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Self Care & Our Own Habits

Hypocrisy is the practice of engaging in the same behavior or activity for which one criticizes another or the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform. In moral psychology, it is the failure to follow one’s own expressed moral rules and principles.[1] According to British political philosopher David Runciman– according to Wikipedia,

This is the first quote in my book I’m writing.

Why am I saying this? Because we are SO good at telling our addicted loved ones to take care of their selves and do things to get their bodies healthy again, yet what are we going? Possibly getting more stressed, more sick & more depressed.

We become so focused on the “goal” or our particular destination happiness, that we fail to live in the present.

Matt Kahn stated:

“I think one of the hang-ups is that we reserve gratitude for when life becomes the way we want it to be. We’re not grateful for the chance to experience the things that ensure we confront our limiting ideas and painful feelings. We are often caught in a standoff with life that says: I’ll be the most grateful when everything changes to my desired specifications”. 

Matt Kahn

We rush around (maybe only in our scattered & frazzled mind) trying to make things happen so that WE can finally relax.

We might even enjoy and feel justified with a glass of wine to calm down.

Yes, although WE may not be the alcoholic and be immune to the allergy & obsession of addiction; it still may not be the best choice for our overall vibration.

How to facilitate a better vibrational state, so we are not ruminating on our problems, seems like a reasonable goal.

All of us must find our Place Of Peace. It’s a continual process, I believe. One that requires consistent daily habits, which I am quite inept at.

Today, its a rainy spring day, and after an emotional weekend of worry and indecisiveness, my goal for today was self care to find my place of peace. As I’m setting new goals, I find this live concert on You Tube on my apple TV.

What perfect background music to relax by than Jackson Browne? Why don’t I know this guy? Hope you enjoy this concert as I did. ( I guess I do know him- he’s the “Take it Easy” writer from the Eagles.

One of my challenges is setting goals with specifics such as time management & allocation. I’m working on it. Rituals such as described in Shelly Young’s article below will help.

I recently quoted her in my post the other day and she has some great self-care advice here, also.

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A Loving Kindness Ritual

Every morning. Every single morning for the past six years, I light a candle, settle onto a cushion, close my eyes and say the loving kindness meditation/prayer, Metta. I say it several times. 

Once for myself, in the spirit of giving a gift to myself, the gift of happiness, peace, kindness. In the spirit of generosity and love I say it outward, once for my children., once for my friends and family, once for anyone in particular in need of support, healing, blessing, my attention or affection or someone who has been a benevolent force in my life, shared time, energy, space, kindness support with me. Then once for all of us, the collective us, all of humanity, all beings in nature.

It is how I touch into that which is greater than myself, my place in the family of things, the collective of humanity, my role in the perpetuation of love and kindness. It grounds me in the now and sets the tone for the day. It is my work to be a force of love and extend that outward as well as inward. To be in service to the greater good. 

I offer this meditation, this ritual to you as a way of priming your body, your heart, your nervous system, your brain for peace, a way of connecting into a greater force of love and wellbeing, a wish for all to be well, happy and peaceful. A chant if you will, for healing.

Try it for a week, a month, a season. See what it feels like in your body to say the words out loud, to extend the blessing outward and inward, to lean into the ritual as a resource for wellbeing and connecting to the family of things. See how it feels. 

Start with yourself, be kind, generous and loving to yourself first then extend that love and kindness outward. Lay love over all that is. 

May I be well happy and peaceful. 

May no harm come to me. 

May no difficulties come to me. 

May I always meet with miraculous success. 

May I also have the courage, patience and understanding to meet and overcome inevitable problems and failures.

May I always remember you are connected to a Presence that is never absent.

May I be held, may you be healed, may you be transformed.

I’m saying it with you. We can say it together.

If you want to join others who say Metta every Thursday 12:00-12:30 in community with my friends Rose + Jen go here. 

Everyone is welcome. 

Image Credit: Jen Lemen. You can find her on Instagram!

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the studio
clifton, virginia 20124, united states


Made with love in Flodesk.

We are the artists of our world
We are the authors of our story
Paint colours and magic
Write peace and happiness
See love
Feel joy
Create miracles

~ Karen Star ❤

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What If It’s Just Ok?- Tɦɛ ʟɛɢɛռɖ օʄ ȶɦɛ ɮօɖɦɨ ȶʀɛɛ

How to wake up from perfectionism/projectionism

Photo by author

What if you didn’t feel worried?

What if you didn’t have this fear inside you?

What if you didn’t let your mind project the worst-case scenario onto a one-sentence FACT of the here and now? In other words, is the story that you’re mulling over in your mind true to form for what’s right now in front of you?

Rebecca Undem

What if your emotions were NOT driven by the “pain of neglect” or the “fear of loss.”

Over the years, as I’ve watched office politics play out, I’ve noticed that most behavior or conflict is rooted in the fear of losing their job. Why else would someone backstab or elevate themselves to look good?

What if you were not ‘that” afraid of loss? Loss of your job or your lifestyle. What if you were secure enough in your abilities or the future that you were able to be completely true to yourself and others ALWAYS- not just when someone is watching.

It’s a double edged sword to be human with motivation and drive- and EGO. It provokes questionable behavior in order to achieve and fulfill the ego’s desires and needs. Once that works well for our ego’s needs of power, or worthiness or MATTER-ness; the target gets bigger and more dangerous. We want to know we matter. Our ego wants to ONLY MATTER.

The more we try to achieve our version of perfection or worthiness (and what we want to portray to others) the LESS authentic we become.

To avoid this, a constant self-evaluation is required. Any emotion that we feel comes up, it’s sometimes therapeutic to look at what the basis for the emotion is. Most anger, jealousy, confusion, and sadness come from a fear of loss. We’re afraid of losing what we hold dear. Our reputation, our habits, our house, and of course our family.

The more we feed into our fears and our faults, the more power they have over us.

People who have lost their homes and businesses often come back stronger than ever because they’ve battled that fear of loss.

As humans we are always trying to improve our life. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s when we “can’t see the forest for the trees.” As the old timers- my parents (& now ME!) Used to say. It’s when we make ourselves miserable at what we think is wrong in our lives & our attempts to fix it. We just seem to HAVE TO have that thing that we currently want.

But we all know the goalpost keeps moving. Those who have achieved all the money they need, soon turn to power as a replacement. Or prestige, or sexual fulfillment or going batshit crazy for a ’cause’. Anything to fill that hole of fear of loss.

I’m not a perfectionist in the sense of organization, detail to appearance, and OCD behaviors- at all. But I am an over-thinker and a “If-Only” idealistic & slightly glass-half-empty person.

Perfectionism, in itself-is actually a form of self-harm and therefore a symptom of low self worth. It’s self- harming because IT CAN NEVER BE ACHIEVED & your subconscious knows it. So you will continually seek out more ideas and situations to fulfil that never ending goal.

Says Me

“Even if you cross off your to-do list and become everything you ever wanted in yourself……. You will ALWAYS find something else to feed your inner perfectionist.”

Matt Kahn
Gertrude Toll- pinterest

Not everyone resonates with my guru guy Matt Kahn- aka MY KIDS! But I want you to put this video on tonight and just listen as you fall asleep. Listen to how it’s okay to “come as you are.” You can be as the Buddha sitting under the Bodhi tree peacefully meditating surrounded by demons to which he is immune to. It’s deep stuff, but I prefer it over shallow, trivial stuff.

Many books and programs teach mindfulness and meditation. It’s something I struggle with. But the power of training your mind to just be- in the here and now has incredible benefits. There’s no overthinking, projection, anticipatory grief, living in the past which brings up MORE pain of LOSS instead of cherishing sweet memories.

"Almost all sadness comes from thinking about the past, and all worry from thinking about the future - present mindedness is your only safe haven. Only in the present is your mind free to do what it does best - solve problems. The easiest way to leave the past behind is to remember that love does not live in the past, only memories - love lives in the present." Bryant McGill
Photo by treespirit.com

May you be your own version of the Buddha under the fig tree. Relishing in your own grace of “good enough.”

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“How are you doing?”

“Better than I deserve” as Dave Ramsey would say. Everytime I hear that on the radio, I go into stinkin-thinkin & say to myself” well of course he’s doing well…..he’s rich…..blablabla.

Immediately, I realize I’m breaking the tenth commandment. Mostly though, I think it’s just a lack of gratitude that I’m suffering from- in those moments. Ungrateful for my health, a house, a job, food, my other kids who are doing well, healthy grandkids.

Think about it, when things are (mostly) going our way, our step is lighter, our voice is chipper, & we radiate happiness.

Happiness, because our world is doing everything we want it to. For a moment.

My fav guru says this:

“It’s wonderful whenever you feel life is going well. Perhaps it is all a matter of perspective in how you define the term, “well”.

In the old paradigm, a feeling of wellness often indicated a sense of being within close range to the preferred outcomes and circumstances that define your existence. The downfall to this mentality, of course, was as soon as outcomes or circumstances changed — the one who was doing well didn’t feel so good anymore.

In the new paradigm, the term, “well” indicates a sense of balance with the harmony of life. Such balance and harmony is revealed by going with the current of change instead of opposing or denying it. No matter how ferociously the waves of change have flooded your circumstances, it is your willingness to surrender to the changes at hand as catalysts of spiritual growth and energetic expansion.

Doing well doesn’t necessarily mean life is going your way, or that you even enjoy or understand the process you’re in. It suggests you are doing well in going through life on the immaculate terms of Universal will – no matter how different it seems from the plans you’ve made. This is the heart of surrender.” – Matt Kahn

I know, it’s pretty deep. But it’s that damn word again: surrender..

Surrending your will seems to be the opposite of “going after everything you ever wanted” right? But I think the idea is to surrender your version of what you thought you wanted.

He talks about emotional oneness (his version of emotional wellness) in this video:

‘Destination addiction’ used to be a tongue in cheek cliche. But what Matt is saying (& every other motivational theme- such as THE SECRET) is the same. If you wait to be happy and fulfilled until you have everything you want, you will be waiting forever.

Samhsa defines the 8 dimensions of wellness in a handy chart that I wrote about Here.

At my age, I didn’t anticipate having the worry that I do, but worrying isn’t getting me anywhere. Addiction is getting a 2,3,4-for-one pass by affecting so many in my circle. This makes personal emotional wellness all the more important.

I must become stronger in my journey, so I’m not dependant on the ups and downs of other’s actions to make me feel better. Yes it’s very hard to do when you know one of your kids is “not ok”.😥

One more video hit home for me this week. My sweet daughter gave this to me on a super bad day, I think, knowing I needed to hear the parts about pain. It’s long but very soothing.

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4 Minutes of Calmness

I had such a RaDICaL breakthrough today that I had to share.

Yesterday I had a coworker spend an hour telling me how wrong I was & how I needed to do something better… for HER & how irrational I was & why her way was right.

I remained calm trying to approach the problem from several different angles.

Until finally, she blurted out:

“Well, I’ve already talked to the boss & he wants it done this way……”

I went home feeling completely undermined, sideswiped-whatever you want to call it.

I was determined to go to the boss armed with data to show how she was just being a bully in order to be right and how if only he had my opinion, then he would surely side with me.

Then, I listened to this 4 minutes of calmness from my favorite (and only) spiritual guru- Matt Kahn.

This guy doesn’t resonate with everyone, but he’s my ‘thing’ that saved my heart a few years ago after a breakup of 3 years. Ever since, he has helped me dig deeper to find out who I am and who I want to be.

“This is HOW PEOPLE GIVE US BACK our POWER- by disappointing the HELL outta us….”

-Matt Kahn

Think about it. If life is going my way, I can love myself just fine, but the minute adversity hits me in the gut, I’m going to walk around blaming someone else. THEY are going to pay for my inconvenience, my pain and suffering.

I’m ready and willing to blame anyone but myself- for triggering me. I mean, I was just here minding my own business! I didn’t start it! (Like a 5-year-old would say).

As I chose to ruminate on it; I started thinking, “I’ll just quit. I can’t stand her anyway”.

Then a voice said:

“ᗷᑌT TᕼEᖇE’S OTᕼEᖇS ᒪIKE ᕼEᖇ EᐯEᖇYᗯᕼEᖇE….”

In my past relationships, if a guy isn’t doing what I think he should be saying or doing, what do I do? Speak my peace or speak my piece? What happens if I do the latter? Collusion. He’s not going to change. I will keep attracting men who will collude with my ideas until I make peace with myself.

Another variant to this is:

If we aren’t giving ourselves the acceptance & love we need, we are more likely to seek out drugs or sex or power or people who trigger us- (Which will ALWAYS disappoint us again & again).

These experiences are for our benefit, in order to bring us back to ourselves.

If we never experience disappointment, sorrow and loss; then we never get the opportunity to grow into a better version of ourselves.

It’s so simple.

I never fully caught on to the love yourself movement until I heard this from Matt Kahn.

Adversity doesn’t stop when we move to a different place or switch partners or jobs. Things will still smack us right dab in the face until we become aligned enough. Alligned with ourselves or with the universe or our God or Higher Power.

This helps us essentially become bulletproof to letting these traumas and dramas knock us around so much.

Some may call it the Armour of God. Others may say Self-confidence, Self- worth.

Take a listen.

Minute 17:30-21:30