Full Out Love: Healing into 2017

Freedom Concept Background
There’s not doubt this has been a tough year in many ways.  Personally, I’ve had an overall good experience, yet I can’t help but be affected by all that’s transpired around me:  dozens of artists’ deaths, a still-contentious election, the destruction of Aleppo, a global migrant crisis, multiple fatal police shootings and the unrest that followed, deadly worldwide earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires, the protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Pulse nightclub shooting…the local and national list goes on and on.

The magnitude of these events – or perhaps it’s just the mindset I’m in these days –motivates me to stop and think deeply about my part in these global events.

How do they affect me and those I love?  What could have I have done differently?  What could I do going forward to have even the slightest effect?

I think about A Spirit Led Life and the impact it already has on my clients, students, and readers.  I know because you tell me, and it means so much to me!   I also think about my family and friends, my place of work, my online connections near and far, and even the companion animals that share this life with me.  We all impact each other in big and small ways.

It starts with us. We can’t focus globally without also focusing locally. These bigger world events are simply a big-picture reflection of the unrest and turmoil we carry in our hearts.  We the people are unbalanced, and therefore so is the world.  We see it every day.

So what is the answer?  

I’m not certain there is one single answer.  Nevertheless, one phrase keeps coming to mind when I consider my focus for the coming year:  LOVE FULL OUT.


“The world doesn’t want to be saved.  It wants to be Loved.
That’s how we save it.”
~April Peerless


I know “love” is mostly seen as some cliché new-agey concept.  I know love alone does not end wars, or stop riots, or resolve post-election turmoil.  Love does not bring people back from the dead or keep those we love from dying.  It doesn’t end our suffering.  Perhaps that’s why it’s so overlooked and undervalued.

Yet, I know from practicing energy work that the world is in desperate need of love.  Not romantic or familial love, but deep soul connection.  People are so parched that when I sit in meditation and send out the energy of love to all people, it feels like a massive sponge, soaking it all up.  People can’t get enough.

Our daily lives don’t exactly set us up for success in this regard.  We are busy, harried, disconnected, rushing from one thing to the next.  Most days are one big checklist of activities.  We even schedule times for intimacy and connection.  Or worse – we don’t.

We have to take time to refocus our energies.  That’s the message I’m getting.  We can’t keep on like this.  Our world can’t keep on like this.  Each of us can play a small role, make small changes toward a greater good.  Each of us can LOVE FULL OUT.

What does loving full out look like?  Well, I have a few ideas.

BE PRESENT
Loving full out means we are here in the moment.  Right now.  Wholly and exclusively with the person or people we love.  Giving them our full attention in that moment.  Nothing else.  No one else.  Being present means losing the distractions.  It’s a tough sell because we are a distracted people.  For the sake of those who need us, and for ourselves, we need to put down the devices, the chores, the activities, and simply be aware, be alive, and be present.

BE CURIOUS
We can’t be fully loving when we’re full of judgments or carry resentments and anger from past experiences.  Loving full out means we stay curious about the world around us, and about our role in it.  We don’t get caught in the drama and the fear and the political or social entanglements that cause division. Instead, we stay open to what drives other people, even if we don’t agree with them.  We look for the areas of similarity instead of focusing on differences.  And we do the work to get past all the old, painful stuff that still binds us to the past.

BE OPEN TO RECEIVE
This is tough for many of us because receiving involves vulnerability.  And we’ve been hurt.  We’ve been judged.  We’ve learned that the world isn’t safe.  And the world sure doesn’t look safe in many ways right now.  That’s why the worlds needs us to be open and to love full out right now.  We can give, give, give all day long and we will only get exhausted. We need to be able to receive as well.  And not only to receive but to discern what is healthy and needed and what can be turned away.  We don’t have to receive everything that comes at us, just as we don’t need to give our whole selves away.  We need a balance. The world needs us to balance.  The world needs our giving AND our receiving, as well as our conscious choice to break up the blocks that keep us from receiving all the love and goodness available for us too.

This new year is likely to be tough in many ways, and yet it has so much potential, especially if we all make the commitment to LOVE FULL OUT – our loved ones, our enemies, our politicians, our world leaders, our animals, our earth, ourselves.  Loving full out means embracing it all.  We can’t pick and choose who and what gets our full-out love.  It’s a package deal.   And it only serves to benefit us all.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting we all have to like everyone.  There are people who do hurtful things, and hurtful things need to be addressed.  I’m not suggesting we all run out and forgive everyone for everything.  Some things take time to move past.  Some things we never get past.  I’m only asking that we open ourselves to a deeper, richer, more vulnerable way of interacting in the world, and with our own selves.   For our sakes, and the sakes of all living beings.  Just a small amount of love poured into the world from more individuals can make a huge energetic impact on us all.

Are you ready for the challenge?  Ask yourself:

Where in my relationships can I love full out?
Where do I need more work in letting past hurts go?
How can I allow myself to be more vulnerable?
How can I be more present in my own life and the lives of those around me?
Where can I set my judgments aside and be more curious about others’ lives, beliefs, and choices?
In what other ways can I love full out?

These are just a few ways to love full out.  I know you have more ideas to share.  And I want to hear them!    Let’s stay connected this year and support each other in staying committed to loving full out, in all aspects of our lives (because we can’t do it in just one or two areas of life anyway!).

I invite you to join me in my Facebook group, Heal Yourself, Heal the World, to attend classes and programs coming this year (look for announcements!), and to become a private client if that calls to you.  Whatever we can do together to keep growing, keep learning, and keep LOVING FULL OUT!

Much love, light, and healing for a happy 2017!
Ashley

Let Go

Refreshing rain

When the winds of change howl against you,
Let them in
Don’t bar the door on presumptions
That they can be kept at bay

No, let the furies in to ravage the dark places
And forcefully clear decay from shelves and corners
Once carefully placed and now discarded and forgotten,
Yet still impactful in ways not readily recognizable
Pervasive, painful habits, distorted thinking
Still living lives gone past

Let them go,
Though the cords pull tight
As if sending a carefully nurtured child off to camp
These children raised by you no longer serve you
They’ve now run off in the darkness
Seeking freedom in someone else’s dream,
Howling, crying, quietly whispering

Let them go
Let the winds carry them where they need to be
Let your soul be free

©SpiritLed 2016

6 Practices to Mind Your Holiday Mindset

Christmas is not a Date is a State of Mind

It’s almost time!  We’re in the last week before Christmas, with the last mad rush of shopping and baking and parties upon us.

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s hard to escape the hectic nature of the season.  Besides the hustle and bustle of holiday activity, world events keep many of us feeling stressed, bewildered, and hopeless.  It’s safe to say the energy this year is different than in years past.

How do we cope?  Especially in the face of events over which we have no control? 

This has been a personal struggle of mine for years.  The holidays have often been less fun as they could be for me because of the stress they bring with them.  I usually want to simply curl up under the covers and hide all month.  However, my struggles a few years ago with adrenal fatigue and the debilitating symptoms that accompanied it forced me to seek more balance in all areas of my life:  diet, physical activity, sleep, time management, and especially mindset. It’s a daily challenge to find balance in all these areas (and admittedly, I still struggle), but I NEVER want to feel that bad again.

As I said, I’m not perfect, but over the years I’ve cultivated some practices that have helped me keep my energy more balanced and my stress low.  I share these tips below in hopes they’ll help you too, not only to get through the holidays, but to actually ENJOY them.

  • Choose not to stress.  Yes, this is easier said than done.  However, when you recognize that stress is based primarily on your perception, rather than the situation or the other person’s behavior, it helps you feel a whole lot less controlled by outside influences.  Breathe deep and find the peace that exists inside (I promise it’s in there).
  • Banish guilt. ‘Tis the season of overindulgence. Don’t beat yourself up over the past or things that can’t be changed.  We make mistake and poor judgements on a daily basis.  Life is too short to carry around that much guilt.  Do the best you can and do better tomorrow.  That’s all you can ever ask of yourself (or anyone else).
  • Learn to say no. It really is ok if you don’t go to every party or get a gift for every person you know.  We all have limits and boundaries and we need to honor those.  Saying no can be empowering.
  • Practice trust and forgiveness.When you allow yourself to let go of some of those feelings of anger, sadness, and disappointment that pile onto your heart from the daily injustices we all encounter, it can be incredibly powerful.  It doesn’t require letting anyone off the hook for doing something terrible.  Rather, choosing not to carry a few heavy things offers a way to lighten your energetic load and allows you to feel brighter & more joyful.
  • Reframe.  When you choose to see the positives aspects of all situations, you’ll soon you’ll start seeing the world differently without trying!   Can’t see the positive?  Create one!  Use your imagination to create a positive perception, even if it’s only in your own mind.  For example:  “I didn’t get invited to the party.  I’m mad and disappointed.”  Consider instead, “I didn’t get invited to the party.  I’m sure they just wanted a small guest list.  They’re my friends and I know they care about me. ”  Work with this process until it becomes natural.
  • Have faith.Tap into your personal beliefs, whatever they are.  Trust that everything is right, in this moment, just as it is.

Do you have any tips or practices that help you through your holidays or other stressful times? Reply to this email or head over to my Facebook group and join the conversation!

Love and light,
Ashley