Embracing the Shadow

I just returned from Debbie Ford’s The Shadow Process Workshop and man, am I whooped! This 2.5 day intensive uncovers the shadow, or those parts of ourselves that we’ve disowned either because we think they’re bad or we find them shameful. The idea behind shadow work is that if you uncover and embrace all aspects of yourself, without judgment, you become more whole. When we deny parts of ourselves they can come up in unexpected and unpredictable ways.

Take for example the numerous sex scandals by those that are of higher moral standards such as religious leaders and clergy. Those that are of a higher moral authority are often the ones caught in sexual abuse or sexual misconduct. Because they’ve denied parts of themselves it erupts in a destructive manner.

It’s when we are out of balance of our shadow that it begins to control our life. What we resist persists. If we learn to honor it, find the gifts within it and embrace it we become less triggered when we see it in others. Think about the things in your life that upset you, what is it about those things that gets your blood boiling? Is that some part of yourself that you have denied? Is that some part of yourself that you are ashamed of? Can you find the gifts in those qualities? If not in those specifics, can you find the gifts in their opposite? For instance, if being lazy is a trigger for you, what’s the gift of being lazy? One could say finding time for yourself, relaxation, recharging your battery, maintaining a healthy work-life balance. When you shift your perspective and are able to see the gift in a once-denied trait you can embrace it without judgment or shame.

Let’s take a harder example. How can we find any way to embrace racism? It’s hard to find the benefit of being a racist so what’s it’s opposite? By not being a racist, one can become more accepting, tolerant and open to others of a different background then their own. If it weren’t for racism maybe we’d be less aware of other people’s struggles and challenges.

So here’s some tips on how to begin to uncover, understand and embrace your shadow:

Step 1: What triggers you?

What really gets under your skin? What can you not stand in other people? What is a trait or personality that you just can’t deal with? Notice if this is something that started in childhood. Were you told at an early age that this was wrong, bad or otherwise unacceptable? Really list out all the negative traits associated with what triggers you. If you need help, ask yourself, what kind of person would do that?

Step 2: Own it

Take those negative traits and repeat the phrase, “I am x” or “I am that” while looking at yourself in the mirror. Really let the words resonate within you. It will be hard to even say the words out loud at first. Trust the process, let it unfold before you.

Step 3: Find the gifts

Now take a look at your list and see if you can find the benefits for those traits. If you struggle with that, then find the gifts in their opposite. Now really breathe in those gifts, let go of judgment, shame and guilt. Know that by embracing these so called negative traits within yourself you are fully able to step into who you really are. You will gain more tools in your toolbox with which to manifest all that you desire. And once you are able to embrace these traits you will be less triggered when you see them in others.

One of the key tenants of the shadow work states that we must stop trying to fix an unwanted part of ourselves and instead, accept and love it.

If you would like to learn more about the shadow I would highly recommend Debbie Ford’s Dark Side of the Light Chasers book. It is the quintessential guide to the shadow with practical examples and exercises to help uncover those parts of yourself that you may have been denying.

My wish for you is that you fully embrace your beautiful, radiant, divine light. For it is only through the darkness that we see the light.

Sending love to those parts of you that are hiding in the dark,

Francie

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The Confusion of Going Gray

No, I don’t mean that you become mentally confused when you get older. That’s a topic for a different day. Today I want to discuss the implications of going gray as a female and how society responds.

My sister and I decided to stop dyeing our hair together about two years ago. Speaking for myself, the cost, upkeep and health of my hair were the main reasons why I ditched the hair dye. One of my very wise girlfriends told me when she turned 40, “it was my birthday present to myself, to stop worrying about hiding the gray”. It struck me then that I had placed an exorbitant amount of energy towards covering up those nasty gray hairs. And being predominantly gray, if I missed my hair dye appointment, I looked like a raccoon with a bad hangover. It was no small amount of stress that kept me coloring away my grays. It wasn’t that I was fearful of looking older it was what society might think if I decided to not care anymore as some have said.

I am now 45 and have found that my decision to stop dyeing my hair has turned into an odd social experiment. And I’m in the minority. According to a 2008 study from Clairol, 75% of American women dye their hair. For the majority of women, their hair represents the most defining part of themselves. It reflects their style, their signature look and more importantly, their confidence. We place a lot of pressure on our follicles. They must perform on command! When a curl is askew it turns into a horrendously bad hair day leaving us feeling less than our awesome selves especially when face to face with others. If every hair is in place then we feel like we can conquer the world, no mountain is insurmountable with a perfect head of hair! Hmph.

Back to the social experiment.

I find that men and women react to my choice in not dyeing my hair very differently. First, the men. They are surprised to find that a woman with gray hair can still be sexy. (This is a weird thing for me as I’ve never considered myself to be outwardly sexy or overtly sexual.) It’s like they are surprised to find that their libido doesn’t shrivel up and fall off if they look amorously towards a woman who is clearly past child bearing age. I get everything from, “Wow, I really like your gray,” to “I think it looks really good on you”, to the then, not so pleasant, “you should really dye your hair” and the dreaded, “you look like my mom”; the latter from a man six years my junior. Nice. I find it odd that I get so many comments from men about my gray, more so than I ever got when I dyed my hair. It’s like they have to comment to give me their permission that what I’m doing is acceptable to the male gender and the human race at large! Thank you. I was aiming for that. NOT!

Now for the women. I find their reactions fall into two camps. One camp are the women that look at me longingly as if to say through their eyes, “oh, if only I too could stop dyeing my hair!” I’ve had women offer up numerous, unsolicited excuses for not ditching the dye, as if I’m judging them for continuing to dye, “as soon a I’m retired I will stop dyeing my hair,” or “I would stop dyeing my hair but I’ll look too old”, or some such shenanigans. To all the women out there. I love you. I don’t care what you do to your hair. My decision was just that, mine. I wish you the courage and strength to make whatever decision you want that feels right for you, regardless of how others will perceive you.

Then there’s the other camp. The camp that lurks in the darker corners and comes out only to feed on the weak when they are in need of blood. From this faction I hear  whispers of comments like, “she just doesn’t care about herself anymore,” or similarly, “it’s like she’s given up trying to look good.” And a few that are desperately trying to curb my wayward ways encourage me with “why don’t you dye it blue or purple or something cool like that?” And if you think I’m exaggerating, talk to your silver haired female friends. I’m sure they’ll fill your ears with stories that will make your mouth gape  aghast.

So then the sociologist in me kicks in and asks, why does my gray hair trigger so many visceral reactions in others? Luckily, I’m secure enough in myself and love myself enough to not take these comments personally. Well, except for the “look like my mom” bit, that one stung. But for the most part, I just collect data in my head as I observe people’s utter amazement at seeing a gray haired female in her forties. In collecting the data and processing it for myself, here’s what I learned:

  1. People’s reaction is a direct reflection of themselves: This is true no matter what subject we’re talking about. Gray hair, baseball, politics, diet, clothes, sugar, religion, race, gender, you name it! Whatever you express whether positive, negative or neutral is directly how you feel about yourself or rather, a deep-rooted fear that you have about yourself. “Well if I stopped dyeing my hair, then it’d be like I stopped caring about myself.” “If I let the gray out I won’t be taken seriously at work”. Yes, you might be discriminated against. Yes, you might not be asked out on as many dates (the jury’s still out on that one), yes, you might look at yourself and hate the older face looking back at you.  Are you really going to tell me that you’re life’s happiness or feeling of purpose or direction is dictated by the color of your hair? What kind of sense does that make? Especially when you won’t even see your hair often unless you stare in a mirror all day long.
  2. My personal choices are not here to please others: This is the punk rocker in me. I rarely have cared what others have thought of me and I’m sure as heck not going to start as I stare 50 in the face. No sir. It’s very liberating to be free of other’s opinions. And I know, I’m able to be freer because I’m no longer in the corporate world. I get it, trust me, I get it. I remember being turned down for a much deserved promotion because I didn’t look “professional enough”. I know society is still hellbent on outer appearances. But here’s the key, why should you let it affect you? And if they do discriminate, call them out on it, that’s the only way we can affect change.
  3. Dudes don’t get the same scrutiny: I know this isn’t news. And I know that you know that women are more heavily scrutinized by their outward appearance than men. We all know this. Then why is it still OK? I can’t imagine some of the things said to me being said to a male counterpart. Even the positive compliments, “I like your gray hair, it looks good on you.” I don’t think it even occurs to men or women to look at a gray haired man and say this. Why not? Is it because we value men for something other than their hair color? That their hair color does not define them or tell us about who they are and how much they care or don’t care about themselves? Nonsense. Here’s my advice to both of the sexes, if you wouldn’t say it to a man, you probably shouldn’t say it to a woman and vice versa.

So there you have it. My exploration into the social constructs of being a gray haired female. I would love to hear your stories! Share them in the comments below.

And as always, be gentle with yourself and others. And remember to think before you speak!

Many blessings to you!

Francie

2018 A Resurgence of the Feminine

Happy 2018! I’m sure a lot of you are relieved to say goodbye to 2017 as it was more than a bit bumpy for most. We saw a lot of upsetting things in the world around us. It was a very divisive time and unfortunately, there’s still more to come in 2018. But take heart! More and more light is coming in which will dispel the negativity and the darkness that surrounds us. Below are the major themes that I’ve been sensing for 2018 and some practical and necessary steps that each one of us can take to help bring in more light to an already darkened world.

Being victimized doesn’t mean you need to remain a victim

This is a theme that is a carry over 2017. I wrote more about it in my Taking Back Your Power article a few months back. Stuff happens to all of us. We are insulted, abused, hurt on many levels, some of us on a regular basis. While we don’t choose to be victimized we have the choice on whether or not to remain a victim. When we call ourselves a ‘victim’ we give the person that victimized us our power. They might not be actively victimizing us but we can still feel like it long after the incident has passed. So take a conscious, concerted effort to separate the ‘act’ from the ‘persona’ of being a victim. Something happened to you, not through you. Meaning, something happened to your outer, physical, human you, while the big You, with a capital ‘Y’ remained untouched. It is your choice how deeply you will let something affect you. Find your inner strength, find your inner power and use what happened to you as a vehicle for making you stronger, not weaker.

So within, so without

Over the last several weeks I’ve been hearing the phrase ‘so within, so without‘ during client sessions. It’s beautiful in it’s simplicity. Whatever we are dealing with within is a reflection of the world around us. Meaning, if you have chaos, trauma or anxiety in your immediate external world, i.e., family life, work, health, etc. then it’s because you have chaos, trauma or anxiety within your internal world. Likewise, if you have peace within, your life will be pretty peaceful. Whatever we see around us is a reflection of what’s going on within.

Take a hoarder as an example. If someone hoards and surrounds themselves with objects to the point of chaos and unhealthy conditions it’s usually because they have chaos and unhealthy mental perspective on themselves. The physical hoarding, their home, their environment is a direct mirror of what’s going on inside of them. If we take an honest look around us and see what’s not working well or what doesn’t bring us peace, think about that as something to work on internally. If you have a boss that is difficult to communicate with, are there things that you struggle to communicate? If you have a child that is acting out, has high anxiety and difficulty focusing, do you also have this tendency? Similarly, if your home is calm, peaceful and stable, do you feel calm, peaceful and stable within yourself? As Ghandi stated, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.” (Source NY Times)

Instant manifestation

Another major theme of the year is seeing things manifest instantly. Thoughts and ideas that would take sometimes years or months to come to fruition are only taking weeks or even days. Pay close attention to what you want to have in your life and in the world and turn away from the things you do not desire. Whatever you think and feel will come back at you, seemingly instantly.

Tools like vision boarding, journaling and watching The Secret would be a good ways to start off the year and help you hone in on what you’d like to see manifest.

The feminine within

It doesn’t take a psychic to see that the power of the feminine is making a resurgence in our world. With the historic Golden Globes and the #MeToo and #TimesUP movements, we’re seeing a rise of the feminine collective. Louder, stronger, more focused voices are being heard and change is being made. Within each of us we have a feminine and a masculine side. A creative, nurturing, heart-centered aspect as well as a practical, analytical and mind-centered aspect, the feminine and the masculine.

We will see a greater pull to come from a more heart-centered space, a more nurturing and compassionate space that is less driven by ego. We will increase our sensitivity and become more hyper-aware of imbalances, inequalities and will have less tolerance for them. We will have stronger voices to speak out against these inequalities to a world that is ready and ripe for change. Remember, as stated above, focus on what changes you want to see, not on the inequalities that have kept people feeling victimized.

A stronger connection to Mother Earth 

Mother Earth will also play a big role in this re-awakening. While in Sedona studying Light Language this past fall, I had a beautiful vision and message from Mother Earth. She showed me mountains then pointed towards my breasts and said your mountains are my mountains. She then showed me an image of a canal and said, your (birth) canals are my canals, then a rushing river followed by, your rivers are my rivers. Then I got the final message, you were made in MY image. I was immediately struck by the power and truth of this statement and have since been reflecting on it’s meaning. We are coming into greater understanding about our spiritual relationship with Mother Earth. She is not just a provider, a house for us to dwell or a meal for us to eat, she is our Mother. She supports and cares for us unconditionally. We will be called to spend more time in nature, to support more environmental causes and to develop a closer, more intuitive connection with Mother Earth so that we might get insight before a major shift or change or upheaval. You might start to hear trees and plants talk to you. You might get glimpses of Fairies or nature sprites. Listen, honor and trust the messages you are receiving as they are here to support, love and nurture you.


There will be more rapid fire changes this year. We have been on a trajectory since 2012 that isn’t going to be slowing down in 2018. If anything, things will be kicked up another notch. Remember to find your inner peace as it will help anchor the changes with love, insight and acceptance.

Sending you light, love and Reiki blessings!

Francie

Be Your Own Guru

There comes a point in everyone’s spiritual path where we need to look to own inner guru for answers. We all seek guidance external from ourselves from time to time, from experts in a particular field or friends that we know and trust. Ultimately, when it’s all said and done, the only one who can truly answer your questions is you. Why is that? Because only you know your truth.

Think back on a time when you received advice from an ‘expert’ be it a medical doctor or a therapist or a spiritual adviser or a friend. Did you feel that they weren’t quite hitting the mark? That maybe they were missing something because deep down you knew the answer lied in a different direction? And when you did receive the advice that was right for you did you feel as if bells went off within you signaling that yes, this is right for you? That’s because you’ve always known what path you’ve needed to take. Only you know what feels right, what resonates with you and what doesn’t.

Frequently I have clients that come in for a Reiki session or an Angel Card Reading and ask for guidance on career, health, relationships or other significant areas of their life. They look to me or to Reiki or Angels to answer all of their questions. Guess what, we can’t. Only you can do that. We can highlight areas to explore, point in a particular direction, give you some breadcrumbs to follow but ultimately, the answers you seek always lie within. I know, frustrating, isn’t it?

But think about it this way, you have your own, walking, talking guru built right inside you. You don’t need to spend a ton of money to get other people’s input because deep down you know what feels right for you. In almost every Angel Card reading I do the cards point the client towards doing inner work, meditation, spending time in nature, quieting the mind so that the soul can flourish allowing clarity to come. This can be challenging for the client to hear because they want someone else to tell them what to do. Where’s the fun in that? Think about your free will, would God, Angels, etc. respect your free will if they were to constantly give you all the answers you seek? Where’s the joy in learning your path, discovering your own truth, falling and picking yourself back up again?

So how do we listen to our inner guru?

This does require some practice. First get to know what feels right for you and what doesn’t. Certain people, places, environments, foods, etc. – learn what feels right for your soul, what makes you happy and what makes you want to run and hide. Start to get in touch with your inner guidance. If it’s something that doesn’t resonate with you it can feel like a gut-punch, anxiety or a need to escape. If it feels right then you’ll be at peace and never want to leave. It’s also important to distinguish between your own anxieties and those of others. See my Getting Out From Under The World and Feeling Anxious Lately? articles for details.

Secondly, meditate on your third eye chakra.  The third eye chakra houses our ability to see things clearly and is located above and between our eyebrows. This is also where our psychic senses can become unlocked, i.e., clairvoyance, clairaudio, claircognizance, clairsentience. This eye sees the truth in all things and contrary to art depictions, this eye doesn’t look out into the world, it actually faces us and looks within. Because in truth, all the answers we seek lie within. Meditate on an eye shape a few inches away from you in front of your forehead area and slowly envision this eye opening up to show a beautiful cobalt blue iris looking back at you. You’ll be amazed at the clarity that follows.

Sending you many blessings, light and love,

Francie

Feeling Anxious Lately?

Have you been feeling a bit ‘on-edge’ lately? Unable to sleep or focus? Are you finding that your internal plumbing ain’t working quite right? How about a sudden ringing in the ears? Or how about this one; the need to jump out of your skin and take off? If you experienced one or more of these you are not alone!

Many of my clients have been reporting high anxiety to the point of panic attacks since, guess, …… go on, I’ll wait ….. yes, you got it, late January of this year. Hmm….I wonder what happened around that time? Oh yes, the inauguration! Regardless of your politics or who you voted for we’re all experiencing a communal panic attack of sorts. There are feelings of fear, uncertainty and loss. You might not have these emotions yourself but I bet you’re feeling the collective emotional soup of everyone else.

See Empaths: Getting Out from Under The World

In addition to the significant change in our political world, there is a spiritual evolution also taking place at the same time. Some would argue that one spurred on the other. This spiritual evolution or ‘ascension’ as it is more commonly known, is a step forward for human kind. I know it doesn’t feel like we’re evolving, but trust me, we are. This ascension is an awakening of our higher selves, our spirituality, our connection to Source, God, etc. We are shedding our old snakeskin and are going through a re-birthing process where we become more awake, alive and connected to who we truly are. Think of it as if we’re waking up from the Matrix. We’re becoming unplugged from our routines and starting to see life and each other from a higher perspective.

You might begin to experience deep feelings of compassion. You might feel your heart ache when you witness tragedy or warm when you feel overwhelming love. You might have one or more of your psychic ‘clairs’ open up: clairaudience, clairvoyance, claircognizance, clairsentience. You might feel compelled to take action when you weren’t the type to do so before. You see yourself gravitating towards a healthier lifestyle, cutting out certain foods, drinks, people, environments, etc. because they’re just ‘too much’ for you to handle right now. That’s a good thing. You are listening to what your body and spirit need and are making the necessary adjustments.

So why is this this happening now?

Without getting too metaphysical, know that this has been planned for eons. This time, this critical time in our history has been in the works for thousands of years. We’ve been experimenting, seeing what it’s like to live on this beautiful blue planet we call home. We’ve had to lower our vibration in order to exist on this physical plane. We’ve had to ‘descend’ so that we can inhabit our physical bodies. Now the school bell has rung and it’s time to graduate into the next level.

What can I do about it?

Being aware that it’s taking place is a good first step. Knowing that you’re not going crazy, you’re not alone and that this is for your highest and greatest good is a great place to start. Secondly, be gentle with yourself. Know that you are hypersensitive right now so create safe places, boundaries, learn to say no and learn when you need to take breaks and be alone with your thoughts.

If you haven’t already, try some of the steps listed in my previous article on opening up your spirituality. Try to really get in touch with who you are. What makes you tick? Where do your passions lie? What does your soul yearn for? Follow that yearning, even if it’s just baby steps and the universe will match you. Have you been inspired to teach, paint, create, write, sing, dance, shout,  run, hike, get back into nature? As Nike says, just do it. Throw caution to the wind, follow your heart and you will never be led astray.

What comes next?

That’s up to all of us. The more we embrace our new higher divine selves the more we evolve as a whole. But it does take every one of us to make that effort. We need to love ourselves and each other deeply. We need to love the planet and all the living things on it. We need to have compassion radiating out of all our pores. We need to step out of our old ways of judgement, anger and fear and step into a new way of seeing the world through eyes of light and love. We’re opening up to new learning, new insight, new awareness beyond what we’ve been able to experience in the past. This is an exciting time, a period of great adjustment that requires more than a handful of patience and a healthy dose of awareness.

Sending you my light and love,

Francie