The Five Blind Men and the Elephant

blindmen & elephant

Have you heard the Asian tale of the five blind men and the elephant? Five blind men come upon an elephant. They have never heard of an elephant. The first man feels a leg of the elephant. He says, “Ah, I know what this is! An elephant is a pillar!” The second man grabs the tail. “Ah,” he concludes, “an elephant is a rope.” The third man touches the trunk and decides an elephant is a snake. The fourth one happens to touch the ear and decides an elephant must be a hand fan. And the fifth one upon touching the tusk is convinced an elephant is a spear.

All five of them have only perceived part of the truth. All five of them have also interpreted their perception based on their old subjective experiences and beliefs about the world. They are only able to interpret what their functioning sense of touch picks up based on the individual “bucket” of beliefs and experiences they come from.

One of the hardest things for us humans seems to be not to jump to conclusions, to remember that our perception is limited and that facts only become a story based on our interpretations. In her book, “My Stroke of Insight”, Jill Bolte-Taylor describes well how our left brain, which she calls our “story teller”, perceives certain facts and how it fills in the gaps between these facts with an interpretation or meaning. We create our story based on those facts. When we come across more facts, we need to revise our interpretation, as the original story otherwise doesn’t match all the facts.

blindmen & elephant leg QUOTE

James N Miller is certainly not alone. Even though I am aware of how our brain functions, it still happens to me that I jump to conclusions. The other day, I sent an email to somebody asking the person for a favour and I did not hear back. I assumed she was reluctant to meet my request. A couple of weeks later, I found out I had sent the email to one of her e-mail addresses which she doesn’t use much. Instead of jumping to a conclusion based on a fear that my request would not be met, I should have followed up again by phone.

blindmen & elephant trunk QUOTEWhen we have children and they come home from school with a story about their day, we sometimes as parents tend to jump to conclusions because we only hear their side of the story. We are convinced the teacher or another child has not treated our child well. As a mother, I had to remind myself several times over the past twenty plus years of the “in dubio pro reo” principle. If there is any doubt or possibility that I have not gathered all the Intel, I should not judge, yet.

Thankfully, I was a teacher for many years and have seen parents show up in school with only part of the story, or with a misinterpretation based either on limited facts or on their own expectations or beliefs about school, or both. Yet, my first response as a mother still was to feel protective of my daughter and want to call up the school to defend her. The reminder that I need to gather more facts before I jump to the conclusion that somebody has treated my child unfairly saved me from making a fool of myself a few times.

Teachers also appreciate when they are approached calmly by a concerned parent. As parents, we can be strong advocates for our children without getting angry and accusing anybody. Having been on both ends of the table, I know that non-violent communication works best and teaches our children that we can talk about any problems.

My mother was passionate and expressive. Even though she wasn’t Italian, she could easily have passed as the proverbial Italian. Happiness was loud, she had the greatest laugh, and so was anger. She was often jumping to conclusions and getting angry at my teachers. Part of me understood she wanted to protect me, another part was really embarrassed by her response. It wasn’t productive. The older I became, I told my mother less and less about school, because I was afraid she would create problems where there were none. Whenever I feel the impulse to defend my children, I remind myself what it was like to have a mother who acts impulsively.

With all our interactions, let’s remember that everybody perceives a situation through their own filters. There is no absolute truth. We are only capable of perceiving an aspect of the truth based on the facts we have access to, our beliefs and our previous experiences. Next time we feel ready to judge a person or situation, let’s keep in mind that we might not have the whole picture, just like the five blind men with the elephant.

blindmen & elephant tusk QUOTE

Angelika

Belief Change Coaching

Hypnosis & PSYCH-K®

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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“You are mad-sad”

 movie Home 1

Have you ever been mad-sad? Then you are a typical human being as the alien character “Oh” discovers when he makes friends with the human girl, Tip, in the animated movie “Home”.

What is mad-sad? Mad-sad is when you get angry but deep underneath you are sad. Tip is sad that her mother was relocated and separated from her by the aliens when they invaded the planet earth. She is ready to fight the world. Her angry part has stepped forward to protect her vulnerability. When Oh discovers what is underneath her anger, he says with surprise, “You are mad-sad”. What appears to be anger is really sadness and grief for her loss.

 movie Home 2

Sometimes we are mad-sad, other times we are mad-scared. A parent might be mad-scared because their child is failing in school and they are worried about their future, or because their teenager has made a decision which has put them in danger. We might get mad scared when we are in the passenger’s seat of a vehicle and the driver has a different driving style which makes us feel unsafe. How much more successful would our communication be if we could express our fear rather than our anger? Yet, anger is an automatic response triggered by fear. It takes practice to communicate differently.

When we feel overwhelmed, we also sometimes snap faster and respond with anger. Have you ever felt really bogged down by everything you had to do and as you were busy focussing on getting some work done, another person needed something and you replied with impatience or even anger? That could be called mad-stressed.

In all these cases of mad-sad, mad-scared or mad-stressed, the anger serves the purpose to protect the vulnerable part of us deep inside. Anger is a driving force. In Tip’s case, it drives her to search for her mom. Anger also feels better than helplessness and is an intuitive response when we feel unsafe or afraid for somebody else.

 Movie Home Gorg

The evil character of the movie from another alien race, called the Gorg, turns out to be mad-sad, mad-scared and most likely also mad-stressed. Without being aware, Oh’s alien race has stolen his babies, the entire next generation, which means extinction for the Gorg. When Oh is brave enough to face the Gorg, he realizes that this intimidating monster is really deeply vulnerable and just trying to save and protect himself and his family.

Have you heard of people who get “hangry”? When they are hungry they become grouchy or angry. To stay with our pattern, that would be called mad-hungry. There also is mad-tired. Have you ever been so tired and found that your protective defences were coming up when others are interacting with you in this state. My daughter, who works mainly overnight shifts, is not a happy camper when approached in a tired state. She gets mad-tired. Everybody in our family knows she has just reached her limit and her irritation is a feedback for us.

Next time you or somebody else shows up as angry, remember that there is usually some other emotion underneath the anger. That deeper emotion or need has to be addressed. Just as we know we need to feed ourselves when we are hangry, we also need to feed the other emotions or needs.

When we feel angry the question usually is, what exactly is underneath the anger? It might be Sadness? Loneliness? Fear or insecurity? Frustration? Overwhelm?

  • Sadness gives us the feedback that we perceive the loss of a person, an experience or a feeling. What needs to be done to make up for that loss, to replace the experience we have lost?
  • Loneliness gives us the message that we have a healthy longing for companionship and love. How can we enjoy our own company more, love ourselves more and also draw in other people as companions?
  • Fear or insecurity means that our subconscious is convinced something is not safe, and/or that we are not good enough in some way. What beliefs can be changed to alter how we see ourselves and the world?
  • Frustration gives us the feedback that something that we have been doing is not working. What do we need to do differently, so that the frustration does not tip over into depression?
  • Overwhelm is a signal to do a reality check, to limit, to organize, to prioritize, to say “no” and to delegate.

Anger also sometimes gives us the feedback that we perceive something as unfair. The first question is: Is or was it really unfair? If not, change your perspective. If the answer is yes, find a way to make fair if the event is in the present, or let go and forgive if you are angry at something which lies in the past.

movie Home 4

All feelings are good! Our emotions are our guidance system. All feelings and emotions give us feedback on what is going on. They are a call to action. Anger is good. It is like an indicator light that something needs to be looked at, but it also serves as a driving force to make changes.

Angelika

Belief Change Coaching, Forgiveness Work, Shadow Work

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 Wearing Angela's T-shirt

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Unity Consciousness

If you leave a print of your five fingers on a glass or a mirror, you see five separate dots. On the level of the glass, your fingers appear to be completely unattached to each other. However, on the higher level of our three-dimensional perception, we can see that all five fingers are connected to the same hand

Hand on Glass 1

That we are all separate and alone and that we have to fend for ourselves is a huge illusion. Just in the same way those five dots were made by one hand, we are all connected and part of the same living system. We breathe, live and thrive as one. If we hurt part of the system, we are hurting ourselves.

“Feelings of separation that result from the feared inability to love or to be loved frequently bring illness into our lives. Illness is often a cry for help, a call for love and a deeper sense of connectedness in one’s life.” (Leonard Laskow)

The mentality of “me/us versus them” is the root of fear, anger, violence and disease. The feeling of separation, of being alone, unsupported and unloved breeds Illness. It has been scientifically proven that frustration, anger and fear weaken our immune system. If you are angry at somebody, you are energetically hooked to that person, giving your power away and allowing your emotional, mental and physical wellness to be compromised. You might as well be drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

“When the illusion of separation dissolves at a spiritual level, love allows us a state of oneness that harmonizes even the seemingly dissonant patterns of illness and injury.” (Leonard Laskow)

If we do our own physical, mental and emotional work, including forgiving and letting the past go, we can heal anything. An important part of that healing is to develop our loveability, our ability to love ourselves and others. When we exchange the “I” in I-llness with a “We”, the result is We-llness; wellness for all. Love is the impulse towards unity. Through Love and connectedness, we can heal and become whole again. We can experience our oneness, our universal relatedness.

That Healing Love is not a romantic love; it is far beyond that experience. It is an unconditional, all-accepting love for everybody. It is a love free of judgments, without expectations or conditions. It is a love which does not need to be earned or learned, it just needs to be stepped into, expressed and received. When we tap into true heart-centredness, into loving ourselves and others, we establish a link between us and everybody else. Fear completely dissipates.

BWWE

I am extremely grateful to have wonderful friends and amazing fellow practitioners whose goal it is to raise the awareness for our oneness and to foster the unity consciousness. Matt Scherb of Possibility Omega s one of them. He has initiated a huge project to make the Golden Horseshoe one of the healthiest communities on earth.

Two other amazing friends are Lisbeth and Ed Fregonese who organize a fabulous Expo for heart-centred practitioners and vendors in the Burlington/Hamilton area every spring and fall.

BWWE March 2014 Morning Event

Our next Expo is on May 31 and features Hay House author Dr. Steven Farmer as our key note speaker. Dr. Farmer also offers workshops in the week following the Expo. For more information on the additional workshops go to Stephen Farmer’s website http://www.earthmagic.net or contact his Ontario sponsor Beth McBlain 416-580-7434, beth.mcblain@gmail.com

Stephen Farmer 2

If you are free on May 31, come out to the Holiday Inn in Burlington to join the morning speakers (limited seating, you need to register) and to meet approximately 110 practitioners and vendors who are sampling their services or products for free until 6:00 p.m. that day. Nobody else offers such an opportunity for this price. The tickets are only $25 in advance ($30 plus HST at the door) and you can buy them from me or any other practitioner who takes part in this event.

BWWE March 2014 Table

I have some paper tickets available. Contact me by phone or e-mail to purchase a ticket or click here to follow the steps on my website to purchase tickets online.

Angelika Baum

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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Childhood Messages

Most childhoods are full of mixed messages about love. Most parents and care-givers did not and still do not know how to truly love themselves unconditionally. How can they teach the next generation about unconditional love? Instead we learn “I am loved if/when…”

It is an elemental need for everybody to be loved. Therefore, it becomes our task as children to “crack the code” to this love which is conditional, to figure out who we need to be for others to like and love us. The rules of conditional love vary from person to person. Maybe our mother loves us when we are helpful, our grandmother give us attention when we smile a lot, our father loves us when we excel in school, our friends like us best when we agree with them and our teacher rewards us for neatness. So we become little actors, take on different roles. Those roles are not a conscious choice. We step into them to have our most basic need to be loved met.

Different authors, like John Gray and Carolyn Myss, have come up with different groups of childhood roles. None of these lists are complete, they are examples of how we respond to conditional love. Instead of being our authentic selves, we create a persona which we hope will be accepted and result in attention and love. Sometimes we feel we cannot get positive attention. In those cases—as every teacher knows—negative attention is better than none.

Robert Holden describes the following seven roles in his book “Loveability”: The good child, the helper, the star, the happy child, the melancholy child, the independent child, the rebel, the genius, and the peaceful child.


THE GOOD CHILD

childhood messages - good child

He or she believes “I am lovable when I am good”. This child behaves like a good little adult, neat and tidy, is never a bother. As an adult, this person shows up as the “good friend/partner/parent/employee”. Having a free choice to be “good” is one thing. Feeling you need outside approval and you always have to behave in a way which is deemed as “good” by others is extremely limiting.


THE HELPING CHILD

childhood messages - helping child (angel)

The helping child believes they will be loved when they are a little nurse, angel or therapist. This child might grow up to be an adult who always feels the need to help others but never be helped. He or she might have a hard time receiving and might end up with partners and friends who constantly need to be rescued or helped.


THE STAR CHILD

childhood messages - star child

Life for the star child is all about winning the “Oscar” for being outstanding, for being the best. Excellence is a virtue to strive for but the star child feels he or she is only lovable when they are the best version of themselves in any given moment and not for being the authentic self. As adults, star children feel they have to be the model partner, best parent, or most outstanding in their career.


THE HAPPY CHILD

childhood messages - happy child

The happy child is convinced they are more lovable when they are happy. He or she is always cheerful and positive, always “A-OK”, never angry, never sad, never worried. As an adult, the happy child is still worried that her emotions—other than happiness—will drive others away.


THE MELANCHOLY CHILD

childhood messages - melancholy child

This child is exactly the opposite of the happy child. He or she believes they are loved more when they are unhappy. Melancholy, crying, and withdrawing gets him or her the attention we all need. As an adult, the melancholic person is still afraid to be happy, fearing they won’t get any attention.


THE INDEPENDENT CHILD

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The independent child puts on an act of strength and bravery. He or she believes “If I am independent, I don’t need anybody else and cannot be hurt or disappointed”. Being fiercely independent as an adult prevents us from true intimacy and closeness. Only if we open up to the fact that we all depend on others, can we experience letting ourselves be loved and cared for.


THE REBEL CHILD

childhood messages - rebel child

The rebel or difficult child believes they are unlovable anyways and cannot win. They are a typical example that negative attention still feels better than no attention. At least we don’t feel invisible. That attitude causes life-long problems in all areas. In relationships, the rebel attracts drama, fights, tragedy as that is how they see themselves.

The rebel might in some cases become the black sheep of the family who carries everybody’s shadow.


THE GENIUS CHILD

childhood messages - genius child

Being competent and brilliant at something is the genius child’s way to love and attention. Similar to the star child, only the highest achievement, often of academic nature, will do. The genius believes they are loved for their brilliance not for who they truly are.


THE PEACEFUL CHILD

Peaceful place

This child does whatever he or she can to keep the peace and to not rock the boat. Striving for harmony and oneness in relationships is great but the peaceful child will grow up to be an adult who leaves their own needs completely out of the equation just to preserve a resemblance of union.


Have you recognized yourself in one or more of these roles?

What about your own children?

As we are learning to love ourselves more and more and to love our children truly unconditional, we all need to be less and less of an actor and can become more whole, more authentic, more true to our essential nature.

Relationship Coaching and Conscious Parenting

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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Conscious Parenting – Finding Authentic Compromises Versus Bargaining

Just a few days ago, a memory from seventeen years ago came to my mind. Back then, I was a relatively young mother, who was still partially figuring out what kind of a parent I wanted to be. As an elementary school teacher, I had worked out which rules apply to having a classroom full of 6 year olds as opposed to a classroom of 10 year olds. As a foster parent of a little girl I had—through trial and error—worked out what she needed during those four years that we fostered her. She needed so much more of everything parents can give: more reassurance, more consistency, more love. What I hadn’t worked out, yet, was a conscious awareness of needs—mine and other—and negotiating true compromises.

At that time, I was witness to what struck me as a very odd scene between an Egyptian friend of mine and her 17-year-old daughter. The topic of the conversation was the daughter’s curfew on a Saturday night. The daughter suggested 11:30. The mother countered with 8:30 which resulted in a dramatic response from the daughter. So the mother went to 9 o’clock and the daughter countered with 11 o’clock. Half an hour and several more outbursts of emotions later, they ended up with 10 o’clock. The daughter was pleased as punch.

When the young girl had left the room, I turned to my friend, who had made a big show of having given in, and said, “What was all that about?” She smiled and said, “I knew we would end up with 10 o’clock. She will be exactly home at the time I wanted her to be home.”

I was flabbergasted, especially as I was a “no-negotiating-by-any-means type of parent” back then. The bargaining or sometimes blackmailing that they seemed to be doing on a regular basis in her family around her three children’s needs seemed unnecessarily exhausting to me, but most of all inauthentic.

Now, there is bargaining and there is mitigating everybody’s needs. The difference between bargaining and negotiating compromises is tremendous.

Bargaining vs Negotiating by Greendoor (1)

What values and beliefs are we teaching our children by bargaining? They are learning that their needs are not worth being met without a fight. We are teaching them to be deceptive instead of open with what they want and need. We are teaching them to think of how they can win, rather than how everybody can win.

Negotiating means finding a compromise to meet everybody’s needs. Negotiating is not about who wins and who loses. Negotiating is about being creative in finding a win-win. We are teaching children that there is a way to have your needs met and that everybody can have their needs met. We are teaching them to express how they feel, to honestly ask for what they want or need, and to trust that a creative solution can be found. We are teaching them to collaborate rather than to compete for their individual gain.

I used to think that the parent has to be the boss and makes the rules. I still believe we have to remember that our child is not the boss of us but that a democratic boss opens up some decisions for discussion. When we refuse to acknowledge needs and refuse to negotiate to find compromises, we are teaching the next generation that they can never get in life what they truly want. The outcome of those experiences are grown-ups who don’t know what they want or need and don’t even attempt to express their wishes. We raise pleasers who are only able to follow the wishes of others. We raise people who feel their only strategy to get their needs met is by lying, being secretive, or being manipulative. They have no concept of living from integrity, their own personal integrity. They learn that they cannot be their authentic selves.

 Integrity De Angelis

Over Easter, we were spending time with friends and family. The more people are in the mix the more needs are sometimes colliding and need to be negotiated. One child ended up crying because she had hoped for a particular activity. The response of the adults present was mixed. The opinion that she should not get what she wanted because crying is not an adequate way of expressing your needs was voiced. The parent of the child felt she was trying to manipulate her way to what she wanted through this behaviour. That parent would have been me 15 years ago! I was an “I don’t negotiate” kind of parent. I strongly believed children shouldn’t get what they want by crying, sulking or throwing a temper tantrum.

Today, I believe that it is important to differentiate. There is more than meets the eye in a situation like this. If a child chooses to sulk, cry or get angry, we have to understand that they have already learned this is their only option. There certainly are more appropriate ways to express one’s needs. They might also truly just be expressing their sadness, disappointment or anger. We have to teach children that their needs and feelings matter and that they will be met if it is at all possible. They have to learn how to arrive at compromises to have everybody’s needs met. Life is about win-win, not about how to achieve a win over others.

When our children are getting emotional, let’s sit them down, help them to express how they feel, for example “disappointed”, “angry”, or “unimportant/like I don’t matter”. Let them know they have a right to feel what they feel. Then put everybody’s needs on the table, for example: “You want to play this game which takes an hour, Anna wants to watch this movie, Mom has a headache and wants to take a nap, Dad has to start cooking dinner, the dog has to go for a walk and Peter needs a ride to work. We have two hours left. What do you suggest?”

Then sit back and trust them to be creative to work out a compromise which is a win-win situation for everybody. Let them be the problem solvers. If they are struggling to come up with ideas at first, make suggestions. Negotiating teaches them to truly listen to others and to care about everybody. Our job as parents is it to be a role model and reminder of non-violent communication and to hold the knowing that a peaceful solution can be found.

The more compromises the children get to create when they are young the more we can count on them growing-up to become balanced adults who know what they want, who believe that their needs matter and who naturally are striving to create win-win situations in all areas of their lives. After all, our children are the leaders of the future who need to be able to negotiate peace for our world.

Angelika

Life Coaching, 905-286-9466

 greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 Angelika wide picture for blogs smaller

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Authenticity Barometer

AUTHENTICITY quote 1

Ever so often, I need an honest sounding board. For me that sounding board is three hours time difference and only a phone call away.

My best friend—who I grew up with and whom I feel closer to than to my own two sisters—can always be counted on as a barometer for how I am doing. We talk about being parents, being relationship partners, about our families—close and extended, about new experiences and challenges, but most of all about who we truly are.

Claudia is what I call my “authenticity barometer”. She truly loves and respects herself, and I admire her for how she navigates life. When I am at a crossroad and about to make an important decision, I often ask myself, what would she do or say? That does not necessarily mean I make the same decision that my best friend would make, but it always means I am making my own choice with more awareness.

AUTHENTICITY quote 2

My soul sister and I have learned from each other’s errors and from each other’s successes. We are encouraging and non-judgmental with each other, while at the same time we do not let each other get away with less than what we feel the other person is capable of. We don’t coddle each other or lie to save each other’s feelings. The measure is always authenticity. The one person who will honestly tell me if I am behaving in line with what I claim my life philosophy to be, is Claudia.

About thirteen years ago, she was brutally honest with me and let me know in not unclear terms that I was not showing up to my full potential in terms of honesty and the values I claimed I had. She could have just turned away from me without telling me why I was hard to be around at that time, and done the “polite thing” by letting the friendship slowly and quietly die. Instead, she spoke her truth and expressed honestly what she saw. It took me a while to digest what she had noticed but because it came from her, I knew it was worth considering. I am still grateful to her today, for pointing out how and where I had lost myself.

Speaking your truth is different from being opinionated and feeling you know what is right. Speaking your truth is a subjective I message: “I see, I feel, I believe and I need…” It is up to the person I am being straight with to accept or reject what I am saying. There is no absolute truth, no absolute right or wrong. There is just what works for me, or doesn’t work for me.

AUTHENTICITY quote 3 Guber

Being authentic also means refusing to fit into moulds of what is done, in lieu of finding your own way. Claudia always encourages me to take the harder path, the path of being in integrity with myself, which lately has required setting clear boundaries with people I love.

Sometimes we can lose ourselves in the name of love for others. Our children and partners bring out our shadows. They constantly challenge us to love ourselves as much as we love them. Living life in line with who you are means checking back in every so often to decide if a clear “no” is in order and if the lines have become blurry. Is it time to say to someone we care about, “Sorry, honey, no. That does not work for me.”?

One of the things Claudia always reminds me of through her own example is that our relationships do not have to be lived according to what society deems to be the norm. Sometimes we decide to just live how married people do, or to do what so called “good parents” do, or to behave how “good children” are expected to behave because it feels safe. We forget that it is completely up to the two people involved in a relationship to decide how they want to design their personal commitment or their personal relationship. The only relevant question is, “what feels right to both parties?” And if guilt clouds your judgment, know that shame and guilt are the lowest frequencies and biggest blocks to truly being happy. Clear them out!

AUTHENTICITY quote 4 (Brene Brown)

We all have heard of grieving the loss of another person. Do not underestimate how deep the grief goes when you lose yourself, the true voice of your soul. Ultimately, choosing to not be true to yourself comes from a place of deep fear of being unlovable. That feeling of fear, unworthiness and shame is the breading ground for depression, food, alcohol or drug addictions, and for many physical symptoms and disorders.

How does one avoid losing oneself? What if you decided to not do things for others because you owe them but because you truly want to, because it fills you with joy? What if you reminded yourself that being lovable is not tied to conditions? Most of us still find it hard to believe that we will be loved unconditionally, independent of what we do or don’t do. And then ask again—free of guilt and obligations, free of the worry not to be loved—what feels right to you deep down?

Shed the idea that your decisions need to be popular with others! If it is a deciding criterion whether others will like your choice, you sure aren’t making that choice from your own inner voice. Sometimes one has to risk being called “a bitch” or “selfish” in order to be true to one’s own needs and values. To truly be authentic and at the same time to do what other people approve of is nearly impossible. The fastest way to come to a place of being true to yourself is to let go of the need for outside approval.

Sometimes we have to risk hurting someone’s feelings in order to be true to ourselves and our own needs. That doesn’t mean you have to be cruel or insensitive. We can come from a loving or compassionate place when we let others know how we feel. After all, love and compassion goes two ways. In order to be truly loving with others, we cannot come from a place of hidden resentment because we have been ignoring our own needs.

Being authentic has no agenda of manipulating or changing others. The motivation for authenticity is being happy with yourself and being truly healthy. Authenticity is detached from the response of others. Being authentic is loving yourself unconditionally and continuously, no matter what. Ultimately, we cannot change anybody. By living in line with our own inner voice, however, we can be an encouragement for others to try the same.

 

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Angelika wide picture for blogs smaller

Life and Relationship Coaching

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 

What do Easter traditions mean to you and your family?

“What does Easter mean to you?” my father asked me just yesterday. He wasn’t asking about how we celebrate Easter, about the traditions in our family, which he of course knows about. He wanted to know how I interpret resurrection. He started a discussion about the concept of all humans being sinners by birth, and the teachings of Jesus as God’s son, who takes away all our sins through his own death.

To understand why a talk like that is a bit of a surreal experience for me, you need to know that I grew up in a family with a catholic mother—who wasn’t practicing her religion but whose beliefs and fears were strongly shaped by the belief systems of the Catholic church—and an atheist father with an uncompromising belief system of “nothingness” after death.

Easter Lily, yellow

Now that my mother has passed on and my father himself is in his eighties, he is reflecting more about our mortality and the here and after. He is interested in what spiritual concepts other people find comfort and peace in. I can sense a longing in him to believe in something, yet his logical mind is struggling with a whole set of beliefs about whether it is okay to believe anything at all. He is unaware that—beyond spiritual beliefs—our entire reality and all our experiences are based on our individual beliefs, and more importantly, on our collective beliefs about this world.

As I am answering his questions, sharing my own very personal spirituality with him, he almost makes me laugh out loud because he grumbles “you mix and match religions”. He is struggling to understand how I can possibly be so sure that our soul will continue beyond the death of the physical body, and why I choose to believe that we can all be close to God. In fact, that we all are God—or whatever you want to call that Divine Energy which flows through every one of us.

I don’t think my father will find the answers he is looking for about an afterlife or re-incarnation until he himself is on the other side. I should make an agreement with him to come back after his passing and to give me a clear message or sign that his soul indeed continued in the eternal cycle of life.

Easter Sunday 3

So what does Easter mean to me? Eastermore than the religious meaningshas a strong component of being a family tradition, just like Christmas, New Year’s or Thanksgiving. Every family has their own rituals. Easter for me spells out sunshine, spring flowers, a wonderful new beginning, the eternal life cycle, re-birth, but most of all family togetherness and fun time.

When my oldest daughter was little, the TV show “Blues Clues” was her absolute favourite. That started our family tradition of Easter treasure hunts rather than just hiding eggs and looking for them. Over the years, the treasure hunts got more elaborate, pictures became words, words became riddles, English or German riddles became French or Spanish “clues”, depending on what language my children were learning at the time. I was delighted when my older daughter took on the task of creating the treasure hunt for her younger sister. Like some of our favourite Christmas or New Year’s traditions, the treasure hunt will undoubtedly also be passed on to the next generation in some form.

Despite the girls being almost grown-up now, they still enjoy the treasure hunt for their Easter basket. However, other Easter traditions which used to be part of our celebrations, like colouring eggs or making Easter crafts have lost their attraction for them. Sometimes, you need to give your family traditions an overhaul. While traditions provide a sense of belonging and create lasting memories, they must be altered to keep up with changes in the family. After all, traditions are supposed to serve our family, not keep us stuck in the past. Flexible traditions enhance the family sense.

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What about blended families? What can they do to enjoy those first holidays as a newly formed family? A key is to be willing to modify your rituals to suit your new bonus family. It is a fine line to walk between keeping some of the old traditions for your own children to give them a sense of continuation and opening up to embracing new traditions to welcome new members to the family. Sometimes we tend to make it all about the younger members of the family and we forget the feelings of the older ones. The result could be that the older children learn that they and their needs don’t matter as much.

Somebody told me a childhood Easter story which is a prime example that we learn limiting beliefs about ourselves and the world during those precious holiday experiences. He is the oldest son with two much younger half-siblings. One Easter, after both his siblings had been born, he was excited to find many Easter treats. When he proudly brought his basket filled with his goodies back inside, he was presented with a letter from the Easter Bunny, telling him that from now on he would have to share every Easter egg with his baby siblings.

As much as I can appreciate the parent’s attempt to teach the son the values of sharing, this child also learned destructive beliefs like “I can never get ahead in life.” “When I have had a success it will be taken away.” “I don’t deserve to be successful.” “Why do I even bother to put any effort in?”

Obviously, one experience like this does not teach us lifelong limiting beliefs about ourselves. Most people have repeatedly been taught certain beliefs. The parents in this example could have avoided the sobering experience, had they from the start explained that from now on, the Easter Bunny was bringing three times as many treats for all the children and that he, as the oldest, would for now have the important job to find all the eggs. He could have learned that there is enough for everybody, that he deserves good things and he could have felt proud of taking care of others.

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Wishing all of you, your families and children of all ages a

HAPPY EASTER!

Angelika

The Phoenix Conspiracy

Would you read a thriller? Would you read a spiritual book? How about a spiritual thriller? Doesn’t exist? Yes, it does.

Accompany hypnotist John Phoenix as he meets Shelley and comes across mysterious cases of alien abduction in his hypnosis practice. Who is Shelley? Are these abductions real? If there are really aliens among us, what are they like? And what does the military have to do with all of this? The deeper John becomes involved in this mystery, the more dangerous and unpredictable his life becomes.

The Phoenix Conspiracy is a spiritual thriller that blends mystery, suspense, romance and military intrigue with spiritual principles and quantum physics. It is truly captivating and keeps you hooked until the very last page, as you are swept up in an adventure that leaves you contemplating the truth of our existence and what we don’t know yet. It has you wondering if the story is indeed fact or fiction.

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Brian Alexander’s novel also has the power to infuse the reader with the desire to want to make positive changes on our planet. Brian says that he wrote this book for people who are already spiritually interested but even more so for those who are not yet asking questions about how they can be part of the changes towards a more conscious society.

My friend Karen brought the book home and placed it on her night table. Here is her testimonial of what happened:

My husband saw my copy of Brian’s book ‘The Phoenix Conspiracy’ and asked to read it. He could not put it down! From the moment he started the book, I have noticed a considerable change. He has become more positive, more in tune with the energy around him, and started tapping into his own energy.

He just finished the book this morning and said ‘I’ve NEVER had a book affect me this way…Brian is my new hero!’”

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If you are interested in a copy of this fabulous thriller which paints a hopeful and encouraging picture of our future, contact me for a copy.

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca