Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Month: January 2011 (Page 1 of 2)

5 Lessons in Love and Appreciation

I’ll be honest.

I didn’t transform into a total love bunny like Alex Blackwell, Tess Marshall, or Zeenat Syal.

But it was a sweet month of love and appreciation.

I set out on 30 Days of Love and Appreciation with the intention to send or express a loving or appreciative message at least once each day.   Not a huge, complex challenge.  Just baby steps.  The idea was to place love and appreciation at the forefront of my mind instead of lurking in its recesses.

Love is our essence, but it doesn’t come naturally to all of us.  Some of us grew up in a harsh family environment.  Or the water element is absent from our astrological chart.  Or some other factor came into play.

Don’t despair if this has been the case for you. You can learn to love, but it takes focus.  These are some of the lessons I learned from giving it a try and committing to 30 days of love and appreciation.

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101 Inspirational Quotes to Light Up Your Life

I love inspirational quotes.  Don’t you?

They have the power to inspire, guide, and bring entirely new insights.  The right quote can help you sail in a new direction, keep aligned with your focus, or transform a less than desirable habit.  Quotations can also be a perfect remedy for almost any emotional, mental, or spiritual woe, or at least an important part of your healing toolkit.

I’ve created a second collection of inspirational quotes to share with you today.  It’s a small way of expressing my appreciation for your readership and support.  They are arranged – more or less – in alphabetical order by author.

Please enjoy.  Let this bounty of wisdom infuse your life with joy and meaning, one moment at a time.

  • “It’s not what you call me, but what I answer to.”African proverb
  • “I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning to sail my ship.”Louisa May Alcott
  • “You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.  What you’ll discover will be wonderful.  What you’ll discover is yourself.”  – Alan Alda
  • “There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” – Maya Angelou
  • “We are repeatedly what we do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” –  Aristotle
  • “Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.” Marcus Aurelius
  • “Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?’” – Marcus Aurelius
  • “Dig within. Within is the wellspring of good; and it is always ready to bubble up, if you just dig.” – Marcus Aurelius
  • “From the pine tree, learn of the pine tree; And from the bamboo, of the bamboo” – Basho
  • “All you need is love, love, love is all you need.” – The Beatles
  • “Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you you’ve decided to look beyond imperfections.” – T. Bernard
  • “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.Charlotte Bronte
  • “Connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives.“ – Brene Brown
  • “Sometime, somewhere you take something to be the truth. But if you cling to it too strongly, then even when the truth comes in person and knocks on your door, you will not open it.” – Buddha
  • “Regardless of the shadows that cross the moon to make it appear less than it is, to the moon, it is always full. So it is with us.” – Buddha
  • “What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now.” – Buddha
  • “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus
  • “Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.”  – Albert Camus
  • “We stand now where two roads diverge.  But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair.  The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster.  The other fork of the road—the one “less traveled by”—offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” – Rachel Carson

Summer Time for Inspirational Quotes

  • “If it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent.” – Pema Chodron
  • “I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”Agatha Christie
  • “It doesn’t really matter how fast you’re going if you’re heading in the wrong direction.” – Stephen Covey
  • “We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection. – Dalai Lama
  • “Happiness is not something ready made.” – Dalai Lama
  • “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” – James Dean
  • “When we discover that the truth is already in us, we are all at once our original selves.” – Dogen
  • “The true opponent in a debate on emptiness is your own ego.” – Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
  • “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein
  • “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein
  • “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” – Albert Einstein
  • “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron
  • “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” – John Keating
  • “It’s never too late to be what you might have been” – George Eliot
  • “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” – Epictetus
  • “What is to give light must endure the burning.” – Victor Frankl
  • “Diligence is the mother of good luck.” – Benjamin Franklin
  • “Don’t write because you want to say something, write because you have something to say.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts.” – Sigmund Freud

Japanese Flowering Cherry Tree - Inspiration

  • “People with clenched fists can not shake hands.” – Indira Gandhi
  • “The future depends on what we do in the present.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “To see the all-pervading Spirit of Truth, one must be able to love the meanest of all creation as oneself.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold or silver.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.”  – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Things which mat­ter most must never be at the mercy of things which mat­ter least.” – Goethe
  • “Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.” – Hafiz
  • “Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
  • “Smile, breathe and go slowly.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
  • “Only your compassion and your loving kindness are invincible, and without limit.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
  • “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Gustav Jung
  • “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” – Helen Keller
  • “When the mind goes beyond the thought of ‘the me,’ the experiencer, the observer, the thinker, then there is a possibility of a happiness that is incorruptible.”  – Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”Elizabeth Kübler-Ross
  • “Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu
  • “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” – Lao-Tzu
  • “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” – Lao Tzu

Apple Blossom

  • “If we could read the secret histories of our enemies we should find sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” – Longfellow
  • “I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.“ – Golda Meir
  • “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” – Thomas Merton
  • “The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.” – Henry Miller
  • “The mind is its own place and in itself can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven.”  – John Milton
  • “Never permit me to disgrace my high vocation by giving way to coldness, unkindness, or impatience.” – Mother Teresa
  • “The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say but what we are unable to say.” – Anaïs Nin
  • “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” – Anais Nin
  • “Don’t let one cloud obliterate the whole sky.” – Anais Nin
  • “My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.” – Anais Nin
  • “I want to live my life, not record it.” – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
  • “Chance favors the prepared mind.“ – Louis Pasteur
  • ”Body on your seat, mind in your body, mind in relaxation.” – Patrul Rinpoche
  • “Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.” – Plato
  • “Friendship with ones self is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  • “A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  • “For true love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have. And if you go to draw at the true fountainhead, the more water you draw, the more abundant is its flow.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • “There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.” – George Sand
  • “Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.” – Jean-Paul Sartre
  • “We need 4 hugs a day for survival.  We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance.  We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”Virginia Satir
  • “In this complex world, the best way to survive is to be genuine.”  – Sogyal Rinpoche
  • “Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness.” – Sophocles
  • “Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.Gertrude B. Stein

  • “Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy – because we will always want to have something else or something more.” – Brother David Steindl-Rast
  • “Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.” – Shunryu Suzuki
  • “Ultimate excellence lies not in winning every battle, but in defeating the enemy without ever fighting.” – Sun Tzu
  • “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau
  • “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain
  • “Don’t get it right, just get it written.” – James Thurber
    “The best index to a person’s character is: a) how he treats people who can’t do him any good and b) how he treats people who can’t fight back.” – Abigail Van Buren
  • “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker
  • “I’ve learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.” – Martha Washington
  • “Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.” – Alan Watts
  • “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan Watts
  • “The future is made of the same stuff as the present” – Simone Weil
  • “I believe we would be happier to have a personal revolution in our individual lives and go back to simpler living and more direct thinking. It is the simple things of life that make living worthwhile, the sweet fundamental things such as love and duty, work and rest, and living close to nature.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • There are two ways of spreading light…To be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it. – Edith Wharton
  • “There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” – Ben Williams
  • “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde
  • “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” – Oscar Wilde
  • “Learn to be calm and you will always be happy.”  – Yogananda
  • “You can tell how high a society is by how much of its garbage is recycled.” – Dhyani Ywahoo

Do you use inspirational quotes in your life?  Is there one from this collection that especially resonated for you?

You might also like my first collection 100 Inspirational Quotes to Celebrate 100 Blog Posts.

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra


Who Owns the Land? An Environmental Cry.

I fall asleep at night to a coqui symphony.  Then awake to the sweet sound of the original Tweeters.

I live in a blacktop jungle.  But it’s the primal black of lava rock, not unending miles of asphalt.

I haven’t seen a Firefox, but I’ve stumbled upon a wild pig.  And mongoose dart daringly across the red road as I Safari to my destinations.  No Apples here, but avocados, coconuts, bananas, and papayas fall from the trees.

Nature.  Alive.  In my face. Teasing all my senses.

Not stolen names for the hottest brands devised by marketing gurus for the latest technological device, internet rival, or social media extravaganza.

Living beings with wild hearts, inquisitive minds, and undying souls.

If you live in a big city, nature – in this resplendent abundance – may not be so obvious to you.  But wherever you are, there’s the sky above and the earth below.  A city still teems with organisms galore though they may go unnoticed or be difficult to see.

Reflection:  Who Owns the Land?

Do you ever stop to wonder who owns the land?

That’s the reflection for this week inspired by this quote from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.

“When we buy a house or piece of land, we feel some kind of satisfaction that the land is now ours.  But there are already numerous beings on that land who did not participate in our real estate transaction.  There are a great number of non-physical beings who we can’t see with our physical eyes as well as many substantial visible beings such as insects, birds, and animals that dwell in the trees or burrow in the ground.  In some sense, they own the land, too.  They will fight others of their kind to preserve their own space and maintain their boundaries, just as we do.  Yet we come on the land and dig up their burrows, cut down the tress that hold their nests, uproot the plants they use for food, and destroy their eggs and their babies.  How would you react if some other type of being suddenly occupied your home, moved or broke all your things, or buried your house under concrete?  We bring this kind of harm to other beings that are visible to us and we also bring this kind of harm to beings invisible to us.”

-from Healing with Form, Energy, and Light by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

So who owns the land?  What do you think?  This quotation stirred me up.  What does this quotation stir up for you?

This article is part of a weekly series of reflective exercises to help you – and me – uproot limiting thoughts, emotions, views, and habits. See more mini-mind challenges.

Thank you for reading.  If you liked this article, please share the link with others.  And I would love to hear from you in the comments.  Thanks so much for your support.  Sandra

Sensing Personal Connection, Kitten Style

This is a guest post by Lynn Fang from Upcylced Love.

When we think of personal connection, we most easily and frequently associate it with a connection in personality or worldview – someone who ‘gets’ you: your humor, the way you think, or what you do. You get a little high from the synergy of two people who understand each other on a special level.

But my cuddly grey cat Smokey has taught me a few things about connection – each of our senses is a path to our outside world, a potential bridge to another person or being.


Smokey is a cuddling machine. She wants to be held, it makes her feel loved and happy. She loves to be petted and pampered. She doesn’t know me – my deep secrets, fears, and big ambitions. It doesn’t matter. So long as we’re together, her in my embrace, life is good.

When we touch others, whether it’s a simple brush or a comforting hand, a connection is formed. A hug connects more deeply than a brush, but any touch gifts connection.

Sight and Presence

When I’m busy writing out a blog post like this one, my kitty is always nearby. If she isn’t pacing about my vicinity, she’s sitting quietly on the chair next to me. The only thing she wants is to see me and be with me.

The next time you go from home alone to a public gathering, make note of your awareness of others. How does it feel to simply be in the presence of other people? Though they are strangers to you, you all share that space and moment in time together.

In our closest relationships, we often want to share everything – every thought and action we’ve had and done. We consider the sharing of our souls an expression of love and connection. The secret is you don’t always have to speak to share a connection. Simply being in the same room together, perhaps doing separate activities, is enough to sense true connection. Like the public gathering, you’re sharing space and time together.


Who doesn’t love a cat’s meow? I love to hear Smokey’s voice – it’s unique, all hers, and she’s calling out to me. I talk to her too – I tell her I love her, that she’s cute, and I ask her what’s wrong if she’s frazzled. I don’t know how much she understands, but if I can decipher some part of her meow, I’m guessing she knows a little of what I’m telling her as well.

Sometimes we feel conversation has to be great, deep, heart-wrenching, or brimming with wit. It’s a validation of both ourselves and the other person. But you can tell a lot from the way a person speaks – confidence, personality, and wit can all come through. And it doesn’t have to have anything to do with what they’re really saying.

Conversation can be simple – a sharing of insights on the weather, the history of a place, a joke about your coffee – and you can tell whether or not you like this person, whether or not a human connection is formed. Though you may not be soul-mates, you certainly aren’t strangers anymore.


Cats are always sniffing about. It’s through their sense of smell that they come to know you – where you’ve been and what you’ve seen and touched.

Someone once told me that people with similar smells get along the best. So the next time someone naturally smells good to you, take it as a sign that you’ve got a special little connection going. Perhaps following a scent will really lead you to your soul-mate.


I confess I’ve only licked my cat once, and a mouth full of fur can be a little traumatizing. But she licks me sometimes, and other cats have obsessively licked me to show their love.

Perhaps taste is a more intimate connection, one reserved for a romantic partner. I would never tell you to go lick your best friend’s arm to show you love him or her. I doubt it would really help move your relationship forward. On the other hand, sharing a deep French kiss with your lover generates a profound sense of connection. If you don’t like your partner’s taste, I imagine it wasn’t meant to be.

What do you think? Have you experienced these connections?

This post is dedicated to my cat Smokey, for teaching me how to connect with my senses.


Lynn Fang wants to create a more harmonious world.  She blogs about sustainable simplicity and conscious living at Upcycled Love.  Follow her on Twitter if you liked this piece.

A Note from Sandra: Lynn was recently highlighted among 40 Bloggers to Watch in 2011 by ProBlogger.  This is well deserved praise!  I’m an avid reader of Upcycled Love myself.

If you liked this article, please share the link with others and take a moment to leave a comment below.  Thanks so much, Sandra

Coping with Distressing News

Do we need a bandaid for distressing news?

The recent shootings in Tuscon have left many stunned and groundless.

This essential advice from Deepak Chopra – in response to the tragedy – tells us how to deal with distressing news.

Linda Gabriel at Thought Medicine summarized Chopra’s heartfelt advice into four key points:

  1. Become a neutral observer of your feelings
  2. Remember a time you felt better
  3. Try to find something positive in the negative situation
  4. Take positive action

In one way, we absolutely need an emergency tool-kit for times like these when mind and emotions are overwhelmed by tragedy.  We are only human. Underneath our bravado, we are ever so fragile.  Bad news and the ensuing shock have the power to unleash a biochemical rampage in the body and the brain.  Witnessing violence can leave seemingly indelible marks on our being.

In addition to taking care of ourselves, we may also need to soothe our children.

Dad, why do people kill other people?

That’s the question Bill Gerlach’s son asked.  Bill dug deeply into his huge compassionate heart and used the question as a springboard for making sense out of senseless tragedy.

Asking the Deeper Questions of Life

Once we’ve regained our center – instead of blinding skipping forward – shouldn’t we too be asking these deeper questions about life?  These are some of the questions that have arisen in my mind.

  • Why are we always so taken by surprise when tragedy occurs?
  • Why do we deny death?
  • Why do we cling so fiercely to life?
  • Why do we believe we are this body?
  • Why do we feel we need to protect ourselves from distress?
  • Why do we need to push distress away by creating a contrived state of inner peace?
  • Why do we expect life to be different?
  • Why do we feel that longevity is our right?
  • Why are we afraid to see the suffering nature of life?

Reflection:  To practice death is to practice freedom

If all those questions aren’t enough, this week’s reflection focuses on the freedom that comes when we make friends with death, the ultimate expression of change and impermanence.

“There is no place on earth where death cannot find us—even if we constantly twist our heads about in all directions as in a dubious and suspect land… If there were any way of sheltering from death’s blows – I am not the man to recoil form it… But it is madness to think that you can succeed…

Men come and they go and they trot and they dance, and never a word about death.  All well and good.  Yet when death does come – to them, their wives, their children, their friends – catching them unawares and unprepared, then what storms of passion overwhelm them, what cries, what fury, what despair!…

To begin depriving death of its greatest advantage over us, let us adapt a way clean contrary to that common one; let us deprive death of its strangeness, let us frequent it, let us get used to it; let us have nothing more often in mind than death… We do not know where death awaits us:  so let us wait for it everywhere.  To practice death is to practice freedom.  A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”

Montaigne as quoted in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

In my tradition of spiritual practice, it is said:  “Death is real, comes without warning, this body will be a corpse.”  Although I recall this verse to mind each day, I know it’s not easy to undo the solidity and permanence I have affixed to life.

Yet death – and tragedy – happen every day, every hour, every moment in the world around us.  Some times timely, some times untimely.  Some times naturally, some times tragically.  Death is a fact of life.  We can’t make the truth of change and impermanence go away by “remembering a time you felt better.”  A bandaid is useful in an emergency, but eventually we have to take it off.  We have to face the truth.

From a spiritual perspective, death is not necessarily a tragedy.  It is actually an opportunity to realize our true nature if we prepare well.  The Dalai Lama says he tends to “think of death as being like changing your clothes when they are old and worn out, rather than as some final end.”  He also says,   “…if we wish to die well, we must learn how to live well. Hoping for a peaceful death, we must cultivate peace in our mind, and in our way of life.”

Death is not the problem. Our suffering doesn’t come from death, but from the meaning we attribute to it.

This is not meant to dismiss the tragedy of Tuscon or the suffering that has occurred in its wake.  I know I will feel devastated when loss visits me too.  My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all those who are suffering.

How have the Tuscon shootings touched you?  Does the thought of death make you recoil?  Do you feel you will meet death with peace and confidence?

This article is part of a weekly series of reflective exercises to help you – and me – uproot limiting thoughts, emotions, views, and habits. See more mini-mind challenges.

If you liked this article, please share the link with others.  Thank you so much!  Sandra

Have You Lost a Part of Yourself?

“To thine own self be true.” Shakespeare

It’s easy to lose a part of yourself as you travel the highways and byways of life.

Have you ever felt that way? Many people do.

Maybe you’ve let go of a treasured passion like my friend Bill Gerlach.  As adult responsibilities edged into his life, he drifted away from the joy of making music.  Now he’s experiencing the door-opening power of reconnecting with what he loved.

Perhaps a part of you felt unwelcomed or suppressed as a child.  Maybe you learned to hide a special quality – inquisitiveness, friendliness, spontaneity, confidence or another trait – when it wasn’t honored by those around you.

Or you suddenly wake up one day and realize you don’t know who you are.  You feel empty. You don’t even like yourself.  You feel like running away.  You want your real self back, but who is that, anyway?

Then again, whole chunks of yourself – even your entire soul – can be overwhelmed or frightened away by severe shock, trauma, or loss.

Why am I painting all these scenarios?   Because I know what it’s like.  I’ve lost a part of myself too.

Whatever You Lost, You Can Get It Back

One day I came upon the photo pictured above.  That’s me as a child.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Questions started to pop into my mind. “What happened to that joy and exuberance?  What happened to that little girl? Who am I really?”

Trauma has altered my life dramatically.  Not one trauma, but several.  But I’m a survivor.  I managed.  I kept going, never realizing I had lost a part of myself along the way.

But then that photo got me wondering, “Who am I really?”  It started a bountiful process of exploration and deep healing that is still underway.

I may have lost a part of myself, but I’m calling her back.  I’m reclaiming all the lost joy, exuberance, confidence, power, and dignity.  Any and all parts that were lost.

Whatever you lost, you can get it back too.

4 Essential Steps to Rediscovering Yourself

It’s impossible to change history.  But we can rediscover ourselves.  We can reclaim our seemingly lost qualities and talents.  And even our very essence, our soul.  It is never too late.

Here are four essential steps to help you rediscover yourself.

1. Recognize the Loss

Are you living life on automatic?  That’s the essence of being lost.  Busyness conveniently covers the pain. But one day, a trickle of grace filters through.  A tiny light illuminates a slice of darkness.

When that happens, don’t hesitate for a moment!  Capture the grace, dwell in the light, and dare to ask:  “Have I lost a part of myself?”  The answer may instantaneously appear. Or, like me, the question may dance for awhile in the deepest recesses of your brain until clarity beautifully dawns.

2.  Identify the Missing Parts

What are you missing? Have you lost yourself altogether?  Or are you missing pieces and parts?  Try using some of the methods listed in part 4 – like writing, dialog, or art – to unearth the truth.

Questions for reflection:

  • Who am I? Is this who I want to be?
  • What am I missing?
  • Which parts am I missing?
  • What am I longing for?
  • What were my dreams as a child, a teen, a young adult?
  • What were my passions as a child, a teen, a young adult?
  • How do I want my life to look?  Today?  In 5 years? When I die?
  • What are my values?
  • What do I cherish most highly?
  • What brings me happiness, satisfactions, a sense of accomplishment?

3. Explore How You Got Off Track

There are so many ways you can lose yourself. From the voice of your own inner tyrant to the people and circumstances that touch you constantly throughout the day.  Any one of us can easily feel swept away by the countless demands, expectations, and overriding commitments that come to rule one’s life in a seemingly inescapable way.

Minute-by-minute, day-by-day, your true self may simply slip away.

Take some time to explore how you lost your way.  Here are some of the most common factors at play:

  • an event
  • a relationship
  • an unfulfilling job
  • family members
  • children
  • marriage
  • friends
  • strong emotions like worry, anger, fear, desire, obsession, depression
  • change and life transitions
  • a move to a new place
  • an accident
  • surgery
  • over-focusing on others
  • your blog
  • a major project
  • childhood experiences
  • trauma
  • combat
  • loss
  • putting on a happy face
  • living a lie
  • getting stuck in role

Recognizing what trips you up,  helps you to understand your vulnerabilities, where you can grow, and the changes you need to make in order to live congruently.

The purpose of the exercise is not to blame other people or external circumstances. You will never be whole or happy as long as you hang on to a hurt from the past.  Even if you can’t forgive in the present moment, forgiveness always begins with the wish to forgive. Make a wish to forgive and set the force in motion.  Then continue on your journey back to your true self.

4.  Reclaim Your Lost Self

Like Bill, reconnecting to a lost passion might be simple and fun.

But often, the process of rediscovering yourself will take time.  The lost parts of yourself need to be remembered, reclaimed, embraced, and nourished fully in order to sprout and grow.  Practices that utilize the right side of the brain may especially enhance your  progress.

Following are some approaches you might try.  However, please bear in mind that in serious trauma, any method can trigger flashbacks and distress.  When trauma is significant, it is advisable to work with a counselor and go at a gradual pace.

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Rediscovering Yourself After Shock and Trauma

Trauma almost always involves a loss of self.  In recent years, scientific research has shed light on the somatic nature and neurophysiology of traumatic stress, once considered an intractable condition.

New and effective treatment approaches for healing trauma have emerged.  These include the use of techniques like breath and heart rate regulation, meditation, imagery, biofeedback, energy release work, hypnosis, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Information Processing Techniques  (EMDR, EFT, TFT, TAT), cognitive behavioral therapy, and others.

You are not stuck with the impact of trauma. Trauma can be healed.

Ancient medical traditions also offer effective methods that can help release trauma.

According to Chinese Medicine, when a severe shock occurs the soul sometimes leaps outside the body.  You may be skeptical about this idea, but bear in mind that ancient medical traditions have been healing people for thousands of years. Whereas modern medicine has a track record of about a hundred.

This is a true story of a young child who fell into a hornets nest.  Stung more than 35 times, he was severely traumatized and subsequently developed grand mal seizures.  He was diagnosed by Western medical doctors with epilepsy.  His seizures occurred in clusters every few weeks.

With no relief in site, eventually he was treated by a highly experienced Doctor of Chinese Medicine using a ritual called a “soul retrieval.”  Now almost 20 years later, the seizures have never once returned.

In his book, Healing with Form, Energy, and LightTenzin Wangyal Rinpoche explains,

“…in many shamanic traditions, there is the notion of “soul loss.”  Although this is an imbalance of the elements, it is greater than the imbalances suffered in normal life.  It is a question of degree.  Soul loss is a profound loss of elemental qualities and a condition of extreme imbalance that usually, although not always, is caused by traumatic external situations and beings.”

The “elements” are earth, water, fire, air, and space in this tradition.  They are considered to be the “substance of all things and processes.”  He goes on to say,

“The same kind of inner damage can happen when someone loses a child, is raped, witnesses brutality, is subjected to brutality, goes through a war, is in a car accident, or loses a house – the catastrophes and calamities that fall upon us humans.  The shock to the soul overwhelms it with fear, loss or some other powerful emotions and the result is the loss of positive qualities, the loss of life-force and vitality, the loss of joy and empathy.  It may also result in physical frailty and the loss of sensory clarity.”

In time honored traditions, it takes profound training to perform a ritual like this. Like Western medical doctors, alternative healers vary in their abilities and effectiveness. If you decide to explore this type of healing modality, be selective.  Carefully check training and credentials.  Don’t hesitate to speak to former clients for a reference.  Almost anyone can beat a drum.  That doesn’t mean they can heal you.

The Paradox of No Self

From the highest spiritual perspective, there is no permanent self.

“Self” is just a verbal designation.  A construct we create to identify a conglomeration of thoughts, emotions, sensory experiences, and body parts.  While this is ultimately the truth, a positive and healthy sense of this “illusory” self is the best basis for personal and spiritual evolution.  As paradoxical as it may seem, often you need to find your “self” in order to ultimately realize the truth of no self.

Never give up!  Whatever part of yourself has been lost, you can call it back.

Have you ever lost a part of yourself?  How did you rediscover yourself?

Resources for Trauma Survivors

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra


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