<![CDATA[Inquiry: A Portal to the Heart - Blog]]>Fri, 15 Dec 2017 02:50:47 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Winter's Innate Gift?]]>Fri, 15 Dec 2017 01:37:59 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/winters-innate-giftPictureby Alice Popkorn http://www.flickr.com/photos/alicepopkorn/
Autumn's fairy ushers the frost and chilly days ahead.  

What is winter's gift?

With winter upon us, I look upon the end of the year with gratitude and a sense of wonder for days ahead. 



Fall has been the season of letting go and going with the flow. 



​Have I been able to let go and flow with Life or with what reality presents me?


How do I know I have let go and gone with the flow?

What is the gift of the season of winter for me/us?

Cozy up and journey with me. 

Pictureby Neda Andel http://www.flickr.com/photos/nedaandel/
Letting go is being present to what is alive in me and being unresistant to it.  There is resistance to something as it is now.  There is a pull and pull-back.  There is an innate pull-back to go back to what was and avoid what is now or is coming.  There is also an innate flow forward, the pull. 

How do I know I have let go?
I know I have let go when there is momentum in my moments.  The resistance that kept things at a standstill begins to shift, move, dance....

Like leaves hanging on a tree, they fall to the ground.  A quick effortless and spiraling descent.  Dry and crisp leaves that whisper that autumn is here.  Covering the ground they express a melodic tone of surrender and humility.

Like a river that flows through rocks and streams down gaining momentum.  There is a constant filling of cracks and crevices.  Water rushes forth with effortless power. 

That is how nature shows me to let go and go with the flow.   

Some aspects of what life presents me with have been easier to flow with than others.  I know it is a process and that some matters are a work in progress. Nature also shows me the beauty of interdependence.  All living beings rely on one another.  

With winter nearing, inner reflection is wise and serves to ground me. 
​ 
I look back with respect and a touch of humor.  When it seemed that there was no growth, Life showed me I had been watering my efforts with patience and faith.  Without patience, there is no kindness.  Without kindness, I lose my humanity.  And without faith, perseverance is filled with tiring effort.  Faith says "keep going, amidst the unseen."  Humor helps to make the heavier moments lighter. 

None of my experiences have been in vain.  It is experience that gives me confidence.  Confidence allows me to be me and voice my needs and desires.  My own personal lessons pave the path.  I can resist what shows up along the path or I can flow and in time gain momentum.  

Pictureby Rachel Adams http://www.flickr.com/photos/cupcakegoshxx/
What is the gift of winter?

Winter allows me to reflect upon the previous season's lessons.  Each season had lessons and perhaps even tests.  A test to show me what I had yet to really learn.  The Universe is benevolent and has shown me thus far in my lifetime that I have many opportunities to get my lessons.  

I can learn with grace and even with joy or I can learn in a number of other ways.  And the best part is that there is no right or wrong way.  It is a unique journey and I can be  divinely guided.  The light of Love shines upon us.  We can be grateful for so much every season. 

Perhaps, winter's innate gift is the joy of having been given so much as the year concludes and then sharing our blessings with those along our path.

Winter is a time for going within, slowing down and introspection.  How we honor this wise aspect of Life is unique to us especially in these times.  

There is peace in honoring self, all life and each season. 

​I am grateful for what has been, what is and what is to be.  

Much hope is alive this winter and looking forward for me. 

Thank you for journeying with me.  
Cheers to a wonderful holiday season!

How about you- what are you grateful for this season? 
 
What are your season's lessons? 
What is alive in you as winter approaches?
What do feel is winter's innate gift(s)?


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<![CDATA[Air of fury & transformation?]]>Thu, 07 Dec 2017 01:27:25 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/air-of-fury-transformationPictureby C. Ryan http://www.flickr.com/photos/biggfish/
Fire is alive in me. 
It is my spark of life and creation.

Air reminds me to be clear of my intentions and fire to set boundaries or the fury of fire spreads....

The fires in Southern California have been destructive and yet fire gives back warmth and light. Fire is not all consuming or destructive when paired with air.  The element of Fire highlights the need for boundaries and respect.  Fires can be tended to and danced around so they can be a source of fun, joy,light, warmth, and power. 

Fire is powerful and passionate. 

Within each of us are all the elements. 

How do I spark and honor the power of the elements within me? 


Air fuels fire.  Each of us has a flame that can be activated to create or destroy. It is our intention that either unleashes a benevolent force or a furious damaging one that spreads rapidly.  

In this post I briefly consider what fire and all the elements have to teach me about myself and humanity. 

Pictureby Risto Kuulasmaa http://www.flickr.com/photos/zachris/
I must be clear about what I intend to direct my energy and manifest goals, desires and visions. 

With clarity of mind and heart I harness the power within me to attract what is needed to set forth in action small and large visions. 

That clarity of mind is like the element of air that gives life and sets in motion the fire that creates what I desire. 

My actions must be filled with love to respect all that is brought forth in assistance of my vision.  Without love my actions cannot be kind and respectful. The fire within crosses the threshold of benevolence and sets ablaze a fury of destruction.  Fire needs boundaries for it to be a source of delight and creation. 
I have the strength to contain the fury of fire by remembering my humanity. 

Grounded in my being I can remember that I am a speck of dust in a vast cosmos.  From that perspective how I see myself reminds me that my power is humble and also mighty. 

Mighty elements within and without. 


The spark is ever present. 

I honor the spark of life by having reverence for all of life. 
Life is made up of all the elements.
The elements show me their strength. 
They restore balance... 

Balance is my way.

The way of the elements...within me. 

Do I dare leap in faith or do I self-destruct?

Do I contain the fury?

Do I unleash the transformative force within?

How do you fuel the fire within?

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<![CDATA[Guarding freedom or growth?!]]>Tue, 28 Nov 2017 18:00:00 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/guarding-freedom-or-growthPictureby Silence Effects http://www.flickr.com/photos/silenceeffects/

Is there a key factor in my overall growth as a human being?


Can I block my own development and freedom?


Does guarding myself emotionally and mentally- allow me to grow and be free?



These are the questions I consider and hope will prompt your own inner inquiry. 


This post is ultimately about what impedes our freedom from the inside out. ​​

Pictureby chiaralily http://www.flickr.com/photos/chiaralily/
To stretch into the fullness of ourselves as human beings isn't just a matter of time but of space. 

Growth requires space. 

As living beings we require space to grow.  Space for growth not just in the physical sense....

Significant moments in time impact us. One traumatic experience can transform us and seem life changing.   

Some experiences leave such deep wounds and scars that we veil ourselves off.  Then, we build defenses that serve us well, until they block our freedom. 


How can we be free when our mental and emotional defenses prevent us from being truly open to connect and relate in kind and caring ways? 


We cannot thrive if we are guarding. 



PictureBy Alice Popkorn http://www.flickr.com/photos/alicepopkorn/
Guarding myself means I am not uncaged. 

How can I be happy in a cage? 

To be happy I must be free to live an authentic life. 

An authentic life means I am being myself.

Being anything but authentic or myself, is being caged.  That is not a happy existence. 


Being in a tight space, I/we cannot grow.

When I/we protect mentally and emotionally, the space for growth is tight. 

Metaphorically we may be in our accustomed space unable to stretch and grow.  


Growth happens when I am willing to step out of my comfort zone and be seen as I am.   

Guarding myself means I am watchful.  If I live in reality, I live fully and as present as possible. 

It has taken me some time to realize that walling myself off is not as kind as showing up even when it seems nerve racking or scary.

I may not consistently like what reality presents me and yet the alternative is to remain in similar circumstances hoping for change and wishing for faster relief. 

Being unguarded allows me to assimilate reality.  


Pictureby Natalie Manuel http://www.flickr.com/photos/nataliemanuel/
Change is ever happening but unless I show up, I cannot digest what life is presenting me.  

Nothing grows when it is cramped in and shut off from nutrients and light.  

A key aspect of growth is allowing the process to unfold. 

I can notice what life presents me.  I can resist or make other choices that ultimately promote confidence of going where I once feared or doing what was once a source of anxiety.  


If I disengage from the Dance of Life, life does and will invite me over and over to dance. 

I just have to be willing to take the first step.

A choice to be step out boldly and yet gently. 

On the other side of the veil of protection is freedom.  

​:)

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<![CDATA[Distanceless Echo?]]>Tue, 14 Nov 2017 08:00:00 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/distanceless-echoA-w-e...  

A sweet heart-felt sound of delight and pleasantness. 

It washes over and across space.

An echo that reverberates across seeming distance.

Rings of echos?

Pictureby Elena Kalis http://www.flickr.com/photos/sugarock/
Like waves of sound and light ... states of being travel like rings of echos. 

Most of us want what is pleasant rather than unpleasant. 


As human beings our ability to feel, sense and perceive allow us to attract and resonate with the world around us.  

We can be felt at a distance...

Resonance is distanceless!

We cast ambient rings of pleasantness. 
Our pleasantness travels. 


Our energy is not limited by time and space. 


This post is about the resonance factor in our lives. 



Pictureby Elena Kalis
We are in continual flux. 

We and ebb and flow with each thought and from breath to breath. 

Where our thoughts go, our energy follows. 

It is why kindness spreads.


We choose what we want to cast and bring back to us. 

We attract our predominating thoughts back to us.  

I reflect on what I wish upon my fellow human travelers.

Echos of well-being, peace, joy and awe?

How far can my thoughts and energy go?

Deeper

Closer

Further

Seeming distance? 

Interconnection is distanceless!

Everything felt even at a distance.  ​​

You and I echos?

You and I distanceless?

​You and I resonant beings. 

Timeless beings. 

Imagine what one of us can do to the rest?

Imagine what "together," we can accomplish.

Nothing impossible!?!

​Everything already possible?!?

What we once deemed near impossible --"time," shows is possible. 

What if the realm of possible is ever-changing?

Maybe the realm of impossible is but an illusion.

Today's impossible is tomorrow's possibility.  How?

Everything is changing and evolving so certainly one part affects all others.   

Everything interconnected.

Distance-less -echos...
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<![CDATA[Juggling or honoring faces?]]>Wed, 01 Nov 2017 17:30:30 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/juggling-or-honoring-facesPictureby Claudia C. Erdesathi http://www.flickr.com/photos/cerdesathi/
What does your face say?

Is it my face I show to the world?


The Aztecs believed that as humans we are born faceless and have to gain our faces.  

It seems to me that often we put on different "faces," desiring to hide, please or remain unknown.

Or is it that we can be scared of the face that we have gained?

This post is in the spirit of hallow's eve & day of the dead.  Our faces express so much about us. 


I used to want to hide that I was feeling so sad and angry inside.  I knew that admitting I was angry meant somehow I was an unhappy and not very pleasant person.  I knew that this was not true and yet I was unwilling to bare my true face. 

Admitting I was sad seemed less likely to harbor potential for rejection and yet admitting to sadness meant being deeply vulnerable. 

I could not be vulnerable for I had learned it brought on shame and rejection.  I wanted to belong.  I wanted to just be me.  I became scared of expressing myself.  

Wanting to belong and at the same time unwilling to compromise. 

I often saw "fakeness," and was unwilling to be inauthentic to fit in.  It seemed I was a loner or had few friends. The few friends I had seemed to be missing the depth I so much desired. 

I felt faceless even when I had a pretty face.  I hid part of my face in bangs. 


Our faces reveal plenty about us.  We can look kind or uninviting....

We may not how we truly look unless we are mirrored by the person in front of us.  



Do you remember as a child facial profiling adults?  

I do, I remember being willing to approach and ask a question of those adults who looked gentle, kind, and caring.  Then, there were those who looked like they were menacing or harsh. 

Of course, sometimes faces are deceiving.   Often, though there is some predictability to what we first spot on someone's face map.  

It is interesting also that as we age our facial features harden while hopefully our hearts soften.   Although sometimes I've seen the sweetest inviting faces in wrinkled faces.  It is as if those wrinkles speak of many experiences that have now made their mark on those faces. 

I look at pictures of my mother and see how quickly she aged.  She was beautiful and had an endearing look.  I grew up seeing her angry and sad.  In the end all her sorrow and rage seemed transformed to gentleness and kindness.  This is how I remember her as a spirit with a pretty face who weathered many trials. 

None of us gets younger, so as I age I am embracing the roadways that will inevitably show on my face.  Those age marks or wrinkles are evidence of frowns, tears shed, smiles and laughter. 

​Whatever faces I juggled, I now honor the face I have.  My face is mine to honor for it reveals a part of my journey and continually transforms as I evolve.  

How do we honor our face?  We simply allow it to express what is alive in us. 

We can unlearn and deprogram the societal standards and values of what is appropriate, beautiful, smart, etc. and simply uninhibitedly or spontaneously use our facial muscles as though we were children freely playing. 

​Juggling faces may sound fun, but is it?  


When was the last time you made silly faces?  

When was the last time you laughed so hard, you almost wet yourself?

When did you last mimic someone in front of you?

When was the last time you caressed your face? 

When was the last time you gave your face a wink?

Dare you to honor the face you see in the mirror!
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<![CDATA[Seducing -inner army by scent?]]>Thu, 26 Oct 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/seducing-inner-army-by-scent
Picture
by Paul Stein http://www.flickr.com/photos/kapkap/
Sometimes my self-talk can be like a relentless mechanical army of soldiers.  They seem void of a heart as they can be so brutal. 

This army is programmed like a machine with it's only mission to destroy the enemy. 

But, who is the enemy?


I sigh....

Anger...critical self-talk can be brutal...


It was never ok to be angry and yet there were dramatic displays of anger growing up....

Anger is brutal when disowned.
 
Disowned anger, is unresolved fear that controls the holder of anger. 
 
Anger briefly empowers us, but, sooner or later the life force drys up.

Anger gives rise to sensations of discomfort.

It is my 'brutal thoughts' that drain me.  

I am drained by my brutal thoughts who attempt to fight against the enemy, only the enemy is not outside of me!


​The enemy developed during traumatic moments. 


The enemy is anything that threatens my existence or sense of self or safety....


Picture
By tec_estromberg http://www.flickr.com/photos/92334668@N07/
My inner army has been trained to destroy the enemy no matter what!

How do I defeat this army who lives inside my mind?

How do I outsmart this mental army?

Do I defeat this inner army?

Is there a greater army that I can deploy? Is there a reset button to wipe out this army? 

Can I seduce this army?


​It matters how I defeat my inner army. 



I choose the most loving possibility. 

I seduce my army of soldiers...

I breathe out loud...

I perfume myself with the sweet and woody scent of sandalwood.


The scent of sandalwood helps me to get in touch with my senses. 

The scent of sandalwood grounds me in my body and comforts me.

The scent seduces my being.

One by one the soldiers in my mind relax.


I am brought to my knees. 

As if I had a long neck, I have an expanded view. 

My awareness helps to see the hurt caused by my self-judgment or brutal self talk.  


Picture
by Cajsa Lilliehook http//www.flickr.com/photos/cajsa_lilliehook/
Awareness allows me to see the space between my brutal thoughts.
 
The soldiers show me how they wanted to protect me.  Only they don't know that the enemy is one and the same. 

The fragrance envelops my memory.  I see flashes of moments when admitting my defects was so very hard or threatening to my sense of self. 

It was too much to take responsibility to a fractured self.  I angered to defend the innocent and pure me.  I blamed to self-preserve.  

Even now, my army tries to show me I matter.  


​The antidote scent of brutal self-talk is found not just in aromatherapy but in holding space for myself. 

Just space to connect to myself; to just be. 

Space created by nurturing what has been ignored, invalidated, neglected, analyzed, judged, or shamed. 

I can make ' space for myself, ' just by stepping back out of my thoughts or into my body. 


The space is always there in the background.

My army of soldiers were in their own way attempting to care for me. 

Now, the antidote to brutal self-talk is found in increasing my self-care.
I am mindful of brutal self-talk as an old army seeking to protect me. 

I choose to engage my army not in battle but in new strategies of caring for me that change the scent in the air from harsh to nurturing.

My intention is on having my army committed to spreading the warfare of kindness and belonging. 


​What is your current 
​status within?  Turmoil? War? Harmony? Expansion?

Is your's an inviting scent or a deterring smell?
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<![CDATA[Dying to revere Life?]]>Tue, 17 Oct 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/dying-to-revere-life
Picture
by James Emery http://www.flickr.com/photos/emeryjl/
Ever had a death wish?

Ever thought that life was one struggle after another and therefore living that way not so worth it?

Ever wonder why 'others' seem high on life or buoyant?

Beliefs and intentions hold strong power over us if we are unaware of them.  The strongest intention will win even when consciously we were intending something else.  Unexamined beliefs and contradicting intentions stunt growth. 

Growth and learning can be filled with some pains, but, it does not have to be excruciating pain nor suffering.

This post is about transforming with greater awareness of intentions, without suffering and with reverence for Life. 

Greater awareness is possible through inquiry.  
I invite you to still yourself.
Not sure how?  
Feel your legs and feet touching the ground.  Support is right where you are.  Focus on your heart area or draw your focus to the area in your body that is achy, sore, tingling or calling your attention. 

Ask:

What is alive in me? 

Many times I thought I would be better off if I were not alive.  If you read my last post, you know I had a death wish by the age of 12. 

What am I feeling?

Feelings change.  All I ask is, what is/are my current feelings. 

Breathe, deep exhale. Close your eyes. Listen and be patient.  No need to rush.  In a rush we leave our soul behind.  All there is, is this moment and the next one will be there regardless. 

There are thoughts, sensations and sounds as well....

Ask:

What is it that I need?  Not what think I want. 

I want my life to be filled with ease, harmonious, to be meaningful, joyful,...  

What is 'reality presenting me with' at this time?

Another day to live as fully as possible.  Opportunities...

If I neglect what reality is presenting, can I live with that?

Sure, but I won't grow. Maybe I'll complain and regret not taking action on what was offered. 

What do I need to take action?

Action comes thanks to clarity. 


If, I am confused or ambivalent -what do I need to have clarity?

These questions help me to dig deeper and if I am patient, they allow me to see what has been hidden and to transform myself with greater ease. 


Choosing to stop living is a sad way of attempting to meet our needs.  
Choosing suicide is a lack of reverence for life. 


Reverence is a perception of sacredness that leads to an attitude of honoring.  Life is to be honored and valued for the wonderful gift it is. 

Not recognizing the value of Life, is to walk around like a zombie. 

A life that is not valued is a life that is at risk for illness, tragedy, and ultimately of death. 

How can I and you attract prosperity and well-being if we do not value life?

We may, but not for long. 

Lack of reverence means we do not value life and so it does not make it hard to take life. 

Neither homicide or suicide honor life. 

If we want peace on earth, it seems we each can start by honoring our own lives. 

Our death wish can be set in motion and if we are fortunate,  we will realize it was never what we wanted.   

Being alive makes me human.
Having reverence for Life makes me a human being. 

Humanity needs us to have reverence for Life.  With deep gratitude for our existence, we can co-create a loving world and we can grow and transform with kindness.


What is your intention as a person on this planet?

Do you treasure this life or is there a part of you that fears living?

What do you believe is possible in your life and for humanity? 

Can you see the beauty of our humanity where others see none?
Picture
by Laura Jay Perales http://www.flickr.com/photos/ljperales/
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<![CDATA[Restorative life force within anger/fear?]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/restorative-life-force-within-angerfearPictureby Kathryn Denman http://www.flickr.com/photos/kdenmanphotography/

Faulty, corrupted boundaries...

Confusing gestures, tone of voice and touch.


I felt their anger, rage, sorrow and despair.  

They spoke affectionate words.


It was all so contradicting it made me sick to my stomach. 

So began a struggle within to know intentions and anticipate the uncontrollable....

This post is about unleashing the life-force or medicine within the poison of our unresolved fear or anger. 

Impatience was a daily experience during my childhood.  I wasn't getting the correct answer quick enough for him.  He asked if I was stupid.  His tone was jarring.  I trembled inside.  Rushing me didn't help.  I had to be quick and perfect. 

I was the 'difficult child,' and she would say "see you made your father leave."    He left because he didn't want to unleash his fury.  

Even playful moments turned to dread. 

My body was tickled to the point of feeling suffocated.  My laughter was contrived.  I gasped for air barely able to say "stop,"  yet saying it over and over made no difference.  I felt voiceless, unseen and powerless. 

Paralyzed by their looks.  Slammed by their tone of voice. Tears unacceptable.  Protesting was forbidden.  Anger and frustration from me was 'wrong.' 

Trapped!  No choice, without mercy.  

​Rain of sadness for the anorexia of compassion for their little girl.


My breathing contracted, curved my shoulders to hide, to guard my heart. The fortress around my heart led me to retreat in my head and eventually to lose touch with my body. 

The tiger in me evoked...and caged. 
I came to wonder if being me was ok.  I questioned my existence.  I came to fear living.  

I can understand why I wanted to die before I was 12. 


I learned early on to trust my sixth sense in an environment that was not safe.  I had to play safe and not be me.  

Emotional abuse is invisible, but, still leaves deep scarring.  

Pictureby Zoriah http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoriah/
What if unresolved fears have within them a restorative property?


The ying/yang....


Anger is not the result of a stimulus outside of me. 


It only seems like something outside of me has provoked the experience of anger.


If I had no thoughts about right/wrong, safe/unsafe, good/bad, etc;
would I experience anger?


Anger arises from my way of thinking.


Anger 'tells me' I have unmet needs. 

Anger is a defense to perceived attack. 

We only attack that which threatens us or scares us. 

What scares us prompts us to run and hide. 

Sometimes we come to fear anger in others and in ourselves. 

Anger in all its forms becomes 'an enemy' or a monster' to be feared, fought and destroyed. 

If I destroy anger, does it matter how I destroy 'it'?

What if anger destroys me?  
 
Anger is not out there.  Anger is within me.  

Anger is an energy that lives within me.

Energy cannot be destroyed only transformed.

The repeated experience of anger is toxic to our body when we don't listen to it's underlying fear and needs.  That unmet need deadens us as the energy stagnates.  The result is a feeling of dis-ease.

Feeling the fear and addressing the needs- enlivens us.  

I get to heal when the energy of anger or unresolved fear is alchemized. 


A-L-I-V-E  

Is the acronym that reminds me of the restorative potential of my anger or unresolved fears.  

Unresolved fear is life-force turned against me. 

ALIVE is how I feel when the poison of unresolved fear alchemizes. 

A is for awareness and acknowledgment of my incessant self-talk.
L is for listening to my tiger who protects me.  
I is for identifying the need of my tiger or self-critic.
V is for being vulnerable about my feelings and needs.
E is for empowering my tiger to emerge.  Emergence is possible through self-empathy or compassion. 

The 'A' of awareness is vital to the alchemy process. 

Unless I am aware of the self-talk that often does not quiet, those voices will draw me in like a magnet.  I will get caught up in my self-made stories, drama, and allow that to be my reality.  Like a magnet, it becomes harder to pull away, unless I am mentally aware and fully present in my body.  The key is to witness the stream of self-talk as if it were a foreign language and the images were parts of various films making no apparent sense.   I acknowledge the self-talk as part of my human condition.  I do not have to make myself wrong for having self-talk.  

The "L" of listening means to listen to the tiger who protects us from ourselves.  It cannot recognize that we are the attacker of ourselves.  Our tiger has needs like any living being.  There is no need to judge our tiger. Our tiger only does what is 'part' of it's nature, not it's whole nature.  It is not ruthless or merciless because it has a need to live, eat, play...

The "I" of identifying is being clear about our tiger's needs.  What is it protecting? What is it scared of and needing?  The clearer I am, the greater the understanding I have of myself and the greater the possibilities I can see to meet those needs. 

The "V" of vulnerability is acknowledging our humanness.  It is being brave to feel.  Only then can our tiger emerge and be as it is. 

The "E" of emerging means being as we really are.  Emerging as we really are happens through understanding our needs.  Our needs empower us.  

Understanding my needs gives my tiger a voice and being heard, it can be seen.  My tiger is also a calm, kind and playful kitty.  

Anger is an old protective force that can restore me like rain.  The clouds form, blocking the power of the sun.  A storm forms and comes to pass.  The sun shines again.  
How is your anger speaking through your body?

How are your unresolved fears playing out in your experiences?


Can you feel the sunshine amidst the clouds of anger and fear within you?

Can you see yourself as you really are behind the walls you built long ago?
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<![CDATA[Intimate courthouse intentions?]]>Wed, 04 Oct 2017 14:30:00 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/intimate-courthouse-intentionsPictureby angus mcdiarmid http://www.flickr.com/photos/angusmcdiarmid/
I was raised in a courthouse with empty chairs....

No jurors or fair trial only tough judges and harsh verdicts. Condemned for life? 

Courthouses serve to bring justice by determining right from wrong and through a fair trial of neutral jurors concludes in sentencing the guilty party.

Within us can exist a similar system and courthouse that developed in our formative years.  

Out of fear I learned... to obey... to avoid further condemnation, knowing there would be no opportunity for a fair trial.  

Fear makes us submit and eventually rebellious and even aggressive. 

This post is about transforming our inner courthouses into compassionate homes by cultivating self-kindness as that leads us to collectively create a harmonious and peaceful world community. 

In order to cultivate compassion, I invite myself and you to recognize those moments where we are everything but kind, gentle, and supportive of ourselves.  

It is about going within and letting go of the continuous chatter of thoughts and who the world busily tells us we are or should be. 


Pictureby Alice Popkorn http://www.flickr.com/photos/alicepopkorn/
The opportunity for self-kindness arises everyday. Those challenging moments when we tend to react rather than check-in with our intentions.

​For me the opportunity comes when the judgmental or critical aspects are barely noticeable.  These aspects can be brutal if we neglect to be fully present to life. 

The unnoticed brutal aspects lead to pain and disease.  

Through my body I can tell when I have been less than kind.  I see bodily pain as redirecting my attention to the thoughts and emotions that led to it's current condition. 

The brutal aspects are not enemies to be fought, ignored, neglected or destroyed. 

Instead, it is important to notice the voice that rarely quiets.  That voice can say wonderful things too, but, it is not who I am.  You and I are the ones who notice...  


My intention for self-compassion starts with a gentle invitation to be the observer of my intimate courtroom.  ​Perhaps, the empty chairs of my courthouse now have a purpose!

I notice that when I am 'the judged and the judge' the verdict is often harsh.  I learned long ago to condemn myself when I did not live up to standards or expectations of my judges. 

I was barely able to utter a word when he said, "don't talk back at me!" He had the look of scorn.  I often tried to explain myself and attempted to get my needs met, but, instead I was shamed for having feelings...

No point in judging my judges as that does not serve me well.  

The process for me is to notice and remain centered in myself rather than over involved in those matters that I wish I could change, but, perhaps have no business in changing. 

Little by little I can turn my intimate courthouse into a safe loving home. 

I make my conscious goal a choice to be the witness that steps outside the courtroom to participate in the greater world or reality.

If the outer world is also a reflection of our inner worlds, then it is important I align in mind, body and spirit.  

Therefore, it is important that there be congruence in what I think, feel and do.  

Pictureby Maria Lavreteva http://www.flickr.com/photos/marlavrik/
As I do the work of aligning wholeheartedly, I realize that it is important I witness the aspects within that do not feel safe, loved, and strong....  

I cannot prevent the experiences that life presents me.  

I cannot always re-arrange the things that challenge or disturb me.

I can choose to stop my usual or habitual reactions and overtime respond in different ways.

I can allow experiences to run their course or pass through.  Experiences are ongoing and only harder when resisted. 

Each time I am thee active observer rather than reactor in my life, I notice a chair is taken up by an aspect that is already within me.   An aspect of self-tenderness, kindness, patience, understanding...

Sometimes she is a wise motherly aspect, other times she is a childlike playful aspect that reminds me not to take 'it' seriously.  And yet other times she is a mature aspect that reminds me to be fearless. 
​ 
It may be the work of a lifetime to transform my intimate courthouse into a safe loving home.  I remind myself that I am kind...with others, so all I have to do is turn that quality on myself when an unresolved fear comes up.

All of us have a part to transform the courthouses of the world into restorative justice spaces.  All of us can start by transforming our intimate courthouses into compassionate homes.  

The space between unkindness and compassion is not void nor hyperactive.  Kindness and compassion may seem dormant at times, but they are within us.

Let us awaken... open our hearts and be compassionate.  No need to fight the critical or judgmental aspects.  No need to hide or flee from those less than kind aspects.  We are evolving beings.   As humans a willingness to notice and an intention to be loving can be enough moment by moment. 


How are you transforming the less than kind aspects and seeing the world around you...?

Are you clear about your intentions when you speak... share yourself?


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<![CDATA[Love junkie...?]]>Tue, 26 Sep 2017 19:30:00 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/love-junkie
Picture
by DL Duncan http://www.flickr.com/photos/talesoftaromeet/
It was agonizing, aching pain of wanting a relationship that had run its course.   I was fixated on why it hadn't worked and how it might still work.  I sobbed, wept, yet, it seemed the pain had no bottom.  I just wanted the excruciating pain to end.  I needed to convince myself that if letting go hurt so much, that it must be 'real love.'  I couldn't be logical or truly rational with such intense emotions and incessant thoughts.  

I never saw myself as obsessive or addictive...Perhaps, I had traits of codependence.  

But, labeling isn't useful, so I am doing my best to just describe my experience.  


It seemed I had symptoms of "withdrawal from love addiction:"

I was experiencing restlessness, sleeplessness, nausea, achy muscles, unable to focus, exhaustion, craving,..I felt desperate...


Love addiction is characterized by a string or fair share of short-lived yet intense romances.  

At best I was disappointed, but, mostly left bewildered and unconsolable when those romances suddenly ended.  I was consumed by missing the good times and unable to fully acknowledge all that led to the rupture.  The present didn't seem worth living. 

This post is about romance as a form of addiction and the beginning steps of recovery or healing.   See end of post for resource on anonymous help.  

I am writing looking back on 2013 as it is helpful to see what I have learned and what I can continue to work on. 

I was misguided by ideas of what love was and could do for me.  Believing something external to me is what I needed to be 'ok,' is not healthy. Anything we fixate on to stop internal pain, is not effective.  Eventually, the effects of our drug of choice ware off.  It can be utterly unbearable to go on without our fix.  

We can become junkies to romance, love, seduction, and sex. 

I wondered how I could be knocked off, seduced and swept by the current of love.  Only, I was not swept off my feet by love.  I was avoiding the pain of powerlessness or fear of not being loveable.  

When a relationship falls apart or ends, it is normal to experience all sorts of feelings.  However, when one has traits of codependence, unresolved wounds or trauma, the intensity of loss makes one feel out of control. 

What I learned is that I had to 'gather strength from giving in,' as the pain would only cease for a while if I got what I thought I needed.  To give in, meant for me to settle or go back to a relationship that had run its course. Giving in to ease the pain was a "temporary fix."    I was burying the pain deeper and postponing healing and growth. 

Picture
by Arturo Bust http://www.flickr.com/photos/-mouthwash/

I became saavy at distracting from my inner pain.  

Justifying and rationalizing only delayed getting to the fear below my anger and pain.  It was easier to feel angry than to experience the fullness of the shame or guilt.  It was an escape.  Only, we can never escape from ourselves. 

My ego convinced me over and over that if I worked on one more issue, I would be free.  Instead, I found myself in an endless escape loop.

I was entangled by my fear of not being good enough, of being left...


The healing started when I detached...and took responsibility for my pain.  

I detached from my emotions and thoughts to be aware of the entirety of the present moment.  In other words, I felt my feelings and emotions, but was not swept away by them.  

The first step, was to admit the reality of my state of mind and not give in to contacting my ex.  The second step, was to be consistent and gentle if I did reach out.  In time, I felt stronger for not giving- in.  I recognized the end of romance, merely triggered my unhealed wounds.  

I began to self-regulate the intensity of my emotions by diving into my heart.  

I began to confront that it was 'not about him,'  it was about unmet childhood needs that led to core beliefs about my lovability. 

I could see how in the string of short-lived romances, I had taken crumbs of attention and affection.  My longer lasting relationships still involved men who were unable to commit.  I have begun to understand my part in it.

I have come a ways from the excruciating and debilitating experience of despair when romance ends.  I am able to be present to my experience without needing to find the next escape and loop endlessly in despair or feel devastated by loss. 

Am I absolutely loveable?  Of course, yet, I suspect there is still subconsccious part of me that is out of congruence with the reality of my being.  

It is an ongoing love affair of honoring my power and beauty by dancing to the pace of my spirit and surrendering to the grace of this earthly dance floor. 

I am a 'disciple and advocate of Love," and hope to become a devotee of Love rather than a 'love junkie.' 


Are you willing to face your deepest fear to really love? 


How are you learning about love?  


How are you advocating for love in your life?


Resource: Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous check out SLAAFWS.ORG
http://slaafws.org/startagroup
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