Shame is one of the lowest emotions we experience as souls in a human body. When I say low, I mean that every emotion has a frequency. Those feelings that make us feel light, lifted, and energized have a high frequency. And those feelings that make us feel weighed down, exhausted, and drained have a low frequency. And shame? It's right down there with the lowest of vibes.
It's that feeling of deep regret, guilt, and embarrassment.
For some of us, shame is a part of our daily life. Perhaps our families taught us to feel ashamed of ourselves for certain behaviors, traits, or desires, and we've never learned another way to feel about ourselves. For others of us, shame is a rare and dreaded feeling that we avoid and don't quite know how to cope with.
Though it's a shame that we ever have to feel so low, there is a higher purpose for this dark emotion that contributes beautifully to the evolution of the soul. When we approach shame as a teacher and a blessing, it actually helps us shift back into the light.
Shame from a spiritual perspective
The experience of shame is often brought about when we awaken to a part of us that was previously hidden. Where the ego is unaware of itself, it creates a shadow: a dark place to hide away the parts of ourselves that we can't accept. And when some of these shadow elements are brought into awareness, it can be very painful. We can feel ashamed about these parts of ourselves that we previously kept hidden out of awareness.
What we may not realize is that this is all a part of our awakening journey. We came into these human bodies as powerful souls to enlighten the darkness, to shed light on the shadow. This is our healing process. When the darkness has come fully into the light, we can integrate all aspects of the soul and return to our oneness with the Universe. So the soul journey is really all about bringing light to the darkness within.
This shame that we feel, then, is actually a powerful sign that transformation is taking place.
Shame is a messenger
When shame shows up because the ego has become aware of its shadow, we are being given an important message: healing is taking place, darkness is becoming light, and it's time NOW, more than ever, to love yourself completely.
After an element of shadow has been brought into the light, it can never again return to the darkness. This is a powerful healing transformation.
How long has this shadow been hidden? For how many lifetimes have we been blind to our lower aspects? My friend, this journey of awakening has been long and tiresome. The fact that we are NOW, in this moment, bringing a part of the shadow into the light is a real miracle! It is time to celebrate our progress, not agonize over the person we once were.
When we experience shame, we often ruminate about our mistakes and torture ourselves with judgment. I'm suggesting that we celebrate instead. We have become brave enough to see the truth. We have become awakened enough to heal old patterns. Recognizing the shadow is 90% of the battle, and the shame we feel is a sign that we made it. Instead of sinking into despair, let your shame swiftly transform into compassion and love. Now more than ever, we deserve our own love.
In these moments where shame arises, receive it as a messenger, a sign that you have accomplished a great healing. You are integrating your spirit; you are becoming whole. Call upon your higher self, your inner wisdom and light. Wrap yourself up in the most beautiful blanket of love and acceptance. Shame is a sign that you are becoming more whole and darkness is coming into the light.
For a firsthand experience of this healing transformation, please enjoy the meditation practice below.
It is an honor to share my inspirations with you. I hope that you have become inspired to give yourself more love, not less. Stay inspired with me and try out my free Inspired Life starter kit.
I can't wait to hear about your amazing journey, beautiful soul.
For centuries, monks have lived in solitude on distant mountain peaks in order to meditate, connect with the divine, and find inner peace. Of course, these are the ideal circumstances in which to find your center and live in bliss.
But you and I? We live in a time where we are being asked to find peace while living IN THE WORLD. With wars. With mass shootings at music concerts. With political turmoil. With racism, sexism, and discrimination. With earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and forest fires that destroy cities and towns. With angry, scared people.
Okay so, this is a much more challenging task, right?
My friend, we were born to do it. There is no mistake that we are living on the planet right now. This mission for peace is the destiny we came to actualize.
Many of us will find the calm & quiet we desire in our own homes. We have altars, we light candles, we play soft music and create a safe sanctuary for ourselves. This is beautiful, and quite necessary, in this day and age. In the quiet of your home, it's easier to find peace.
But how are we supposed to maintain our centered, calm state when we go out into the world with honking horns, negative attitudes, and frustrating situations? I do believe this is the next challenging step for humanity: creating peace where there is none.
It starts with you and me.
If you're reading this post, then you are someone who is awake. You are someone who is aware of yourself and working to be a better person. I'm glad you're here.
When you and I make the choice to maintain our center and sense of peace out in the world, we actually shift the energy everywhere we go. We turn stressful situations into graceful, ease-filled moments. We soften the fear and anger in others and spread a message of hope. We turn violence into peace JUST by staying centered.
This is our gift to give the world right now.
It's not an easy task, but practicing these 3 steps will jumpstart your ability to maintain your inner peace out in the world.
1. Surround yourself in light
Before you leave your house, close your eyes and imagine wrapping yourself in a blanket of light. Ask your higher self, angels, or guides to cloak you in a protective globe of white light that shields you from negativity and stressful, chaotic energy.
I really love using visualization and energy work to keep my vibration high when I go out into the world. If you don't believe in woo woo stuff like this, then I suggest experimenting with this like playing a little game. Don't take it seriously, just have fun with it. Allow yourself to play with energy and see how it works. After you experience the power of your own visualization and intention to protect your energy, you will most certainly believe in it.
2. Watch the thoughts you keep
We truly take our power back and own our inner peace when we start taking responsibility for the thoughts that we keep. Thoughts are fickle and fleeting, but if held tightly, they turn into the beliefs that determine what we attract into our realities. If you want to keep your peace, start by monitoring your thoughts.
Every moment, we have the opportunity to let go of thoughts that aren't serving us. When we go out into the world, we are bombarded by thoughts, attitudes, and energies of the people around us. Many times, we get upset if we start encountering a negative thought or vibe. We mistakenly take it to be our own - we take it personally. We assume that if we are thinking a thought, it must say something about who we are. No. A thought is a thought, and nothing more. You have the power to keep and release thoughts any time. This is your power to create peace.
The moment we get frustrated by the negativity we encounter is the moment we start taking it on and matching it vibrationally. We lower ourselves by identifying with the negative thoughts we encounter. This is a CHOICE. In any moment, we can release the thoughts we don't wish to keep and continue on our merry way.
Choose your thoughts wisely, my loves.
3. Embody love
You know what's the greatest protection against fear? LOVE. If you embody love everywhere you go, no negativity will touch you. If you grace every person you see with loving energy, everyone will be transformed by it. No matter how negative or scared or angry someone is, you will not be affected by them.
Feel love in your heart, in your body. Carry it like you are a vessel of love (cuz you are). Breathe love and speak love. Think love and feel love. Lead with a heart of love and peace will follow you everywhere you go.
If you have any hesitations or questions about these steps, check out the meditation video below for detailed guidance.
I love you guys, and I wish you the utmost peace and calm every day. I will see you out there in the world, and we will smile at each other. And we will make the world a better place.
All love always,
As I'm sitting in a coffee shop, typing away, with my lavender latte, it's raining outside here in "Sunny San Diego." Isn't that so life?! We can't hold on too tightly to expectations and outcomes. Sometimes it just pours rain in a sunny place.
And there are times when we are drenched and downtrodden by our own storms within. Dark clouds loom over hope, and emotions flow endlessly like infinite drops of rain. At least that's how I feel sometimes.
At these moments of darkness, I often feel lost in life or unclear about my path and purpose and what to do next. It's apparent that I'm stuck in my mind and can't hear the voice of my soul, the voice that always feels like home, the voice that guides me back to inspiration, hope, and clarity.
So how do I get back there? How do I start to feel at home again in my heart? How can I hear my soul?
This morning, two things became clear to me as I walked under a turquoise umbrella through the drizzle to my favorite coffee shop. Two important things showed me the path back to my soul.
1) Don't indulge your fears.
2) Follow your joy.
Ahh this first one is crucial and sometimes tricky! The mind loves to get wrapped up in the illusion of fear because its job is to protect you. So the mind will wander off to deep, dark, scary corners of the imagination thinking about all of the possible bad things that could happen to you. And hopefully by analyzing a million possible nightmares, the mind will figure out how to prevent them! But we know in our hearts that this is a dreadful waste of time & energy. So how do we stop ourselves from burrowing down into the rabbit hole of fear?
First of all, it's important to differentiate between the voices in your head. For simplicity's sake, let's just say you have a small mind and a big mind. The small mind is the one who indulges in fearful worry, trying to control circumstances and outwit the Universe. The small mind will drive you crazy if you let it!
But the big mind is the voice of strength, love, and protection. Big mind is the one to shut it down when small mind is scampering off into fear. When you feel your small mind wandering away into anxiety, stop those thoughts immediately and don't indulge in the tendency to daydream about your worst nightmares. Feel the guidance and love of your big mind, like that of a protective parent.
"No sweetheart, don't go there. You're going to be fine." Then laugh, sing, pray, or refocus on a hopeful thought to keep your energy up and out of small mind territory.
With practice, you'll soon start to recognize the voices of small mind and big mind and can learn to control the fearful indulgences of small mind with the direct, loving guidance of big mind.
So that's part 1: Don't indulge your fears.
The next part is really fun: Follow your joy!
One of the best ways to reconnect with your soul is to do what feels light, joyful, inspiring, or relaxing to you (often in the most simple and humble of ways). Honestly, your soul doesn't care how productive you are, how much money you make, what you ate for breakfast, or how many calories you burned at the gym. Your soul operates in BEING not DOING.
It can be tempting to think that you have to have a certain career in order to be living your soul's purpose. Or that your soul is only satisfied when you are "successful" on the outside. But truthfully, the soul exists in the pure laughter from deep in your belly or in the quiet peace of feeling your connection to all of life. The soul leaps for joy when you choose love over fear. The soul wants you to express as much joy as possible, not to be as rich, fit, or important as possible.
So when your small mind starts to worry about your success, your purpose, and your path, remember that your purpose exists only in this moment, right now. And your purpose right now is to let go of your fears and reside in your joy.
Following your joy can be anything that lights you upside. It could be something small like treating yourself to a latte, wearing your favorite shirt, making a homemade gift for a friend, or taking a picture that inspires you and posting it to Facebook. It doesn't have to be revolutionary, important, OR make you lots of money. The way back to the soul is through joy in the simple, small things.
Don't look for your soul in your career change, in your workout routine, or in your next relationship. Find your soul in the spark of joy within you that has no words, no expectations. Find your soul in the easy way of being that you already are.
With much love & joy,
P.S. Check out this video I made on Meditation Monday that discusses these two steps to hearing your soul
I was having lunch with a friend the other day and she was telling me that she just got back from a trip to Sweden (her home country), but it still feels like she needs a vacation! I think we can all relate. Sometimes, our vacations end up exhausting us further and creating new challenges physically, financially, emotionally…
It’s really important that we have a way to relax within ourselves and not have to jet away every time we are stressed. I told my friend, “Why don’t you take a vacation inside yourself?”
What I meant was, she needs a way to take a break from her usual thoughts, feelings, and actions so that she can refresh her sense of well-being and peace. And this can be done without making any big changes. She doesn’t have to plan an extravagant holiday to take a vacation within.
Here are 5 ways to take a vacation inside yourself:
1) Take a break from being so hard on yourself! – For just a day, a week, or however long you choose, take a break from criticizing yourself, judging yourself, or needing to be right/good/perfect. In fact, allow yourself to do the bare minimum for a while and don’t feel bad about it! Free yourself from the harsh inner critic and just BE.
2) Don’t worry about money – This has nothing to do with how much money or wealth you actually have. It has everything to do with how you feel inside. Trust that you are endlessly abundant and well on your way to receiving many more blessings. Take yourself shopping, out to eat, or don’t even spend money but simply stop worrying about how to make ends meet. For even one day, give zero attention to money. Rest into assurance that you have and will always have plenty- you’d be surprised what kind of magical things can happen when you already believe you are abundant!
3) Let yourself enjoy food – Whatever you feel like eating, go for it. Listen deeply to your body and, for a day or even a whole week, eat and truly savor whatever yummy delicious things you crave. Have a special treat from childhood that you miss. Go to your favorite restaurant. Make yourself an extravagant new dish or dessert. Just enjoy every bite! When you feel nurtured in this way, you won’t feel the need to binge eat because you aren’t depriving yourself.
4) Rest as much as you want – Take a breather from the old exercise routine and sleep in. Go for a relaxing walk instead of running or hitting the gym. If you feel like sitting on the couch all day… do it. Every once in a while, our bodies need the chance to totally recuperate and rest. Once again, listen deeply to what your body is saying and rest as much as you’d like.
5) Resist nothing, everything is here to help you – This can change your whole world. Instead of viewing a situation as an obstacle to overcome or an enemy to beat, try viewing everything you encounter as a special gift that is here to help you. That rude driver who cut you off? “Thank you for teaching me patience.” That friend who betrayed you and hurt your feelings? “Thank you for reminding me to love myself unconditionally.” That expensive parking ticket? “Thank you for helping me remember how abundant I am.” Everything in our lives can be viewed as a blessing and a gift. And then there’s nothing to resist or fight.
I hope this list helps you feel free within yourself and able to take a vacation any time! You deserve it, beautiful.
Gia Gia xoxo
Photo credit: Andrés Nieto Porras via Flickr
Have you ever met a true gypsy? A wandering soul who holds happiness in the palm of their hand rather than their wallet, car, or clothes?
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing someone who embodies that gypsy spirit. He has inspired me to have so much faith and trust that I could leap into “the unknown” and have absolute certainty that I’ll find happiness in my heart…or in my palm. ;) To get really inspired, read on!
Not only is Andrew Bush a kind-hearted, intelligent, funny guy, a fantastic musician & Marine vet in his mid-20’s, but he’s also a one-of-a-kind traveling gypsy whose stories would make for a killer book some day! As we were having lunch together recently, I found myself asking him lots of questions about his travels, his mindset, and his way of life. The conversation was so inspiring that I decided to formally interview him and share his fascinating story with you.
So here’s the gist on Andrew’s gypsy life: For the last few years, he’s been traveling, on a whim, to whatever place his heart desires, finding a job there, meeting amazing people, learning tons about life and himself, and enjoying the freedom to pick up and leave onto his next adventure whenever he feels inspired. In fact, one of his many adventures led him to meeting me! (More on that later)
When I asked Andrew what inspired him to live this lifestyle, he said that it was actually fear, anger, & shame in the beginning. He was running and hiding from a deeper part of himself that longed to be healed. But what began as a rebellious journey of youthful angst, quickly turned into a healing and opening transformation.
"I met people who were really in touch with themselves and had figured out this great path and all these amazing adventurous things to do. Listening and talking to them was so profound that I just had to taste that and figure out what that was all about. I eventually realized that I could talk to just about anybody and get them inspired and excited about life, which inspired me in turn!”
So I had to ask him what his childhood was like and how that contributed to his lifestyle choices. How could he grow up to be so bold and free in our corporate-minded, structured society?
Andrew openly commented that he grew up without a father and had difficult times with his mother and siblings. But rather than feeling diminished by his painful past, he allowed his wounds to hollow him out, opening him to experience more compassion and love for others, more freedom and joy for life!
“I tend to regard it as the biggest blessing I received from my mother. I spent a lot of energy in contemplation seeking to better relate and find space for compassion. It’s been pivotal in my development. I’m bolder because my journey is now propelled from places of love. And that I’m always questing for humility grants me a freedom that seems boundless when I’m at my best.” ---Beautifully said.
I then asked Andrew about the logistics- how do you decide where you’re going to go, where you’ll work, and how long you’ll stay?
His answer will just tickle your insides.
“Intuition! And that's my answer to ANY question concerning the start of an endeavor. Always listen for the signs and lessons. It's all immensely exciting! It gives me comfort and power in the moment. It gives me freedom to dream big and not be discouraged. Life rolls out opportunity ceaselessly. If you become a great listener and grow your faith system, you can capitalize on many adventures. It's the journey of The Alchemist.”
…Speaking of the book “The Alchemist” (by Paulo Coelho, fantastic read!!), Andrew regards it as one of his most treasured texts that has inspired his path.
“’The Alchemist’ came to me at a wonderful time from a wonderful person. I was looking for fresh air and new sails to spark my whim. The book is beautifully simple and genuine. It's a story about a rather disgruntled fellow who learns to trust in God and recognize his blessings instead of combat them. It was a big turning point for me on the path to do something very similar, to simplify and to trust myself, the world, and how we work within each other, and that the universe will conspire to help me when I'm taking the right steps.”
Yes!! It’s so amazing to see someone successfully living a beautiful life guided by intuition and faith. Knowing that Andrew can live by his inner guidance encourages all of us to attune with the inner-soul-compass that shows us the way. We only need to trust it.
And a big part of trusting your intuition is keeping your fickle mind at bay! When you receive a grand intuitive hit that seems completely ridiculous (and yet delightfully exciting), you must be careful not to over-analyze the details or get into a fear-based mindset.
Andrew has a brilliant way of handling this. He mentioned that, when he’s researching his next location, he doesn’t over-analyze the details that might discourage him from going. He does some “passive research” to get ideas about where he could get a job and then he simply goes for it, knowing that everything will work itself out.
“Don’t dwindle on the inconcrete, or anything that has space to be a dialogue with anxiety. All necessary items can be addressed with a tempered focus. Work through those.”
And leap! Take the leap of faith that your heart will never steer you wrong. And any struggle on the way is a beautiful lesson to be learned. Love that.
Andrew’s last job was working for Comcast in Utah and Washington, installing Internet modems in people’s homes. He just lit up when he told me about all of the amazing conversations he had. With a true curiosity for life, Andrew learns something from every person he encounters and sees them as a vital connection on his path.
“I want to relate. People! Old souls. New souls. Burning souls! Vibrant souls. Tempered souls. Healing souls. All the sharing and stories and tears and laughter and growth. It sets my soul aflame. Anything that does that is worth pursuing wholeheartedly.”
You said it, Andrew!! And on one very special journey of Andrew’s through Pasadena, CA, he followed the sound of a “tasty guitar riff” being played by a musician on the street. That soulful musician was our beautiful, late friend Ryder Buck, who’s life and death led Andrew to meeting me and inspired us all in a massive way. If Andrew hadn’t followed his intuition and had a deep desire to connect with other souls, you simply wouldn’t be reading this piece right now! And I would certainly not be who I am today...
Alas, I digress.
Andrew mentioned that he was once happiest when living out of his car in Santa Monica. I had to know more about the secret joy of living in this unconventional way.
“It required so much acceptance and trust and faith and patience and all those other good things. It was certainly humbling. I'd have to say the best part of the lesson was realizing how much I could do without: all of the things I willingly sacrificed to fulfill the goal of the day, week, or month. That realization accounted for a huge part of the bliss. At the time, I wasn't really pursuing anything I was intensely passionate about, and yet I could let go of so much so easily. It was empowering to imagine myself zealously pursuing something I loved with the same material boundlessness.”
When I asked Andrew if anything scared him about his gypsy lifestyle, he stated with ease that spiders were just about the only thing! Ha
“As you resonate and relate more to your moment, you start to lose irrational fears. At a point, all fears start to become more amusing. When you reconcile your relationship to your place in the moment, fear no longer shrouds the nature of things to be lost. Through that lifting of the veil, you have space to relate, to identify beauty and love in all things. Fear can be a powerful tool to identify areas where you need to reconcile a relationship. Also, spiders.”
Haha, poetic and hilarious, right?!
So how can we be more like you, Andrew?? For any aspiring gypsies out there, Andrew has some beautiful advice for you.
“Relate!! Talk with yourself. Talk with God. Relate your spirit to the spirits of others in all living things. Have a face-to-face conversation if you can. For someone who is generally more extroverted, share. The best inspiration there comes from behind the eyes of a storyteller or artist. For the more introverted, get the proper gear and make some uncharted treks through local wilderness. Soon enough, you'll find yourself far and wide relating to yourself, nature, and those special select few companions.”
Now we all want to know, where is Andrew headed next?
“It's shaping out that I'll either hang about LA and plug into music again-maybe do some cruises as a musician- or head to New Orleans where I'd grow my commune and hopefully work on a boat or do some organic farming. After that, I have a one-way ticket to Bali where I'll volunteer at several elementary school programs with the Agung Bali Children's Foundation and teach those recently graduated from the program music and song to take back to their communities.”
So rad! I can’t wait to hear about Andrew’s next journey on this wild and beautiful earth.
Finally, I asked Andrew if he has any big goals for the future. His answer surprised and delighted me.
“It's hard to think of the endeavors I have in my heart and mind as goals. I call them wants or wishes, and I do so with a comforting, quiet fire. I wish to eventually start a family. I want to find a job that is boundlessly rewarding and marries many of my passions. I wish to see the world. I want to heart-shake with everybody. I hold no reservations stating these things this way. It's simply where I am now.”
Thank you, thank you, dear Andrew for sharing your amazing stories and inspiring us all. I hope many of you will read this and take the leap of faith to follow your own gypsy path, whatever it may be!
All my love,
Photo credit: Hobvias Sudoneighm via Flickr
Gia writes about her journey through life and the many twists and turns of spiritual growth, relationships, health & healing, life as a performer, and the ever-unfolding path back to her heart.
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