Riding the Rainbow

Until recently I was in the habit of thinking of my emotions as good or bad, right or wrong.

Honestly, despite all my years of spiritual practice and mindfulness training, I’ve continued to spend a lot of effort on trying to stay in the “good” feelings and release the “bad” ones.  And while my life was steadily manifesting all the things on my vision board, I still wasn’t feeling happy. In fact, I noticed one morning that I wasn’t feeling much of anything at all.

It helps to put it in context.

For the last 1.5 years I’ve been grieving the loss of a relationship. It wasn’t a traditional marriage (and no, it wasn’t an affair) but it did span 35 years of my life, beginning at the tender age of 18. This man was my first love, and over the years I had built up a huge cache of hope that we would create a life and grow old together. But after giving it an earnest try, and even consulting with a therapist, we both had to admit that the romantic relationship between us wasn’t going to work.

Some relationship experts say that it takes one month of grieving a romantic relationship for every year that you’ve been together, while other experts say a year is enough. For me, it’s taken these 1.5 years to get past all the sadness and anger. Now I’m in the midst of something completely new — the first time in my entire adult life that I’ve been single for more than a few months. With singlehood has come a sort of identity crisis, and this peculiar numb feeling.

I guess it’s easier to notice the absence of feelings when most of the hours of the day I’m alone. Without other people in the mix I finally have more time to notice myself. As I spoke with one mentor about this void, I realized that I’d been imagining my feelings as shades of grey. In my mind, there was the white of happiness, the black of sadness,  and then everything in-between,  a sort of grey-ish no-man’s land.

I realized how extremely limiting that was.  And furthermore, as a therapist in training myself, I realized that it was time for me to walk my talk and explore this thing of emotion more deeply. Because why did Spirit give us such a range of emotions if only one is “good”? That makes no sense.

And then it hit me — what if I stopped thinking of emotions as  shades of grey — and instead embraced them as more of a  rainbow?


If sadness, fear, and anger aren’t “bad” and joy, love, desire, and serenity aren’t “good”, then I was free — free to feel EVERYTHING that exists in my emotional spectrum. Free to simply be. Free to explore. And what better time to explore than during a phase in my life when I jokingly refer to my cat as my “furry boyfriend”?

You see, I’m what’s called an “ENFJ” personality type (See Meyers-Briggs personality typing for more information about this). This means that I value harmony above all else. And for me the way that manifests is that in the presence of others I value their comfort and well being above my own.

Yes, I’m well aware that many people would simply dismiss this as codependency. But it’s more than that. It’s a powerful desire to help others be happy and healed, a powerful urge to do good and make a difference in the world. But while I’ve learned to value this trait in myself, I also am realizing that it’s time to value MY  feelings and to ride that rainbow.

So I made myself a little chart (I find charts and lists comforting), with the major emotions I could name, and what color I associated with each one. Yes, I know this is something they do in children’s books – let’s just say for the record that I never got that memo.

So without further ado, here is what my emotional rainbow looks like:

Red – Anger

Orange – Desire

Yellow – Joy

Green – Love

Blue – Sadness

Indigo – Fear

Violet – Serenity

What I noticed right away is that some of the “good” emotions are right next to “bad” emotions on my rainbow. This validates what the tantric masters say – all emotions are acceptable, and we can move between them in  a heartbeat. But even more astounding, we can feel more than one thing at a time. What if I am both sad AND joyful? Then I’m mixing blue and yellow, which can turn into the green glow of love!

Just for now, I’ve stopped repressing the bad feelings, and instead I’m letting them roll right through me. Once I say “Hi there sadness”, it just waves at me and moves on along its dolorous way. And then another feeling comes to visit. Just like that, there’s a continual flow — and I am truly riding the rainbow.

All My Love,

Kypris 🙂

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Click here to join the Facebook Shamanic Support Circle, a closed group of therapists and healers supporting each other.

My new book, Shamanic Stress Relief, is due out in September and we are planning a BOOK RELEASE PARTY. Stay tuned for details!

For a nurturing spiritual shift, check out my Shamanic Clarity and Balance e-course.

If you’re interested in one-on-one support, you can click here for a free phone consultation with me.

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please share with a friend. 

Blessings,
Kypris 🙂

The Great Slog

Even though I am working towards my dreams and some of them are actually coming true, sometimes my life feels like I’m trudging through loose sand on the longest backpack trip of my life (with about 40 pounds on my back).

I told a client the other day that she cannot compare her pain to someone else’s — that just because someone else she knows is battling cancer or living in poverty or has lost a loved one — doesn’t mean that the pain of her own divorce is lessened. It’s important that I remember to extend that same compassion to myself.

Even though my material needs are taken care of, I have many friends who love me, and my son is happy and healthy, I still sometimes feel tired, anxious, and stuck in my life. When this happens I try to remember that it’s ok. It’s ok that my old friends, depression and anxiety, continue to stalk me. It’s ok that some mornings I wake up and I want to stay in bed because I feel exhausted or scared for no apparent reason.

But rather than give in to my exhaustion, overwhelm, and fear, I remind myself each and every day that I am not my thoughts – I am what I DO. If I am playing music every day, I am a musician. If I counsel people every day, then I am a counselor. So no matter how crappy I feel inside, what defines me is what I DO about it.

This morning was a perfect example. I’ve had two fairly easy days at work, and quiet evenings after work to walk, make music, and take a long hot bath. But even so I woke up feeling anxious, and my stomach hurt. My first reaction was to accuse myself of causing this (self-blame, a bad habit of mine from childhood). Then I got angry when I realized there was no good reason to feel bad.

But if I’ve learned anything about myself, it’s that my thoughts and feelings are more affected by larger things — the little daily stuff doesn’t matter as much to me as the bigger picture of my life. And the truth is that right now, I’m powering through what I think of as “The Great Slog”.

A few months ago, I decided to take on the project of working towards my Marriage and Therapy License. I graduated with my Master’s degree in counseling psychology the year my son was born (1999!) and up until last year my focus was on working as a spiritual counselor. But the realities of life and the desire to challenge myself further have led me to taking on a bigger role.

I found a corporate job working as a more traditional counselor where there is a huge commitment to bringing mindfulness practice into the lives of both employees and the clients we serve. And honestly, sometimes it’s soul crushing work to deal with people in crisis who aren’t ready to change. Other times it’s like floating on a cloud to introduce someone to spiritual connection for the first time. But in the midst of all this, in deciding to work towards my license, there’s an even bigger commitment — to publish a new book this year and to find a way to complete 3,000 hours of supervised experience for my license in addition to the full time work I’m already doing.

And so for 5 months now I’ve been mostly paralyzed with this overwhelming feeling that I will never be able to do it. In my mind are visions of me working a 40 hour week and then also working a 10 or 20 hour intern position, then spending every other spare moment getting my book out to the world.

And then I feel exhausted.

I’m not actually doing  all this yet, mind you, it’s only the envisioning that’s wearing me out. This is when I have to  engage my choice meter. It helps me so much to remember that there are many different paths to achieving my goal. One would be to change to a job that would count towards my licensed hours (my current job doesn’t work for that). But I love my job, and the comfortable living it provides me. I just don’t want to leave it.

And this is where the spiritual part comes in. I just keep praying to be given the right opportunity, the right guidance, to move forward. I pray for patience and courage too, to let it be ok to move forward at a tortoise pace, if that’s what works for me. I feel impatient for the answers to present themselves, but life has taught me that this is the kind of process I cannot rush.

In the meanwhile, I’m engaging in some magnificent self care. I sleep and rest a lot, and my bedroom has become a sanctuary. My battery-operated candles click on at 7:30 PM, signaling that I can start winding down. I’ve upgraded to a wonderful down comforter and beautiful furnishings and art on my bedroom walls. And every night I nurture myself in the tub, cultivating what Wallace J. Nichols calls the “Blue Mind”, the positive effect of water on my very human emotions.

On the outside it looks like I’m not doing much, but really what I’m doing is creating sustainable space for spiritual guidance to come in as I pamper myself. So by the definition of “we are what we do”, what does all this spiritual practice and self-healing make me? A priestess, a visionary, a yogi…and a healer.

All My Love,

Kypris 🙂

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Click here to join the Facebook Shamanic Support Circle, a closed group of therapists and healers supporting each other.

If you’d like some help getting out of work stress zombie mode,  you might like my new book, Shamanic Stress Relief, due out in a few weeks, or for a nurturing spiritual shift, check out my Shamanic Clarity and Balance e-course. If you’re interested in one-on-one support, you can click here for a free phone consultation with me.

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please share with a friend. 

Blessings,
Kypris 🙂

Life Is Like the Weather

Why Life is Like the Weather 

Sometimes life’s challenges come from tough things that happen — a loved one dies, you lose your job, someone treats you harshly, or a good friend moves away. But good things can create stress too — for example: meeting your soul mate, moving to your dream house or city, having a baby, getting married, landing your ideal job. All these good things can also create challenges because it can take time to adjust to your new reality.

One thing that helps me to get through these times of change is to realize that much of life is like the weather, I mostly can’t control when the good and bad times will come, or how long they will last. But I can put on a raincoat or a sundress!

My own worst stressors came from the times when I didn’t like the changes in my life, and didn’t know how to cope.

When I was a new mother I loved my baby soooo much – really beyond all reason. But that love combined with my tendency to be anxious and perfectionistic created a toxic cocktail. When my son was a year old I had a complete meltdown. Why? Because I couldn’t figure out how to take care of myself with a little one in the picture.

I wasn’t used to waking up several times during the night to care for a tiny human, and I had this rosy expectation that I’d have a baby who would sleep all night and then play in his playpen while I painted and puttered around the house. Instead I had a child who needed constant physical contact, wouldn’t sleep in his own bed, and never slept through the night until he was 5 or 6 years old.

Years later (at age 11) my son was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, a genetic condition that is still largely misunderstood and misdiagnosed, and yet occurs in 1 in 6 kids. I wish I had known, but I think honestly that knowing my son had a disability would have provoked even more anxiety, guilt and overwhelm about whether I was doing the right things to care for him.

If I had it to do over again, I would ask for more support from family and friends, and I would take more time for myself to do the things that I love.

What I did right when my son was little, was to take wonderful care of him, and to stay focused on my vision. It was important to me to provide the best possible early environment for my child, but I also knew that I wanted to work in the world as a spiritual counselor. The thing that kept me going, that kept me from falling into despair, was staying focused on this.

Eventually, after the utter meltdown happened, I was forced to do daily self care. Without it I could no longer function. We hired some part-time child care so that I could have time to do the things that helped to keep my gas tank full. I continue to do lots of different things for my self care, but it all falls into 4 broad categories:

Meditation

Exercise

Creative activities and hobbies.

Social time

Every day in my counseling work, clients tell me they don’t have time to do any of these things. But if you don’t take care of yourself, then you eventually become unable to take care of anyone else. Like a car that runs low on oil or has its gas tank on empty, you just shut down.

Every day I try to do my best to surrender to the changes life brings, while doing what I can to keep life’s magic alive. When I keep my eye on the ball, it’s easier to adapt to life’s weather, while stopping to smell the roses along the way.

All My Love,

Kypris 🙂

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Click here to join the Facebook Shamanic Support Circle, a closed group of therapists and healers supporting each other.

If you’d like some help getting out of work stress zombie mode,  you might like my new book, Shamanic Stress Relief, due out in a few weeks, or for a nurturing spiritual shift, check out my Shamanic Clarity and Balance e-course. If you’re interested in one-on-one support, you can click here for a free phone consultation with me.

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please share with a friend. 

Blessings,
Kypris 🙂

Work Stress Zombie

For the last six months I’ve been back to working a corporate job and LOVING it. I never thought I’d find a job working for the “man” while following my calling, but I have. I’m one of the lucky ones. I love what I do, I’m well paid to do it, and my work is rewarding.

But even so, I can fall prey to work stress zombie mode.

WorkZombie

The last few weeks I’ve been sleeping as late as I can, getting up and stumbling to work,  zoning out on tv in the evenings, going to bed, getting up, going back to work. Rinse and repeat. I’ve started to feel like a zombie, carrying out the same meaningless actions over and over. I started to lose touch with my friends, my teenage son, and my joy in life. Like many of the clients I talk to each day, if someone had asked me what I was doing for fun, I’d say something like: “whaaaaaaa?”.

Zombie.

The other night, I actually dreamed that I was a zombie. Yep, raggedy clothes, rotting flesh, the whole deal. My biggest fear? That I would turn my son into a zombie too. I felt so sad that he might share my fate. Those feelings really made me stop and look at how I am spending my time. I like to think maybe this was Spirit showing me a really good reason to make a change — because the last thing I want for my child is to think that there is no meaning to life, or to the thkid_zombieings that he does on a daily basis. Worse yet I don’t want him to grow up thinking that work stress zombie mode is normal
The dream made me realize I need to get back to my life — the life I have outside of work. I just finished a book and there are steps to take to get it published. There’s an unfinished watercolor of a beautiful sycamore tree, a piece of outdoor furniture I’m painting for my garden, new flute pieces to learn, learning French for next year’s trip to France, and a whole circle of interesting friends to reconnect with. All these things are just as important as my work.

I can’t tell you how many people I talk to every week in my job who are struggling with this “work/life balance” thing. Their job demands so much from them, and they have so little energy for anything else.
The result?
ZOMBIE.

So what to do? I started following my own advice and taking my life back. Whenever I talk to someone who’s struggling with this, my first questions are always:

  1. “What are you doing to take care of yourself?”and
  2. “What do you like to do that gives you pleasure?”

I started my rehabilitation by sending a few texts to arrange time to spend with friends. After a lovely Friday night dinner and a few glasses of wine with one of them I got inspired and rearranged my living room. Wow did that feel awesome! And suddenly I felt I could breathe again. Now those projects that I want to finish don’t seem so daunting and I’ve got a whole weekend stretching out in front of me to play with my art, hang out with my son, and even go look at art at a local street fair.

For now I’ve let go of my inner zombie so the vibrant and vital me can re-emerge. I’m reconnecting to my cat, my friends, and my garden. I’m remembering what it’s vibrantly-alive-forestlike to bloom.

 

I’m happy to report I’m feeling much better, NOT A ZOMBIE IN SIGHT (brains…..) wait, what was that?? LOL, just kidding.

All My Love,

Kypris 🙂

TinyHeartSig (1)

 

 

 

Click here to join the Facebook Shamanic Support Circle, a closed group of therapists and healers supporting each other.

If you’d like some help getting out of work stress zombie mode,  you might like my new book, Shamanic Stress Relief, due out in a few weeks, or for nurturing spiritual shift, check out my Shamanic Clarity and Balance e-course. If you’re interested in one-on-one support, you can click here for a free phone consultation with me.

Becoming Whole Again

In the past few weeks, joyful memories from my 3-year-old self have re-emerged. It seems like only yesterday that I played in the yard of the home where I grew up, wore my beautiful blue princess dress, smelled the beautiful pink peonies, and felt the springtime sun on my face. While learning to write my name under my nanny’s watchful eye I felt loved by the whole world, by her and by both of my young parents. How wonderful that now at 53, I’m blessed with the chance to experience all this once again. To be the best version of myself right now, I get to re-integrate this 3-yr-old part of myself, right alongside all the grown-up responsibilities that I have.

There’s another part of me too that’s re-awakening, my inner wild woman. That part was nurtured by a grey Persian mama cat, cuddling up with newborn me in my bassinet, and continuing to mother me until I was 5. It was her, not my human mother, who would come running if I cried, and cuddle up with me for comfort. Like Carmen the Persian, I learned to be fierce, brave, curious and protective of those I love. That wonderful kitty taught me that sometimes it’s important to be a little bit wild.

Both these parts of my soul, the 3-yr-old and the wild woman, have returned in the wake of a breakup. Free of the commitment of relationship, I’ve been expanding and growing into more of myself. What’s happening to me now feels like a spontaneous soul retrieval.

SoulRetrieval

Shamans have been performing soul retrievals for years, and I’ve had  a few that were very profound. But this experience is reminding me that sometimes the missing pieces of ourselves choose to return on their own. When we are able to fully embrace who we are, lost parts feel safe to return and re-integrate. The safety that I’m feeling now has come from several different quarters, spiritual, physical, emotional, and even creative.

My life has transformed completely in the last five months, and I am truly grateful for this things that are conspiring to make me whole again:

  1. Prayer and Meditation. Everything profound that has ever happened in my life, spiritual or otherwise, has followed after periods of intense communion with Spirit. I’ve been praying and meditating twice a day, for 10-20 minutes. This helps me surrender to what Spirit thinks is best for me.
  2. Financial Stability. After 10 years of self employment, I finally came to terms with the heavy toll that money worries were taking on me. Through a series of miracles I found meaningful work in the corporate work force. This safety net is allowing an expansion of my spirituality, my writing, and all areas of my creativity.
  3. A Home of My Own. For years I’ve been searching for a place to live that felt safe, quiet, and nurturing of my spiritual life. After 3 years of seeing my ideal home in my visions and meditations, it finally manifested — along with my own tiny garden.
  4. Releasing Incompatible Relationships – Giving myself permission to let go of relationships that don’t feel good or safe allows me to expand my focus on those that nurture and give me joy. Working full time with people all day long simply leaves me no energy for relationships that don’t fit.
  5. Practicing Creativity – Every day I do at least 1 thing that is  creative. Whether I’m knitting, writing, painting, dancing, singing, or playing my flute doesn’t matter. What matters is keeping the creative juices flowing.
  6. Opening to Vision – I’m focused now on creating a life that aligns with Spirit, one full of joy and magick. I’m learning to make choices from a place of love rather than fear of negative consequences. Every day I’m learning to ask, “What would really make me happy? What would I love to choose right now? What excites me and fills me with passion?”

wholeness

Each night I fall asleep to the sound of frogs singing and  wake up to birds outside my window. Sometimes I hear the coyotes howl from my living room. There’s a joy growing inside me, that in time will give birth to something even more wonderful than I can imagine. It feels good to be moving toward the wholeness I was born with, and I wish the same for you.

All My Love,

Kypris 🙂

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Click here to join the Facebook Shamanic Support Circle, a closed group of therapists and healers supporting each other.

If you’d like some support with moving toward wholeness, I have a couple of other ways to support you. The first is the Shamanic Clarity and Balance e-course. If you’d prefer one-on-one support, you can click here for a free phone consultation with me.

Sustainable Joy

For two mornings in a row back in February I woke up ridiculously happy.  Wedged between two pillows that mysteriously migrated to cuddle me during both nights, I felt safe and held in the limitless love of the Universe. I woke each day gifted with the feeling of being deeply loved that I’d longed for my entire life. What’s astonishing is that it was coming from thin air.

Happy-Face-Sparkle

 

 

 

 

 

And then, my long term relationship ended.

Sad-Face

 

It had been coming for a while, and it wasn’t a big surprise, but it packed a punch in my sustainable joy department.

And the thing is, I’m kind of mad about it. Finally I was in a place where the happiness was sustainable — only to have it pulled out from under me.

Angry-Face

My grieving process for the first few weeks took the form of anger and extreme busy-ness. I was unable to feel much joy during that time. And I was mad about being mad, you know?

 

As the days went on, I fell right back into worry, fear, exhaustion, and a kind of emotional contraction. My heart, like the Grinch’s, felt 3 sizes too small.

Grinch-Heart-Small

 

 

 

But then today — a miracle! After weeks of  aggressive self care, I woke this morning feeling better. I greeted the morning with more of a “yayyyy” than an “oh no….”.

Spring-Rising-Sun

 

 

 

 

I hesitate to use the word aggressive, because it’s a strong word with some unpleasant associations. But it’s the only way to describe what I practice:

o I diligently defend my alone time several evenings a week and on weekends.

o I  turn off my phone for a few hours before bed.

o I schedule monthly massages, health care appointments, and give myself mani/pedis.

o I go to concerts and only spend time with the friends who nourish me (and vice versa).

o I meditate, eat right, drink plenty of water, exercise. I get enough sleep.

o I plan time to do nothing productive each day.

This is a huge change for me from a life where I was always busy doing something and caring for everyone else. I hit bottom on that path a couple of times, falling into a state where I had so much anxiety  or became so ill I couldn’t get out of bed. One time was when my son was a year old and I’d gone a year without a full night’s sleep. Another was during graduate school while preparing for oral exams. Somewhere along the way I finally realized that I was making myself busy to avoid feeling my sadness and grief about my life — and I had a lot of it.

I’ll spare you the details. Let’s just say I’m no stranger to grief and loss and all the stresses of daily life. My life is no less stressful now — my son is 16, and I’m working full time in a job where I counsel people all day long, sometimes people in dire straits. What’s different is that I make time for myself. I allow myself to experience my feelings for a short time each day. I get support from some amazing friends and mentors when I need it. And I’ve discovered that the uncomfortable feelings pass more quickly if I just take some time to sit with them and say “hello friend, what do you want me to know today?”. Once they’ve been heard, they seem to feel free to go on their way and leave me in peace.

I guess you could say that I’ve finally allowed myself to be happy. I say no to things I don’t want to do. It’s part of my self care not to overcommit, which means I have to let go of some things. I have finally learned that I need time to do nothing each day.

With this new attitude, my goals for this year are simple. I want to get a cat. I want to make friends with my couch. Maybe this year I will even take up riding horses again, since my new home is located about 2 minutes from a local stable.

For now I’m sustaining my joy by caring for myself, by doing meaningful work, and allowing time for satisfying play. Bit by bit, I’m continuing to create a life that I love.

Happy Spring!
Kypris 🙂

Click here to join the Facebook Shamanic Support Circle, a closed group of therapists and healers supporting each other.

If you’d like more help with sustaining joy, I have a couple of other ways to support you. The first is the Shamanic Clarity and Balance e-course. If you’d prefer one-on-one support, you can click here for a free phone consultation with me.

Intentions, Not Resolutions

resolveResolution: the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc.

 

 

Intention: the end or obintentionject intended; purpose.

 

 

 

 

For many years I began each January with a New Year’s resolution — a course of action that I intended to follow. Each year I resolved to play more, exercise, buy a house, get pregnant, be a better mother, sell a house, or get divorced. Each time I decided on a course of action to take and laid out my very detailed plans — with mixed results.

While I was definitely on a path, it became clear that I needed to leave more room for Spirit to help me. I needed to stop clinging so stubbornly to my ideas about what was best for me. Because, honestly, I was usually wrong. 

LOVE
LOVE

Last year I decided to try a new approach — to have an intention, and to let go of how I got there. I decided to let Spirit handle the details. Much to my surprise this worked much better, and my life steadily moved in the direction of my dreams during the last year. My intention for 2015? To create a life that I love.

I’m not just talking about intangible stuff, I’m talking about real, honest-to-god material, light-infused-into-matter stuff. Here are some of the highlights:

  • I sold my old 88 Camry for scrap (after it literally fell apart on the road) and bought a 2013 model from the nicest car salesman I’ve ever met, who gave me a great deal.
  • I sang on stage for the first time in 40 years and I learned to play the flute.
  • I finished writing two books.
  • I got a new job doing the work i went to grad school for and I’m being paid well to do it.
  • In two weeks I’m moving into the home I’ve been seeing in my dreams and visions for 3 years.

Because it worked so well last year, I’m keeping the same intention in 2016 (hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). To help me work in partnership with Spirit I made a vision board a few weeks ago. This reminds me to say yes to things that Spirit wants for me, and to know what those things are. It also helps me to know when I need to take some actions (like actually looking for an apartment).

At this year’s vision board workshop, a marvelous woman led us in a profound opening meditation to prepare us for finding and cutting out the images from magazines that would land on our boards. She asked us to close our eyes, relax, and hear or see the answer to four questions:

  1. What does Spirit want for you this year?
  2. What do you need to let go of to have that?
  3. What do you need to embrace to have that?
  4. What else do you need to know about this?

Vision Board Image

 

 

So for your New Year, perhaps you’d like to do this exercise—to take a few moments from your busy life, take a few deep breaths, and ask these questions. Maybe even make a vision board, guided by Spirit. To come up with an intention rather than a resolution for your year. I’d love to hear from you what you discover. And if you want a tour guide along this journey, please reach out and contact me.

Blessings of the New Year!
Kypris :)

Click here to join the Facebook Shamanic Support Circle, a closed group of therapists and healers supporting each other.

If you’d like more help with setting intentions, I have a couple of other ways to support you. The first is the Shamanic Clarity and Balance e-course. If you’d prefer one-on-one support, you can click here for a free phone consultation with me.

Double-Dipping Holiday Stress

holiday ice cream

As therapists, caregivers, and coaches we get a double dip of holiday stress, and that makes it especially important to take extra good care of ourselves at this time.

The first dip is our own life situation and our own dealings with the holidays. Like everyone else we are deciding who to spend time with, missing people who’ve gone, and maybe even dealing with the whole gift-giving dilemma.

The second dip is the stress of helping our clients, who are also having all these things going on. Client interactions get more intense at this time and crisis situations go up. It’s a lot. At my new job I’m sitting in a room where people take support calls from employees and family members of major corporations all over the world, and as one of my coworkers said, “People don’t call in because they’re having a good day”.

I’m starting to realize what a gift I had all these years of working only for myself. 10 years away from the corporate rat race, of setting my own hours, of having access to the daylight, of being able to connect and take care of myself. FREEDOM.

lifepath-300x300But on the path of balancing a life, there’s another kind of freedom too — financial. And there’s suiting up to do the work in the world that Spirit intended for me. On this job I get to do both of those things, and I can already see how this job is going to grow my ability to help others in a HUGE way.

At my job I’m still in training, which can be its own kind of stress — wondering if I’m doing things right, if I am really good enough, smart enough, to help these people and to learn my company’s way of doing that. I realize, on reflection, that so much of my own life and holiday stress comes from wanting to please people and wanting to do everything perfectly. Wanting to throw just the perfect party or give the perfect gift.

imperfectionSo yesterday, my 14th day of training, I practiced being imperfect. I wore very casual Friday clothes to work. I made mistakes on purpose so I could learn. It was a lot less stressful — and a lot more fun. And you know what? My trainers thanked me for asking good questions and engaging fully with the process. Yay for being imperfect!

The other part of my personal holiday stress—the one of missing people—is harder. There’s no easy way to just shrug off the grief I feel about one more Christmas without my Dad, my best friend Kate, and my unborn daughter Raven. Sometimes I try to talk myself out of feeling it, saying “Hey it was so many years ago, why do you still feel that?” Or “Hey, it’s only 2 people really, you were barely pregnant.”  But the grief is real and true for me. And this year I also miss my family. I miss my brother, my Mom, my son, and being married, even after 10 years of divorce. I miss the big family gatherings I grew up with, putting up the Christmas tree with my family on my birthday, and a million other little rituals that just won’t happen this year.

self careThe bottom line is to let myself feel it, not to shut it down, and to find healthy ways to comfort myself. Sometimes that comfort comes from looking at old photos of me with the people I love and miss. Other times from doing something extremely nice for myself. Or even just saying a little prayer to the ancestors and talking to these dear ones directly. And a hot bubble bath doesn’t go amiss either.

In the end, I feel good if I get through the holidays without overeating, exhausting myself, or overspending. It’s even better if there is some joy from warm hugs and deep connections sprinkled in there. For me it’s all about an abundance of love and friendship — and this year money too. I am so grateful.

Sending holiday love and blessings to all of you!

Kypris 🙂

Blanket Therapy

multifaith-1More than any other time of year, the holidays can be stressful. We’re dealing with all kinds of things — family dynamics, extra social obligations, juggling work and vacation time, and maybe even the financial stress of paying for vacations and gifts.

I have a few death anniversaries that make it a challenging time. My best friend and my stepfather both died just before Thanksgiving (a few years apart, thankfully), while my father passed 20 years ago on New Year’s Eve.

kindness_beach
I’ve found that I have to be extra kind to myself during the holidays, especially this year, since I’m starting a new job and moving during the next week.

Oh, and did I mention it’s my birthday-hat-hand-drawn-cartoon-sketch-illustration-35278193birthday just before Christmas?

So yeah, a lot is happening. With the advent of cooler weather, I remembered one of my favorite stress management techniques, and wanted to share it with all of you right away! I was chillin’ with my 16-yr-old over the weekend, all snuggled up in a blanket and noticing how soothing it was. Then I remembered that years ago when I was working with Eric Sjoberg, who was helping me to recover from some trauma, he taught me about the healing power of blankets.

SecurityBlanketDuring my session I was digging deep into some old trauma and working to let it go. Afterwards I was feeling pretty wobbly so he wrapped me up in a blanket. He told me that this blanket therapy would help my nervous system to calm down. And it did. No wonder kids are attached to blankets. They’re soothing.

I feel so grateful to Eric for sharing this with me, because it has become such a super-simple way to calm down.  I carry a stadium blanket in my car, just for this purpose. If I am traveling and I get stressed, I just wrap up in the blanket and sit in my car for a few minutes. Next week when I start my new job, I plan to use this technique on my lunch hour if I need it.

The_Legendary_Blankets_20
I realize that the Native American shamans knew about this a long time ago. There’s an old tradition of something called a “medicine blanket”. This blanket is seen as magical — an aid to healing. A friend of mine who is recovering from a chronic illness puts hers over her when she sleeps at night, and then drags it out to the living room during the day. A medicine blanket holds healing properties and be used both indoors to soothe and comfort us, and outdoors as a thing to sit on or keep warm while we do ceremony. Sometimes the simplest things in our lives can also be spiritual.

Blessings, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Kypris 🙂

Click here to join the Facebook Shamanic Support Circle, a closed group of therapists and healers supporting each other.

If you’d like more help with de-stressing, I have a couple of other ways to support you. The first is my new Shamanic Clarity and Balance e-course. If you’d prefer one-on-one support, I offer that too. To get started, just click here for a free 15-minute consultation with me.

Dances With Fear

In the scheme of things and in the living of my life I’ve learned one thing really important: Fear never really goes away. I can quiet fear, ignore fear, or try to trick myself out of fear, but it’s always still there for me. The only thing that works? To dance with fear.

You see, when I dance, the world shifts on its axis. I get into contact with what’sreally real, and at the same time I am transported to a magical place where I feel strong, vibrant, and capable. When I’m dancing, I look like this:

KyprisPeacockBellydance
But when I’m scared, I look more like this:

woman-freaked

Lots of people say to me,

“But Kypris, you always look so calm. Your presence is so soothing and safe”. And I always tell them that I work at it. I work at it a lot.

I remember the exact moment when I decided I was sick and tired of being scared. I was on a trip with my husband in San Francisco. I was sitting in a perfectly beautiful cafe outdoors on a gorgeous day. I couldn’t enjoy any of it because I was so panicked. I don’t even remember why. Maybe it was just being in a strange place, or maybe I was worried about not being able to find my way in a strange city. Whatever the reason, my heart was pounding, I was shaking, and forget about trying to actually drink my tea!

I got kinda mad. Even though I was freaking out, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I remember trying to breathe deeply and calm down, to connect to the Earth and let that spiritual support center me. But it just wasn’t happening.

That day I made a commitment to myself to end the fear, somehow. Or at least to be able to manage it.

sacred-treeI began doing daily spiritual practice that I call the Sacred Tree Meditation. At first it was only 10 minutes — I couldn’t sit still any longer than that! But gradually, over time, and with the support of my spiritual teachers I was able to meditate fully and completely for a longer period. But more importantly, the fear started to recede.

Why? Well, I think it’s because when I meditate I actually can feel the presence of a wonderfully loving force that is taking care of me. Running around in my daily life, I was too busy to feel any of that. But in meditation I started to “plug in” more quickly.

In addition to meditation, I did mindful movement. I’ve always been a big fan of yoga, but my body was asking for more vigorous movement, so I began studying bellydance. Using my intuition, I found my way to a sinous series of bellydance movements that helped me tune into my true self and let go of fear. There was something about moving my body in a mindful state that brought hope, confidence, and sheer joy into my being. I wish that for you.

gopher_snake_lgI knew that I had “graduated” from my dancing with fear program when I encountered a snake one day on a hike. My first instinctual reaction was curiosity, rather than fear. I stood for a long time looking at that snake, wondering what it would do (it eventually slithered off in search of food). Since that time I’ve traveled to Peru alone, climbed mountains, and backpacked for 4-5 days in the wilderness. All without fear. I’ve learned to engage my curiosity in unfamiliar situations, and it has given me tremendous freedom in life.

Today fear is coming up in other places. Although I no longer feel scared about traveling, I do feel fear about my value, my success, and the legacy I will leave in the world. I guess it’s something that happens when you’re over 50 — new things become important that weren’t important before. But as these new fears arise, I’m dancing with them!

skeletons dancing

Right click here (or Ctrl-Click on Mac) to grab a free download of the meditation that helped me banish fear.

Click here to join the Facebook Shamanic Support Circle, a closed group of therapists and healers supporting each other.

If you’d like more help learning to dance with fear, I have a couple of other ways to support you. The first is my new Shamanic Clarity and Balance e-course.  Or you might want to join me for a new round of my Six Gateways Shamanic Initiations, a 6-week class beginning on January 1. If you’d prefer one-on-one support, I offer that too. To get started, just click here for a free 15-minute consultation with me.