WholeYou Podcast #10: Fifth Chakra (Vissudha)

WholeYou Podcast #10: Fifth Chakra (Vissudha)

Feeling creatively drained or struggling with clear communication? Take a listen to our WholeYou throat chakra episode. 

Episode 10 of the WholeYou podcast is here!  See below for the show notes, listen to the show (stream or download) on the embedded SoundCloud box below (on the full post - click "read more" at bottom), or find it on iTunes of your favorite podcast app. Thanks for listening! 

Fifth Chakra At-a-Glance:

  • Sanskrit Name: Vissudha
  • Location: Throat area
  • Element: Sound
  • Color: Blue
  • Issues: Communication, creativity, listening, resonance, finding one's own voice, purification, refinement
  • Basic Rights: To speak and be heard

What we Discuss in Episode #10:

  • How to know if your fifth chakra is out of balance
  • Signs of a deficient and excessive fourth fifth
  • Finding your voice and creativity
  • Blocks to creativity and how to bring more creativity into your life
  • Yoga poses, meditations, and pranayama to balance your fifth chakra
  • What resonance means and why it's important with the throat chakra
  • Fifth chakra affirmations

Lauren and I are really appreciate you taking the time to listen and share your comments. If you like the show, subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app, and please take 1 minute to leave us a review on iTunes  — it helps us to reach more people, and we'd be so grateful! 

 

Read More

"am i codependent?" - what codependency is and how to work on it

codependency.jpg

In my latest vlog, I'm talking about codependency: some of the most common patterns and behaviors that define it, and a couple of the most important changes that you need to make if you think you're codependent in one or more relationships. Codependency might sound rather innocuous -- hey, it's way less harmful than what some people do, right?! Wrong. I have worked with many clients where codependent relationships are one of the core issues they're struggling with, and it's often so painful that they then turn to other self-destructive coping mechanisms to numb, like eating disorders, drugs and alcohol, shopping, promiscuity, etc -- which in turn create even more problems.

It can be tough to clearly define codependency and to know when it's become a problem, because the fact is that we are all a little codependent. If you dropped me off in the woods somewhere, I probably wouldn't survive very well, because I need other people. And while I'm not a parent, I know many parents struggle to find the line between being a good parent and being codependent or enmeshed with their kids. It's just realistic that we are sometimes going to put others' needs before our own, especially if there are little ones who are literally dependent on us.

But the bottom line is looking at the pattern: if you are consistently putting others' needs and feelings before your own, and you're not making sure that your own needs are met and feelings are tended to, that's not sustainable. It's only a matter of time before you crash and burn, or start doing something really unhealthy to try to keep this up. 

Check out the video for a few basics on codependency, assertive communication, and setting boundaries: 

(If you're reading this on your phone, you may need to click here to view the video on YouTube.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uELKSRTpkS0

One point of clarification: In the video, I mention that sex & love addiction is often an off-shoot of codependency. This is true, but I think it's important to make the distinction that "love addiction" is not talking about real healthy love, but about patterns like relationship-hopping, inability to be alone, excessive preoccupation with your romantic partner, doing sexual things you wouldn't normally do just to keep the person around, etc. All related to codependency, but for some people, their codependency shows up mostly in these relationships and not necessarily in others, so it's called more specifically "love addiction."

Pure sex addiction (most common in men, but some women, too) is related in that it often stems out of trauma or dysfunction in the family of origin, but it's more similar to drug or gambling addiction than it is to codependency. Sex addiction involves acting out in some kind of sexual behavior(s) compulsively, to the extent that it's negatively impacting their life, and they desperately want to stop but feel powerless to stop on their own -- so they keep acting out, which more shame, which then leads to more acting out to numb the shame. It's the classic cycle of addiction. (The behaviors differ from person to person - could be affairs, prostitutes, porn, exhibitionism, etc.) Yes, sex addiction is a legit thing, no, recovery is not "anti-sex," and no, it does not clear someone of their responsibility for their behaviors and committing to a program of recovery.

In addition to therapy (or residential treatment if the problem has gotten more severe) 12-step programs can be very effective for people struggling with codependency, love addiction, and sex addiction. Below are some good links to check out. (And by the way, I've been in trainings on sex addiction over the past year, so I'm currently a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist Candidate, and will be heading to my next training this spring.)

What questions do you have about codependency? Do you put your own feelings and needs first? 

freedom in relationships comes from using your voice then letting it go

being-assertive-letting-go Having worked with hundreds of women to find peace and rediscover their authenticity, I can say that this is one of the absolute toughest and most important lessons to learn. And this goes for any kind of relationship -- partner, friend, co-worker, family member, you name it.

In relationships, freedom comes from two things:

1) Learning to use your voice and assert how you feel and what you need, and then...

2) Letting go of the outcome. 

 

Be Assertive

Many people grow up in families where this process is stunted, because doing#1 is not okay. This is tough, because parents DO set the rules and boundaries, so naturally, kids feel like they don't always have a voice or have choices. That's part of growing up. But as a child matures, if their opinion is not given value, if they do not feel safe or encouraged to express how they feel and what they need, they learn to keep that in. While this most commonly happens in the family of origin, that's not always the case. It could be learned in an abusive relationship or in a bullying situation, too.

So, if you've learned to not talk about what's really going on with you, you'll find other ways to passive aggressively communicate that very often end up hurting you in the long run. Many of my clients communicate via their eating disorders or addictions. We practice assertive communication all the time-- and usually they hate it. Not only does it go against family messages in many cases ("sweep it under the rug," "don't ruffle any feathers"), but there's also the cultural message that "emotions are a sign a weakness, and weakness will get you hurt."

First, you have to determine what your own beliefs are around expressing what you really need + feel, where they came from, and how they're working for you. Next comes the hard part of practicing confrontation and assertiveness, even when it feels totally foreign and uncomfortable at first. I've seen women make amazing progress with this even just in the one, two or three months they're with us. It can be difficult at first, which is why it really helps to have a therapist or coach walking through it with you. Sometimes if you've been suppressing your voice all your life and you suddenly start using it, it may be difficult to find that line of "assertive" versus "aggressive."

Let Go of the Outcome

And then, of course, comes the difficulty of #2 -- "Okay, you're telling me to use my voice, and I am, but it's not WORKING! Nothing is changing!"

The power does not come in someone else changing their behavior. It comes from speaking your truth, AND being able to let go of the outcome. Now, of course there are going to be situations where if you speak your truth and nothing changes, then you may have some hard choices to make about what you need to do. (You told your friend you're frustrated with being flaked on after the 5th time, and she's still doing it? Maybe it's time to move on from the friendship.) So, if you learn to do #1 but aren't doing #2, you'll continue to feel trapped and frustrated.

Finally, a disclaimer on this one: I'm really talking about letting go of the outcome in our one-on-one relationships, not at a cultural level.  I think we have to use our voices until the cows come home in order to create real change in the world on a broader scale.

Where do you get tripped up in this process? And what helps you to stay true to yourself without losing your mind trying to control others? 

reframing "being triggered" + things that "push your buttons" {healthy relationships}

triggers-healthy-relationships A couple things happened at work yesterday that, on their own, weren't a big deal -- but back-to-back and with my particular brand of baggage (not designer, might I add), were painful experiences. Afterwards, I found myself pushing play on the old tapes: "Crap, here it is again. All my insecurity and inadequacy stuff is being triggered. I hate this." I started to slide into self-pity and doubting my abilities and choices.

PAUSE button, engage!

This is one of those "you teach exactly what you need to learn" things. I know I will never be totally rid of my inadequacy thoughts, because I'm of the belief that doing so would require some special witchcraft I have yet to encounter. But I do believe that I can take certain steps to recognize the tape for what it is and reconnect with myself and what I need in that moment, which will help me to avoid spiraling into full-on crazytown. And that, friends, is what I call (realistic!) progress.

One of the things that helped me yesterday actually came from a recent professional training I attended. The training was on a rather specific and intense topic (sex addiction therapy, anyone?) -- but one of the teachers, a talented therapist with a thick Mississippi accent, made practically all the concepts relatable and valuable for life far beyond this particular area.

He focused a lot on boundaries and communication in healthy relationships, and accountability vs. victim mentality. These two gems really stuck with me:

Be careful with the word "triggered" (and the mindset it carries). 

For example, saying "The way she worded that email really triggered me" is actually passive, and thus, you're giving your power away (victim mentality). Instead, you could take ownership of your feelings and reactions by saying "I got reactive when I read the email she sent." If you're not in the therapy/coaching world, you may not use the actual word "trigger" very often, but you might still create a story around certain situations with that passive mentality: i.e.  "look at what happened to me that made me feel this way." It really helped me today to use that frame of "I'm noticing I'm getting reactive to what just happened and feeling sadness and shame." Those are my  feelings, and even though they may have been precipitated by an event,

Similarly, notice what it feels like to say "He/she is really pushing my buttons."

(Chances are, it doesn't feel too empowering.) The teacher at the training said,  "The only button you have is a belly button, and no one's pushing it." Just like with the point above, giving someone else the power to "push your buttons" ultimately puts you in a helpless place (again, victim mentality)  where you give away your power. Sure, don't deny the feelings that arise when certain things happen, but remember that those are your feelings, they're about your stuff, and no one has the power to make you feel a certain way.

I feel ten times better about what happened yesterday by just reframing my reaction, owning my feelings, and talking about it with someone I trust. I hope these tips also help you next time you're faced with a challenging situation. Until next time -- xo!