Encouraging Children to be Selfish – It’s Not What you Think

Woke up thinking about all the words we use that have “self” in it –  myself – yourself – ourselves – but how we don’t really consider what “self” means. In the worlds of #selfdevelopment, #selfawareness, and #selfdiscovery, etc… yes – “self” is a well-known construct, but for so many of us busy being moms and dads, not so much.

In fact, growing up (both for me and my kids), being “selfish” was a strong negative.

“Don’t be selfish”. 

Even now it evokes feelings of shame and images of head-hanging and shoulder-slumping.

“Share your toys; don’t be selfish”.

“That’s not nice Rachel; give your sister the bigger piece”.

Then we grow up and find ourselves struggling with buried feelings and trapped emotions, and learn in coaching or therapy that focusing on “the self” is valuable, even necessary.

You know – “…happiness is an inside job” and all the other inspirational quotes and book titles.

Well, which is it?

Don’t be selfish or Be Self-ish?

If Instagram is any indication, it’s the latter. I, and thousands (even millions!!), tag without hesitation – #selfcare, #selflove, #knowyourself, #trueself .

Having woken up immersed in #selftalk was no doubt related to my recent conversation with my older daughter Rachel, now 26. She was 2 years 7 months when her younger sister Alana was born, and she did not want to share me. I often retell the anecdote of how she clearly communicated this sentiment.

Home from the hospital just minutes before, I gently rocked Alana for the first time in the “baby’s room”. Rachel looked first at Alana, then at me, and then without a word, resolutely slapped me.

I laugh now, but I didn’t then. In fact, I’m sure I said something like, “that’s not nice Rachel” or “don’t hit Mommy”.

Or perhaps I somewhat appreciated her predicament and said something more empathetic like, “ Don’t worry Rachel; Mommy has enough love for both of her girls”. I wonder now if this was the first of the many times I denied her feelings to make my self more comfortable. I’m confident it was close to the first time I communicated to her that angry feelings directed towards her sister were bad.

How many times in the course of a childhood did I deny her feelings?

I have always been a fairly conscientious mother, sensitive to both of my daughters’ emotional needs, but I know I yelled “Rachel don’t be selfish” and “Rachel don’t be mean” each time she acted out her deep desire not to share me with her little sister.

Over the last few weeks, Rachel and I have been talking about the feelings of sadness with which she struggles. Always the mommy, I try to comfort her and help her to figure it out.

“Do you feel depressed?” “Do you think it could be PMS?”

But her words, “I’m sorry I’m not fun to be around” – “I’m stupid” – revealed to me a young child, hurt and disappointed in herself.

As an experienced mother and a transformation coach, I encouraged her to connect to the parts of herself she likes the most. As her tears streamed down her face, she grunted a “but I don’t want to” grunt.

I was doing it again.

I was denying her the time she needed to feel her disappointment. To be self-ish.

My instinct to try and make her feel better gets in the way of what she really needs; to feel her feelings without judgment from me or anyone else. 

Being connected to your feelings is everything. If your children are young, help them connect with their feelings by acknowledging and noticing it for them – “Rachel, I see you have big feelings towards Alana”. 

The key is to refrain from judgment in both your tone and your choice of words.

Then encourage them to choose the words that best describe how they feel (i.e. don’t say “I see you’re very angry”). Most importantly, let them know it’s so good for them to feel their feelings; that this is called “knowing their SELF”, and it’s so healthy. Suggest an activity such has drawing or dancing to allow the feelings to be expressed so that they can be set free afterwards.

If your children aren’t young, say they’re 26, it’s still not too late to encourage them to feel their feelings. Chances are it will take some time, because by then, they’ve learned to bury those feelings their well-intentioned mothers talked them out of.

Minimalism (Spring Cleaning!)

It’s finally Spring! . . . which means that, here in Portland, there are now smatterings of rain-free (sunny, even) hours here and there to enjoy ( . . . yay.)

Even with lingering clouds in the Pacific Northwest, and the typical neighbor’s response to that occasional precious sunny day falling along the lines of, “Yeah, wonder how long this one’ll last,” I really am savoring Spring. One reason is the bright and beautiful flowers now waking up in municipal parks, lining main drags of the city with their fluorescent blooms. Another bonus I can’t neglect mentioning is the occasional day that rises up into the 60s.

The main point I want to celebrate with you, though, is my newly discovered fondness for Spring cleaning. It’s not a seasonal routine in which I’d ever before partaken; my recent move last month just happened to coincide with the turning of seasons, and inspired me to purge a lot of crap that I didn’t need but had been schlepping around from temporary housing situation to housing situation for the past five and a half years anyway. I finally rid myself of seven bags of clutter (clothing that I hadn’t worn for years . . . books that I had once had some fleeting interest in, but had never gotten around to reading and which, realistically, I finally admitted that I never would . . . and a few random knick-knacks that my mother had sent me from two time zones away for every holiday listed on the Gregorian calendar and which were already living in aforementioned bags, anyway).

And (with all due respect to my mother), it felt great.

If you’re reading this month’s newsletter, you are no doubt a resilient soul — you just survived a recent astrological double whammy of Mercury retrograde overlapping a blue full moon, followed by All Fool’s Day, followed by a Friday the 13th. And that means that YOU, too, can survive with less clutter in your life. (Which is not to suggest that YOUR life contains an inordinate amount of clutter! — it’s just that we could all use a Spring cleaning.)

We all owe it to ourselves to determine whether any given thing in our life is helping us, or hurting us just by virtue of being one more thing that we have to keep track of. This goes for material possessions, as well as the more abstract things of which we’ve claimed ownership.

If you choose to accept your mission to declutter material possessions, remember that there’s no need for any owner’s guilt as you sort through your belongings. (Cut yourself some slack — you’ve been living in a consumerist society your entire life, and you’ve managed to accumulate some unnecessary junk in the meanwhile.) Also bear in mind that decluttering doesn’t have to be done all at once. You can just keep an eye out as you live your life. (Pause for a moment and ask yourself whether that piece of furniture that never gets used and just sits in the corner is collecting dust is useful, or if it only makes house cleaning more of a tedious task for you. Ask yourself whether that jacket hanging in your closet that you never wear would be better put to use by someone else later to be shopping at Goodwill.)

Joshua Becker is an advocate of minimalism whose own family’s story has been featured on the CBS Evening News, the WSJ, NPR, and various other news outlets.

At his website Becoming Minimalist, Becker provides brilliant ways that the average Jane or Joe can declutter their house. He shares his list of “clutter busting routines”, for example, along with insights into unseen benefits of becoming minimalist. His blog posts offer brilliant insights to decluttering in a wide scope of material, as well as intangible, ways — ranging from overcoming habits of excessive consumerism, to rearranging one’s kitchen to create a less cluttered home environment, to ridding one’s life of superficial gossip, to cutting artificial ingredients out of one’s diet.

Take note, parents — most impressive is that he shares how he’s gone minimalist as a father with young children on the homefront.

The most valuable benefits to be gained from simplifying one’s lifestyle are undoubtedly abstract. Less stuff leads to less stress; hence, more time and energy for the things that really matter. For most of us, our minds and our thoughts could use a Spring cleaning (our consciousness is how we invest our precious time and energy while on Earth; do you ever overcomplicate/overthink things?) while we endeavor to excavate our homes of any unnecessary material items (the idea behind the money that we spent on any unnecessary material aspects, of course, being that it is a reflection of our investments of our precious time and energy).

Quality over quantity.

Bach Flower Remedies – Mother Nature’s Support for Sensitive Souls

This is how a divine line of floral essences (vibrations of plants, flowers and trees) came to be created, and they are called Faery Heart Elixirs. The concept of them was conceived one night in a dream. Seems so simple really! I had 6 names of elixirs and a general idea of what they would be able to do. The next night I had an awareness of what the intention of each elixir would be and its purpose. The explanations and intentions just seemed to flow onto the page! The next day feeling inspired, I bought myself some Bach Flower Essences and proceeded to intuitively bring each elixir to life. I intuitively knew how to blend the essences together and create something new – a vibrational line of elixirs that would assist us sensitive beings in walking easier on this planet. Not only can they assist us in feeling more peace, calmness, protection, grounding and courage but they also support our evolution. The line of elixirs has expanded to include help with: opening up to our gifts, feeling more loved, feeling like we belong, abundance, sleep assistance, and mind taming. I’ve been blessed with people requesting custom blends – that is how a focus elixir came to be. Currently I’m working on an elixir to assist with fertility and even addictions. There are new elixirs seeping into my awareness constantly, new avenues to support our growth and development. I’ve had an elixir come through so strongly and clearly that there was no question about her name or what she would do. Her name is Memories and she is a force to be reckoned with! The intention with Memories was to help us REMEMBER soul memories that will enable us to step in to our power more. Help us embody more of our gifts and reclaim more of our big spirit selves enabling us to step forward with more confidence and expansion.

As a sensitive being the elixirs have allowed me to feel like I am more in control of my life. I’m driving the car instead of being drug behind it! No longer am I controlled by anxiety and fear and powerless to energetic challenges that my body feels regularly. I have miraculous assistance to help me navigate these crazy energies and I wanted to share them with others as well. They have really been a saving grace for me and for the other sensitive beings out there… there is assistance! If you’d like to know more about Faery Heart Elixirs or Bach Flower Remedies please drop me a line. My email is inspirationhh@gmail.com or you can visit my website at www.universalembodiment.com

 

Surviving PTSD

When I was leaving the hospital after a: few near death experiences, coma, and major surgery, the ICU nurse told me “don’t worry about dusting your house – dust is for leaving love messages for your family in” and “you will experience ptsd”. She also said “apparently you were meant to do something amazing with your life – that’s why you are still alive.” No pressure there!!

I would like to share my recovery with PTSD. I still trigger every now and again or get overwhelmed. I know I will never be the same as before but can function, enjoy life and be creative and productive again. In some ways I am actually better. Some things challenge me more now.

Anyways – Bach Flower Remedies saved my sanity. Rescue Remedy is sold in health food stores or online so if you want to try it right now, go get some! Personally, I prefer my own line of bach flower remedies named Faery Heart Elixirs available also online (www.universalembodiment.com). They are liquids made out of the vibration of plants, that you take under your tongue, but work emotionally, and energetically within minutes. They don’t effect medications and are good old mother nature LOVE! I could take them when I was freaking out, distraught, feeling overwhelmed and feel peaceful and calm the next moment. They are life support for the sensitive souls! Life saver for me and my family for sure!

Another thing that helped me gained control of my life, was working with a miraculous belief systems coach named Marie Martin from Kelowna, British Columbia. She has worked with many front line workers, 911 operators and others that have suffered with ptsd. She helped me clear subconsciously what was triggering me in a easy, loving, calm, and quick way. Once they were cleared, my triggers either went away or lessened to a manageable “normal” proportion. It is possible to roll through triggers quickly and easily.

Nutrition, healing, time and patience is always necessary for recovery. Family support is also a blessing! My family’s support and understanding made the hell I was in, a bit easier. Janet, my girlfriend, was really a saint! She repeated herself a million times because my short term memory was nonexistent in the beginning and I asked the same questions repeatedly. When I was in a full on freak out she would remain calm and not make eye contact (family joke) – wait for my outburst to end, and hope somehow we would all survive. PTSD is not easy on us, but our families get to go thru it right alongside us too! Remember to cut them a break! Try not to judge yourself so harshly. You are lucky to be alive. Be gentle with yourself! Show some love for the family walking by your side thru hell also!

For physical support in regaining my memory and straightening my body out after surgery, I went to a Body Talk practitioner named Richard Stuart from Calgary, Alberta. It took a few treatments to get the rest of my organs working together again and my brain function back but he was key for my continuing physical, emotional and energetic support. I did say brain function back! One night after a session it felt like a switch flipped on in my brain and I had some more back – best feeling ever for me! Body Talkers can get your body communicating with each other again which supports healing in a way like no other modality for me. I love it! Strongly recommend checking them out in an area near you.

PTSD survival and enjoying life again is possible. My intention was to share some huge keys for my own recovery process. Trust your intuition. Keep watching for the people and things, that can assist you. If you need some referrals I’ve sprinkled them liberally throughout this blog. If you are interesting on finding out more about my line of Faery Heart Elixirs, or the people that assisted me, please check out my website at www.universalembodiment. com. If you need any suggestions or want to connect – drop me a line!

Miracles happen every day! Trust me, I am one and so are you!

Holy Fire III Reiki

Significant milestones in Reiki have recently transpired. Not only did I acquire my own official Reiki (Holy Fire lineage) MASTER certificate as of last week (along with the rest of my class, featured above), but Holy Fire itself reached another milestone.

My having “leveled-up” to Reiki master means that I now have two additional symbols with which to heal clients during sessions. I’ve already experienced, and so can testify firsthand to, the uniqueness of these symbols’ energies, compared to the energies of those core symbols with which I’ve been healing clients all along (each of which also has its own distinct feel — and all of which I will, of course, continue to work with as I add to my personal Reiki toolkit).

As of three weeks ago, Holy Fire II energy has been replaced with Holy Fire III. This divine energy descended from the heavens to ignite the healers working with it (I think of it as a software upgrade, myself). I am honored and grateful to have been a member of one of the first classes ever to have been imbued with this latest manifestation of Holy Fire.

The same tools and techniques that have been central to the Holy Fire lineage of Reiki healing will continue to be used — only with a different energy. The Grace of Forgiveness comes through more powerfully with Holy Fire III, and the focus of its healing is less on what is being released during healing, and more on what is being revealed as the masks of the culturally created self are peeled away from the Authentic Self.

I experienced some most beautiful experiences during last week’s Reiki intensive.

During our first class meditation, the River of Life Experience, I had some of my own, most deeply ingrained masks come to mind; masks that ultimately came from having been raised in a society that equates one’s worth with their career success. I was reminded that shifting my focus to the positive, with a lens of Gratitude for all that I am blessed to have — as opposed to focusing on the negative, which renders judgments and criticisms of all aspects of reality — is fundamental to peace and happiness. (It wasn’t a happy reminder during the healing, though. I cried like a child whose Band-Aid was being ripped off of my actual flesh.)

In hindsight, it would naturally be the case that class healings began with the recognition and removal of personal obstacles blocking that which needed to be revealed. Later, on the same day, during the placement of the master symbol of the Usui lineage of Reiki, I felt an incredible lightness — that is, weightlessness — as if I literally were floating on cloud nine.

And, by the last day of the class, that incredible lightness became even lighter, as if I were filled with Helium.

Nutrition Affects Mood

As I begin a new diet this month, I feel inspired to discuss food. And its effects on mood. And with that, in light of the ways that our own biological systems operate, take a look at the paradigms of holism and dualism.

Recent neurobiological evidence shows that the neurotransmitters and neuropeptides that steer our emotional course are not isolated to the head, but actually exist throughout the entire body. In each system of the body, to be precise — each of the systems of the body, which share almost three hundred internal communication substances that we produce to carry out daily functions, to be even more precise.

Basically, our systems require the proper balance of enzymes and nutrients in order to function correctly. Our biological systems rely on receiving a substantial amount of raw material in order to correctly fulfill the complex and intricate roles for which they are designed, in fact. However, such a proper balance of enzymes and nutrients is something that many Americans simply don’t get, considering all the processed material that’s out there and marketed as “food”.

The connection between food and mood isn’t exactly news — in fact, the connection between nutritional deficiencies and behavioral patterns has been documented for centuries. However, such unprofitable projects have been ignored in the past, and overlooked for the sake of more “exciting” medical research.

Regarding that medical research, have a few stats on mood: according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), approximately one in nine Americans of all ages reported taking at least one antidepressant medication in the past month during 2011-2014. Meanwhile, NCHS data reveals that fewer than one in fifty Americans did thirty years prior. (Skyrocketage!)

One factor contributing to this skyrocketage is, of course, timing. The introduction of the first selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) came in 1987, and because SSRIs do not carry the same potentially life-threatening cardiac risks associated with the tricyclic antidepressants that came before, at the time they were considered to be a far healthier choice, especially for the geriatric patients who comprise the largest percentage of antidepressant users (the NCHS reports that 18.9% of Americans age 65+ reported taking at least one antidepressant in the past 30 days, 2011-2014). It’s also worth noting that the age group that is 65+ Americans is now living to see older ages than they were thirty years ago — and, studies show that usage of antidepressants increases with age.

Overprescription of antidepressants is another contributing factor. Antidepressants have seen an expansion in indication in recent years; some of the patients who take them are not diagnosed with depression, but rather conditions such as anxiety or insomnia. Questions as to how many of these non-depression diagnoses could be handled without antidepressants are being raised in medical journals.

And, part of the reason for overprescription is . . . drug lobbyists.

Nonetheless, extenuating factors aside, physicians do report a general rise in depression throughout the U.S. One reason for the prescription of antidepressants is the simple fact that they do work for many patients as temporary mood-lifters.

However, temporary mood-lifters do not address the underlying causes of a bad mood. And, it’s been reported that most Americans on these mood-lifters do not seek therapy, which prolongs the underlying causes of their conditions and therefore, dependence on antidepressants (which, by the way, often come with some potent side-effects).

So, if patients who have been diagnosed with depression don’t seek therapists, then let’s ask, Why the rise in depression in the first place? (. . . before you insert your own politically-inspired answer here . . .)

Know that one simple reason is, we are what we eat. Yes, we’ve all heard it before. Because it’s true. And yet, for a saying that’s by and large considered to be such common knowledge, it’s far too often got a blind, drive-thru steering eye turned to it in the U.S.

Dr. Neeha Mehta states in “Mind-Body Dualism: A Critique from a Health Perspective” (2011) that the medical field today is facing crisis due to paradigmatic stance Cartesian dualism, which continues to hold strong throughout the entire world (centuries after the death of René Descartes in 1650). Basically, this mind-body dualism maintains that the physical and the mental exist in two separate realities.

Do people today really believe that their physical bodies and their mental happiness are not connected? Surely this can’t be the case, given the number of us who swallow tangible little blue pills with the intention of lifting our abstract moods.

Shamanic teacher and practitioner Jan Engels-Smith writes that the mechanistic view of fragmented parts is an artificial construct that was developed through humanity’s efforts to control their universe, rather than become a part of it. Since Descartes’s time, of course, we have since made catapults and rocket launches in understanding the depths of our universe
. . . and the likelihood of us ever being in control of it.

If our overt belief in the effects that pills can have on mood isn’t proof enough that it’s time to ditch the dualism, then the existence of our emotions-driving neurotransmitters and neuropeptides throughout our entire bodies surely serves as evidence enough that it’s time for a paradigmatic shift favoring holism — an acknowledgement of the interconnection of all things. And, the connection between the food and the mood in our bodies is one of the more direct examples out there.

We are the masters of our fate and the determiners of our future wellbeing. One way in which we harness such mastery is, choosing what foods we eat, if we are so fortunate as to have a choice in that matter. Good nutrition brings good moods. And, good moods bring still more good things. After all, like attracts like.

Positive energies attract positive energies, and create realizable affirmations that enrich our lives and promote manifestation. Similarly, negative energies attract negative energies, and stymie our connection with the better opportunities that we seek.

Simply remember that you are what you eat.

Welcome to Laera’s Lair of Natural Healing!

Watch “Welcome to Laera’s Lair of Natural Healing” on YouTube

The mission of Laera’s Lair is to guide people to heal dis-ease without using pharmaceuticals — both through spreading awareness and through working with clients. I specialize in working with clients living with brain and nerve dis-ease. My own success in naturally controlling my epileptic seizures led me to realize the power of healing methods that lie outside the realm of conventional Western medicine, and often are labeled as “alternative”. It is with gratitude for my personal journey that I, too, now regard these alternatives as being fundamentals of healthcare, and I find myself beyond motivated to share my passion for natural healing with others at my Lair.

10 Ways To Love Yourself

Real Ways To Cultivate Self-Love

 

Love is the “capstone”  sustaining and holding life itself together. We are the very real fabric of love!

Loving yourself lays the framework for how we love others and in turn how we let them love us. Quite simply if you struggle to love and accept you as you are right now… (this is most of us at one time or another in our lives).. how can you accept and give love to others?  

Loving yourself directly influences at the core how you live your life with and amongst others.

Cultivating self and other love is a life learning process with many bends in the road as you move with each season.  How do you begin if this seems out of reach or too difficult?

Start by simply pausing with intention. Notice your personal inner dialogue. Take a “real” look within. What do you typically say to yourself when life is good and in those times when you’ve hit a roadblock or have been in a holding pattern?  Noticing and listening to your talk will reveal where are in the process “self-love.” This process is not selfish or self-centered. What is revealed and gathering will open a door to become.

Although complex and unique to each of us our own sense of “love” when authentic in our hearts and bodies will feel “right”  expressed in self-confidence, comfort, and ease.

Here is a loving list to get you started and refresh your perspective!

10 ways for you to love yourself!

1. Learn and practice self-compassion.

This area is crucial for cultivating and deepening how to love yourself. It is a key piece from which love is cultivated and sown.

Dr. Kristin Neff – The pioneering self-compassion researcher, author, teacher and creator of the Self Compassion Scales writes this on self compassion.

 

“Having compassion for yourself gives you the ability to honor and accept your humanity in the moment. Things will not always be  the way you want them to. You will encounter frustrations, losses will occur, you will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, fall short of your ideals. As you open your heart to this reality instead of constantly fighting against it you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and your fellow humans in the experience of life.”

2.Develop empathy.  

Empathy is defined as being able to put yourself in someone else’s situation in the present moment. By loving yourself.. you show respect/love for others by listening with understanding to their struggles. without feeling pity or sympathy for them.

3. Cultivate gratitude.

Learning how to become grateful for everyday things and people in your life strengthens love by placing emphasis on what is versus what isn’t. Love grows here!

4. Accept who you are.

Embrace and love the things that make you uniquely you. All parts of you -are- who you are.  Both the good and not so good! They don’t define you but rather are part of your distinct makeup.

5. Let go of the past.

When you live in the past you stay in the past. Whether you feel the past was the best of times or painful. Embrace today!  Affirm your life by being where you are today knowing that this place… even if especially trying is just a season meant to raise your awareness where you are now so you have a margin to move forward each day.

6. Practice “Ahimsa” Non harming to self and others.

 “Ahimsa” is a sanskrit word from yoga philosophy found in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali the Hindu mystic. Ahimsa, one of the five Yamas, is practicing love to self and others by seeking to think and act with love and kindness. Ahimsa requests the practitioner to cause no “harm” with unkind talk, thoughts, and actions both to self and others.  

7. Be realistic.

Every day is not going to be a great day nor a bad day either. Some days will simply be mundane or ordinary. Allow you to be you in each given day.

8. Reward yourself.

Do something you enjoy because this makes you smile and affirms your life be it a yoga class, a hike, a good book,learning something new, hanging with your tribe enjoying time spent with someone special to you. Rewarding you with things your enjoy is love.

9. Develop a daily self-care routine.

Your body (physical and emotional)  is yours and it needs you to nurture and take care of it by placing yourself lovingly first within the lineup of all other professional and personal obligations.

10.Create healthy emotional boundaries.

Take time to set up physical, emotional boundaries that protect you and others from being manipulated and used or simply from overextending your best loving intentions. Setting up boundaries allows you to separate who you are and what you need from the thoughts and feelings of others. This intentional action may seem selfish and “unloving”  initially, however overtime setting up healthy boundaries is lovingly empowering for everyone.

Which of these tips resonates with you? Please share!

www.nancystevenscoaching.com

« Older Entries