The Beautiful Dance of Duality

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We all recognize that there is a natural flow of expansion and contraction in all life. The trees expand and contract; as do seasons, and each evening there is contraction into darkness in most places in the world; there is a contraction even in our breath on the exhale.  I must admit, the contraction I am experiencing in my life currently does not feel good, but I can sit with the contraction, and get curious about it; I can even appreciate it; and I know that contraction is perfectly designed for my Spirit’s evolution, because after, there is expansion. 

There is something in astrology that is called Uranus Opposition.  My interpretation of what my astrologer Eric Meyer’s explained to me is that it is the time frame between the ages of roughly 42-44 and often considered a time when people experience a mid-life crisis.  It is the incubation period between your first act of life and before you enter into your second act. It’s in that 2 to 3 year time frame that we begin to look at our lives and ask questions like, "What do I really want to put out in the world?  What is my purpose?  What do I really want to take a stand for as I enter this next phase of my life?’ Is the way I have operated up until this point of my life actually something I want to continue doing/being or are there things I want to change?” Or even, "How would I like to be remembered?" and “Is this all there is?” 

Well, here I am, 42 years old, turning 43 this May and you can sure as shit say I am precisely in a liminal space where I feel as if I am straddling two worlds. 

A few years ago, I became more and more aware of my overly excessive masculine energy. What I mean by that is the part of me that was constantly doing, in all areas of my life. Having been an entrepreneur for 22 years of my life, I had created a pattern to make my career my number one. This ultimately meant putting my career first before everyone and everything, including my intimate relationships. My career was a heavy focus where I was constantly launching something new, (sometimes 3-5 things at a time), over working, attached to my phone and email, where that driving and action-oriented mentality enveloped me. In my personal life, I followed suit.  I would fill and fill my schedule with this activity, and that activity. And then even within either pursuing a relationship when single or in a relationship, I would frequently be filling that space, and not allowing room for them to expand towards me.

I knew that this way of being was costing me more than it was serving me, and what I decided to do was intentionally allow myself spaciousness to be in inquiry and practice a new way of being. The new way of being I was desiring was to invite in more feminine energy. To me, feminine energy is receptive, spacious, creative, the void, the no-thing-ness.  It’s soft AND powerful. It’s nurturing.  I would let some parts of me express this; however, my excessive masculine energy was driving the ship. That said, I LOVE my masculine energy. My masculine energy is beautiful; it gets shit done and there is so much power.  However, living in such the extreme it costed me within intimate relationships, friendships, burnout in my career, as well as stillness and luidity. I began to notice it even costed me greater connection with my intuition, as intuition often comes through when there is space. Otherwise, we are living more in the head and trying to always figure life out. 

 

Why? Why did I exist this way? 

In the physical space I created-choosing to be single for 3 years, living on my own, moving to a smaller town, I had the opportunity to witness these parts of me and understand them more. It was a fight or flight, survival belief.  A belief that if I don’t fill the void, if I don’t do 'it', no one will. If I don’t push, force, prove, how will anything ever happen? Who is going to have my back if I don’t? A mentality of lack, that I am alone and very fear based.  As time passed, even more layers were peeled back and I saw another fear, ‘If I create space, what if no one wants to fill it, what if I am alone?  Again, a distrust of life itself and that I am on my own out here.  And then a deeper belief of, ‘If I do enough, if I put enough out, have enough ‘successes’, then and maybe finally then I will be good enough.’ Wow. 

Okay yes, some of this stung to witness and reveal;  however, I get it; I am human.  I come from a childhood of scarcity, lack, a single mother scrambling to create a life for her two daughters, all of it made sense.  This awareness had become fantastic knowledge for me and invited me into contraction to sit with and be with what is and learn a new way of being to step into the next act consciously.

In the past when in contraction, my old mode of operation was to just fill. I would take all of the lessons I was personally learning in my life and feel inspired to write about them, lead workshops on them, speak to them. I would feel a tremendous amount of creativity and utilize that energy to contribute.  Being that contribution is one of my top values, I felt even more useful and of value. For some time now I feel as if I’ve got nothing. It’s as if I’m observing myself, fully connected with myself, feeling my painful and beautiful human feelings, exploring this new way of being and NOTHING is ‘working’. All of the things that I thought were important to me from my masculine perspective: putting out more, creating more, writing more, launching more, none of it really matters anymore, at least not like it used to. 

My perception has been that something is wrong.  I was speaking with a friend recently about my lack of inspiration and he expressed his perception. He said, ‘Inspiration never leaves.  The word inspiration is derived from spirit. Inspired means In-Spirit. Spirit is always with you. It’s your core; it’s your light; it’s a big part of who you are. Maybe you're actually inspired in a spiritual way that you are looking for more than all you have created so far. It has served a purpose and it’s no longer serving a purpose or fulfillment in you. Maybe it’s Spirit saying there is something more for you.'  And it helped me to remember the beauty in the contraction.  To pause and go inside, for however long is necessary for my Spirit’s evolution and sit in curiosity, in the uncertainty.  To find the peace, the beauty, the insights that come through constantly.  Instead of just filling with what I already know or with parts of me that no longer serve me, I have the gift of sitting in this space with excitement and wonderment as I redirect my life.   

We all go through periods of redirection and uncertainty, contraction and expansion, peace and confusion, whether in our Uranus Opposition or not. What’s exciting for us one day, may not be the next, and that’s okay. Life is meant to be a constant evolution, and I offered myself a permission slip of not knowing.  "Valerie, You are not required to know. That isn’t a part of the human experience to always know, " I offered to myself.

What I do know is there is something more for me, bigger for me than I have been experiencing, which takes the feelings of stuck and lack and transforms them to excitement and wonderment.  This miracle, this shift of perspective, reminds me that I have the gift of sitting in this space as I redirect my life. 

Can you relate? If so, here is some ‘Home Play’ for you:

Questions to contemplate if you feel you are in contraction: 

  • If you find yourself striving ask yourself, ‘Who am I trying to impress?’
  • What if there was something even greater for you being birthed that requires some spaciousness in order to take flight?  How would you feel?
  • What other beautiful life lessons and experiences are you having in this space that you perhaps wouldn’t have if you were unknowingly in a limited belief pattern?

Time for Breakdown to Become Breakthrough

Can you feel it?

I don’t believe anyone is exempt from the intense energy building around the planet.  

Sarah Varcas, one of my ‘go to’ astrologers,  provides a fantastic, poignant perspective of what is occurring and offers insight on how we can discover solace.  

As you read, consider looking at this advice from both a micro (personal) and macro (global) lens:

‘Violence and hatred, fear and terror, despair and frustration don’t go away by ignoring them. Quite the opposite. Denial feeds them, as does refusal to acknowledge the seeds of truth in their darkened heart’ (May be worth reading that last statement again and then taking a deep
breath).

'Be it political upheaval, conflict and war, climate change or personal trials, life is banging upon our consciousness to wake up and rise up. Never has there been such a potent time for breakdown to become breakthrough or tragedy to become triumph.

But it is time for the most wholesome honesty we can muster, first and foremost with ourselves. Look within and say aloud what you see. Listen to yourself and the words you use. The timbre of your voice, its passion or fear. Feel your reluctance or thrill as perhaps you say these things aloud for the first time. This is your truth, say it, hear it and live it.

No matter how much we may fear the darkness, it is needed to frame the light. No matter how much we quake in the face of truths too hard to accept, they serve to reveal the path ahead. We can do this.’ Sarah Varcas

YES! I believe we can do this!! We can do this collectively and YOU can do it.  It starts with self.  

Whatever you are looking at shifting, or you feel is inevitably ‘breaking down’ (internally or externally) in your life, how can you allow yourself to fully BE in and WITH the process?  What tools do you have in your tool box?  Is it reaching out to a friend/coach/therapist, returning back to your breath, creating intentional space, taking some alone time to contemplate what you really want, prayer?  And the next question is….ARE YOU USING THE TOOLS?

You most likely will get messy, fall and trip a bunch during this new time, because you have the potential to experience something that you never have before.  Unchartered territory can feel immensely scary and cause us to unconsciously fall back into old patterns and tendencies that don’t serve us. (Blaming, judging,fighting, getting sick, obsession to work, worry about the future, our bodies, etc)   

Sarah perfectly exclaims, ’We may have to remove mask after mask until eventually we don’t even recognize ourselves, let alone anyone else knowing who the heck we are!

Peeling away our masks entails raw honesty and commitment.  It’s time to commit.

What if you looked at commitment as a statement of WHAT IS?  

‘You know what you are committed to by your results, NOT by what you SAY your commitments are.’ (Quoted from the 15 commitment of Conscious Leadership)

How can you commit to learning and then staying on course? Offer yourself up to the mystery constantly unfolding before, around and within you.  These are indeed intense times; lean in for support: http://vdacoaching.com/reach-out/

You are not alone.

With deep love and respect on your human journey,

Val

Thoughts and Behaviors that Drive the Dance with Self and Others

I believe that we come into relationships in order to heal deep wounds. That said, your partner has thoughts and behaviours that will trigger certain wounds in you leading to an often unconscious dance that can almost be a hybrid of both of your parents to some extent.  What I mean is that your current relationship may play out certain patterns and behaviors that represent your father and/or your mother (or role models in our developmental years).  As children, we learned ways of coping within our family dynamics to help us feel safe and discovered our own dance of survival.

In hindsight, during my own life, I have unconsciously attracted partners who very much triggered deep wounds from my childhood, where I would play out thoughts and behaviours the same way I showed up as a child.  For example, being abandoned emotionally and physically as a child, until I became more self aware, I would choose partners who were unavailable. One key ingredient in creating successful relationships is to look at the thought or behavior within ourselves and discover how we might unconsciously play out that wound within our own selves. If we choose to stay in a relationship and not to do this, we will keep pointing the finger at our partner making it about them. Instead, we want to ask: when have I been unavailable to myself?

In having an abandonment wound and because I am a seeker, when I was in relationships with people who for whatever reason, conscious or unconscious, were unavailable, I would relentlessly pursue them  because my perception was that they were disappearing. This would manifest as pushing them to see my point of view, forcing them to talk, not allowing space to be with my own stuff or for them to be with theirs, transferring my own thoughts, emotions and actions onto them as a way of not taking ownership of the trait within myself (projection).

So when I began to look at just the adult decades of my life, I can see that I was unavailable and often abandoned myself through excessive thoughts and behaviors: overeating, over-exercising, over working, over-socializing, over-giving, being over-emotional, too name a few.  Characteristics would manifest as aggressive, pushy, ungrounded, grippy.

Someone who has the same abandonment wound could show up deficient: withdrawn emotionally and physically, control situations, environment, people, become ill in order to passively create connection and make it about them, perhaps even be unwilling to ‘go there’ in conversations. Characteristics would be manipulative, cold, distant.

We can also oscillate between the two where we play them both out simultaneously or at different points in our lives, which may actually represent the character traits of each parent.

Often times within relationship, we frequently pick partners who have similar wounds who may show up differently.  Therefore, instead of pursuing, they may shut down, retreat, withhold, pull away, disconnect.  And yes….that could leave us feeling more abandoned and therein lies the work.

Over the years, these dances have generated a curiosity in me, recognizing that we are each mirrors for one another.  I could easily blame, put it all on him and make it all about me. Lord knows I have done this plenty. Or I can take responsibility in these moments and practice being in the space and digging deep into my own thoughts and behaviors, beliefs and patterns, returning back to self in order to see if this dance is really serving me.  The more I practice me, instead of projecting and make it about what they are not doing, the more I feel safe in spaciousness. Ultimately I learn to calm my own nervous system and I learn to trust I am there for me and that I am okay. Moreover, I develop a greater trust that what is actually unfolding, albeit painful, the wound is showing up for me to heal, because I am ready.  

When we allow ourselves spaciousness, we have the opportunity to sit with it and get curious on how our parents being unavailable (or whatever the wound is) actually served us.  What did I get? What coping strategies did I develop that have actually become incredible resources for me and even strong healthy personality traits? For me, I learned to become independent, to be resilient, tenacious.  These are fabulous qualities, and just like anything, too much of something can be detrimental. My work is to watch for when I unconsciously get excessive in the behavior and default back to the old patterns described above.  It’s also important to be aware of the thoughts and intentions behind my behavior.

We exist on this planet in order to be in connection. Yes, it is about taking ownership and being with ourselves, and it is totally okay and beautiful if you desire a partner to meet you, who wants to grow with you, take ownership, show up fully, and re-commit everyday to the work…because friends it is work.  Is it possible that the person I am choosing to be in partnership with isn’t willing to go there and would much prefer to be in a relationship where they don’t want to ‘look at their stuff’ and aren’t really into growth and development? Where they don’t care about looking at their childhood because it is too painful or think, ’What’s the point?!’.  Or, where they can see it, but it is WAY too scary to actually go down the rabbit hole and look at those wounds that have been there for 20, 30, 40, 50 years?  Absolutely.  AND….they are not wrong or bad, timing with one’s life and with one’s relationships is quite interesting in itself.  Or perhaps they came into my life in order for me to learn to show up differently toward myself, take full responsibility (not blame them OR myself), and heal my own deep wound.  Sometimes that person isn’t meant to be in your life ‘forever’.  

There is a fine line between honoring you and honoring a belief that no longer serves you.  Personal growth is very much an opportunity to sit with our beliefs around what relationships ’should’ be.  Our beliefs around marriage. Our beliefs around commitment, and even our role or our partner’s role within that commitment. Our life’s dance is something that will naturally change and shift over our lifetime as we grow and experience more of life.

For example: One’s beliefs about marriage maybe:  You just don’t get a divorce. You stay together for the kids.  It will cause them too much pain. I can’t do it on my own. No one else would choose me. Intimacy just dwindles over time.  These are all very common and very much worth taking a look at.

Dr. Pat Allen, communication and relationship expert, is a phenomenal resource and lays out an excellent framework for working within relationship and behaviors. Simply stated, she says, you have three options:


1 ACCEPT THE BEHAVIOR

Accepting the behavior is pretty much like it sounds. In this category, you allow the behavior to last a lifetime.

These would be things like her taking longer than normal to get ready to leave the house, not wanting to talk about her past and look at some wounded behaviors, or being a neat freak. Don’t complain about them or try to manipulate him to change. When you accept a behavior, you simply don’t ever bring it up that it bothers you; in short, YOU GET OVER IT. Accepting is unconditional, and most behaviors regarding your partner should fall in this category.

2 TOLERATE THE BEHAVIOR

This is the worst option and should be avoided at all cost. This is where a behavior bothers you and you just hope it goes away by hinting or nagging. It seems too big for you to let go, yet not important enough to force an ultimatum. When a woman tolerates a behavior that she can’t get over, contempt for her man is sure to follow; and, when contempt enters a relationship, it is nearly always the fatal blow. Typically, this form of dealing with bad behavior causes a woman to nag or complain. If you feel as though you are whining, then you are probably tolerating behavior that needs to be addressed differently.

 

3 REJECT THE BEHAVIOR

There are some behaviors where you must do whatever it takes to get someone’s attention, even if it means leaving them. You might even have to say to your partner, “I would rather cause you pain by saying no, than hurt myself by saying yes.” Pretty strong words, but not saying anything will only lead to pounds of resentment. Rejection means you will do whatever it takes to stop the bad behavior. No, this doesn’t mean that you can control someone, but you can control what happens after their actions. If I decided to quit work and play video games all day, I promise you, my partner would do whatever it took to get my attention.

 

Remember, wherever you are you have a choice. You ALWAYS have a choice. If you feel you don’t, consider getting curious about that.  A few questions could be: how might I be playing out the victim right now and even settling?  How might my core wound of “I am not worthy of great love” be surfacing?  

We very much lower our expectations when it comes to having authentic, thriving, loving, conscious, vibrant relationships because of unconscious, old wounds and because a majority of our neighbors are choosing to not wake up, but to continue to do an old, dysfunctional dance.

If being and meeting self and others in connection feels like it is something you truly yern for, yet uncertain of how to get there, you do not have to do this alone. Lean in!  Connect with me for a 15 minute consult to see how I can support you.

As Albert Einstein said, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."  It is so important to have a map, and to have tools along your journey that will support you, and allow you to see and reach your potential.

Life is happening for you and WANTS you to SHINE!

With deep love and respect,
Val

Cooling The Fires Of Fear: Consciously Contributing

Life offers us challenges. Consider that in this time of uncertainty and change, it may be time to take a different perspective on our responsibility and ask ourselves some questions about what is occurring locally, nationally, and globally and how we are  contributing to the collective energy:

  • How might we be feeding negative energy like paranoia, fear, or judging?  
     
  • How are we feeding positive energy like peace and kindness by not indulging in drama, fighting or even shit talking?

Locally in Colorado, and spreading west into California, forest fires happen frequently in the summer.  People lose their homes or are in in threat of it, and there is understandably fear.  Nationally, we have oppression, abuse, and injustices that don't make sense, and we have a presidential election that cause understandable fear. Regardless of how far away events and people are from each other, I chose to belief that we are all connected (to one another, the Mother Earth, Father Sky, all of it).  I choose to believe that there is a divine unfolding in each moment, and that there is an inherent goodness in our species that we can each and all come back to that is our authentic selves and Truth.  There has been so much change and so much rapid progress that has created a disconnect leading us to live in fear among other negative energies.  Fear is a normal condition, and it is understandable too. That said, this thinking separates us and breeds more of the same. 

In coming back to how you can become more aware of your energy, consider:

  • What can you do to support those around you today?  Support can be physical, emotional, spiritual, or intellectual, remembering that everything resonates at a certain vibrational frequency. If you are thinking fear based thoughts, or thoughts such as, ‘That’s their problem not mine’, remember that is your contribution to not only the situation, but also the energy in the world.  You are contributing to the world with your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. What a tremendous gift we have in that!  How are we using it?
     
  • The world needs you right now, big time.  How are you contributing?  

Yep, life can be happening TO you or FOR you.  TO us or FOR us.  This does NOT mean that we won’t experience pain or growing pains, We should! It is part of the human experience. If we are not in pain, we are not paying attention.  Know that it is a moment to moment shift of perspective that can potentially raise our own vibration and in turn contribute positively to the world around us, and thus transform the pain. We don’t pour pink paint over garbage and call it a dessert.  We acknowledge our fears, concerns and troubles, and put one foot in front of the other consciously and compassionately (to self and other) on our human journey. We remember that light AND dark, pain AND ease occur in life.

'This country has a ridiculous history of racial injustice which runs very deep (Pluto), and needs to be awakened (Uranus) for us to resolve. This can be done consciously or not, and it's up to all of us. Current events bring the issue to a very focused awareness, and that can promote healing - or it may compound the problem -- that is always the fork in the road. We can learn to come together, or we may be torn apart…’ Eric Meyers

Sending love and blessings to the residents of Nederland area,
Val

Are You Willing To Travel In Both The Shadow and The Light?

Six years ago, I was driving back from the 3HO Summer Solstice event in New Mexico with a friend. On our drive home back to Boulder, I was elated to share the information I had received. Throughout the ten day event which consisted mostly of meditation and yoga all day, every day, I continued to have intuitive hits through visions (clairvoyance) and knowing (claircognizance). Feeling open, trusting, and very held in this safe environment, the visions and information continued to stream through me. I felt as if I was the container, like the hose extending from a house, allowing the ideas like water streaming through the hose to its destination, bringing life to the grass and flowers.

 “I have a vision,” I exclaimed, “I want to hold a festival in downtown Boulder. I want to help create a platform for up and coming teachers, raise the local economy, and raise the vibration of the planet.’ I felt so heard and seen because in that moment; he saw it too. He jumped into the moment, and for the next several hours, we brainstormed, dreamed and created. From my vision, to our sharing, we were in motion creating Hanuman Yoga and Music Festival. 

Over the next six months, I worked the hardest I had in my life (which says a lot because there were times in my life where I was already working 10-12 hours a day); I was intoxicated with hope, positivity, and possibility. My needs and values for growth, contribution, adventure, and connection where all being fanned. I had never created a team before, launched something so big and inclusive. I had never even put on an event before, or put myself on the line financially to that extent. It was a huge undertaking, and I was enthusiastically moving forward, with a ’no looking back’ mentality. 

Early January we officially launched the site (enter a chorus of angels in the background… AHHHHHH), and we were set to launch the festival in June. NOTHING like putting the pedal to the medal….which is kind of how I roll. If you are going to do something, why not go BIG?! This was HUGE for us. I decided I wanted to head to The Yoga Journal Conference (YJC) in San Francisco, so I put out a message to my friend and teacher Seane Corn, asking if I could be with her as she taught to see what being the behind the scenes was like. Throughout the four days at YJC, I saw a side to a yoga event that I hadn’t seen before and I felt as if my bubble had burst. I want to preface this next part intentionally with I am clear this is MY opinion. Clearly, I get it, this is my blog, yet I really feel this is a statement I want to make. Where I was in MY life, and who I was at that point in time, all played a factor in the way I observed YJC. 

I saw too many teachers full of ego, walking around as if their shit didn’t stink, almost treating their students like they were peons. Then I saw and heard some students putting their teachers on extremely high pedestals, looking at their teachers as if they were the be all end all (Oh and FYI…I have done this before). There was almost a higher than though energy throughout the environment or a keeping up with the Jones’s, as if yoga was the cool, hip thing to do and if you didn’t partake, you were less than. My stomach slowly became one giant knot; I felt sick. ‘What was I doing? How could I contribute to this kind of an environment?’ My head began to spin with questions and with judgment of them, judgment of me, and worried thoughts of the future. Feelings of shame, guilt, disgust, anger, frustration began to fill my body. These feelings and thoughts only took me deeper down the rabbit hole. 

For the next 2-3 weeks, I found it hard to authentically speak about Hanuman Festival or stand behind my dream. I kept this fairly quiet and only shared my feelings with a few people. And during my meditation one day, my guides gently said, “Light and shadow exist in everything my love. You have a choice of where you want to put your focus.” In that moment I felt spaciousness. A space I hadn’t experienced in weeks where there entered compassion, grace, softness, a tinge of possibility. 

I began to voraciously write in my journal, processing what was coming up for me. I began with acknowledging and validating my emotions. Authenticity is one of my values, so it makes sense that I was so triggered. Hanuman is my baby, so it makes sense that I would be so worried about creating something that represented the negative aspects of the ego. I offered myself compassion. Then I reminded myself of a tool I use in coaching coined by one of my teachers Tony Robbins, “Wherever your focus goes, energy flows.” My self-talk consisted of asking myself, “Where is your focus Valerie, and where do you want it to be?” It was on what was not working and what I perceive as wrong. I wanted it to be on what is beautiful to me about the yoga world, AND that beauty exists. The teachers I choose to study under are humble, real, and transparent. They allow their light AND their shadow to be seen. They are who I choose to focus on. My intention of WHY I chose to put on the festival was what I choose to focus on. And in that moment, I felt my energy beginning to rise. It was almost as if my joy meter in my heart started to rise and I could feels anabolic (positive energy) filling my heart. It felt wonderful. Then what? I prayed in gratitude. “Thank you. Thank you guides, thank you God, thank you Spirit, for helping me shift my perspective and to keep my focus on what resonates with my Truth.” 

Home Play: Noticing Judgment

*When, where, or who in your life do you notice you are judging? Whether it is someone else’s decision, a way in which a person lives, a certain political party, or the way a community is even operating. 

*What meaning are you giving it? Become aware of how you might be taking it personally, feeling frustrated because you lack control and you think it ‘should’ be.

*What meaning would you rather give it? Consider coming up with a meaning that serves you, relinquishes judgment to the best of your ability, so you are not carrying any catabolic energy that is not necessary. Remember, pain is inevitable, suffering?? Well, that’s entirely optional. You have a choice of where you want to put your energy, your thoughts, and your time. 

We are ALL on this human journey, experiencing our own level of pain. There is NO WAY that you could understand fully what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes. Ever. In addition, just because it is a way you choose to operate, who says that is the ‘right’ way? It’s an opportunity to witness when we are playing ‘God’, and instead practice humility, grace, and detachment. That said, you do not have to go along with someone or even be their friend. When we create a story around it, take on their energy or create one about any situation, we are then carrying energy that can begin to heavy our load.

Feeling like you want support around this?? LEAN IN!! I am here for you. E-mail me to set up a 15-minute consult to discover the best way to get coaching.  

With big love and deep respect,
Va