I am a self- improvement, self-development, be a better person than you were yesterday, contemplate the spirituality of life and lifelong learning junkie. I fully admit it, and as a matter of fact, I love that about me. I have come across many valuable nuggets of information over the years…ideas that have seeded in my brain to slowly grow into life altering paradigm shifts and simple ways of understanding myself better.
I saw this picture on facebook today and felt called to write about it. This concept is probably the most valuable concept I’ve come across in my own path of self-growth. The idea that what we see in the world and in others is really a reflection of our self, is a life changing concept. How? With just a little analysis of how we think, judge and define the world, we can begin to learn a great amount about ourselves…and then use that knowledge to become the person we want to be! Want some examples?
Think of someone that has a quality you admire. Maybe a friend of yours is generous with her time, she volunteers hours of her time every week to a charity organization and you admire her for her generosity and compassion. Maybe your brain stops there…you admire her, that’s why she’s your friend. You clearly have a generous and compassionate heart also; otherwise you would not be able to recognize those characteristics in her. Maybe you are comfortable with your contributions to the world and all is well. You just learned a little about yourself.
But maybe you feel that you don’t have the same opportunity to demonstrate those qualities because you have a full time job and family responsibilities. Maybe you feel guilty that you didn’t even make the time last week to drop off your clothing donation to the homeless shelter. Again, you clearly have a generous and compassionate heart, but because there is some negativity in your judgments, there is surely a larger lesson underneath. If this were me (and since I’m writing this, there is a good chance it was), I would set aside some time to journal or meditate on what is going on in my mind. I may consider how good it feels when I donate my time to charity. I may consider my priorities regarding how I spend my time…maybe I could spend more time doing charitable work or maybe something else is a higher priority. Or, am I feeling guilty because I’m unjustly comparing myself to someone else? Maybe I’m simply not giving myself credit for all the things I do to support various programs and groups. As I take a closer look at what generosity and compassion mean to me, I will start to see how that is impacting my thoughts and judgments. I can either change how I prioritize my time so that I can do more, or I can simply acknowledge that I’m doing all I can do right now and understand that life is not a competition. I am generous and compassionate….it may just look a little different on me than on her; and that’s okay!
So, that was an easy example. Now let’s think of something negative. Maybe you have an acquaintance that really drives you nuts. Maybe he has no sense of responsibility, doesn’t pay his bills because he doesn’t want to work, he looks to others to bail him out of hot water (including you)…and this drives you insane! Why? Because, you are always responsible. You went to college, you have a full time career, you have always taken care of your responsibilities and you would freak out if you couldn’t pay a bill, taking on secondary work if needed. Off the top of my head, I can think of 5 different people that have come into my life over the years that, to some degree, fit this example. I didn’t see myself in these people at all, as a matter of fact I resented them. Hmmm, l bet there’s a lesson here.
Now keep in mind, my perception is not truth, it’s a reflection of me. So, what I think I see in all of these people is possibly not the exact truth…maybe one of them was just immature at the time and eventually grew into his responsibility. Maybe one learned from an abusive relationship not to trust himself, and copes with this self-doubt by leaning heavily on others. Maybe one lost a loved one early in life and unconsciously decided not to waste precious time on responsibilities. Bottom line, their truth is probably very different than my perception.
But regardless of what the truth is, how is what I see in them a reflection of me? I’m ultra-uber-responsible…right? This idea is clearly nonsense. But probably not…
The truth is, if I react so negatively to this idea on irresponsibility, it must be in me somewhere; I just don’t admit it! This is one of my shadows…an unconscious part of my personality that my ego completely denies. At some point in my life, I learned that responsibility is good, and irresponsibility is bad. I learned to stop identifying with the irresponsibility in my nature. It’s not that it doesn’t exist, I just don’t admit it. This doesn’t mean I should run out and quit my job, but recognizing that this exists in me, allows me to experiment with letting go of responsibility. It is freeing for me to let go of control every now and then…recognizing this shadow reflected back at me has been a gift.
In all honesty, this is much easier to see in someone else…we all know someone that seems to think they are positive when they complain non-stop, or someone who would never admit they are angry, even though anger exudes from their pores. It may be easier to see other people’s shadows, but until you start looking at your own (reflected right back at you in the people around you) you cannot grow. Keep your eyes open and pay attention to what you are seeing in the world!! If you can identify something in the world, it in some way exists in you.
Wow, what seems like a simple concept is very complex. Play with it, contemplate it, journal about it…use it as a tool to learn more about yourself! The more you know about you, the easier it is to live in a manner that makes you happy.
Wow. This time of year I am overwhelmed with the number of catalogs I get in the mail and the sale emails delivered to my inbox. I understand companies want to make some sales, but it doesn’t have to be at the cost of the environment or our sanity (useless emails drive me insane)!
Catalogs – if you too are bombarded with catalogs this time of year (or all year long), check out this handy website for getting off the mailing lists:
For the next week, save up your catalogs and then sit down with this website and enter in the information from each catalog. Or, if shorter stints online are more appealing, do it every day. Keep at it, and eventually the catalogs will stop.
Inbox – some companies send so many emails I want to boycott them for annoying me so. Instead, the key is being diligent about unsubscribing. Personally, I know I get so many emails because I keep giving my email address out. I’m a sucker for “give us your email and get access to our webinar on a topic we aren’t even going to discuss, I just want to sell you something”. Okay, if they really worded it that way, I probably wouldn’t give them my email. But they always make the webinars sound so interesting…
I also do a lot of online shopping because I don’t have the time or desire to walk around endless stores trying to find what I’m looking for. Every time I order something, I get on their email list and become the target for their email invasion!
When an annoying email comes in, it’s easiest to just delete it. But that doesn’t solve the issue. The only way to decrease the endless barrage of emails is to take the time to unsubscribe, every time I receive one of these unwanted messages. Sure it’s a pain, but after a couple of weeks of diligence, the emails really do quiet down.
Do you need to declutter your inbox and mailbox. Give it a try…be persistent…and it will pay off!
We are well into Autumn, the temperatures are starting to drop, and Cold and Flu season is right around the corner. Today, I started one of my favorite cold & flu prevention / remedies….Fire Cider. This recipe came from my herbal teacher and mentor, Rosemary Gladstar. I love this recipe so much, I talk about it in almost every herbal class I teach!
Are you wondering yet, what exactly is Fire Cider? It is a delicious and spicy vinegar based tincture. It can be used in salad dressings or simply eaten by the spoonful to ward off those nasty viruses. Wondering what is in Fire Cider that kills viruses?
Garlic, Onion, Horseradish, Ginger & Cayenne…and raw, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).
These ingredients will certainly kill what ails you! Don’t worry too much about amounts…just peel and chop a bunch of each (for the cayenne, just use an inch of a fresh pepper or a teaspoon or so of dried pepper flakes). Fill a mason jar with your chopped ingredients and cayenne, then pour in ACV to fully cover them. Put on a lid and shake it around a bit.
Now we wait. It typically takes 3-6 weeks (shaking every day or two) for all of the herbal goodness to leave the plant material and fortify your ACV. You will notice the chopped roots and bulbs start breaking down and looking a bit spent by the end of the process. When you deem it complete, simply strain the vinegar and put it in a bottle or pretty cruet.
When you notice people around you coughing and blowing their nose, or when you feel that scratchiness in your throat or tightness in your lungs, take a TBSP of the vinegar once or twice a day, until you feel the threat pass! Don’t welcome those sick bugs into your body – let them know they are unwanted.
The flavor is potent, but eventually you get used to it. However, if you are sensitive to strong flavors, feel free to dilute it in a small glass of water.
Stay healthy and happy!
Tracy Martorana is a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Meditation Instructor and Herbalist...hoping to inspire you to live your life from a place of Holistic Wellness.