Conscious

ADDICTION FROM A SHAMANIC VIEWPOINT

It is becoming clearer to many that addiction is a disease or illness, not a choice we consciously make that we should be punished for. God knows we punish ourselves and suffer enough in this life without “society” and law makers punishing us further simply because we are not well. A very long time ago I read that all disease could be seen as dis-ease i.e. not being at ease or at peace with ourselves. So is addiction to anything actually really just dis-ease? The roots of which lay in learned behaviour?

Addiction is, from my perception, certainly a symptom of a far deeper cause than that which lays on the behavioural, psychological and physiological surface.  Western medicine primarily always looks at symptoms and what can be seen, attempts to treat that solely usually with chemicals or surgery and rarely does it look for causes that to the naked or microscopic eye are unseen. Yet when we find and heal cause within ourselves of physical symptoms, dis-ease, or behaviour we do not find acceptable, would like to not be experiencing or are subconsciously participating in, the symptoms just simply no longer exist. From birth we are taught to seek outside ourselves for what we need to make us feel good – love, encouragement, nurturing, guidance, cuddles, belief in ourselves etc.

As the child of an alcoholic step-father and cigarette smoking mother their addictions became learned behaviour for me so it stood to reason that as they were the two main ways in which I was shown adults behaved and coped with whatever they were trying to cope with, that I would naturally follow in their footsteps. As a teenager from about 14 onwards after a rape situation occurred I began to consume cigarettes. Not long after when I left home due to the situation I was living in there, I began to consume alcohol and drugs to the point I damn near killed myself. Surviving on little food, drugs, cigarettes, coffee and alcohol was not at all healthy, nor was it a good mix, reducing my weight so dramatically after six months, the only clothes I could wear were size 16 children’s clothing and I was so unwell that not even my own mother recognised me.

I didn’t feel that anyone cared about me, so why should I care? What did it really matter whether I lived or not? All I wanted to do was have a good time and feel better. I did not want, at all, to feel the pain and sadness of not feeling loved, cared for, cared about or understood, of being hit, yelled at, controlled, nor the fear of the alcoholic induced, often physical, arguments and abuse I had been living with since about 6 years of age on a regular and totally unpredictable basis.

To say I, like so many people in this world, grew up in a dysfunctional environment is putting it mildly. My consumption of alcohol, drugs and cigarettes lessened for a short while after another whose love for me quite literally saved my life by showing me they were the only person in my life who did care which gave me the gift of hope and I once again started ingesting regular meals.   I then slid back into copious ingesting of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes whenever I got the opportunity to do so after I was involved in a fatal car accident at 17 in which the young man I had been living with for six months was killed. Back in those days there was no counselling available like there is now.

There was also no funeral and no grave for this young man who lost his life to a drunk driver at only 23 years of age. I was seriously injured and it took a good six months for me to learn how to walk again. The only words I heard at the time from my step-father were “Write down how much pain you are in each day so we can get more money.” The only people in my family who even said they were sorry I had been injured and this young man had died was my mother and one of my step-brothers.   For everyone else in my immediate circle it seemed to me to be a case of suck it up buttercup and just get on with your life.

Drugs, cigarettes and alcohol became my friends, they numbed me from feeling all that was going on inside me. They distracted me and they became my “pain killers”, my “feel good medicine” of choice because I simply had no knowledge of other coping skills I could utilise. The catch being, as all addicts know, is that once we start down this path our brains and our bodies tell us we need more and more “feel good medicine” and “pain killers” to maintain that feel good state of being, to actually cope and survive, to not feel all that pain, anger, grief and sadness living within us that is so very real and raw and it is a very slippery slope we travel until eventually we either kill our bodies or our lives fall apart so badly we hit rock bottom.

We have two choices if we actually do survive and hit rock bottom, continue as we have done and physically die, or trawl the depths and start to bounce back from what feels like the bottomless black hole we have been sucked into that also very much feels like a literal hell or nightmare there often seems to be no escaping from.   Thankfully I was one who chose to trawl the depths and bounce back when in 1992 at 28 I was again faced with my own impending physical death.

What I came to understand as I started to walk the path of the Shaman which was a path that at the time I had no clue I was even walking, was that I, like so many other folk in this world, was actually experiencing what in Shamanic terms is known as Soul loss.

Soul loss can best be described as us becoming like the walking dead, merely surviving, not living and thriving as was intended, simply because who we truly are is not fully present in our bodies.  Parts of us that have not wanted to feel grief, trauma, fear, shock, loss or pain have fragmented off into the subconscious abyss and in very simple terms it is like we are not fully at home in our bodies when we are ingesting substances or distracting ourselves with addictive behaviours or by external means in order to make us feel better or not feel our pain. It is literally like we have huge energetic holes in us, great gaping wounds that we defend, need others to fill, or don’t want to feel the pain of because they are so raw and we are so very vulnerable.

These energetic holes we have, we attempt to fill with external substances or means which consequentially then just make our bodies and our minds very sick indeed. We behave in ways not previously known to us once we start on the road of addiction and it is also not behaviour that those close to us know from us as being “normal”. How many times does the drunken or high person just not seem to be themselves? It is like we become totally different people, often aggressive, angry, totally uncaring and hurtful towards others simply because we are hurting and we just don’t give a damn. We become harmful to ourselves and others and we often have absolutely no memory the next day of our behaviour.

Our behaviour however is NOT us, it is a symptom or cover up if you like hiding whatever we have experienced or been conditioned to believe. How many times does the drunken or drugged person lash out in Jekyll and Hyde fashion?   You never really know what to expect but you just know that who you know that person to be is no longer present in the body in front of you.   This is because we are definitely NOT ourselves at all. Who we truly are is no longer contained in our bodies. What primarily happens with ingesting alcohol and drugs is that when who we truly are checks out of our bodies it’s like an empty house and other “darker” energies with perhaps not so good intentions take over.   This may seem like a very strange and far-fetched concept to many but perhaps for those who have lived it, seen it in others, you will know precisely what I am referring to.

So… how do we heal these gaps and holes we try to fill by external means? How do we stop this happening? How do we change our behaviour? How do we become fully present in our bodies and become whole, well and healthy again?   There is only one way I personally found and that was firstly to make a decision I didn’t want to be that way any longer given that I was so out of control at times, often very re-active, aggressive, defensive, angry, miserable, depressed and more times than not, suicidal.

I did not do the whole re-hab thing, nor did I do AA or have any other types of support in place similar to those, I just said enough when I was faced with my own impending physical death, for the fear of death at 28, which I no longer carry, put the wind up me, literally, and I prayed like I had never prayed in my life prior to be free of it all and to feel nothing but peace, love and acceptance within me.

What ensued was 10 solid years of feeling ever so much grief, trauma, pain, confusion and sadness as I firstly turned to alternative therapies to help heal my body because all the doctors I saw over a six month period all said there was nothing wrong with me – here have some Prozac, meanwhile my body was shutting down more and more each day.   I uncovered and discovered all my physical symptoms were due to constant abuse and unfelt emotions, which I also discovered did not just come from this lifetime but past lifetime experiences as well, all of which had resulted in symptoms associated with having a blocked small intestine and kidneys that were barely working.

I trusted all I was drawn to and underwent attunement to Reiki/Seichim, learnt how to work with my dreams, attended many courses, began walking, meditations and yoga, ate better, studied for two Diplomas in Counselling, one Holistic, one standard that also included some alternative modalities. I read all I could get my hands on, discovering along the way many fragmented parts of me, along with many gifts and skills I never even knew existed within me. Gradually my addictions abated but always there is work to be done.

Physical pains were always linked in with emotional pain, the true cause and source of which came to me either via dreaming or during meditations (which is really the same state of consciousness) and it truly was only in the fully feeling of ALL the emotions that bubbled up from within me and by integrating/re-membering i.e. bringing into being, the fragmented parts of me I re-connected with in The Dreaming, that eventually there was peace. I came to see that time did not exist as we know it to exist, that past definitely has an impact on the present until we heal it by fully feeling it and releasing it (shutting the door on it and just saying past is past, forget it and get on with your life, simply does not work) and that the emotions which came with memories or in the dreaming, meditations etc., were just energy passing through.

Rather than numbing those emotions, once felt and released, with each and every process of integration and release, a strength, love, acceptance, understanding and peace began filling me up like nothing I had ever experienced before. There is an old saying you may have heard of – The cup must be emptied before it can be filled.   This was certainly the case for me and I began to live by the motto which Jamie Sams brought into the world “To feel is to heal.”

Emotional pain is the LAST thing any of us want to feel – we do everything we can to avoid it yet it is only in feeling it, that we truly do heal it and are free of it. Was it easy work?   Definitely not.   Was it lonely work? It certainly was. Was it worth it? Without a doubt. For I learnt the hard way that no matter what I chose to ingest that was external to me, no matter how much I sought love and acceptance externally from others, no matter what I did to feel “better”, and no matter how “strong” I had been to just carry on Columbus and survive it all, the real strength came when I turned fully inward to find, eventually, all I needed was already inside me for me the love, peace, wisdom, knowing and acceptance I was seeking only came when I paid attention to what my dreams and daily life were showing me and what my memories and emotions were telling me about myself and about life. As I uncovered who I truly was I also discovered there would never be a need again for me to re-cover my Self.

To free ourselves from addiction is a huge undertaking as there is so much in this world we can become attached and addicted to. It is however achievable if we have the courage, faith and trust needed to turn inward, face our fears, grief, pain and trauma, feel it all fully and be free of it once and for all. Many of us are so busy telling our stories, which whilst important, does not enable us to actually feel the emotion contained in those stories for our stories come from our heads.

No-one can do this work for us, it is something we all must do for ourselves for it is only in doing for Self that we become more Self-aware, more Self responsible, heal and become more Self empowered. It is not at all selfish to do this work for it brings about self-centeredness, balance, peace, love, acceptance, respect for all life and an awareness of our wholeness with all life, like nothing else we have ever experienced can, all of which is then reflected back to us in the world.

The choice whether we do this work or not is entirely ours to make. We can keep going as we have been or we can quite literally turn our whole world and reality around by coming from the inside out and in doing so move out of the nightmare of externalism, blame, victim mentality, attack, defence and addiction.

Much love and peace to all.

Cheers, Cheryl.

Copyright. C. O’Connor.

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DEATH IS ONLY A BREATH AWAY

From the moment we come into this world Death is the one constant companion we have who walks with us, along with our intuition, faith, trust and courage.

Yet we fear and fight death, why?

Is it because we think it is “the end” of us?

Is it because generally speaking our western culture hides the dying and death away from us?

Is it because our western medical system is geared to save life regardless of the pain and suffering another may be enduring which is often just lengthened by way of experiments, surgeries and the like? Granted there are some treatments and surgeries that do save lives but there are also many situations where a person is just treated like a medical experiment and kept alive only long enough to be of scientific value and research use. (I am speaking from first-hand experience with that particular issue having watched what occurred and was inflicted on my Dad for what seemed like two very long weeks, whilst he was dying.)

Is it because we have become so attached to the physical world we don’t want to leave?

Is it because we have become so dependent on another we don’t believe we can live without them?

Or is it simply due to fear of the unknown?

Whatever the reasons are that we fear death, battle it and do not just accept that it is an intrinsic part of being born, I don’t see any of it is as being really very healthy.

Many of us during the course of our life have folk come into our lives for however long they need to be in our lives and then they leave either by way of us and them just getting on with life, irreconcilable disagreement, mutual agreement or death. Sometimes we grieve the loss, however it may occur, other times we are glad to see the back of them. We even grieve the loss of well-known folk who we personally do not know. The standard norm however is considered to be that we are born, live to a ripe old age and when our bodies are worn out and we are old we “die”.   This however is not factual.

Death occurs at any stage of life, some folk die earlier than others and we have this in built conditioning which seems to me to think that unless we are of a ripe old age that anyone who dies under a certain age is “too young to die” or that it is a tragedy when folk die. We speak of poor lost souls who perish in natural “disasters” and accidents that occur. How do we know they are lost?

Some of us never get over the death of another who has been an integral part of our life or are totally lost ourselves when another leaves our physical reality by way of death. Often when well-known celebrities who have lived full and vibrant lives are dying many start praying for them, leaving messages on social media for them to keep fighting. Our media speaks of folk losing battles long or short against cancer and other dis-eases. Humans never have, nor will ever be in control of death or birth as much as we may try. When our time is up, it’s up. It really is that simple.

Many say it is morbid to think about death and it seems to me in our western culture we are not at all very well prepared to face our own death or that of loved ones when the time comes. Yet we are all dying, we are all born to die and realistically we have no clue when the moment of physical death will occur.  It is quite literally only a breath or a heartbeat away. When you live with the total conscious awareness that death could occur for you at any moment or those you love, you live an entirely different life to someone who perceives that when they or their loved ones get old only then will they die.

Many who are told by doctors they only have x amount of time to live actually begin to live for perhaps the first time in their lives. They think what the heck, I may as well do whatever it is they have held off doing, because now I know I am going to die, yet we all know all along we are going to die at some point in our lives. It’s not the best analogy but it’s kind of like Christmas, we all know it’s coming, yet we race around like lunatics just prior to it occurring to get ourselves organised for it.

I feel very blessed as I see death differently to most I know, simply because I am no stranger to it. My first encounter occurred when I was 12 and it was at that time I just knew people’s grief (including my own) was more about what folk had lost, not done, felt guilty about, regretted etc., than it was about what the person who had passed on had gained, particularly if they were suffering from physical illness, dis-ease and pain. As a child, one of my favourite places to play was the cemetery just up the road from where I lived. It was peace full there and I often kept company with the snakes who curled up on the cement, seeking warmth, which covered the tops of the graves.

Even to this day it is not uncommon for me to be drawn to cemeteries and to just wander around, reading the gravestones that stand as monuments to another’s life – long, short or somewhere in between. It is still one of the most peace full places for me to go to as often there are not many folk around and it is a place that always puts my life and all things into their true perspective for me whilst always reminding me just how short and precious life in a physical body truly is.

My next up close and personal encounter with death came whilst only feeding my body small amounts of food and large amounts of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes when I was about 15. It was only the mutual love between myself and another which saved me on that occasion and kept me here.

Death paid me another visit at 17 when whilst knocked totally unconscious as the result of what I later found out was a fatal car accident, I was experiencing what we call a dream. I was in what I now know to be a parallel reality where the sun was shining and I was having a picnic with the person who I later discovered had passed away. It was beautiful, joyous, loving and peaceful and I was resting with my back against a tree, until our dog ran into the bush and I started calling out to him. My calling out became so loud it brought me back into this physical reality and as I opened my eyes I saw the horror of that car accident and the injuries I had received during it. I was also sitting against a tree, the exact same bushland around me as I had seen in the “dreaming” experience and what had been glorious weather in the “dream” was in this reality torrential rain. Our dog was also nowhere to be seen.

As I processed that event much later I just knew deep within me that “if” I had of been killed as well, I wouldn’t have felt a thing. There would have been no pain whatsoever for my consciousness had clearly left my body just prior to impact – my last memory before the “dreaming experience” having been seeing windscreen wipers moving across the glass in front of me. The pain of my many injuries only came when I became conscious of this physical reality again.

At 28 Death came calling once more as my body was shutting down from life threatening illness and during the next 10 years much “died” within me as I began to consciously walk the path of the Shaman. Death was also very present in my awareness when I was pregnant with my son at 36 and whilst I was birthing him, then later when he was roughly two and experienced Whooping Cough.   Often throughout my life so-called dead folk would visit me in what we call “dreams” and “visions” and also by way of “weird” stuff that occurred in this physical reality. They still do.

I also became aware of many deaths that had occurred for me during what we call past lives.   I re-lived being guillotined, hung, burnt, stabbed, eaten by a crocodile, murdered many times and in every possible way death can occur, drowned, being tortured, thrown down a well and my neck was broken and on it went. In one experience instead of trying to run from death in fear I just stood in the experience fully and said to myself, this is it – I am going to die. With that total acceptance and absolutely no fear any longer in relation to death my consciousness was back in my physical body and I truly “got it” that the essence of me just never ever dies. I have to say that was, at the time, THE most empowering experience I’d had.

When my Grandfather passed on, for the first time in my life I saw a “dead” body. All that was left was a container, like an empty cocoon. Who I knew my Grandfather to be was no longer present. The body was stiff, solid and cold due to freezer type refrigeration. This body I looked at and touched was just not him at all. It did not even really look like him.

Many say it is morbid to think or talk  about death, many will not even discuss it preferring to state “if something happens to me” rather than stating “if I die or when I die” and it seems to me in our western culture we are not at all well prepared to face our own death or that of our loved ones when the time comes.

I visited the Land of the Dead recently and it was a very beautiful experience where I interacted with many friends and family who have passed on. As with all families and during our life many folk have left my life and I was astounded to find them all waiting for me when I did this journey.   It is also a journey that can be done by anyone, which I facilitate.

Death again visited me up close and personal yesterday, which is what has prompted this article and during that visit it became clear to me that there is only one aspect of my life story right here and right now as it stands that I don’t feel a sense of 100% peace about – a mission I set out to achieve for myself some 23 years ago.  I feel extremely grateful that there is only one aspect and not as many as there were back then. As I conversed with Death in this experience it also became clear to me that hopefully with a little help from the Spirits this one aspect can be put right before I do leave this body because I really don’t want to be carrying that one with me.

My experiences have shown me time and again that whatever we do not have full peace, acceptance and love about within us when we leave, we just take with us and yep it would appear to me that it is a case of well too bad, so sad you just have to come back again to deal with it. We also take the love we feel for others with us, it doesn’t just “die” when a body dies, just as it doesn’t die within us for those we have loved who have passed on.  It is often the case those who have passed on have messages and guidance for us which they try to give us but even though we miss them we find it creepy, weird, spooky and we fear actually communicating with them ourselves, often preferring instead to have a third person tell us what another is trying to communicate to us.   We didn’t fear them, usually, whilst they lived in a body so why do we fear them just because they no longer exist in a body?

For myself there is no separation between the physical and non-physical realities which exist. Where I will go when I leave this body my mother named Cheryl I have no clue for I do not believe there is a Heaven as such, nor a Hell, except for within ourselves. It has been my experience that with our free will we either create Heaven or Hell in this physical reality and as John Lennon once said “Imagine there’s no Heaven, it’s easy if you try. No Hell below us, above us only sky”.   I therefore have no expectations of what will occur when I leave this body and so I am totally open to the adventure of it all. What I do have though is abundant faith and trust plus good navigational skills in The Dreaming and I know that a part of me knows way better than my logic does, my logic being so very limited in this physical reality.  I also know that the part of me that does know will kick in and do whatever it needs to do when the time comes.

So that all said how  do we all better prepare ourselves for the inevitability of facing and accepting Death’s constant presence as it walks inside and beside us in the shadows, instead of fearing Death and not truly living?

In dreaming, every single night, whether we have memory of it the next morning or not, we leave our bodies and go travelling, connecting and interacting with the Souls of folk we know and yep even those we don’t know and by some miracle we awake each morning in the body we left resting in our bed or wherever we slept.  Given some of the dreaming experiences I have, to me that in itself is miraculous that I find my way back into my body each morning.   When we wake we are blessed with another day of life in a physical body.   It is a gift, not a given.  It is also a gift so very many of us take for granted and don’t even give thanks for.

We even do this when we nana nap, power nap, meditate etc., for we have absolutely no awareness of our physical bodies when in that fully altered state of consciousness. Many also have no awareness even of that altered state of consciousness. Yet it is so very healing and powerful and it is a space, if you like to think of it that way, which is full of insight, abundance, truth, guidance and wisdom. During the night our body has miraculously kept our heart beating and our lungs breathing. So at some part of us we know it is perfectly fine and safe to leave our bodies and that we will be okay. True we may not be conscious of that, but I sense that deep down we just know it. Often too if we are feeling threatened in any way, either in the dreaming realities or in this physical reality, we will slam back into the body ready to take action. The dreaming body/soul/astral body are intrinsically linked it would seem to the physical body and its reactions for how often do we wake from a scary dream heart pounding or an emotional dream with tears in our eyes?

It is said that there is no better preparation for death than being a conscious dreamer and well….. I have to agree. For most of us travellers who are conscious dreamers,  we are aware of the multiverse and parallel realities, we learn the territory away from the confines of the physical body quite well, the more we practice it like anything the better we get at it and we also learn how to navigate our way around in that territory. We “know” without a shadow of doubt that we exist beyond the physical body.

To become a conscious dreamer and be better prepared for our own deaths, we need to firstly pay attention to whatever snippets of memory, be it images or feelings we have upon waking in our bodies of a morning.   The more we welcome, honour and act on our dreaming experiences, the more we receive them, the more we receive them, the more conscious we become of them, the more conscious we become of them, the less fear we experience not only in our physical reality but also in the dreaming realities of the multiverse, parallel realities, spirit worlds etc.

The biggest fear I sense most have is the fear of death and yet the irony of that is when we no longer fear death, we actually truly begin to live. For some of us perhaps for the first time ever. My mum, bless her has always said to me “You live like there is no tomorrow” and for me no there is no tomorrow ever for I have had way too many encounters with Death to not know I and those I love could be physically gone in an instant, so for me there is only ever each moment of now.

There is a Native American expression I very much love – “It’s a good day to die” (meaning that there are no regrets, there is nothing left unsaid or undone and that there is peace within). We use the term RIP when another passes on but how much better would it be do you think if we all lived in peace instead of waiting until we die to rest in peace ? I know for myself I have done and do all I can every single day to make every day a good day to die – how about you?

Cheers, Cheryl.

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© Cheryl O’Connor 2014.

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SPIDER – Weaving the Web of Life.

Not everyone’s favourite critter and certainly not mine BUT Spider is symbolic of much. Spider is said to have woven the first primordial alphabet. So can be about writing. Spider speaks of our connection to all that exists in the world wide (universal) web. Spider’s body is shaped like a figure 8 – symbol for DNA and her 8 legs are said to symbolise the four directions and the four winds of change.Spider can be a warning message to not get caught up in our own illusions of ourselves and the physical world. Spider is also about creating and her web is said to represent the wheel of life to which we are all bound.

She can be a warning to not get caught up in the polarities of good and bad and a reminder that we can create anything we want to in our lives. Spider, like ourselves is always creating and it is prudent to be mindful of what exactly we are creating for ourselves without getting caught up in the web of our own delusions.

She can also be a reminder for us to not get so tangled up in our own webs of destructiveness and criticism when it comes to our relationships with others. For some Spiders will indeed kill and eat their own partners. Copyright C. O’Connor 2014.

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‪#‎Cheryl‬ O’Connor.
‪#‎Holistic‬ ‪#‎Counsellor‬, Author & Writer.

* Cognitive & Body Based Counselling.
* Creative & Artistic Therapies.
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LIFE AS A DREAM

“Everything that comes to me
is a reflection of Self so I see
that as within, so too without
leaving me with no doubt
of the work on Self that must be done
in order for Humanity to be consciously One.

Judging none, accepting all,
surrendering to the rise and fall,
fully feeling the pain inside,
from myself I can never hide,
and as I become One with my Soul
I begin to realise my only role
is to love and respect all that’s around me
but firstly love and respect for myself there must be.”

It was during a time of non-dreaming when I was needing answers and none were forthcoming by their usual method of delivery i.e. dreaming, that one day I thought I wonder what would happen if I started treating things, people, events and animals that crossed my path just as I would a dream. Would the answers I was seeking then come to me?

So with great curiosity I made a decision to start looking at life in that way whenever I had a re-action (re-acting out an old subconscious behavioural pattern I didn’t particularly like or experiencing intense emotions i.e. what folk normally refer to as a reaction rather than a response) or with whatever I encountered, bird, reptile, beast, the wind and whatever direction it was coming from, people who crossed my path, traffic lights, slogans and signs that “spoke” to me, numbers, rooms, street names, clouds that formed very definite shapes, types of trees – essentially everything that occurred or crossed my path in my so called “waking” reality in this physical realm of logical and rational thinking.

If for example a water pipe broke, a light bulb went out, a glass smashed, a door became stuck, if I got a red light run or a green light run etc., etc., I treated all exactly as I would a dream i.e. as an aspect of Self just as I would a “sleeping” dream when I woke up each morning. I would use the method I have developed for working with a dream, for always the present situation, our questions and feelings about it and the answer to any question or pondering we have during our waking reality will be revealed in dreaming. The good majority of us though, have lost the knowledge of how dreams speak to us and in fact how life truly speaks to us.

What I discovered amazed and excited me for when I started bringing the personal symbolic meanings I had spent a great deal of time getting to know, which I used in my dream analysis, along with my way of working with a dream, into my daily life, my experiences clearly showed me I was essentially in fact living one huge dream of my own creation whether “awake” or “asleep”.

Ever since I have therefore treated ALL that crosses my path as a symbolic aspect of my Self whenever I have needed to make a decision about which path to take at crossroads; to assist with just “knowing” whether something was right for me or not; or whenever there has been anything I haven’t quite understood which I do need to see and understand. It takes time to actually get the hang of this but if a person starts practising it a whole new awareness can open up and it truly will amaze.

The reality and biggest bonus for all being that folk don’t necessarily need to experience dreaming in what we term “sleep” in order to understand the deeper meanings behind the veil of illusion of everyday so called “waking” life that dreaming gives us.

When we start to look at daily life symbolically, as we would a dream, we find situations which arise are taken less personally and the ability can be gained to see a little deeper into the issue i.e. what it is teaching us about ourselves and the action we need to take, or not take, in relation to it.

We soon come to realise that messages for our personal growth, use and guidance are abundant and this is especially true when we are dealing with challenges (not problems) I personally believe, as John Lennon once said, “There are no problems, only solutions.” Challenges if you like, that we set up for ourselves to find creative solutions to, to test our skills, knowledge and growth and whether or not we have actually healed a wound that would normally create a re-action, as opposed to a response.

Often we will learn something and for a time it is only a theory that just makes perfect sense to us and resonates with us, then we will experience it i.e. we are given the chance and opportunity to put that theory into practice. Some lessons true, take longer to sink in than others, many refer to those repetitive lessons as mistakes or if they experience something that isn’t pleasant those too are seen as mistakes rather than just the learning curves that they are and folk will often throw a negative connotation on them but we will repeat something several times in various different scenarios until yep we now not only “know” it, as in the theory of it, but more importantly we have experienced it, integrated it and we now understand it and can apply it in our lives. As an example I can share for many many years I appeared to attract abusive behaviour by others, once I stopped abusing myself the reflection of that no longer appeared in others.

How many times do we encounter people who we feel treat us badly? We are often faced with situations that bring up emotions such as anger, frustration, sadness and disappointment. We, or the other person, are often left feeling the intensity of our emotions. Sometimes we confront the person and try to sort out the difficulty, other times we don’t. Often the issue is never mentioned again as we try to pretend nothing has happened yet we feel an invisible barrier with these folk, or we simply avoid the person who we think has caused our distress or discomfort. We often take “offence” to something another has done or said and therein lays a very interesting word. “Offence” when I play with it I get “A fence” – i.e. a barrier put up so strongly that no-one can get through it.

Many of us were never taught and still have not mastered effective communication skills or good confrontational skills. Most of us run a mile rather than confront another about any discomfort we may be experiencing due to what another has said, done or not done. Our whole conditioning in our western culture has been one of competition, of win or lose, of right and wrong, of my way or the highway, yet with effective communication skills and good confrontational skills it does not need to be this way. Interactions can move from discomfort, strong emotion or attack and blame scenarios to one of clear boundaries, assertive and effective communication, self-confidence and mutual respect with a desire to understand where each other is coming from by asking questions, by being curious, rather than judging, accusing, assuming, blaming, shaming, attempting to “make” another feel guilty or creating a fence.

Once we begin to look at absolutely everything and everyone who crosses our path as being a symbolic aspect of Self/part of Self we start to feel acceptance and gratitude for whatever comes our way, although granted we certainly may not feel that when the event that has triggered our own subconscious distress and re-active behaviour first occurs!

It is however OUR distress to deal with. No-one can “make” another feel anything – they are OUR feelings, no-one else’s. Learning and understanding what I perceive to be the lost language of dreams can help us all enormously for it is one of our greatest allies, providing a wealth of healing, knowledge and wisdom accessible to every single person on the planet freely and frequently.

Everywhere we go, everything we hear, everything we overhear, everyone we meet and every single situation we encounter has a deeper meaning when treated symbolically. Messages are EVERYWHERE yet we rarely see them, let alone give thanks for them or the priceless gifts they and others bring into our lives. We are usually too busy rushing here or there and realistically where are we all really rushing to? Many say “I’m getting there” where exactly is “there”?

Often folk are so busy talking about a situation, feeling we are hard done by, or rehashing events that have upset us over and over in our minds to stop and be still enough to truly listen and see the truth of what is really occurring.

Often we struggle and suffer through our experiences, judging, blaming, resenting, accusing, making assumptions and trying to figure out why another has behaved the way they have, yet rarely do we even ask them why or ask what is going on for them. More times than not most folk will discuss the issue with someone else, with both assuming or trying to guess why another has done or said whatever they have done or said to supposedly cause another distress or upset.

Sometimes we even go so far as to not even speak to those who we feel caused our distress. Our ingrained subconscious conditioning is to continually project ourselves onto others blaming them for whatever happens in OUR lives and whatever emotions WE feel.

Every single experience we have had or do have in life we have created at a deeper level for ourselves. Each one of us has been given “free will” and once we truly get this we have learnt to accept FULL responsibility for everything that has and does occur in our lives.

One of the quickest, most beautiful and easiest empowering words any of us can ever use is “I”. I feel, I think, I am wondering, I need to, I should, I must, I will, rather than using words like “you make me”, “you think I”, “you need to”, “you should/shouldn’t”, “you must/mustn’t”, “you don’t” etc.

So many times the use of “you” lands up in an argument with raised voices and intense emotions coming to the surface. It seems to me that often when we don’t feel heard or understood we automatically raise our voice perhaps in a subconscious effort to be heard yet it is not the volume attached to what we need to say that is creating the misunderstanding in most situations – saying something louder doesn’t make it any better understood, it just leads to the other person raising their voice also. It is rather synchronistic that as I am typing this in the background I can hear a classic “YOU”, “YOU”, “YOU” argument which is occurring quite loudly on the television which another in the Bat Cave has turned on.

The moment we use the word you in front of any other word, more particularly when we are experiencing strong emotional re-actions or discomfort, we are projecting onto another person and we will automatically create a barrier between that person and our Self.

Whereas if we replace “you” with “I” we neither give our own personal power away, nor our Self responsibility, nor will another throw up an invisible barrier that “you” smacks them in the face with as being a personal attack on them, which then pushes them into a space of instant defence caused by offence, and further away.

There is a nursery rhyme I am sure many will remember which on the surface means diddly squat really and yet it holds great and profound wisdom:-

“Row Row Row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily
Life is but a Dream!”

When looked at symbolically this rhyme holds far greater meaning than we generally give it credit for, for realistically most of us give it no credit and perhaps think of it as a cute but silly little nursery rhyme young children seem to have enjoyed hearing and singing over time.

Essentially a boat is a vessel that journeys on top of and through water. Our bodies are the vessels we journey through life in. Water is generally symbolic of our emotions. Therefore symbolically speaking the boat represents us and how we could be handling the emotions we travel through, if we all truly realised Life is But a Dream, of our own creation.

Cheers, Cheryl.

© Cheryl O’Connor 2014.

•*´☾☆☽`*•

‪#‎Cheryl‬ O’Connor.
‪#‎Holistic‬ ‪#‎Counsellor‬, Author & Writer.

* Cognitive & Body Based Counselling.
* Creative & Artistic Therapies.
* Specialising in ‪#‎Dream‬ ‪#‎Analysis‬/‪#‎Conscious‬ ‪#‎Dreaming‬ & ‪#‎Shamanic‬ Journeying.
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THE WISDOM OF FAIRY TALES

Most of us would presume that Fairy Tales hold no greater meaning than a story we tell to our children. Yet when looked at symbolically you can soon pick up that there is far greater wisdom in them than being “just a story”.

In most fairy tales the plot and theme seem to be very similar – child leaves “home” for one reason or another to enter the wide world. Encounters difficulties and meets all sorts of characters by way of Witches, Wizards, Dragons, Wolves, Wicked Step-Mothers, Goblins etc., momentarily losing sight of the way back by being lost, imprisoned or falling asleep and is usually assisted by animals, elemental beings, fairies and good people.

For me the Fairy Tales are a guide if you like for all of us who participate in the Journey of Life. The child leaving “home” represents not only the physical reality of leaving home but also the shutting down and off of what many call imagination, which for me is full conscious awareness. We then indeed face the “cruel world” and all its’ dangers, not usually understanding or making sense of it as we too encounter many aspects of creation within ourselves some of which we have to face and accept or kill off (walk away from) if they are no longer serving us or making us happy.

As in many of the Fairy Tales, we too so often seek outside of ourselves for what we think will make us happy, usually we attain what we want and then we’re still not totally satisfied, we know something is missing but we can’t quite put our finger on it.

Many of us continually search for that “one true love” to come and sweep us off our feet, he or she enters our lives and we think we’ve finally found him or her. As we enter momentary bliss we make promises to love, be committed to and live with that one person for the rest of our lives. That’s a heck of a long time to be with someone night and day. Personally I don’t find that a very realistic promise to make, although granted some folk seem to manage it. Many of us however stay with partners who we have either outgrown or are incompatible with due to family pressure, guilt, loyalty etc. and having been there, done that I know how fearful it can be for many of us to think we will have to be on our own, possibly for the rest of our lives.

Yet to truly know yourself you need to spend time alone with yourself. I fail to see how anyone can have a meaningful, truthful, loving relationship with another human being if they don’t firstly have that relationship with themselves. Nor can I understand how we can expect one person to give us all we need for the rest of our lives when nine times out of ten we don’t even give ourselves what we honestly need or want. How can we know or understand anyone unless and until we know and understand ourselves first?

The Fairy Tales generally symbolise the inner journey of life, of the faith and trust needed to survive it all and come out on top, of our ability to become aware of and receive assistance from the Animals and other aspects of creation within and around us. Many of us these days see no sense in telling these stories to our children as most of us take them literally and know from cold hard experience there really is no such thing as finding your Prince or Princess and living “happily ever after”, least not externally anyway.

When looked at symbolically however, the Prince or the Princess represent our own masculine and feminine energy.  How many times in fairy tales does the male kiss the female and wake her up?  I see this entirely differently to the surface level which fairy tales bring us for it is only when our masculine logic merges with our feminine knowing that we have a balance within ourselves of both the rational, logical, doing energy (masculine) and nurturing, intuitive, creative energy (feminine) that we can live either on our own or with another “happily ever after”. After all life is indeed a never ending story of our own creation and as we appear to live in a hologram that mirrors what we hold within us – as our energy shifts and changes with our awareness some folk no longer vibrate at the “level” for want of a better word that best reflects us and they do simply drop away, as we shed the energy of what they most represented/reflected to us about ourselves.

The original Fairy Tales like those of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson hold a wealth of knowledge for children and adults alike about the Journey of Life and how we can more easily navigate our way through it when they are not treated literally.  When a child chooses a particular story they would like you to read to them, you may be very surprised as to how uncannily it relates to your journey and where you are presently at.

Cheers, Cheryl.

© Cheryl O’Connor 2014.

•*´☾☆☽`*•

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#Holistic #Counsellor, #Author & #Writer.

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* #Creative & #Artistic #Therapies.
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* #Isis #Meditation.

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