In Appreciation of Who You Are

There she was, sitting at the very back of the room; a beautiful woman with neat, white flowing hair, nodding and smiling as I spoke, as if to say, yes, darling, that’s right.

There is usually such a woman in the back of the room when I give a public talk! It is mysterious yet quite welcome. My eyes gravitate to this sort of archetypal woman over and over again. And with the rush of people after the talk, I look and she is gone. She was at the cruise in Alaska, with an air of quiet wisdom. I was enamored with her energy of adventurousness and joyful sense of self. I want to be like her as I grow older, gracefully wearing my age, appreciating every line on my face, wrapping my body in colorful, attractive clothing, and moving through life with elegance. Around her one would feel safe, understood, approved of, and aided if need be. She’s not loud or calling attention to herself. I imagine her slipping in and out of people’s lives being of tremendous service, yet not looking for celebrity or adulation.

Understanding this archetype’s importance in my life gives me insights into my own personality, purpose and uniqueness. Perhaps, for me, this symbolizes a possible future self. And discovering yours will do this for you.

Over the last 100 or so years our Western culture has held high the merits of being an extravert. From Dale Carnegie to Tony Robbins we have taken the message of being bold, outspoken, and action oriented to be the ideal in today’s competitive work world.  Make your self noticed, be charming, garner attention, and act commanding.

At the same time the introvert, those who happen to listen more to their inner voice than the world stage, were seen as lacking. The school system has often tried to force the quiet ones into team activities to bring them out. Even the psychological community seemed to miss the treasures that lie within these individuals, preferring everyone be outgoing.

We are now learning that these ‘creatives’ are integral to our society going forward. These are the Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffets, even Einsteins and many other unassuming leaders in every industry from manufacturing, services, self-growth and education who value their solitary time and go out to speak only because it is necessary to fulfill their purpose. The creatives are becoming more noticeable in our culture because of media and technology, (which they had a heavy hand in creating by the way).

Looking back I now see why–when I entered the business world, becoming a stock broker barely over 30, trying to be like the gregarious, talkative men in our office–I felt so stressed. I was an introvert wearing the mask of an extravert. I now see why I felt so exhausted by the end of the week. I was pushing myself out of my natural leanings, using up vast amounts of energy making my normally quiet self perform as I thought was expected.

Eventually I created my own business with my own tempo and environment, so prosperity and purpose could easily find me. The clients I attract now are those who understand what I offer them and I understand what they want. They are my tribe.

Introverts need more time alone to recharge. They become very productive and innovative when they are left to their own timeline of purpose. Introverted isn’t being shy, though some are. More often they are quite socially competent, just more inner focused.

And now I know why the quiet women of wisdom catch my attention. This is my ideal, where it feels natural to embrace and hopefully become. Through my self-education I somehow took in the message to be something else.

Knowing who you really are can be as simple as noticing that reappearing archetype in your life; the one who stands out to you like a beacon. And there you will find your prosperity and purpose.

© copyright 2012 Kasey Claytor

Shifting into Prosperity & Wellbeing

What we once sensed as stable and dependable in our monetary system is shifting. It will most likely range from mildly unsettling for some to crushing upheaval for others. It is up to us how we each experience it.

All the flaws in our system are cracking open for us to see. Amidst the abundance it brought, there was also dishonesty, corruption and the hopeless attempt to find happiness with the commercialization of our lives.

We may seem to be pulled in ways we’ve never experienced before. The new changes are becoming so obvious, so strong, that the awareness is unavoidable. The imminent destruction and re-integration of a new paradigm has begun.

I am as ignorant of exactly how this will all unfold as any other human on earth. We just feel its approach, its energy, its pulse. It is most important now that we take good care of ourselves and others in our lives. We must keep a sense of purpose and remain flexible to enable our success.

Imaginal cells are those cells created from the disintegration of the caterpillar in its cocoon and those cells morph into the butterfly.  Just like imaginal cells, many of us are being called to rise and bloom into a higher consciousness to solve, heal and comfort the world.

We have a greater opportunity now than ever before to position ourselves to thrive, balance, prosper, and experience wellbeing. Within chaos is the emerging pattern of a new way to exist, new freedom, equality, and compassion for our fellow sentient beings on this planet.

In the gestalt that is our lives, we have several areas that need our attention and just thinking about them can be overwhelming—but it can be very simple. Healing and raising awareness in one area affects the whole. For instance, taking care of our bodies gives us a sense of wellbeing. Reducing our debt or tackling our retirement plan also gives a sense of wellbeing; and spending some time daily in gratitude or meditation connects us to our higher self, bringing a feeling of peace. These are actually one activity: self love, self care, and merging with the infinite.

 

Benefiting from the changes coming:

Following every economic constriction, which we are now experiencing deeply, comes an economic expansion. Just like a rubber band stretched to its limit, the economy comes swiftly back with the force in the other direction. Now is the time to position yourselves, whether in business, a new career, more schooling, new financial plan, or any other new direction you feel inspired to go.

How do you know which way to go? Where to invest? What your purpose is? In my talk at the Natural Awakenings Health Expo February 25th at 12:30 we will discuss the details!

 

 

Copyright © 2012 Kasey Claytor

Balance In These Times

 

Everything in life can be viewed through the phenomenon of duality. In my meditation course, I teach about the ego and the spirit, the left brain and the right brain, the head and the heart. To experience joy and wellbeing we need to have a balance of both.

 

When we veer too far into one territory for too long, we lose balance and we cease to remain open and effective, thus limiting our experience. We may become increasingly judgmental of others who disagree with our ideas. And we deny ourselves the opportunity to expand our knowledge due to limited flexibility. Within each of us is a full range of emotions, attributes, dreams, gifts, and passions. By limiting the expression of these, we reduce our potential.

 

We all know instinctively which tendencies we have; whether we focus more on heart-based thoughts and motivations or on the rational mind.

 

I’m in a unique situation due to my work in a male-dominated industry that focuses on outward actions and rational thinking. At the same time, I have always been drawn to the spiritual path. This is like having membership in two tribes! Being a part of both has provided me with an unusual education.

 

I try to honor and appreciate each tribal aspect within myself and in the world.

Within the spiritual community, we find inspiration, a connection to a power greater than ourselves, and the joy of unfolding discoveries from studying holy texts and words from the enlightened. Compassion, nurturing, healing, and self-growth are highly valued. Individuals with right-dominant brains, those that are heart-centered with creative energy, are drawn to this tribe.

 

The left-dominant brain community is egocentric, rational and action-oriented. The energy of these individuals has a focus on the manifestation of ideas, progress and the dynamics of taking an invention and producing it for the masses. They excel with accomplishments in medicine, science, manufacturing, commerce, modernization, and lifestyle improvements.

 

When these energies get out of balance, we see people in the spiritual tribe failing to make a decent living and having a deficit of ideas and actions that would successfully provide them a sense of prosperity. Or, they may have a reluctance to move out of their comfort zone, preferring to seek joy in their reverence for the divine without balancing it with bold action.

 

On the other hand, some are so outwardly-oriented and action-based that they, too, are out of balance. They may be very successful financially but lack self-knowledge and a sense of who they are. Their continual outward focus robs them of deep inner insights, and the joy that rises from within.

 

Both extremes can cause health problems, stress-related illnesses, anxiety, unhappiness and a lack of purpose. We need to be integrated members of both tribes. A beautiful illustration of this by Kahlil Gibran can be found here:  On Reason and Passion

 

What is disturbing now is the increasing gap between these two energies, or impulses. We see it everywhere, most obviously in the political climate.

 

Those of one viewpoint seem to only listen to others who hold the same opinions and judgments. This one-sidedness is fracturing the country into different hard lines and no one is listening. Coming together and listening with the heart and the head is a tall order, but necessary — and it all begins with us. We all want the same thing: a robust, vibrant, and growing economy and citizens that care for one another. As we integrate ourselves, bringing our shadow sides out into the open, honoring our own thoughts and those of others and being open to the validity of the opinions of others, we can begin a conversation that will put us on a healing path.

 

Like most of you, I have my own opinions and prejudices, but my intention is to try to remain open, listen to all opinions and learn more about transpartisanship* — to hear and speak with respect.

Let’s find balance.

*Mission: Change the divide and conquer political game by building trust, respect and communication among citizens and leaders.

© copyright 2011 Kasey Claytor

 

 

Treasuring the Body

Last year I walked the Disney Princess Half Marathon. The camaraderie was terrific, excitement was in the air, and we challenged ourselves both physically and mentally. While training up and down my street, a picturesque, 7 mile long river road, I had a lot of time to think about what I was doing. I noticed how far I could push myself, when I was over-fatigued and how many days it took to recover to my normal energy level. I also remembered lessons I’d learned over the years, bits of wisdom from those more experienced and wiser than myself. Since I am now fully moving into the older and wiser time of my life, I wanted to share some wisdom:

  • Treasure Your Body. Don’t take it for granted. Your body is your experience of you made physical. It is not something separate from you. Honor your body by caring lovingly for it, give it what nutrients it needs and deserves. Hydrate, rest, and move.
  • Listen to Your Body. Be mindful of your body’s communications, through messages of fatigue, hunger, discomfort and other sensations. Then respond as if you are taking care of a loved one. (you are)
  • Eat until 75% Full. In this way your digestive system is most effective at digesting, absorbing, and eliminating the food you eat. When we stuff our stomachs to full capacity we inhibit optimal function, taxing our system, pulling down our energy levels that should be reserved for other things.
  • Exercise to 75% Capacity. Exercise should give you more energy if done right, not make you tired and listless the rest of the day. If it does, you are overdoing it for you present physical condition. Gradually increase your activity if you are beginning an exercise program.
  • Get at Lease 8 Hours of Sleep! A cornerstone of wellbeing, without enough sleep we become vulnerable to many maladies. Begin to settle down and don’t do stimulating things in the evening leading up to bedtime. Be in bed by 10 or 10:30. The more we learn about how sleep affects us the more we know how important it is to a healthy, happy life.

I went somewhat off this wisdom in my training for the half marathon. I committed to doing this for a birthday to show myself how capable I still am, but in doing so I discovered how this push was just a little too much for me. If I ran, my knees would begin to hurt, so I did listen and kept to a walk. In my training I went up to 8 miles. The half marathon is 13.1. Around mile 10 my body began to tighten up. My legs started losing flexibility, and by mile 12 my hips tightened. By mile 13 my gait was stiff, and of course,  days later, after a massage, loosening up—I was still a bit tired. So in the end it was a wonderful experience, but it was unkind to my body. If I had trained more, longer, perhaps I  could have prevented some of this, but I’m not so sure it is something I am willing to do again. Some people are willing to make the sacrifices to have the rewards that come from doing this. But the way I look at it, for me, if I continued, I would be doing harm to my body over time. I will stick to my walking, yoga, biking, and leave the marathons to other people.

 

What is my purpose?

Many people these days are seeking to find what their true purpose is. It sounds so inviting—finding what will be fulfilling and becoming financially successful at the same time! If only one knew….

First of all, whatever you have been doing has had purpose for you. Whether you are working at a job, have a career, retired, or caretaker of your family, you are offering something of great value to the world: yourself and your service.

Maybe you want to do something different, however, or offer something different. Maybe you have many dreams that haven’t been attained yet. We all are wonderful dream makers, churning out new dreams as soon as one is realized!

It isn’t necessarily about what you are good at, or talented at, or what is easy for you, but what makes you excited—makes you eager to get out of bed, and you notice your mind often conjuring up new ideas for it. And you will notice that it is the same feeling as zest for life.

Anything you do while feeling zest for life will feel like you are fulfilling a greater purpose!

If you are still wondering, it is helpful to stand back and observe your life. What themes run through it? Have you loved to teach people things? Inspire them? Take care of them? Heal them? How about creating a piece of art, literature, architecture, or any other expression? There are as many ways to fulfill a purpose as there are people! Here are some general categories. Read them and see where your favorite roles are.

Teacher, counselor, guide
Someone who loves to share knowledge and gets a thrill from seeing people grow in awareness.

Caregiver, nurturer, gardener
Someone who loves to do for others what they aren’t able to do for themselves; taking care of children, the aged, and the more vulnerable groups of society as well as other life forms—animals and plants.

Artist, writer, and other creative expressions including problem solving
These people add so much richness to our lives, speaking to all the different experiences we can relate to and moving us with delightful beauty, and deeply felt emotions.

Healer
Someone who wants to help bring balance into others’ lives, healing body, mind and spirit; bringing about vibrant health.

Maybe you have another category that fits you that is not listed here. Write that one down.

You may find one resonates with you more than the others, even though you may relate to some, or all of them. One will make you feel strong, and give you energy. See how many times throughout your life you have derived great pleasure from this role. That is a good indication of your purpose. Write all the ways your life has expressed this purpose. Now it will be easier to notice more opportunities to fulfill it.

I believe we are here to become joy. Become love itself. No matter what you do for a living you can infuse your theme into it. If you work in a law firm you can nurture your co-workers and clients. If you work in a metal shop you can still find creative expression through innovative problem solving. If you are in retail you can guide and teach your customers.

If you stay on your wave of joy, new avenues for your unique expression will open up.

Copyright © 2011 by Kasey J. Claytor

 

Self-Forgiveness

Do you know what one of the most self-destructive things we do to ourselves is? It is universal, seeps into our lives often unconsciously, we can’t get rid of it with our intellect, and it can cause us great unhappiness. Blame, guilt and shame.

These related emotions come about by judging ourselves. The voice in our head that tells us we really goofed up, what a stupid thing we did, asking “why did I say that or do that?” And there may be no end to it, it becomes like a repeated song in our head that leaves us feeling horrible. It may fade away eventually, only to re-emerge the next time we make a mistake.

We could have internalized our parents punishing us, and it turns into self-punishment. It could come from a feeling that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, or don’t have enough knowledge or education.

I made a mistake at work recently. There was blame enough for several parties. It reminded me of the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell; he wrote about all the small, insignificant mistakes that put together in just the right way, at the perfect time, cause an airplane to crash. We had a crash here at work.

For my part I became devastated. I went through my steps over and over, all my actions, thoughts and work associated with it, lashing myself unmercifully. The other parties were scrambling to cover themselves, a knee-jerk reaction.

I knew I didn’t intentionally cause a mistake to happen. As I worked on repairing my mistake, doing the research and coming up with solutions, I knew I needed to forgive myself. The only way out is to stop trying to intellectualize the situation.

Whether we are blaming another for something they did or blaming ourselves, forgiveness just doesn’t come because we want it to. If we stay in our head, re-playing, judging, pulling in all those archetypal personalities that make up our roles, (the judge, the victim, or the scolding parent) we will never get to forgiveness. Forgiveness is one of those gifts that befall us when we surrender and realize it is not just about us and what runs through our minds.

There is a greater gestalt going on with any occurrence.  I believe there is a greater reality than what we perceive by our intellect. Our heart is a key to widening our perception so that we can make room for more love, forgiveness, and peace. In the grander scheme of life, one that includes our inner-being or soul, there are deeper meanings to our events. We see such a small piece of what is going on.  If we can step back from the mind and know the innocence in ourselves, the love and compassion held for us by our higher-self, the forgiveness already bestowed on us, we begin to move out of our endless blame.

And oh, the crash mentioned above at work? Well, by the time this goes to print, it has miraculously shrunk down to a small but manageable glitch.