Heart – Mind – Body Wisdom

YOUR PERSONAL EVOLUTION

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This week I decided to speak to the energetics present during the past month of May and this month of June. It seems May rushed in with a bang, the strong vibrations still reverberating at the start of this month of June. All around me and in my own life, people are in the tumults of big transitions. Everyone seems to be in the midst of upheaval. And everyone seems to be inching towards their truths. Each of us are in the midst of SHEDDING OUR SKIN to reach our next state of evolution, closer to our authentic selfs and CORE TRUTH.

Often when we tune into our intuition, our gut, we feel the pull towards our truths. In my own life and in many of those around me, the start of this month of June has brought about a direct line to our core truths and a need to follow our instinctual drive towards truth. This gravitational pull seems unshakable and the path to truth can be complicated, confusing, and difficult to navigate. Many souls are feeling the pain of taking necessary steps towards living authentically in their personal truth. That may mean relationship break-ups, marriage separations, and in some cases infidelity. Some are experiencing major career transitions and considering overhauling careers. Some are beginning investigations into long standing health issues, finally taking steps towards healthier living.

The one common thread in this energetic is the compounding feeling of isolation. As we move through these difficult, possibly painful yet fruitful times and necessary steps towards our truths, many of us are feeling alone, isolated in our pain. And while we may be feeling isolated or struggling to find support, we are not alone. This energy is resonating with a great many of us now, you are not alone. We are evolving together. 

If you find yourself being magnetized towards a path of action that just feels RIGHT, you are not alone. Follow your gut. Trust that you are on the path towards your truth. Soon you will shed this layer of life and step into your next higher self, the EVOLVED YOU.

To breaking free and tuning in to your CORE TRUTH,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows what it takes to follow core truths and experience personal evolution in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

 

Depth & Facing the Shadow

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At times I feel frustrated with the depth I own in my life.

I wonder, can’t I just switch off this part of living? I’d like to be ignorant and numb to my depth for just a day. Skate along the surface and be able to focus on small talk, popular culture, or climbing the ladder like much of the rest of the population? It seems so much easier to live in that world. At least, it appears easier. And I have tried. Tried to shut off my emotions and depth in order to live on the surface.

This resulted in numbness and disconnection rather than ease and joy. I lost touch with my values and motivation. And I know I cannot reject that part of me (my truth and the depth of my heartspace) because while it can create a lot of pain, it also produces love and joy. Therefore, given the choice, I intentionally choose on a daily basis to live in depth and introspection rather than floating along the surface, numbed out and disconnected.

So I tune into my heartspace fully. I accept my depth as a gift.

The gift comes with pain and joy which at times are inseparable. I reach the plateau of a growth spurt and drop down again to face another shadow. Each time I drop down I notice my resiliency and strength has grown and it becomes easier. And when I rise up again to the next enlightened plateau I feel more at ease knowing I will drop again. The death and rebirthing process cycles, each time bringing more knowledge, contentment and balance in the uncertainty of the future. My depth is a welcome teacher and I know the ache of growth will result in the joy of knowing.

This pattern resonates with many of the women I work with. I find especially those in helping professions experience the constant death and rebirth cycle central to their spiritual and mind-body growth process. It is the work of all women, the feminine calling, to grow out of the mud like the lotus flower and move through the DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL*. When we arrive on the other side there is stability and wise mind knowing.

I invite you to journey with me to embrace your depth and feminine calling to rise from the mud as the lotus flower, to fully connect with your heartspace.

To the divine feminine depths within us all,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows the shadow, light, and dark night of women in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

*Elkhart Tolle on the Dark Night of the Soul – https://www.eckharttolle.com/newsletter/october-2011

LIVING FROM YOUR HEARTSPACE

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I would like to invite you on a journey with me. While it is my journey, it is also yours :: this is our journey. We are the divine feminine, and our collective souls unite in the still frames of our lives through whispers and symbols, images, songs, and energetic vibrations.

Over the last five years of my life I have been called to recognize my soul. I was propelled by a process which I could not stop, something so much bigger than my previous life agenda, that I was unprepared to accept into my life. Over the last five years of my life I have died and have been rebirthed many times. I went through the deepest of lows to encounter a contentment and attunement with life that continues to awe me in every moment that I receive it. While the feeling is not ever constant, the glimpses sustain my contentment throughout my day now.

And yet, I live among the hustle and bustle of the city. An energy chameleon, I shift with the vibrations that surround me, knowing I am unchangeable at my core. I sway with the flow of the creatures I encounter and love openly, spaciously, without limits. I do not presume to believe I have reached some level of enlightenment or have the knowledge necessary to impart lessons upon you. I only seek to live genuinely and connect.

I want to share my experiences with you, what brought me here, my path, and where continue to tread. I want you to share your journey with me and to have a community in which we might open our hearts and soul spaces and resonate with one another. With the new year, I invite you to start to follow your heart and soul into the depth of feminine experience and towards your own freedom.

My intention is to unite weekly to we explore the feminine experience on all levels equally and free from judgement, the superficial of embellishing our bodies to the depth of existential questions. We will touch upon science and spiritual, as well as the intersection of the two. We will listen to the speech of our bodies as a catalyst for discussion and change. We will use image to explore and join with the collective feminine. And we will celebrate and honor both the ups and downs of the journey.

Please begin this journey with me by suggesting what topics you may be interested in exploring.

What does the New Year bring up for you in your heart, how does your heart speak to you with the start of a new journey and cycle?

Connect with me by email kim@yoursoultherapy.com for a free 20 minute phone consult.

In Journeying,

Kimberly Ottinger  MA, LPC, ATR-BC
Your Soul Therapy Associate

Walking My Talk…Dreaming Big

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As a woman, wife, mother, psychotherapist, supervisor, and business owner, practicing self care is a must. Over the past few years, I have worked to align myself with my values with much gratitude to The Daring Way community, the metaphysical teachings of Tosha Silver and my Jungian analyst for this. Cultivating practices that are embedded with vulnerability, courage, connection, integrity, rest, play, awe and wonder keep me honest, grounded, and real. I #walkmytalk and this has changed my personal and professional life beyond my wildest dreams. I live into heart-mind-body-soul wisdom in daily practices and decisions, as well as big huge vulnerable leaps (like writing this blog post). My vulnerability is guided by aligning with my values and a force much larger than me. This way of living and showing up in the world is an imperfect process that I wouldn’t have any other way.

When working with women in psychotherapy, art therapy, sandplay, urban retreats, supervision, consultation, or practice building, I support them through the lens of walking their own talk. My clients learn to source themselves from the inside out into their deep confidence. Each woman’s flow, process and outcomes are unique, but what they have been seeking or felt blocked by (fear, shame, failure, impostor syndrome, heartbreak, loneliness…) dissolves through through this work. Witnessing their transformations is the most profound work of my life and of the deepest honor.

I have taken the leap to share more about how I work today because I’m on the brink of taking one the biggest professional leap’s of my career. Tomorrow, I am headed to Costa Rica for a business retreat filled with all things wanderlust, sisterhood, yoga, big dreaming, horseback riding, surfing, waterfalls, and beyond. My intentions are to recharge, replenish, reconnect, surrender, and be open to receiving. I hope to return to pay forward this experience by offering my own retreat later this year.  I will be fully unplugged for the next week.  I would love to connect with you for a free 20 minute phone consult when I return on 3/10.  Email me amy@amytatsumi.com to schedule your consult.

~In walking my talk & dreaming big,
Amy

The Fear of Being Boring: Managing Social Anxiety & Dating

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While many people take on dating as a or even a social experiment, for some the fear of being boring or awkward eclipse their ability to fully engage in dating or cultivate deep or soulful connections.  I have worked with many incredibly successful and engaging women who feel anything but that when it comes to dating or relationships.  Outside of their romantic life, they are all in.  However, they would state that one of their biggest fears is being perceived as or perceiving themselves as boring when it comes to dating.
These irrational fears trump their ability to have meaningful conversations or at times even go on dates or continue onto the 3rd date due to nervousness, rehearsing tragedy, catastrophizing, or daunting self-consciousness.  They stay small or don’t show up at all in many parts of their dating or romantic life.  Some people with these excessive or irrational fears in social situations have Social Anxiety Disorder.  This is very different from introversion or shyness because the disorder often disrupts the quality of one’s life.  There are strategies for managing social anxiety, and I share them as related to dating below.

Strategies for Moving Toward Connection and Out of Social Anxiety Therapy

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Getting counseling or psychotherapy  from a licensed psychotherapist or a credentialed art therapist to help manage your anxiety can be immensely helpful allowing you to work through the barriers that keep you feeling stuck, unmotivated or that you aren’t ______ enough in romantic relationships.  Various models are effective at helping people work through social anxiety (e.g., Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Exposure Therapy, Expressive Therapies, Psychoanalysis, Shame Resilience Therapy).  Each model of therapy varies from symptom management to resolution to understanding the root cause of the fears.  Therapy can also allow you to get to know yourself fully, which is a huge asset in romantic relationships.

Perspective Taking

When you are in the midst fearing that you are the most boring date ever or whatever fear is coming up, learning to take perspective will keep you grounded and help decrease the anxiety. Perspective taking allows you to step outside of your thoughts and feelings and take the perspective of another. In this dating example, thinking of all of the people on dates in this moment who may be feeling awkward, other, or boring will allow you to see that you are not alone or the only one. This connection to our humanness often will get you out of anxiety, fear and disconnection from yourself and the date. With practice, perspective taking can connect you the humanness of your experience, rather than in the comments of your inner critic for not being perfect. Keeping an a sense of openness or curiosity rather than judgmental self evaluation can also support perspective taking and staying out of the tunnel vision experience of social anxiety.

Learning to Be Present

Whether you are fighting, fleeing or feeling the anxiety, you can access a calmer, more regulated, rational and functional place when you are present. One of the keys to being in the moment is to not fight, flee or judge your feelings or sensations. Our bodies reset to a neutral state when we have given ourselves space to feel the feelings. Many clients I see have anxiety about having feelings. With dating, they fear being boring or not enough even when they aren’t on an actual date. This creates a heightened sense of everyday anxiety and struggle. Their bodies can’t calm down because they having let go of the fear around the feelings or perceptions. Getting in touch with your breath can allow your body to know that you’re tuning and and ready to release. Rather than taking deep breathes, which is often a struggle with the shallow breathing that is associated with anxiety, give a long deep sigh with a audible tone. If you’re on a date, go to the bathroom and close the stall and sigh a few times until you feel the release (your shoulders dropping or feeling your breath regulate). Get in touch with the feelings of being where you are in the moment. You may feel more in control and relaxed and be able to enjoy the rest of the date. There are many other mindfulness techniques that can support you in managing and decreasing the overwhelm.

Social anxiety doesn’t need to rule you or your dating journey.  While you might not become the most amazing conversationalist in your romantic relationships, you could learn to feel like you are enough because you matter.  With support from therapy and cultivating practices of mindfulness, you can find your confidence and sweet spot in dating.  You will be able to own your romantic intentions rather than being pummeled by fears of being the most boring date ever.   You can learn to fully show up and have fun in the process of dating or in deepening your connection to someone whom you care about and cares about you.  This may even look like giving yourself permission to be you, curious, present, and whatever else you may in at that moment…be it all in or wanting it with your whole heart.

~Amy

Top 10 Recommended Books

My clients often appreciate receiving resources and homework as a part therapeutic process.  They are ready to continue moving forward toward their goals.  I provide book recommendations as one avenue for clients to maintain their momentum and support with self care between sessions.

           Top 10 Recommended Books

Top-10-Books 1.  Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Dr. Brene Brown
Vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection.  Brene has a gift for languaging people’s experiences, and men and women alike can connect to taking different paths in their families, organizations and communities.

2. Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind by Dr. Kristen Neff
If you are able to extend kindness, generosity and compassion to others, but you often go to being self critical before thinking of showing yourself compassion, this book may be for you.  Dr. Neff  provides the research on benefits of building a practice of self-compassion to cope with life’s big and small challenges.  If you would like to learn more about Dr. Neff’s research, read more in this post.

3. Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie
Do you have a need to control people or relationships or put them before yourself or believe if they would just change, you would be happy?  Melody offers a variety of stories, exercises, and questions to help you navigate codependency.

4. Women Who Love Too Much: When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He’ll Change by Robin Norwood
Are you interested in emotionally unavailable men and do you find nice guys to be boring?   This book can help understand the roots of your patterns in relationships and is another lens to look at co-dependency.

5. The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You’re Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate by Dr. Harriet Lerner
Anger can be a difficult and complex experience for many women.  For women struggling with anger, Dr. Lerner teaches you  how to identify the true sources of your anger and use anger as a powerful vehicle for creating lasting change.

6. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman
If your marriage is dominated by criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and withdrawal, consider committing to reading this book and using Dr. Gottman’s four-step program as a couple for breaking through negativity and allowing one’s natural communication and problem-solving abilities to flourish.

7. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation by Dr. Daniel Siegel
No matter if you are dealing with depression, anxiety, or trauma, Dr. Siegel shares his research around the non-spiritual practice of mindfulness based techniques as a means of managing symptoms, stressors and challenges to lead a more healthy and fulfilling life.

8.  Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. If you are an introvert or in a relationship or work with an introvert, this is a must read.

9. When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron
Traditional Buddhist wisdom is offered with radical modern clarity and accessibility.  Most people try to avoid pain and discomfort, which only leads to more pain and discomfort.  Pema offers advice that goes against the grain of our usual habits and expectations that helps one to navigate painful and uncomfortable situations and experiences.

10. A Path With Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life by Jack Kornfield
Another Western Buddhist master, Kornfield shares everyday wisdom for developing a spiritual practice of awakening.  He offers great insights around metta mediation or the practice of loving kindness, which can provide much healing.

Making an Offering of Love and Hope

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Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light get’s in.
~ Leonard Cohen, Anthem

Thinking about the 20 precious children and 8 adults, who were lost, and the families, schools, and communities, who are crumbling at this time, I believe that one of the remedies to this darkness is to bring light.

I believe that we can offer our own light, as a means of shinning into the collective darkness.  One of the most powerful ways to share our light is through making an offering of love and hope.  By making a deliberate and conscious decision to do one thing that offers hope and love, you can honor the lives lost.   This offering also allows our light to seep into the cracks of  our own hearts and hearts of others.  The heart ~ mind ~ and body integrative wisdom used to create this offering will provide light to you and others.

One’s love and hope offering can manifest in many forms.  The offering can be alone or the community of family, friends and others.
~Prayer
~ Extra hugs for loved ones
~ Preparing meals with love
~Blowing bubbles filled with love and hope with your children or friends
~Going to water and floating hope on the water or down the stream, river or ocean: fresh cut flowers, intentions and wishes
~Burning a candle and offering something in this light
~Attending a vigil
~Exercise: talk a walk, run, swim or yoga practice filling each movement with love and hope
~Offer the gift of sound and music
~Create: making something with your hands with hope and love
~Reconnecting with whom you have lost touch
~ A random act of kindness for a stranger
~Metta Meditation
~Raising awareness around mental health needs from a place of hope and love
~Raising awareness around gun control and safety from a place of hope and love

Talking with your children about this tragedy can be filled with love and hope too.  If you are wondering about how to process this with your children, Brene Brown offered a heartfelt post about how to move forward with resources.  My local colleague, Dr. Rebecca Resnik provided practical steps in her blog.

What will your offering and hope and love be…?

Honoring the hope and loved filled light in you and those who have past,

Amy