This Week’s Self-Reflective Practice: Projection Part II~ Take Action

Projection: “Psychological projection is a defense mechanism people subconsciously employ in order to cope with difficult feelings or emotions. Psychological projection involves projecting undesirable feelings or emotions onto someone else, rather than admitting to or dealing with the unwanted feelings.” (Everyday Health, https://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/psychological-projection-dealing-with-undesirable-emotions/, 11/15/17)

Are you aware of projection? Do you know what it feels like when it happens to you? Do you know when you are doing it to someone else? 

It is important that we understand what projection is, what it feels like when it happens to us, and when we are doing it to someone else. It is also important to note that we project, not only our emotions, but also our thoughts, beliefs and expectations. 

Last week on The Soul Reporter Blog, was Part I of being self-reflective about projection. There, I used the metaphor of a blank billboard in order to bring awareness to what might be projected onto ourselves by others and what we project onto others. I asked: “What words, images, beliefs, thoughts and feelings might be covering that highway sign?”

Today, I thought I’d give an example to help move the reflection forward with intention and action…..

Last week, I talked about a heated discussion with a family member, where big emotions, along with thoughts and beliefs were projected at me. Although, as I mentioned, this is a common occurrence, this time, I noticed a different response from myself. In the past, when projection is happening, I’d immediately react and defend myself. If I were really triggered, I’d project my own stuff. However, this time, instead of projecting my thoughts and emotions, I stayed steady. 

What I mean by staying steady is I stayed present in the experience and in my body. I kept my emotions regulated. In this steady space, I observed instead of reacted. I was aware of the physical sensations in my body: nervousness in my chest and belly and frustration in my head space. I was intentional about my breath, and feeling my feet upon the ground. I noticed that what was coming at me, even when I felt triggered, was not mine AND that I did not have to make it mine. 

In this steady space, a couple things were clear: I have grown and there is so much valuable information in the space when we slow down and stay steady. 

This week, I’d like to propose another self-reflective practice for us. 

Self-Reflective Action

The challenge is to stay steady in experiences that are triggering for us. Maybe you’ll be watching something on the news and feel triggered. Maybe, from your practice from last week, you’ll notice someone projecting their thoughts and feelings onto you. See if you can slow this all down. It might help to even say to yourself: slow it down. Then, what are you noticing. Do you notice a space between you and what is triggering for you. What is in that space? What knowledge and possibilities exist? 

Once the moment passes, reflect. Do you notice you made a different response? What can you recall from that space in between you and the experience? 

This week is still about noticing, and also being intentional about seeing if there is another possibility in an experience that triggers stress and agitations. Once this occurs, be intentional about reflecting upon the change. You can do this by journaling. By sharing with someone you trust. By self-talk. This will help to integrate the new change, if it is welcomed by you, into your life. 

I’d love to hear of your experiences this week. Having somewhere or someone to share your personal growth learnings can be therapeutic and continue you on a self-reflective journey. Leave your comments here or email me @ thesoulreporter@gmail.com. Also, follow me on Facebook, Instgram and Twitter and share your experiences there. 

Next week will be a new topic: open to your suggestions…..

~The Soul Reporter  

This Week’s Self-Reflective Practice: Notice Projection

Projection: “Psychological projection is a defense mechanism people subconsciously employ in order to cope with difficult feelings or emotions. Psychological projection involves projecting undesirable feelings or emotions onto someone else, rather than admitting to or dealing with the unwanted feelings.” (Everyday Health, https://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/psychological-projection-dealing-with-undesirable-emotions/, 11/15/17)

Are you aware of projection? Do you know what it feels like when it happens to you? Do you know when you are doing it to someone else? 

It is important to understand what projection is, what it feels like when it happens to us, and when we are doing it to someone else. It is also important to note that we project, not only our emotions, but also our thoughts, beliefs and expectations. 

Photo by Gavin Allanwood on Unsplash

This is important because projection is painful. It hurts others. It stagnates our personal growth. It destabilizes relationships. The image above—a blank billboard—is a metaphor for projection. Any and everything can be projected onto it. And, whatever is projected belongs to the one projecting, not the billboard.

What if we could see all the projections on that billboard that have been thrown onto us? What would we see? What would we see on that billboard from our own projections onto others? What words, images, beliefs, thoughts and feelings might be covering that highway sign?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

This morning, in a heated discussion with a family member, big emotions, along with thoughts and beliefs were projected at me. This is unfortunately a common occurrence. When it was over, as I processed the experience while making my bed, I felt sadness, and thought: projections are traumatic occurrences. They come at us, perhaps constantly, in subtle and not so subtle ways, both consciously and unconsciously. It made me wonder: how do all of these projections impact our overall wellbeing……?

Self-Reflective Practice

This week, I’d like to propose a self-reflective practice for us. This practice seems timely, as I notice the current events, political and as the many shifts occurring on our planet and within our selves. 

The practice is to notice projections. Notice if you see it happening from people in the news, celebrities and politicians. Notice if you see it happening by friends and family. Notice if it is happening to you. What do you notice in your body when it happens? What thoughts do you notice? What do you notice about the person doing the projecting? And finally, notice if you are projecting onto others. What is covering the billboard?

This week is only about noticing. That’s it. Next week, we can go deeper. I’d love to hear what you notice this week. Share with me in comments.  

~The Soul Reporter

The Helpers

Who are the helpers in your life right now?

These are the obvious people and the not so obvious. They are the ones who give you medicine or herbs when you’re off balance and the ones who cut your hair. They are the ones who provide you a place to sleep or food to share. Helpers are everywhere. And, we are all helpers.

My present helpers

The helpers coming into my life right now are what I’ll call energy companions. They have shown up after a good twenty-seven years of countless dark nights of the soul. They arrive to restore my soul, replenish my mind and body, and repair what has been unhealthy relationship dynamics. I’m so excited about these helpers that I am going to list a few of them:

Energy Worker Ed: I met with Ed in December 2018 after an intense time that began in mid-October. After our session, I was grounded and my aura was attached again. Although this may sound woo-woo to some, it has made a tremendous impact. Irregular behavioral and thought patterns, along with codependent relationship dynamics, ones I’ve been struggling with for many years, have totally untangled. There is now space within myself where I experience discernment and wisdom. Also, I am more attuned to energy that I pick up from people and environment. Plus, my intution is coming back after being buried in internal conflict and stress.

Social Work Supervisor & Friend: Had it not been for this special person in my life, I would not have met Ed or read this book (which I highly recommend as it sheds light on our deep, unconscious patterns): Astrology for the Soul. Not only has she been a light toward much needed resources on my reparative journey, she has provided an experience of relational repair. In my past I’ve had dissatisfying friendships and a lack of a supportive people. She calls herself my cheerleader, and I feel it and grow to accept this from her more and more everyday.

Caitlin: She is the new stylist I found, recommended to me by my mother-in-law (if you’d like to read my interview with my mother-in-law, who is a style expert and consultant, click on this link). Between hormonal changes, stress, and who knows what environmental toxins, my hair has been beaten up. I once had a head full of healthy, vibrant curls. Now, in my mid-40’s it hardly curls at all. But Caitlin is here to help me repair the hair. Accordingly, she says she has been meeting more and more women that are having the same concerns. She not only takes her time with a cut, she educates and is another cheerleader— but one encouraging another round of vibrant hair. Not to mention, the products she recommends: fabulous, and pricey, but pure magic.

Graduation 1990
Before haircut w/ Caitlin
After

My job and co-workers: Now out of grad school, and no longer a social work temp, I’ve a permanent position as a school social worker. This job is unique and offers a kind of flexibility and space I’ve not had before. The needs are great among students, and because of its structure, there are opportunities to create student curriculum, groups and psychoeducation topics. The environment is nearly stress free and the staff are friendly, supportive and fun. It’s a gift.

And, tomorrow I meet with an Ayruvedic practitioner whom I trust will provide me with even more pathways toward restoration and re-balance. M

Prior to these companions were energy vampires. These people are helpers, but that is not their intention. These people are often the most wounded and lost among us and need the energy of others to feel whole and secure.

In our current “live your best life” phenomenon, we are told by “the experts” to remove these toxic people from our lives. To some extent, I do agree. However, they have a lot to teach us. They teach us how to set boundaries. They encourage us to dig deeper within ourselves and ask: what in me has attracted this person right now?

In this new year, I sense more integration and unity and less compartmentalizing and separating. I hope for more clarity and thoughtfulness, and a slowing down of what has become a high paced and distracting reaction for many of us. For example, if we want to rid ourselves of a person, place or thing- before we toss what does not bring joy, let us slow down and check-in: have we learned what we need to learn?Have we allowed this person/place/thing to make us a wiser person?

We often rush to our joy, but we miss the process that will actually and eventually bring us to it.

Before I close, since I’ve mentioned energy- we are energy beings. We are more than flesh, blood and bone. We are more than our thoughts. In order to fully grow, evolve and change we have to move beyond our thoughts. To think (intellectualize) through change is not enough. I have learned we must also feel our way to change, and then move into our energy body where energetic shifts (you know like being grounded and having your aura attached ;)) occur. These many layers, which make us a human being, must all be integrated for true change to occur. And gratefully, look at all our helpers!

Namaste, The Soul Reporter

The Journey is not far. It’s expansive.

Moss: one of my favorite things. Had I known I could have made a career…-2

(1) Tangled

The journey is not far. It is expansive.

Moss: one of my favorite things. Had I known I could have made a career…-4

(2) The Return

I went for a forest walk this morning. I entered, expectant. Further along, afraid.  What twists and turns might I face? As a woman, would a man try and hurt me? As a human in mid-life, more feelings of loss? As a spiritual being, enlightenment? The wondering passed and my feet on the path continued. The journey felt far, and at times I felt tangled within it with no escape, like that branch above (1). As the path turned I found a paved path. It led where I began. The return was so close, and had always been (2). 

 

Nature can be used as a metaphor for our personal/spiritual journeys. It can be symbolic of our relationships with ourselves and others. Today for me, feeling entangled in the forest, and then to find the paved path to where I began, was a metaphor of my journey. Within the journey are many twists and turns, moments of being snared and entangled, to then being pushed into a clear open space. There is darkness. There is light. There is mess, debris and branches and old leaves everywhere (3). All of this tricks the mind that I have gone too far from myself, from where I began, and will not make it to where I am trying to go. But— my feet continue to step. The path leads to where I began and I see I was never far away, I was really never far at all, ever, and will not be again.

Below are the images and metaphors from my forest walk. Tip: if you’re feeling stuck creatively or worried about where you are on the journey, take your own nature walk. See what you see, how it reflects where you are and how it can be used to provide you with some expression and guidance.

Moss: one of my favorite things. Had I known I could have made a career…-3

This instantly brought tears to my eyes. I see two trees meeting together at the root, joined at the heart and growing individually as one.

Moss: one of my favorite things. Had I known I could have made a career…-5

Change & the touch of Autumn

Moss: one of my favorite things. Had I known I could have made a career…-7

(3) The mess of the forest and as it should be: as it is.

Moss: one of my favorite things. Had I known I could have made a career…

Moss: how I love thee. Had I known I could have made a career studying moss I might have changed my major. Seems to me studying moss may be more enjoyable than the study of people and relationships. #IAmASocialWorker

Moss: one of my favorite things. Had I known I could have made a career…-6

Moss: one of my favorite things. Had I known I could have made a career…-1

Remnant of summer, still reaching toward the sun.

The Soul Reporter.

The Broken Place.

The Broken Place It’s from here where all of our distortions and dysfunctions originate. We will often, unconsciously so, create meaning and lives and experiences and relationships from these distortions, which originate from this broken place. In time, the meanings, … Continue reading

Guest Post: “The One Who Walks Beside.”

On December 11, 2015 my father lost his wife. Below are the words, images, lessons and teachings from his experience…..

There is an American Indian phrase that is used to designate the person who walks beside another, through out their life; it is, “the one who walks beside.”  This simple expression is clearly referring to a spouse, a best friend, a brother, a sister, etc., who, regardless of the kind of conditions or circumstances that surround the beloved person, will walk by his or her’s side.  This kind of relationship exudes characteristics of loyalty, love, support, protection, respect, selflessness: my wife would say, “they are attached at the hip.”

This phrase accurately describes the relationship my wife and I had.  She was the one who walked beside.  I say “was” because my wife passed away, unexpectedly Dec. 11, 2015.  My wife, Mary Lou, was  not feeling well after Thanksgiving.  She complained of stomach pains, thinking she had an urinary infection, which she had had several times previous.  We went to urgent care, and she was diagnosed with a severe urinary infection, and was given three antibiotic pills.  Mary Lou seemed satisfied that the pills would cure her infection, as they had on previous occasions, and she would be fully recovered in three days.  The next day, Mary Lou wasn’t feeling any better and complained of lower back pain and a severe headache.  We went to see an orthopedic doctor who took x-rays of her lower  back with the result that, other than some arthritis her lumbar area was fine.  The next day Mary Lou was getting weaker. and we decided to go to the hospital emergency facility.  She was so weak that she could not put on her socks and shoes, I had to put them on her feet. Continue reading…..

Dear Mom, Why Can’t I Love You?

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I was in a workshop, my mother sitting a couple seats down. I am looking at her and I hear this question, Why can’t I love you? This question lived within me for the next several days—and then I sat down and wrote her a letter.

Dear Mom,

Lately, I especially notice I cannot look at you. I notice when I am around you who I truly am shuts down and I become broken and numb. But when you aren’t looking I do look at you. In these moments I feel sad for you. I wonder what it’s like to be you right now. Are you lonely? Are you afraid? I want to hug you. I want to tell you I love you.

I know one day you won’t be here. Or maybe I won’t. Either way I know there will be no one else in my life like you. No one to get on my nerves like you do. No one to give me newspaper clippings about the newest eyeshadow color or my birthday horoscope. No one to ask me how I am that actually wants to know and no one who will look at me like you do or give me a bag full of presents—some bought, some taken from your own shelves for my birthday. There’s no one like you.

And, yet I throw away those newspaper clippings. I criticize your bag full of goodies. I reject the look you can only give and the words to me you only say. I do all this while knowing someday you won’t be here. Mom, why won’t I love you. This letter is my attempt to at least try.

I love you mom.

The past is over. Who you’ve been to me, these reasons I’ve told myself why you aren’t worthy of my love are not real. With the past in the past, the present and the future now have the possibility of me having a new experience with you. I am open and ready for this. I invite you to be also. Thank you for listening.

~Nikki

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What I realized from writing, and than sharing this letter with my mom, and later that group of people at that workshop is I was relating to my mom from the past and the future. I was using stories I created about her from the past, even ones I worked through about her not being available for me to justify not expressing love to her because I fear a future without her. Isn’t it funny how we think creating distance with ones we love will somehow protect us….

I’m opening to a new experience with my mother because I know living a life of survival and protection from the past and the future is a small and isolated way to live. I do not want to have regrets and I want to experience another possibility with my mother.

Thanks for being a part of this exchange with my mother,

The Soul Reporter.

Paint with Love.

Source: xxjenliu.tumblr.com via Casey on Pinterest

Love is the key- the simple solution but often so hard to achieve.

It has been a long while since I have written, at least anything of great length. I was in transition- I believed from bearing my entire soul on each blog entry, which I have done for many years, to something entirely new, although I didn’t know what. But, it turns out that wasn’t really the transition I was making.

You see, there was something going on within me, beneath the surface- a battle of sorts. On my spiritual path, I’ve faced many of these, and the ultimate one is between love and fear. This battle of love and fear is what was rumbling.

In this battle love does not fight. In fact, love gently and powerfully leads the way even, it seems, when it looks like fear is winning. We often talk about choice, especially in this New Age of The Course in Miracles and positive self-help: choose love over fear, these teachings tell us. But love has already chosen us. The work then becomes knowing this in a conscious and connected way. This is our evolutionary route—back to love and what we can choose is whether we want to be a conscious participant or not on this journey.

I have a personal example. Tonight, during a conversation with my significant other, I watched myself move from being led by fear to being led by love. It seemed to have happened instantaneously, but actually there have been signs this transition was on its way. And, finally tonight I was able to put it into practice. I guess I could say I chose this practice of leading with love, but mostly it just happened as a natural course of my evolution of consciously participating in my route back to love.

As it happened, this transition to love, I kept going with it because it felt so good. It was so liberating. Somehow I knew there was a solution here- an answer I had been looking for, a remedy to my present suffering. I thought: so damn simple, but God  how I have suffered. In this one moment, in this exchange with my husband, I kept throwing love whereas I would usually throw more fear. In my fear I don’t give him the benefit of the doubt. I am paranoyed, afraid he might leave me. I cling and control. Nothing gets resolved and only more pain and suffering ensues.

I always thought it was because I was co-dependent and crazy, which yes, there are many moments this appears true, but actually I love this man. I love him a lot. And I guess this love has frightened me, and instead of taking this love and painting beauty with it, I have taken it, hoarded it, been ignorant of it, and allowed it to almost turn preverse and paint ugly with it. (And of course, it hasn’t helped I have been hurt in this relationship as well).

As my fear told me he was purposely avoidng my calls and texts and I began to feel that familiar panic, love was there and allowed me to be honest. To say things about what was really going on inside me. I actually merged with the truth, instead of swimming around it where the fear lurks, and the truth of this moment was—I don’t want to hurt anymore. I will believe him. I will love in the face of adversity, stress and fear. I will love. Love is the safety net, the simple solution—nothing else.

But this simple solution is not always easy to come by, even though we talk about it like it is. The reason why it is difficult to go to this safety net is because it takes quite a bit for us to get really honest and really real with our selves, with what is really going on within us. We are afraid of the fear and afraid of the love and we move around in chaos and confusion until finally we don’t want to hurt anymore. Until finally we want and are ready for a solution to our suffering.

To love, I mean really love in the face of fear and adversity takes preparation—almost as though we must prepare to receive the love that is within us. We must be ready for it, therefore this process cannot be forced. It must unfold, naturally, and it will. It does. It is.

Love is the gentle force behind the fear. There will come a time in its unfolding when it breaks through and shows us its power and lets us feel its presence within us. That is the time of liberation and restoration. And then love can become our practice. Our way. Our truth.

The Soul Reporter

Are You Recreating Your Childhood With Your Partner?

Got a new column over at elephant journal, and I’m talking about marriage.

Here is the first post:

The Soul Reporter on Growing Up Your Love.

The other day, my husband informed me via text he was going to do something he knew I might not approve of. Him sharing this with me is a new behavior. In the past, I found out these things by accident or because I was snooping around.

I told him how I felt about what he was going to do. I threw in the kids: “Do you think it is a good choice considering we have children?”

Turns out, I had no influence. He was still going to do what he wants to do, and I fell into a funk and sent him this text:

To continue reading…