your room and stay there until you’ve finished being angry.”

The sad upshot is, under those conditions no one learns how to manage anger appropriately. People may not even recognize when they are angry. Or they may conceal anger until it explodes out of them in the form of hurtful words or deeds.

Studies show that the ability to identify and label emotions correctly, and talk about them straightforwardly to the point of feeling understood, makes negative feelings dissipate. And the physiologic arousal that accompanies those feelings also diminishes dramatically.

But when anger is deemed unacceptable, people stay in a state of arousal, unable to pay attention to what is going on in the world around them, unable to regulate their own behavior and focused only on their inner emotional state. In fact, they tend to experience excessive physiologic arousal in situations involving negative emotions—but they tend not to display any external signs of emotional response. Imagine how that can confuse a friend or a spouse! That’s because they hide their emotions but feel anxious in emotionally evocative situations.

Sometimes, however, telling someone we are angry brings feelings of relief, especially when we also express why we are angry. Psychologists believe that the relief we feel under those circumstances results not from venting the anger but from identifying the anger-arousing circumstances and working towards a solution.

And that points to the positive value that anger has. It’s a great motivator for change. It encourages us to speak up about something bothering us.

But it’s all in how we do it, because in goading us to action about things that upset us, anger can also prompt us to overreact. So first and foremost, lengthen your fuse so that you are not reacting to every tiny upset and you can think your way to a constructive solution.

  • Take three deep breaths.When you are angry, your body becomes tense. Breathing deeply will ease the tension and help lower your internal anger meter.
  • Change your environment.The quickest way to uncouple yourself from an ongoing source of anger is to take a five-minute walk to get some fresh air. Stuck in traffic? Take a mental escape by turning up the radio and singing at the top of your lungs.
  • Know why you feel angry.Track down the clues about the kinds of things, situation, people and events that trigger your anger. Anger often masks our deepest fears. In an angry-making situation, ask yourself what deep fears it might be stirring in you.
  • Let go of what is beyond your control.You can change only yourself and your responses to others, not what others do to you. Getting angry doesn’t fix the situation and makes you feel worse. If someone constantly arouses your anger, focus on the troublesome situation and brainstorm solutions.
  • Express yourself.Be sure to think first and use measured tones and words that are not emotionally loaded. In a nonconfrontational way state that you are angry and identify the situation that makes you angry and why it ticks you off.
  • Be cautious.There are situations in which expressing your anger holds danger. Having a jealous or abusive partner is one. Vent to a friend instead of the person who wronged you; you may wind up with some solutions you never imagined.
  • Be assertive, not aggressive, in expressing yourself.Assertiveness requires speaking in an effective, nonviolent way towards a constructive goal. It may help if you rehearse your response before delivering it.
  • Make positive statements.Memorize a few positive statements to say to yourself when your anger is triggered. They will remind you that you can choose your behavior instead of reacting in a knee-jerk way. For example, you might say: “I can take care of my own needs” or “His needs are just as important as mine” or “I am able to make good choices.”
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Dealing With Stress

HeartMath Corner‏

HeartMath Corner‏

Inside Stressing Out: What works and what doesn’t in the face of stress

March 24, 2014


When it comes to stress, most Americans don’t need a designated month to realize what they already know – stress is part of modern life and can’t always be avoided. Perhaps the most puzzling issue around stress is what really works when it comes to reducing it.

Recent surveys by the American Psychological Association (APA) reveal that stress is an increasing and on-going issue for Americans. More than one third (36 percent) of U.S. workers report experiencing work stress regularly, according to APA survey findings released in March. Another significant APA survey released in November revealed American families recognize they have high stress levels, but lack the time and willpower to make appropriate changes.

What is “stress?”

Stress comes from our perception and emotional reactions to an event or idea. It can be any feeling of anxiety, irritation, frustration, or hopelessness, etc.

Stress is not only created by a response to an external situation or event. A lot of daily stress is created by ongoing attitudes, that is, recurring feelings of agitation, worry, anxiety, anger, judgments, resentment, insecurities and self-doubt. These emotions are known to drain emotional energy while engaging in everyday life.

It is emotions—more than thoughts alone—activating physical changes that make up the “stress response.” Emotions trigger the autonomic nervous system and, in turn, trigger stress hormones that cause many harmful effects on the brain and body.

Stressful feelings actually lead to a chaotic pattern in the beat-to-beat changes in the heart’s rhythm–indicating that our nervous system is out of sync. When this happens, a cascade of over 1,400 biochemical changes are set in motion that have a wide range of effects on the body’s systems.

Why Today’s Stress is Different?

Experts say an important factor in today’s stress experience is that it’s not just about the single incident type of stress that naturally follows trauma, illness, job change, or other major life event. For most people it’s the wear and tear of daily life. What used to work for stress relief before may not be as effective today, because modern stress is more about the on-going levels people are experiencing.

Daily life stress can be difficult to change because of how the brain works. Through repeated experiences of stress, the brain learns to recognize the patterns of activity associated with “stress” as a familiar baseline, and in a sense, it becomes normal and comfortable. Without effective intervention, stress can become self-perpetuating and self-reinforcing.

Traditionally, stress research has focused on the mental processes that affect our perception and the body’s response to it. Some of today’s most pertinent stress research comes from the Institute of HeartMath, which has contributed greatly to the understanding the underlying mechanics of stress and its relationship to our patterned emotional responses.

HeartMath research examines the role of the emotional system in the stress process. Scientists discovered a critical link between stress, emotions, heart function and cognitive performance. From this research they have seen that while mental processes play a role in stress, the real fuel for the stress is unmanaged emotions. Simply put, emotions have the power to fuel a thought into a high-definition experience of stress.

According to the research, the harmful effects stress places on the brain and body are in fact the physiological repercussions of negative emotions such as anxiety, anger, fear, resentment, etc.

What Works and What Doesn’t Work

Most stress has an emotional source, yet until now most of the widely used stress management methods have not focused directly on emotions. Instead, more often they focus on distraction methods, quieting the mind or trying to relax.

These practices may be enjoyable – such as taking a hot bath, or treatments like massage and aromatherapy – yet the fact remains that real solutions need to address the root cause of stress. They need to transform the deeper, recurring emotional patterns that sustain stress-producing feelings. Without essential changes at the emotional level, any other stress-relief method is likely to be short-lived.

Emotion regulation (or self-regulation) techniques are a direct and powerful way to override and transform underlying patterns of unhealthy psychological, behavioral and physiological stress responses.

HeartMath has become a leader in this area. They have developed a scientifically-validated system of techniques, programs and technologies addressing the core of the stress response. HeartMath is helping people change how they respond to stress by giving them tools to build new habits that replace their old familiar stress response patterns, which results in increased resilience and more stress tolerance.

Emotions are Powerful Energy

Since emotions – in and of themselves – are a powerful energy, it takes an equally powerful energy to transform them. Research in the neurosciences has made it quite clear that emotional processes operate at a much higher speed than thoughts because they frequently bypass the mind’s entire linear reasoning process. Thus activation of positive emotions plays a critical role in breaking the stress cycle and effectively transforming stress at its source.

HeartMath techniques focus on replacing the old stress responses by drawing on positive emotions to cultivate new patterns and more productive attitudes. In addition, these techniques incorporate a process of changing one’s heart rhythm pattern.

Emotions are tightly connected to the heart, and not just metaphorically speaking. Using the measurement of heart rate variability – the naturally occurring beat-to-beat fluctuations in heart rate – HeartMath researchers have demonstrated that distinct heart rhythm patterns characterize different emotional states.

In general, emotional stress – including emotions such as anger, frustration and anxiety – leads to heart-rhythm patterns that appear incoherent and look erratic, disordered and jagged. This incoherent state puts more strain on the nervous system and the bodily organs, and it also inhibits the flow of communication and information being passed throughout all the body’s systems – the brain, heart and hormonal, immune and nervous systems.

In contrast, positive emotions – such as appreciation, care, compassion and love – generate an orderly sine wave-like pattern in the heart’s rhythms. Heart rhythms associated with positive emotions like appreciation are clearly more coherent than those generated during a negative emotional experience like frustration. As a result, communication between the brain, heart, and nervous system is enhanced.

Positive emotions are associated with a specific physiological state called coherence. This system-wide state is associated with improved physiological functioning, emotional stability and cognitive performance.

Emotion refocusing techniques are much like resetting a thermostat. A new comfort zone is established when healthier emotional patterns become familiar and positive attitudes – like new temperatures – are eventually acknowledged as the norm.

How it Works in Real-Time

According to positive psychology research positive emotions are critical to our effective adaptation to life’s challenges, and to our growth and development as human beings. They help to shape behavior by promoting helpfulness, generosity, and effective cooperation.

Using positive emotion-refocusing exercises in the moment that stress is experienced can help to change the perception of stress and greatly reduce or even stop the typical stress response when encountering a challenging or evoking situation.

Surgeons have one of the top five most stressful occupations as Dr. Joseph F. McCaffrey can attest to being a vascular surgeon at Auburn Memorial Hospital in New York. “When an anesthesiologist told me that he wouldn’t give his high-risk patient anesthesia because the patient hadn’t been evaluated properly, I almost lost it!” said Dr. McCaffrey. “This was the second such incident in less than a week. I was ready to blow up. I just about had my finger on the anesthesiologist’s chest, when I decided to use one of the techniques I learned from HeartMath.”

“Going through the technique’s steps I was able to transform my anger” Using the emotion refocusing technique enabled McCaffrey to clear his agitation and access a different perception. “I realized that the anesthesiologist was as interested in taking good care of the patient as I was. Keeping that common ground in mind, I was able to bring the anesthesiologist around to my point of view – without exploding.  I could have been an obnoxious surgeon, but that wouldn’t have made for a very collegial relationship,” said Dr. McCaffrey.

One of the most widely used emotion refocusing techniques is called Quick Coherence® and it was developed by HeartMath. This three-step tool helps to cultivate new heart coherence patterns and emotional responses.

As the simple steps are applied, the body’s functions synchronize to a coherent state, minimizing the experience of stress and allowing for a more intelligent response to the situation. HeartMath stress experts say the key lies in the third step of the technique in recalling positive emotions. Whenever stress buttons are being pushed, the following is useful to help refocus:

The Quick Coherence® Technique

1    Heart focus: Shift your attention to the area of the heart and breathe slowly and deeply.

2    Heart breathing: Keep your focus in the heart by gently breathing – five seconds in and five seconds out – through your heart. Do this two or three times before moving to the next step.

3    Heart feeling: Activate and sustain a genuine feeling of appreciation or care for someone or something in your life. Focus on the good heart feeling as you continue to breathe through the area of your heart.

Technologies for Resilience Coaching

There are devices that use heart rhythm feedback to help people measure their emotional state in real-time so users can learn what works when it comes to emotion management. Such devices, when applied with emotion refocusing techniques, allow users to manage stress and gain more control over their well-being.

There are a few technologies like this on the market; however the emWave® is the most widely used. Over 10,000 health professionals around the country use it to help patients that suffer from reoccurring stress and anxiety. The effectiveness of this technology has been documented by independent studies and peer review journals.

While the technology and method have proven successful for everyday stress, it’s also shown to be effective for more extreme stress issues. The U.S. military is now using this same approach with soldiers to help them manage symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Therapists have also found the technology to work with children suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The take-home message is this: managing stress in a way that truly works – without avoiding it, neglecting it, trying to overpower it, or become a victim of it –begins and ends by focusing on the core of stress patterns: the emotional state. Thanks to science there are now very effective methods that have been developed and proven effective without requiring significant time investments and or major life changes.


THe Effect of Emotions on the Body

Fascinating New Study Shows How Emotions Are Mapped On The Human Body

emotional body map30th May 2014

By Michael Forrester

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Emotions coordinate our behavior and physiological states during survival-salient events and pleasurable interactions. Even though we are often consciously aware of our current emotional state, such as anger or happiness, the mechanisms giving rise to these subjective sensations have remained largely unresolved. Brilliant research by Finnish scientists has mapped the areas of our body that are experiencing an increase or decrease in sensory activity when we experience a particular emotion.

Depending on whether we are happy, sad or angry, we have physiological sensations that are not located in different areas of the body. We overlook this reality from one day to the next (the famous “lump in the breast” generated by anxiety, the feeling of warmth that pervades our face and our cheeks particularly when we feel the shame…), and do not consciously realize how much the location of these body areas activated by our emotions and how they vary considerably depending on the nature of the emotion.

Researchers around the world are slowly integrating research on how our energetic and emotional states cause health and/or disease. How we connect emotionally to our overall wellness and wellbeing may indeed be more relevant than any supplement, food, exercise, medical intervention or health treatment.

Finnish scientists have for the first time mapped areas of the body activated according to each emotion (happiness, sadness, anger, etc). This map was compiled following a study of 700 Finnish, Swedish and Taiwanese volunteers.

They used a topographical self-report tool to reveal that different emotional states are associated with topographically distinct and culturally universal bodily sensations; these sensations could underlie conscious emotional experiences. Monitoring the topography of emotion-triggered bodily sensations brings forth a unique tool for emotion research and could even provide a biomarker for emotional disorders.

Participants were first asked to watch video sequences associated with different emotions and identify parts of their body where they felt an increase or decrease of bodily sensations.

Emotions are often felt in the body, and somatosensory feedback has been proposed to trigger conscious emotional experiences. The resulting map shows that each type of emotion activates a network of specific areas of the body, distinct from those activated by other types of emotions.

Every type of emotion carries a specific unique energy and a different vibrational frequency. All organs, tissues, membranes, glands, cells, vibrate in precise frequencies in the human body and they are all influenced by our emotions.

Different emotions were consistently associated with statistically separable bodily sensation maps across experiments. These maps were concordant across West European and East Asian samples. Statistical classifiers distinguished emotion-specific activation maps accurately, confirming independence of topographies across emotions.

emotional body map - aura - kirilian photography

The body map shows emotions such as anger are mainly active in the chest, the lower part of the face and arms, with particular intensity on the hands. On disgust, it activates the body areas which are mainly concentrated around the mouth and throat. As for love, three areas are concerned, the face, chest and lower abdomen. Finally, happiness is probably the most significant emotion that solicits our enitre body to respond, as the study shows that it generates bodily sensations in all areas, especially on the face and chest.

The body map identifies areas in which the people experienced increased sensory activity when emotion is felt, but also lists the areas that are home to a decrease in sensory activity. Thus, we learn that the emotions associated with depression have the effect of generating a feeling of decline in sensory activity in the arms and legs.

The results obtained by the research show a remarkable consistency in results, suggesting that the mechanisms underlying bodily sensations that we perceive when we experience a particular emotion are likely dictated by energetic patterns and biology rather than culture.

The researchers proposed that emotions represented in the somatosensory system are culturally universal categorical somatotopic maps. Perception of these emotion-triggered bodily changes may play a key role in generating consciously felt emotions.

This work was published December 31, 2013 in the journal Proceedings of The National Academy of Science