joy

Fantasy, Dreams, and Falling in Love with Yourself

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Artwork by Kim Ottinger 2013

 

Recently an article in the NY Times has been circulating, “WHY YOU WILL MARRY THE WRONG PERSON.” Check it out and let’s delve a little deeper.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/29/opinion/sunday/why-you-will-marry-the-wrong-person.html?_r=0

Major kudos to the writer Alain de Botton for having the bravery to write such a vulnerable and powerful piece. It has raised eyebrows in the DC area for sure! I am grateful to resonate with many of his points, one of which is the role of the FAIRY TALE in our concept of romantic relationships and marriages.

As children, us millennials grew up on movies about princesses and princes, knights in shining armor, damsels in distress and fantasy.  Our template for relationships is: the man and the woman fall in love and live a fairy tale life, happily ever after.

Shortly after I was separated from my first husband, I came to the realization that romantic relationships and life is not, in fact, a fairy tale. For quite some time I was angry and felt foolish for believing what I was taught as a little girl, that I too was a princess who would meet the one and live happily ever after. With the end of my marriage, I began to question my worthiness and self-respect. What had I done to deserve something different? Was my life always going to be a series of people hurting me and disappointing me? Why was I going through this and what did I need to change in order to deserve a second try at a fairy tale? Was this my path, that I was doomed to experience over and over forever? I spent all of my energy trying to figure out how to set up my next relationship to be my true fairy tale. I dated, I went to therapy, I talked my friends’ ears off trying to find a solution. Finally the truth hit me square in the face.

The truth: Life is not really a fairy tale. Duh, right? I know this logically. AND yet there is the little girl inside of me that insists that it is. She and I had it out, we spent months fighting about how to perceive love and what beliefs to live by. The battle went on until I stopped and began to embrace her pain. The little girl in me had been hurt and disappointed by the misinformation she was fed as a young girl, that life is all unicorns, rainbows, and happily ever afters. Once I grieved this loss, the loss of the fairy tale, I began to heal. I began to learn what living is really about, enjoying the process of ups and downs in relationships and life. Life-force returned to my body and mind as I opened up to new possibilities. I needed a place for fantasy, dreaming, escape and play that was not solely my romantic life. I stopped dating and began to explore other areas of my life where I could experience creativity and dreams. I started to dream about my hobbies and career. Suddenly space opened for me to give energy and love to my career, friendships, self, and recreational activities. For the first time in my life, I fell in love with myself.

If we idealize our romantic relationships, they will likely end in disappointment. Relying solely on romantic relationships for our dreams and fantasy also diminishes the opportunity for us to fall in love with ourselves and other domains of our lives. We can create more space for romance with ourselves and our other life arenas by releasing the energy focused on idealization in our relationships. We can then allow more focus in our relationships to be around realistic experience of present connections in our relationships. We can then work to communicate openly, be vulnerable, be brave, and respect our partners. We can enjoy the messiness and mistakes and even the repairs in relationships, not expecting perfection or romance to be the sole experience of love. We can love fully while clearly communicating the boundaries of our own needs. Romantic partnerships are more about compassion, compromise, and communication. As a friend called it, a never ending conversation.

So I am proposing we consider a more balanced use of play, fantasy, and escape in our lives, not solely focused on idealizing romantic relationships. Rather than idealizing any one domain of life, spreading the dreaming and visioning equally throughout.

Humans need to take time to escape, to dream, to vision, and to play. Fantasy and escape are an important opportunity to turn off anxiety and connect with our souls on a deep level. This is where growth happens, through creative process which enlighten us to new possibilities. It is where the light peaks in and illuminates and opens up more space. We can connect with new possibilities for a personal fairy tale beyond just romance by taking time to create, participating in rituals, imagining, playing, envisioning, and connecting to something spiritually. Meditation is a great way to dream and it can even be done through playful and creative means like art making, walking, dancing, and music. Let’s fall in love with ourselves.

To FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOURSELF,

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 is like to fall in love with yourself 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

The Myth of Laziness – 4 STEPS TO MOTIVATE YOURSELF IN YOUR CAREER LIFE

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“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting” 

– The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

Do you often label yourself as LAZY? Do you feel like a FRAUD at work?

Do you find yourself needing to hyper focus for several hours a day at work just to get it done, and then you become distracted by social media, reading article upon article on news and entertainment, or better yet, Tetris.  As you count the hours you ACTUALLY WORK at work, you notice a trend of many many seemingly wasted hours. You feel that you should be feeling thankful for a job that is well paying and high up the ladder, yet you find yourself feeling lazy.

Perhaps you’re lack of focus and laziness is something else.

Maybe your bouts of hyper focus and laziness are more about a lack of interest in your work, need for a challenge, and a need to escape. Often, when we are not stimulated enough, we become uninterested, unmotivated. So we need more stimulation and challenge. If you imagine yourself in a job you love and are passionate about, do you see yourself often escaping to Tetris and social media, or will you be too busy and focused on building your dream to be concerned with time wasters?

Or maybe you feel motivated by your sense of self-worth. Very often we are driven by a need to feel “good enough” rather than a wish to be self-compassionate and live out our personal dreams. This wish to be “good enough” is integrated into our sense of self-worth at a very young age and is difficult to consciously see. Take a moment and notice, DO YOU TAKE ACTION TO FULFILL YOUR DREAMS AND NOURISH YOUR SOUL OR DO YOU DO IN ORDER TO FEEL GOOD ENOUGH AND AVOID FAILURE?

Let’s recategorize your laziness to domains a) lack of motivation and b) a need to escape some aspect of your work environment and c) a need for dreams, challenges, and stimulation. Filling the different domains of your life with fulfilling, soul nourishing activities are the seeds to growing joy and contentment in your moment to moment and lifelong path.

Here are some basic ways to start building motivation, taking steps towards a life in which you will no longer label yourself as lazy. A life in which it is possible to enjoy, be financially supported by, and feel fulfilled by your career. Listen to your heart space and intuition – embrace your dreams.

1 Identify a Long Term Vision. 

Create a list of all the career goals you want to achieve in your life (as we are talking about career aspirations, we will focus on this, though you may substitute career goals with other types of goals and/or values). Examples include helping others, leadership roles, owning a business, charitable donations, discovery, traveling, financial stability, creative endeavors, etc. Take no more than 5 minutes to narrow your goals to no more than 3 using your gut. Write out your 3 top goals on a piece of paper.

2 Vision and Visualize

Place your goals in a place you can see daily and every morning allow your mind to come back to this vision and further flush it out. Take time here and there to meditate on it and visualize the details and concrete vision of this future career path. Perhaps it lines up with your current career, or maybe it is very different.

3 Materialize your Vision

Create a plan for action. What steps will you take to work towards this goal? Networking, workplace interviews, research, consultation calls? Daily life will continually try to get in the way of your dreams, you will have to make some time and space to materialize your vision. Allow the plan to be loose yet be committed. If you are unable to meet deadlines you set for yourself, be compassionate and continue to work towards your vision. Notice your blocks, pursue support to move past blocks, ask for help rather than self-sabotaging.

4 Check in with your Self-Talk 

Notice how your self-talk has changed now that you are working towards a dream. When you feed your soul – the energy resonates, and reverberates. You will see the difference this makes in your internal world as well as your external, your soul nourishing energy will magnetize to those with similar presence. You deserve to make your dream a reality.

I know this plan works because it is my reality. With some dreaming, visioning, hard work, and trust in divine power, I am now living my dreams and more. I love my work, I feel joyful when I arrive at my office, financially stable, and feel highly fulfilled by my work on a soul level. I share my experiences with my clients, generosity plus boundaries breeds joy. I am honored to help you manifest your dreams. 

 

To dreaming & living big,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensoriotor therapy or to explore a career transition in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

How to Grow Roots :: Meditation for Connection & Centering

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Today I invite you to explore what it feels like to grow roots.

This very simple imaginative exercise consistently provides
my clients and myself with powerful outcomes.

Why is there a need to root?

Do you feel like you become consumed by your worry or sadness?

Sometimes we become so lost in worry and grief that we lose sight of both the big picture and the joy in the present moment. Our focus tunnel vision on loss or possible future mistakes. While this mechanism is natural to our human brain (constantly working to prevent future mistakes or danger), it is also not productive to be consumed by the past or future, especially when doing so has no positive outcome.

Tuning into your body and the pulse of the universe can snap you quickly back to the present and out of time-wasting thought processes. It is no surprise that rooting also aligns your root chakra energy. This chakra relates to peace and stability as well as safety and security.

Try this quick exercise to explore how quickly you can recover a positive worry-free attitude focused in the present. 

Begin in a seated position on a chair or the floor, any leg and arm positioning that feels comfortable.

Take several deep breaths into your lower belly, allowing for a slightly longer exhale than inhale.

Notice how your body feels, what areas of your body are activated in conjunction with your worry or emotional state.

Now begin to align your spine, starting with the lowest vertebrae, stacking each vertebrae atop the lowest until your spine aligns through to the base of your skull.

Relax and breath into this position, releasing tension that may have come up.

Notice the base of your spine and your pelvic floor and imagine this as the base of your trunk.

Imagine your torso as a tree trunk, standing tall and comfortably on the earth.

Allow your tree trunk to slowly grow roots.

The roots grow deep into the earth, connecting you with each life form on the planet and centering you.

You notice the exchange of energy between the pulse of the planet, what does it feel like to connect with the purpose of the planet as a whole.

Take comfort in the cosmic energy vibrations from the heart of the planet, knowing you are never alone, always connected.

Take a sensation snapshot of this feeling in your body and heart.

Take this with you through your day, share some of this energy to others in who are in deficit of this energy today.

 

To rooting and reconnecting,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensoriotor therapy or to explore chakras or meditation Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

Energy Warps

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Time is the only commodity at which I consistently grasp for. No matter how enlightened I am feeling, I still feel the nagging pull of precious time and the seconds passing before my eyes. As I fight for time to slow and bargain to fit in just a few more things before my heavy eyelids close involuntarily, I have yet to learn the secret to controlling time.

Today, I witnessed in full awareness as I entered a threshold and shortly after exited an energy warp where my soul was deeply met and felt in a psychospiritual way. No matter which lens I view this the words are not quite there to describe it.

Energy flew around in my mind and body as if unconstrained by my self-limiting structural beliefs or rigid goal focused thinking. Creativity bounced through my entire being and time did not hold me back. I made connections and conclusions on an intuitive and cognitive level at a speed exponentially faster than normal.  I have felt this before, though not with the same clarity or awareness as with this experience.

Curiously, I examined the trigger or source of this wonderful experience. Several precursors were in place: a weekend of learning and growing, self-care, and positive energy connections. I spent this past weekend learning a new way of working, in awe of the incredible experiences of the trainer and my cohort. Learning, growing, making new neural pathways. Additionally, I work hard to take care of my mind, body, and spirit.

And in the moment leading up to my energy warp, I was impacted, felt moved by and then resonated with the positive inertia of my client’s energy. She reveled in the progress she was making, and we celebrated her experience. We shared the savoring of her experience, enjoying the joy and exploring the new space it opened in her heart, her new free flowing energy.

The concoction of these three conditions consistently brought me into this state through the threshold into an energy warp, a period of soul enlightenment.

I invite you to walk with me and inviting this concoction into your own life. 

What is your experience of energy warps, spiritual states or similar experiences?

What precursors and conditions encourage this joyful and enlightening type of experience for you?

In exploring the expansive connected energy in you and me,

Kim Ottinger

Connect with me for a free 20 minute phone consultation for art therapy, psychotherapy, and/or sensorimotor psychotherapy by emailing me at kim@yoursoultherapy.com