Can we really calm our fears?

Can we really calm our fears?

The short answer is “Yes.” And here are some suggested ways:

You might be wondering if it’s really possible to manage fear right now, because it’s the toughest fear of all: of death.

Is there anything more terrifying than coming face to face with our own mortality?  It’s now something each one of us faces.

In our modern world we’re used to having a solution to most things. But this is different.

It’s not unprecedented, either. These “plagues” have happened throughout history. Just not in a very long time. It’s unfamiliar territory. So it’s no wonder we’re facing a national anxiety attack.

There’s no instant way to calm how we feel. But consider this: most of our fear is knee-jerk—automatic. We don’t stop to think through–rationally– how likely the worst case scenario really is.

I don’t have a magic bullet to manage fear. It takes being proactive (as in actually working to manage it) and also being aware enough to not let our fears run away with our emotions. Some reminders about how we can get through this.

Faith

If you’ve got it, lean on it. I try to access the calm I had going into my surgery this year, in which my faith assured me there could be no bad outcomes. This was the first time in my life I’d leaned on faith and it didn’t let me down.

Stay away from the news

Glance at headlines but don’t feed into the bad news frenzy which fosters more and more anxiety. I don’t need to know about more people dying, how they die, the risk factors for death or anything else. I know to stay home, to maintain hygiene and physical distance. A glance at headlines will tell me anything I need to know. Or my husband will.

Be busy or not

Sometimes we just need to space out on nothing, play with pets, take naps, watch mindless videos. If you feel like being busy, do it but there’s no obligation. Some of us can’t focus enough to get stuff accomplished. We get a pass.

Don’t fixate on the worst happening

If you do, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Try to let things flow. Note what is passing through your mind and make a choice about what you want to do with that. If you want to focus on anything focus on the love you see around you. Because I’ll bet there’s plenty.

Focus on what we have

Don’t focus on what we don’t have in our life right now. Focus on what we do have.

Life is different. It’s natural to miss our familiar routines and activities. Avoid focusing on what’s missing and instead focus on what we have: time and plenty of it. To do something or to do nothing. It’s our choice.

Avoid adding anti-anxiety meds if you can

If you take them regularly don’t stop, but if you don’t, this is the time to try to manage anxiety naturally.

Try my free downloadable audio for managing anxiety that can relax you easily. It’s guided imagery. Listen daily, using earbuds but not while driving or doing anything else. Find it here.

If you’d prefer to get a daily emailed mantra for positive good health, so you start the day with a positive thought, they’re free, too. You get one a day for 35 days and you can sign up here.

And if you’re already battling a condition, you can get 50 healing affirmations (one a day) free by email as well right here.

Share these helpful tools with anyone suffering anxiety or who needs help to manage fear. There’s no catch, you won’t get added to a mailing list.

Thanks for visiting…Stay safe, well and anxiety-free.

How to create an altar in your home

How to create an altar in your home

home-altarLucy Seligman is guest posting today on a topic dear to my heart–creating a home altar. And here she is:

A home altar is a sacred space just for you that you have created. Think of it as a sacred space for holding and focusing energy in your home; a place for reflection, say your positive affirmations, and for inspiration. Beyond that, it can be used to raise your positive vibrations, connect with your Higher Self, for manifestation, and even a place to set aside the stresses of your daily life.

The ABCs of creating a home altar

Altars can be a very powerful, transformative, creative and fun activity for you to enhance your life and to remove obstacles in your journey to whatever it is you are manifesting. Your altars may change as you attain whatever it is you wanted, and you set new goals, aspirations etc. An altar is never static—it is a fluid, changeable and a flexible energy tool for you to use.

Your altar, like you, may grow and evolve as your life changes. Enjoy the process!

Types of Home Altars

You decide on what type of altar(s) you want, and you can have more than one! There is another type of altar just for honoring your ancestors and or other beloved close friends, with their photo’s, perhaps a memento of theirs, flowers and so on.

Another example could be for you to create an altar for the New Year, as a way to focus in and set your goals. The list is endless, but you could do an altar for prosperity, for love, for healing—whether physically, emotionally or spiritually.

home-altarWhy is an altar useful?

Use it daily to build and increase your positive energy, as a focus for your life, work or project, to manifest effortlessly all your desires, to clear out negative blocks/energy, set daily intentions etc.
What to Put in a Home Altar
Your altar can be as ornate or as simple as you want. The main thing is that it resonates with you and is meaningful. And it doesn’t have to be expensive, items can be handmade, found at a thrift store or dollar store, or what you have around your house!

Elements of a Home Altar

All the elements that you choose to place on your altar should be cleansed regularly—with salt, with sage, or with incense to name a few ways you can use to purify the elements of your altar, yourself and the surrounding space. Place a cloth under your altar: it can be an altar cloth, a pretty scarf, or even a piece of fabric that you like.

Examples of the 5 Classic Elements:

Water: Placed in a nice glass or cup
Air: Use incense, a feather or a bell
Fire: Candles
Earth: Crystals, gemstones or stones
Spirit: A bowl of salt to cleanse and attract energy

You can also place important and meaningful books to you on your altar, favorite affirmations alongside ornaments, photo’s and or artwork that hold a deep meaning to you, as well as flowers if you want.

Offerings: Should be from your heart. It can be food, such as rice, corn, or fruit to name a few. Think of your offering as an energy exchange between the physical and spiritual realm.

Where to place a home altar

Since this is your own sacred space, find an area in your house or garden that you can use in privacy. You can use a small table, a chest, a bookshelf, top of a dresser, a nightstand, or even on a window ledge. You can even have a pocket altar! Make it beautiful and meaningful to you wherever it may be.

Overall, the key to enjoying your home altar is just that – enjoy it! Don’t overthink it or worry about having the “right” components; this is your space!

home-altarLucy Seligman is founder of Zen Coaching with Lucy. She offers coaching packages  to help guide you to where you want to go.

She even offers Laser Coaching Sessions where in just 30 minutes you can focus in on one issue/problem and attain clarity, a plan, and usually a resolution.

Learn more about her services at www.lucyseligman.com.

My guru has joined the other angels

Ram-Dass

Photo Credit: Carol Cassara / Maui / Dec. 2018

He is as close to a guru as I will ever have, a guiding figure, a sage, an angel on earth and a generational influence we will never see again.  Guru: one who removes the darkness. A gateway to God.

Ram Dass has joined the other angels and is now spreading his love and joy from the afterlife and for that I am both happy and sad.

I was lucky enough to meet him in Dec. 2018 at his Maui retreat and to have several loving interactions with him there. It was my first time at one of his retreats. I was called to go because I knew his time here was limited. It was a miracle that I got in–the event sold out in six minutes, but I was there lurking when registration opened and quickly got a place.

It was a magical five days. Many exuberant highs and also deep introspection. I came away with a love of chanting and renewed dedication to loving kindness.

Ram-DassAbove is a signed photo taken for the cover of one of his books. I bid on it at the retreat in a silent auction held to raise funds for his ongoing care. It now sits on my dresser and is one of the first things I see every morning. His eyes are beautiful, mesmerizing, so on fire at that time, with all of the intellectual excitement involved in bringing his experience in India to the rest of the world in ways we could digest. His many books. His lectures.

And then, some 20 years ago, a debilitating stroke. He lived a very long time with those disabilities. The brain was fully intact but expression was another matter. How frustrating for such a major intellect and yet, he saw it as a lesson. As he saw everything. As I try to see everything. I try.

And he lived with joy and love.

I am grateful that I got to be in his company, that I met him, looked into his eyes and he in mine, and both sent and received unconditional love.

Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram

Do you believe in intercessory prayer?

intercessory-prayerThe other day I sent condolences to a family friend upon hearing of the death of his mother. He is a priest.

“May she intercede for us now with your parents,” he responded.

Well a few things.

First, I think he meant “may she and your parents intercede for us” because the intercession was meant to be with God, not my parents. Not that I didn’t want God to intercede with my parents more than once when I was a kid. But, no, not now. Nor do they need to intercede with God for me.

Ok, maybe my friend might think I need the help, given what I do for a living. Past-life regressionists aren’t a thing in the current Catholic Church, although evidence for reincarnation can be found in the Bible (Hebrews, for example). Then again, the Bible can be interpreted to provide evidence for ANYTHING. So not a very credible source.

But back to my priest-friend.

You have no idea how hard it was to resist responding that I had been in touch with my parents quite a bit over the past 20 yenergy-healingears and everyone’s good, no intercession needed. In fact, my spirit guides already interceded, that is, stepped in to talk to me in my parents’ place. Super helpful.

But then again, he is a Catholic priest, and I am pretty sure he would flip his cassock at talking with the dead. (I love you T, I do! We just believe differently!)

Here’s the other thing: do we really need any kind of intercessory prayer? It’s definitely a big part of Catholicism. And, Catholic or not, most of us pray for what we badly desire. Healing. Peace, A change in circumstances.

But is intercessory prayer necessary?

I’m reminded of something I read in the book series, Conversations with God. And that is this:

We already have what we need. 

So what would we ask for?

Asking in prayer for whatever supports my highest good is a better “ask” for me.  Because I do believe in a plan. I do believe that are reasons for everything that happens and it’s all related to our personal growth or that of others. Yes, I get how that is hard for some to swallow. None of us wants to believe there is a reason for tragedy. For evil.  I have to admit, it’s an acquired perspective. It’s mine; I don’t force it on anyone.

But there I go again, riffing on intercessory prayer. Wondering where you sit on the issue. Would love to hear your thoughts in the Comments.

When death anniversaries blindside you

When death anniversaries blindside you

death-anniversaryI am not a weepy person by nature.

Oh sure, I cry when I have to and am not in the least embarrassed to.

But I’m not someone who weeps at the drop of hat.

A few weeks ago our friend and Cutie’s foster mama told us she was moving to another state. She and her dogs, “the cousins,” had become like family to us, so it was a loss.

But was it so much a loss that I’d be constantly tearing up about it?

I like her very much and her dogs have are part of our extended family.

But did it make sense to be so weepy? People move every day. People have come into and left my life over and over. It’s just part of life and I didn’t usually get so emotional. Constantly emotional. Like I’ve been.

death-anniversaryAnd then, one day last week, while driving, it hit me. This week is the second anniversary of my beloved Riley’s death. My heart dog. My soulmate dog. The dog love of my life.

But that’s not all. On Dec. 21 it will be 20 years since my .mother died and on Dec. 27 it will be four years since my dear, dear friend made her own transition. Not just one death anniversary. Three. But wait. Some 40 years ago my grandfather died Thanksgiving week. So really, FOUR. (Scroll down for all their photos)

This most recent loss, while not by death, was just another blow in the holiday season.

Death anniversaries. They sneak up on you. And have a deeper impact than we might think, especially over the holidays.

Sure, you might THINK you should be “over it by now” but the truth is, some losses are always there. They hurt always and forever. You always feel the void. Like Riley’s. My mother. My friend.

That’s why this season is a particularly important time to be kind and gentle with those suffering loss or a death anniversary. You might not be able to tell, but chances are, they are feeling it.

That’s another reason I am constantly mentioning my supportive grief products: a beautiful remembrance candle made especially for them. The Guided Journal through Grief. Transforming grief affirmations. And both condolence gift options.

This is a time when these gentle and beautiful tools can be especially helpful. I hope you will take a look and consider who in your life might need a little thoughtful support.

Here’s my honor roll:

pet-condolence

My beautiful boy, Riley. Missed so much.

death-anniversary

Mom and me in the mid 1990s, California.

death-annivesary

Marilyn & me 20 years ago.

My beloved Papa and me.

When you grieve hard

When you grieve hard

mothers-deathNo one has grieved harder than me.

Those are the words that just came off my keyboard. And then, a second later, I thought about grieving parents. And that grief isn’t a contest. It just isn’t. We all grieve as hard as we need to and as long as we need to. That’s truth.

Mom’s been gone 20 years now. 20 years! An eternity, I was going to write, and a second later I thought, “We’re all living in eternity.”

Yeah, there’s no winning when you 1) work in grief and 2) work in afterlife stuff.

My mother’s death was huge for me. The biggest thing that had ever happened to me, and the most mysterious.

So in that last year of her life I traveled thousands of miles every month to spend a week or two at her hospital bedside and as I walked into the hospital every day of every visit, an essay was writing itself in my head. I took everything around me in. And then finally, after she died, this piece came out of me.

It sat around for month, years even, and then, a few years later, was accepted for publication in a literary magazine affiliated with a medical school.

Mom’s death catapulted me into a search for the answer to this question: “Where did she go?” and that led me on a spiritual journey that hasn’t stopped. A story for another day.

I read once that the death of the mother is the first sorry wept without her. How true that is.

For today, though, the day before what would’ve been her 94th birthday, I’m sharing this piece in her memory.