Sunday, February 27, 2011


On Friday I realized I hadn't written my blog last week. Instead of feeling guilty and scrambling to write an entry just so I could keep the intention I have had to write once a week, I decided to feel momentarily guilty and hang out with the guilt and see what felt right to me. I have written 325 entries on this blog. I have learned and grown tremendously from the experience of sharing what I learn in my life with you, my readers. Thank you for reading what I write and doing whatever you do with what you experience here.
I have been getting many lessons about being willing to let go. My identity personally and professionally has been shifting. I have had ideas of who and how I need to be to be OK. This includes putting my work first. My counseling work is my calling. It has been my belief that I came here to this planet to help other people grow in love and that mission has been my priority.
I am learning that prioritizing my time with myself, my partner, my friends and my family needs to be more at the forefront of my attention. Before I had two houses and two lives in the way I do now I had much more time. Looking back I could be much less efficient and still have more free time. My disciplines, yoga and meditation and walking have been compromised lately. I still manage to do something every day and it is more challenging. I notice when my disciplines are compromised I am edgier and less patient and my judgment is less clear. It is more difficult to feel centered and present. Today I did all of my disciplines and I can feel my deep sense of joy bubbling back up. Also I have been working to get it that living with another person, even if only part time, doesn't have to mean I abandon myself. Abandoning myself doesn't serve me and doesn't serve Gary. I have been working to know what really feels right to me and to chose that and trust that listening to myself in that way will support being less anxious and more satisfied with my life. I have been examining all of my shoulds that keep me tied to a neverending list of things I must do to be OK. I have been more aware of my aging process and the deep knowing that I don't have all the time in the world to learn to relax and enjoy my life. The time is now. The choice is mine. Today in a yoga class I felt the strength of my body and was aware that I am so much stronger than I see myself to be. I am strong enough now to be present with all of my feelings. I had a shift in consciousness at a Deeksha workshop last weekend that let me know in my body that nothing is bigger than the love that is inside me that surrounds me that we are all one with. I can trust in that love. It holds me with consistent compassion and heals the little wounded girl inside me. I can be with whatever comes up and meet it with that love. It is waiting for me to get that I deserve to be held in love for being exactly who I am. Today I led Laughter Yoga and Andie was there with me. We weren't separate from each other we were frolicking together. Woo hoo! I am leaving for Mexico in a few days. I will be gone almost two weeks. During that time I will ask for clarity about when to write this blog. It just came.My answers are so available when I take the time to listen. From here on out I will write my blog when I am moved to write it however long that takes in between. I can consciously write my blog when it wants to be written. My blog is about growing in love and supporting others in doing that. Letting my actions flow from my still small voice will organically support that intention. I am ready to let go of thinking if I don't bully myself with my shoulds I won't do anything. That is an old idea. My consciousness supports me in doing what I came here to do. I look forward to communing with you when the time is right.
In the meantime look at what is really important to you and see if you can allow yourself to do it. Look at what is important to you to be and notice the radiant example already shining through. Your power is more evident than you think. Let yourself look for the evidence of it. Then acknowledge yourself for looking and for what you find. Love to all of you. Andrea

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My big S Self

One of the most valuable concepts for me about the Enneagram is the idea of personality and essence. Personality is the strategy we adopt in our family of origin to adapt to the limited acceptance we experience. We place this strategy over all of who we are and squish our bigness into our personality box. After many years of practice this strategy becomes who we think we are. The enneagram is a map of nine personality strategies. Studying this map and learning more about being mindful of our main strategies and the strategies of those we love leads to increased compassion for self and others. Mindfulness is observation without judgement. By bringing mindfulness to the ways we've learned to defend ourselves when feeling our feelings and being emotionally vulnerable wasn't safe, we can begin to move beyond those defenses to more authentic contact with self and others. Defensive postures are a response to fear when responding authentically doesn't feel safe. The idea of three main defensive postures was originally developed by Karen Horney and has been used by several Enneagram teachers. The three postures are aggression, compliance and withdrawal. Three of the enneagram types lead with each one of these. Twos, sixes and ones lead with compliance. When they are afraid and feel the need to defend themselves they are more apt to placate and please. Fours, fives and nines tend to withdraw and pull back into themselves when threatened. Threes, eights and sevens often lead with aggression getting big and using anger to protect themselves. This is not to say that this is always true. It is only a useful tool to be able to show up for ourselves, recognizing the defensive posture as part of our strategy. All people have all three options and can use them all. I am a four and when I notice I want to pull back into myself and run away, I can ask myself what I am afraid of rather than running away. I can soothe the little girl inside me who had no other choice but to shrink and get small and blame herself in the face of my mom's anger. I can let her know that she is safe with me and that I protect her now. Together we are learning that it is safe to be powerful and to find our voice. By bringing compassion to ourselves when we notice our defensive postures and seeing them as vehicles for us to learn to show up for ourselves in our fear, we open to more and more of all of who we are. Fear creates our strategies. Showing up for ourselves in our fear allows us to heal. What we heal into is the big beautiful essence of all that we are. Essence is all of who we are. It includes our personality strategies and our defensive postures. Opening to essense is the process of reclaiming all we gave up to become who we thought we needed to be to survive in our family of origin. It means making conscious choices about what we want to keep about our strategies and what we are ready to release. The Enneagram is a powerful map to begin to explore this reclaiming process. You could also think of personality as self with a small s and essence as Self with a big S. Learning to trust in Self helps us to know ourselves as more than our strategies. Learning to listen to the still small voice of the Self within us guiding us home creates the pathways for more authentic connections with ourselves and others. I think of it as learning to listen to my big S self. My new affirmation is I trust in my big S Self. May you also learn to trust in your big
S Self. Would it be useful to set aside some time to listen?

Monday, February 7, 2011

taxes and laughter

Am I writing this blog so I can avoid working on my taxes? It is so easy for me to put off unpleasant tasks. I am meeting with my accountant tomorrow so I need to finish up tonight. Would it be a good reward to write this blog after I have finshed my tax work? Maybe and I'm not willing to do it that way. I am banking rather on the inspiration I feel from writing this blog helping me to motivate myself. I have been getting messages from several fronts today to stop trying so hard to get better and just relax. How do taxes get done that way? We will see. Writing this blog is relaxing for me. I often can suspend my judgmental mind and let the words flow out of me. Often when I am done I feel satisfied and pleased that I have done a good enough job. That experience of self-acceptance is delicious. Today at Deeksha oneness blessing group the leader spoke about letting go of expectations and being in the moment with whatever shows up. The idea is to acknowledge that we are not in control even though we are so keenly attached to our illusion of control in this culture. I've said before my spiritual philosophy has three parts:
Trust in god or the universe
Do my part
Let go of the outcome.
As I write this I think I will, at least for now, add Laugh as my forth step. Maybe at first it would be a forced laugh to acknowledge that I know I am out of control. Maybe if I remember to laugh I would have more fun. In Laughter yoga a fake laugh often turns into authentic laughter. The body doesn't know the difference and produces healing hormones from either kind of laughter. Maybe the way to get myself to finish my taxes is to laugh while I am doing them. The "they" that I worry about hearing me and thinking I am crazy is not here tonight. Do you ever wonder who this they that we worry what they are thinking about us is. Is it the sanity police? Or is it simply a picture of my mother embedded in my sub-conscious mind saying, "Are you crazy?" She tended to do that whenever something I was doing was something she disagreed with. Now I have introjected that idea and do it to myself. Introjection is when we hear a judgemental message about ourselves from outside of us and take it in to ourselves as true. I'd like to Laugh that belief right out of me. I imagine laughing at my mother for thinking I am crazy. I imagine that now she could laugh with me. I imagine laughingly telling Andie, who is, as you know, the little girl inside me, that her ideas are good ideas and I support her in having lots of them. I celebrate her good ideas with my laughter. I celebrate her playful silliness. She gives so much to me in that way. Woo hoo Andie. I have been hanging out with her and loving her lately. I stopped being intimidated by her anger at me for being inconsistent and I am loving her anyway whenever I do. I feel a deep love for her and I know I can be with her and love her no matter what. I can feel her begin to relax when I pay attention to her. She likes to laugh. So much of my childhood was no laughing matter. Now it is time to laugh. Noone will say, "Wipe that smile off of your face." I can say to myself, "Whip that smile on to your face." I can say it in a sassy voice. I won't get into trouble. What if Andie and I can have fun together? What if she is my having fun together teacher? Andie likes that and says she is. Well now I am ready to do my taxes laughing. Andie and I will do them together.
What could you experiment with laughingly doing? What fun!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I went to a very powerful meditation retreat on Saturday with Peter Williams. The theme was working with judgmental mind. At the end of the retreat after a full day of walking and sitting meditation he had us pair off and do Byron Katie's work called "the work". It was very powerful for me to do process work after my mind became stiller from hours of continually bring myself back to my breath from noticing my judgments and thoughts.
Byon Katie's work consists of four questions that you ask yourself about a judgment you are having about yourself or another person. These are the questions: 1. Is it true?
2. Do you absolutely know it is true?
3. What happens when you think that thought?
4. What would it be like to let go of that thought?

So I'll give you an example of a judgement I am having right now to show you how the process works. I waste a lot of time
Is it true that I waste a lot of time? Yes.
Do I absolutely know that it is true that I waste alot of time. No. I don't absolutely know that it is true.
What happens when I think the thought I waste a lot of time is that I feel small and rushed. My chest feels tight and my stomach hurts. I feel sad.
What would it be like to let go of the thought I waste a lot of time is that my body relaxes. I feel relieved. I can think more clearly and I can better prioritize what to do with my time. I also become aware of how well I am using my time and how much I am actually getting done. I even spell better.

After the experience of the four questions there is a turn around. A turn around is to think of all the possible alternatives to the original judgment and to see if any of them are true or truer. Here are some turn arounds to I waste a lot of time.
I use my time wisely.
I value relationships as much as tasks.
I am in process about learning to use my time in a way that is satisfying.
There is plenty of time.
I do a good enough job with time.
I am present with what works the best in the moment and make choices accordingly.
All of them feel true or truer than my original judgment. I'd like to take on the project of noticing when I am using time well and to acknowledge myself for that. Writing this blog is a good use of my time. I feel satisfied both by expressing myself creatively and by sharing what I am learning with you. See if you'd like to experiment with using the work with a judgment of yours. For more information on Byron Katie and her work go to... I just started looking through my books to find her book Loving What is and give you a web link. Instead I decided to use my time in another way and to ask you to google Byron Katie if you want to learn more. I am learning. Woo hoo! And woo hoo to you, too.