The Body Knows Balance

The Body Knows Balance

By Dr. Lisa Templeton, Ph.D.

Life is a constant practice ground for learning. This classroom will involve a bit of pain, discomfort, frustration, and impatience – yet it is also riddled with joy, light, love, and comfort. When are we going to learn that in this dualistic society, we need to accept both sides in order to have wholeness?

As Einstein noted, we can’t solve a problem from the same mindset it was created in. We must change our one-sided mindset to see both sides, to see the beauty of life, both in pain and in joy. We might think that in order to change our mindset, we have to live in our mind, but we really must listen more to our body.

The body knows balance; therefore, if I can drop into my body and learn to accept all of the sensations going on, I can tap into the wisdom that it has to offer. After all, the body is the vessel that all of these emotions and sensations, both positive and negative, reside in. We are made of both light and dark.

With awareness in our body, we can learn more about ourselves, about our needs, wants, fears, and anticipations. With more care, mindful presence, and love given toward our body comes more clarity of self and mind. Our body has great wisdom and can accent the mind so perfectly to find peace and stillness in wholeness. Practice listening in to your body and give it the attention it deserves – neutral kindness and awareness, along with a curious listening that allows for an open heart and an open mind.

Join me for a Live Facebook Meditation this Sunday, March 17th at 10am MDT. This will be a guided meditation focusing on finding balance in our mind and body. Check out my Facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/interpersonalhealing/

Be Wherever You Are With the Loving Eye of Your Observer

Each moment is a gift of life. No matter what is happening in this moment, I see both the light and the darkness. I remember that the light is born from the darkness and I surrender. I breathe into the deep, the pain and the melting of my ego. There are no sides, no boundaries, just banks of a river that form to allow for the best flow. The best decisions I can make in this moment are for my nurturing and for those I love.

There is a stillness in this moment. The silence is deafening as time carves out each passing second, so many of which I miss and do not heed. I sink my heart right into the middle of now. My flesh tickled by the chill of the air within me. So much space I did not notice, the corners of the room that have now become sky. I listen intently to the breezes and the song of the birds opening their wings in freedom.

All of this I notice, all of this I experience, I notice, I experience, I notice, I experience back and forth until I fall into a lullaby, a trance within. There are whispers coming through reminding me to let go, offering melodies that lift the weight of my mind. My heart is lassoed to the base of my spine and my core is tangled in a spiral of awareness.

This temple of mine, I must let it shine, blinding the heart of darkness so that only love prevails. Yet, love is everywhere. It is a mistaken expectation that only light brings love – it is love that places the darkness over us like a soft blanket and offers rainbows shining through the storm. I experience, I notice, I experience, I notice…until they become one. May I hold both the dark and the light, the light and the dark. Being wherever I am connected with the dark and the light as one. I allow whatever is to come in each moment to envelope me in a shroud of love.

Check out Dr. Lisa’s Actively Letting It Be Course that will touch on love, breath, thoughts, emotions, mindful choices and the essence of life. Go to www.drlisatempleton.com/classes for more information!

Actively Letting It Be

Actively Letting It Be

By Lisa Templeton, Ph.D.

To be active in letting it be means to practice. Life is a practice ground for learning, although we often forget this. We are more at peace when we accept what is happening and actively let things be. To be in the energy of peace, we must let go of resistance to any situation and live in openness to what is. The more flexible we are, the more of the calm stillness of peace we experience. To express resistance is an argument with reality that we will ultimately lose.

Letting it be is ultimately about letting go of resistance. The first step is noticing that resistance is there. Whether it is resistance to a traffic jam, resistance to an expectation that didn’t go your way, or resistance to self-forgiveness from the past, we have to understand that it is there before we can let it go. We can’t let go of something we don’t hold awareness of. Notice when you are in an energy of resistance and how that makes you feel. For me, the feeling can manifest as tension, irritability, and frustration. Sometimes I can feel disappointment as well given things didn’t turn out like I thought they would. I have found that having expectations at all will eventually lead to disappointment, which is a form of resistance.

Most importantly when actively letting it be, we must have compassion for ourselves and others. If I move into an energy of conflict and drama, judging myself or others for moving into this energy only perpetuates the same energy! We need to work on staying as calm as we can and as loving as possible as we move through life like waves of an ocean. Sometimes a huge wave comes and wipes us out. Ride it with love as best you can. While you are judging yourself for not seeing the last huge wave, another one hits you. Stay loving, present and aware of your actions and reactions at all times. Keep breathing and offering yourself encouragement as you are continuing to learn. This year, set your intent to practice and be active in letting things be.

Lastly, make conscious actions in your thoughts and behaviors to create peace. Our actions play a huge role in creating peace in our lives. Choose positive thoughts and bring in positive emotions to experience. Be generous with others. Do and say things to uplift yourself. Offer your smile to others and give light and love to everyone you meet. Be sure to seek out the beauty in the world. Nature is so grounding and amazing – we are living on a beautiful earth and life lives all around us, no matter where you are.

Set your intent to practice slowing down. Take time every day to slow your thoughts and consciously breathe. Open your heart in gratitude and name several blessings in your life. When you take the time to make an effort to actively change the quality of your being, the more peace you create in and all around you.

Peace always starts within. If the opposite of peace is conflict, then be a good friend to yourself! Try to speak kindly within to create more harmony. If you notice statements to yourself that are not kind, apologize and say what you mean to say, as you would with someone you love who might be hurt by your words. How can you find any peace if you are in a battle with yourself? You cannot let things be and criticize them at the same time. Pay close attention to how you are talking to yourself. Choose to speak kindly and compassionately to yourself within. If you find that you are struggling with this, simply move away from the conflict and remind yourself you are working to change this. Focus on something that uplifts and strengthens you. Spend time with others who elevate and inspire you.

Forget about what you think you are supposed to feel when you try letting it be, get out of your head and just feel. Let yourself be in that moment, whatever it is. Tap into the present for just a few seconds or maybe a minute.

We all need to practice and for more guidance on this, consider taking a monthly class presented by Dr. Lisa running in 2019 from January through June. The class is the third Thursday every month from 6-8pm at The IHC. The first class will be on Thursday, January 17th. Check out www.drlisatempleton.com/classes/

Also, practice the meditation for actively letting the moment be on January 20th, 2019 at 10am. Let us all slow down together for just 10 minutes to actively let it be in peace while moving into blissful stillness. Let’s spread that peace from our innermost place of calm to all who are in need around us.

One of the ways I uplift myself is to write poetry. I want to share a poem to inspire you:

Actively Letting It Be

Look around you, what do you see?

It all depends on the mindset you choose to be.

Only when there is something

You cannot accept

Can there ever a problem be.

It all depends on the love and beauty

I choose to shine from inside me.

Look around, flow in beauty

Look around, open to love

You are the light of the world

And radiate the peace of a dove.

In the present moment

Quiet your mind

Honor your body’s emotional words

And listen to your child divine.

Be with your dreams

Let your will unfurl

Transform your abilities

And open in empathy to the world.

Be the light in your life

Shine on with active passion

Put yourself out there

Support yourself with compassion.

Take space between each breath

Love yourself to no end

Take moments between actions

Time and space will bend.

You are supported by love

Truth and flow

Pay attention to your Goddess within

Float in her joyful river and row.

Take precious time

Sit in blissful gratitude

For letting it be

Is only but an attitude.

Actively Letting It Be Classes Offered By Dr. Lisa

An Online OR In-person Monthly Course

In person: Meet every Third Thursday of each month at The Interpersonal Healing Center in Broomfield beginning January 2019 – 6pm-8pm. $50 per class or $250 for full 6 month class (a $50 discount)

Online: Participants will receive 2 emails per month with self-study tools including audio meditations, videos, exercises, and an invitation to a group Facebook page.

$25 per month or $125 for full 6 month class (a $25 discount)

Sign up at www.drlisatempleton.com/classes or call The IHC at 303-514-4058

Course Description:

The class will offer a path to freedom and knowledge of self that will change your perspective on life. Each month will address particular energies involved with acceptance and working with grief, loss, change, fear, and other difficulties of life.

Sign up/come to one or all of the classes! The classes will renew again every 6 months. The courses will be an experiential opportunity to learn and grow with yourself and with others through a process to bring about more peace, love, objectivity, surrender, and inner power to your life.

Each class will include:

-A brief lecture addressing the focus of the month

-Handouts/resources/videos to aid with your work

-Discussion between participants

-A guided meditation

Dr. Lisa Templeton, Ph.D. is the founder of The Interpersonal Healing Center, a clinical psychologist, and published author of Letting It Be: Mindful Lessons Toward Acceptance.

Finding The Middle Path: Healing Dualism in our Minds and In America

Finding The Middle Path: Healing Dualism in our Minds and in America

By: Lisa Templeton, Ph.D.

I just recently attended The Science and Non-duality (SAND) conference in San Jose, California and found myself really thinking about the duality of America. When I think of duality, I think of separation and extreme patterns of thinking that don’t take another side into account. Extremes seem so dissimilar and each side can villainize the other with judgment. What is important to notice about this separation is the parallel it has to our inner world. If we want more unity, let’s begin inside of our own minds.

The most problematic fake news is not so much the news we watch on the television, it is the news that happens in our minds. Let me ask you, are you listening to your inner channel to see what is being said? We might not be able to change anything on CNN or Fox News, but we can certainly change the report going on moment-by-moment in our minds. Still, we can’t change it until we name it.

In my work and in my own experience, our inner channel reports many extremes about ourselves – “I’m not good enough” or “I am a failure” or “I can’t do this” or even “I’m a terrible person for thinking this.” Often times, if we are not focused on ourselves, we are focused on others and what they are doing wrong. Thoughts such as “I hate republicans/democrats” or “He/she doesn’t care about me” or “How come that person has more than me?” or “I do everything around here” or “Why does this person think they are so great?” These thoughts create more separation and can lose the context of what is really true about ourselves and others.

Judgment and criticism of self or others only serve as a false protection – protection from fear. Fear that we are not good enough, fear that we will lose what we have and feel pain, fear that we won’t feel special, or even fear that we will feel different and alone. To separate for protection is a normal reaction to the society in which we live. No one is immune to this, especially as our society continues to play on our fears. The only way to address this within is to have the courage to notice our thoughts and challenge them with truth. The truth is that in these moments, we are scared and fearful. Fear underlies all negative emotions. When the context of fear is brought in, we can have more compassion and understanding for the extreme thoughts.

This article is a call for action to us all. If we can notice these thoughts with non-judgmental awareness, understanding that these thoughts on both sides are trying to protect us and to help us in a unique, though unhealthy way, we can begin to find the middle path. The truth is that these extremes are conditioned into our mind and without some mindfulness, our assumptions can easily fall into a box where our perception is limited and context is lost.

We, as humans, don’t fit into boxes, we are way more complex than that. We come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and we need to be able to see the grey areas amidst the black and white. The only place to start is with ourselves. Practice noticing the ways in which you are seeing things in an extreme way – from good/bad, constricted/free, right/wrong, right/left, and success/failure. Can you find a middle path in the ways that you are thinking about these concepts? Can you remember the context of what is going on around you and consider alternatives to your own initial assumptions? We are assumptive creatures and if we don’t have awareness of our assumptions to counter them with other perspectives, we fall into looped patterns of narrow-mindedness, missing the whole picture.

This is not an easy practice by any means, yet it is vital to find some sort of unity. Separation creates pain and unrest. If we are all separated from ourselves, how can we even begin to heal the dualism of America? Start within and take stock in ways that we each perpetuate this unhealthy pattern. With more awareness comes more love, compassion, connection, and unity in our minds and our world.

Learning to Be Grateful in Difficult Times

Learning to Be Grateful in Difficult Times

By: Lisa M. Templeton, Ph.D.

     Staying grateful is essential to feeling a deeper love and joy in our lives.  Taking the time to appreciate the beauty in nature, art, or in the eyes of a loved one benefits us all.   Generally, energy is attracted to similar energy – like attracts like.  When we take on an attitude of gratitude, we live in a more abundant state of being which in turn brings more abundance to us.  We also feel much better physically, emotionally and spiritually when we focus on abundance, rather than lack.

     It can be challenging to stay in this energy of gratitude, even during the easiest times.  We get habitually caught up in day to day life and just getting through it.  Many of us have worked to cultivate more gratitude in our lives here and there.  When things are going our way, we stop and give thanks that things went so smoothly.  We get what we want and we are grateful.

     Alternatively, during times of struggle, considering the blessings in our life can seem impossible.  The irritability and frustration of difficult circumstances overrides and we forget about gratitude altogether.  In times of struggle, we often try to change or get rid of what is difficult and attempt to minimize our pain.   As a result, we end up giving more attention to the problem and living in resistance with the difficult circumstance, which ends up giving the problem more energy than it needs, leaving us drained and depleted.

     If we can work to focus on the blessings, seen or unseen, relating to whatever the situation, it is much easier to let go of our resistance to the situation and open ourselves to learning from the difficult.  No matter how difficult a situation is, start with taking a step back to gain a broader, vaster perspective and then begin to look for blessings that you may learn from.

     To do this requires a small element of faith.  It may be years before you are able to see something positive from a terrible, traumatic experience.  Or, you may have something not go your way and minutes or hours later realize why that happened.  The question is – do you believe that there are positive learning experiences to be had in difficult times?  If you do believe that, why resist the negative at all?  There are many jewels that arise from dark places.  Would you give back the jewels to avoid the dark?  My answer is no as I want to experience life fully and uncover what the universe has to offer me.  We can work to welcome what comes and let go of our resistance and need to control with the aid of gratitude.  

     It is so hard to see the positive in difficult experiences, yet hindsight is always 20/20.  Take a moment to think of a past difficult situation you have faced and try to find one positive aspect to guide you in why that experience might have occurred.  Find the jewel in a dark place you once traveled.  What did you learn from the difficult experience?  What positive aspects came from this difficulty that you can be grateful for today?  Did you meet someone new as a result?  Did you acquire a characteristic that now shapes you?  Would you change the past if you could?  Stay thoughtful in this exercise before answering.

     Resistance and fear are the biggest obstacles to staying in gratitude.  When things don’t go our way, we want to change it, control it and mold it into what feels better for us.  Letting go of our resistance creates room for the light to shine within the darkness – for the jewel to be much easier to see.   It also takes much less energy to focus on abundance than it does on lack.

     The next difficult situation you run into, big or small, take a moment to detach from the negative emotion that arises, observe the feeling without judgement, take a breath, and remind yourself that there are or will be positives from the situation to draw from, even if you can’t see any in that moment.  If no positives can be gleaned, stay attuned and look for abundance with love and joy.  Be grateful for any positives that can be seen – for the strength that the pain will create, for the support and resources you have in your life.  This takes extra energy at times, but it is totally worth it.  Make this a habit and the difficult times suddenly become more like the brief afternoon storms that settle into a glorious sunset.

     Being grateful opens up our heart to allow more to come into it.  The bigger our heart, the bigger and better our lives become.  No matter your circumstances, there is always something to be thankful for- it may be just that we are alive knowing that the difficult will always pass, just as the storms move away to bring out a beautiful divided sky of dark and light.

 

Be With Your Self-Care Needs

BE With Your Self-Care Needs

By Lisa Templeton, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

(With excerpts from Letting It Be: Mindful Lessons Toward Acceptance - Dr. Lisa's book to be published this April)

     Only you can care for yourself – no one else can address your internal, emotional, physical, and spiritual world except you.  We leave ourselves in a very vulnerable position if we are waiting for someone else to care for us.  The truth is that we can’t change anybody but ourselves.

     Unfortunately, these bodies that we walk around with from our birth until our death can be a lot of maintenance.  There is much mindful awareness needed to properly care for this temple and the spirit that lies within.  Each person is a bit different in what he/she needs and the best ways to nurture ourselves.  What might be very helpful to one person, may not be helpful to another.  For example, a walk can help clear my head and gain perspective on any situation.  In talking with others, I’ve found that walking can bring up more anxiety and stress being alone with themselves in their own head, overthinking situations.  Perhaps a focused task like listening to music or watching a show would help.  A glass of wine might relax one person, and serve to give another heartburn. 

     Take to task your thoughts and emotions and how you feel when you do something.  Our emotions are there to be a guide to us on what our self-care needs are in each moment.  Identifying our emotions will aid us in moving into expression of emotion, which will ultimately allow for release of these emotions.  In turn, we are nurturing our emotions with our self-care behaviors.

Sharing Emotions

     For most, but not all, sharing our emotions can be a helpful self-care tool, although that in itself comes with a lot of vulnerabilities and fears.  It can be difficult to even identify what emotions are going on within, much less speak it to someone else.   Still, holding our emotions inside can lead to a lot of distress.  Once we understand what we are feeling, we can work to express it.  Again, nobody else can do this for you but yourself.  

     We must use our social supports to guide us as we continue to connect and relate with others.  Share without expectations – the point of sharing is for ourselves, not for others.  Perhaps your friend or family can help and/or support or perhaps not.  The least we can do is ask and when sharing, try to be specific and clear about what you really want.  Be aware of your mind, body, and thoughts relating to your need.  If you do have an expectation, be aware of it and be clear with yourself that sharing your feeling is for you, not for anyone else.

     Repressed or denied emotions will inevitably affect us overtime; hence, I like to use the metaphor of an invisible fisherman’s coat that we each wear everyday with many, many pockets.  Imagine if each feeling that we push away gets loaded into one of those pockets.  Overtime, the coat becomes heavy and it’s difficult to maneuver in life. It’s time to lose the coat entirely.  Yet, the act of cleaning out each coat pocket and feeling through and working with our feelings can be a difficult task.  It’s daunting, but if you work to stay mindfully aware of your emotions and have intent to work with them differently, your experience will naturally begin to change.  It is worth it to bring about a sense of peace and calm in our lives that allows us to gravitate more toward surrender, and ultimately, to acceptance.

Slowing Down and Being  

     I hear so many people talking about how everything is moving so quickly and they have no time to slow down.  What I hear is that they have a need for harmony, well-being, and stillness – how can one meet this need, especially when it doesn’t seem as though there are enough hours in the day as it is.  Harmony and stillness can only be sought in being, not doing.  When we practice being with many components of our experience (i.e., our thoughts, our body, engaging our observer, and our breath), harmony and stillness finds us.       

     If you find that you just can’t slow down and shut your mind down - listen to it, observe what it is saying, track it, and change your perspective.    Distract it – say a mantra to yourself over and over, “May I be happy, may I be peaceful and at ease, may I be safe.”  You could clean out a drawer, sing a song, take a hot bath, a cold shower, or have a cup of tea.  There are many behaviors we can engage in to calm ourselves.  You need to stay aware of what behaviors feel calming to you and then find time to do it. 

     In our busy culture, we must take the time for ourselves.  This is not something we wait for to be given to us.  We must communicate, ask our loved ones, and work to find support within ourselves and others around us.  You cannot expect your spouse to announce you have the night off if she/he doesn’t even know you need it.  Doesn’t everybody need it every now and again?  Stay assertive and loving when asking for help in fulfilling your need.  Do your best to state your need and do what makes you feel alive, stimulated, and blissful.  If you are struggling to ask for help, inquire within to find out why.  You are the expert on yourself – no one else.

     Staying mindful of our mind and our body, we must use it or we will surely lose it.  Exercise both your mind and your body daily if you can – really move around and really sit still.  They are a beautiful balance with each other.  There can be a negative connotation with the word “exercise” relating to going to the gym, doing standard movements, etc.  Perhaps you move in the way you enjoy - perhaps dancing might be your thing.

     There can also be a negative connotation with the word “meditation” possibly relating to thinking that one needs to “clear the mind entirely” to succeed.  Neither exercise needs to be perfect, nor practiced for a very long period of time.  Each day, working the mind for 10 minutes and the body for 20-30 minutes can have wonderful nurturing effects.  Even just five minutes or taking several 30 second breaks throughout your day can be helpful.   Just as you may meditate the mind, exercise the body and vice versa.  Take a dose of natural hormones to help release emotions and gain perspective.

Finding Outlets

    As many of you might know, I am a musician.  Music has provided a foundation for my personal and spiritual journey that has been absolutely priceless.  I was not always a musician though – not until I was 25 years old did I even pick up a guitar.  I played some keyboard as a teenager, but never thought to really put form to any of my practices.  Once I picked up the guitar, the songs started to come.  These were composed of many poems I had written over my teenage years expressing thoughts, emotions, and my perceptions of life.  This was incredibly beneficial for me both personally and professionally.  I used my words and songs to express myself.  That was a huge need I had that I didn’t even realize I had at the time – it just felt really good (and still does).  Working through difficult aspects of my life, music was there to support me.  I do hope that my music will continue to support me and provide nurturance to others as I continue to write.

     The point is to find forms of release that provide guidance and creative expression for our brain.  Perhaps you might find painting, poetry, and/or pottery helpful to you – even if you’ve never tried it before.  Identify your releases and the way to express yourself.  Maybe it’s cooking or clothing design or interior design.  You might enjoy drumming and finding a rhythm and something to bang on when you get home from work.  To release is to create and we are most powerful when we are creating for ourselves in our life.

     Be sure to pamper yourself when you can.  Take a bath, sit and watch your favorite TV show, drink a glass of wine, take a walk, draw a picture, get a massage, or a manicure/pedicure.  Do what makes you happy and remember to do it in moderation.  If I take a bath every night, the pleasure of it may not be as stimulating.  Change up the ways that you pamper yourself.  Work to develop your list of pampering behaviors and “give yourself flowers” so to speak (or even literally!). 

     When you are addressing your own needs and loving yourself in a way that nurtures and cares for yourself, you are providing yourself with a foundation of tools to do better at managing your life.  You are worth it!  Don't ever let anyone else tell you different, particularly yourself!

 

Finding Hope on a Dark Night

Finding Hope on a Dark Night
By: Lisa Templeton, Ph.D.
     When the world seems like it is crumbling down all around you, there appears to be no light in sight.  When we are in a dark cave, we can barely see what steps to next take.  Yet somehow, with continued patience and resilience, a spark appears from within the cave to shine light on the path of gems that was there all along.  What is this spark?  How can we find it in a dark night?
     Opening up our perspective sparks much light.  When we are lost and cannot find our way, it is our perspective that lays a path for how we move forward.  With faith and trust in the spark of light within the core of our being, we might not feel as though we are wondering lost.   Author, J.R. Tolkien once stated that, “Not all who wander are lost.”  We may wonder away from ourselves for a time, but we are never lost.  With a shift in our perspective, a spark of light can appear out of nowhere.
     Widening our perspective generates the most light.  When we begin to look into our lives from a larger, expanded viewpoint, we can see the bigger picture and understand how so many others are also in a dark night and are looking for a spark.  We inspire each other and spark light in a dance of balance and harmony with all life around us.  We can guide ourselves and each other away from total darkness.
     Hope lights us up with inspiration and passion.  When we consider the people we love, the beauty of the planet, and other forms of inspiration, we can uplift ourselves, if only for a brief time.  There is a difference between distracting ourselves from our darkness and completely covering up our pain.  Take some time away from the dark, if you can, to focus on gratitude.  Conversely, widen your perspective and take moments to notice the dark night and what it might be teaching you.  Learn to tolerate the difficult times with the help of light.
     Everything is always temporary and will inevitably end – even the darkest night, even the most joyful experience.  We are constantly shifting and moving with the tides of light and dark in our lives.  The lighter the light shines out, the darker the shadow of darkness.  Yet, how can we appreciate the light without the darkness?  We are constantly moving in and out of positive and negative.  We need balance and harmony between each to spark a light in the night.
     Author Elie Wiesel stated, “Just as a man cannot live without dreams, he cannot live without hope.  If dreams reflect the past, hope summons the future.”  Without hope, we cannot renew and since the Universe is in constant renewal, we need renewal to begin again.  Start now by nurturing the hope you feel about yourself and others, about humanity, about the world, and the possibilities for the future.  Name the change you wish to see in the world and live it.
     Meet with others who spark a light within, do something that inspires you, allow yourself to feel good emotions when they come and watch them pass.   Tend to your spark within and keep it lit for others to light from as needed.  Maybe you offer a smile to another, hold the door for someone or offer aid to a person in need. 
     This light is ultimately love and it lives in the present moment.  Stay in the present moment.   Remember the bigger context of people’s behaviors and reactions and keep offering love and compassion for yourselves and each other.  Stay patient as things may not change overnight, but your whole world changes when your perspective does.  Spark your light with love and let your love light shine through the dark night!