Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Love and Fear

What is Love and what is Fear?
Are they even possible to define with words?

“Love is not about concepts; love is about action. Love in action produces happiness. Fear in action can only produce suffering” Don Miguel Ruiz

Love is a difficult thing to describe because it is like describing God or Truth. How do you find the words? Do they even exist? Some words reflect the qualities of love. Words like comfort, peace, safety, and  joy. Those words get close to describing what love might be like. But Love is bigger than our language. It is a knowing, an experience. Love allows us to be just who we are without approval, scorn, or fear. Love is like coming home.

Fear on the other hand is the opposite of  love. It is the ever present voice in our minds that reminds us of limitation and resentment. It is in our beliefs that try to convince us we are powerless, how much our past is real, and how much evidence there is of our own frailty. Fear is the precursor for every negative emotion we have.

I can feel the difference in my body when I am aware. I know when I am in alignment with fear or love. When I am believing my own story, trying to control things, when I am trying to be “right”, I feel anxious, frustrated, angry and scared. I am in fear. When I am in a place of allowing and being curious as to what unfolds, when I am present and react with intuition, strength, and surety, I am in love. When I am in fear I feel like I need to "do something" to relax, to distract me, or to “fill” me. When I am in love there is a knowing that I "need" nothing other than what I have.

So, there is love and there is fear. That's it. And what we are doing in our life, every choice, every action, and every thought we have, arises from one of those two places. Love or Fear.
Where are you spending most of your time?

"Love is the ability and the willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you" ~ Wayne Dyer

Here are some differences...at least in my opinion...
  • Love is unconditional. Love just loves and is not dependent on outside conditions. It knows it is empowered by an endless supply of divine energy so has no need for outside approval. Love is freedom so it doesn’t need rules. Love asserts itself and doesn’t put up with disrespect because love knows what it deserves. Fear puts conditions on love. For example, “If you do what I want or think is acceptable then I’ll love you back.” Fear decides who fits into its story and who doesn’t using its own criteria. It uses rules as ways to control and defend its position in the hope it will feel “safe” from a (falsely believed) unsafe world.
  • Love does not arise from feeling obligated. When we are aligned with love we “want” to freely give. Fear is about doing what we feel we have to with a sense of obligation. Then, typically, we resent having to do what we don’t want so we rebel, and in the process we suffer.
    • Love doesn’t intend to cause pain. It doesn’t want to hurt. Its intent is truth. That doesn't mean that the truth doesn't hurt sometimes, but to love is to be honest. The intention of fear is to cause suffering.
      • Love doesn’t have expectations because love relies on itself to reflect peace. It comes from within and doesn’t need outside confirmation. Love doesn’t take things personally. Fear places it’s expectations on everything. It is “if …then” thinking. As in “if he tells me I’m beautiful , good enough, amazing" then I’ll feel loved. Or, “If this situations turns out the way I want, then I’ll be happy.” Of course, this example of impermanence is an example of the dualistic nature of fear. What happens when he doesn’t  affirm your worthiness or if the situation doesn’t turn out the way you expect? Yep. Suffering.
      • Love has compassion but doesn’t feel sorry for anyone. It knows its own resiliency and strength and is confident in its choices. Love respects itself and the opinions of others. Fear on the other hand, feels sorry for itself and others thereby asserting it’s own “special-ness’ and “better than attitude”. It has the need to control others, because it doesn’t trust others or themselves to make the “right” choices. Fear tells other people what to do because fear always believes it is “right”.
      • Love is accountable for its actions. Fear avoids responsibility, and is always looking to blame, excuse, or explain away its accountability.
      • Love is kind and compassionate. Fear is not. Fear is selfish. It puts its own needs before others. How can we be kind when we are suffering?
      •   Love is who we are when we undo all our resentments. It is our truest from, our deep soul expression, and our birthright. It is our radiant core brilliant like the sun. It is always there. Fear is what we learn. It is in our stories, histories, excuses, and justifications of our ego selves.
        I think the whole point of a journey of self discovery, a mystical path of self realization, a spiritual quest of the truest order, is a journey of unlearning. Of undoing. Of clearing away the clouds of fear covering our brilliant sun selves. When we can stop wanting things to be different than they are. When we can allow our lessons, whatever they are, to remind us that we are not on a journey of finding a new self, but on an excavation of finding what has never been lost within. This is the way to love.

        What about when love doesn’t look like love?

        See, for me I thought love looked like always being nice, encouraging, sweet, and kind. I thought love meant I never yelled (even when I was screaming inside), never told someone “no”, never rejected anyone. That I should always be polite. That I shouldn’t get angry. That I should stay in control. That I should always speak intelligently. That I was to look a certain way to be accepted. We are programmed to fit into what ever mold we are give ourselves.

        Then I learned a word called “enabling”. Basically, enabling means doing for someone else what they should be doing for themselves. For example, if you live with an addict and you allow them to continue their behavior you are enabling. If that person does that for you, they are enabling you. If you allow another to be right because it is "easier" you are enabling their behavior.  If you say “yes” when you really mean “no”. That is enabling.

        Main point here- Enabling is not love. It is not loving.

        It’s true. Real love is honest. It is connected to something bigger than our logical minds. Our intent is what is most important here. Is our intent love or fear. How might this look?

        "When you abuse yourself, in a sense you abuse the world. If you learn to love yourself, you become an expert in self-preservation and your own healing. You begin to bloom and the world blooms around you."
        - Unknown

        Love often means setting boundaries. Unless we realize that we have the power to say no we will never be able to say yes anything. In our relationships, in our work, in our life experiences. We don’t set boundaries from a  fear place where we must “defend ourselves”, but from loving ourselves enough to take a stand. When we say no to something from a place of loving intent we do what is best for us. We are loving ourselves enough to honor our authentic knowing.  Likewise when we say “no” to another we are loving them enough not be enable them. We are loving them enough to say “I am not going to help you hurt yourself because I know you are worth more than that”. So often times real “love” may look tough from the outside. It may even look like rejection. But it is not that at all. Many times the most loving thing you can do is say “no”.

        With love we say no because we are worth it and so are they.
        We all have a price which is measured in self love. When we are connected to that divine love within ourselves we have a high price, a high value, and a low tolerance for abuse. We no longer accept abuse from ourselves or others. A lower value, a weaker connected with our divine self,  and we have a lesser price.
        We say no because we have both the right and the power to choose what we want in our lives and the right to change our mind. We also trust that we know what is best for us. Life is not an obligation but an opportunity.

        Where is your intent with yourselves and others? If you are anything like most of us you may fear saying no to another for fear of them feeling rejected, or of them rejecting you, or of looking impolite, or because you just don’t trust your own value. It could be a thousand reasons. What is true is this…If we have rejected our truth we are willing to accept anything.
        We each have the choice in every moment to create a life based on love or fear, truth or everything else.
        What do you choose?

        Love is reckless, not reason;
        reason seeks a profit.
        Love comes on strong,
        consuming herself, unabashed.

        Yet, in the midst of suffering,
        Love proceeds like a millstone,
        hard surfaced and straightforward.

        Having died of self-interest,
        she risks everything and asks for nothing.

        Love gambles away every gift God bestows.

        Without cause God gave us Being.
        Without cause, give it back again.


        Tuesday, January 18, 2011

        The 13th Sign Debate & First Look at Published Article

        You know after the 13th sign debate last week I had to comment. So many people have contacted me and asked what the deal was, I thought I'd officially comment here. Here are my major points
        1. Astronomers are not astrologers so they shouldn't comment on astrology unless they have studied it.
        2. There is no such thing as bad press...right? maybe it'll get some more people interested in astrology (thanks for that one Tom)
        3. Western astrology has Never followed the constellations.
        4. The constellation of Ophiuchus (aka "The 13th Sign) only dips partially into the ecliptic, while the twelve signs Western Astrologers count as part of the zodiac are fully intersected by the ecliptic. If we were to count all the constellations that just touch the ecliptic with their tippy toe, we’d have not only 13 signs, but perhaps three or four more. But that is not the case. (Thanks Dena)
        5. Astrologers have always known about both Ophiuchus as well as the precession of the equinoxes (the "wobble" of the earth that has caused this debate). This is a debate that has been around for awhile now. 
        6. Astrology seems to work because of its consistency. As long as astrologers are consistent within their chosen approach it works.
        Ok, enough on the 13th sign. If this has peaked your interest in astrology, great. Lmk and we'll chat.

        And while we are on the subject of astrology...A local magazine has decided to publish an article I turned in about astrology. Here's a sneak peak.. Look for it in Natural Awakenings this February.

        Say  the word “astrology” and most people think of sun sign descriptions in a newspaper horoscope. For others, the word astrology might conjure up  images of smoky back rooms and velvet curtains where a mysterious woman crones dire predictions. Historically speaking there is relevance to some of these presuppositions-  mostly because they are true. There has been a slow transformation taking place over the last few decades in the field of astrology that reflects a new paradigm, however. One that seems to shadow an evolution in our collective consciousness and is bringing astrology from the back rooms of hushed premonitions to the forefront of healing and health. 

        This new branch of astrology emerged separately but synchronistically in the l970’s and 80’s.  Gifted astrologers like Stephen Arroyo, Alan Oken, Martin Shulman, David Railley, A.T. Mann and Ray Merriman led the charge to challenge traditional astrological paradigms. Jeffrey Green and Steven Forrest took these ideas and ran with them creating a whole new branch of astrology called Evolutionary Astrology.  Simultaneously, another divergence was entering the scene which reflected a more psychological slant led by noted astrologers Liz Greene and Howard Sasportas and heavily based on the work of Carl Jung.  Like tributaries that connect back to a rushing river, all these new astrological models flow together to form a beautiful and sacred science. Called sacred astrology, it blends astrological principles, with psychology, evolutionary principles, and intuition.

        Astrology is a learned, proven, and trusted science. Often taking years of study and practice. A good sacred astrologer has fundamental astrological  knowledge as well as a deep respect and understanding of human nature. Many astrologers of this type will also be educated in psychology, social work, and related disciplines. Most are highly intuitive, courageous teachers, and gifted counselors.

        The basic science of astrology  is based on birth time, date, and location. From this data a chart called a natal or birth chart is created.  It is a snapshot of the sky at that precise moment of birth. In a very real sense the birth chart is a divinely inspired personal road map. Like a map, the astrologer reads the placements of planets, asteroids, and angles to ascertain the karmic terrain of the path ahead and behind, the tools available along the way, and pitfalls that are possible.

        The sacred astrologer takes the whole person into account starting with the knowing that each person comes into this life with a soul packed with a personality, a purpose, and the gift of choice. Heavily seeped in these understandings the sacred astrologer is able to give insight into a person’s life from a soul perspective.  They are able to tackle the big questions.  Fears, life patterns, relationships, and habits can be truly understood and then transformed. Life’s purpose and potential, past lives, and dreams can be unearthed and validated. It is a tool for self reflection, honesty, and accountability. In essence, it is a tool for making sense of the complex inner world where soul meets body. It is through this greater understanding of self where change and ultimately healing can happen.

        Astrology is certainly not alone in its ability to bring deep self realization of course. Find a good therapist. Scale a mountain. Learn a skill. Have children. Life has a way of bringing the lessons right to our doorstep anyway. What astrology has on its side is acceleration. The lessons that may take a person a decade to unravel and decipher on their own, a good astrologer can quickly and quite profoundly reveal in an hour.
        Herein lies its gift.

        Tuesday, January 11, 2011

        Feelings......to believe or not to believe...

        Don’t trust your feelings as fact because they are filtered through your history.

        Wait...what was that? Are you saying my feelings aren't real.
        No, your feelings are very real, meaning you are feeling them. But are they always accurate? Not usually.
        Confusing? Let me explain.

        First of all what are feelings?
        In this world where everything is energy, feelings are just that, emotions-energy in motion. If you are paying attention (and I hope that you are) you can feel your feelings in your body. Ever feel "butterfly's in your stomach" before a performance or get a stomach ache if you are nervous? Ever hear something tragic and feel like you can't breathe? Those are all examples of feelings as energy, in our body.

        Where do they come from? This is important. Our beliefs (blog about that here), give rise to our thoughts, which give rise to our feelings. It is impossible to have a feeling without a thought. Really. For a minute think about that because it's fascinating. Every feeling is a reflection of a thought and every thought a reflection of a belief we have.

        Now we know about thoughts and beliefs. Every thought we have is had is reference to the past. Therefore so are our feelings. In a very real way every feeling we have isn't real to the present moment but in reaction to our habitual thoughts. Confusing?

        Let's take an obvious example. Let's say as a child you were chased by a dog and thus, formed the belief that dogs are dangerous creatures. Maybe it was a big enough deal that it left strong emotional residue (fear) in your body, and became part of your identity story. So now, you walk around with belief that dogs can't be trusted (of course with that core belief that is exactly what you'll manifest again and again, right?). Anyway, one day you are talking a leisurely stroll down a sidewalk see a dog. Here come the thoughts, "oh no, there's a dog" and it "it looks just like the one that attacked me those years ago". Here come the feelings. Maybe you start to have a hard time catching your breathe. You notice your pulse start to race. You start to sweat. You cross to the other side of the street to avoid what you perceive as a threat. See what I mean? Our feelings are created in response to a belief we believe is true. We have the thought about that belief and then we have the feeling.

        So quite literally, when it comes to feelings, we are running our present through our past. It’s like living in a dream state. We are stuck in time, reacting to our present as if it has already happened. Is it any wonder why we keep creating and feeling the same experiences and feelings we say we don't want?

        Another important note, is that most of those beliefs we have are not even ours to begin with.  It's interesting to ponder the fact that we are following instructions given to us years ago by people we wouldn't listen to today.

        So our feelings are energetic shadows of our past and must be seen as thus. We must realize that they are emerging with baggage attached and we have to question their validity as it pertains to the present moment.

        A bit about what I like to call karmic PTSD
        Do you remember the file folder effect I spoke of here? Feelings arise the same way. All those file folders in our minds store and catalog all the past stories, beliefs, thoughts and associated feelings. Like a giant web of electrical impulses all weaved together. When a file is tripped, say when the person in the example above sees a dog, the whole file is triggered. It's a bit like those fire cracker chains you might set off at News Years celebration. Bang, bang, bang, each one lighting the next. You can’t just trigger one part of the file without firing off the whole file. So, the emotion ( energy in motion) that is released is not just about the present situation, but all those past situations stored in the file as well. In our dog situation, there is fear (obviously), perhaps some shame, some frustration, some sadness...any number of emotions attached to the beliefs in the mind file labeled "dog". When the dog file is triggered out flood the whole file of emotions that seem to be about the present situation. But are they? This is what I like to call karmic ptsd.
        Someone suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will overact to a stimulus because they have triggered a powerful web of emotions hidden deep in their mind file folder. When the war veteran hears a car backfire as he is walking down the street he may find himself falling to the ground taking cover from a perceived threat. His mind file of emotion might be so intense that reality may shift to the point he believes he is back at war. What is he reacting to? The file folder marked “sound like a gunshot" is triggered in his mind. What do you think someone that has spent time in combat has in that file? I would imagine it is full of stories of war, terror, and anguish. He reacts accordingly. Instantly. Believing he‘s being shot at. Our bodies stress response is triggered if we believe it is so, whether it is so or not, because our bodies don’t know the difference between now and then, real or not real. We all have karmic PTSD to some extent with our feelings. Every single one of us

        “The fact that you are sad doesn’t mean that something is wrong. It simply means you‘re sad“- Marianne Williamson

        What do we often do with our feelings?
        I don't know about you, but the first thing I do is usually believe them. Then I try to "deal" with them. Which is comical really. We may also try to minimize them, figure them out, or deny them. We might attempt to stuff them, right along with food or drink them down with another beer. We may blame them on whomever and whatever we can. We often try to get rid of our unpleasant feelings as soon as possible. Instead of welcoming them, learning from them, and allowing them to pass we tend to fear them.

        “Rather than understand the original cause—a thought—we try to change the stressful feelings by looking outside ourselves.” ~ Byron Katie

        Are feelings at all helpful?
        Our feelings can be exceptional barometers of the conditions of our mind. Our emotions have wisdom. They let us know what needs attention. For if we are in pain we are in error. Sometimes fear is helpful. Fear can often tell us something to pay attention to, something to avoid, or be smarter about. Feelings can give us great information about the trajectory of our present reality. They can give us insight into what mind energy from the past we are resonating now. They are a tool to let us know when we have some inquiry to do. By being curious about our feelings we can begin to see what is unseen. We can look at those emotions and follow them back to their birthplace, question them, and then choose to let them go because they are based on beliefs that are not true.

        So what do we do with feelings?
        We can feel them, just not believe them.

        You will notice if you stay in the moment our feelings feel very different. In fact, you may find that your feelings lose purchase like a cat on a tin roof. Without the past to create reference our feelings become observations of the present moment where we can step back and access their validity and accuracy, rather than part of our justification of our stories. Our creative energy is no longer trapped in the past like a bad rerun replaying the same story. We are free to use our creative energy to move forward in new ways. Our reality begins to look very different.

        Feelings are like waves in the ocean. If we just let them wash over us they pass and move on. We can allow the energy to be released like a fever burning old energetic residue. In fact, emotional tears are very different than other types of tears. Tears that are more of the reflex variety (like when you peel an onion) are 98% water, while emotional tears have many other chemicals. Emotional tears have prolactin, a variety of stress hormones. and endorphins. There is something to be said for having a good cry. It is when we attempt to block our feelings, control them, deny them, or fight them, we just get tired, frustrated, and maybe even ill. (more on that next week). Just as there is no stopping the ocean there is no stopping feelings. We must allow them to wash over us and let them pass. We just don't have to believe them.

        “My research has shown me that when emotions are expressed--which is to say that the biochemicals that are the substrate of emotion are flowing freely--all systems are united and made whole. When emotions are repressed, denied, not allowed to be whatever they may be, our network pathways get blocked, stopping the flow of the vital feel-good, unifying chemicals that run both our biology and our behavior.” ~ Dr. Candace B. Pert Quotes

        Our feelings are like the weather. They reflect the present atmospheric conditions of our reality. They tell us what we need to take a look at. If there is a feeling of pain there is mind energy that needs to be examined. Like the weather we can’t stop our feelings. We can try to ignore them but that will just delay their emergence. Allow them. Like a storm they will pass. Like a storm, after the energy is released we are left cleansed, new, refreshed, with a rainbow of new beginnings showing the path ahead.

        “This being human is a guest house Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond“.-Rumi

        Friday, January 7, 2011

        Saturday Fitness event and Guest

        My dear friend Lyn Tally is putting together and amazing, educational, and fun filled day celebrating health and wellness. Some of you may already know her as the amazing yoga instructor that she is. She is truly gifted as a true teacher, meaning she exudes not only honesty and humility but a deep compassion, a willing spirit, and exquisitely joyful energy. She is in a word an inspiration. This is Lyn's site http://www.gointeractivewellness.com/parkcircleyoga/. She does a class on Wednesdays and also offers private yoga instruction. Take a look and then take a class!

        Come out this Saturday to park circle where Lyn and some other amazing Charleston fitness instructors will be getting you all ready for the New Year. Besides the awesome fitness demonstrations there will be some other local vendors. I'll be there ready to chat about breaking free from weight issues once and for all and answering questions about my upcoming e-course starting Monday. So come say hello.

        here's the info....
        Bust into the New Year with a Round Robin Workout at Mixson in Park Circle. A mix of Tae Bo, Boot Camp, Yoga plus more, get a great workout to start 2011 off right. Join us FREE for the 3 hour event beginning at 11:00 until 2:00p.m Saturday January 8th. Local vendors include Go Interactive Wellness, gRAWnola, The Brunch Truck, Fly Dog Fitness, Park Circle Tae Bo and yOga in the Circle. Workout starts at 11:30 a.m.

        and here's the link to the location http://www.mixson.com/location_guide/

        See ya there!

        Thursday, January 6, 2011

        25% off e-course!

        Hi blog friends!

        Thank you for your supportive response to the six week Food and feelings e-course starting monday. I have had a slew of interest in the last few days especially. I also know that money is tight right now and to help out I have decided to offer 25% off all levels of participation. You also have the option of a payment plan. My intention is to make committing to this program as easy as possible. I really just want to get this amazing program out to the people who are ready to make real changes in their lives.
        So, my blog friends if you are on the fence, perhaps wondering what to do, asking yourself if you want to tackle this issue once and for all, perhaps this gives you the micro push you need to step forward.
        As always get in touch with me with any questions, concerns, or if you need more information.
        (843)870-7455, alekasky@gmail.com

        Here are the discounted prices...

        There are 3 choices of participation
        Choice 1- Full Program-$180 ( discount is $135)
        -Includes all program benefits plus 4 private hour long sessions with Aleka for
        deeper reflection and examination of issues that arise

        Choice 2-Half program-$130 ( discount is $97.50)
        -Includes all program benefits plus 2 hour long private session with Aleka.

        Choice 3-Online program excluding private sessions $85.00 ( discount $63.75)