Author Archives: Kathy

Beating Depression & Negativity by Changing Your Stories: Exactly How To Do It

Like many of you, I’ve suffered from depression on occasion, and have been paralyzed by worry other times, unable to shake my negative thoughts until something happened to relieve my worry. Try as I might, I couldn’t block these negative thoughts and feelings as they were happening, even though I was aware that I was missing out on all the lovely things happening in my life at the same time. After reading some methods of beating depression and worry, and trying them out, I have successfully diminished these periods of negativity so that they are small and much less painful, and I’ve been able to turn them into opportunities to improve the conditions of my life. To make a long story short, here are the instructions on how I was able to do it:

  1. Whether the incident you are depressed or worried about is large or small, take a minute to examine it, and identify the story you are telling yourself about it. For example, the job you thought you loved has taken a turn for the worse, making you feel upset and unhappy. You might feel upset or depressed because the story you are telling yourself is that you are hopelessly unhappy there, there is nothing you can do to improve the situation, and you can’t leave your job because you will be a failure, and you won’t be able to find anything better.
  2. Now that you have identified your story, retell it in a way that makes you feel happy. For example, you have become aware that you are no longer happy at your job because you have outgrown it. Your soul is ready to move on to something better, and you will be successful at finding something. You are a smart capable person, and you are ready to make some changes despite conventions or social norms that say you should stick with a “good” job no matter what. Then take some action based on your happy story like looking for a new job or finding a way to move out of the situation you find yourself in at your current job.
  3. What about worrying about someone else? This can be more difficult to shake because we feel powerless over the poor decision-making or conditions of someone we care about. Again, start by identifying the story you are telling yourself about their situation, then tell yourself a positive story about what is happening to the person.  Remind yourself of the positive qualities the person has, and imagine them becoming the best version of themselves.
  4. This doesn’t mean that you bury your head in the sand, or give yourself permission to ignore a troubling situation. In fact it means to opposite. It means you are brave enough to fully acknowledge the hard truth about something, so that you can clearly see why it is causing you worry or depression. It means you are strong enough to do all you can do to confront the situation, but then trust that what you have done is enough, without torturing yourself until it is resolved. Sometimes there is nothing you can do right away, and in that case you must trust that if you are meant to share words of wisdom or direction, the time will come when you will be made aware that the person is ready to hear you.
  5. Every time you find yourself worrying about the same thing or feeling depressed about it, remind yourself of your happy story about it again. Your happy story is also actually true! This may be hard to do at first. While you are training your mind to think of happy stories, doing things that demand your complete attention is an effective way to shake your negative stories lose. For example, playing a musical instrument, learning a new craft or skill, or going somewhere new are all ways to distract your worrying tendencies. Yes, it’s OK to do things that make you happy when something worrisome is going on, in fact, it is imperative that you do so.
  6. Now for the magic: in her book “Finding Your Way In A Wild New World,” best-selling author and Life Coach Martha Beck says that these positive thoughts can actually cause positive outcomes to manifest in real life. International dream guide, author, and scholar Robert Moss also cites examples of the power of conscientiously engaging in the bigger world through our dreams and meditations in his seminars and books. They believe and have experienced a connectivity in the universe between all living things that react to each other and from each other. In fact, just focusing on the big picture of life changes your mood by changing your prospective.  Nature is inherently happy, and you can feel that happiness even during the worst times if you take a minute and focus on it.
  7. The final step is to be open and aware of the positive things that begin to happen once you have told yourself your new happy story and imagined the best outcome in a situation. Make a mental note of each some good thing that happens, this is very important!

This method may be hard at first, as your worries overtake your positive stories. You may have to battle yourself to keep the happy stories coming, but the more you do it, the easier it gets, I promise you. The battle is part of our human evolution as we evolve from a primitive species whose survival depended upon our ability to identify danger quickly.  It takes the power of our brains that have evolved over time to stomp out the warnings from our primitive animal, and actually create better living conditions as we imagine the best outcomes and possibilities for all.  This is not to be confused with wishing for a particular outcome of a situation, rather it is imagining a positive outcome, letting go of your personal wish for it, and accepting and celebrating the resolution as being the best outcome for all in the big picture of life.

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What Do Animals In Your Dreams Mean?

The more you become aware of your dreams, the more animals and insects will start appearing in them. If you’re like me, they stand out clearly, and are there for a reason, but figuring out their purpose or message is not always clear, so I developed the following process to help you understand them or invite them into your dreams:

1. First and foremost, take the emotion out of it. If you’re scared by an insect or animal in your dream, the fear is most likely your human response to it, and remember, it is there to help your soul, so put your human reaction to it aside.

2. Learn about the animal or insect. In other words do some research and find out what characteristics it has. For example, a wolf is a loyal pack animal, an amazing tracker, and has fierce survival skills. Bees are master architects, and loyal to their hive. Tigers are strong and cautious, with acute senses and sharp eyesight. They are determined and persistent creatures, making them strong leaders, and fearless. Hawks fly over the world, using laser focus to assess a situation and make quick decisions.

3. Remind yourself that a power beyond our physical world is trying to help us to master our lives by feeding our souls, and helping us to achieve our spiritual purpose in life. This power delivers messages through people, animals, insects in the physical world, and through the images and events that play out in our dreams.

4. With all that in mind, think about your dream, and what the energy or characteristics of this animal or insect could be doing to help you. For example, I was fighting a man in a dream, and I finally got away from him, and as I looked back I saw the face of a huge bright tiger, and realized the powerful strength of a tiger had joined me, and was helping fight off negative situations, and win.  I continue to imagine the tiger face when I come across scary situations in my life, and it helps me to be calm and believe in my ability to handle them.

Another time I dreamed (and actually had the sensation as I woke up) that I was covered with bees, and trying to brush them off, but they kept coming back. I realized the healing power of bees was rebuilding me emotionally after I had been grieving a loss in my life.

5. Finally honor the visit from the creature in your dream in some way. You can draw a picture of them in a dream journal, buy a statue of them, put up a picture, or make one as a craft project. Whatever way you decide to do this, it will to help you to absorb the positive characteristics of the animal or insect, and become a stronger, happier person as your soul grows, heals, and fulfills the purpose of your life.

Honoring the animal also builds a relationship between you and the spirit world, strengthening the channel, making it easier to receive messages, energy, strength and direction as your awareness grows, your fears subside, and you are able to take action in your life with the confidence and instinct of these amazing animals that are coming forward to help you. Gradually you’ll become aware of how joyful your life has become, how situations that used to be challenging now pass by quickly and easily.

If you’re not seeing animals or insects in your dreams, or have few dreams in general, doing things like practicing yoga, having a Reiki healing session, meditating, or spending time in nature work to open your sensory awareness. Being creative in any form is also an effective way to disengage from your everyday life, allowing the space for messages and energy from the spirit world to reach you. In other words, trust in letting go of controlling things in your life, open yourself to the wave lengths of the natural world, and watch the magic begin. ROAR!

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Living Healthy In Your Sixties Is Easier Done Than Said

I work at a cemetery, and read obituaries everyday. One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people are dying in their late 50’s and 60’s. At 60 years old, I sit in my office feeling good, no aches or pains, no health problems, am not taking any prescribed medications, have no grey hair, and am not overweight. I plan to live actively to 100, and wonder why my peers look like they are aging faster than I am, so I gave it some thought, and decided to share my findings with you, to the best of my abilities anyway.

Around age 60 we should be at our best as we make wise decisions based on all we’ve learned through the years, but old thinking patterns and behaviors can also develop, and at middle age our bodies often can’t take the hard life-styles of our youth, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything fun, in fact, it means just the opposite. Middle age is the time to pursue the things our souls may have been secretly wanting to do for years, the things most beneficial to our longevity and health. It’s time to trust your gut, your feelings, your body, with no apologies or explanations, just do it because you know it is right.

Healthy Habits That Work For Me:

1.  Think about the food you put in your body, but don’t make it complicated: drink water when you’re thirsty, and eat meat (mostly Amish chicken) from independent meat stores, not grocery stores. Eat plain chocolate when you have a sweet craving, not a candy bar. Stop eating from fast food restaurants completely, stop drinking soft drinks. Eat ice cream on special occasions. Eat three regular meals every day. If you get hungry in between meals, eat a few plain crackers. No special cooking required for healthy meals, just meat and potatoes and plenty of vegetables are fine for dinner, a sandwich and chips for lunch, and one egg and one piece of toast for breakfast. Avoid lots of sauces and cheese, just season lightly and enjoy the pure flavor of foods. Let yourself feel hungry between meals, it’s healthy and good for you.

2. Exercise in moderation: walking outdoors is great, and there are plenty of small parks everywhere. Plan to walk at least a mile on your outing, and I even end the walk with a small running sprint. I try to do it once a week, but sometimes to goes longer than that, and I don’t worry about it. I don’t belong to a gym or own workout equipment because I don’t enjoy exercising that way, no fun. I attend a yoga class at the level that challenges me twice a month, and do yoga at home twice a month, so I do it once a week. My class makes me try to do things beyond my capabilities, and often leaves me feeling sore the next day, which I think is good. It’s good to stretch your muscles and fill them with oxygen and blood. I make sure my head gets blood everyday too by touching my toes as I stand for at least 12 breaths every day. I have pulled a muscle here and there, and to take time to recover, so I don’t push myself too far. Moderation is the key.

3. Sleep naturally: I can’t emphasize this enough. A good solid natural sleep can be the best medicine of all. I find I have a rhythm of sleeping well, and not sleeping well, and if I just let it be, it is the best for me. I tend to sleep well at the end of the week, a vacation, or event, but I toss and turn at the beginnings of things. I used to panic when I didn’t sleep well, and now I just tell myself that I will feel tired the next day if I don’t sleep, and that’s OK, I’ll sleep good that night. I also sleep in my own bed rather than sharing a bed with my husband, (which has probably saved our marriage!) On sleepless nights I am now aware that I’m often obsessing on something, and try to consciously think of things that will calm my mind like visualizing a calm sea, or opening my mind to the random images and words floating around in the dozing stage of sleep. I’ve had amazing dreams in recent years that have guided me to some wonderful experiences in real life, so I don’t want to do anything to interfere with dreaming. I also give myself permission to rest during the day if I’m feeling tired, and sleep in on my days off. No reason to push yourself to extremes any more, and who says you have to get up early every day just because you’re an adult?

4. Give natural cures a try: I have found prescription medication side effects so harmful, that I avoid taking medications if at all possible. I do take antibiotics when needed, but ask for the mildest ones. I’ve cured stomach problems by changing my diet (no more grocery store meat), and have cured arthritic pains by exercising the body part that hurts. For example, my hands started to ache constantly in my early 50’s, so I started doing hand exercises with a gadget that you squeeze three times a week, and my hands stopped aching entirely. I still do it to this day, and I’ve noticed my fingers are straighter and stronger than many of my peers.

Another example of a natural cure I use everyday is wearing a nose strip at night instead of taking allergy medication.  I tried taking different medications, and they all made me feel like I had no energy, and didn’t relieve my symptoms.  The nose strips have no side effects, and were the only things that really worked to clear my nose and sinuses.

5. Select low-stress jobs: that’s right, it’s OK to quit a job because it stresses you out. I’ve done it a few times, sometimes before I had another job lined up, and it has landed me in a part-time job today that I love. I used to think the fact that I couldn’t tolerate a stressful job was a bad thing, but now I think it may have been a wonderful gift. Too much stress leaves me feeling chronically on edge, angry, sleepless, and sick, so I’ve made some difficult choices and resigned from some jobs I thought were really great at first. Some stress is good for us, as it stretches our capabilities, but too much kills us, I’m afraid. I’ve listened to my soul and made big changes that scared me at the time as I continued to put a peaceful state of mind first, having faith that it would all work out.

6. No smoking, getting intoxicated, doing drugs, or being excessively social: Enough said.

7. Be kind to yourself: self-awareness is a gift that can come with age, so use it to be kind to yourself. If I find myself worrying about something, I am now aware of it, and I understand the power that negative thinking can have on one’s health, so I say nice things to myself to avoid panic attacks or becoming depressed. I say things like, “it’s going to be OK, things will work out for the best, you can do this,” and “breathe,” I also try to figure things out instead of giving in to feeling overwhelmed by something. If I’m sad about something, I have a good cry, and grieve it out. Giving myself quiet time to reflect on something can be the most healing thing I do, as it helps me find my truth about something. This doesn’t mean I avoid conflict or suppress negative feelings, as I believe that can have extremely harmful health effects, rather I become clear and strong on my position on something, and think before I act on it. This helps me express myself calmly without being upset, even if others do not agree with me. Very important to mental and physical health.

In other words, living a pure life-style, somewhat like you did as a child is how I believe I’ve been able to age well. No need to do anything extreme. You know what you need to do, just find a quiet place, close your eyes, listen and breathe.

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