Monday, January 14, 2013

Is Your Anger Serving You?

St. Augustine has a wonderful quote about anger.  "Hope has two beautiful daughters.  Anger that things are the way they are.  Courage to make them the way they ought to be." I find comfort in his belief that hope can give birth to anger and courage.  Anger can be a great motivating source.  Imagine if Ghandi never got angry at the way things were in India?  What if the Founding Fathers never got mad they were taxed without representation?  Anger can often get us to change things, to make a difference in our life, to shake things up.  Sometimes we have to get really angry before we can see how far off our spiritual path we've wandered.  And that's okay too.

Where anger becomes a problem is when we find it difficult to move through that emotion to the next one -- courage to make the changes required by the thing we're mad about.  I know someone whose husband divorced her for another woman, actually a friend of hers.  It was 1982.  He was an investment banker, so she received a generous alimony that she would continue to receive until she remarried.  So just to stick it to him, she never remarried.  She's 67 now, lives alone and still receives that monthly alimony check.  Her ex is still happily married to the woman he left her for.  Hmm, so did she really stick it to him? How is that anger serving her?

I have a client whom I'll call Jan.  She and her five sisters were raised by an angry father who only got angrier during drunken rages.  Twelve years ago, he entered AA, straightened up his life and apologized to his whole family.  Everyone accepted his apology except my client Jan.  Now she's mad at her sisters for sharing the holidays with their dad and so she gets to spend the holidays alone.  How is her anger serving her?

There are several members of my family -- too many to count -- who get ridiculously angry over politics.  However, unless they choose to start petitions, write editorials or run for office themselves, how is that anger serving them?  All it does is raise their blood pressure.

If you're feeling angry about someone or something in your life, analyze that anger.  Often what we're really angry at is our lack of control over the situation.  I remember reading a research article that said 90% of people don't cry due to sadness but rather frustration because they have no control over the situation.  You might be angry because you've allowed a situation to go on for too long.  You might be angry because people have treated you badly.  Unfairness is common root of anger.  Look at your anger and then ask yourself, "Is this anger serving me or am I serving it?"  Look at the ways in which you are feeding your anger.  How often do you think about the situation or person you're angry with?  How often do you talk about it with friends?

Anger isn't all bad.  Anger is empowering. It reminds us that we have a right to feel our feelings.  Anger gets us moving and changing our lives.  Where anger is bad is when we choose to stay stuck there.  Ask yourself if you're staying stuck with anger in a part of your life.  Is there an old boss you're still mad at?  Do you have unresolved anger with a parent or sibling?  Do you still hold resentment toward an ex?  And then there's the big question:  are you mad at yourself?

Once you can recognize the source of your anger, try sending love to yourself and the person or situation involved. Just picture waves of pink and white light braiding around the two of you wrapping you in healing energy.  Ask God to heal the situation for you affirming that you are open to looking at this situation or person in a new light.  Repeat to yourself, "I am willing to release the need to feel angry."

Once you drop the anger, you'll feel so much healthier and lighter.  It's the best diet out there!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Crystal of the Week: Angelite

Angelite is a great stone to meditate with if you're trying to connect with your guardian angel.  Often referred to as the Stone of Angels or the Stone of Peace, it helps eliminate fear, anxiety and worry.  Spiritually, Angelite helps to convert anger, remorse and regret into healing.  Because of its beautiful robin egg's blue color, Angelite is a throat chakra stone that will help you gently but firmly speak your truth.  Wearing or carrying Angelite will help you bring in the energy of angels and your spirit guides.

Angelite increases clairvoyance and clairaudience.

With its gentle and loving vibration, it helps repel cruelty from others and acts a stone of psychic protection.  If you have to be around a negative person, try giving them a piece of Angelite because it will increase their sense of compassion and empathy.  If you're working on forgiveness, Angelite is a great stone to carry with you as its calming energy will help you move through the healing process with serenity and grace.

It's a great stone for healers because it helps to raise one's vibrations, it increases one's compassion and yet it provides the protection that healers need when working with another's energy.

Working with Angelite helps to alleviate unnecessary suffering.

If you are separated from a loved one, you should each carry a piece of Angelite to strengthen your connection as it's known to enhance telepathy.

Many intuitives have had success with astral travel using Angelite.

Please make note that Angelite can never be near water.  With a hardiness of just 3.5, it scratches easily and is ruined by water.  To cleanse your Angelite, simply place it in a bowl of sage or rice.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Facing the Year Fearlessly

I wasn't born a fearful person; life taught me to be fearful.  I wonder how true that statement is for many of you reading this.  As a little girl, I'm told I was quite the diva.  Precocious is how my father described me while my mother claims I was a girl who always  knew what she wanted.  But my dad wanted to be successful and climb that corporate ladder, so he whenever he got a promotion or a better job offer, off we'd move.  Between kindergarten and 8th grade, I attended four different schools. I had many mean teachers throughout my educational career who planted one fear in me:  Speaking in front of people.   This one fear held me back in many ways throughout the oncoming years.

When I got to high school, I came out of my shell a little.  But even there I only tried out for the school newspaper.  Writing and reading were two places that I felt safe.  Even though all my friends were either cheerleaders or field hockey players, I refused to try out.  It was just too scary.  When I got to college, I joined a sorority and when, a year later, the graduating officers asked me to run for president, I was flattered.  But I said no.  The president of my sorority had to travel for two major events and give speeches in front of hundreds of people.  There was no way I could do that.

At my sister's rehearsal dinner, I was told by my older sister that as the maid of honor I had to give a speech.  Huh?  I had no idea.  I got up, tinkled my glass and then stumbled through a terrible speech with a shaky voice that ended with my crying, "I love you Courtney."  Then my older sister stood up and unrolled a scroll on which she'd written a poem.  She read it perfectly, smoothly making eye contact with everyone.  That poem was later framed and still hangs above my sister's mantel.  I never gave another speech at a wedding again -- maid of honor or not.

Do you see what I'm getting at?  Our fears hold us back.  Fear is that little voice in your head that whispers, "You can't do it."  "Who do you think you are anyway?"  "Everyone will laugh at you."  If I had to draw a picture of fear, I would paint handcuffs because that's what fear does.  It chains us down, keeps us stuck.

The night before the start of my junior year of college, I couldn't sleep.  My advisor had been pressuring me to declare a major.  I'd started out as an art major, but I was scared by how much better everyone else was.  I switched to journalism, but after a summer internship at a TV station in Hartford, CT, I decided that tract was way too boring for me.  Finally, at 3 am, I woke up my dad and said, "Dad, I have to declare a major tomorrow and I don't know what to be."  He rubbed his eyes and said, "What's your favorite subject?"  I didn't have to think about that.  "History," I said.  "Then major in that.  Now go back to bed."

So I did and I loved it.  I loved every single history class and teacher I had, and it soon became clear that the only career I could pursue with a history major was teaching.  I was terrified of becoming a teacher, but I was terrified of not becoming a teacher too.  Studying and teaching history were all I wanted to do.  I remember my first day of teaching.  I had gum in my mouth and I was so nervous that it dissolved in my mouth.  Gone.  I can still remember every student's name from that first semester and every single lesson plan I taught.  I would write and re-write my lesson plans over and over until I had memorized them and then I would teach it to whoever around me would listen.  By the time I got to class the next day, I didn't even need notes.  The first week of school I threw up most mornings.  I always got sick before the twice yearly teacher evaluations.  But by the end of that first year, I knew one thing: I was a good teacher.  By the end of the second year, I learned that I was a good speaker.

Having to face my fear and speak in front of people and deal with all sorts of new situations has taught me that fear is the enemy not the imaginary thing you're afraid of.  And trust me, I've had to face many scary situations in the classroom.  I've had my very own stalker.  I've taught three men who were admitted murderers and two who committed murder while they were my students.  I've taught strippers, homeless people, drug addicts, angry students, depressed ones, and happy ones.  And you know what?  They all taught me something.  That's the thing about facing your fears.  Once you do, you grow and learn and reach new heights that were before unimaginable.

When my dear friend George passed away at the tender age of 27 from colon cancer, I was asked to read something at his memorial.  He was a special man, loved by many, so his memorial was held at Kenan Auditorium where several hundred people gathered to say goodbye.  When it was my turn to get up and read, I wasn't even nervous.  I had already faced my fear.  Hundreds of times.  I am still to this day so happy that I had already faced my biggest fear and could honor my friend in this way.

When my husband was shot in the line of duty, and I learned that city would only pay his salary for 21 days, I stood in front of city council and demanded one year's salary for all first responders.  Yes, I did cry a little, but my voice didn't shake.  I made clear, concise points and the council changed the law to 12 months full pay.

Facing my fear has changed my life.  The old me could never have imagined hosting a weekly radio show, teaching workshops and classes and giving people advice on how to find and embrace their soul purpose.

Recognize your fear.  Say it aloud.  Talk about it.  Then commit to doing one thing a month that forces you to face that fear.  Let's say you're recently divorced and you're afraid of dating again.  Sign up for a new class.  Join a writing group.  Tell a friend or two you're ready to start dating.  If you've decided to return to the work force after years of staying home and find yourself afraid of facing a new work environment, take a computer class.  Volunteer for an organization that's similar to your specialty.  In short, take action.  Fear hates action.  When it sees you taking action, it slowly withers and dies.  Make a commitment this year to kill your fear.  Decide that this year at least one of your fears will be done away with.  Talk about it.  Share it with supportive friends.  Take action.  And see the wonderful changes that take place in your life.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Crystal of the Week: Peridot

Peridot, with its lovely lime green color, helps to remind us that when we have too little green in our life (lack of abundance), we can feel worried and anxious.  But when we have too much green (green with envy), we experience fear and low self-esteem.  

Often referred to as the Stone of Balance, wearing this stone will help absorb any feelings of guilt, regret or remorse as it gently helps you to forgive yourself.

If you’re going through a transition in your life, Peridot will help you face it with renewed strength and a sense of hopeful optimism.  Peridot works wonders to release feelings of anger, jealousy and depression. When set in gold, it can help to increase your confidence and absorb any sadness in your energy.

With its warm, sunny energy, Peridot can help you reach out to meet new people in your life.  It helps you to shed any old baggage and embrace new people, new goals and new opportunities. The lovely green stone is a powerful heart healer, so if you’re experiencing a heartache in your life, try wearing a Peridot necklace and soon you’ll start to feel stronger, happier and more hopeful.

Known to get things moving, this gem will help you to move forward with your goals and to take action when needed.  This is also why it’s recommended for woman to hold why they’re in labor because it’s said to help encourage the birthing process.

Peridot helps heal the healer, so it would make a great gift for a doctor, nurse, counselor or massage therapist –anyone who works in a healing capacity.

It’s a very protective stone and will help protect you from taking on the emotions of any negative or angry people around you.  The yellow in the stone increases your confidence and the green opens your heart to grow in love, so the combination helps shield you from the influences of negative people around you.

If you know someone who deals with fluctuating moods, give them a piece of Peridot because it will help them to balance their moods and feel calmer.  Newly purchased crystals take about two weeks to work with your energy, so it’s best to wear or carry the crystal with you wherever you go.  If you’ve been around a lot of negative people or feel a bit negative yourself, be sure to cleanse the crystal by holding it under running water and intending all the negativity the stone has absorbed for you to run down the drain away from the stone and you. 

This stone is best for people who are feeling stuck and need to move forward in their life because Peridot helps us to finally realize our life’s purpose – why we’re here – and gives us the courage we need to fulfill that purpose.