Archive for Healing Heart Issues

Oct
23

Escape the Deadly Trap of Comparison

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There’s a “harmful action” that I and nearly every client I work with easily fall into.

It wreaks havoc on our self-esteem, as well as social relationships. And it affects our health.

There are many forms of it, and it’s sneaky. For instance, because I didn’t fall prey to the more obvious forms, I thought it wasn’t a problem for me.

I was wrong.

What is this common, destructive trap?

It’s the trap of COMPARISON.

There’s a basic human need that drives this, which I will talk about in another post.

For now, I want to help you identify how this might be showing up in your life.

Telltale Feelings and Beliefs

Some of the feelings that point to this harmful action are shame and low self-esteem. The underlying beliefs are “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t measure up,” “there’s something wrong with me.”

We want to heal these feelings and unhealthy beliefs, but to do so we need to identify and address what you might (unconsciously) be doing on a daily basis that drives these feelings and beliefs.

That’s where comparison comes in. There’s something we’re doing that drives these feelings, the reinforces the unhealthy beliefs.

Let’s look at the main forms of comparison.

Comparing Yourself to Others

This form of comparison can be to other people who are “like me,” or “not like me.”

Perhaps growing up, your parents or other authority figures compared you to someone else.

  • “Why can’t you be organized like your sister?”
  • “Your brother was so athletic. You can hardly even throw a ball.”
  • “Why are you so sensitive? Nobody else is bothered by that.” (We Highly Sensitive People get this sort of thing a lot.)

Thus you learned to compare yourself to others, and felt you didn’t measure up.

I said comparison can be sneaky. Sometimes we can feel ashamed if we’re better in some way than others. “I wish my boys had your brains,” my father would tell me. I think his remark was more about his feelings about my brothers than me, but along with other messages from religion and the culture, I began to believe I needed to diminish my intelligence so as not to make anyone else feel bad.

You might also compare yourself to others who are like you, so you identify with them, but in some area you fall short. Thus, it can be all the more painful.

 

  • Everyone in your social group drives a nice car—except you.
  • Everyone in your social circle is married—except you. (Or vice versa.)
  • All your friends are retired and having a good time, and you still have to work.

You get the idea.

Social comparison is multiplied exponentially by social media. It’s so easy to end up comparing yourself to the image others portray. Keep in mind that social media is set up to fuel comparison and discontent.

Comparing Yourself to Others’ Expectations of You

Did you grow up in a family with high expectations? This isn’t necessarily bad, but if there’s any areas in which you fell short, you may feel ashamed and “not good enough.” You may have internalized unrealistic expectations of yourself, and constantly try to live up to them.

If you’re Highly Sensitive, an inborn trait approximately 20% of the population possesses, expectations may have been laid on you of being “like the other 80 percent.” Perfectionism is a very common struggle for HSPs as a result.

I remember vividly being given a vacation in Europe as a perk from my employer. One of the things we did was go to a discotheque in Germany. I was supposed to be having fun, but to a Highly Sensitive like me (I didn’t realize I was HS at the time), it was pure hell. The flashing lights, loud music, different language, constant movement, all added up to sensory overload that made me miserable. Adding to the misery, however, was the expectation that I was supposed to be having a wonderful time.

My mother wanted me to be very social and outgoing, and I was an introvert that needed alone time to recharge. One of the memories I’ve had to work on a lot was her oft-repeated admonition, “Get your nose out of that book and find someone to play with!” My interpretation: my love of books was invalid, and all that mattered was being social. Otherwise, I “had no personality” (another thing I was told).

(By the way, later in life, after my mother had been doing Healing Codes for a while, we had a wonderful talk about how I’d felt about these and other memories, and she was able to receive it. Her transformation was one of the things that cemented in my heart how powerful and valid The Healing Codes are.)

We are all prone to others’ expectations of us, because we’re social beings and we have a strong need to fit in. Yet this becomes a deadly trap where we lose our true selves to some “socialized” version that we’re trying to live up to. That adds enormous, though largely unconscious, stress to our systems.

I love this quote from poet e.e. cummings:

To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.”

Comparison to Yourself—Past or Future

This is another way comparison can be sneaky.

You may not realize you had an unconscious expectation that, say, by age 30 you should be married with two kids, or that by age 40 you should own a nice house, or that by age 60 you should have your house paid off, or that you would be able to retire by age 65. (Did you notice how many of these expectations are common cultural norms?)

Life rarely turns out the way we imagine it will. Imagining is one thing, expecting it of yourself is another.

Or perhaps you’re comparing yourself to some past version of yourself.

“I used to be able to _____; now I can’t.” Aging reveals this painful expectation of self.

So what do we do about all this destructive comparison?

Steps to Freedom from the Comparison Trap

1. Acknowledge it. Allow yourself to become aware of the ways comparison might be eating away at your joy.

2. Heal it. If you can, identify memories and/or relationships that may the be the source of this harmful action. Pinpoint the feelings and beliefs. Put all the feelings, beliefs, and “the harmful action of comparison,” into your Healing Code prayer of intention, and intentionally heal it.

3. Get in touch with what brings your true self joy. Use your power of choice to “flip the switch” and choose joy over meeting expectations. When doing a Healing Code, infuse the memories of those times when you were “true self,” to reinforce that joy and connection to the essence of who you really are.

4. Use comparison constructively. Is there something here I can adapt for myself? Do I need support to heal a heart wound? Do I want to create something entirely new that suits me better?

For instance, since I am in business for myself, it’s easy to compare myself to what other “successful” entrepreneurs are doing and wonder if I’m missing out. Should I get into Instagram? Do a Facebook Live? It’s working so well for So-and-So. . . .

When I check in with my True Self, with my Heart, I realize that connection with others is important to me, but I can do it in ways that are more suited to my temperament. While I’m open to new ideas, I need to pass them through my Heart Check to see if any match up with my divine design. Often I find I need to adapt it to the way I’m wired, or create something entirely new that achieves the result I want, in a way that suits me.

I hope this helps you begin the journey of escaping the deadly comparison trap. And of course, if you want more personalized help for your unique situation, check out my coaching at HealingCodesCoaching.com.

Last time I wrote about my “long siege” trying to settle a very messy estate situation, and how I got through it (mostly) intact.

Now I’d like to share what to do when your “long siege” is over.

Again, your “long siege” might be an illness (your own or a loved one’s, in which you were the caretaker), a divorce, a difficult family situation, or any number of other trials.

For many people, the pandemic and all it entails has been a “long siege” which may or may not be over.

It may feel like any long siege will never end, but it usually does, one way or another.

The time of closure when it does end can be a very rich time of receiving all the gifts from the experience.

It can also be a time of vulnerability.

It’s not uncommon for people to get sick after an especially stressful period, a phenomenon called “the let-down effect.” I was aware of this, and wanted to make sure I don’t get sick now.

(Although I have to say, perhaps God is already helping me in that regard. The very day I knew for sure how things would end with the estate, we took our car into the repair shop. Verdict: we need a new car. So this week was spent on getting that together. But, as a friend put it, “maybe I need new wheels for new adventures.” I like that! And maybe I needed another shorter-term, minor stressor to help me “wind down.”)

So here are some steps I’m taking to provide closure on the “long siege” so I can heal and reclaim my life. Read More→

Oct
09

Getting through a “Long Siege”

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Eleven months ago from the time of this writing, I lost my mother, and became co-executor of her estate.

It was the beginning of a challenging season in which this unwanted, intrusive, part-time job of settling a very messy estate gobbled up time, energy, and resources, and triggered a lot of apparently unhealed “heart issues” concerning my family.

I think of these past months as “the long siege” during which I was fighting to keep as much of my own life as possible from being devoured.

Perhaps you can relate? Maybe you’re going through, or have gone through, a season of illness (your own or a loved one’s), or  unemployment, or divorce, or the loss of a home, or a bereavement, or . . . just this global pandemic, for instance?

The life you once knew is gone, and you are scrambling to move ahead, not just tread water.

How do we get through such times, which can amount to both a trauma and a crisis, and come out not only intact, but perhaps even somewhat healed on the other end?

One thing that turned out to be completely necessary for me was learning to let go of my high standards for certain things.

To get through any crisis or “long siege,” you need to let some things be “good enough,” or even to die, so that other things can live and flourish.

So I did an audit of the different areas of my life. What was most important to me, that needed to be prioritized in order to be preserved? (My morning and evening rituals, healthy eating, healthy relationships, my business.)

What could I let go of, or adjust the standards of? What does “good enough” look like?

Also: Was there any area in which I needed to raise my standards?

Turns out, there was: Self-care. I had to let go of the self-neglect that came naturally from my upbringing, and really instill in my heart that if I didn’t take care of me, there would be no “me” to take care of everything else.

I also made my spiritual and healing practices a priority. The two or three days I missed them, I really felt it.

I evaluated my resources and the current reality of what I was dealing with. I adjusted my housekeeping standards, and my expectations of my husband, myself, and my business.

In each area, I defined what would be “good enough” and let go of my former standards. (Or tried to; I tend to be an idealist and perfectionist, so this was not easy. The alternative, though, was my old pattern of pushing, which I knew would destroy my health.)

It was a painful but necessary process. It’s humbling to admit that you can’t do everything you thought you could or should be able to, that you have actual limitations, some of which weren’t there before but now must be acknowledged.

The gift from my long siege was it helped to clarify my true values, showed me patterns from my past that still needed healing, and clarified the boundaries that needed to be in place.

One of the most helpful things was to remind myself that this is “just for now, not forever.” There will come a time when the crisis will be over, and then I can reassess and re-calibrate. Lowering my standards “for now, not forever,” for a good reason (to preserve my health, relationships and business), helped me feel proactive and in control of at least something.

I also knew I couldn’t get through this without the support of other people.

I leaned on my husband, grown children (who were all wonderful), best friend (the only one who knew all the gory, blow-by-blow details that I spared even my husband), and several support groups of friends who prayed for me.

Are you going through a particularly challenging season, even a “long siege” of your own? (In some ways, who isn’t these days?) Perhaps doing an audit of your resources, redefining “good enough, for now not forever,” and reaching out for support from others will help you get through it as well.

Next time, I’ll talk about “when the long siege is finally over”–how to heal and reclaim your life. (Because, thankfully, that’s what I’ll be able to do as of next week, I hope!)

And if you would like help in any of these steps, I’d be happy to come alongside you for that support. Check out my coaching at HealingCodesCoaching.com.

Oct
02

The Prayer God Always Answers

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There is a prayer I pray a lot, and have for years.

I believe it may be one of God’s favorite prayers to answer, because he always answers it.

Often in surprising ways.

Which also makes this a very fun prayer to pray. You never know how he will answer it.

So what’s the prayer?

God, shine your light into _____ [name the situation].

Elsewhere I have  invited you to pray a variation of this for the world:

God, shine your light into this dark world, to expose evil, reveal truth, and point the way to the path of peace.”

When I read (never watch) the news, I look for evidence of this prayer being answered. When I see answers (for instance, when evil is exposed or truth revealed), I rejoice. It gives me a different perspective on what’s going on, and reminds me that God is in control, not human beings.

In my personal life, I can point to many times when God answered this prayer.

Sometimes, when he shines the light, it is to expose evil. We don’t always get a hoped-for answer, as in things working out the way we want. But if you can see that light was cast into the situation, it reassures you that God is working in that situation, and that ultimately good will come from it.

Case in point. For the past almost 11 months, I have been the co-executor of my mother’s estate, in a situation that will go down in the annals of lawyer history as one of the messiest and unnecessarily prolonged cases. (Our lawyer threatened to quit several times; another refused to take us on when he got even an inkling of the situation.)

My friend and I have several names for this soap opera I’ve been living: The Edge of Hope; Almost—Not Really; and Speeding toward a Standstill (I do the speeding, then certain others involved bring it to a standstill).

I’ve had several people praying for resolution of this. I’m convinced prayer is the only way anything (good) has happened. I’ve even seen God blast through the blocks others put up, to work for good.

A few weeks ago, there was a probate court hearing. I of course prayed that God would shine his light into the courtroom.

Well, he did. He exposed evil (a lie someone told, which I had to reveal by speaking the truth), and ultimately, as I continued to pray this prayer, he pointed the way to the path of peace.

It was not the outcome I had expected or wanted, but he did shine his light.

I regularly ask God to shine his light on my day, and I seek to walk in that light. I call it being Aligned. I listen for the small whispers of guidance.

Just a few days ago, I had an intuitive hit (I believe it was from God) to call a certain person concerning the estate. I had 10 minutes between clients to do so. The person answered (miraculous), and after asking her a question, I realized she was missing a key piece of information that was causing the whole estate closure to be delayed. I clarified what had happened at the hearing, and in just a few minutes, she reported back via email that she would expedite what needed to be done for the closing. Just this morning I got word that the closing will happen next week.

The moment I had been awaiting for almost 11 months finally happened . . . only because of prayer.

Living Aligned(TM) means living in the Light. It means praying this prayer as a way of life. It means being receptive to the “small, still voice” inside, which I believe is your human spirit, aligned with God’s Spirit, sensing God’s guidance.

CC BY by barryskeates

And when your spirit is aligned with God’s Spirit, his life flows through your spirit to body and soul, and brings healing, peace, and right relationships with God, self and others.

It’s fun, exciting, and peaceful to live this way. I can’t claim I’m doing it perfectly, but I am practicing it.

I invite you to start praying that God will shine his light into your world, especially into situations that feel dark or heavy. Light is not only the opposite of darkness, it is also the opposite of “heavy.”

Let me know what miracles follow! Comment below and encourage others.

And if you would like personalized help with living more Aligned, check out my coaching programs at HealingCodesCoaching.com.

Every Labor Day weekend it hits me: If what happened on that weekend in 2007 hadn’t happened . . .

  • you wouldn’t be reading this blog.

  • The Healing Code book might never have been published.

  • you and thousands, perhaps millions of others might never have heard of The Healing Codes.

  • and thousands and thousands of people may not have been healed.

What transpired on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, 2007 set off a chain reaction that led to all these things . . . and more.

It showed me how seemingly terrible incidents can lead to much good.

So what happened back in 2007 on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend? Read More→

Sep
11

A Way to Clarity and Peace

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As I write this, it is the 2oth anniversary of the day the United States was attacked by the militant terrorist group al- Quaeda on 9/11/2001.  Aside from the heaviness of that remembrance, there are plenty of concerning things going on in my country, the U.S., and all around the world.
 
If you feel this heaviness and have not healed the memories  triggered for you by what’s in the news these days, I encourage you to take a little more time to connect with your feelings, memories, and any unhealthy beliefs formed from those memories.
 
Like me, you probably are experiencing personal challenges of your own on top of all that’s going on in the world.
 
But you know what? Somehow, though I’ve been going through a very intense time on all levels, I’ve had an amazing measure of actual peace and clarity.
 
I think maybe the peace comes from the clarity.
 
I use a tool I share with my Momentum clients, where you focus first on what you don’t want to see happen and don’t want to  feel, and then what you do want to see happen and to feel. You can add, if applicable, how you want others to feel.
 
As you work through this process, you pull into focus what you can do and what is beyond your control.
 
What you can do becomes your Clear Next Step.
 
What is beyond your control, you release to God’s care.
 
 
A final step might be to look for instances in your life when you successfully got through a similar situation, or you felt God met you in a personal way. Give gratitude for that.
 
You can also use this process as a precursor to your Healing Code work. Explore what memories might be triggered for you around this issue, and use The Healing Codes to heal those. Use your gratitude memory as your positive focus while doing your Healing Code.
 
That’s what I’ve been doing to deal with my intense times. I invite you to try it, too.
 
And if you need a custom Healing Code for your issue, or want to make an even greater commitment to your healing through the Healing Momentum or Healing Intensive programs, check out HealingCodesCoaching.com.

I don’t know about you, but the events of the past few weeks–no, months–have given me quite a case of “emotional inflammation.”

I’ve been writing about “emotional inflammation” and how these troubling times can literally affect us physically. The negative energy is all around us, and we can’t escape it.

Polarization on so many levels, uncertainty on so many levels, job loss, the pandemic and everything that goes with it these  days, social media nastiness (which I avoid totally), natural disasters, the fall of Afghanistan, the loss of freedom on so many levels in so many ways. Even if you limit your news intake, as I do, you still can’t avoid the negative energy all around.

For some of us, especially if we have the trait of High Sensitivity, the energy is palpable: we feel it in our bodies.

One client said recently she sensed a “dark energy cloud” around her. Yep, that’s a good way to describe Emotional Inflammation.

Authors Dr. Lise Van Susteren and Stacey Colino say in their book, Emotional Inflammation, that it’s a state “not unlike post-traumatic stress disorder, but one that stems from simply living in today’s tumultuous world.”

That book was published in March 2020–right before “all this” became worse. It’s even more relevant now. Read More→

 

This week we lost power for almost 2 days.

CC BY-NC by sjrankin

The outside temperature was 90°F/33°C, with a dew point of 73°F. (I have learned that the dew point is a better indicator of humidity than “relative humidity,” and anything over 60°F is uncomfortable. I haven’t seen a dew point much higher than 73°F here, so this was nearly unbearable.)

On top of that, the night before the power loss, our kitchen faucet handle was about to break off. I called at least eight potential handymen (before we lost power). Only two got back to me. One said he could come the next day to fix it at 5pm, but then texted me at that time saying he couldn’t make it after all. At 5pm the faucet handle broke off completely. Two and a half hours later, with a lot of dishes to be washed from dinner, the power went out.

It reminded me of the children’s story I used to read to my kids: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.

For us, it was two days.

I can’t honestly say it was all terrible, horrible, or no good, though. Very bad, yes. But here’s how God helped me, and what I discovered about alignment, intuition and, surprisingly, electricity and sleep.

Hunting for the Graces

Because of what I had learned about how gratitude fosters resilience, I kept looking for things to be grateful for.

First: the storms that knocked down trees and power lines did not dump a lot of rain. With the power out, the sump pump would not have worked. Had it rained heavily, the basement could have flooded. That potential disaster did not happen, despite the storms that hit both nights our power was out.

Second: A handyman came that first morning after we went dark. He installed the new faucet my husband bought the night before. He did it in the dark kitchen, with a flashlight (bless his heart!). He left his phone and a screwdriver behind because it was so dark he couldn’t see that he’d set it down. Soon enough, we had a functional kitchen, which lessened the stress a little.

Third: A neighbor said we could put our frozen food in his freezer.

Fourth: We have a gas stove, so I could cook.

Intuition

As soon as we lost power, I went up to shut down the computer correctly. I have a BackUp Universal Power Source that is a surge protector and a battery backup. It allows your computer and peripherals to keep going in a power failure until you can shut it down properly.

Here’s where the intuition part comes in. Read More→

Aug
07

Overwhelmed? Try These Steps to Peace

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Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all that’s coming at you, all there is to do?

overwhelmed

I know I do. As someone with the inborn trait of High Sensitivity (or Sensory Processing Sensitivity, its technical term), I take in a lot more information than non-HSPs, and process it more deeply. Understanding this has hugely helped me to understand what’s going on, but I still have to deal with it all.

On top of that, there’s this tendency to “overthink” things. One of my gifts is that I can often see down the road to just how something will play out, for me or others. I’m usually right. However, I’m finding that you still have to walk through all the steps to get there. (I just want to leap frog to the end that I can see so clearly.)

So what do you do when you have to make decisions and move ahead, when there’s so much to sort through and it’s difficult even to know what’s most important to do so you can set priorities?

Remember that famous quote by Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind?  (“I’ll think about that tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.”) That’s what we feel like doing, isn’t it?  There are times when we do have to just take a break, but you know the “mañana” attitude doesn’t get you very far in life.

Here’s what I’ve found helpful.

Step 1: Pray. I pray for wisdom, knowing that God desires to give it and to guide me.

Prayer also reminds me that it’s not all up to me, that there’s a lot I can’t control, and that a loving God desires to help me.

One of my favorite verses is, “For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you’” (Isaiah 41:13). Such tenderness and kindness in that Word!

Here’s another one of my favorite promises: “The LORD himself goes before you, and is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be discouraged; do not be afraid” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

And finally, this: Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him, in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Reminding myself of these promises from God’s Word helps me to trust that he will guide and help me as I step out in faith.

mind map of tasksStep 2: List out all the things that I’m dealing with, all the decisions to be made. This is how I mind map. I do this on paper usually, to get things out of my head, where it can feel overwhelming. Seeing it all written out helps me look at everything more objectively.

Step 3: Triage the decisions. When I’m facing a lot of decisions and not sure what to do, I look at the probable outcomes of acting now, acting later, or not acting at all. The decisions that have the worst outcomes if I don’t act now get priority. The trick here is to make sure you take into account the not-so-obvious, and/or longer-term consequences.

Conversely, you can ask the famous One Thing question: What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

Between looking at the worst outcomes and the one thing that will yield the best results, it should become easier to prioritize. But there are other factors to consider.

Step 4: Clarify what I do and don’t want. I have a tool for this that I use with some of my clients, which helps tremendously to clarify my real desires and fears. It’s important to take these into account as well, because fears can block you and desires can fuel you into getting what you want.

Step 5: Tune in to my Heart and intuition. Having gathered all this information, I then pray again and tune into my Heart/Spirit. I know there are factors of which my spirit or subconscious may be aware, that my mind is not. I have learned to trust that vehicle of transmission from Spirit to mind, my intuition. I wait to things to “jell” into a Clear Next Step.

Once I get that Clear Next Step, I then have peace. All I need to focus on is my own Clear Next Step. Everything else is up to God and perhaps other people to do their parts.

Another important thing: I don’t proceed until I get that Next Clear Step. I continue to pray, and wait. I only act when I have a Clear Next Step.

step by stepThis is a process, a continual  process.

Often when I take one Clear Next Step, the next clear step presents itself. If it doesn’t, I wait and pray, or go through the above process again.

Try this with any decisions or tasks that tend to overwhelm you, and let me know what happens.

And if you would like help with this or any other “heart issue,” check out my coaching at https://HealingCodesCoaching.com.

Jul
17

When God Flips the Switch

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The voicemail was less than two minutes long. It was intended to hurt and to arouse guilt and fear.

For a few hours, it succeeded. In that time I felt, thought, and prayed my way through it all.

Then God stepped in and “flipped the switch,” giving me the miracle of several shifts in perspective.

(I wrote before about how we can deliberately “flip the switch” from positive to negative. But sometimes we need God to do it, because we don’t know how or we’re too upset to remember to do it. That’s the time to pray and ask God to open your eyes to a different way of seeing.) Read More→

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