Every one of us comes into this world with a clean slate. As infants we are eager to experience every sound, sight, taste and smell we come across. But even during our early years most of us encounter normal losses which may lead us down a couple different paths if we don’t have the correct tools to deal with our feelings. We may become productive members of society but also learn to “stuff” ouremotions while keeping ourselves busy in order to not have to “feel” our pain. On the flip side we may turn to addiction, criminal behavior or other unhealthy self-inflicting behaviors. All of this is a direct result of not knowing how to process feelings related to the grief we experience.
I just returned home from attending the International Grief Recovery Method Conference. Sitting in lecture after lecture it started becoming crystal clear to me that the majority of our so called “problems” in life are directly related to unresolved grief/loss; they are a symptom of what’s going on inside each of us. Yes, GRIEF! We all experience it, we all have it and unless we have the correct tools in our toolbox we have no effective way to deal with it. You can’t paint a room with a hammer just like you can’t resolve grief with a new relationship, new job or a vacation. We can’t fix grief with time just like a flat tire doesn’t get fixed with time; both need action taken to create resolution.
Many people may hear the word grief and think it’s just related to the loss of a loved one, death. In truth grief is a result of any loss that creates conflicting feelings or emotions and/or a change in a familiar pattern of behavior. Yes death, divorce, loss of a job or loss of a home qualify as grief but so do moving to a new school, a best friend leaving for the military or a spouse taking a new job that requires a great deal of travel. Even marriage and childbirth can create feelings of grief. We are giving up parts of our old life as a new one is created. All of these situations are a change in a familiar pattern and with change comes conflicting feelings or emotions. All of this is NORMAL and NATURAL. Unfortunately, we live in a society that has taught us to keep busy, move on, replace a loss and be strong. We often are discouraged from taking time to acknowledge our feelings. Even when we do chose to share what we are experiencing often we are met with unhelpful comments from those who have the best of intentions but lack the tools to understand that what we need is to just be heard and acknowledged. Eventually many of us just stop talking and stuff all of our unmet hopes, dreams and expectations surrounding our losses so deep that it leads to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dis-ease. Often this comes in the form of abuse toward
ourselves (addiction, overworking, obesity, health issues) or abuse of others (our spouses, our children, strangers). Many of us end up in the hospital fighting for our lives while others end up in prison fighting for freedom. How is it that we have a society in which we aren’t taught what to do when we experience a loss? Why is it important to teach CPR but not how to deal with Grief? When will we begin to teach our children from an early age how to effectively deal with their deepest feelings in regards to loss they experience?
There isn’t one person alive that hasn’t experienced loss but few of us have been given the tools to help ourselves through grief or be supportive to those around us. I get it “Grief” sounds like a scary, negative thing. But the truth is that we all experience it as a result of different losses we encounter throughout our lives. And it’s CUMULATIVE meaning that if we don’t deal with one loss soon every loss we’ve experienced accumulates and causes even more pain in our lives.
I personally believe that by providing education and tools we can make a difference today especially for the future of our younger generations. Each and every one of us deserves to feel healthy, whole and complete. I spent the last weekend hearing about how something I already use to help others and have personally used to heal some of my own grief is also helping millions of people around the world including women, men, children, Veterans, addicts and even prisoners. The Grief Recovery Method® teaches us how to heal our hearts and live a deeper, more fulfilling life while letting go of our pain and holding on to those feelings which bring us joy. My hope is that we can continue to make even a bigger difference around the world so that nobody grieves alone.
If you or someone you know is hurting or suffering from a broken heart related to any loss whether current or in the past please reach out. Myself or any other Certified Grief Recovery Specialist will be a heart with two ears to listen and provide you with tools to deal with grief for now and the rest of your life.
~Dawn Jackson, RN, Certified Grief Recovery Specialist
BEING ALONE VS. BEING LONELY
Once again as I return from a five day vacation by myself I’m asked the same questions from family and friends. “Weren’t you lonely or bored?” My answer is always “no,” to which I get a perplexed look and often “Wow, I wish I could do that.” For many years, yes, I definitely would have felt lonely, scared and bored being away from home by myself. But today I can honestly say I don’t know the last time I felt lonely. I remember times in the distant past feeling lonely yet being surrounded by many people yet today I can be alone and feel very content.
For me I believe the change came when I began to deeply connect with myself and with my heart. Spending time alone gives us time to be in silence, reflect, meditate, and practice self love and nurturing. Instead of receiving from those around us we receive from inside of us and connect with the deepest parts of our being. We find that it is not the outside world that provides us with joy, happiness and love. This comes from inside of us and then is reflected in our outside world. I find that after being alone I have a deeper sense of gratitude for my life, even the struggles, and for those individuals who share my journey. I find that I come back in a different space, more peaceful and grounded, in which to live my life. Being alone gives all of us time to really drop into our true selves and explore our feelings, thoughts, dreams and desires without interruptions from the outside world. And to be honest I notice that I never truly “feel” alone because I know, believe and feel the connection that we all share as I see signs of it every day. Spending time alone can be one of the most empowering, life changing, magical experiences; it all depends how you chose to spend your time. If there is one thing you would love to do by yourself today what would it be? What would it take for you to find the courage to actually do it? ~ Dawn
August 2014 (article written for New Age News Magazine – August edition)
THE PERFECT SAND DOLLAR
As I was strolling down the beach yesterday, on a bright and sunny morning, my feet splashed through the cool ocean water. With each step a sense of peace washed through me. I knew there was something very special and magical about this day that was just beginning. I was truly choosing to “live in the moment” with my spontaneous decision to detour to the beach, which is about an hour from my home. I wondered what gifts this day would bring. Never did I think that the gift would be broken sand dollars I happened upon during my walk.
As my feet made their way down the sandy beach, with the sun shining on me, I glanced down into the ocean water seeing what appeared to be a whole sand dollar. As I picked it up I discovered that the top was broken like so many I’d found and discarded over the years. But TODAY, something was different. At that exact moment of picking up the sand dollar I realized how perfectly it represented our lives.
Like the weathered sand dollar each one of us experiences our own “weathering” in life. We endure struggles and pain as part of our growth. Some of us have more challenges to overcome than others. Some of us ride the waves easier while others get constantly pushed against the rocky reefs of life. Although it’s sometimes a necessary part of growing it can also leave us feeling battered and broken. We may come out of difficult times seeing ourselves as anything less than “whole.”
The “gift” and insight for me was the realization that I could choose to focus on the side of the sand dollar that was broken OR I could choose to focus on the side, which was whole. Same sand dollar, different perspective. As for our own lives we can see ourselves and others as broken, damaged and weathered. Or we can see the beauty, the perfection and the wholeness that we are as individuals. We have the choice to direct our thoughts and beliefs in a positive way seeing the true miracles that each one of us embody as humans. In reality each struggle and difficulty we ride through adds to our beauty and depth as an individual.
As I continued my stroll down the beach, with a new spring in my step and a smile on my face, I came upon sand dollar after sand dollar weathered on one side and whole on the other side. And each time my eyes caught their attention I ended up with one more “perfect” sand dollar in my hand. Two hours and 28 sand dollars later there was no doubt in my mind that the Universe had given me a gift. The gift was profound insight delivered through the beautiful treasures I found during my time on the beach.
So as we step through each moment of our life may we remember that it’s all about perspective. We can choose to see the problems and imperfections OR we can choose to see our own beauty and perfection. We may be weathered but we are PERFECTLY WHOLE.
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
OUR MENTAL HEALTH IS OUR PHYSICAL HEALTH
We may trick ourselves into believing that our mental/emotional wellbeing has absolutely nothing to do with our physical health. The truth is that we soon find out that they are intricately linked. When our lives get out of balance and our emotions hit extremes our physical body is greatly affected in many ways.
Have you ever noticed that while you are experiencing an extremely stressful time your body seems healthy and vibrant but as soon as the adrenaline wears off from the stress you become ill? Our bodies are quite capable of withstanding some harsh conditions but they aren’t able to withstand constant bombardment of stressful conditions. Like everything else in life our bodies need to be nurtured and loved. They need peace, calm, relaxation and rest.
You may notice that when emotionally you feel peaceful with acceptance, gratitude and passion in your life your body normally responds by exhibiting wellness. Many diagnosed medical issues simply disappear when we focus on returning our emotional state to equilibrium.
In contrast when we are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, anger, and frustration our bodies speak up. We may develop new health conditions or those that we thought had healed may return. Today there is a multitude of scientific research that shows how our emotions can and do cause illness in our bodies. Stress leads to inflammation and inflammation leads to disease. With this knowledge it becomes extremely important to understand how balancing our emotions and mental health can lead to our overall physical wellness.
One of the first things I do when working with clients, friends or even my own physical health issues is to ask what is emotionally going on because it’s always linked to the discomfort of the body. Two of the areas in which I see the most discomfort and disease are the back (as well as neck) and stomach. These tend to be where many of us hold stress and tension. When we hold in our emotions and just try to barrel through life the emotions hang out in our tissues and cause discomfort. Finding ways to release emotions in a healthy way is imperative to creating balance in our bodies.
So how do we create this balance? The first thing I recommend is getting out your emotions. Journal, talk with a therapist or at least a good friend. Anything that allows you to release what you are holding inside. Sometimes writing everything down and burning it is a good technique. Keeping emotions, thoughts and beliefs inside that no longer serve us only weighs us down so anything we can do to release them will ultimately lead to better health.
Other recommendations to help keep our emotional health in a state of balance are practicing extreme self -care. Exercise is vital to our health as well as a good diet. When we don’t put healthy food into our bodies our minds don’t have the proper nutrition to function in a healthy way. Rest, rest and more rest. I cannot stress how important sleep is in our lives. If you aren’t sleeping well get some support from your doctor, chiropractor or acupuncturist to help you get the rest you need. Without sleep everything in our lives including our physical and emotional health get thrown off. And in addition to sleep, periods of relaxation are important. Go for a walk in nature, sit and read a book, turn off your electronics, connect with yourself. All of these activities allow your body and mind to return to a state of equilibrium from the stressors of daily life.
Lastly, take a look around you and notice who and what you choose to surround yourself with in life. Are your relationships honoring you? Are they supportive? And what about your job? Often when we choose to become healthier we have to make changes in our lives which may feel uncomfortable at first but ultimately lead to a healthier life for us in the long run. Surround yourself only with those who love and support you unconditionally. Spend time with people who encourage you to honor yourself, grow and be healthy. Create wellness in all areas of your life.
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
May 2014 (article written for New Age News Magazine – May edition)
FIGHTING THE OLD VERSUS BUILDING THE NEW
As Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
We know something needs to change in our life. We look around and our outer world doesn’t resemble our desires. How did things end up this way? What did we do wrong? It’s easy to spend countless hours each day mulling over in our heads how we could have or should have done things differently in the past. But we don’t live in the past we live in the present. The more time we spend living in a place we’ve already finished the less able we are to build a new future for ourselves. For those of us who spend a great deal of time living in our head it can be quite difficult to “let go” of the past and understand that TODAY things can be different.
For many of us we develop beliefs that our future equals our past. We perpetuate that belief by holding it so tightly that we keep creating the same situations in our life over and over again. Until we look deeply into the beliefs we are living by, the cycle is almost impossible to break.
The first thing for us to do when we notice the same patterns repeating in our lives is to stop and look at those beliefs we are holding to be true. Do they truly serve us and where are they coming from? Often we find that we developed our beliefs as children as we were conditioned through our family and society. Perhaps they served us at the time but now they create barriers to living the life we desire.
In order for us to move forward and create a fulfilling life we have to build new beliefs. This can take time, patience and perseverance as our ego has a tendency to often remind us of our old beliefs. It creates fears in our mind about change and does its best to keep us stuck in the past. The challenge is in allowing the ego to speak and then consciously reminding ourselves that we are creating new beliefs that will serve our highest good. The ego wants to keep us stuck by rehashing, reliving and fighting the past. It’s what keeps us awake at night. And for many of us we “think” that by “thinking” more about the past we can change the present. Once we accept the past we understand we can’t change it. The only thing we have the ability to change is our present situation and the future.
When we have the ability to truly “let go” of our beliefs about the past we can begin building new sets of beliefs to move forward. We go about erasing everything we’ve come to believe, that doesn’t serve us, so that we can start fresh and create a new slate to work with in the present. When we change our beliefs we can look at everything in life from a new perspective, even our past. The Law of Attraction regards our beliefs as essential to what we attract into our life. So if we believe that life is hard, we won’t have abundance or love then that’s exactly what will come to us. In contrast if we believe life is exciting and filled with love, abundance and opportunities guess what will show up for you? Love, abundance, and opportunities. Here’s to accepting the past and building a new present and future!!
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
WE’RE ALL CONNECTED – TAKING THE TIME TO NOTICE
How many of us go through life feeling alone in our struggles, fears, and insecurities? We may even walk down the street looking at everyone we pass with the thought that THEY have “it” all figured out, much more than we do. The truth is all of us are connected and all of us deal with our own pain, fear, and struggle; no one is immune to this in life. Being here on earth is about the growth of our soul. And we all know that growth doesn’t usually happen when things are easy breezy in life. Usually we require a little pushing to expand and grow.
When we forget that we’re connected we tend to isolate from others thinking that we are “different.” Yes, we are different in many ways. We have different personalities, ethnicities, values, beliefs and pasts. But, the most important parts of us are the same. We all desire to feel connected, loved, worthy, empowered, and “good enough.” We all want to been “seen” for who are, accepted and to be heard. And when we feel seen, accepted and heard it makes a profound difference in our lives.
Years ago a dear friend taught me one of the greatest lessons of my life. She taught me how important it is to take the time to connect and acknowledge others, even strangers. This wasn’t taught by her words to me, it was taught by her actions.
You know those times you rush to the store trying to get home quickly, looking at your cell phone while in line and then taking a call while you’re paying? For just a moment imagine how that individual feels who is helping you. What is going on in their life? In their day? What might they be struggling with? And how might just a simple smile or a few words make a difference in their day?
Redo your interaction in line at the store. You notice the cashier has a nametag. You take the time to look in their eyes, thank them by name and wish them a good day. Seems pretty simple right? Have you ever noticed how someone’s eyes light up when you take the time to notice their name (clearly displayed on their nametag) and then actually acknowledge them by their name? It’s amazing. But if you watch while you are in line you will notice that very few people who are providing a service to us get acknowledged. We’re too busy thinking about our lives to make the connection with another human soul. But isn’t that what life is about? Connecting with one another? Without relationships we don’t grow, we don’t thrive. We weren’t put here to spend our hours in our own world oblivious to those around us. Even when our world seems to be crumbling around us and we have very little to give a simple smile or acknowledgement to another can make a difference that we may never know. And as miserable as we may be at times there is always someone who is dealing with something worse than us, something we can’t even imagine.
So my point is to remember that although we are different there is so much about each of us that is the same. Recognize the beauty in one another, take time to connect and spread love to everyone you meet along your way. EVERYONE needs love. EVERYONE needs to feel appreciated and connected. Let it start with you.
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
Every one of us comes up against difficulties and struggles at some point in our lives. We usually find that underlying the struggle is some part of us that needs healing, acceptance and love; it’s those dark areas inside that are yearning for light. In all honesty sometimes it seems easier to ignore what’s knocking at our door and step around it. Unfortunately, the same thing keeps coming back until we are willing to step in and take a look at why it’s showing up.
I truly believe there is no coincidence in life. EVERYTHING shows up for a reason – every situation, every person, every struggle, and every emotion. They are all here to teach us something IF we are willing to embrace them. How easy it is to embrace the joyful, light, and loving things that show up but it’s not always easy to embrace the painful, dark things that poke their head into our lives. However, the longer we circle the darkness the longer we prolong seeing the light and allowing it to come forth in our life.
We might say to ourselves that we only choose to focus on the light or that we don’t need to look at the dark. But they are both here for a reason. They are both gifts in our life and without looking at one we can’t be truly balanced, healthy, well individuals. Looking into areas where we struggle can be the most liberating thing to our lives as it allows us to move forward.
So if you’re saying to yourself, “I don’t like to feel pain and hurt. It seems like if I allow it to come up it will never go away.” I use to think the same thing until someone said to me, “sit with it and in it because it will eventually subside.” That sure didn’t seem very realistic to me but what I found was that the more I allowed and accepted whatever emotions surfaced the easier it was to move through them. Yes, it can be very uncomfortable to sit and feel uneasy for a period of time but it eventually subsides, the emotions pass, insight comes and light begins to fill the areas which were previously filled with darkness.
For all of those I’ve talked with lately who are having trouble finding their own light maybe try looking in those dark corners. Allow and accept whatever emotions and thoughts to come forward. See if this allowing and acceptance brings you towards the light. Perhaps it will help you move forward and understand yourselves and your life with a newer perspective. Sending out love, light and healing to all…..
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
Healing is dealing, and dealing is feeling, and feeling is healing.
YOU ARE WHERE YOU NEED TO BE
When we are happy, joyful and feeling fulfilled it’s easy to think that we are exactly where we need to be in life. But when we feel stuck, discouraged, frustrated, and fearful it’s hard to believe that where we are is where we need to be. The truth is that every experience and feeling that comes up in our lives presents itself for a reason.
We may ask ourselves why we need to have struggles. Unfortunately, the way most of us learn and grow is through the difficult times. For the majority of individuals it’s not easy to stretch ourselves when things are comfortable. We might not find any reason to expand and grow when everything seems to be just flowing easily in our lives. We feel happy and content so why change anything right?
The way life works is that we are not meant to stay in our comfort zone where nothing changes. And when we get just a little too comfortable in our box guess what happens? The Universe delivers us a little reminder that it’s time to expand in our world. We may get subtle clues, at first, but each time they get louder until you can’t ignore them anymore. It’s at this point that you know something is going to have to change and it’s not the world around us, it’s us that has to change. Yes, change can feel uncomfortable but it’s not a bad thing. Change is what allows us to experience all that we are meant to experience in this lifetime. It gives us the opportunity to see the world from different perspectives.
So why is it so hard for us to just accept that we are where we need to be? Because as humans we like to be in control of our lives. We like things to go as we’ve planned. We resist change, which then leads to our struggle. So what if we just let go? Let go of the struggle. And accepted where we are. As chaotic and messy as things may be in life right now if we offer acceptance, compassion and love to our situation we deliver grace to our experience. And then we can sit, meditate, breathe and know that we can endure and get through any situation. Sometimes we have to live by the motto “one day at a time.” And sometimes we have to live minute by minute. But believe in yourself. You can make it through anything and on the other side is the magic.
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
Sometimes in life one of the hardest things for us to “be” is our true authentic self. From an early age we may have learned that to fit in and excel we needed to act and be a certain way. As adults we begin to realize that much of our unhappiness stems from our lack of authenticity with ourselves, and those around us.
As young children we learn to hide our true selves because often we are scolded for our behaviors. We may have been told we needed to act a certain way to have friends so we learned that being ourselves wasn’t good enough. The result of this conditioning is thick coats of armor and masks that we wear. Pretty soon we even forget who we are inside because we’ve hidden behind protection for so long.
Even when we discover that who we’ve “tried” to be all these years isn’t working for us it’s not easy to let our true selves emerge. Layers upon layers of armor need to be removed which is not an easy task. Becoming ourselves takes a belief that we are good enough just the way we are despite what the world around us believes. We must be willing to be vulnerable which is an act of courage. To present “you” to the world without caring about others reactions takes a great deal of strength.
The first step to “being you” is to believe in yourself. And how does one do this when the world has domesticated us to believe that who we are isn’t good enough? We intimately get to know and love ourselves unconditionally. We dig deep into our feelings, find out what makes us happy, sad, passionate, angry, hurt. We accept each dark area in our being as we bring light into them to heal. We allow ourselves to be who we need to be in each given moment without judgment. It is not until we are ok with ALL of us, every square inch, that we can be ok with others seeing our true selves.
When we begin to love, accept and believe in ourselves it no longer matters what the world around us thinks, does or says. We know that others reactions to us have nothing to do with us but only to do with whatever they are dealing with themselves. We know that we are enough. We forgive ourselves when we need to, we apologize when we need to, but we always offer ourselves love. We believe in who we are.
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
How many of us started out our young adult years thinking that we knew exactly how our lives were going to look? We had them completely planned in our minds. Years later we discover that perhaps our ideas and beliefs about what we would do, who would be in our lives and the things we would experience were not what we planned. Maybe things have occurred that we aren’t proud of such as losing a job, facing divorce, struggling with addiction or just not living up to who we wanted to be. This can leave us feeling a sense of failure, frustration, depression and even sometimes just throwing up our hands. Maybe we get stuck in a rut in which we don’t see that our future can be completely different from our past. Unfortunately, when we are stuck we can miss seeing all the doors and opportunities that present themselves to us.
When we hold tight to our thoughts about how our life should manifest we forget that sometimes the Universe has a bigger plan. Things may show up for us in the absolute perfect way but instead of stepping in we sidestep the door or run the other way. Often this behavior isn’t even a conscious choice but one out of habit or just a lack of our ability to see the value in new experiences. And sometimes we make choices not to try new things due to fear or what may happen or not happen. What if we fail? What if we get hurt? We can carry around many messages in our minds that don’t serve us or our lives. We get stuck in our everyday rut and think that we are comfortable living in our box. The problem is that we aren’t meant to stay in our box. In order to grow we need to step out and experience what life presents to us.
So what happens when doors start opening that literally lead to things we never imagined for our lives? We make a choice. Do we jump in and see where it leads or do we close the door and turn away? Here I will share a little of my personal story because I’ve spent so much time speaking with people lately who are experiencing fear about walking into new experiences, relationships, and careers. My story is that for most of my life I tried to walk away from all the doors that opened for me. I kept myself pretty “comfortable” in my little box, or so I thought. What I didn’t realize is that there was so much more that the Universe had in store for me that I kept turning away from. It felt scary to have experiences that weren’t in my “comfort zone.” So what changed? It was really a gradual process allowing myself to open up to things that pushed me out of my comfort zone until a little over a year ago when I knew that I had little choice but to embrace what was being presented to me. It became too uncomfortable and restricting to NOT allow myself to look behind the open doors, explore, learn and grow. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Well, I could probably make a list of things but guess what? Nothing bad ever happened. Instead every door that I chose to walk through presented me with a wonderful gift.
One of the most life changing doors I chose to explore occurred last Fall and I share this as an example of how sometimes the most unimaginable opportunities can change our lives drastically. I received a call from a friend publishing an online magazine who asked me to write a piece for the first edition. I remember laughing and clearly telling her that “I’m not a writer.” After arguing back and forth for some time I surrendered my position and agreed to “try” to put together a piece for her to publish. I remember that some of the thoughts that went through my head immediately following the conversation were things such as, “I can’t do this. I’m not a writer. It won’t be good enough.” You know all those negative self-defeating thoughts we allow in our minds? I chose to take on the task because I realized that for some reason the Universe was sending me this opportunity so it must have value. As I wrote I started to realize how much I actually enjoyed it. Who would have thought! Now four months later writing has truly become one of my passions. It’s something I enjoy doing every day and when I have those days that just don’t allow me time to write I actually miss it.
So my point is that SOMETIMES we prematurely discount ourselves or possible experiences because we don’t see the value in them. But sometimes stepping through those open doors changes our lives in a way we could have never imagined. How do we know if we never try? Have the courage to explore those doors however unexpected they may seem. You just never know where they may lead.
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
Every one of us experiences things in life that end up as painful memories. And not only are we the recipients of other individual’s anger, pain and misdirected emotions but we also can be the one directing our pain towards others. Often when we are immersed in a difficult period of our lives we lack the ability to understand how our behavior can be hurtful to others. Unless we allow forgiveness to enter into our hearts we carry forward feelings, beliefs and thoughts, which don’t serve us in the future.
Forgiveness isn’t an act for someone else, it is an act for ourselves. When we hold resentment and anger towards another person or situation it causes damage to us, not others. The result of our negative emotions transfers to problems in our relationships, our jobs and our health.
When we carry around heavy burdens inside we have the tendency to lash out at others as if they caused our hurt. We may not realize that we are damaging our relationships by carrying forward pain from the past. We may not even recognize that we are deeply hurting inside because it’s been such a normal feeling for us during our lifetime. When those we love try to help we may get angry or push them away even more. At some point we are forced to face our pain because we end up isolating those we love.
Keeping all of our pain inside can also create serious health issues. It’s been proven that cancer, ulcers, heart disease and most illnesses are made worse if not caused by unhealed pain in our life. The pain that we store in our minds also gets stored in our cells, which manifests in different disease states. By focusing on continually clearing out our negative emotional states we keep our body healthier and in a state of wellness.
So what does forgiveness have to do with all of this? By offering others and ourselves forgiveness we are “letting go” of the deep, painful emotions we carry inside. We accept what was, what is and allow peace to take over where before there may have only been resentment and anger. By filling our minds with peace we fill our bodies with peace.
But how do we offer forgiveness in very painful situations? We remember that we deserve a better life. We deserve peace. We deserve love. And we remember that what others do has nothing to do with us, it has to do with what is going on in their world and in their minds. We remember that we offer forgiveness to the situation for ourselves. This doesn’t mean we forget or that we need to allow this situation or person to be a part of our lives anymore. It means we have decided that our life is more important than keeping the anger, hurt, and resentment from ruling us and our future.
Forgiveness is love, love for ourselves. May each of us offer ourselves this love that we so deserve.
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
COMMUNICATING WITH LOVE
Communication is such an important part of our daily lives yet often a struggle for many of us. We may feel quite skilled conversing in certain situations such as work but when it comes to our personal lives it may not come as naturally or vice versa. And then there are those of us who embody advanced communication skills but when stressed lack the ability to effectively share our thoughts and feelings.
One thing that happens to many of us is that when we are having a rough day, feel stressed or just overwhelmed we revert to old patterns. When this happens many of our old coping mechanisms appear which may cause us to act or react in ways that no longer serve us. Sometimes instead of taking that step back to pause, sit with an issue and receive guidance before acting we automatically act out our emotions which could be anger, hurt, frustration or many others. We then notice that we are acting from a place of fear, which is perhaps not how we want to lead our communication.
When we can give ourselves the space to be still, look at our feelings and thoughts, and be with them, we can often then communicate from a place of love. You may ask how even in the most upsetting of circumstances can we communicate from our hearts. As I said before we have to first PAUSE. Remember there is always another perspective, another point of view. This doesn’t mean that we can’t be strong, speak our truth and set boundaries. This means we can figure out a way to do this but from a space of love. There is always a way to communicate with kindness for all parties involved but it takes patience, courage, compassion and understanding.
Have you ever been really, really afraid to tell someone how you felt because you were worried about their reaction? I think we’ve all been there. The interesting thing is that in many, but not all circumstances, when speaking from our hearts we will be warmly received by others. Often we will receive a “thank you” for our honesty and courage to speak our truth. I’ve actually had a complete change in one of my relationships because of it. It creates intimacy, trust and connection between individuals whereas speaking with a closed heart creates distance.
If we can remember to always PAUSE before acting or reacting we can direct our communication in a loving way thus creating healthier, more balanced relationships. Love can be healing in every aspect of our lives.
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
LOVE WITHOUT JUDGEMENT
There is not one of us who manages to get through life without struggles and difficulties; these are what help us grow. During these times we aren’t always able to be the bright shining light that we desire and instead we sometimes sit behind a lot of darkness. Sometimes we isolate, sometimes we reach out, sometimes we put on more masks and sometimes we fall apart in others arms. Everyone deals with things differently and one individuals coping mechanism is not another individuals. It’s really easy for us to look at someone else’s behavior (that we don’t particularly like) and pass judgement. The fact is that we really don’t know what’s going on for other people. EVEN if they are close family or friends we have no way of getting inside to feel their feelings and what’s going on inside. We only know what’s happening for us. So, when we see others around us who aren’t able to shine their light so bright send them some of your love. They don’t need more darkness, they need more light. You just never know when something you do may make a difference that can change a life.
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
Take a moment to pause and think about what you would be doing in your life right now if you weren’t afraid. I’m pretty sure that the majority of us, despite the leaps and bounds we’ve made in our spiritual growth, still experience fear at times. I will admit that I know how paralyzing fear can be; it use to be my best friend.
Fear can keep you from moving forward in life. It has the ability to keep you in a prison, which seems inescapable. Fear can convince you that all of your hopes and dreams are not realistic, reachable and worthwhile. It keeps you small and doesn’t allow you to be seen for the beautiful, brilliant individual you are in this world. And worst of all fear instills the belief in you that everything you do can and will end in catastrophe, chaos, pain and loss. Not a fun way to live.
From an early age we begin to learn about fear and it becomes so normal for us that we don’t even recognize how we are living in it. We think it’s normal to hold back in life, to question everything we are passionate about and our dreams. Yes, there are certain times to be cautious in order to keep us out of physical danger but that accounts for only a small portion of our fearful thoughts.
Most of our fear comes from past conditioning. We believe that because the outcome of some situation was less than favorable once it must happen again. The truth is as long as we believe our fearful thoughts they will indeed come true. Thoughts become things. We manifest what we think, feel and believe. Not an easy thing to stomach, I know. But the really wonderful thing about this concept is that we CAN change our thoughts, our feelings and our beliefs in order to manifest a different outcome in our life.
Change is not easy for us as humans. We resist change with all of our might. But one day something happens that shakes us to our core and we realize that we can’t live the way we’ve been living. We want more in life. And we finally know that we deserve a happier, more peaceful, abundant existence. It is in this moment that we begin to look at our fears and how they are restricting our life.
So how do we make these changes? We first accept and love ourselves unconditionally. We offer compassion to the parts of us that are fearful. And we admit where we are living in fear to ourselves and to those whom we have a close, therapeutic relationship with. Vulnerability is key to stepping forward and through our fears; allowing others to see us as we are and accept us for where we are. Just because we are struggling with something today doesn’t mean we will be tomorrow. Sometimes the love and support from others can help encourage us to move through our fears.
As I said earlier for years fear was my best friend. I just got to a point in life that I no longer wanted to be fearful about everything. I wanted to live, pursue my dreams, experience new things, love deeply and allow myself to be loved. I knew that if I didn’t step through many of my fears I would end up miserable, which I wasn’t willing to accept in my life. So, I began one by one as fears came up walking straight into them. What I noticed is that every time I faced a fear head on it dissipated quicker than I could have ever imagined. It was and is empowering. In many ways I feel like a different person and I probably have at least one person every week tell me how much I’ve changed. Yes and No. I’m still that sensitive person I’ve always been with the same heart. What’s changed is that I no longer allow myself to stay stuck behind old beliefs which lead to fear that keep me stuck. I have a passion for life, for my life, and I’m determined to push forward and fulfill my life purpose regardless of how scary it may be at times. I’m not meant to be here to “fit in” and either are you. We are all meant to shine but in order to do that we must be willing to face our fears and keep stepping forward.
One step at a time… One fear at a time… We can all move into living a life with a lot less fear and a lot more LOVE….
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
Many of us are have gone through tremendous change and growth during the past couple of years. Maybe we set out to stretch ourselves or maybe it came after a traumatic time in our lives. Whatever the reason for our growth we know by now that going through change has it’s extremely challenging times but in the end we come out as different people.
Even if we are faced with our backs up against a wall or our faces on the pavement we still have free will. We can make a choice to continue on with our life, as we know it. Or we can make a choice to make some changes. Both paths come with their own challenges. On the one hand if we chose to continue down the same path we’ve been on, nothing changes, meaning no growth. Staying in the same spot doesn’t allow us to live up to our full potential. We miss out on experiences in life because we refuse to expand. Some individuals may be happy living this kind of life but more and more of us are not willing to settle for mediocre existence anymore. We know we are meant to do more on this earth.
Taking the path that stretches us and allows us to grow requires stepping out of our box. You know that box that you believe has kept you safe and comfortable all these years? Well, perhaps you’ve been fooled by that belief. That box may have kept you confined. It may have kept you from seeing what you are missing and who you really are as a divine soul. So what does it take to step out of the box? COURAGE.
It takes courage to grow because as humans most of us are resistant to change. Think about your work or your relationships. How does it feel when they change? Uncomfortable? That discomfort comes from a deep place inside of us that tells us change equals negative results. Until we can equate change with beautiful, magical outcomes we meet it with FEAR. We create a death grip on our box because we just can’t imagine that growth, which is change, can lead to a happier more empowering life.
Unfortunately, most of our growth does create some level of discomfort as we are going through it. Even think about teenagers physically growing. Their bodies respond with aches and pains but they manage to get through the experience. Just as with physical growth, emotional and spiritual growth can have its moments of pain, frustration, discomfort and deep feelings. All of these are normal when we are stretching ourselves. The important thing is to accept each step of our growth process, practice self-care including much self-love, and allow it to unfold. Growth takes time and patience. Sometimes we feel like giving up. Sometimes we feel like we take two steps forward and one step back; that’s ok. The important thing is that we are still advancing forward.
When we come out on the other side of a period of growth in our lives we notice that not only is our inner world different but so is our outer world. We may feel more empowered, more balanced and more clear on where we would like to proceed on our journey. I’m not saying it’s easy but I promise you IT’S WORTH IT…..
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
Overcoming Fear Through Past Life Regression
Have you ever wondered why you continue to suffer and struggle with certain fears in your life? Perhaps you have no recollection of anything happening in your life to invoke a particular fear but nonetheless it persists. Many of us just chose to accept and live with our fears because we don’t believe there is a way to move past them.
One important thing to realize is that there are certain fears that don’t come from this lifetime. These are fears that are carried over from a past lifetime. Our subconscious remembers where these fears started and thus we react when the trigger appears. This is why we can have emotional and physical reactions to a stimulus without even being conscious of the root cause; our cells remember. So while we consciously may not understand our body’s reaction or why we perceive something as a threat our subconscious remembers where our fear started.
There are of course positive aspects to fear as in intuitively knowing that a situation we are placed in is dangerous for us. Fear can save our lives and guide us when needed. But the flip side is that fear can also keep us from many experiences in our life that are for our highest good. Our souls are meant to live in bodies that embrace life with passion. In order to move forward along our paths we must have courage and confidence, we must step through fear. It takes a willingness to step into the unknown at times and trust that we will be ok, we will survive. If we are stuck in fear we lack the capacity to stretch ourselves, grow and thrive.
Even those of us who know we have fears and would like to move through them have difficulty understanding how to help ourselves. We can spend years in traditional counseling yet not make much progress in moving past our fears and embracing change. Sometimes the reason we can’t take a step forward is because we don’t understand where our fear is coming from. Like I said, if we have no recollection of what led to our fear in this lifetime then perhaps it’s helpful to look into our subconscious to discover whether our fear came from a previous life.
Often remembering how our fear originated during a Past Life Regression Session allows us to begin our healing process. Finding the root cause, experiencing the fear in its proper lifetime and then offering healing to the individual during a session helps one move forward. It may take a few sessions, and it may not work for everyone, but from my experience I’ve seen some significant improvement in most individuals level of fear after Past Life Regression. Any healing that occurs can only improve our life and our ability to create a beautiful future.
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
CHANGING OUR INNER WORLD
There comes a time in each of our lives when we realize that the life we are creating is one that doesn’t serve us in any way. We are tired, sick, unhappy, chaotic and not peaceful inside. The first place that this shows is in the world around us. We may feel like a victim but deep down we know that it is us alone creating our own personal life crisis.
When we experience these times it’s so easy to get stuck in a state of dis-ease, depression, victimhood and anger. It’s normal to feel that there is no way out of our misery. Truly it’s as if we’ve hit bottom and often times we have as we’ve fallen flat on our face. At some point most of us realize that something has to change and it’s not going to come from outside of us. In order to change our outer world we first have to change our inner world.
I remember this time very clearly for myself. Yearsago I hit rock bottom after I experienced significant loss in multiple areas of my life. I didn’t know how to move forward or how to pick myself up from the ground. It was easy to place blame on others until I realized that the only way to change my reality was to look deeply inside at all the areas I chose to avoid for most of my life. Honestly, it sucked. It’s never easy to look into your own dark corners but the more you are able to have the courage to snoop around the more you realize that you have the ability to shine light into even the darkest areas.
During this incredibly painful period of my life I found myself. I learned to accept and love every part of me. I found courage to be vulnerable, authentic and real with not only myself but also the world around me. I began to understand what I needed to lead a healthy life and how to start setting my own boundaries despite other’s reactions. The year of extreme discomfort lead to greater healing than I could have ever imagined. The worst time of my life became known as my greatest gift.
I share this story because I want each of you to know that there is always hope, always healing that can happen and a brilliant, beautiful life that is waiting for you. Because of my own struggles and pain I now have a gratitude for my life that I’d never known previously. I now know what it feels to wake up every day with a feeling of excitement about what my day may bring. Instead of being fearful of change I love to see all the new doors that are opening and propelling me forward. And when those difficult situations occur I now look for the lesson or what I need to work on instead of dreading them. No, life isn’t always easy for me and no not everything is how I wish it to be but I look at my experience with a whole new set of eyes. No longer does my happiness come from my outer world. It’s now a product of my inner world.
Wishing all of you the courage and strength to move deeply into all of your own healing. Find your beautiful light and allow the world to see it shine….
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
How common it is for many of us to offer forgiveness to those around us, strangers and those we are close to, but keep it from ourselves. Perhaps we are unaware that we forget to offer ourselves forgiveness or maybe we don’t feel that we deserve it due to something we are ashamed of from our past. The truth is that in order to move on and have an abundant, fulfilling, and healthy life it’s imperative to give ourselves the same love and forgiveness that we extend to those around us.
Maybe some of us believe that we don’t have a problem with forgiving ourselves. If that’s true congratulations, you’ve done an amazing job of practicing self-care. But I will say that if you often continually blame yourself over and over, feel shame, and unworthy, then you’ve probably not forgiven yourself for something. And to be honest we all experience this at times. We blame ourselves for everything under the sun. And then instead of accepting that we all make mistakes we beat ourselves up for days, weeks, months or perhaps years. Clearly, living with this turmoil inside isn’t a healthy way to exist.
So how can we learn to forgive ourselves? The first important thing is to offer yourself acceptance and love knowing that we do the very best we can at any given moment in our life. We all have times of struggle that bring out the worst in us. Although, we would like to lead our lives from a perfectly loving, peaceful place we must accept that there will be times that challenge us to degrees we never imagined. Offer yourself love in these periods.
The second thing that is important in many cases is to make amends where needed. If you feel you have harmed someone or something in your actions offer an apology. Sometimes we get ourselves so worked up thinking that others don’t care about apologies or will reject them. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a truly heartfelt apology it’s amazing. Putting yourself in a vulnerable place by sharing with another person brings about true connection, empathy and compassion. And even if your heartfelt apology is not received in the manner you intend know that you’ve done it for yourself. You have no control over how another individual receives your words or your intentions.
After making the necessary amends, release the guilt, shame and lack of self-acceptance. I understand this isn’t an easy thing to do and oftentimes it is a work in progress that takes a significant amount of time. The important thing to remember is to keep working on forgiving yourself because until you do you aren’t able to truly move forward in your life and receive all that you deserve. If you are having difficulty seek help from those you trust, practice meditation everyday and ask for and accept divine guidance. Sometimes things seem “to big” for us to do on our own. Remember that you are never truly alone. You are connected to an infinite number of “helpers” that can guide, assist and provide support for you. Regardless of your spiritual and religious beliefs there is always help available; all you have to do is ask.
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
January 2014 (article written for New Age News Magazine – December edition)
As we roll into 2014, instead of coming up with New Year’s resolutions, I begin to think about what I would like to manifest for the year. Last year many of us focused on digging deep to find out who we really are as we uncovered many layers of old beliefs, patterns and masks we chose to live behind. This year as we emerge as new beings of light we can set our sights on honing in on our power to create the life that we desire. I’m sure, like myself, most of you would like to create a life of abundance. Am I right?
One of the first things to realize is that when we talk about abundance it doesn’t just equate to financial wealth or material possessions. Abundance is the opposite of scarcity so when we have abundance in our lives it means we aren’t lacking. Imagine what it would be like to create an abundance of happiness, joy, peace, and love in your life. And what about an abundance of new opportunities, growth, healthy relationships, and EVEN money? Anything you could ever imagine could fill your life abundantly. Sounds great but in order to attract abundance we need to know what draws it to us in the first place.
As someone reminded me tonight the most important thing to remember is that to draw abundance into our life we MUST without a doubt believe that we deserve abundance. If we are a little wishy-washy about whether we are truly deserving guess what happens? Abundance waits at the doorway until you are ready to let it in. So while you sit, wait, and get frustrated, abundance is also patiently waiting for you to say, “YES, I deserve you.” But as long as you harbor that small little voice in the back of your head, that has doubts, you will create resistance to the one thing you truly want in your life.
Not only do we need to discover and believe in our own worth to attract abundance, we also need to be open to receive. Self-worth and receiving actually go hand in hand but it’s also important to mention them separately. So many of us are really, really good at giving but not very good at receiving. Those of us in healing professions chose these careers because we love to help others and like to give of ourselves. These are wonderful qualities but they have to be balanced with receiving which is much more difficult for many of us.
In a training course I attended earlier this year we were instructed to let someone give us a compliment without saying anything in return except, “thank you.” It was extremely hard at first. Most of us had the automatic reaction to compliment our partner but the activity was to teach us about the importance of receiving without needing to always give in return. Now obviously this isn’t a balanced way to consistently live your life but the point was to show how difficult it is for many of us to receive.
In learning to receive we allow the natural flow of the universe. Giving and receiving creates balance in every aspect and relationship of our lives. So in getting back to abundance, it’s extremely important that we open ourselves up to receiving all that we’ve been desiring. If we block the flow because we don’t trust that we are deserving or because it’s uncomfortable or not something we’re use to, we will never create abundance around us.
The last point I’d like to make about manifesting abundance is about believing in it. Even if you believe in yourself and are open to receiving you still must BELIEVE that abundance will show up for you. If your thoughts are continually filled with doubts and thoughts like, “see I knew it wouldn’t happen,” the Universe responds to those doubts. THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS. So fill your mind with positive, abundant thoughts and follow it with the “feeling” of what it feels like to experience abundance. Keep with the feeling, as hard as it may be, because the Universe responds to those feelings. If you can feel gratitude on a daily basis for all that you have, believing that more is coming, you are well on your way to living a full life.
Here’s to an Abundant 2014 for all of you….
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
Some have an easy time setting boundaries that honor us as individuals but if you are anything like me it’s sometimes a struggle to set clear boundaries. The problem is that when we don’t set boundaries we end up allowing situations in our life, for sometimes a great length of time, that aren’t healthy for us physically, emotionally, or spiritually. In the end the only person that suffers is us. We can’t turn around and put blame on others because in reality we were the one who chose not to set a boundary.
So why can it be hard to set boundaries? To start with there are many of us who try to live from our hearts as much as we possibly can. Sometimes we take this to an extreme level by unknowingly allowing things to continue in our life because we give everyone “the benefit of the doubt.” That’s great to live from a place of non-judgment but it’s also important to not allow others behaviors to create chaos in our life. If we are not being treated with respect or love it’s imperative that we ask for what we deserve or remove ourselves from the situation. If you are empathic, like myself, there are even times when others may not be doing anything outwardly but their energy is full of so much anger, fear and chaos that you have to remove yourself from their presence.
Many of us don’t like to “make waves” or “create problems.” As I said before if we don’t stand up for ourselves who is going to stand up for us? We need to be able to lay our heads down at night with a sense of peace and calm. Sometimes it doesn’t “feel” good to have to set a boundary, because we rely on others to just be respectful towards us and our lives without having to be asked. The problem is that the world doesn’t always work that way, unfortunately. And we teach others how we want to be treated by what we allow and the boundaries we set. With continued practice it becomes easier to set and enforce our boundaries. I’m not saying it’s always comfortable but when you actually set a boundary you will probably notice a feeling of empowerment. It’s an act of loving ourselves. It’s taking care of the beautiful people that we are so that we can go out and shine our light into the world.
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
THE PERFECT STORM
A few years back, in the midst of an extremely painful period in my life, I remember hearing the words from someone’s mouth that made me literally want to scream. He said, “Everything that comes into our life is a gift.” What? How could devastating events that lead to extreme pain be a gift? Well, what I didn’t realize then that now has become perfectly clear is that everything presented in our life IS a gift. In the lowest periods of our life we are actually in what I would call “The Perfect Storm.”
It is those most tumultuous, painful times which break us open and leave us in a heap on the pavement, that create the biggest growth for us. It is these times where we must dig deep to find our strength. Sometimes during this period we lose multiple people around us who have been our support systems, or so we thought. We are then left with the task of finding ourselves, our own light, and our strength to move beyond our struggles. We have to look at the darkness we’ve been hiding inside, offer it healing and infuse it with light.
Why do we have to be presented with such painful circumstances in order to heal? Because most of us choose not to look at those dark places inside, it’s just too painful. We would rather say, “I’ve already done that work, “ or “I’m just going to forget about it and move on.” Well, unfortunately/fortunately we will keep getting presented with the same opportunities for healing and growth until we finally surrender. And each time opportunities present themselves they get a little more difficult until we finally agree to embrace the gift. It may seem like our life has been taken over by a hurricane or tornado, as there is chaos and pandemonium all around. It’s a perfect storm. Perfectly delivered to us for our own healing, in order for us to find our inner light.
We may feel discouraged, like we won’t ever make it through this period. Every day can seem like a struggle just to make it through without breaking down. I’ve been there. But allowing ourselves to feel and to sit with the feelings, while offering them acceptance, is one of the most important things we can do. It will pass, we will make it through. And when we do we will come out on the other end stronger with a greater sense of self.
When we make it through the storm we may think that it’s smooth sailing from here on out. Remember there are always lessons for us to learn in life but as we become more accepting of these storms they will become less violent and will pass through quicker. As I was preparing to finish off an incredible year full of love, growth and new opportunities I was hit with one painful thing after another in the last few weeks of the year. And as I allowed myself to step back, “feel” my emotions and gain strength I moved through the storm with the knowledge that I had been given a gift, which led to healing. It was “The Perfect Storm.” I came out feeling more empowered and with a sense of gratitude.
As you are moving through these times it’s not easy to see the gift or feel the gratitude but hold the belief that there is always a bigger purpose that sometimes you just can’t see in the eye of the storm. BELIEVE….
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
Gratitude in 2014
As we start a New Year many of us reflect on the past 365 days. We look at the blessings, the hardships, how we grew, what we want to carry forward for the coming year and what we want to leave behind. Our intentions for the next year begin to be set in our minds, which reflect our goals, dreams and desires for our life. Often we focus on big things like getting a new job, a new relationship, moving, losing weight or a myriad of other things, which are attainable. What we forget is all of the tiny little miracles and blessings that happen every day.
If we take time to step back from overanalyzing what we don’t have or what we want in our life we are able to see what is ever present. Our hearts and our minds begin to fill with gratitude for the little things which actually when we look at them are big things. It’s these small things in our life, which truly fill our hearts. Sometimes we get so busy with focusing on where everything in our life is going that we forget to recognize where we are and the things that are happening around us.
When you stop and think about things that happened today, which you feel grateful for, what comes up? Most days I would guess that it’s not huge things that bring us feelings of gratitude but instead something as simple as a smile from someone we love, or a phone call or a hug. Maybe you got to sleep in today, didn’t have to go to work, had some alone time or just felt a sense of peace inside. All of these may sound like frequent events in your life and if so you are blessed. But do we stop to feel grateful for these things in our life every day? How about the home we live in, our food, our family, our friends?
It’s easy to focus on the struggles, disappoints and chaos. How about in the New Year focusing EVERY day on those little things which you are grateful for because in reality they add up to be something very big. So next time you feel like life is getting the best of you take a moment to pause, reflect and remember gratitude. And when you experience these feelings of gratitude offer up a “thank you,” to the universe. The more gratitude we exhibit the more we will have to be grateful for in our lives.
Happy New Year…. Make each day one worth remembering.
Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
“available people are the ones who are dangerous, because they confront us with the possibility of real intimacy.”
~ Marianne Williamson
As I was spending time with a friend today I heard the words from her mouth that many people have said to me lately. “I don’t mind being alone but it would be really nice to have someone special in my life.” And then the if’s, and’s and but’s followed. “But I don’t trust myself.” When I asked her to explain, I heard, “I always chose someone emotionally unavailable. It’s not that they are the only one’s interested in me but I push anyone away that’s emotionally available. They seem boring.” How many of us can relate to these statements? I definitely can offer my own story for you.
Most of my life I thought that the scariest thing I would ever experience was the loss of someone I loved. But about twelve years ago I realized I was very wrong; love was much scarier than loss. Allowing someone to truly see, accept and love me was terrifying. I spent most of my earlier life NOT having that kind of acceptance, attention and love. And frankly I didn’t feel that I deserved it. so when it came into my life I did everything I could to avoid it. I denied it, I tried to run the other way, I said, “this can’t be”, and made every excuse in the book. I was overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to let anyone in to really see me or trust them with my heart. I didn’t even get why this person was giving me so much attention and what he saw in me. I was scared to death.
Someone once told me that everyone wants to love and be loved. I wholeheartedly believe this to be true but the truth is that as soon as love shows up for us we slam the door because it’s too damn scary. And then add to it that the love doesn’t appear how we expected or from someone we expected. Now let’s just jump out the window. That seems easier than being absolutely naked with our heart and soul right? Maybe for a period of time but unless we are willing to have surface level relationships, which lack depth, we will never find true intimacy.
So what makes us run from intimacy? To start with when we experience a lack of self-love we shut people out including ourselves. If we don’t like what we see inside, feel shame and low self-worth, we often find ways to avoid looking in our dark corners because honestly it’s too painful. Shining light into our cobwebs and skeletons brings up a multitude of feelings that we then have to find a way to deal with either in a healthy or unhealthy way. Some turn to addiction whether it’s drugs, alcohol, sex, work, or gambling just to not “feel”. Some just make their lives so busy that they don’t have time to feel. At some point many hit a wall and can’t avoid their feelings any longer. That’s when the work begins to let yourself see and feel all the areas of darkness so that the light can penetrate and heal them.
When we open up those closets we discover that perhaps some of our shame comes from our childhood. From the earliest of ages we are socialized to believe that certain behaviors are good while others are bad. Out of concern for our welfare parents and adults guide us by telling us to do this and not that but it imprints our brains with what is accepted and not accepted in life. Then as we age we believe it’s shameful to live a certain way thus creating a lack of self –love in our life. Perhaps we heard from society that we were too sensitive, too talkative, too quiet, too skinny, too fat, and the list goes on. After we hear these things repeatedly we develop beliefs about ourselves, and about life in general, that have the ability to shape our future.
So now that we’ve built up some walls to protect ourselves, because we lack much self worth, we decide that we aren’t worthy of love or at least without truly fighting for it. This brings us to the point of available people being “boring.” Where do we decide that not having to chase after someone is boring? If we look deeply my guess is that we don’t believe it’s boring, we believe it’s too scary. Having love standing in front of you, arms open wide, without judgment seems absurd right? We might not believe we deserve the love or attention. Or perhaps we see that individual as too available when in truth it may just be someone who wants to deeply connect through vulnerability, authenticity, unconditional love, acceptance and intimacy. So why don’t we dive in?
It goes back to what’s driving our whole life – FEAR. When we don’t deeply love and accept ourselves we’re afraid to allow anyone else to love or see us. Intimacy requires connection and being “naked” which many of us are unwilling to do. We remember times when we decided to be vulnerable yet were rejected or judged. Our body experiences pain just allowing those memories to surface. And then there are the thoughts about how it might turn out in the end. I get it. I’ve been there. But the older I get the more I realize that life isn’t about looking at the end result. Life is about the journey. And in the journey we can choose to keep ourselves “safe” while not experiencing deep love and intimacy OR we can choose to trust and love ourselves. Covering up and living our life through masks is not truly living. And in the end we will remember more pain of not being authentic and allowing the world to see us than if we let ourselves be seen. And the truth is that when you allow yourself to be seen, naked and vulnerable, the right people will be standing right next to you and love you unconditionally.
You are not alone. I’m betting that almost every one of us at some point has experienced these feelings around intimacy. Let us help support one another through love and acceptance as we learn to let our true selves be seen.
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
December 2013 (article written for New Age Magazine – December edition)
FOCUSING ON THE JOURNEY
If you stop to ask yourself whether the journey or destination is more important my guess is you might say the journey. But honestly how many of us put our focus on the destination instead of just allowing ourselves to enjoy the journey?
In life it’s so easy to get caught up in where we want to end up whether it be financially, physically, mentally, in our careers, our relationships or even at the end of our lives. But when we focus only on an end result what are we missing? We often overlook so many things along our path that really are what our lives are all about. If you always knew what the end result of anything would be how fun would the journey be for you? Sometimes the journey takes you places you never imagined and the end result is miles away from your original goal.
So why do we have such a hard time letting go of our need to know outcomes? Fear. Fear is what stops us from opening ourselves up and living our life to the fullest every day. Our thoughts and ego like to have control of everything. They like to have guarantees and tend to restrict us from allowing our lives to just flow. It’s easy to let our ego keep us paralyzed from moving unless we see each step laid out in front of us. But where does that take us? We can’t jump from start to finish without experiencing the middle otherwise there would be no journey, no life.
If we allow our hearts to lead us we develop a faith and trust in the process of life. We begin to understand that it is in the journey that we learn, grow and experience a rich, full life. Instead of focusing on the destination we enjoy everyday of the journey never knowing what door may open or new path may show up. We stop waiting for guarantees of how things may turn out and we enjoy what is placed before us. We begin to realize that every experience in our life is one for our highest growth. Every relationship that shows up for us is here to teach us something about ourselves.
When we resist what the universe sends us we prolong our own lessons and stop the flow of our lives. If we can be thankful for “the gifts” we are sent and explore them with an open mind life unfolds perfectly for us. Sometimes doors will open that make no logical sense but trust that there is a higher purpose or they wouldn’t be showing up in your life. Put your faith in the universe. Know that all is well. All will be well. Trust.
~ Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
THE GREATEST GIFT
It’s that time of year when so many of us rush around to get shopping done for the holiday season. And if you are like me it’s not easy to figure out meaningful gifts to buy for those that we love. I often ask myself why do we spend so much time, effort and money on the holidays? There has to be a better way to share our love and gratitude with each other.
Just yesterday I spent the day celebrating the life of someone I loved deeply. Instead of an overwhelming sadness I felt blessed to have shared part of this individuals life. I heard many stories from people about how this one soul touched so many lives in such beautiful ways. This reminded me how we often forget to tell each other, while we have the chance, the impact they’ve had on our life.
As we go through the hours of our day different individuals in our life may come to mind. We may be reminded of special times or circumstances that had an impact on who we are today. The problem is that most of the time we keep all of this gratitude inside. Perhaps we don’t have the courage to share with others what they mean to us or maybe we think it wouldn’t mean much for them to hear our thoughts and feelings. From personal experience I can tell you it does matter. Hearing how you’ve touched someone’s life is a beautiful gift that most will cherish for years.
So, as I was out doing errands today it came to mind that perhaps the most meaningful gift we could give to someone we love is to tell them how they’ve touched our life. It’s something given from the heart to those that mean the most to us. It’s easy to think that we have time to tell people we love and cherish them but the truth is we never know how much time we have. Why not take the time now to be vulnerable, loving and open? The greatest gift we could give one another is sharing what’s in our hearts.
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
December 5, 2013 (article written for New Age News Magazine – December edition)
Self Care For The Holiday Season
As our beautiful fall days roll into winter the holidays come upon us. For some the holidays invoke warm memories of years past, family gatherings and joy. Holiday dinners, tree decorating and family time may bring about excitement and anticipation. But for many individuals the holidays are a remembrance of harder times, loss and broken dreams. As much as we try the holidays may bring about feelings of sadness and even depression. Often feelings of guilt and shame emerge because society promotes the holidays as being a very “happy, joyful” time of year. When these feelings are experienced it can be overwhelming for an individual and often lead to unhealthy behaviors including relapse for many with a history of depression, mental illness and addiction.
The important thing for all of us to remember is to honor our feelings in life whether it’s during the holidays or on any given day. There is a reason we feel what we feel and to dismiss our feelings is dismissing us as thinking, feeling souls. Each one of us travels through life with our own suitcase (baggage as many call it) filled with many different life experiences. It’s impossible to just open the suitcase, let everything fall out in one quick moment and move on. It takes time to empty out our bag, heal and create new feelings and beliefs. And until we have an opportunity to do some inner work the holidays may bring up a lot of old stuff for us. The first important step we can take is accepting our feelings and acknowledging where we are as individuals.
When we practice love and acceptance for where we are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, we have the ability to make healthy decisions for our lives. Many times we may need to just step back, take time away from the festivities and practice extreme self care in order to get through these times. It’s not easy to say “no” when you know that means disappointing those you love but if we don’t take care of us we aren’t good for anyone else. We need to be well to be well for our relationships and our lives. So how do we do this?
You know those things you do on a daily basis to stay healthy? Make sure during these busy days that you stay diligent with these routines. And perhaps some things you may want to practice more frequently like meditation. Meditation first thing in the morning and right before bed is a great way to stay centered, grounded and peaceful inside. We each have our own ways to practice self care but here are some basic self care daily tips:
Spend time in nature
Eat healthy organic foods
Speak your truth
Practice self love and acceptance
Say “no” when you need to
Get extra sleep
Spend time alone
Get a massage or other bodywork
Ask for help from someone you trust or your higher source
Create “you” time in your schedule everyday
Make this holiday season one in which you learn to practice extreme self care. It’s all about loving yourself.
Love & Light,
November 19, 2013 (article written for New Age News Magazine – November edition)
Ascending into Love
When we are born into this world we know love. Our actions, our thoughts and our responses to everything around us come from this place of love. Unfortunately, shortly after birth our families, friends and society begin to unconsciously program us with their fears. Each one of us receives this programming because we haven’t been taught another way. We are constantly bombarded with fearful sights and sounds from the world around us. These experiences cause us to forget our own light, our heart and the concept of oneness. This fear may lead us to hide behind masks, live in shame and not allow the world to truly “see” us. Our purpose is to re-member our true self, one of love. Until we can return to this pure state we tend to struggle in life with everything from relationships to jobs to our life purpose because we have forgotten our true light.
As babies we are born full of curiosity to experience the world around us. Sadly, the world we live in tends to be one filled with fear which steers us in certain directions so that we “fit in” and “stay safe.” The consequence of this programming is a retraction of our true selves. We learn that we are not accepted unless we follow a certain path or act a certain way and so we begin to develop a sense of shame deep inside. This shame discourages vulnerability and authenticity which are absolutely necessary for true connection. When we begin to lack connection we forget that we are all one and view the world as “you against me.” We feel alone.
As we learn to ignore the messages from our heart our heads begin to rule most of our decisions. We struggle to survive. We live in a world full of competition where feelings of inadequacy and lack prevail. Our lives fall apart as we know them whether due to addiction, loss or illness. Many times these experiences force us to discover and understand the greater meaning of our lives. We begin to seek answers to our true purpose because we are unwilling to continue living in a world full of fear and lack.
The process of transforming our lives from one lived through fear to one lived through love requires us to look inside at our inner world instead of focusing on the external. Our external world changes when our internal world changes. Going within takes a great deal of courage as we find places of darkness sometimes filled with a great deal of pain. When we take the time to look deep inside we discover old beliefs that no longer serve us. Perhaps there was a time when we needed our beliefs and masks to protect us from harm, or so we thought, but we now discover the need to move past these limitations. When we offer healing to every dark area of our being we learn that we have kept ourselves in a self-created prison. Allowing ourselves to move through the pain and fear brings us to a new sense of freedom. We become capable of living our lives from our hearts. We see the world with new eyes.
When we develop the ability to see the world through new eyes of love we discover the divine in ourselves and in others. Our ability to create true connection in our relationships develops from our willingness to “show up” as ourselves and be vulnerable. We discover that although our lives may be quieter, because we disengage from the fear that most individuals live in, they become much richer and more meaningful. We begin to see beyond the illusion of fear and view events in our world from a different perspective. A new understanding arises in which we realize that our ability to create and manifest is much larger than we’ve been taught to believe. We understand how differently our world looks when we create from a place of fear versus a place of love. Learning to trust our hearts, knowing that they lead us into much greater places than our minds could ever imagine, shifts our whole world. We feel lighter, more joyful, and more grounded as we begin to follow our life paths. We begin to understand that it is our purpose to help the whole world ascend into a place of love and oneness. The ascension must begin with each one of us as individuals. As we discover and shine our own light we encourage others to join us. Will you join me?
“We must be the change we wish to see in the world” ~Gandhi
~Dawn Michele Jackson, RN
November 3, 2013 (article written for New Age News Magazine – October edition)
Past Lives – A Gateway to Healing in Your Present Life
Have you ever wondered why it seems difficult to get past certain fears, patterns and behaviors in your life despite all of the spiritual work you’ve done over the years? Maybe you’ve read books, attended conferences, or been to therapy but the issue(s) still exists. You understand looking at life from a spiritual perspective, you get it, but there seems to be a block prohibiting you from moving past certain things. Sometimes even your friends and family just don’t understand why you feel so stuck. All the resources that you can imagine are sitting in your hands but the elephant still stands in the middle of the room.
Sometimes the reason it’s difficult to process and heal things in our life is because we don’t understand the root cause. Often the root cause is not found in our current lifetime but instead one from our past. Because our mind is only able to process and handle a certain amount of data our past lives are stored in our subconscious. Our conscious mind allows us to access data from our current lifetime but protects us from being overloaded with all that is stored in the subconscious.
To access information from past lives usually a client needs to undergo a type of Hypnotherapy called Past Life Regression (PLR). In PLR individuals are taken into a very deep state of relaxation where it is safe to recall memories from previous lifetimes. Even if painful memories arise the individual is able to process them from a place of observation and understanding. Strong emotions are often felt but clients are guided to leave behind all that doesn’t serve them and bring forward only what is needed for their healing at the end of the session. Each client is completely aware of everything going on during the regression and remembers their past life at the conclusion of the regression.
So why does remembering a past life help us heal? As mentioned previously, sometimes understanding the root cause of an issue creates the catalyst for healing. I always ask my clients to set a specific intention for their regression. In example, if a client has a severe fear of water we would set the intention to go back to the lifetime where their fear of water began. Often experiencing the initial cause of the fear allows an individual to overcome the fear in their current lifetime.
PLR can have a significant impact on emotional as well as physical issues in the current lifetime. One client came to me experiencing not only problems speaking up but also with repeated reactions to airborne chemicals causing severe restriction of her throat. During a regression she realized that in a previous lifetime she had been hung for speaking her truth. Interestingly she reported back to me a few weeks later that she had another reaction during a chemical exposure at work but it was minor compared to the previous ones. The individual also reported that she now felt more comfortable speaking up and sharing.
Because of the way our human mind works it constantly has the need to understand what is happening whether it be outside or inside our bodies. It makes sense that it’s often difficult to heal something when we are unable to figure out the root cause which is why PLR is so helpful for many people. Sometimes I find that clients struggle with ongoing patterns in their life. Often we find that in previous lifetimes they have made vows which they’ve carried over into this life. During PLR we are able to release these vows and provide healing which is brought back into the client’s current lifetime.
So how do you know if what you are experiencing during a PLR is “really” a past life? This is the most frequently asked question I get from my clients because they are worried about the possibility of making up a story. The important thing to remember is that “even if” an individual is making up a story it’s for their own healing. What is needed for an individuals highest good will always come up during a PLR. As long as clients allow the experience, trust, remain open and non-judgmental they will bring forth information into their conscious mind which can be utilized for healing.
The one thing that has surprised me the most by working with my clients and regularly undergoing my own PLR’s is the amount of healing that often happens in one session. As many of us know we can spend years trying to heal certain issues in traditional therapy. It’s exciting to see that other modalities can play a large part in our healing while sometimes shortening the time to wellness…. Dawn
What does freedom mean to you? For many of us it has represented something physical such as living a life where we can roam freely, make our own decisions and live without too much influence from those who run our country. For me freedom is also about what’s inside of me. Does my soul feel free to live the life it was meant to live and to experience all that it has come here to experience? As little children we are programmed with beliefs about how to think, how to act, what’s right and what’s wrong. We are taught how we should feel and even how to not feel. By the time we are adults most of us are no longer free, we have put ourselves in a state of fear. Fear is not freedom. Fear is being chained up and not living the brilliant, beautiful life you were meant to live. To live that life we must remove our old beliefs, patterns and ways of being. We must unlearn all the things that have put us in a state of fear. This job is not an easy job but it is one that ultimately leads to freedom. To feel free inside is empowering. To live from a place of love instead of a place of fear is transforming. Not only does your life transform but you are a catalyst for others around you. My wish is that each one of us make our freedom a priority so that we can live in a world full of love not fear…..
April 7, 2013
Remember how far you’ve come…
On days when things are going well, we feel inspired and life is flowing, it’s easy to remember how much we’ve grown. On days when everything seems to be falling apart around us, when we are exhausted, sick or depleted it’s hard to remember how far we’ve come. Those are the days when it is so important for us to take a pause, sit in quiet, meditate and remind ourselves of the healing and growth we’ve accomplished. Yes, we will always have something that comes up and something we need to work on but our lives and our healing are a work in progress. We cannot expect that at any one point we will be done growing or healing. That doesn’t mean that we are broken or sick it means that we are human. To be human means that we continually have things to process which leads to growth. Growth is a gift because it allows us to have healthier relationships, careers and families. Many times growth may feel like a struggle but if you can accept the struggle, have self-compassion and allow the process, life will flow much easier. Once you get to the other side of a struggle you can look back and remember how far you’ve come. I find so much gratitude in my own life when I see how everything that has happened, which I’ve viewed as either positive or negative, has been a gift. Without these gifts I wouldn’t be where I am today. Practice loving yourself regardless of the place you are in today because the truth is that even if it feels uncomfortable you are growing. One day you will look back with gratitude for today…… Dawn