Do You Have Conditioned Responses?


We know that the experiences of our life are what makes up our tale. These experiences are the meat to the bones of our story. What we know, as Shaman, is that the perspective of our story is fueled by our reaction to the experiences of our life and the value and impact we allow them to have in our story. These experiences can also have a profound impact on our emotional reaction as well. We learn throughout our life, from childhood on, that a stimulus can trigger how we will react. There is no judgment here, no right or wrong. These reactions have been either modeled to us or we have embraced them often because they have worked for us. Sometimes, when the strong feeling of the experience passes, we may express surprise in the way we reacted. But, if that situation were to repeat itself, there is a very good chance our reaction would be the same. Taking the time to look more closely at the experiences that make up the fabric of our life’s story allows us to also look at our reaction, our response. And if we wish to, we can then begin to work on how we choose to respond in the future.

What many of us fail to understand about how we process life events is that there is a conscious thought that occurs between the stimulus of the experience and our response. It may be quite fleeting, yet it is there. So here is what that thought is often made of. It is made of an experience you have had in the past. It is part of human nature to find patterns and similarities in our life experience. So, when something happens to you, there is this quick thought of “when has this happened before?”, or “what does this look like?” If you once were bit by a dog, for example, a dog barking at you could trigger complete panic as your thoughts go to that situation. If you suffered a terrible illness that put you in the hospital, you may become highly anxious whenever you or someone you love is struggling to get well. It makes sense, doesn’t it? But here is the thing. You are in control. You can control the intensity of your reaction. You can control the conditioning of your response. You need to learn to identify the fleeting thought that triggers your reaction. Once you have done so, you can then monitor your thoughts and learn to replace it with a more positive and less negatively energetic one.

This can be challenging work to do. It is about perspective. It is about taking a moment and understanding yourself and why you react the way you do. It is about reframing a situation that is similar, but not exactly like what you may have experienced in the past and looking at it through a lens of NOW not then. When you can do this you will find that you no longer react unconsciously to situations. This awareness is a process. But when you take the time to work it, it no longer works you. You are able to confront unpleasant and triggering situations by staying in the present. When you do this, it affords you the opportunity to step into your power, to not let all the past events of your life dictate how you act and respond today. And, as a bonus, the more you practice this, the stronger you get in your skills of shifting perspective and seeing things as they are not how they were. This then can change reactions that may not be healthy or in your best interest to healthy ones and reactions that serve your highest good.

How Your Inner Voice Can Be Your Cheerleader


Let’s face it…we all have a variety of voices within us that struggle over one another to gain our attention. To make things worse, often they have conflicting messages, and leave us wondering which to listen to. So how do you recognize your inner truth? How does it present itself separate from the others?

Your inner truth voice will be one of encouragement. It will be your cheerleader. It is the inner voice that offers support, provides the hope, and urges you forward. Sometimes our voices will cause inner conflict. We become frustrated, confused and undecided of what to do or say. But if we get quiet and pause, we will eventually hear the soft inner voice that does not rationalize, judge, give excuses or criticize. This voice speaks to us with loving compassion, understanding and supportive suggestions. It does not shame or blame. It does not drag us back to the past. It shines a light on our gifts, our strengths, and our possibilities.

It is important that we build a relationship with this inner voice and support it in speaking our truth. How do we do that? We listen to it. We believe what it is telling us about our worth, our brilliance, our potential, and our strength. The more and more we do this the louder and clearer it will become. Also, we will more easily be able to identify it in all the chatter of our mind. Learning to stand up to the other voices of confusion, delusion and shame will help us to clear the room, so to speak, and give us the chance to hear loud and clear the cheering voice of our inner truth.

What's Love Got To Do With It?



So, what does love have to do with it? Everything! Think back to the time you were so invested in something that you were incredibly passionate about. Remember how energies just seemed to flow through you with such a beautiful presence. You felt positive about life. You were engaged. You were present. Every cell in our body was focused on what we are passionately committed to. 

But then life and responsibilities can sometimes step in our path toward our dreams and passions. We need to place our focus elsewhere, and even sometimes, onto things that we are not fond of or even greatly dislike. This saps our energies. Other times we may allow others to draw us away from what we love. They may tell us we are wasting our time, that we are not or do not have enough of what it takes to make our dream a reality. This sucks our passionate energies dry. 

When we make a choice to forget our passions and allow life to steal away from us those energies of vitality we are stepping into a form of self-sabotage. Why would we purposely choose to forget about our dreams? Because it keeps us in our safe zone. It keeps us from possibly having to take a risk or two. But just because we are refusing to acknowledge our passion and we are ignoring our dreams does not mean that they are not still existing somewhere within us. This ignoring causes a deep empty void within us. We do not feel whole or complete. We may become depressed because we are not invested in this love of ours. We may become despondent because we have given up on something that brought us great joy. We may become bitter or resentful of all else that demands our attention because we have lost a sense of balance between what HAS to be done and what we CAN do. Nothing really can fill this void other than some passion of some sort, even if it is a newly acquired passion.

The beauty of having passion in your life is that it is rarely a choice between our responsibilities and our dreams. We just need to find the balance. If life becomes overwhelming and burdensome, what better way to lighten the load than to take a small window of time and do something you love. If you have forgotten what you were once passionate about, what do you have on your bucket list? Perhaps you can start there. If travel is something you have a dream of, but cannot afford it today due to time or finances, why not read up on where you want to go, eat some food you would find there, listen to some music of that location, or watch a movie that takes place there. What can you creatively do to keep the dream alive until the time is right?

What if you have always been passionate about creating art of some kind but have little time to devote to it because of other commitments? Perhaps you can take a course that meets a couple times a month to feed that fire burning within you. Or maybe you devote just a couple hours a week to your art. You will be surprised that when you invest in your passion, whatever it may be, that the positive energies will buoy you and shift your perspective in such positive ways. What once felt impossible now becomes a need that you cannot ignore and your soul helps you find ways to tend to it and give it the attention it deserves.

You don't need to drop everything to pursue your dreams. You can keep the spark alive even by choosing to take small steps in the direction of your passion. When we bring passion back into our life, a positive energy begins to flow to us and from us. We view life differently. We have an appreciation for things we may have overlooked. We find a balance that keeps us happy and connected to Spirit, community and our soul's vitality.


Do You Know How To Go With the Flow?


When we think about going with the flow, we think of a water way, a brook or a river and we are allowing the energy of this water to carry us freely forward. We don't fight it or push against it. There can be misconceptions about people who are good at going with the flow. 

Some may be thought of as not highly driven, not ambitious, not committed. And yet, to go with the flow, to really allow yourself to be carried forward with the present energies takes tremendous awareness and presence. It means that you are able to meld with the energies at hand. You have worked so well with your energetic vibration that you are able to truly get out of its way.

Don't think though that going with the flow means that you are not intention filled or not invested in the outcome of the given situation. It does mean though, that you are so very present and engaged with life that you are able to wisely observe the energies around you, the energies within a given situation, and that you are able to find your fluidity within this energetic vibration. You have an understanding that this energy is much bigger than you or your agenda and that the best way to find the best outcome that serves your highest good is to work with the energies and not fight them.

This requires tremendous trust. We need to trust in Source, trust our Guides, trust our Soul's call, trust Divine timing, trust many different aspects of the energetic and sacred world around us. This can be hard, especially if we are living in the past or projecting to the future. If we are worried that something will go wrong like it has before or if we are worried that there may be something around the corner that we don't know about...we are not in the flow. Instead, we may find ourselves stuck in the mud. We are focusing all our energy and attention on what ifs. We fall into old patterns that may not serve us in this moment. We cling to fear. We obsess over possibilities. And we think we can somehow control outcomes.

When this happens we need to take a deep breath, ground ourselves, bring ourselves back to the present and lean back into a trust that the big picture of our life is designed to serve our highest good and that by flowing with the energies of the present moment is the best, most efficient and most effective way to move forward.