Karma is Not Punishment

Relax.  Karma is not your enemy.  It’s not out to get you.  Karma is impersonal.  It’s simply energy.  Karma is unresolved energy that you carry around with you.  Regardless of whether you’re aware of it or believe in it, the energy of karma attracts experiences and people in your life that will reflect this energy back to you so that you can resolve it once and for all.  

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You will carry karma until you receive the gift of awareness it offers you.  This clears the karma.  Most people get the “gift” after many repeated and often uncomfortable experiences of the karma being played out in their interactions with others.  The good news is that there’s another way!

Clearing karma is one of the benefits of a past life regression.  People sometimes ask what’s the point of going back over a life that’s already over.  Realistically, you can’t possibly learn everything about the human experience in one lifetime.  So we come back to learn more and also to try to fix and complete what was unfinished in previous lives.  Past life regression is one way to have guidance through the process because we tend to have blindspots that we won’t see on our own.

You can also clear karma on your own inwardly, without having to go through the painful experience of living it out.  This requires a high degree of self honesty and self compassion. 

To clear your karma with someone:

1) Review your past experiences with the person.   Find what the lessons were that you needed to learn from that experience.  For example, maybe a lesson was to not lose your Self in a relationship and to hold healthy boundaries or maybe it was the opposite, how to be more open and connect authentically.

2) The lessons are the gifts of that experience.  Understand that in acknowledging the gifts of that experience, it doesn’t condone other people’s wrong behavior.  You’re simply recognizing that we are each responsible for our own lessons.  You only need to focus on your lessons.

3) In recognizing the gifts of that experience, you clear and release the energy (karma) between you and the other person through the power of forgiveness.  You forgive them for however they hurt you, recognizing that’s their lesson to learn and they will learn it in their own way and timing, perhaps not in this lifetime.  In forgiving them, you free yourself from the burden of heavy, negative emotions.

4) You forgive yourself for allowing yourself to get hurt or for hurting orhers.  You’ve always done the best you could with the level of awareness you were at.  Forgiveness is a much higher frequency than anger, fear or resentment.  Forgiveness can come when you feel empowered from the lessons you learned and so you can trust yourself to now make more joyful, fulfilling choices.

Karma points you to the areas where, through clearing, you can feel even better and develop more of your potential.  Once you begin to view karma in this new way, as a tool for your growth and healing, maybe karma can even become your friend.

 

 

Facing Darkness and Allowing Light In

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This is an intense, challenging time we live in.  It's easy to look at the many tragedies in the world and feel fear or despair.  Heavy emotions are uncomfortable and can give us a sense of powerlessness, so we tend to avoid our dark thoughts and feelings.  Yet it is only in facing this darkness within that we can find inner peace.  

Common ways that we avoid our feelings are through denial or distraction.  In denial, we may try to put a happy face on and tell ourselves, "It's not so bad" or "Things will get better."  There's nothing wrong with a positive outlook as long as you are not using it to repress your dark feelings.   It's called spiritual bypass when you use a spiritual concept to avoid facing emotional pain.  Wounds can fester for a long time this way, keeping us from the peace we seek.

Distraction is a seemingly innocuous defense mechanism that keeps us busy but gets us nowhere, like hamsters on a wheel.  We fill up all our days, doing more so that there's no time to feel.  We convince ourselves that if we don't focus on it, it doesn't exist. This tactic doesn't make it go away; in fact, it exhausts us to keep running from ourselves. Although it's true that it can be detrimental to wallow in heavy emotions, there's a healthy balance point between drowning in darkness and avoiding our feelings.

Confronting the darkness within gives us empowerment.  If we act as if our own feelings aren't important, how can expect anyone else to value them?  By no longer running from our feelings, we are telling ourselves that we matter.  

How can we face dark emotions when they seem overwhelming?  First, let go of the notion that emotions need to be fixed.  Resist the urge to try to solve whatever situation triggered the emotion. Simply sitting with the emotion and experiencing the sensation in the body allows it to begin processing.  Second, notice if the feeling wants to be expressed.  If so, allow it to flow, whether through tears, a sigh or scream, or through writing or movement.  Finally, send love to the part of you that's hurting - whether it's from sadness, anger, fear or any other dark feeling.  Love is the most powerful healer.

Honoring all of our feelings in this way releases them or lessens their intensity.  Often what we fear outwardly is a reflection of our own darkness.  We build our walls but it never gives us a sense of security because the true source, our own shadow self, hasn't been addressed.   As we begin to face the inner darkness, we allow light to enter, the light of inner peace.

Integration, Not Separation, Is the Path to Transformation

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Our societal preoccupation with competition and being a winner creates intense self judgment and separation.   We learn to label some parts of ourself as "good" and others as "bad."  We are taught to "Be strong. Highlight strengths.  Eliminate weakness."  This approach may be effective for becoming a better competitor, but at what cost to our wellbeing?  

Shame, judgment, self loathing, fear of failure, unhappiness, disconnection, inability to nurture ourself.  These are the effects of this win/lose approach to life.  We want to show off our "good" qualities and hide or suppress our "bad" qualities.  We think others will like us more this way, yet we feel like a fraud, afraid of our "bad" parts getting discovered.  Because of this, we may keep people at a comfortable distance, yet part of us yearns to connect more deeply and authentically. This separation exists not only with others, but within our self.  Ironically, by cutting ourself off from the "bad" parts, we diminish our life force and reduce our capacity to develop into our highest potentiality.

Self esteem based upon success and outer gratification is precarious and exhausting.  We get stuck in the endless race of trying to prove our worth to our self and others through our accomplishments.  We get drained trying to control outer circumstances to ensure our success.  The way out of this trap is through self love and compassion.

Clients sometimes ask me to assist them in getting rid of their "bad" parts using hypnosis.  Here's what I tell them:

All of your parts are good.  A lot of them were established during childhood when you had less resources and wisdom to develop them.  Then they got labeled as bad and you locked them away in the deep inner recesses of your being where they never received any nourishment.  Then they got beaten down with judgment and criticism.  How can they get better that way?  

Everything grows with love.  Imagine two bosses.  One always cuts you down.  Despite your best efforts, nothing is ever good enough for him.  The other one is very supportive.  When you make a mistake, he shows you how you can improve in an encouraging way. Who are you going to work harder for?  Of course, the suppotive one.  In fact, he builds up your energy, whereas the other guys weakens you and you become less effective.

We don't realize that our self criticism doesn't make us better.  It weakens us.  Self compassion doesn't mean pretending like we did a good job when we made a mistake.  It means changing our inner dialogue from, "You're such an idiot!  You're never going to get it right!" to something like, "Ok, let's figure out what we did wrong and fix it.  Everyone makes mistakes.  The important thing is to learn from them."

With the right inner nourishment, all of our parts can develop into their highest potential. Our "embarrassing awkwardness" becomes quirky charm.  Our "overzealousness" matures into passion for life.  Our "nitpickiness" transforms into thoughtful attention to detail.  As we accept and integrate all aspects of Self, we discover wholeness and peace within.