The Ups and Downs of Working on a Positive Self-Image: Feel Good About Yourself Naturally (Series 3 of 3)

14 07 2011

Here is the last installment by guest blogger Jeffrey Douglass. You can read the first post here. This series helped me through some transformations. My wish is that it will help you as well. Namaste, Mrs. Scott

Article Summary: This article has three parts. Part One looks at the typical strategies used for working on a positive self-image and why suffering or always feeling like you are falling short is inevitable. Part Two discusses the source of feeling good that is already within you. Part Three outlines a simple and practical process for naturally drawing from your Soul to feel whole and complete. This is part 3.

Part Three: You are Whole

To return to your Soul to know who you are, let go of all the old, repetitive modes of thinking that have been used to protect and maintain your self-image. From the perspective of Soul consciousness, thinking is the dominion of ego asserting its value over Soul. To think is the desire of the ego to sustain an idea of a “me”. Thinking analyzes, breaks down, scrutinizes, takes things apart and puts them into smaller and smaller pieces. It has the cold feeling of concepts separated from life’s innate wholeness. The ego needs to think, there is an urgency to think. It is thinking vs. knowing with thinking posing as knowing. Thinking is the “false prophet”. The less one thinks, the more in touch one is with Soul and the more joyous and spectacular life becomes. When you let go of identifying with what you think you are or believe in, your identifications are replaced with Allness.  Divine wisdom has the space to unfold and arise from the depths of who you are. You move from wave to ocean, from a tree to forest, from content to context. You are One.

 Ask daily what your Soul is experiencing. Return to what was there before you had thoughts about yourself and who you are or anything about needing to work on yourself to become a better person. What have the thoughts covered over? What is there when you are not clinging to or believing in anything that leads to a self-image? What is beyond trying to do it right, being good enough and fitting in? Soul arrives by letting go of these mental/emotional structures without resorting to new definitions of who and what you are. You then are open to realizing you are an emanating presence. You are whole again.

 Soul informs you of the truth about your nature. A self-image can’t. The old negative stories that potentially run on for a lifetime are simply recognized for what they are in the light of your Soul’s consciousness. Stories that you are never doing enough, not smart enough, lacking something, not as good as and/or not pretty enough lose traction and interest as something more real and true is experienced from Soul. The stories become a reminder to return to experiencing your wholeness.

When you experience your truth, you are able to trust who you are and therefore, what you are doing in the moment and how you are going about things. Instead of pushing yourself as a protection against falling short in some way and being judged, you work in an effortless, flowing and unstressed way. If you have a self-image, it is impossible to experience complete trust in yourself because the origins of a self-image imply separation. Therefore, you can only trust yourself conditionally and in superficial matters. When you live from your Soul, trust arises as a natural consequence, is unconditional and across the board.

 When you ask what your Soul is experiencing in this moment, your body feels very different than when you are identifying with a self-image. It feels transparent, weightless, unbounded and pervaded with stillness in every cell. The body is alive and whole. The ego experiences the body as only flesh, bones and organs. It uses the body to locate where you are in relation to the world. You are solid and separate. The body is viewed as an object whose functions can be measured and assessed by doctors when you are sick. It is seen as a mechanical, material system.

From Soul, you experience the body as being formed in each moment. Arising from the energies of the universe, a weaving into matter occurs. The body is both non-material and material. You feel a bodily joy. Everything in your body is in perfect health. The wholeness and integrity of your body is felt in unification with the invisible realms of the universe. The sense of body extends into what feels like the arms of a loving mother or presence that gently holds you. This is the life of the body.  The origins of which are in the invisible presence of the Soul realm. The body is relationship, not an object. It feels everything in its surroundings both immediate and at any distance, visible and non-visible. The body touches and is touched by the world but it doesn’t have to be in physical contact to experience touch. Let go of the idea that the body is an object. Pay attention to both your body and your Soul and notice it’s intrinsic wholeness.

When you ask what your Soul is experiencing in this moment versus operating from a self-image, it is self-evident that spiritual presences are not separate from you but are individuated aspects of the same divinity as your Soul. From the ego’s standpoint, angels, beings of light and other spiritual presences are from elsewhere. Usually, they are rendered to the “above”, a spiritual realm such as heaven or some far off place. There is a gap between ordinary life and the world of spiritual beings. They are seen as more evolved and this accounts for the gap. They need to be channeled, solicited and they occasionally visit you, particularly in times of great need.

Instead of loving entities appearing removed, you realize you are woven together when experiencing Soul. You are not separate and alone. It is impossible to be separate from Christ or any other spiritual presence. They are within you as well as around you. There is no place they are not. Only the ego thinks that they are elsewhere because the ego was formed in reaction to the loss of Soul consciousness. As you experience Soul, there is always a companion presence that allows you to see and act with love. Instead of feeling like a spectator watching what is around you, you experience an intimate sense of being in and of what is around you. You are whole.

When you ask what your Soul is experiencing you realize that your mother is the Universe- she gave birth to you and all that is. “All that is” has the same mother as you. The stars, the wind, the flowers, the birds all have the same mother. When you let go of a self-image, you are not separate from the earth. You are whole.

Exercise:

Your self-image is a label. It defines you in relation to others and has a story that is attached. Common images are about belonging. For example,  “I don’t belong here” or “I belong here and others don’t”. Other images are conclusions about the life that you live, such as,  “A man will always eventually leave me” or “No man will ever leave me”. Or the image could be an enduring judgment.  For example,  “I am always doing something wrong” or “I am always on top of it”. Finally, they could take the form of comparisons that have finality to them such as, “I lack what others have” or “I have what it takes.” The next time you are living by negative or positive stories, realize you are living by a self-image. Remind yourself that to be attached to a self-image, as your identity is to suffer for it does not lead you to your true nature. Do your best to not be tempted into “fixing” it, “getting rid” or keeping it as your first reaction. You cannot change a self-image or keep it the same but you can return to Source or Soul. This often means resisting first responses such as talking to the other person about why they didn’t invite you, riding yourself for not doing something, working harder to be better the next time or blaming someone else to preserve your status. If something needs to be done or communicated, you will know. Your first response is to remember that your suffering is an encouragement to move beyond the prison of a self-image to something greater and more true. The suffering is just letting you know you are still attached to what isn’t most real, namely a self-image and that there is really no way to change it or keep it into everlasting happiness. Begin by re-directing your energy and focus on connecting with an innate wholeness that has no need for a self-image. It is the return home. Ask what your Soul is experiencing. As you sit with this question, notice what arises from within and merge with whatever draws you out of your self-image and into your heart. It could be the sunlight, the sound of the wind, the rhythm and sensation of your breath moving in and out.

There will probably be a resistance to letting go of the pain and anxiousness you are feeling from your injured self-image. You may feel its pull to be quite strong at times. Just keep refocusing on what your Soul is experiencing. Sometimes, it may be helpful to connect with a friend to feel their love for you and their reassurance. Receive this as a way of helping you open to wholeness. You are the love that you seek and need. You are already “perfect” the origins of which means “whole”. Connect with all that is until there is a sense of you being everywhere and in everything that is. What is it like to experience yourself this way? What happens to the self-image and suffering? Which feels more real?


Jeffrey Douglass, MSW, CSW, author of Living From Your Soul, has been a licensed psychotherapist integrating psychology and spirituality for 33 years. Jeffery offers individual and couples counseling (also available by phone), as well as retreats, workplace coaching, and telecourses. To purchase the book, or for further information, please visit the website: www.livingfromyoursoul.com, email  jeffrey@ livingfromyoursoul.com or call 208-667-8387.

Read Part 1 of the series here.

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The Ups and Downs of Working on a Positive Self-Image: Feel Good About Yourself Naturally (Series 2 of 3)

14 07 2011

Here is the long-awaited sequel to the original articles by guest blogger Jeffrey. This series helped me through some transformations. My wish is that it will help you as well. Namaste, Mrs. Scott

Article Summary: This article has three parts. Part One looks at the typical strategies used for working on a positive self-image and why suffering or always feeling like you are falling short is inevitable. Part Two discusses the source of feeling good that is already within you. Part Three outlines a simple and practical process for naturally drawing from your Soul to feel whole and complete. This is part 2.

Part Two: Leaving the Ego to Become Whole

Instead of trying to maintain positive thoughts, using behavior modification or any other treatment designed to “fix” or “get rid” of a self-image problem, simply allow “growing” to occur.

Change from “growing” arises from the soil of the Soul. Soul is the experience of yourself as something more profound than a mental/emotional identity built from historical impressions. Psychological focus is on repairing and forming a healthy ego or self-image. Soul experiences reveal the limitations of this approach. Psychology does not recognize the role of ego as a temporary stage that leads to something greater. The need for an ego is only a stepping-stone in the unfolding maturation of what it means to be human. To suffer from a sense of inadequacy, then to feel more adequate through psychological treatment and/or other manipulations leaves us incomplete. True adequacy comes from experiencing yourself as Soul in which degrees of adequacy are irrelevant to the completeness and fullness that arises from simply being. By experiencing your Soul, you begin to separate from the illusion of yourself as a self-image or ego belief.

Consider the wisdom of the Parable of the mustard seed and the yeast [Matthew 13:31, 33]:

The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in the field. The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

This Parable teaches there is a way of feeling good about yourself that once begun or given intent, works on it’s own- like a seed and without human effort like yeast works to leaven bread. There is something within you that spreads its life force outwards. It is change from the inside out. Your previous efforts at change have most likely been approached from the outside inward to improve your sense of self.

Instead, think of yourself as a gardener of your Soul. Mother Mary is one example. As with her, there is a seed within you that is growing and inevitably shows itself. She surrenders her ego to something larger even though she does not understand how it came to be. It happens on its own or through Grace. You are only to cultivate It’s growth. How? Primarily by making room, making space for It to grow into your consciousness. Asking, “What is my Soul experiencing?” throughout the day is one way. At the same time, add to the soil of your being trust and faith: trust in your self and faith that the deepest part of you knows the way. Trust in the life force within you to take you where you need to go and have faith that it will come once freed from the ego’s need to control.

Feeing good is no longer obtained from a narcissistic ego wanting to attain an ideal self-image but from the Soul. It occurs not as a result of gain, needs met or manipulation of externals to satisfy yourself. It does not require effort. It is simply a way of being. Transformation is a self-actualizing response to Soul consciousness. The unfoldment is not under personal control. As with a seed in nature, things occur on their own, feed from life itself. As this occurs, new realizations and new learning automatically arise within you that reinforce the process.

Individual Soul consciousness arises from a ground swell deep within a life-creating ocean of inner life. Instead of identifying with a wave or self-image that is apart from the whole, you experience yourself as the ocean. This is a self not centered in a separate “I”. It simply feels unnatural and therefore suffering results. This is a self that arises from a deep current of silent life force and moves to the surface where the world of form is then created.

It can be no other way and suffering is here to remind us of this truth:

“So long as you regard yourself as a part only, a small finite something… so long as you are limited: you are impaired, you are cut, you are divided, you are not whole, not healthy, not strong. If you separate a small particle of water from the sea, it will become putrid, it will become stagnant. The very moment that you dispel your finite consciousness and feel that you are all, then you become whole.” Swami Rama Tirtha


Jeffrey Douglass, MSW, CSW, author of Living From Your Soul, has been a licensed psychotherapist integrating psychology and spirituality for 33 years. Jeffery offers individual and couples counseling (also available by phone), as well as retreats, workplace coaching, and telecourses. To purchase the book, or for further information, please visit the website: www.livingfromyoursoul.com, email  jeffrey@ livingfromyoursoul.com or call 208-667-8387.

Read Part 1 of the series here.





The Ups and Downs of Working on a Positive Self-Image: Feel Good About Yourself Naturally (Series 1 of 3)

24 06 2010

Please welcome Jeffrey Douglas as a guest blogger. This series helped me through some recent transformations.

Article Summary: This article has three parts. Part One looks at the typical strategies used for working on a positive self-image and why suffering or always feeling like you are falling short is inevitable. Part Two discusses the source of feeling good that is already within you. Part Three outlines a simple and practical process for naturally drawing from your Soul to feel whole and complete. This is part 1.

 

Part One: Paradise Lost and Why Suffering is Inevitable

 

Feeling good about who you are is essential to a healthy and productive life. When you have a positive self-image, you are happier, and tend to be more creative. You feel more alive and connected to others. It can make all the difference in the world! Yet, by now you have experienced just how fragile your self-image can be if circumstances change in ways that do not support your desired sense of self. In spite of all your efforts over the years, stressful circumstances can trigger negative self-talk and judgments that leave you with little or no self-respect just when you need it the most.

It is easy and all too common to endlessly obsess over why a friend didn’t include you as part of a dinner gathering or spin around in a vortex of self-criticism when a team member at work didn’t like your project or feel profoundly inadequate because you did not follow through on an important goal you set for yourself. On the wrong day, even the slightest look or comment can be hurtful and leave you down on yourself.

Furthermore, the negative self-talk often has a desperate, urgent and compulsive quality. You “have to” know the reasons now why someone passed you over at work for a project, you “can’t rest” until you know why a friend didn’t return your call, or you “won’t let it go” until you figure out why your meeting didn’t work out the way you planned. You are anxious and tense until the answers are found and there is usually a heaviness to the whole matter that easily can slip into depression, irritability, frustration and obsession.

It is time to acknowledge and recognize a fact that becomes self-evident once brought into awareness: anyone who has a self-image by which they define who they are suffers. The enormous amounts of time and energy spent on self-improvement books, retreats, counseling and physical appearance attests to the extent of this type of suffering. The majority of marketing and advertising plays upon different aspects of this fact. The underlying message is that you will feel better about yourself if you buy this product or service. Given that a self-image is an endless project, you will tend to always be looking for the next break through and/or buying another product in hopes of some relief.

Why is suffering inevitable when you have self-image? Based on your past experience, it is probably clear that you cannot fundamentally change or create a new self-image for yourself, only grow out of it.  But it is not because you haven’t tried hard enough or because there is something wrong with you. It has to do with the nature of a “self-image”.

First of all, a “self-image” needs to stabilize over time to become an enduring identity. Repeating patterns of behavior and thought while “working” on yourself to change what you don’t like does this. It provides a sense of who you are and a purpose so you can go about the world with an orientation in mind. Who would you be and what would you be doing if you didn’t have a self-image that needs continual maintaining and improving so that you can finally be your ideal image? You are working at cross-purposes without knowing it. This is because the deeper, unconscious need is to keep the unfinished self-image you have. When separated from your essence or Soul consciousness, your self-image is what you identify with and how you know yourself. Inevitably this ends up being frustrating which tends to result in more self-criticism and judgment.

Secondly, at the core of any self-image is a deep sense of inadequacy driven by a persistent fear. There is really no answer to this, only distraction from your disease: busyness, incessant thoughts, seeking, finding, acquiring, struggling, scarcity thinking, guilt and other symptoms of not being at peace with yourself. It’s because a “self-image” was formed in reaction to inadequacy. The origins of “inadequacy” go back to childhood. Most basically, it has to do with the eroding away of Soul consciousness that inevitably occurs in a world where others have not yet remembered their Soul. A perceived loss of Oneness is felt followed by a core sense of inadequacy in reaction to feeling like you were abandoned. A self-image is created to protect against the further threat of abandonment stemming from the most significant separation that has already and ever will occur. The origin of all fear is the deeply held and largely unconscious pain of apparent abandonment from the source of all love. The repressed pain of a felt separation from Divine Love has never been resolved or in most cases, even raised as an issue. You have simply gone about living and engaging in your spiritual pursuits without ever having dealt with what it  was like to lose the knowing of Oneness and your essential nature soon after you were born. Yet it is the greatest grief and source of all suffering that you have ever known. It was the “loss of Paradise”. Nobody talks about this. Instead, the reaction to core separation was to get busy with creating a solid self-image that will protect you. It didn’t work. Now there is an overlay of frustration on top of unhealed suffering.

Having and maintaining a positive self-image is not your true answer to feeling abandoned and unworthy of acceptance and love. The sooner this is recognized, the better the chance for real change. A self-image is just that, an image. It is not real nor is it your essence. There is no ground that it can rest on.

Failing at changing your self-image is meant to lead you out of your ego’s separation and back to your Soul’s wholeness. Real change is now possible. Given the failure, you are more willing to let go of your “game plan” and your control of your self-image. The ego part of you will still want to “make yourself” but now there is more space to return to Divine Source to know yourself and to face down the fear of being “made” by something beyond your mind’s idea. It is the path to wholeness that is a return to what is more real than a self-image. This requires letting go of the project called “me” to experience the you that is Oneness. Even working on stopping the “negative self-talk” by learning to love yourself can be an obstruction if the goal is only to have a better self-image.

When blended with the life force of Soul, you can’t dictate a course of change. You are moved in sometimes very unexpected but effortless ways. If you can allow this, you will notice something at hand that is greater than your self-improvement project. Simultaneously, you start to lose interest in your self-image. A “self-image” starts to be seen and appreciated as only a transitional stage in the maturation of consciousness. Like teddy bears or dolls that you were once so attached to for comfort, as you got older, you became more interested in what was more real and truly safe. This took place in a natural  “growing out of” versusthinking” it or “working” it through.

Jeffrey Douglass, MSW, CSW, author of Living From Your Soul, has been a licensed psychotherapist integrating psychology and spirituality for 33 years. Jeffery offers individual and couples counseling (also available by phone), as well as retreats, workplace coaching, and telecourses. To purchase the book, or for further information, please visit the website: www.livingfromyoursoul.com, email  jeffrey@ livingfromyoursoul.com or call 208-667-8387.

Read Part 2 here.





Using Hardships to Get What You Want

17 04 2010

When we encounter hardships in our lives, it is easy to get discouraged. We ask questions like, “why me?” And make statements like, ” I never get what I want.” Instead, try asking, “how can I use this circumstance to propel me forward?” Make statements like, “Everything that happens is exactly how it should be at this moment. I will use this experience to get what I want.”

In fact, stress and charged emotion can accomplish miraculous tasks and overcome the worst of fears. We are living in an amazing time of both hardship and renewal of both loss and faith. I challenge you to rise to the occasion. Use the loss of a job as a springboard into the career you always wanted. Use the loss of a house as a fresh start where new opportunities exist. Use the loss of a loved one as a reminder to live each day to the fullest, because you never know which day will be your last.

I know that times are tough for many of us right now. It is only a reminder that we are all one. We are all living in the same world, using the same resources, created by the same God. Our struggles unite us. We are not alone in this world, we are all one. Namaste.

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand – and melting like a snow flake” – M.B. Ray





Translate Your Blog (or Website) Into Music

25 02 2010

Codex is a cool new tool that allows a person to “play” a URL. An algorithm uses the body of the website to define a key style, synth style, and drum beat. I tried it out for my blog and really like it. Not surprisingly, my drum beat and key style are upbeat. The synth style is an organ (which I love). Take me to church baby. The music helps me reaffirm that I am staying true to the mission of this blog, to uplift, to nourish, and to DO WHAT YOU LOVE. Just too fun not to share. Click on the link to get started. I hope everyone is having a great day!

Namaste.

If this website played music, what would it sound like?





Rekindle your Relationships, Not Just the Yuletide Fire

13 12 2009

I tried not to blog about it, I really did. But it has been everywhere lately and it can no longer be avoided. What am I talking about? First there was Tiger, then Bradgelina all over the super market isles, and now a scandal among friends. I ask myself, what do all these people have in common, besides a failing relationship and a cheating spouse?

Tiger and Bradgelina both have small children. And let’s face it, small children take up a large part of anyone’s time and energy. Who has energy left for your once significant other? But my friend did not have kids. She is; however, dealing with the death of a loved one. In all these instances, energies have been diverted other places. A plant can not grow and will soon whither and die without light, water, and warmth. In the same way, a relationship will fade when not given attention and love.

If you feel like life, in all it’s joys and sorrows, is pulling you away from anyone you love-take actions to ensure your relationship is nurtured. It might not even be a spouse, it could be a close friend, or a family member. Especially in the holiday season, our minds are lost in our To Do list. Here’s My New To Do List:

1.) Hold his hand and kiss him in public

2.) Give him a massage after a hard day

3.) Treat each date, like it was the first

4.) Show interest in what interests him

5.) Take care of and show LOVE for myself

What is on your To Do List today? Namaste.





Update to Project Do What You Love: Busy Busy Busy

9 11 2009

I feel like I have never been busier. My toddler and Project Do What You Love are keeping me on my toes. Things can get stressful but at least my work is gratifying. I am raising my own child and making strides toward my goals. Here are some updates on what I have been doing lately.

True U Voice- Where your vision and values become your voice: I have settled on a name for my business, am working up a website, and have a vendor show to attend tomorrow. At first, I will be working out of my home, helping small businesses market through social media, blogs, websites, and networking.

Since May, I have been the Editor for the Paradise Community Association. I publish a monthly newsletter and keep the blog and Facebook group up to date. In addition, I manage the Facebook and Twitter account for the Daily Grind of Upper Chesapeake.  Most recently, I have been consulting a holistic practitioner  in the art of marketing oneself via social media. I am thankful for all these opportunities to sharpen my skills, and figure out where my talents and passions align.

Heed.com– contributing writer: This blog started with the dream of writing again. I have written 3 articles

Daily Grind : Unwind

Daily Grind : Unwind

to date. I am honored to be apart of an organization dedicated to expressing the multi-ethnic perspective of a current generation, with a spiritual and clean-edge message. Check out some of my articles here.

Finally, I want to thank everyone for their continued support. You can count on me to be honest and down to earth. If you have not yet, check me out on Facebook and Twitter. Much Joy and Love to You! Namaste.








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