Joy AE Dennis, writer, life transformation facilitator, spiritual alchemist, hypnotherapist, Reiki Master and Intuitive.
I recently read an article about false positivity and spiritual bypassing. It was a great read and I totally recommend it. You can read it HERE
Working with a client recently, we were talking about this and how in order to feel spiritual it can sometimes means trying to "muscle" our way into higher vibration or a more spiritual mindset. I see that this is where this "false positivity" comes into play, when we want to be happy/high vibe so badly that we become disconnected from the actual struggles, learning or challenges that must be faced in order to grow and become the full expressions of ourselves.
We are tempted to disown parts of ourselves that do not "glitter or shine", assuming that if we acknowledge our "dirt" that we will be disqualified from the "shiny happy people club".
I compare this kind of "spirituality-lite" to buying cut flowers, popping them in a vase and enjoying the quickly fading sense of happiness or spiritual connection, as if it were the real thing. The real thing is in the garden, the flowers need food, water, cultivation and sunshine. We have to pull weeds, deal with insects, carefully tend new growth and prune away what is no longer needed. They appear to wither, only to return more beautiful, living each moment in season. Deep roots mean stronger plants, some are heat tolerant, others tolerate the cold....I'm sure you're getting the full picture that this metaphor provides. Cut flowers are beautiful, they are the peak of all that is perfect, yet meant for display only. Their beauty fades, longevity is not part of the appeal.
One path to genuine spirituality and deep roots is the path of Trust and Surrender. Trust is a difficult road, it goes beyond how we feel about people or even how we feel about ourselves. It may be easy to trust someone who hasn't betrayed you, yet. It may be impossible to trust anyone because the seed of distrust has always been there since childhood. Humans are inconsistent, selfish, forgetful and difficult to rely on. We create an expectation of what things should be like in a "trusting" relationship and then are disappointed by the very humanness of the people involved.
When I talk about Trust and Surrender, I am talking about Allowing & Acceptance. The only way that I can trust others is by trusting in the Divine (insert preferred word: God, Love, The Universe etc). If I believe/trust that I am loved, cared for and held by a power greater than myself or this physical world, then what humans do is of no concern. If I believe/trust that everything is going according to a great plan that I am intrinsically a part of, then I can accept each and every step of the way as one that is for my best and highest good. This belief allows me to step into the sweetly flowing river of life and relax into the current, knowing that I will get where I am meant to go, and that the timing of everything will be perfect. This does not mean that I will not experience hardship, frustration, illness, pain or grief along the way. This does mean that those things when encountered, will be for my best highest good and that it is up to me to learn the lesson, develop deep roots and continue to surrender to the flow.
So what does this feel like in daily living?
Stay tuned for my next post on Overcoming Resistance & Releasing Control
I am excited to share this connection with my you all! My own spiritual evolution has drawn me into a deeper connection with spirit and myself as I have left religion behind. Some of my work with clients has been about untangling religious experiences and finding authentic faith and spirituality. I love doing this work as it leads to personal freedom and liberation as well as a new experience of self acceptance.
Interested in having support as you make this journey? Reach out, I am here for you.
Eva Live is a writer and poet who is passionate about helping those who have
become disillusioned by the aspects of religion that seek to dominate human
In her blog, Ecstatic Soul Calling, she shares ideas about how
to find a path to healthy spirituality that's based on finding your own
soul's calling and living in alignment with that. She loves exploring ever
deepening states of spiritual connection that can lead to a sense of deep
flow, a feeling of exquisite aliveness, and an inner alignment to the life
force that flows through all things.
You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.
Check out her blog with this link Esctaticsoulcalling.com
Hypnotherapy has long been used to overcome fears, phobias, addictions and negative habits. I see these as surface issues that are symptoms of a deeper longing or unfulfilled need. Getting to the heart of where these symptoms originate can bring deeper and more lasting results that equal Transformation. Reclaiming personal power is essential to owning your life and taking the driver's seat as you pursue your dreams and goals.
2. Create a clear path to manifesting your power.
Our subconscious mind is designed to protect us and keep us safe as we learn about how the world works and our place in it. At an early age, the mind takes in information through experiences, good and bad. It creates a safety structure around these early events or traumas. As an adult, some of those protective devices and coping skills, developed in childhood, can sidetrack you from your true potential. The subconscious is still trying to keep you safe using outdated methods. Through hypnosis this old story can be rewritten and a new story put into place. You get to choose what this story is and how it will support you in manifesting the life that you want.
3. Connect deeply with your inner guidance system.
There are many times in our lives when we just don’t know what to do. We hit a wall. We wonder, “what now?” Other times, we feel that we just cannot trust ourselves. We make decisions that we regret, causing us to doubt ourselves. How would your life be different if you could trust yourself to rely on your intuition? Hypnotherapy is powerful for creating clarity. The clarity that hypnosis offers can be used to surface inner knowledge and your innate deep wisdom.
You come into this world with your own deep wisdom. Unfortunately, for many of us this connection to ourselves is weakened or lost by the time we are adults. Accessing your inner guide will bring you back into relationship with your deepest, truest self. Hypnosis helps you to once again tap into this trustworthy source of guidance.
4. Use past life regression to get the most out of the present.
We often feel like we are repeating aspects of our lives. Do you seem to always be dating a certain kind of person? Do you feel like you’re making the same kinds of mistakes over and over? Or, do you feel bored with work or relationships? Sometimes, this sense of repeating oneself, or getting nowhere, can be linked to past life experiences.
Unfinished business from past lives tangles us in old story, keeping us from moving forward towards our purpose. Unlearned lessons can keep us stuck repeating the negative cycles of the past, in our current lives. Guided regression via hypnotherapy assists you to find clarity by bringing those old patterns or stories to light. Understanding your past choices can give you insight into your present life and circumstances. This deep understanding of self will: empower you to make new choices; release the burdens of the past; and allow you to live your present life with newfound freedom.
5. Overcome negative habits and reclaim personal power.
Through our lives we develop self-care and self-soothing methods that assist us with handling the stresses of daily life. Some of these behaviors are positive. Positive examples of self-care include: meditation, walking, reading, seeking connection, etc. Other coping behaviors like: smoking, nail biting, picking at ourselves, over eating, using drugs or alcohol are unskilled attempts at “self-care”. Unskilled coping methods are usually developed early in life. Emotional stress is managed one way or another, so our subconscious will help to fill in the gaps in our lives with behaviors that seem supportive at the time. However, as we become adults, these behaviors endanger our health and wellbeing. These coping methods no longer actually serve us; instead, we become servants of what have possibly become addictions. Hypnotherapy can help shift power back to you in helping overcome these negative habits and addictions. Shifting power back to you comes through identifying the original intent of the subconscious, then creating new, healthy habits to replace the old, destructive ones. You don’t need to be a slaves to an outdated survival story.
You can reclaim the power of choice in your life.
If you are ready to take the next steps in connecting with your personal power, reach out and contact me. I can't wait to get started!
As the seasons change and we head into this season of darkness, we are invited to retreat, pull our energy in and rest. We see that Nature is already doing this, the leaves have fallen, the sap moves into the roots of the trees and plants and the light fades. The movement and energy of that natural world slows down and goes within, underground. As a part of Nature, this is a season for you to also slow down, let go of extra activities, bring your energy home and cultivate your own growth.
As we embrace this time of year we allow ourselves, we give ourselves permission to seek out what is cheery, comfortable and nourishing. Each of us knows how to do this, how to bring our own light into this sweet cozy time. Allowing your body to rest, your heart to rest, your mind to settle into contemplation.
As we surrender to the seasons we are supported by their bounty, the root vegetables that grow in the darkness are ready to nourish our bodies, all foods that are warming and hearty prepare us for the season to come. Our bodies soften and become more comfortable, fire becomes a regular part of our lives, lighting the dark and warming our souls.
As we draw ourselves in we have the opportunity to create inner spaciousness through meditation and stillness. In the dark is the potential of all things. Our new growth is the potential of a seed in this quietness. Now is the time for you to cultivate that seed, keeping it warm, hidden and secret. In this space new things will be born, all new life emerges from the darkness. Embrace this season as a gift, allowing it to cultivate in you, stillness, patience and possibility.
Some of us thought about the kind of parents we would be once the time came, others of us never really considered planning ahead in this way. I am the latter. I knew that I wanted to have a bunch of kids, I knew that parenting was going to be part of my story. When it came down to it, as I held my first infant in my arms, I realized that I didn't know what the heck I was doing. I didn't even know how to change a diaper.
All these years later as I reflect on my journey as a parent one thing becomes crystal clear, I did a good job, I was and am a great parent. In those early years I chose my main goal, my legacy. This was to make relationship with my children my top priority. I wanted to know them for who they really were and would become, I wanted them to know and see me as a human being, not a collection of services. Choosing this has shaped my children and it has shaped me as a parent.
When I am working with clients I engage with a lot of people who were not parented in this way. Families have different priorities, however one common theme seems to be that parenting is equated with controlling, dominating and punishing. This type of parenting does not lead to healthy, empowered individuals. This creates adults that second guess themselves, doubt their value, struggle with perfectionism, have low self-esteem, make poor choices, eat to comfort themselves and experience depression/anxiety.
So, what does it look like to heal from poor/unskilled parenting? One of the first steps is to decide what kind of parent you want to be. You don't need to have kids, cats, dogs or any parenting experience. Deciding what kind of parent you want to be is about choosing a parenting style that resonates with you. Read some books, check out some blogs, do your research. Take what you glean and apply these newfound skills to yourself! You deserve to be loved unconditionally. You deserve to cut your own path, be your authentic self and make choices that bring you life and joy. It is never too late to take up the role of parent for yourself. Give yourself encouragement, comfort and guidance. Believe in yourself! Take good care of you, put on a sweater, make yourself go to bed when you are tired, eat healthy food, don't watch too much TV, go out with your friends, share, love and above all BE YOU. No strings, no vicarious dreams, no shadow of someone else's pain or story, just YOU. You have a purpose on this planet, one of your very own. Seek it out, embrace it and love it to life. Be a great parent!
It is easy to let our past, predict our future. If you believe that you are not smart enough, will you go back to school? If you believe that you are not worthy of good things, will you allow them into your life? If you have had negative relationships, will you pursue positive ones now?
Letting who you believed yourself to be yesterday, last week, last year or 20 years ago keep you from being who you are today is a common trap. It is easy to keep those old stories playing in our minds, allowing them to inform the present with old news. We can be attached to the past, and what we believe it "says" about us. We can also choose to release the old, not believe it anymore and take action as proof.
Each new day is a new you. Every moment we have the opportunity to be our best selves, and if we miss our chance, we have another and another and another. Knowing that you are given moment by moment "do-overs", how will you change your life? This constant grace is extended to all, we can also gift it to ourselves and to those around us.
This leads to the question; "Are you holding others in their past?" We allow the past of others to inform us of who they are today. When we do this we hold on to judgement and crush possibility. Allow yourself and others to be who they are today, acknowledging that we are all in constant evolution. Approach yourself and others with open curiosity, making space to discover the new story.
During my meditation today, I had a clear picture of the Earth and how it's gravity keeps us close and safe. My mind created an image of the Earth's core being a heart, and how it is this space that generates the heavy love that keeps us grounded. This image was profound, I know that it is not scientific in nature, but a clear example of how love holds us together.
The next phase of this meditation was an image of myself, with my own heart creating a gravity field, drawing others to me and holding them in safety and care. The stronger and deeper my love the stronger and deeper the pull. Loving this way gives others stability, grounding and the potential for growth. The Earth is not selfish, she does not make distinctions between living and non-living, good or bad. All are held in the same sweet grip of gravity, all being drawn towards the heart. This love is both passive and active. The passive aspect is your embodiment of love, how are you love in your life? Do you radiate acceptance, care, kindness and peace? The active aspect of love is, of course, action. How do you demonstrate love? Another thing to consider is the quality of your own core. The earth's core is still mostly speculation, however when we think of our core, our heart center, is it whole?
The quality of our love gravity field has to do with the quality of love we carry. This starts with you. Do you love yourself? When we begin the journey to our own core, it starts with forgiveness, acceptance and love. We cannot give away what we do not have. Can you give water from an empty well? When we desire to bring love into this world, it must come from a place where love overflows. Loving yourself is planting a seed that will bear fruit to be shared with others.
A good way of doing this is by identifying how you care for others now, and turing some of that attention on to yourself. Do you enjoy giving gifts, time and service to others? What would it look like for you to do that for yourself?
Improving the health and wholeness of your heart core will strengthen your gravity field and draw others into space that has the potential to change them.
As we live our lives we have the capacity to influence others in a big way. Your gravity of love could provide space for one person, on one day to feel that there is possibility and hope, just by experiencing love.
The love that we carry can be felt by those around us, just as anger, hate and judgement can also be felt. We can feel when someone is at odds with themselves, are unhappy and self-loathing. This is why in order to cultivate love in the world, we must always begin with ourselves.
In my work with others over the past few years there has been a constant theme that comes up. You will probably be surprised by what it is! Time and time again I am reminding clients to be gentle with themselves. So often our inner dialogue is a harsh, even violent one. The language we use externally is often violent also. How often do you use or hear the words, "hate" and "kill" in normal conversational contexts? I often hear, "My husband/wife would kill me if I said/did...." and "He/she would hate it if I...". These seem to be such common phrases that we don't think twice about what is really being said.
Our internal voices are much more vicious and critical. We call ourselves all kinds of names, all underlining the fact that we are not good enough, smart enough or worthy enough. Always that we are not enough. We carry guilt burdens that weigh down every aspect of our lives. Who said we must feel this way? Who piles on the shame and guilt? Whose voice is it that tells you these lies?
We must be gentle with ourselves, kind in the way we speak and in the way that we treat our bodies.
I encountered a woman at the gym the other day. We chatted about exercise, I was finishing up and she as just getting started. She was talking about how she never looked forward to it and was wishing she hadn't come that day. I said, " I almost didn't make it either! I had to go back home to get my shoes and then debated whether to come back." She said that she would not have come back and asked why I did. I explained that I did it for love. She asked, "For the love of who?" I said, " Of myself! I feel so much better when I work out, I do it for me." She went silent and turned away, I thought she was just going to ignore me after that. Instead she said, "I hate myself." I was so shocked to hear her admit so bluntly how she felt about herself. My immediate response was, "Well, that's not very nice! You should be nice to yourself!" She walked away.
Many punish their bodies through exercise, food restriction, overwork and with verbal insults. Our bodies are here to serve us, carry us through this life and assist us in enjoying the many pleasures that this physical life has to offer.
Be gentle. Be kind. Start with yourself, then you can offer these gifts to those around you.
As a mother of five, I have had the beautiful opportunity to daily be a student of Patience. In my own journey I have realized that when I lack patience with my external world it is a symptom of internal discord.
What am I trying to control? What expectations do I have that are not being met? There are so many reasons for us to believe that things around us should be different than they actually are. This always leads us to being impatient with the world "as we expect it to be" instead of embracing what is.
When we are triggered by circumstance, like when the driver in the car ahead of us is going too slow, we can approach it in a few different ways. Our gut response is usually to become instantly irritated and look around for ways to "escape" the situation. Another response is to accept what is happening and grumble about "idiots" , "other drivers" etc.
The way that I try to approach this very common scenario is by just observing what is happening and how it doesn't necessitate an emotional response. My life is not being changed by this circumstance, I am not allowing the external to affect my internal balance, because in the end I am in charge of my response.
By becoming an observer of ourselves we allow thoughts and emotions to flow freely though our minds. We can choose to get hung up on certain ideas and feelings, or we can let them go.
" The ancient principle of Patience can help us feel our emotions--but without having to pay a price that ends up hurting ourselves or others." - Donald Altman
One of the examples I use in my work is this:
If we can approach life with the fluidity of water, then the obstacles that we face are really just an illusion. The water does not care about the rocks in the river, or the debris that is constantly cluttering its path. It is water, its nature does not change no matter what it encounters. In this same way we can maintain our inner peace regardless of the obstacles we encounter on our own path.
Over the past few months I have been working with wisdom from the Buddhist tradition. I have been inspired and gently opened to new ways of thinking and being. I would love to share what I have been learning.
The first principle is the virtue of Generosity. Many traditions value giving, it is a foundational principle in living a blessed life.
The thing that was impressed upon me as I was studying is how important it is to first give to yourself, to be generous to your own soul before you attempt to extend that generosity to others. We cannot give from an empty well.
What does this kind of living look like?
Many in our culture see taking care of yourself first as selfishness, especially if you are a mom or caretaker of some kind. There is an expectation that you give and give to others and when everyone is satisfied it is then your "turn" to take care of yourself.
This most often leads to burn-out, bitterness and quite often playing the role of victim/martyr. None of which are healthy sustainable ways of being.
One way of being generous to your self is with gentle thinking. Give your self grace in your mind, listen to your thoughts.
Most of us have a voice inside that condemns and critiques nearly everything we do, as well as how we look or feel. If we were to talk to those we love with that same voice it would be horrifying! Why talk to your self that way?
You deserve the same love and respect that you try to extend to others.
And yet, how can we give to others what we do not give to ourselves? We must be kind and gentle in our own minds and hearts and then our generosity will flow from a place of being full.
You will be surprised at the ease you find in caring for those around you, when you take care of yourself first.
Joy AE Dennis-Struss, writer, life transformation facilitator, spiritual alchemist, hypnotherapist, Reiki practititioner and Intuitive.