A Time for Reflection and Growth

I came across this post on my other blog while preparing for a workshop I’m hosting at my yoga studio on Reflection and Resolutions. I thought it a fitting time, days away from the new year and my birthday, to see exactly what difference a year makes. I did lots of hard work and some serious manifesting in 2013! Here is the post as originally published on the Kristin Daemon journal blog.

Today is my birthday.  I feel fortunate that my birthday comes along with the fresh start of every New Year.  As an adult, I have come to appreciate this and take advantage of that opportunity to check in with myself and look at how far I’ve come, not only in the scope of a new year, but also in the greater scope of my life.  

Our lives stack up so quickly and so densely that it’s necessary for us to look back at intervals after time has made sense of our experiences and removed us from the emotion and fog of it all.  Every year we take on new responsibility and obligations.  We meet new people and have new relationships; we also mourn the loss of people and relationships, and alternately welcome and resist change.  As beings in constant motion, experiencing things on both physical and emotional levels, it’s rare that we take time to sit still and reflect and recognize our process and acknowledge our progress.  When we do take time to do this at the beginning of each year, it’s important to look at these experiences objectively and not to judge anything we did as a mistake or a misstep.  Everything positive and negative we go through leads to a bigger bank of knowledge about ourselves and the world and helps us evolve and make better and better choices moving forward. 

It helps to consider that we often don’t notice the little changes a thing takes to grow, be it a child, a pet or a plant.  But to an outsider looking in who only sees that progress intermittently, the small changes along the way contribute to a great body of change over a period of months or years.  Our lives and our personal progress work like that too.  When I think about all the little changes I made over the course of this year that stacked up to put me here in this time and place under an entirely different set of circumstances than the year before, the progress I made, though it didn’t feel like it along the way, was quite significant. 

Like most people, I think, I tend to get wrapped up in the discomfort of a moment or a series of moments and it’s hard to see the big picture and see that the moments of discomfort I’m feeling during this period of great change are actually baby steps in the right direction; a direction that will take me to my end goal, a life where I get to live my dreams and my passions.  So instead of looking at the discomfort in these moments as obstacles or challenges and dwelling on the sense of unease they create, I need to start looking at them as growing pains.  Instead of feeling down or sad or impatient that I’m not exactly where I want to be right now, I need to appreciate that these moments are exactly what I need to be going through in order to experience expansion.

So now, I set my intentions for a year full of surprises and gifts, challenges and knowledge.  I will leave behind my fear, anxiety, stress and worry over the unknown and choose to embrace it instead.  I will leave behind my unhealthy attachments and create a life of freedom, choices and adventure. 

Happy New Year!

Beach-Wise

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient.  To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith.  Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches.  Patience and Faith.  One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.”

–          Excerpt from Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

There is a peace I find watching the sea that is unrivaled for me. Ironically, I also fear it. I am afraid of going in not knowing what lies beneath the dark water. But as I sit and watch from the safety of the shore, knowing life and an unfathomable depth reside below the surface, I realize its divinity. I become captivated by the roar of the crashing waves and torrid swells erupting into gentle laps on the packed sand. The sea is so dynamic and restless that it seems to be alive; as if it had a central heartbeat giving pulse to the waves.  Seaside Sunset small

The ocean’s roar replaces the rapid fire thoughts going off in my mind. I find stillness in myself by the sea as I leave the movement to the waves. I breathe deeply the salty sea air, which sets a tingle of clarity and spirit racing through my mind and body. My capacity for faith expands when I think of such a force as the ocean being divinely created. Nature has created this environment, immune to our electronic noise. The absence of technology, civilized buildings, electricity or pollutants makes the presence of spirit and divinity close by and obvious here.

When I’m standing on the beach, breathing in the water’s healing air, I’m not thinking of being anywhere else. I’m living in the moment; watching, breathing and feeling its impact on my body. I am receiving her subtle lessons and wisdom. She is teaching me peace in these special moments and gifting me serenity in the absence of thought, reaction and movement. I find the rolling waves of the sea to be a perfect metaphor for existence. They are dynamic and bold and contain within them unlimited potential for life, learning and beauty.

As if her dynamic beauty was not enough, she proves her magic and reveals her internal beauty by leaving behind treasures with the waves; gifts of stones and shells. When I wander the beach collecting seashells, I am not thinking to myself, “I want to find a perfect shell in iridescent lavender with gold flecks.”  I let the sea surprise me and show me something I never thought to seek. In much the same way, people, experiences and opportunities flow into our lives every day and leave behind learning in the sands of our minds. By letting life gift us opportunities and ideas this way, by allowing the universe to give and pull its treasures in waves, we acquire the ability to let go; to relinquish control and act as a vessel for God and the universe to work their magic through us. With these gifts, we grow in our own capacity to act as teachers; waves of wisdom and learning for others.  20130524_132010

Wisdom is like inspiration in a way. One may find it where others would not and interpret it in a way no one else is capable under their own set of life circumstances. Inspiration and wisdom help us to overcome the fear of discovering our essence in the dark depths of our minds, bodies and souls. Through meditation, walks in nature or sitting and watching the ocean, we make room for creativity, solace, and discovery. In closing our eyes and turning focus within, with patience and faith, the potential for learning and knowledge is infinite.

The sea prepares us with stillness and peace, which are necessary for acquiring wisdom and becoming acquainted with our own power, health and purpose. Listen when the sea roars for silence of the mind. Slow down, appreciate her magnificence, and bask in those moments of beauty and peace.

As published in the June 2013 issue of Soulwoman emagazine.  www.soulwomansanctuary.com

Find Your Secret Stash of Suppressed Self

Too often we let social norms dictate the way we live our lives and interact with one another.  More often than not, we neglect our true selves to avoid coming across as foolish, different, or confrontational.  Unfortunately, this “safe” pattern of suppressing the true nature leaves our lives and relationships lacking and empty.  This state of discontent we create by suppressing the true self, leaves us with a sense of loneliness that can persist even when surrounded by friends and family.  Ironically, this loneliness is exactly what the ego was trying to avoid by holding back the authentic qualities and action that it deemed foolish, different, or confrontational.  It’s no wonder we are attracting meaningless work and loveless relationships while neglecting our true selves.

To escape this cycle, ask yourself what it is you’re holding back or what part of yourself you are suppressing in this moment.  Maybe you’re at odds with a friend because you fear the confrontation of an open, honest conversation.  Maybe you have a brilliant solution or idea that you’re keeping to yourself for fear of being questioned or laughed at.  Maybe you have feelings for a man or woman that go unrequited for fear of being rejected.  Maybe you want to quit your job and move to a new town for a fresh start, but stay where you are out of fear of the unknown.

Once you find your secret stash of suppressed self, ask yourself what you’re so afraid of.  What is the worst that could happen if you reveal this part of yourself?  Chances are, it’s not death.  Chances are, if you release this part of your true self into the world, you will still have a roof over your head and food in your belly.  You may even find a connection with someone, or with a group of people, who share your true aspirations, hopes, feelings, and dreams.

I can tell you from experience, that the connections you’ll find with people who really see you, are powerful ones that will nurture love and keep you pushing forward in life.  These are the people who will encourage you to be yourself and try things you’re scared of.  As you grow into your true self, the superficial relationships in your life will fall away and new, more meaningful ones will emerge.  As you gain confidence from these special relationships, you’ll start to notice new people coming into your life who only know the real you.  They don’t even know that you who was cynical and only capable of superficial relationships.

Human beings are hugely resilient and capable of withstanding the onslaught of adversity one faces over the course of a lifetime.  Instead of shying away from change and fear, internalize that strong shield of resilience and use it to push yourself forward.  Exercise those muscles and go after the things that speak to you on a soul level.  Make connections with others who share your passions, and risk trying something new.  Once you find that sense of passion and purpose, you’ll experience the exhilaration of contributing something that only you can give to the world.

For a peek at my own, very personal, journey through this process, you can visit my blog: www.kristindaemontravel.blogspot.com.