Existential Crisis and Spiritual Awakening
When I looked more into what I’ve been going through since my mom’s passing last year, I had the realization today that I have been experiencing an Existential Crisis. I’ve read about these but not experienced it directly. Here’s the definition: “Existential Crises are moments when individuals question whether their lives have meaning, purpose, or value. It may be commonly, but not necessarily, tied to depression or inevitably negative speculations on purpose in life, e.g., "if one day I will be forgotten, what is the point of all of my work?" Wow. Yes. This is what I have been experiencing, while at the same time enjoying this new Spiritual Awakening! So it’s been a push and pull that’s for sure. It’s been a journey, a Hero’s Journey! This past weekend I had a very meaningful, eye-opening, soulful, honest talk with my best friend about my thoughts, and that’s what came out, this detached and not fully believed idea, and this question, “Does what I do even matter?” And she helped me to realize, yes – yes it does. It’ll be one year since my mom’s passing on March 11th, and it’s been therapeutic to allow and nurture whatever thoughts and emotions arise, and address each moment with love and compassion. By the end of 2019, I was continuing my spiritual journey and got certified as a Reiki Master. I started Desire Mapping and shared my experience with my friends. I had the best of intentions and even created an amazing Vision Board for 2020. I started off the New Year with ideas and energy, but then found myself sliding slowly downward toward apathy, questioning my purpose and value in the realm of my career as a therapist. I wanted to stop the train to a complete stop, and get a view from a place of stillness. I felt I could no longer continue on my path and needed a serious look inward. And I did just that. I stopped taking new clients, I turned off my website and scheduler, quit my part-time job, and wondered if I’d even renew my license a professional counselor later this year. In January, I went to Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour. I felt elevated upon arrival, then when she asked me what my purpose was, I had a sinking feeling. I thought, “I know my intention and purpose – we do this all the time in yoga and meditation, I created a Vision Board….why is this so hard, and what is with all this resistance and cynicism rising in me?” I left that arena, not feeling alive and connected, but rather, feeling low and questioning everything. It was as if my Existential Crisis was dancing in front of me, saying “Here I am! And I’m not going anywhere until you acknowledge me!” I shared with my friends, and they shared their insights and saw in me a low-vibe energy that was visiting, but it’s not who I am. To circle back to my eye-opening and soul nourishing talk with my bestie, I came home from my weekend visit still digesting what was said, and how I would respond. Today, I had an awakening, and saw the light at the end of my Existential Crisis. I was again connected to purpose and mission: I am a therapist. I am a helper. I am a healer. I can do all things through God who strengthens me. I have love, I am love, I give love. I have light, I am light, I give light. So now I am simply turning back on the light switch in my career as a therapist, helper and healer. It feels like waking up from a weird dream, where I am still myself, but changed. I’ve learned so much from this journey. I am open to new connections and partnerships. I am called to help children and adolescents, they’re the best – so smart and fun, they are the future! I am relieved. Being a long-time meditator and therapist, I knew these thoughts to be a temporary visitor, I knew it would pass, but still, it was confusing and foreign. I affirmed what I’ve always know, there is power and healing in sharing your story. During this difficult time, I’ve been and felt heard and listened to; I’ve had many, many friends hear me out over the past year, and I am grateful to each of you, thank you. When I share that what I was going through seemed foreign, I felt detached from the experience and from my purpose, and that’s a hard place to be. I was like, “What is this?” And now I know. I know that everything in life is a teacher, and that thoughts and emotions that persist are worth exploring and need their time in sun, bring your thoughts to light and watch them evaporate. So I asked myself, “What if I wasn’t a counselor anymore?” “What do I want in a career?” “What am I good at?” And of course, “Who am I?” These questions needed answered, and in time, they were. I attribute this to talking it out with my closest confidants, people I admire, and going inward, connecting to God and meditating, and connecting to my spiritual life, engaging in rituals that have meaning to me, self-care, and engaging with my spiritual tribe. I am especially grateful to my bestie and my husband for creating safe and sacred space for me to explore and go through what I had to go through to make it to this place – leading back to myself – and that it’s okay to not be okay. I also want to highlight the importance of time well spent being alone, going inward, listening and learning. I spent a few hours listening to this amazing class on the Hero’s Journey, it was a chapter in my good friends spiritual coaching class. It talked about the tests we face on our own Hero’s Journey, the mentors we have along the way, and the gifts we bring back with us. I also learned that I may get to this place of challenge again, but I know I’ll find my way out, with love and compassion, some reflective time inward in meditation, prayer, and learning, and with the help of good and honest counsel by those who know me best. This leads me to connecting this journey to my Spiritual Awakening. I recognize and honor that this past year I’ve grown stronger in my journey as a Spiritual Awakened being (less ego, more spirit). So, “What does Spiritual Awakening mean to me?” God has placed loving, spiritual people in my life. These wonderful souls are loving, compassionate, connected to the oneness of all beings and to God. I have been blessed to visit amazing healing places where I’ve experienced unique healings and meditations and have connected with more beautiful souls. I’ve had opportunities to be of service that have increased my empathy, loving-kindness and humility. I am more connected to nature, I spend time outside and take care of my plant babies #plantmom. I feel connected God and the Universe and all souls, that we are an interconnected whole, we’re all one, we’re a United Spiritual Community. All life is valuable and has purpose and meaning. My life has meaning and purpose. I desire connection to others and to my purpose, I can use my unique gifts and talents to serve others, and grow in abundance in mind, body, and spirit. I can once more believe in the mission and vision of my life and identify it, nourish it, and live it. I appreciate the outlet to share with you today. I’m very pleased to have identified the problem, and to feel connected and purposeful again in a real and authentic way. I sit here relieved, and I feel satisfied in my quest. I am pleased to look back on this past year and say, “Wow! What a journey!” The ship (my life) has righted itself and I am back on track. I am ready, and I am grateful. In a few days I’m leaving for Athens, Greece on a girls trip. I’m looking forward to having more time to sit with this new Spiritual Awakening and acceptance of my journey in life and in my career as a therapist. I enjoy my life, my life matters, and what I do matters. I’m back! Namaste, Lauren
I am a healer, and I am healed
I have a calling, I am living a purpose driven life. I am a balanced helper, healer, teacher, and guide. I am a healer, and I am healed. - LC As a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Meditation Teacher, and Reiki Master, I wear different hats under the umbrella of healer, helper, teacher, and guide. I’m often asked the difference between what I do for work (occupation) and what I do for fun, my hobbies (avocation).
“Here’s the strategy: always start in the heart.” -Danielle LaPorte Welcome to The Desire Map . . .where your self-agency meets your heart intelligence. I LOVE Desire Mapping, it’s so uplifting and transformative! Here’s my Desire Mapping Workshop at a Glance: Life Areas: 1. Livelihood and Lifestyle – career, money, work, home, space, style, possessions, fashion, travel, gifts, sustainability, and resources. 2. Body and Wellness – healing, fitness, food, rest, relaxation, mental health, sensuality, and movement. 3. Creativity and Learning – artistic and self-expression, interests, education, and hobbies. 4. Relationships and Society – romance, friendship, family, collaboration, community, and causes. 5. Essence and Spirituality – soul, inner self, truth, intuition, faith, and practices.
The Practice of Forgiveness
‘The Book of Forgiving’, written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, (one of South Africa's most well- known human rights activists, winning the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in resolving and ending apartheid), and his daughter Mpho Tutu Van Furth (a priest, a writer, a wife, mother an artist, a theologian and a public speaker, who’s mission it is to create a world that is good for girls), begins with sharing. “Two simple truths: there is nothing that cannot be forgiven, and there is no one undeserving of forgiveness….In each of us, there is an innate ability to create joy out of suffering, to find hope in the most hopeless of situation, and to heal any relationship in need of healing.” As a mindfulness meditation practitioner, therapist, and healer, I often get questions around forgiveness, and I sight references or stories on the topic to help aide in the persons healing. We all have a story, yes? Desmond Tutu writes: “I face the same choice: to forgive or to seek revenge. We face this choice of whether or not to forgive as individuals, as families, as communities, and as a deeply connected world. The quality of human life on our planet is nothing more than the sum total of our daily interactions with one another. Each time we help, each time we harm, we have a dramatic impact on our world.” In this profound book, ‘The Book of Forgiving’ you are invited to “explore each aspect of the Fourfold Path of forgiving: Telling the Story, Naming the Hurt, Granting Forgiveness, and Renewing or Releasing the Relationship…. Forgiveness is nothing less than the way we heal the world. We heal the world by healing each and every one of our hearts.” I’ve also enjoyed reading ‘The Book of Joy’ with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his holiness the Dalai Lama, another good read on your journey to healing. Another book that’s worth a look is “Why Won’t You Apologize?” by Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. She writes: “The healing power of a good apology is also immediately recognizable. When someone offers me a genuine apology, I feel relieved and soothed. Whatever anger and resentment I may still be harboring melts away. I also feel better when I offer an apology I know is due. I’m enormously grateful that I can repair the disconnection after having made a mistake or acted badly.” She goes on say, “Perhaps the most painful issue in the apology lexicon is coming to terms with the non-repentant wrongdoer. This is a universal human challenge for which forgiveness is the prescribed solution of the day…you do not need to forgive the person who has hurt you in order to free yourself from obsessive anger and bitterness…We take turns at being the offender and the offended until our very last breath. It’s reassuring to know that we have the possibility to set things right, or at least to know that we have brought our best selves to the task at hand, however the other person responds.” This book is powerful and contains insights into authentic, genuine apologies, and engages the reader with some humor and real-life examples of good and not-so-good apologies (we’ve all experienced empty ‘I’m Sorry’ moments), definitely worth the read! If you have any books or insights you’d like to share please do so! Everyone’s healing journey is different, and I encourage my readers and my clients to read and have conversations and practice the art of forgives in a way that feels right to them, while also enlisting help and insight from clinicians and thought leaders that are experts in this field. The more we work together towards healing, the better! You’re not in this journey alone, reach out if you need assistance working through past hurts. May you be filled with loving-kindness. Namaste.
The Art of Feng Shui; Practical application for all
I don’t know if ya’ll have noticed lately, but people are really starting to connect to the energy in and around them. My clients often ask, how can I create a peaceful, Zen, organized vibe in my home or office, and my answer is, Feng Shui! I’ve been using Feng Shui for years and have read and applied many techniques in my home and office. And I’ve moved a few times (both home and office) so I’ve had a lot of practice myself! I’ve been blessed to share my joy of organized and harmonious living with my family, friends, colleagues and clients. I continue to learn and am excited to offer this wellness service in 2020! Over the years I’ve helped several people and they have noticed the difference in their energy and vibe of the space instantaneously! The way I use Feng Shui is helpful and is a blessing, and it is applied differently with each person. I am so blessed to share what I know and pass on the gift of Feng Shui to all! I recently ordered a Bagua Grid from Tina on Etsy, I just love living in this day and age when I can go online and find practical tools to use in my practice. Why re-create the wheel, when there’s a perfectly good grid out there – thank you Tina! So, I have this amazing grid, or Feng Shui Compass, to help me when I go into friends’ homes and start the process. There’s a compass reading, application, and noticeable change in chi; this happens when you focus your energy in certain spots in your home that support your intentions and reflect your inner desires. Using the grid to Fen Shui your space brings balance to your chakras, and the ability to incorporate elements and metals as well as celebrate aspects of your strengths and personality. Are you thinking about a space in your home or office that you’d like to bring balance and harmony to? If the answer is yes, ask yourself the following: What do you want your space to convey? How do you want to feel in this space? How would you like others to feel when they enter this space? What is the primary function and purpose of this space? What items do you love in this space? Which items do you not love? Where are you in this space? What items reflect a connection to your energy? What story does each item in this space tell? Where/Who are they from? What is there memory, meaning, significance? Purpose? Role? Functionality? Other thoughts about the purpose or desired effect of your space? Invite in new meaning and purpose to your space. For example, more entertaining, cooking more, praying or meditating more, doing yoga, doing work from home, better sleep, organization, fashion, focus, attention, abundance, fitness, health, connection, togetherness, reflection. Apply the Feng Shui Core Principles: Clean and cleanse your space - use healthy cleaning products, add essential oils, sage, incense, create cleaning and cleansing rituals. Remove clutter - declutter your space, get rid of duplicates, broken items, things you don’t need or use you can donate or store until you decide you’re ready to part with it. Remove negative energy items – old pictures, journals, the past that hold negative energy, or we can pray over it, cleanse it, and store it. Add positive energy Items – books, quotes, who you are now, who you’d like to become; add plants, life, meaningful items – bring in life energy, color, vibrancy, sound, have fun here, keep focus on purpose of space, and the energy it will hold When Feng Shui is balanced and the energy (chi) within you and your space is flowing: Everything has a place and space, purpose and meaning, everything holds energy You have access to and can find anything you need and use within 10-15 seconds You are aware of your feelings in this space and it’s desired effect is working Feng Shui Tools: Bagua Grid used by Feng Shui practitioner; he bagua grid is made up of a grid of nine sections which are sometimes called gua's, palaces, sections or corners. Each of these nine sections of the bagua map correspond to nine important areas of your personal lives and have their own energy field within your dwelling Cleaning supplies; wood cleaner, glass cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, favorite organic cleaning supplies like vinegar and essential oils, bathroom cleaner, duster, vacuum, rags, gloves Energy Clearing supplies; Florida water, sage, incense, crystals, Palo Santo, prayer beads Donation Bins and Storage bins – sometimes we’re not sure what we want to donate or keep, this is a process so be gentle on yourself. You can store items and visit them the following season, if they haven’t been used, consider discarding or donating items. Garbage cans and garbage bags For Best Results: Have a willingness to be open to chi and have your energy work for you Take time for reflection; journaling, prayer, meditation, creating an altar Ongoing dedication to ongoing clearing and cleansing rituals using energy clearing tools Reach out for a follow up consultation for ongoing balance and connection Reiki, Chakra Balancing, and Sound Meditations Spend time in prayer and set an intention for each space and whole of the space as well Want to connect and bring the art of Feng Shui to your space? I’m excited to work with you to bring harmony and joy into your space, and I look forward to connecting with you! I offer this as a gift of service to all, and donations or bartering is greatly appreciated. Namaste,Lauren
““The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” -Aristotle