Sunday, October 30, 2011

Breakthrough Discovery Shows How The Brain Copes With Stress, by Rupert Sheperd.

A research team from the University of Leicester say they have discovered the nerve cells in the brain that are responsible for coping with stress.

Neuroscientists seem to have made an important move forwards in their understanding of stress and the brain's role in mitigating its impact. They say they discovered 'thin" and 'mushroom like' nerve cells that are responsible for learning and memory. More importantly they say it's possible for these cells to alter what is remembered after the fact, so that painful or traumatic memories are lessened. 

There appears to be a particular protein produced to help the brain adjust for stressful experiences, lessening the effect and the way the memory is stored. Thus mice lacking this particular protein were found to be less out going and tended to try to hide in the dark, in what researchers concluded was a more cautious response to an unpleasant memory. 

Dr Pawlak, from the University Department of Cell Physiology and Pharmacology, said: 
"Every day stress "reshapes" the brain - nerve cells change their morphology, the number of connections with other cells and the way they communicate with other neurons. In most cases these responses are adaptive and beneficial - " they help the brain to cope with stress and shape adequate behavioural reaction. However, upon severe stress things can get out of control, the brain "buffering" capacity is exhausted and the nerve cells in the hippocampus - " an area of the brain responsible for learning and memory - start to withdraw their processes, don't effectively communicate with other cells and show signs of disease."
Dr Pawlak said : 
"One strategy that brain cells particularly like to use to cope with stress is changing the shape of tiny processes they normally employ to exchange information with other neurons, called dendritic spines. Spines can be as small as 1/1000 of a millimeter and have various shapes. Some spines (called "thin" spines) are like children - very mobile and inquisitive, constantly change shape and "conversation" partners - " they help us learn new things. Once spines learn, they change into mature "couch potatoes" - " they are mushroom-shaped, have stable connections, do not change partners and do not like to move". 
The Mushroom spines help us remember things we once learned - but bad memories can be over inhibitive. Very stressful experiences would be better if forgotten quickly or clear memories of them may cause anxiety disorders. There is a constant work in process inside the brain that tries to balance what we should remember and what should be clouded or forgotten.

The work was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), and is likely to be important for understanding stress-related psychiatric diseases in humans. The work was supported by a Marie Curie Excellence Grant from the European Commission. Dr Robert Pawlak, lecturer in Neuroscience at the University of Leicester, said the discovery had identified that production of the protein by the brain may assist individuals from experiencing "too much anxiety" and help the brain to better cope with various adverse life events.

Dr Robert Pawlak continues : 
"We have identified a protein that the brain produces in response to stress in order to reduce the number of mushroom spines and therefore reduce future anxiety associated with stressful events. This protein, lipocalin-2, is normally not produced, but its fabrication dramatically increases in response to stress in the hippocampus. When we added lipocalin-2 to neurons in culture the way it occurs on stress, neurons started losing their "memory spines" -" the mature, mushroom-shaped ones. 
"We therefore asked -" what if we remove lipocalin-2 from the brain and subject mice to stress? Would that affect the way they react? To this end we used mice in which the lipocalin-2 gene was disrupted and found that, on stress, they were more anxious than normal mice. For example, they were less "outgoing" and preferred hiding in dark, enclosed spaces instead of exploring the neighborhood normally. We found that in these mice mushroom spines were more readily formed in the brain after stress and therefore they had stronger memories of the stressful event.
The Identification of lipocalin-2 as a new player the brain uses to help us cope with stress is an important step towards decoding molecular mechanisms of stress that, if not functioning correctly may lead to stress-related psychiatric diseases.
"Stress-related psychological and mental disturbances are extremely common and affect more than 30% of the population. We are keen to investigate whether the mechanisms discovered by us apply to humans and could help inform clinical strategies to deal with anxiety disorders and depression".
Rupert Shepherd reporting for Medical News
Read the original post here.

Let Go and Let Flow.

Taking a leap of faith.
Published on October 27th, in "Daily Om".

When you make a leap of faith you can accomplish almost anything you set out to do.

Many people, in heeding the guidance of their souls, find themselves contemplating goals that seem outrageous or unattainable. In the mind’s eye, these individuals stand at the edge of a precipice and look out over the abyss at the fruit of their ambition. Some resist the urge to jump, paralyzed by the gap between their current circumstances and the life of their dreams. Others make a leap of faith into the unknown, unsure of what they will encounter but certain that they will gain more in their attempts than they would bowing to self-protective instincts. This leap can be exceedingly difficult for individuals with control issues because the act of embracing uncertainty requires them to trust that surrender will net them the rewards they seek. Yet when you make a leap of faith, believing without a doubt that you will land safely on the other side, you can accomplish almost anything you set out to do. 

There have no doubt been times in your life when you chose to go where the universal flow took you. Yet you may encounter instances in which your objectives require you to step outside of the boundaries of your established comfort zone so that you may freely and actively jettison yourself into a new phase of your life. While you may fear what seems to be the inevitable fall, consider that in all likelihood you will find yourself flying. A successful leap of faith requires your attention, as it is the quiet and often indistinct voice of your inner self that will point you toward your ultimate destination. Understand that the leap across the chasm of ambiguity may challenge you in unforeseen ways but you will make it across if you trust yourself. 

If your mind and heart resist, you can dampen this resistance by building a bridge of knowledge. The more you know about the leap you are poised to take, the smaller the gap between “here” and “there” will appear to be. Your courageous leap of faith can lead you into uncharted territory, enabling you to build a new, more adventurous life. Though you may anticipate that fear will be your guide on your journey across the abyss, you will likely discover that exhilaration is your constant companion.

Read the original post here.

Paying It Forward, by Maria Khalife.

Consciously Choose to Begin Paying it Forward.

“Action expresses priorities.”
~ M. Gandhi

In our world today, the things that make the big news are the “big things.” Even the most humble things only get addressed when they become a big movement, such as the publicity around the charitable works of Mother Theresa and “paying it forward”.

Does this mean that unless we do those “big things,” our lives are valueless? Absolutely not. We have the capability to consciously choose to do small things and in this way, we create value for ourselves, the others in our lives, and the world at large. When you change your baby’s diaper, you create health and harmony for your child – which let’s your neighbors rest well at night – which allows for greater productivity for him at work the next day – which permits the company where he works to flourish – which heightens the profitability and success of the country where he lives, and so on, and so on. And remember, this chain of events had very humble beginnings and it the idea behind paying it forward.

We humans are united, whether we realize it or not. My writing this can actually end up bringing peace to the middle east! And it can give a glimmer of hope to someone in another country who reads it and internalizes its message.

All that we do, all that we think affects everyone else, and their actions are reflected out to others. It’s an endless activity. What may seem insignificant can pass from you to another and from them to another.

What is really wonderful is that you can consciously choose to be a source of great joy, of unconditional love, of caring inspiration, or you can be a source of doubt, of worry, of anxiety, or of emotional pain. The choice is entirely yours.

Your impact on the world is far reaching. If you can gain that vision of paying it forward and allow it to become the talisman representing your life and the message you want to send forth, you will cause ripples in the world as they move outward from yourself. You can create a wonderfully positive radiation that will wrap itself around all of mankind and serve to better the world.

The folks you touch most immediately in your inner circle, can be encouraged to “pay it forward.” If you do something wonderful and encourage the next person to pay it forward, the whole world will benefit. And if someone does something wonderful for you as a freely-given gift, you can take that and pay it forward so that soon enough, the entire world is humming more happily. Once charitable act, one thought-filled action will snowball and become a wonderful gift that will someday bless someone many lengths from your life, but affect them nonetheless.

You can consciously choose to live your life from this moment forward to be the starting place of great goodness.

Consciously smile at both friends and strangers. Consciously give away compliments. Consciously entertain the ability to bring laughter into conversations. Consciously offer graciousness to all with whom you come into contact. You will create a ripple effect beginning with you out into the world.

I think it would be an interesting experiment to consciously choose for this month to be the initiator of good will. Look for ways to be kind, charitable, happy, and gracious and watch what happens in the lives of those to whom you start paying it forward to. Generosity generates. If you will keep track of all the effects that you can see, I have an educated hunch that great good will accrue to you and your circle of friends. It’s worth a try!

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
~ Robert Brault

Read the original post here: Source: OM Times Magazine (

Self-Sabotage: The Enemy Within.

We all get in our own way occasionally and some people do it repeatedly. Self-sabotaging behavior results from the same cause, a misguided attempt to rescue ourselves.
By Edward A. Selby, Timothy Pychyl, Hara Estroff Marano, Adi Jaffe, published on September 06, 2011 - last reviewed on September 20, 2011.

Are you sabotaging yourself? Some people drink, some procrastinate, others are just way too modest. How do you get in your own way?

1. Dodging Emotions: The Help That Harms

We often get into trouble trying to escape intense negative feelings.

Everyone does it sometimes. Some do it regularly—shoot themselves in the foot or put obstacles in their own chosen path. Behavior is self-sabotaging when in attempting to solve or cope with a problem, it instigates new problems, interferes with long-term goals, and unsettles relationships.

Comfort eating is a common form of self-sabotage, especially when a person has weight concerns; self-medicating with drugs or alcohol is another common form, although procrastination may be the most common of all. Less common is self-injury/cutting to escape painful emotions, or going on shopping sprees when one can't afford the merchandise. Click here for more.

2. Procrastination: Oops, Where Did the Day Go?

We fool ourselves in the minute-by-minute choices we make.

When it comes to self-sabotage, procrastination is king. Why? Because procrastination is the gap between intention and action, and it is in this gap that the self operates. The undermining behavior lies in not closing the gap.

We make an intention to act, the time comes, but instead of acting we get lost in our own deliberation, making excuses to justify an unnecessary and potentially harmful delay. Who makes this decision? We do. The self, in fact, sabotages its own intention. Click here for more.

3. Extreme Modesty: The Case of the Disappearing Self

There is a point at which ingratiation is corrosive, and women too often find it.

Self-sabotage can show up in the strangest places. Take the recent neuroscience lecture in New York, which was followed by the customary question and answer period. Eventually, the speaker announced there was time for only two more questions, and a female neuroscientist, probably in her late 30s, wound up with the last slot. But instead of asking her question straightaway, she fell into what might best be described as a self-effacing dance. "Oh my gosh," she said, curling around the microphone stand as if to disappear into it, "I'm the last questioner. I feel almost guilty." She declared her near-guilt again before posing her question. I forgot the question. But the prologue was memorable—it made the audience squirm. Click here for more.

4. Addiction: The Long Slide

"I Did All the Things I Wasn't Supposed to Do"

Self-sabotage is not an act, it's a process, a complex, tragic process that pits people against their own thoughts and impulses. Though we all make mistakes, a true self-saboteur continues to try to fix those mistakes by top-loading them with increasingly bad decisions.

Addicts, for example, present a parade of excuses and delusional thinking while avoiding the painful, decisive action necessary to set their lives right. All too often we hear stories of talented individuals who, despite much potential, allowed drugs and alcohol to drag them down. For some, this is fodder for celebrity gossip and tabloid junk. For me, it's the story of my life. Click here for more.

Read the original post here.

Power vs. Personal Empowerment by Andrea Mathews, L.P.C.

Which one gives you more control?
Published on October 13, 2011 by Andrea Mathews, L.P.C. in Traversing the Inner Terrain.

Power assumes the right to control others. Personal empowerment assumes no such power, but recognizes complete responsibility for self and the choices made by self. Those sound like pretty clear definitions, but the urge to exert power over others might blur the lines between each. So, we need to clarify.

When a child in the family is allowed to dominate the emotions and behaviors of parents and other siblings in the family, that child has been given too much power. We are not talking about Super-children. We are talking about children who will ultimately grow up to be bullies. These children grow up believing that they should have power over others. That others should conform to their wishes. This is power—not personal empowerment. This person believes that the only way s/he will be okay is to wield power over others. Otherwise, he is vulnerable.

Whether a person is raised to be a bully or not, however, s/he may subtly bully others through manipulation and outright emotional blackmail. Emotional blackmail occurs when the blackmailer threatens another's most vulnerable emotion if certain requirements are not met—as in: "I won't speak to you if you tell so-and-so my business." The blackmailed is supposed to be so afraid of not being spoken to that s/he will give in. This can even be taken to another level by threatening to cut off the relationship all together. Many times this type of manipulation can be subtle, as in some of the following ways:
  • Flattery is supposed to get you anywhere, right?
  • I sacrifice for you, and now you owe me.
  • Withholding information until certain information is given.
  • Gossip for power—I tell you about another to both make them look bad, and win your favor.
  • Withholding affection until you give what I want.
  • "I'm just trying to help" as another way of saying, I'm just trying to change you.
  • Maudlin expressions of emotion in an attempt to solicit the emotional response of another.
  • Little niceties offered in an attempt to gain favor.
  • Little "white lies" used in an attempt to deny our own authenticity—like when Aunt Ginny calls and asks us to come over for supper and we refuse because we have this other thing we just HAVE to do.
  • Pleasing others in order to make sure that I am always liked.
  • While we may say to ourselves that these things are part of the social fabric and are essential to getting along with others, like all other attempts to gain power over others, they deny us our own personal empowerment.
Personal empowerment does not need to have power over others, for it knows that regardless of what others do, self is still in charge of making self okay. So, if you withhold affection because I won't do what you want, then I can take care of my own needs for affection—i.e. by seeking it out from people who don't need to hold me hostage to it. Personal empowerment knows that happiness is an inside job. Personal empowerment doesn't wait on the world or the people in that world to respond in a certain way before it can garner peace-of-mind. Peace-of-mind comes from within. Personal empowerment does not wait for a vacation to learn how to rest. It does not wait on someone else to change in order to create happiness for the self. It can tell Aunt Ginny, "I have other plans" without explaining or feeling the need to carry Aunt Ginny's response around. Personal empowerment knows that Aunt Ginny is in charge of her own feelings and responses and that whatever spin she puts on my response to her request also belongs to her. Over all, personal empowerment knows where I stop and you begin. It knows that the only thing I can be responsible for is me.

Power, on the other hand gives responsibility for that "me" to other people. They have the power to make or break my happiness, which is why I need to control them. So, you see, power, is actually a form of powerlessness. Power says if I don't control you, then I can't be okay. Personal empowerment says, I know how to take care of my truest self, no matter what you do.

We tend to think, however, that personal empowerment implies some kind of hardness or coldness, so that we don't care about other people. We don't care what they think of us, we don't care if we hurt their feelings, we are cold people. No. On the contrary, personal empowerment is very vulnerable to the emotions and attachments of living. Yet, it knows that the self is responsible for these. Therefore, others do not create emotions in me, and I can't create them in others. And my attachments are based on a mutual respect and honesty-and if the other person is not going to be honest, I must still be honest with myself. Whatever the other person does is their choice and I will not attempt to control that.  I'd rather put my energy into taking care of what is true inside of me. In fact, the person who is empowered is one who knows that any attempt to control another person is all an illusion.  We cannot control others, at all, ever.

If it appears to be true that my manipulation made you do something, what I'm missing out on is the fact that for whatever reason, you chose to do that something. In other words, you agreed to do it. You chose it. And the person who is empowered knows this to the marrow of his bones.

The only problem is that there are many people who don't know this, and who operate as if it isn't so. And it is these people who think that they should be controlling others, and that if they don't they cannot be happy or attain whatever goal they wish to attain. And so, even the empowered person will run into people who will attempt to control her. But if she knows the truth-that she cannot be controlled; that she is 100% responsible for her own choices; that she is 100% responsible for her own happiness and peace-of-mind-then she will make conscious choices to own what is hers and let go of the rest. And she will create happiness out of whatever situation with which she is presented. It may take some time and effort, but she can do it, because she has all the power over her own life.

Read the original post here.

Powerlessness as Power, by Andrea Mathews, L.P.C.

The Power of the Victim Identity.
Published on October 27, 2011 by Andrea Mathews, L.P.C. in Traversing the Inner Terrain.

"I can't help it!" "I had no choice." "You just don't understand." "I didn't mean it!" "You ruined my life!" "You made me do it!" These are the words of someone who has a Victim identity. But while they convey powerlessness, they are actually quite powerful.

They are powerful because other people believe these words have merit. And these people very often take the power that is being handed to them with these words. They are then putty in the hands of the Victim, picking up the responsibility for the Victim's life. But these words are not true. It isn't true that a person can have "no choice." It isn't true that we "can't help" doing what we do. It isn't true that we can do something without at least unconsciously meaning to do it. It isn't true that someone can ruin another person's life. It isn't true that other people can make us do things. And the most powerful words of all--you just don't understand--are meant to put the icing on the cake, for these words say that the Victim is so special that no one can understand his dilemma, which means this Victim wins the Victim contest, hands down.

We've already discovered how the Victim develops the Victim identity; what we need to know now is how it works today. Basically what it does is allow the Victim to disown any responsibility for her life. No. Others are responsible for her life, her choices, her intentions, her ability to get back up after being knocked down, and her ability to have say-so over her own actions. All of these belong to someone else. At least that's the way the Victim sees it. And if the Victim's victim sees it that way too, then the Victim has all the power. 

In order for the Victim to begin to stop playing the Victim role and take on a more genuine sense of self, he pretty much has to be surrounded with people who will not be manipulated into being controlled by the Victim's powerlessness. This means that we are going to have to start getting down to the truth when it comes to the concept of personal responsibility. So, let's talk about that.

If I say, "I can't help it," usually followed by "You just don't understand," what I am saying is I have no say-so over my own words, beliefs and behaviors.  I am a leaf floating on the surface of the raging ocean, nanoseconds away from being swallowed into the depths.  I can't examine my beliefs and decide whether or not they are valid. I can't look at the motivation behind my actions and learn what it is that I'm up to. I can't check my behavior long enough to reflect on what I'm doing. I can't decide on another behavior. I'm a puppet. And I know who is pulling my strings-it is YOU!

But there's a reason why "I can't help it" is followed by "You just don't understand." It's because I know that when I say "I can't help it" you are likely to say, "Of course, you can help it," and then what will I do?  But if I say "You just don't understand," I've just thrown down the trump card. Now it doesn't matter what you say, I'll always be able to say that you don't understand. And of course, you don't understand because how could you--who suffers much less than I--ever come to grips with the depths and heights of my suffering?  So, no, I really can't help it--and you will never, ever understand that.

Now the recipient of this manipulative effort has a choice. He can cave and just do what it is that the Victim says he needs. Or, he can walk away, telling the Victim, good luck with that.  Of course, if one person is not willing to take on the job of taking care of poor Victim, then it's likely that someone else will. But if--by some miracle, or the fact that the Victim has already burned all of his bridges--everyone of any significance to the Victim realizes that the Victim is really just manipulating and refuses to fall for it, then it is possible that the Victim will begin to lay a foundation on which to build his own life.

The same is true of the "I have no choice" mantra. This is a common mantra even for people who don't usually play the Victim. But it isn't true. There are always options. This is a hard one to swallow when we consider that we have laws on the books about provocation, and how a person can be provoked to commit a crime. It's hard to do when we think in black and white categories, so that we think that there's always only one or two choices, and if it's two, well then one of them is the wrong one. But regardless of how hard it is, it can be done--it's our choice. No matter how dire the situation, there are some options.

If someone accosts me in a parking lot and threatens to kill me if I don't get in his car, I have choices. I can get in the car. I can scream. I can fight. I can stand there and tell him that I'm not leaving, so I guess he is going to have to kill me. I can jump and run around insanely so that he won't want me anymore. I can get in the car long enough to get that gun out of my purse, pocket, or bra, and shoot him. That's five options already and there are others.  And of course, one would have to be in that situation to assess the feasibility of each option. But there are options. This does not mean that the victim of such a kidnapping or rape or other such assault is to blame for what happened, anymore than the survivor of an auto-accident caused by a drunk driver is responsible for what happened. But it does mean that there are always options. And it also means  that once we have survived such an ordeal, we are still responsible for creating a life for ourselves.

So, how can someone else ruin my life? No matter what someone else does, I'm still in charge of what I do with it after that, because it is my life. It belongs to me. We all watched in amazement as Christopher Reeve took back the power to run his own life from his wheelchair. And the truth is it wouldn't have mattered whether it was a drunk man's bus that hit him on the street or a horse-riding accident; he was still a quadriplegic. But he proved to us that our lives still belong to us--no matter what. The only way that someone can ruin my life is if I give them total control over it. And since even if I do that, no one can really take that control, it is not possible for someone else to ruin my life.

"You made me do it?" Seriously? Only if I am your puppet can you make me do or feel or think anything. As we just learned from the previous blog--we have no control over others. Choice is always operative. And it is just as true that others have no control over us.

We have all the power. So the only question left then is, how are we going to use it?

Read the original article here.

10 Tips to Help You Pick a Good Partner, by Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D.

Tips for making good choices about dating, relating and mating.
Published on October 21, 2011 by Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. in Emotional Fitness

Some people have what I have come to call "broken pickers." They just can't seem to pick good partners for themselves. If this is something you're dealing with, here are some tips for making good choices when it comes to dating and mating.

1. People will tell you exactly who they are; it's up to you to listen. If someone says they're usually in a bad mood or don't know how to be monogamous, hear what they are saying and don't think you can change them.

2. Take a test drive. Go for an eight-hour drive with your intended. Whatever difficulties you may have will make themselves painfully obvious. This test is not for the faint of heart or for those with heart conditions.

3. Look for someone who is kind and loving. If you're really lucky, your partner will also have a family who taught him or her how to be that way. Having in-laws who treat you like a member of the family will make your life much nicer.

4. Make sure the person you're seeing doesn't smoke, even if you do. If he or she is a nonsmoker, it may get you to stop. Think of it this way: you're choosing happiness over death.

5. Find someone you can talk to. As time passes, this quality is more important than looks, money, or position. If you can't talk to your partner or cry on his or her shoulder, it's not going to be a good match.

6. Make sure you have the basics in common. For example, if one of you wants children and the other doesn't, it's a deal breaker. Spiritual and political differences can also be difficult to deal with. As we age, our feelings in these areas tend to intensify.

7. Make sure that you have enough differences that, if you are unable to go out, you can still entertain each other. If someone is just like you, it might get a little boring as time goes by.

8. Physical compatibility has more to do with touch than it does with sex. If you're a tactile person, you need to be with someone who shares that desire. People's desire for sex changes over a lifetime, but our need for touch remains fairly constant.

9. Beware of people who want to get married immediately. Engagements were created for a reason. They used to call them "handfasts," and they lasted for a year and a day. Things move much quicker these days, but it's wise to know someone for at least six months before getting engaged.

10. Find someone who makes you laugh. A sense of humor can help you overcome many of life's obstacles. If someone can make you smile when you don't feel like it, that's a great quality.

There are no guarantees in life. It isn't possible to be absolutely sure about anyone. Take your time; listen to your friends and to your intuition. Picking the right person for the right reasons at the right time is an art form.

Read the original post here.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Healing of Emotion, by Chris Griscom.

Excerpt from book The Healing of Emotion.

The Fearless Self emerges as we extend our vocabulary of participation to the world beyond our immediate family. The people who form our close karmic pool of Soul friends—our parents, siblings, partners, and children—are the ones who are the most dangerous to our ego and our manipulation of truth, because they so easily penetrate our magnetic field to push the buttons that force us to respond and change. But as our world stretches out, we have the opportunity to discover the unlimited extent of familiarity from the perspective of the Soul. There are no strangers!

Each being we encounter, even from a distance, is placed in that synchronous space to teach us to reflect on the self. It is of great service to our conscious awareness to take up the practice of observing the world by asking ourselves, “How is this reflected in me?”

We crack open the shell of compassion when we look upon the beggar, the liar, and the killer as a part of our own psyche. As we take up the power to look on the world and see it as a mirror of ourselves, we begin to find the strength to pass through fear to the other side…to the shore of Knowing.

This glimmer of recognition offers us the power of participation. As the heart enters the fray, we can grasp whole new dimensions of relativity that can be used for problem solving on a global level—because from the dimension of the individual we expand to the reality of the group. The earth, in all her living wisdom, is signaling to us that we must now acknowledge our mutual bond, the irrevocable link between ourselves and all other species and life forms, and begin to move together with holographic consciousness to clear levels of karmic relationships and complexities—not just of individuals, but of whole groups of individuals.

We are discovering, none too soon, that we can bring group consciousness up out of the abyss of the past to form new alliances that include the coupling of great power and love, great giving and receiving.

As we develop the conscious capacity to be the witness to our interaction with the people who appear on our life screen, we begin to actually learn how to direct the play.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Eight Phases of Initiation of the Divine Feminine, by Isha Lerner.

Our life as a woman is a deep experience …it is profound. Our bodies carry the template of the feminine vessel, the oceans, the flowers, and the infinite space of darkness that births the inner light into Life Form. Our personal rhythms are mirrored by the Moon Phases.

We have a natural tendency to, flow, move in and out of emotion, nurture, receive, give, and extend our wisdom through art, writing, teaching, dancing, healing, magic, ritual, prayer, leadership and partnership. It is our right to choose to be alone, or to share our life with others; to be silent, or to speak out. Our deepest power, however, is found through our intention to be whole, free, and unbound by fears, patterns, and thoughts. It is a blessing to witness clients around the world, (myself included) who choose to become conscious of Her right to blossom.

Women and men alike are guided by the gravitational pull of the moon and each month the moon travels through eight phases; each phase corresponds to an energy cycle that can affect our everyday life. I have connected each moon phase with a particular flower essences that are resonate with the energy field of each moon phase. You are not required to memorize these phases, and you don’t need to watch the moon calendar if you aren’t inclined. These phases can serve as a mirror from which you may come to understand  represent various mood swings encountered throughout the month. I hope these flower essences and the information provided will assist you in finding your way through the everyday ups and downs of your busy life.

The New Moon

Nurturing our Connection with Nature and the Primal Flow of Life

In this stage our souls are learning to become responsive and receptive to the soul of Gaia, The Earth Mother, as She offers us a template from which to birth anew. We purify our emotions, align our bodies, learn how to perceive and think with the living forces of the Soul. Our work is embodiment into the Earth once again…for it is a re-incarnation of sorts…a time to advance once again upon the Wheel of Life refreshed, cleansed, and prepared for new choices and opportunities.

Flower Essences

Star Tulip-Listen to the Soul voice of the earth
Rose-Develop loving compassion and consideration on earth. 

Crescent Moon

Discovering The Magic of New Beginnings

We begin this journey by recognizing our emotions and all of our exploration continues to enrich and extend the emotional soil of our New Beginnings. We check into our belief systems concerning family, values, and cultural surroundings and begin to take charge of a new rhythm and order in life. We come to see clearly the past has meant and how we have moved to recreate a healthy new life that is based on intelligent emotion. We all need to attend to this new template of health during the Crescent Moon Phase if we wish to walk the wheel of the soul toward future growth in health and mental clarity. At this stage we can unlock the door of the future and extend our vision forward.

Flower Essences

Mariposa Lily: Helps us redeem our relationship with the Mother archetype on all levels.
Baby Blue Eyes: Addresses early childhood wounding from the father which can lead to mistrust in the adult life.

First Quarter Moon

Grounding Ideas, Visions, and  Physical Embodiment

The soul is the mediator between body and spirit…Only by developing a vibrant relationship with the physical body may we meet our full destiny. The First Quarter Phase of the Moon represents a time in life when one is beginning to fully manifest their work in the world and embody the grace of being alive. This phase develops courage, intention, discipline, and focus. The trials of the physical body teach us to surrender, endure, and accept. We literally come to our senses as we experience the joy of physical existence.

Flower Essences

Manzanita: Strengthens the core between the body and earth. Builds acceptance of Body.
Crab Apple: Assists to cleanse all aspects of shame, regret, judgment, and core guilt from the body.
Shooting Star: For those who have a strong spiritual inclination and resistance to incarnation in a physical body.

Gibbous Moon Phase

Quickening of Consciousness and Alchemical Transformation

At this phase of life on the wheel one is able to learn from the experiences of life, and by doing so, continue to evolve, adapt, and transform. The mind grasps the basic lessons it needs to move forward and continue the quest toward fulfillment. One is gathering lots of new information and learning many new things. The motive is to move outward, to extend the energies toward activity and new experience. This is not a time to squander energy or time. This is an inner time of expansion and hope.

Flower Essences

Madia: To develop concentration and focus
Cosmos: To draw down the forces of spiritual learning into new experiences and expression.
Morning Glory: To stay in touch with healthy life rhythms and body connections.

Full Moon Phase

Fulfillment and Life Purpose

At this phase in life the soul comes into deeper contact with the world by developing a need to serve from within. The soul needs to listen to life purpose and shine the inner light of inspiration into studies, work, service, and personal relationships. Finding life purpose often means breaking away from limiting beliefs and imposed on yourself and by others. This phase addresses the ability to give back to family and the world at large.

Flower Essences

Mountain Pride: To follow one’s own path with conviction and endurance.
Sweet Pea: For developing a sense of place and a feeling of community. Connection to one’s earthly environment.

Disseminating Moon

Sensitivity and Artistry: Building a Chalice of the Soul

This is a time to develop a deep satisfaction with all that has been gained and, like a great vessel, hold the elixir of joy for all to partake. Share you gift, sing your song, stand in the world and be one with your passions. Create sanctuary in you life with all you do. Create ritual, join in ceremony, and tip the chalice and let the joy pour out.

Flower Essences

Iris: The most fundamental essence for awakening the soul to its own creativity and inspiration.
Indian Paintbrush: Paintbrush of the soul.

Third Quarter Moon

Transformation: Discovering the Shadow

At this phase the soul digs deeper into its shadow side. Here we examine how we have been hurt and how we have hurt others. The key to grow internally again. Life opened the door to a wide band of experience in the previous phases. Now the soul must check into the terrain of the subconscious once again at yet another level of evolution and awakening. The descent into darkness is a necessary element in the soul’s evolution. One must face the inner truth of actions and life behaviors.

Flower Essences

Black-Eyed Susan: To learn to recognize and accept darker or hidden aspects in our actions and emotions.
Black Cohosh: To come to terms with shadow elements in the human soul in unseen ways.

Balsamic Moon

Cultivating the Spiritual Self

This offers the spiritual light that shines within offering us a look at our true identity from deep with the cavern of our ego. After a journey into the dark shadow the soul now finds reprieve with the study of religion, spiritual studies, and meditation. At this level one must veil the outer sense of self and take the time to explore the mystical regions of ones nature. It is a time of quiet receptivity…and endings. One nears the time when the New Moon will once again crack open the way for rebirth.

Flower Essences

Lotus: To find the balance of the crown charka with the root of life purpose.
Cat’s Ear: To listen to the internal voice and receive its guidance.

Isha Lerner an international astrologer, tarot scholar, consultant, flower essence practitioner, internationally renowned author, and owner of the Power of Flowers Essence Company. She has lectured internationally and is well known for her expertise and research into fairy tale mythology, the study of archetype, her karmic imprint and past life astrological counseling known as Power Mapping, and the symbolic association of the human soul and nature. Read the original article here.

Magnetism, the Human Body and Nature, by Isha Lerner.

Until relatively recently, scientists believed that life was mostly a biochemical process. The idea that magnetic fields could significantly influence living systems seemed far-fetched. Perspectives have shifted rapidly, however, and many scientists now believe that fundamentally we are electromagnetic creatures. This radical paradigm shift has profound medical implications because modern medicine has focused on biochemical processes. If these processes are influenced by our electromagnetic nature, any healing approach that focuses exclusively on them will, ultimately, be limited.

Life’s Magnetic Nature

Examples of life’s magnetic nature are now plentiful. Many creatures, such as homing pigeons, butterflies, and bees navigate using Earth’s magnetic field. Even humans can roughly sense magnetic direction. These abilities, in part, appear to be mediated through a magnetic substance called magnetite, which has been discovered in the tissue, including the human brain, of many living things. Researchers have found magnetite clusters near the brain’s all-important, magnetically-sensitive pineal gland, which secretes hormones affecting the entire body.

Not only are we affected by magnetic fields but we also generate them. For example, scientists can measure the brain and heart’s magnetic fields with instruments called the magnetoencephalograph and magnetocardiogram, respectively. Life’s magnetic potential is so great that we can even defy gravity under the right circumstances. For example, scientists can levitate frogs by using high-intensity magnetic fields. When subjected to such strong fields, spinning electrons within the frog align themselves to cumulatively create a small magnetic field. Like a compass needle repulsed by a bar magnet, the large external field repels the frog’s small field sufficiently to counteract gravity.

Life’s magnetic frequencies are found to increase with the use of light. Density defies movement and light increases its flow within all life forms, including the human body. In nature, the atomic realm of the material world moves at a slower rate than the auric light-filled realm. This realm, which is composed of the quickened impulse of energy that is essential to all form, is known as the devic realm.
Our physical body and its magnetic field align with gravity. Light and the healing forces of love, emotion, music, sound and color vibrate with a frequency that is quickened, and seemingly invisible. We cannot touch or feel it; however, we do have direct contact with its force on a daily basis. An essential aspect of vibrational healing connects us to this indirect, yet potent energy field on a conscious level.

When magnets are placed on different parts of the human body they can affect the rotation of our auric energies:

Evidence suggests that roughly 80% of chronic pain sufferers could benefit from magnetic therapy…When held against the skin, magnets relax capillary walls, thereby boosting blood flow to the painful area.

The ancient Hindus recognized that within the body the Chakra System has seven different points of energy that rotate back and forth. The human body’s energetic axis is supposed to flow in an uninterrupted cyclical pattern, and when this cycle is interrupted, or if a Chakra is “clogged,” it can be detrimental to one’s health. Magnets placed on the body can help to unblock improperly spinning Chakra energy.

Human beings have an intuitive connection to the earth that is partially an energetic magnetic draw, and partially a spiritual connection to the core of the earth’s sensitivities. Sometimes we are capable of extra-sensory perception relating to the earth and our current location. Certain extra-sensitive people can sense the location of water buried deep within the earth with dowsing rods:
In 1970, Duane Chadwick of Utah State University carried out a series of experiments on 150 dowsers and found that the dowser's rod movements were related to minute variations of the Earth's magnetic field.

The likeness between the earth’s physical make-up and the human body is striking: as liquids flow through our internal organs, water also moves deep down within the inner layers of our planet. Some of us have a magical, intuitive ability to sense this body-earth link with dowsing rods.
Flowers and humans share this energetic bond, as well. We are synergistically connected biochemically and research offers evidence that nature and humanity are profoundly interdependent. An out of balance energy system will eventually withdraw its own life force. Our connection with the floral world facilitates a balancing of the energies of light and gravity. Nature can be seen as a medicine chest to the soul, for flowers are a vital living essence of earth, sending out subtle wavelengths of light that penetrate into form.

On a vibrational level, humanity may increase its sensibilities by aligning to the highest essence of the plant: flower essences. Flower essences contain the essential energetic life template of the flower’s magnetic energy. When taken orally, the magnetic field of the plant is absorbed into the density of the life form and offers an expansive infusion of light filled properties.

As the evolutionary impulse quickens and humanity undergoes various magnetic shifts in energy, our human nervous systems mirror these changes. We have every opportunity to reconnect to the magnetic forces needed to maintain health and balance through education and the use of vibrational medicine. We are gifted with opportunities to work within a vibrational framework that is progressive and in attunement with nature and science. Our evolution is dependent upon this vital flow of magnetic energy to heal body and earth.


Isha Lerner an international astrologer, tarot scholar, consultant, flower essence practitioner, internationally renowned author, and owner of the Power of Flowers Essence Company. She has lectured internationally and is well known for her expertise and research into fairy tale mythology, the study of archetype, her karmic imprint and past life astrological counseling known as Power Mapping, and the symbolic association of the human soul and nature. Read the original article here.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Basic Guiding Principles of Reality, by Lynne Forrest.

For most of our lives we simply believed whatever thoughts we had, without questioning them at all. But once we start questioning our thought assumptions we begin to suspect that we are not who we thought. That realization may cause a sense of separation.

Questioning our thoughts (especially the limiting ones) takes us out of our mind-made identities and leaves us the task of re-discovering our true nature. We discover our right relationship with reality by coming to understand its basic guiding principles. We learn to replace our old limiting self-concepts by using these principles instead; otherwise we are left wandering, and wondering who we are and what our relationship with the Universe is. I’ve included these principles below – they are the basic truths I fall back on to help me determine the reality of my thoughts. I hope they help you too.

Here are the basic principles of reality, as I see them:

1. We are free agents, able to choose what thoughts we will believe. The thoughts we believe will determine the quality of our life experience.

2. Our thoughts determine our vibrational frequency. When we believe we are at the mercy of a heartless, fearful world, we see ourselves as victims and will experience low fre quency thoughts and feelings (thoughts that create fear, depression, isolation, resentment, jealousy, etc). When we believe we are protected, loved and prompted by a Loving Source, we experience high frequency feelings (love, safety, acceptance, joy, satisfaction, peace, etc). The frequency we line up with (called alignment) determines the quality of our life.

3. We are made up of a trinity: mental/spirit, soul/emotion, and physical body. Balancing these three aspects brings us into alignment with the highest possible frequency: Source.

4. The world acts as a mirror that reflects our own state of consciousness. We project our beliefs onto the world where they are reflected back to us. We then react in ways that prove to us that what we believe is true. We tend to think our beliefs come from our life experiences, but the opposite is true: our experiences most often come from what we believe. This is how we create our personal reality.

5. Our personal reality comes from what we believe. Our beliefs become the reality we see and experience in physical form. In other words, we manifest our beliefs. If we have beliefs that breed feelings of peace and harmony, we will see peace and harmony all around us. If our beliefs are full of strife and conflict, then strife and conflict will be our reality.

6. Life is cyclic in nature. Like a wheel, life goes round and round; sometimes we are on top, sometimes we are on the bottom, but how we see these rotations determines how we are affected by the wheel of life, not the circumstances of life. We either perceive ourselves as victims and feel at the mercy of life’s ups and downs, or we move into observer consciousness and witness life as a reflection of our own mind from which we can learn.

7. All of our feelings and behavior come from what we think and believe and not from external causes. There are no exceptions. In other words, we act the way we do because of the thoughts we believe. We will automatically act according to the beliefs we hold as true.

8. What we focus on expands. Attention is a way of directing energy and automatically feeds whatever we are paying attention to. That means the more we resist something the bigger it gets.

9. Whatever we judge and condemn within ourselves, we deny and then project onto something or someone outside ourselves that we then judge and fight. What we judge as unacceptable in others is something we have not admitted or accepted in ourselves.

10. There are no mistakes, no coincidences in life. Everything happens for a reason and/or has a purpose. To see it any other way is to be in victim consciousness.

11. There is another reality. It is the deep peace that is always available in the eternal, present moment, no matter what else is going on.

12. We are emanations of what I call the One Universal Mind, or simply, Source that is ever present and always radiating its benevolent Light (consciousness) upon us.

13. Everything is made of Source energy and vibrates at its own particular frequency. We are vibrational beings who are attracted to (and who attract to us) people and situations with a similar vibrational frequency.

14. Source is always here for us. It reaches out to us just as we seek it. It never stops supporting us, and is closer to us than our own skin.
Lynne Forrest is a non-traditional practitioner who has been in private practice for twenty six years, and the author of a new book, Guiding Principles for Life Beyond Victim Consciousness. Find her on the web at or These articles are copyrighted material. All rights are reserved. No part of these articles may be reproduced by any means or in any form whatsoever without first obtaining the written permission of the author. Permission for reproduction may be requested by contacting Lynne at Another Way Center: (423) 698-0814.

Reality’s Guiding Principles: What You Resist Persists, by Lynne Forrest.

There are basic universal principles that define Reality. Wise men of every generation have observed these universal principles at work in the natural world.

For instance, we know that Reality is a medium that supports life, in the same way that water is a medium that supports aquatic life. We know from our wisdom teachers that this medium of Reality is made -up of what we call “energy.” Alchemists say that all life is made of the same one substance. Therefore we know that every thing, all forms of life, seen and unseen, are made of this same universal substance, energy. Reality is energy manifested.

We see the workings of the energy principles that operate Reality on every level, and in every arena, of our lives; whatever the expression of energy may be, whether it’s a human body or a mountain, the ocean or an animal, furniture or rain – no matter what form energy takes, it will act according to the principles that govern it.

For instance, one of the principles we observe regarding the nature of energy, no matter it’s form, is that it does not go away, it merely changes form, like when you drop salt crystals into warm water: the crystals disappear, but if you dip your finger in the remaining water, you will taste the evidence of the salt still very much present. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist! All form simply changes form – (yes, this includes YOU too!)

Iron turns to rust, bodies to dust, ice to water, grain to fodder,
All life goes through the death/birth cycle.
Egg to infant, seed to plant, bud to flower, harvest to sower,
All life is renewed in this ongoing cycle.

When we learn and observe guiding principles in our life, we have the chance to align with Reality through them, so that we can experience the joy, peace, and kindness of Reality. We can choose to use universal principles that govern energy, nature, and physics to guide our own lives:
Here’s an example of a principal about how energy moves that can be observed on many levels of Reality, including our own inner workings.

First, here’s the principle: ‘what we resist, persists.’ In other words, the harder we push at something, the harder it pushes back. These words reflect Newton’s third law of motion, (his summation of this particular guiding principle), which is: “for every force there is an equal and opposite force.”

We observe this principle of Reality at work in the medium of water as follows:
Imagine you are standing in a swimming pool with water up to your shoulders. You suddenly see something you want on the other side of the pool and so you start trying to move fast through the water to get to it. What happens? The faster we try to go, the harder it gets to move ahead, right? The harder you try to push the water aside, the harder it is to move. This is the Reality of life – the more we try to force life, the more resistance we meet.

Like when you’re running late and trying to get to your appointment fast by racing across town … what happens? Traffic lights go red as you approach, cars pull out in front of you, old ladies limp across the street in front of you, etc. right?! When we try to push life, life pushes back. It’s the law of Reality in motion!

Or, like when you don’t like something your loved one is doing so you confront them angrily and then they respond to your resistance with defiance and anger. The same principle applies – what we resist, persists – every time.

Because the mind is made of energy, (it and all its components, such as thoughts, beliefs, feelings), we know that it operates by the same universal laws that govern energy on the physical level, and on the mental/emotional level. By studying external manifestations of energy at work in nature we get better at seeing how those same governing principles that apply in nature are also at work within the medium of our own minds.

This allows us not only to understand the workings of the world, but of our own mind, as well. Through that understanding we learn how to cooperate with certain basic guiding principles (such as those I rely on for daily peace) to achieve a life with less resistance, and more effortless doing.
Lynne Forrest is a non-traditional practitioner who has been in private practice for twenty six years, and the author of a new book, Guiding Principles for Life Beyond Victim Consciousness. Find her on the web at or These articles are copyrighted material. All rights are reserved. No part of these articles may be reproduced by any means or in any form whatsoever without first obtaining the written permission of the author. Permission for reproduction may be requested by contacting Lynne at Another Way Center: (423) 698-0814.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How to Commit Suicide, by Carma Dillon.

Excerpt from e-book "How to Commit Suicide", by Carma Dillon.

If you're like me, and you got on the internet tonight looking for how to commit suicide (and make it look like an accident), for a cup of coffee, I'll tell you my story... I'm still here.

...The human ego is a bizarre creature very much like a black hole. It takes itself far too seriously. It gives itself too much weight.
What was the trap that caused me to experience death wishes to the point that I would actually get out of my fetal position in bed, put my fingers to keys, and do what I had successfully evaded for two decades--to take a step toward contemplation. To entertain the idea. My son was not yet five years old. Yet, at that instant, he did not exist in my mind. Only the death wish existed and the urge to ponder it, but instead of reaching for the phone and calling Tim or Kat, I sat at my husband's computer and typed those words. I clicked on the page that seemed to be most relevant--Good Samaritans are that clever.
My mind is foggy about exactly what happened next...

As part of my healing journey, I published this true story of a low point in my life and what helped me climb out of the pit. If you're suicidal and you don't have a dollar to spare, send me a message and I will give you a code to download from the publisher for free. If you can afford to help me keep a roof over our heads while my son goes to community college, thank you for your support!