Week Two: getting to know ME

It's interesting what happens when you make a decision to do something that is REALLY uncomfortable, without resorting to any coping strategies. At first, it truly feels horrific, but then, as you move through the discomfort, you start to find little treasures and gems of knowledge. This past week has challenged me to reach further into myself than ever before, to really connect with my inner happiness. At first, it was a little bud of growth, but then, it became stronger, and I was able to connect with it, no matter what else was happening. Without the need for anyone else's approval, I became very confident in all my decisions, and was able to move forward on some projects that I had been putting off for quite some time. Without the obsessive energy of worrying constantly about Jason, and what he is or is not doing, I am truly FREE to focus on myself, and simply enjoy the moments when we do connect. The first day that I felt truly happy for the first time, he called me. It was our first conversation in weeks, and it felt easy and light. He said my energy had shifted so much, that I was almost a different person. Funny how that works, when you stop NEEDING validation, here it comes. We have seen each other a couple of times since then, and it is easy and uncomplicated. We are friends, and that is all...for now. 

My 14 year old son, Sam, who is wise beyond his years, gave me the best advice the other day. He said, "Mom, don't try to cross that bridge with Jason again, it is burned. You have to wait until another one is built before you can cross it, or you will just fall into the water again." BAM!  We are each on our own side of the river, working on our side of the bridge, and one day, we will meet in the middle, but not yet. We both have work to do, and it is probably the most important work we will ever do for ourselves.  Neither of us wants to repeat any of our failed relationships, or the one we had together. We both learned so much and helped each other a lot, but it needed to be completely burned so that it can be rebuilt, with new materials, and span a different section of the river. We will both find our own individual happiness and will be able to reconnect in a new space. I am impatient, but excited. 

I discovered a magical place to meditate and hike. I call this: "building a bridge to a castle".

I am enjoying the great outdoors, and rediscovering what I like, without having to worry about pleasing anyone else. I have many friends who are supporting me and loving me through this very important time. I am grateful beyond measure for my tribe! One of my regular walking partners is a beautiful soul named Bonnie. She is the kind of friend who will sing along with the music in the restaurant, is always up for a walk, and one of the most positive, loving people I have ever met. On our walk yesterday,  she invited me to a park that I have not been to since I was a teenager. As soon as we drove up, I saw the city pool and had a flash of a memory that I had been trying to block out. As an 18 year old girl, I used to go to this pool frequently, to sunbathe, and swim, in the heat of the summer. I became friends with the staff, and they invited me to a party one weekend. At the party, one of the lifeguards invited me to his house for an "after-party." He said his roommate would be there, who I thought was cute, so I went along. As soon as we got to his house, his roommate was passed out, and there was no one else there. I went to leave, and he grabbed me, threw me in a chair, and duct taped my hands behind my back. I began to cry, and he duct taped my mouth. He wrapped the tape around me so tight that I could hardly breathe, and then proceeded to scream obscenities, spit beer on me, and throw beer cans at me, for hours. I didn't know if he was going to rape me, kill me, or just keep me tied up until his roommate woke up. I was scared for my life, and I finally indicated that I needed to use the bathroom, and he let me up. I bolted for the door, and ran as fast as I could down the street, finally collapsing in a yard, after making sure he didn't follow me. I will never forget his maniacal laughter, as I ran away. He was out of his mind and I was very lucky to have gotten away when I did. You may wonder why I didn't tell someone, call the police, etc, and it is simple, really. After growing up how I did, with no one to protect me, and no one who would even believe me, I trusted NO ONE to help, and accepted it as my lot in life, that I would be hurt by men, and there was nothing I could do about it. It was my reality at the time. 

Bonnie suggested that we walk around the perimeter of the pool to create a healing circle for me to release my pain. I agreed, and we began to circle around. When we reached the entrance, they had redone it, and I had never seen it before, BUT I realized that I had dreamed about it several months ago! It was a sign from above. I reached out to touch the gate, and it all came flooding back to me. I wept, and cried, and sobbed my release. My wrist began to throb, and Bonnie held space for me to heal myself. As soon as I was finished with that part, I stood up straighter, and we finished our walk around. I felt 200 pounds lighter and so amazingly free! The rest of the day, I cycled in and out of sadness, as it continued to release, and went to bed exhausted, but confident that a big shift had just happened. 

Laughter is the best medicine! Keeping it light is imperative, as I go through these intense shifts. 

Laughter is the best medicine! Keeping it light is imperative, as I go through these intense shifts. 


I went back to the park this morning, and sat on a bench, and soaked in the sun as I meditated. I grounded the pool, and the park, and brought it all into present time, so that I could collect all my energy back. I am no longer that girl, and I am safe and cared for, and loved. 

As I continue on my journey into myself, I wonder what else I will find that is buried, and creating a barren landscape above? I am working on a book, which will delve a bit deeper into this topic. But, for now, let me know what you think, and I hope you enjoy my blog. Love and light to you all today! 

The Lack Mentality

Recently, I have been thrown into a vortex of self examination. One of the major issues I have been battling is a Lack mentality. This shows itself in many ways, and most of the time it keeps us stuck and unhappy. It's not always about money, as people generally tend to assume. Many times it also manifests itself in relationships, family and otherwise. Someone asked me the other day, "Why do you think women stay in abusive relationships?" It's certainly not a simple answer, but one of the factors is certainly that belief that you can't do better, that, somehow, you deserve this. So, you may ask, how do I get OUT of that mentality? It's not something I can teach you in one blog, but I can share a few things to get the ball rolling. I have been going to the same place to get my hair cut for a number of years, and recently, I started to understand that I was doing this for the wrong reasons. I was rarely happy with the result, but I felt that she "needed" me as a client, and she also "gave me a good deal." Neither of these reasons outweighs the fact that I did not like the result. I was staying stuck in that relationship, and keeping myself in a situation where I was unhappy. The next day, I called and made an appointment with a stylist who I absolutely LOVE, but he is more expensive. I got a GREAT cut, and am very happy with the result. In addition, he asked me to join his professional network, which is in alignment with my passion and purpose! Do I "feel bad" when I have to leave someone behind? Of course, but I also realize that enabling them in their pattern will not do either of us any good. If they wish to become empowered, that is their step to take, but it is important for me to take care of myself and always make the choice that serves my higher self. In this space, I am more equipped to help those who wish to do the same. Lack patterns

Another way this pattern keeps us stuck is being in familiar territory, also known as a comfort zone. We hang onto relationships that no longer serve us because "we have known them since high school," or whatever the case may be. Sometimes we do this with our family relationships. We stay stuck in the past, never truly seeing them for who they are as adults, and never allowing ourselves to grow out of that dynamic, either. We all know the saying, "If you keep doing the same thing, you will keep manifesting the same results." That is never more true then with this Lack mentality. If you keep hanging out with the same people, who support you in this pattern, you are going to stay stuck.

A beautiful sunset is one of life's simple pleasures

The other way you can identfy patterns of lack, is that you are living in the future. You say things like, "I can't wait until I have ......," "I'd be happy if I won the lottery,"or, "I can't wait until the weekend, my next vacation, etc." You are living in the future, instead of embracing the present, and creating a life that you enjoy. You are placing your happiness in material things, or money, and ultimately, all the money in the world will not fill that empty space within you. Having said that, money is a necessary evil in our modern world, and it's important to have your basic needs met. I am talking about all the extra "stuff" we collect, the consumerism we participate in, and the shopping addictions. Research has shown that the happiest people are those who have the least (watch the documentary "happy"). They have food, shelter, clothing, and community. They enjoy their families and each other, and no one cares what the others are wearing, driving, or how big their television is. Simplify and watch how your anxieties abate.

Energy work can help you to move these patterns as well, so, if you would like some help, let me know! I am happy to work with adults, as well as young people.

Blessings, Andrea

The Business of Being Busy

You are probably WAY too busy to read this. But that is exactly why you should read it. In this world of convenience, and all sorts of gadgets to "help" us, we are busier than ever!  How did that happen? Isn't all this new technology supposed to make it EASIER? Wasn't the original idea that we would save so much time not having to stand in line, sit in traffic, etc., that we would have more time for our families and passions? Well, THAT didn't happen. When our kids were little, my husband and I decided to move closer to his work, so that we could have more family time. I'll give you three guesses as to how that worked out. Yep, he just spent more time at the office, and it didn't improve our home and family life at all. Your priorities will ALWAYS show themselves in your actions. Think about it: the things that are MOST enjoyable/important to you, are the things you always make time for. If having money is the most important thing to you, you're going to spend as much time as possible working towards that goal. It is the same for anything else. When you meet someone who you enjoy spending time with, you WANT to make time for that, because it benefits you and makes you feel good. The things that you don't consider AS important, fall away naturally. It's the natural order of life.

I always make time for my sunset walks.

The tricky part of this whole equation is the wild card: Your issues, or, the stuck energy in your space. If you are stuck in a loop of "Women are crazy," you will keep attracting this pattern, and these types of women. There are many reasons why you would have developed this pattern, but make no mistake here: YOU have created this pattern.  ALL women are NOT crazy. Same with a pattern of "not having enough money." Do you constantly find yourself wanting more? Do you have "bad luck" with money? This is also a pattern you have developed, it's called a pattern of "lack." This is something that may require some really deep soul searching, or energy work, in order to clear.

sunset pier 9.19.14

The other pattern I see with being "busy," is the denial factor. It is really hard to sit in silence, when the silence is deafening. Many of us have thought patterns which are very damaging and painful for us to hear, and so we search for ways to drown these out. This comes out in the way of addictions, and compulsive patterns. When you find yourself being too busy to meet up with your friends, have personal time, or even eat healthy, it's time to look at what you are avoiding. Again, this may be very painful, and I would encourage you to seek help if you really want to address this. Energy work, therapy, or even life coaching, can be very helpful here, as well.

Wishing each and every one of you a blessed, beautiful day! xoxo Andrea

For information on energy healing, or to schedule a session with me, please visit my site.

Releasing fear from the past

In the past week, I have had the privilege of working with some really great young people. I am always moved to tears when I hear about all the stress and fear they have, just in their everyday lives. We all have stress, but often we forget that our kids absorb this and often take it on as their own. Even the most well intentioned of parents can fall into this pattern. We are not born afraid; rather, it is taught to us. We are warned against touching a hot stove, crossing the street without looking, and many other lessons that are for our safety. It stands to reason that we would also look to our parents for guidance on other things. Unfortunately, our human emotions often blur the line between fact and perception, and we are then left to decipher this maze of fear without any reference point. Rose

As parents, we experience many life changes and challenges. We try our best to shield our children from the worst of this, but they still take it on, energetically. Unless we have tools, there is not really any way to prevent this from happening. The energy of our fear is passed along to our children, and the cycle continues. If you had trauma in your life, say, when you were 10, studies have shown that when your children turn that age, you unconsciously relive that trauma. It's like looking in a mirror, and you may find yourself saying things to your child and not even realizing why. You may have little quips about how "people can't be trusted," or some offhand remark that you don't even remember saying. However, your young person absorbs it and files it away as "something to remember." Most of this is unconscious, and, as I tell all my clients, no one is "bad" or "wrong" for doing this. We just need to become aware of it so that we can start to heal it, and, in turn, help our children to heal.

My goal with the work that I am doing, is to help you bring all this into present time so that the whole family can release it and heal. I give you the tools to heal yourself so that you can really take charge of your consciousness and start to create the thing you want for you and your family. All your past traumas are just that: the PAST. Whatever lesson you learned from your experiences will always be a part of you, but the trauma itself can be released.

I am offering many discounts and specials to start off the school year, so email me if you are interested in a session for you or your young person. Remember, all my sessions are offered as a phone call, or Skype call. You do not have to be local to receive the benefits of an energy reading.

In Love and Light! Andrea

Are you Focusing TOO MUCH on the Positive?

I am hearing a lot about this concept, "focusing on the positive." In fact, it has become annoyingly overused and misunderstood. I had an ex who used to say this to get out of taking responsibilty for his various misdeeds. "Andrea, you are being negative. Focusing on what I did wrong is unhealthy for you." Never mind that "what he did wrong" was "cheating on me." Somehow, I was at fault because I was being negative? Twisted logic and twisted people have made this their mantra, and I am calling an end to it. Sometimes things ARE negative, and it's time we stop using our spiritual vocabulary to weasel out of our lessons. My ex is long gone, but I still hear people misusing this phrase all over the place. IMG_0770

The other day I saw an interesting quote (my apologies as I can not remember who said it, or I would give them proper credit!): "Focusing only on the positive causes you to miss a lot of things." I agree with this 100%. Sometimes we need to recognize when we have made a bad choice, and hurt other people. I guarantee you, if you don't, karma will hunt you down, there is no hiding. I used to be a very different person, 5 years ago. I made some really bad choices, and, as a result, people were hurt. I am STILL paying my karmic debt for this, and each time it comes up, it is easier and easier to really roll with it, and understand that I have to take responsibility for what I did, EVEN THOUGH I am different now. A mistake that hurts people still deserves an apology. Just because you "didn't mean to do it," or "it was an accident," or even "I was drunk," does not change the fact that you DID IT.

Focus on the positive.jpg

If you find yourself constantly having to apologize, perhaps it is time to start making different choices. I think this is inherent to the process of maturing. Some people may never grow up, and that is completely their problem. But, for those of you who are reading this and recognize that you would like to attract different energy into your life, be aware that you are NEVER a victim. What you reap is ALWAYS what you sow, whether it is immediate, or has delayed consequences. Think about it: When you are having a bad day, everything that happens, and everyone you run into, is in congruence with that energy. On the other hand, when you are having a good day, sending out smiles and happy energy, you are more likey to receive that back. Some days, I have to fake it, but I am extremely aware that when I can separate from that dissapointing news I received, or the barking dog next door, I can leave it behind me much more quickly than if I marinate in it, and let it fester in my mind. The more you become aware of what you are putting out there, the easier it will be to put out "good vibes," and become conscious of your own behavior. You CAN break the pattern!

Having said all that, it IS important to find a balance between being delusional, and sabotaging yourself. As with many theories and spiritual concepts, taking it the the extreme on either end is unhealthy, and ultimately, not going to get you what you really want. Changing thoughts and intentions from negative to positive is a good shift for most of us.

If you would like some assistance or need help with a specific issue, email me for your FREE consultation! Blessings to you on this beautiful day!

Parenting through depression

I have personal experience with depression, and it is a crippling illness which is also very easily passed along to your children. It becomes a way of life, and sometimes, it is hard to even diagnose, especially if you have had it for a long time. Depressed children grow into depressed adults, and, eventually, emerge as angry, bitter, and lonely people. I know this because it happened to me. Anger is a sign

I know I was not born depressed, but sometimes it felt that way. I was always in trouble at school, and I went to school in an era where we were paddled by the principal. I got spanked at home, as well, as my parents did not know what to do with my blatant disregard for their rules and boundaries. My adult choices revolved around who I could tolerate (that was a short list), and I cycled through jobs very quickly because I could not control my temper, or deal with customers, much less my coworkers. I had mostly men friends, because I could not connect with women.

Many years later, after a decade of therapy, I understand that I was depressed. It started when I was young, and experienced some trauma, which went unresolved. I began to distrust adults, and cut off communication with my parents. I cried almost every day, and would sometimes burst into tears for no reason at all. I was labeled "emotional" and a "hypochondriac," and mostly just "rebellious." I used illness to isolate myself, as I did not know how to dig myself out of the pain. As a teen, I used drinking and partying to dull the pain, and it was all I knew for a long time.

My marriage and subsequent births of my two sons brought this all to a screeching halt, and my depression resurfaced with a vengeance. I became desperately unhappy, yet I still had these two sons who needed me to be a strong, healthy adult. I began to realize that I was spending so much time trying to run from the depression, that I was not taking any time to actually get underneath it. Here are a few things that really helped me to reverse my depression and start my road to recovery.

1) Exercise:  I know, this has become a dirty word, there are so many people with extreme views of this; it has become abused and overused. But, I am not talking about hiring a personal trainer and spending a gazillion dollars on gym memberships and equipment. Find something that you ENJOY, that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine. I like to walk, and I happen to live within driving distance of a lovely beach. Parks and lakes are also wonderful for walking. You might enjoy bike riding, or skating, or swimming. It is important to get in touch with your body, and do something that gets you off the couch for a little bit every day.

beachin it

2) Diet: Another really hot topic, but, again, I am not talking about anything extreme. Just eat food that makes you feel good. My personal experience is that a bag of chips, some candy, and copious amounts of coffee/soda, makes me feel like my guts are going to fall out. I have learned which foods fuel my body in a way that makes me happy. It is not about being a certain weight or adopting an extreme eating plan. Eat to nourish yourself. Food is fuel. Enjoy it!

3) Personal Time: This is VITAL to your sanity. Taking the time to quiet your mind, and just breathe, is something we have lost, as a society. I enjoy meditation, and this often leads to frequent bouts of daydreaming:) Many people enjoy a candlelit bath, or even a leisurely walk alone. Looking inward, relaxing into your true essence, nourishes your soul. If you find yourself angry a lot, look at what is underneath that. YOU are the common factor in every situation in your life. YOU are the one who can change the direction of your thoughts. It takes time, and practice, but, with the proper information and support, you can slowly start to shift your thinking, and create things which are more positive, and even (dare I say it?) FUN!

4) FUN! Find something that brings you joy, and try to do it as much as possible. Laughter truly is the best medicine. For a time, you may want to refuse to watch heavy, dramatic movies, or read books which are sad and depressing. You must cull this energy from your life, so that you can start to recognize and welcome in that happy energy, which has been missing from your life for so long. Personally, I gave up watching CNN and cable news, simply because I found it to be too heavy. I enjoy being a part of the solution, rather than a spectator to endless tragedies. I am on several mailing lists for grassroots movements, and I give to the local homeless shelter on a regular basis. This is a proactive space for me, and I can find happiness in helping others.

You may wonder what any of this has to do with parenting. I have found that happy moms and dads, make happy children. If you can shift your own patterns, your children will benefit greatly, and you may be able to help them avoid falling into the depression trap themselves. My sons tell me that I am much happier than I was 10 years ago, and I am pleased that they have noticed. I still have days where I struggle, but for the most part, I am positive and happy.

If you need more help, we can schedule an individual intuitive counseling session, where I will help you find where this energy is stuck for you, and start to work on making some positive shifts. I look forward to hearing from you!

Are you being honest with yourself?

I recently heard a quote that sums it all up for me: "If everyone around you is an idiot, YOU are the idiot." I love this and, even though it is slightly on the negative side, it pulls no punches in letting you know to look in the mirror to solve your problems. I hear a lot of people talking about how "stupid" other people are, whether it be bad driving, work issues, or personal dramas. The amazing part about these people is that they have really convinced themselves that THEY are the only people on the planet who are smart, savvy, or <insert the opposite of your gripe about others>. Happiness quote

Think about the last time you were in a really good mood. Did you feel somewhat invincible? Did you find that other people's behavior did not bother you as much? Then think about the last really bad day you had. EVERYTHING bothered you, and you likely snapped at more than one person for, basically, existing. When you are happy, you exude happiness; therefore, you attract it. People respond to what you are projecting, and that is the best mirror in the world.

This morning, on my walk, I encountered many obstacles. At first, I was annoyed at the group of people who were blocking 3/4 of the path, or the lady who was on the phone and not watching her child, who skated into my ankle. But I realized that I could look at it from several different perspectives, and soon I was able to let it go and even make a joke out of it. They were "wrong" and "inconsiderate" but what was the point of me getting upset about that? They would not change their behavior, and I would waste a bunch of energy being mad, to no end. Instead, I focused on the positive things, and had a lovely exchange with a man walking 8 dogs, asking him "What is your maximum number of dogs to walk?" His reply, "I think this is it!" And we both laughed, wishing each other a great day. It's easy to focus on who is "right" (always ME!) and who is "wrong" (always those other idiots!), but obviously, that is not the path to happiness.

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If you are truly being honest with yourself, you will see that YOU are the source of all your moods, and you are choosing what to focus on, whether it be happiness, anger, sadness, or confusion. Yes, we all have emotions, and it is important to honor them, but wallowing in negativity will get you nowhere FAST. Forcing your opinion of what is "right" on others, is not being honest with them. That's called "judging," and it's just another way to give away your happiness.

The road more (or less) traveled

Yes, this is going to be one of those "analogy blogs," and I make no apologies for it:) If you are a regular reader, you know I like analogies, and I especially enjoy spinning the old cliches into new twists. The old, "it's the journey that matters, not the destination," and, "life is a highway," are just a couple that immediately come to mind. I am sure you have heard both of those, perhaps to the point where you roll your eyes when you hear them. Often, cliches are where sound advice goes to die. They are good messages, but when they are used erroneously, they can actually be invalidating. It's a good way to avoid listening to your friend complain for the 100th time about her troubles, and an alternative to really challenging her to solve her problems, as opposed to staying in a cycle of discontent. Saying "life is a journey," and cutting her off, is much easier for you, but certainly not validating for her. The sun was hot that day.....

We are having record heat out here in Los Angeles, and yesterday my son and I decided to go to the beach, in an attempt to cool down. After the difficult task of finding parking, we started to make our way down to the water's edge. The sand felt like hot coals, and, even though we moved quickly, I ended up with blisters on my feet. However; the reward of the bracingly cool ocean water proved to be well worth it.

The same can be said for our life path. Often, it is painful and difficult, but we are aware that the reward is waiting for us, so we push onward. Sometimes, we go back to "cooler sands," but, in the end, the promise of fulfillment lures us out of our comfort zone, and we, again, brave the pain and the discomfort. It is human nature to avoid pain, for this is a survival mechanism, in it's most basic form. However; we must weigh the pros and cons of staying where we are, versus where we want to be, to make a decision from our higher consciousness.

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If you are struggling with unhappiness, or confusion, let me help you gain some clarity! I am offering very special low pricing right now, to new clients. Send me an email at happiness@andreagarst.com to get started today!

Are you reaping what you have sown?

Chances are, in the past, you have done some things that you are not too proud of.  You may not want to admit it, but if you are human, you have made mistakes, and made choices which have hurt others, intentionally OR unintentionally. "Karma" has become a cliche, mostly in thanks to shows like "My Name is Earl," and the phraseology which has emerged.  You may have heard things like, "Karma's gonna get you," and "You are creating some bad karma!" I have tried to use it in a positive way, as I think you may be missing the point if you are wishing "bad karma" on someone else.  Are you not, by wishing harm to another person, creating some bad karma for yourself? My interpretation of karma is that you "reap what you sow." This particular phrase has been around long before yoga was trendy, and milk came from nuts and beans. Growing up, I heard it a lot, but I never truly knew the meaning until recently. Many of you know that I have a checkered (to say the least) past. I have struggled a lot to find my inner peace and spiritual center. From pain and adversity comes progress, and I am living proof of that! Anyway, as I was going through my party phase, I was not living consciously, and I made many bad decisions. Most of them were fairly innocuos, but a couple have come back to haunt me, and I have lost a dear friend due to one particularly fateful choice.  As I reflected on this, and heard her pain, I realized that this is my karma.  Even though I did not do what I did to harm her, or intentionally cause her pain, all these years later, she is as hurt as if it happened yesterday, and will never look at me the same way again. It is my karmic debt to her, and the price is steep.  I have to acknowledge that I used to be a different person, in order to fully embrace who I am NOW.

Everything starts somewhere........

Next time you make a decision, think about where you are in your consciousness.  Are you aware and awake? Are you in fear? The energy that goes into your choices is the energy that will come back to you, eventually. Plant buds of love and kindness and you will soon reap the rewards.

Wishing you all the best KARMA in the universe! xoxo

Are you the egg, or the chicken?

*******I just got done with a fabulous visit from my parents, and that is why I am a few days late with this:) A very good friend and mentor of mine once told me, "Think of yourself like an egg.  You have all you need to grow inside you already." I have been noticing all the people around me who have been searching for the meaning of life, happiness, or whatever they think they need for fulfillment.  When you reach outside of yourself, you break your inner strength, in essence, you "crack" your shell, and then you have to start all over.  What information do you have inside yourself today?

costumes

I see this manifested in many ways, and, especially in the spiritual community, people are consantly seeking information from others.  In my work, I have done many readings in which the person wants an answer.  But, like I tell them, I don't have YOUR answers, and if you don't know, I can't reflect it back to you.  MY answers won't work for you.  A lot of us have other people's information telling us to do something a certain way. This ultimately ends up looking like "obligation," or "responsbility." We arrive at "resentment," and often have a "mid life crisis." When you don't really know what YOU want, no amount of workshops and seminars can tell you.  In order to truly find YOUR truth, you need to learn to go within.

Learning to listen to your inner voice requires ALONE time.  Most of us are so wrapped up in our distractions, and keeping "busy," that we do not even know what this feels like.  Many of us are uncomfortable with being alone with ourselves.  Practicing meditation or yoga, something that requires you to focus within, will help you to find that quiet place.  Although, you can certainly practice these things with others, and still not be quiet.  I used to go to yoga with a friend who wanted to talk through the whole class.  Filling the quiet spaces with chatter is simply allowing your fear to take over, and it will keep you going in circles.  As my meditation teacher explains, "Gossip and chatter is a really good way to keep from resolving your inner issues."

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Wishing you all a wonderful day, and, as always, feel free to comment, share, and email me!

Are you "in bloom?"

You may have heard the expression, "Bloom where you are planted." I love this saying, especially on days when I am feeling discouraged at my perceived "lack of (fill in the blank)."  The word that stands out to me in that sentence is LACK.  Do you focus on what you don't have, or do you validate yourself for what you have done, and how far you have come? We are all evolving, whether we like it or not, whether we are conscious of the process, or not.  This morning, I saw a rose bush with dozens of new buds, and it struck me how all these buds will open at different times, some may not ever open fully, others will be picked, and still others will have their entire growth cycle on the bush. At the end of the rose's growth cycle, it is the most open it will ever be, and then it starts to wither away. The bush sees the same sunshine, the same water, and the same weather conditions, but each bud is different, even if only slightly. How many of these will open all the way?

 

The evolution of humans also follows this pattern, yet we are constantly trying to force ourselves to be like everyone else, follow the path someone else wants for us, and generally just denying ourselves the beauty that is our uniqueness. We beat ourselves up for "blooming" more slowly, or diferently, than how we think we "should." If we really just accepted ourselves for where we are now, and who we are now, we would free oursleves to blossom in ways we never imagined!

Free yourself to bloom!

Beauty is the reward of patience

 

5 things that hijack your happiness

When I ask someone if they are happy, they almost always say, "Yes!"  It has become automatic in our society. We all know that we are "supposed" to be happy, and have been taught that no one will want to be around us if we are sad, depressed, or angry. People even get defensive if you try to empathize with them.  There are several things that seem to get in the way of really being honest with yourself, and moving past that fear of having feelings that are uncomfortable. Until you really deal with those feelings, Happiness will elude you.

1.  Distractions:

In this author's opinion, distractions are the number one problem in society today.  I hear people talking about how "busy" they are, and this seems to give them some sense of self importance, and purpose.  Unfortunately, when you keep yourself so busy, you do not have time to really look inward, and thus you continue in a pattern that is likely not working for you. If you do not have time to get together with friends, or exercise, you are who I am talking about. You may not even "have time" to read this blog. Those who seem to be the most entrenched in distraction are the hardest to reach, and may never get out of it. Eventually, your body will not be able to keep up, and you will be forced to sit down, lie down, or simply slow down. When I first learned to meditate, being still was TORTURE for me.  I had to work my way up from 5 minutes, and now, after 5 years of practice, I can sit and be quiet for an undetermined amount of time. I used to be considered an extrovert, but now, I realize, I need a lot of alone time.  I still enjoy being social, but I do not have the same desire to always be the center of attention, and the life of the party. I prefer to observe, and appreciate the simple things in life.

Nature's simple beauty enthalls me!
Nature's simple beauty enthalls me!

2. Excuses:

I am sure you have some very good excuses for why you can not do the things that you really want to do. Most of us could write a book of them! There is never "a good time," you are always "too busy," and most of all, you "don't have the money." Some people even take it to the next level and start making excuses based on what they think the other person wants.  You can't follow up with that person because "They are probably too busy," or "It isn't a good time for them." Next time you hear yourself starting a sentence with "I can't do that because...." stop and ask yourself why you REALLY aren't doing it.  Why aren't you making the time?  Why are you constantly in a state of emergency so that you can not pursue the things that you really want to do? If you don't have the money, why not?  Are you spending your time and money on things that do not serve you?  Finding your truth in these situations will make your path clear.

3. Beliefs

A large amount of us are stuck in a belief system that is not even ours.  We are taught from birth to do things a certain way, and they become unconscious patterns, which create circumstances that become "who we are" and "our life." Our parents and caregivers are likely also unconscious of these patterns in themselves.  When a young child sees and hears a parent or caregiver exhibiting certain thought and behavior patterns, they absorb it and begin to take it on as their own.  This has been proven time and time again with studies and research in the most respected fields. What has not been widely examined is how deep these patterns go.  When my kids were little, I admonished them for yelling in the house.  When my oldest began to question me, I could not come up with an answer for "Why?" I realized that my parents had forbidden my brothers and I to yell in the house, and so I just absorbed that into my knowledge, and it became a "rule." If you find yourself saying things like, "I have always done it this way!" but you can't come up with a real reason, that is likely a belief that was instilled in you, and it may not be your truth.  This is another thing that can really block your flow of creativity and purpose.

red rose
red rose

4. Ego

If you are a regular reader of my blogs, you probably already know about this one.  One of the books that changed my views, and my life, is Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth." In it, he talks about how we allow our Ego to run our lives, and it is never in our best interest.  The Ego is that part of your consciousness that makes you feel like you need to defend yourself, and pass blame. It is formed when we are children, and we learn how to lie, and shift blame, so that we do not get "in trouble." It is a shame that most of adult society is rooted in this pattern, because it does not resolve anything; rather, it only passes the baton and relocates the issues.  If we could look past the Ego and face our faults and issues head on, we would move through them and really evolve as a society.  To live in your Ego is to constantly feel fearful, and it is almost impossible to create from this space.

5. Fear

It has been said that most people are more afraid of success than they are of failure. To succeed means you will have to change your routine, and it falls into the "fear of unknown" category. To fail means you stay where you are, in the familiar, even if you don't like it.  It is human nature to cling to the familiar, and our ancestors needed to do this in order to survive. Venturing into the unknown in ancient times would often lead to death, or at the very least, mortal danger. Fear is a healthy part of being human, when it comes to jumping off a cliff, or diving into dark waters.  However; it seems to really cripple us when it comes to making personal decisions in relationships, career, etc. This is a time for moving forward, out of old patterns, and we have to conquer our fears in order to do this.  When you find yourself having trouble making a decision, ask yourself if you are afraid. There is a great quote from the movie Point Break, "Hesitation is Fear." I stumbled across a great blog on this quote, if you want to read more.

Image by Colleen Patrick
Image by Colleen Patrick

Are you looking for a Cosmic Bailout?

A few years ago, when I watched The Secret, I was totally convinced that I could turn my life around by changing the way I think.  The Law of Attraction has attracted many followers, and, as with all big movements, there are those who misinterpret the message, and make a mockery of the truth that is present.  In an episode of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, the characters decide that they can each have what they want by "doing good deeds" and "gluing pictures of what we want on a poster board." The hilarious hijinks that ensue are a humorous take on how this message is misinterpreted. I never get tired of nature's beauty!

The Law of Attraction is not about acquiring fancy cars and houses, in an attempt to fill your emptiness with material items. It is not about laying around the house and watching television, waiting for a leprechaun to drop a pot of gold on you.  It's about being positive and proactive in your choices, and focusing on creating the life you want, by changing your thought patterns from negative to positive.  It's about imagining yourself in a place of success, rather than in a state of fear and failure. "What you put out into the world is what you will get back." If you are constantly blaming others for your failures, then you will stay stuck in that energy.  If you can turn that around and figure out what YOU are doing to sabotage yourself, THAT is the key.  As I have said many times, it is NEVER about someone else.  No one can take away who you are inside, and no one can stop you from fulfilling your life's purpose.

You may find other people in your way, from time to time, but these are just lessons you need to learn.  Most of the lessons I have had to learn recently have been regarding boundaries. This word is another one that is misunderstood and overused, but for me, it jut means being clear with myself, and others, about who I am, and what I want.  It's not about being angry, or rude to others.  When you are truly setting loving boundaries, you have inner peace, and love for others.  You don't need to use anger to keep people out. When you project love and peace, you will attract it back to you.  The "angries" won't have any place to connect with you, and they will look elsewhere.

Image by Lightzone Photography

My younger years were full of anger and bitterness, and I am here to tell you, it is exhausting!  Yes, I do still get mad, and sometimes say things I wish I hadn't, for I am still human:)  But most of the time I am not angry for long, and I can let it go fairly easily.  Emotions are part of being human, and if you are denying any of yours, do not be fooled into thinking you can sustain that for long.  It will come out, one way or another.  If you can stay grounded and present, you can deal with anything that comes your way, and learn the lessons attached to those feelings and reactions.  I know it's a total cliche, but "everything happens for a reason," and the sooner you can trust that, the sooner you can stop resisting the flow of life, and really accept your destiny, fate, or whatever you want to call it.

Let go, and watch yourself grow!

 

Moving out of relationships

Whether you want to admit it, or not, our lives revolve around relationships.  Work, family, and friends, are the lifeblood of our society.  A relationship is defined by Wikipedia as:

"An interpersonal relationship is a strong, deep, or close association/acquaintance between two or more people that may range in duration from brief to enduring. This association may be based on inferencelovesolidarity, regular business interactions, or some other type of social commitment. Interpersonal relationships are formed in the context of social, cultural and other influences. The context can vary from family or kinship relations, friendshipmarriage, relations with associates, workclubsneighborhoods, and places of worship. They may be regulated by lawcustom, or mutual agreement, and are the basis of social groups and society as a whole."

It has been said that we choose our family before we are born. Energetically, we choose the people to have in our lives, based on what we need to learn.  In "Many Lives, Many Masters," Dr. Brian Weiss talks about this, and how it relates to the entire cycle of our life, as well as how it factors into our subconscious, from past lives, if you embrace that school of thought. In the work I do at my Intuitive Learning Center, we learn how to recognize and release these patterns.  There are many variables when it comes to our choices.  Why do some people end up rich, and others, poor?  This is a result of choices, conscious or unconscious, and I have seen many people turn their lives around by simply becoming conscious of making the choices that will lead to what they really want to manifest in their lives.

No parking!

When you find yourself in relationships that are the same, over and over, you need to ask yourself, "Who is the common denominator in this pattern?" YOU are the one who is attracting this, and it is up to YOU to change yourself, and your choices have to reflect that.  If you find yourself constantly being annoyed and angered by other people, ask yourself what you are not seeing.  It is not the other people, it is within you.  Some people have a hard time setting boundaries for themselves.  I have seen it time and time again, someone fails to set a boundary, and then, they are suddenly feeling "taken advantage of." If they had set the boundary and held it, no one would BE ABLE to take advantage of them.  There would be no drama or confusion.

being alone is LOVE

In times when you really do need to move out of a relationship, it is simply because you have grown out of it.  It may manifest as the other person "doing something" to you, but there is no need to place blame or use anger to move out of the relationship.  No one is "wrong" or "bad" when the relationship no longer serves you.  Setting loving boundaries is a very easy way to move out of the energy of it, but acknowledging with gratitude, all that you have learned from the interaction.  If you find that most of your relationships end with a lot of drama and anger, you need to work on your boundaries.

Learn to have the best relationship you can with YOURSELF, and then you can really start to create relationships with others, that serves you, and them, in your highest good and purpose.

Simple pleasures

I have been seeing a lot of television shows and movies coming out lately, about losing electricity world wide. This, of course, is a disaster of epic proportions.  I began to take stock of my dependence on electricity and technology, as well as my family's. Most, if not all, of our entertainment is dependent on electricity.  When the power goes out, my kids have "nothing to do." We don't have a deck of cards, much less any board games.  What about photos of your loved ones, and your special moments? The list goes on: phones, cooking components, cars, medical equipment, etc.  Some of these things are more convenience than necessity, and it gives me pause. awaken yourself

In my quest within myself, I began to look for more simple pleasures, and this led me to the beach, the farmer's market, and places similar to these. I can enjoy nature without any electricity or technology, actually, it is best in it's natural form. When I go to a coffee shop, I don't have to immediately bury my head in my phone or computer. What if I sit there and smile, and say Hello to people? *gasp* The funny thing is, once I start talking to people in person, it is contagious.  Other people start to chime in, and soon, we have an animated discussion, and have made some new friends.

Image by Lightzone Photography

What are you missing, by living your life on the computer, or phone? You may be unconsciously burying your head in the sand, trying to avoid human contact.  Many of us have been wounded deeply by personal relationships, and we are afraid to be vulnerable again. Trust me, I understand this one. But, how are we to heal those old wounds if we choose to live in denial? Unfortunately, the only way to heal, is to feel. You have to make the conscious choice to open up that Pandora's Box and accept that these feelings are a part of your past, but they do not have to define your future.

For more on this subject, read my chapter about Burying the Lesson.  Feel free to email me if you need further information or have questions!  andreagarst@happiness.com

Love and Blessings to you on this day!

5 Dates with Yourself

When I began my "journey" into Happiness, I was asked the question, "What do you do for yourself?"  This had to be something that didn't involve a lot of money, or any other person/people.  It had to be a solitary activity that was pleasing to me, and no one else.  At first, I had a really hard time coming up with even one thing.  But now, years later, I have a list, and here are 5 of my favorites: 1.  Walking on the beach: 

Sometimes, I go twice, depending on how busy my day is, or how stressful.  I have even been known to go at night, to listen to the crashing of the waves against the shore. Once you find your happy place, it is truly a sanctuary.  Winnie the Pooh knew he needed a "thinking spot," and so do you!

Beautiful every time!

2. Enjoying some good food

For me, this means one thing:  sushi.  Obviously, everyone is different in their likes and disikes, especially when it comes to food.  Find something that you enjoy, but make sure you are eating "consciously." Enjoy and savor the flavor and texture.  I take mine to go, because I don't like sitting in a restaurant alone, but many people have no issue with this.  Do what works for you, this is, after all, YOUR date.  Sometimes, I cook for myself, too.

3. Music

There are so many variations of this one, that I didn't specify.  Technically, music involves others, since the musician is performing, but you can listen alone, so I think it's still fair game.  For the purpose of really serving your higher self, I would encourage you to find some music that is uplifting, and calming.  You may even find that the you enjoy what you used to call "elevator music," and "old person music." Since no one else is involved in this decision, it will just be our little secret.  No one else needs to know what kind of music really speaks to your inner self.

Lady Antebellum's "Compass"

4. Meditation

This has been a huge part of my path in recent years.  There are many different types of meditation, and you do not have to sit in the lotus position for a day to acheive results.  You may have preconceived notions of this word, but I assure you that if every one of us took 30 minutes a day to simply sit in silence, the world would be a much better place.  Being still and quiet is difficult for those of us who have spent a lifetime trying to distract ourselves.  However; once you master it, the rewards are great, and endless.  There are lots of great resources online for learning this ancient and lost art.

Lightzone Photography

5. Water

Again, there are tons of variations on this one, I personally enjoy a nice salt bath, but you may enjoy swimming, a jacuzzi, or something along those lines.  Water has a very effective grounding effect, and you can also use it for powerful visualizations of washing away energies, cords, etc.  I like to meditate in the bath, listening to music.  When I go to let the water out, I visualize all my stress and energy from others that I have collected over the last day, washes down the drain.  You can do a quick version of this with a shower.  Again, make it your own, it's your time to give to yourself.

Making time to nourish your inner light is key to finding contentment and Happiness.  As a good friend of mine says, "Happiness is found many different ways, and each are as varied as the soul who is searching for it."

Happiness from Within

How would life be different for you if you could not see, hear, or speak?  At first, you may think this would be awful, but think about it:  You could not HEAR any negativity.  You could not SEE anything but what is inside you.  And you would not SPEAK any harsh words that you could not take back.  And so we learn from Helen Keller, to live without outside distractions, is the greatest gift of all.  People pay thousands of dollars to live in remote areas, and it is often the wish to “escape” from society.  This just proves to me, once again, that happiness is found in YOU.  It is not outside of you, just ask Helen.  She was one of the most inspirational people of her time, because she was free from all the outside influences that may have discouraged her, she could not hear all the voices that said, “You can’t do that!”  She was free to pursue her heart’s desire because she didn’t know failure was a possibility.

My son goes to school with a boy who was born blind.  He seems happy, and is always smiling.  My son asked me, "Mom, what do you think it would be like to be blind?"  I wasn't sure how to answer the question, so I asked him what he thought (classic parenting trick). He talked about how he would miss the colors of the world, and knowing what everyone looked like.  I reminded him that this boy had never known any of that, so he wasn't aware that he was even "missing" anything.  We then discussed how, if you only had your other senses, it would affect your perception of yourself.  It was concluded that, in many ways, to be blind is freeing.  As Helen Keller, and many others, have discovered, you have what you need inside you already.  Most of us are shaped by the opinions of others, whether it be our family, friends, or acquaintances.  If we are to really find our truth, we have to dismiss anything that did not originate from our inner selves.

To be physically "blind" is not the worst thing that could happen.  However; to be spiritually "blind" is extremely damaging.  How many times have we watched a loved one self destruct?  How many people have destroyed themselves, because of what others think?  Often, finding your inner truth is the key to survival.  A woman who used to be a close friend of mine recently ended her life.  She was a beautiful person, but did not know it.  She was tortured by the limits that others had forced upon her, and never had the confidence to shine her own light brightly.  I tried to help her, but the damage was too severe.  She eventually shut me out, and then, she shut down.  When I learned of her passing, I was sad, but not surprised.  There are countless examples of this type of situation, and I am sure we all know of at least one person who this has happened to. That person who never quite fit in, and was never really content with themselves, and finally ended up on a path to nowhere, whether it be drugs, drinking, or even suicide.  I know, because I was on this path at one time.

Shine your own light, and do not be afraid of it!

 

Living in Consciousness

At some point in our lives, we start to realize that we have emotional baggage.  Perhaps someone points it out to us, or perhaps we are shown by circumstances.  However the information reaches you, it is your responsibility to take the next step.  Most people live unconsciously; meaning, repeat the same patterns over and over again, bemoaning the same result with all their "friends," finally coming to the conclusion that you need a drink, vacation, meaningless fling, or shopping spree, to make you "feel better.' After you have successfully avoided your emotions, the whole process repeats itself over and over until there is a breaking point.  The most common breaking point is illness, but injuries (physical or emotional) are at the top of the list, as well. Photo by Mark Jackson

20 years ago, I was married to a wealthy man, planning a family, and generally not concerned with the future.  11 years later, I became a divorcee with two sons, and the playing field changed.  Suddenly, I had to deal with lonely nights, financial issues, all while maintaining a brave face for my two young sons.  I resorted to drinking as a companion, along with all the habits that come along with that choice.  After a few years of this, my body broke down and would not allow me to drink any longer.  I would become violently ill after a drink or two, and my "friends" dropped away, as I wasn't entertaining to them any longer.  I was forced to look at all my baggage, and it was not pretty.  I soon found other distractions, and one of them was food, and cooking.  I became immersed in cooking, health, and diet.  It was fun while it lasted, but soon, I was unable to afford the expensive ingredients that I needed, and so again, I was at a loss.  I spent a few difficult years learning how to balance my budget, and the shopping addiction was revealed.  I had a huge closet full of clothing that I never wore, for one reason or another.

My cats give me lots of pleasure

Finally, I began to realize that I had been placing my Happiness in external things, and people, instead of just dealing with my baggage and creating my Happiness from within.  I didn't need to take another class, or read another book, I just needed to search myself for the answers that were there all along.  I am reminded of a quote from a song by America: 

"Oz never gave nothing to the Tin Man, that he didn't already have."

10 years after my divorce, I am now building a career that I love, my oldest son is in college, and I am Happy. I don't have a lot of money, or a huge group of friends, but I am rebuilding my ideal for who I want to be.  I am free from the expectations of wearing designer clothing and drinking bottles of wine.  I am excited to go on my beach walks, and spend time with my younger son.  I have discovered that the simple pleasures in life are best when you come from a place of contentment and peace. I do not need any distractions to accept and enjoy who I have become, after unpacking a lot of baggage, and getting rid of those things which do not serve my higher purpose any longer.

Be free, and be Happy!

Action, or RE Action?

How many times have you defended yourself with the protest, "But he/she started it!"  Of course, you may not use those words, as I would hope we have all moved on since kindergarten, but I still hear people justifying their behavior by comparing it to other's actions on a regular basis. Your actions stand alone, and if you constantly find yourself saying things like, "He/she really hurt my feelings!" or "He/she made me angry!" then you are in a pattern of REaction. This translates into giving away your personal power, letting someone else dictate your actions. childhood programmingWe have all had this experience, as we all have egos, and that part of us enjoys drama. One of my favorite "zen stories" of all time goes like this:

 Is That So?

The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbors as one living a pure life.

A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.

This made her parents very angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.

In great anger the parents went to the master. “Is that so?” was all he would say.

When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who now was viewed as a pariah by the whole village. They demanded that he take care of the child since it was his responsibility. “Is that so?” Hakuin said calmly as he accepted the child.

A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth – that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.

The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back again.

Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: “Is that so?”

 Hakuin could have defended himself and made a huge drama out of this, but he accepted the child and raised it in a peaceful, loving environment.  As the mother clearly was not ready to raise the child as her own, he accepted the gift from the Universe and likely gained some knowledge of his own.  When we defend ourselves, or allow the ego to take over, we are creating drama where there does not need to be.

I never get tired of sunsets!

Next time you find yourself "mad" or "hurt," ask yourself if the words you are about to say, or the action you are about to take, can stand alone.  If you are cut off in traffic, and, in turn, flip off the other driver, take out their action and leave yours in the equation.  Is this who you are? Or is that you reacting to them?  The answer is clear. In beginning to live a conscious life, and turning around your actions so that they are yours alone, you will start to see an inner calm that perhaps has eluded you until now.

"Your actions should not be contingent on someone else's.  Stand alone in love!"