GRACE, MEET GRATITUDE

GRACE, MEET GRATITUDE

During the holidays, emotions can run high. Having a greater sense of grace might just be the answer for year ‘round peace of mind, according to our own Resonance Repatterning expert based in Austin, Mary Schneider, who shares her insightful perspective.

ETERNALLY GRATEFUL

In the east, it is said that gratitude opens the gates to divine grace. When we feel gratitude, no matter our life circumstances, our pain and stress can be diminished. Among other similar characteristics, grace, and gratitude have one very important trait in common…both are qualities of the heart.

 

What is grace? It is a virtue we bestow upon another. Grace is a gift available to us whenever we choose. Either way, the feelings involved are often difficult to articulate. Although it might not actually be the case, both gratitude and grace seem to be in abundance during this time of year…at least on the surface. Of course, we all recognize the holiday season can be difficult for some individuals. Grief and loss can be amplified when a holiday connection or lack thereof is central. If we haven’t experienced this phenomenon, we all know someone who has, right? And in concert with the retail trade, therapists are busy this time of year: I haven’t seen my sister in a year. You might think, I must get into his life again because of the holidays.

 

What is tricky here is to be able to find gratitude in what looks to be worry or pain. Grace allows this through acceptance, a highly spiritual concept that cannot be underestimated. Taught in numerous recovery programs, what it underscores in addiction is the inability to accept whatever circumstances we’ve been given. To be sure, the first requirement of healing addiction is to accept we are an addict. Grace is also the gift we receive in true acceptance. To contact gratitude inside of this acceptance accelerates the healing process.

 

GRACE’S LAND

Whenever we encounter grace, there is a deep connection to and within ourselves, whether we are aware of it or not. Like the consciousness underlying everything, grace is always available for us to access from within. Grace can appear in a challenging situation, and it can alter the outcome in powerful, sometimes dramatic ways. What appears to be unresolvable is no longer. Sometimes it may take us by surprise when we recognize a shift weeks after it occurred.

 

Over the centuries, much has been written about grace in all faiths and spiritual paths. In the Christian tradition, grace is benignly and generously given by God meritoriously: it is earned. In other writings, it is seen as a state, as in, “She has been observed to be living in a state of grace.” There has historically been a disagreement between the concepts of grace and free will. This was resolved for me when I heard a speaker report, “The aborigines believe we were given free will in order to choose not to use it.” Grace enables forgiveness. When we forgive completely, the love unearthed beneath our lack of forgiveness is revealed. I recently came across this elegant quote in the newsletter of Brian Seth Hurst’s The Opportunity Management Company, “Love reveals anything unlike itself.” Therefore, we can free up space for the forgiveness of ourselves, and grace is the wind beneath our wings. Awareness of this engenders gratitude, and gratitude begets appreciation.

 

When we have appreciation, a cascade of neurotransmitters is activated that creates feelings of warmth, love, pleasure, and joy in the appreciative person, and the one being appreciated. This cascade can benefit the immune system and every organ of the body. With this heightened neurotransmission, our pain and depression are diminished. It is impossible to be depressed and grateful at the same time. Gratitude enhances our well-being–mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

 

HOLIDAYS ON NICE

A great deal of what we experience around the holidays is rooted in the spirit of giving. True giving is without any concern for acknowledgment or reciprocity. Although our acquisitive culture might take issue here, when gratitude is offered in response, it is a gift. It is enough. And grace is what we receive when we give without expecting anything in return.

Grace is a quality of the divine. Much of what we do encompassing kindness and mercy engenders grace. Grace is in the natural flow of all things. It is omnipresent and infinite–the frequency of the heart. We are not talking merely of the physical heart–it’s also the spiritual heart, which is the frequency of love.

 

In her book, Transforming Primary Patterns, Chloe Wordsworth reveals, “When we remember the Divine with gratitude, we will be content no matter how difficult our life circumstances may be.” If we do an online search for gratitude journals, there are hundreds of diaries available to chronicle daily gratitude. There are even gratitude journals for kids. Whatever we choose to avail ourselves of during this happy holiday season, may we all experience an abundance of grace and gratitude.

WHAT’S THE BASIS OF TRUE FRIENDSHIPS?

WHAT’S THE BASIS OF TRUE FRIENDSHIPS?

How do you define your friendships right now? Robust? Genuine and loving? Transactional? Our own Mary Schneider, a Resonance Repatterning expert based in Austin, shares her perspective on how friendships sometimes evolve. 

Some people distinguish spring as the season of rebirth, renewal, and rejuvenation. Others consider it to be fall. Which one are you? Those in favor of spring cite nature’s pristine growth and the birth of all creatures great and small…spring is heady and the harbinger of new romance. Those partial to fall allude to innovative new cars and TV show introductions historically, as well as harvest time and the brand-new school year. Of course, the season kicks in from football games to galas to the holidays. We here choose fall–it is a time of renewal as it signals the hope of wonderful things and perhaps most of all the possibility of new bonds and friendships.

 

Particularly this fall. The pandemic and its isolation provided an opportunity for us to look at what types of friendships are the most important to us. And what friendships are, well, not so vital. It wasn’t necessary to look at our relationships and their value…it just happened. It can be said this was one of the few benefits revealed during this challenging time. The pandemic enabled us, really forced us, to appraise our relationships in every sphere of life.

 

The Secrets of Lasting Friendships, David Brooks article in The New York Times, cites Robin Dunbar’s book, Friends. Dunbar is celebrated for his ‘number: 150’. Brooks quotes, “The maximum number of meaningful relationships most people can have is somewhere around 150. How many people are invited to the average American wedding? About 150. How many people are on an average Christmas card list? About 150. How many people were there in early human hunter-gatherer communities? About 150.” Maintaining 150 friendships? That can often seem exhausting.

 

Brooks’ article goes on to reference Jeffrey Hall, an expert in the psychology of friendship, who studied 112 University of Kansas freshman and found it took about 45 hours of presence in another person’s company to move from acquaintance to friend. To move from casual friend to meaningful friend took another 50 hours over a three-month period, and to move into the inner close friend circle took another 100 hours.

 

What do you look for in a friendship? For me, friendship requires reciprocity. By reciprocity I am not referring to a transactional relationship. Where every favor or dinner is matched one-to-one, spontaneity can be crushed, and intimacy compromised. There doesn’t need to be a score keeper. In true reciprocity, a subtle feeling of lightness and ease is present. What commonly exists is a mutual understanding all will work out at some point, or not. No worries.

 

Lauren Mechling writes in her New York Times article, How to End a Friendship, “We are wired to pursue friendship: In the company of our favorite companions, studies have found, our brains release dopamine and oxytocin. The early stages of friendship are their own romance.” Oxytocin is involved in bonding, between lovers–and mothers and their infants. It creates the romance. Dopamine impacts the development of social memories and preference.

 

As in romantic relationships, friendships can indeed end, or have a natural expiration date. Sometimes couples, as well as good friends, can grow apart. It’s helpful to know that when a friendship comes to completion, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Change can be an opportunity. According to Catherine Pearson in her New York Times piece, How Many Friends Do You Really Need? “Three decades ago, 3% of Americans told Gallup pollsters they had no close friends; in 2021, an online poll put it at 12%. A year into the pandemic, 13% of women and 8% of men aged 30 to 49 said they’d lost touch with most of their friends.”

 

As we head into the renewal of the 2022 fall season, it might behoove us to be appreciative and grateful for our lasting friendships, accept they could change, and to welcome cultivating new possibilities.

 

NOW, MOVING FORWARD

NOW, MOVING FORWARD

As we all want to push beyond Covid-19 and its effects, we also have the opportunity to be mindful of our emotional growth for the future, according to our insightful Resonance Repatterning expert, Mary Schneider.

Post Covid-19, take a deep breath. What a relief. I recently spent time on the East Coast and I observed many people there were of the same mindset. Covid has taken a hiatus. So, we might as well make hay while the sun shines and get out and dance like nobody is watching. Despite the colloquialisms, evidence suggests this is the thing to do now.

 

In his New York Times article, You’ve Done Self Care. You’ve Languished. Now Try This, Brad Stulberg suggests we have been in a state of languishing and that it is now time to move on. The solution he advises? Take action–whether we want to act or not. Stulberg cites another New York Times article by Adam Grant, a Wharton organizational psychologist. In his article, There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing, Grant defines our all too familiar pandemic mindset. Grant asserts, “Not depressed” doesn’t mean you’re not struggling. “Not burned out” doesn’t mean you’re fired up. By acknowledging many could feel languished, we can start giving voice to quiet despair and lighting a path out of the void.”

 

Action may very well be the solution. The Fire Chakra (solar plexus) is about action in the Ayurvedic Chakra System. Each chakra has a corresponding emotion, and fire represents anger and resentment. Anger is the fire; resentment is the smoke underneath. Make sense? Any action, even a little, is highly recommended to heal this anger and resentment. After all, depression can be anger without enthusiasm.

 

Similarly, in the Chinese Five Element Acupuncture System, action again is the antidote to anger and resentment. The Wood Element is related to the achievement of life goals and growth. It is the Element of Spring and consists of the liver and gall bladder Meridians. Simply put, the liver meridian is associated with anger, the gall bladder with resentment. Liver; livid–it’s not an accident. When these meridians are in balance, some people can enthusiastically move forward in life to realize their dreams and goals in all areas.

 

Judgment is not the issue here. Feeling anger or resentment is not bad or wrong. It is just what it is. Human beings generally have good reason to be angry. Anger gets things done, and it, too, can be a great motivator. We would not have any human rights movements in this country without it. Anger can be very potent, but when anger devolves into a deep depression, it can stop us.

 

One helpful addition to action is acceptance. Acceptance is even more potent than anger. Often, in difficult situations, I find myself thinking this should not be happening. Yet acceptance gradually emerges and almost any upset eventually dissipates. I recognize this can be challenging, even tough, or impossible in some circumstances.

 

Our prayers and compassion go out to anyone who lost a loved one in the pandemic or is suffering as long-haulers. My wish for us all is to reach a place of acceptance and move on with our lives in whatever form manifests. Get your rest, enjoy the time available to do that, and then dive back into whatever you wish to do moving forward.

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INTUITION INSIGHT

INTUITION INSIGHT

Following your intuition is always a smart idea, yet the path to getting to that can often be circuitous. Our Austin-based Resonance Repatterning expert, Mary Schneider, offers guidance to seeking more internal intuition as the year progresses and you fulfill your intentions.  

THAT INNER VOICE

I recall asking for advice when I was young, and people often responded with, just be yourself. Frustration was the only thing I learned from that. It’s great advice if you know who you are. Yet, I didn’t. Decades would pass before knowing myself morphed into trusting myself. It would be decades more before I heard my own inner voice…my intuition.

 

How did that happen? It occurred pretty much the same way it happened for others I knew. Trusting ourselves and our inner voice can be a by-product of maturity. Eventually, we grow up. But, there are many other ways, such as making the same mistake again and again and finally learning from it. Or, I made big errors in judgment before listening to my inner voice that suggested I could use some help. That was followed by decades of expensive, albeit valuable, therapy.

 

A brilliant analyst I knew had an interesting element in her therapy. Clients were never allowed to say, I don’t know. To jump-start intuition, the client was encouraged to reach into their psyche to come up with an answer. Intuition is a muscle just like any other. It, too, can be strengthened. We all have it, but it will atrophy if not ever used. In her article 18 Ways to Develop & Strengthen Your Intuition, Dr. Lissa Rankin writes in Mind Body Green, “We are all equipped with an intuition that is potent, trustworthy, and impeccably attuned to our true path. Whether you use it or not is up to you.”

 

CONSULT THE HEART

Today, numerous books are available to teach children how to access their inner knowing. These books teach children how to validate their intuitive abilities instead of suppressing them. Accessing one’s intuition is an extraordinary skill to cultivate at such an early stage of development. When a child reaches late adolescence, the utilization of their intuition will be second nature. In addition, scores of children already meditate. Meditation is a great way to acquire our sixth sense. Meditation begets silence, and intuition rises out of the silence. They both originate in the same place within our spiritual core. Decision-making is a natural part of life but is often problematic in many adults without this solid foundation. Albert Einstein said, “The intuitive is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Trusting ourselves and accessing intuition has always been associated with the heart. The center of high intelligence and compassion, the heart, is the seat of our inner knowing and the hub of our spiritual core. Learning to consult the heart and listening to its message allows us entrée into deep inner knowing. What’s fascinating about this process is the more we follow our heart, the clearer the message and the faster the delivery. If we stop for a while, the clarity and delivery may get rusty.

 

Ruth Umoh on CNBC.com writes, “While (Steve) Jobs was born a little under two months before Albert Einstein’s death, both the visionary co-founder of Apple and the most influential physicist of the 20th century agree that one trait was at the heart of their success: intuition.” Many momentous, life-changing decisions in our history were the result of someone’s intuition. And, undoubtedly, many a war was won or lost with little to go on other than internal intuition.

 

Learning to trust our intuition is inextricably woven into our core values. If we stay true to our core value system, generally, it is because our intuition drives us in that direction, and we choose to listen. When we choose to override this innate integrity, it can be uncomfortable at best. Intuition is the mechanism designed to aid in self-knowledge. And you know what the Greeks said about thatan unexamined life is not worth living.

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SILVER LININGS

SILVER LININGS

We all realize that with every challenge, there is potential, especially as we reflect on this year’s obstacles and possibilities, according to our Austin-based Resonance Repatterning expert, Mary Schneider.

YEAR ‘ROUND OPPORTUNITIES

The holidays are always such a wonderful time of year. Within that joy, there is much to contemplate in 2021 on so many levels. Consider the changes encountered since this past January. Of course, we have new leadership in Washington, with its itinerant challenges,  some already serious. Leading the way is the pandemic. The vaccine and variants will remain the top story for a while. Yet, it is a tiny fraction of the whole. It is also stressful, and that’s without factoring in our own personal dynamic thus far. Hopes can be dashed regularly. Things seem to be settling down only to be resurrected just as we begin to relax a bit. Learning to live with high‒stress every day can be instructive.

 

Luckily, opportunities do present themselves daily. What are we able to live with while staying present and engaged without compromising who we are? Many of us did not know what it would look like if these boundaries were pushed. We have learned a lot about ourselves, which is truly a silver lining…a ray of light.

 

During the holiday season, we re-connect with relatives and friends not normally seen–a double-edged sword at times, as we all know. Also, many people are often quite busy the last few weeks of the year. As a result, the holidays are inherently stressful. This year, as last, promises again to be challenging. Still, it is different energetically. We are stronger this year and more resilient. To most, with the vaccine, we are empowered and potent. This is always a winning combination–the self-esteem trifecta–strength, empowerment, and potency.

 

HOW TO LIVE IN THE PRESENT

What can we do with all of this? There are plenty of options. If we are present and live in the heart, then whatever we decide will be the best decision. Reflection fortifies us. Because of where we have been, we see what might have been done differently. Contemplation allows us to recognize patterns in our psyche that might be negatively influencing our decision-making process. Furnished with this kind of knowledge, we enrich our creativity and learn not to repeat negative patterns.

 

Recent studies have discovered that the pandemic has triggered an extensive re-evaluation of work and life for some Americans. Countless people are deliberating changes in their careers and their communities. The Washington Post recently quoted an Austin man who was forced to change careers, “If you come out of the pandemic the same as you were, you’ve missed an opportunity to evolve and grow as a person.” The article added, “Nearly 1 in 3 U.S. workers under the age of 40 have thought about changing their occupation or field of work since the pandemic began.”

 

Life is an ongoing and dynamic process. We are in a continual state of transition. When our day-to-day routines progress along non-stop, we may not notice the subtle changes in our lives and in who we are becoming. An event like the pandemic is a great interrupteran opportunity to be more mindful of our lives’ processes–and what is important to us. Change is good, and sometimes painful. Those who have been through a painful divorce or serious health alarm can attest to this reality.

 

Another young woman interviewed in The Washington Post article stated, “The pandemic taught me that nothing is guaranteed now. Everything can change within months, if not weeks,” she observed. “Just being able to spend time by myself made me realize what path I did and did not want to go down.”

 

Contemplation and stillness were not a significant part of our lifestyle pre-pandemic. Now, these tools have become so much more accessible. We do not need to change anything. However, it is wonderful to know that if we choose to, there is the potential for many people to provide support and community…another silver lining.

CONNECTING THE DOTS

CONNECTING THE DOTS

Now that we are back in the swing of things, some of us are reengaging with others like never before. Others are taking it a bit slowly. Our Austin-based Resonance Repatterning expert, Mary Schneider, offers insight on moving forward with others.

WELCOME BACK

What an amazing night it was…I went to an actual party, yet I haven’t been out again quite yet. I am being gentle with myself. A therapist wisely counseled me to take it easy and not over-expose myself too quickly. Not due to the pandemic, mind you, but in order to not end up with a “hangover” from too much socializing too hastily. Many people have made the same decision.

 

What has happened in this post-Covid era is slowly becoming a trend. People spent an inordinate amount of time, often alone, in their homes for the past eighteen months. This we know. Many of us developed a curiosity about what society would look like after the pandemic. Welcome. Now we are beginning to get a taste of it. Of course, many people and their families lost loved ones in these last eighteen months. We send them all love, light, healing, and blessings. We wish you peace.

 

Growing re-connectedness. We have coined a new term here. When you make a new friend, there is a choice. A choice to retreat to old ways of being or maybe, try something new. Covid and its subsequent isolation have provided us with a tabula rasa if you will (the theory that individuals are born without built-in mental content; therefore, all knowledge comes from experience or perception). Interacting with selective amounts of people allows us to polish up our communication skills. We are also compelled to go deeper, as opposed to hanging out in what is familiar.

It may just be that we have no desire to do this going deeper-thing. And, being obliged to feel perhaps uncomfortable. There is a wonderful growth opportunity here, though–one of the silver linings of the pandemic. We are invited to try styles of relating to which we may be unaccustomed. Possibly we could be more open. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, we might be more quiet. Being in the same group of people for lengthy periods can magnify our mistakes. Yet, we see that despite our mistakes, we are still loved. We can heal them. I see increased self-acceptance leading to treating oneself more gently, and therefore, intimacy can improve.

 

ELECT TO CONNECT

Of course, with old friends, we can attribute our newfound relationship conduct to being isolated for so long. Over time as we move back out into society, the improved communication patterns we developed can positively affect all our relationships. We begin to reap the benefits of intimacy as a shared outcome. Intimacy (think of into-me-see) is a process where people know one another on a deep level. Many married couples have this, and best friends can, as well. It depends upon the basis of the relationship. The presence of true intimacy is a gift of divine proportion and is to be treasured. This intimacy requires a certain amount of vulnerability–authenticity coupled with the heart. The heart confers the capacity to express our feelings and state our needs.

 

Going back out into the world, we find our relationships are transforming. True intimacy allows us to talk about how we feel without remorse. It also allows us to express our needs with the expectation they will be met making us feel loved deeply. The deeper the intimacy, the greater the love. Intimacy and love increase exponentially. Self-love and self-acceptance are present, and we recognize we are beloved.

 

Ultimately, this agreement we made to engage in a quarantine lifestyle opens us to uncharted territory residing within us that we have always wanted to access. If we give ourselves this gift of self-love, we will have more to come back to when the pandemic is finally truly over. Covid-19 gave some of us a more authentic life.

 

Most importantly, we took the opportunity we were given and made the most of it. Lemons can always become lemonade. It turns the silver lining into pure gold, allowing us to see that we can love ourselves and love others as ourselves. We can see their mistakes, and we can let them go.