Being a Woman

Sugar and spice and everything nice…

Mother Goose nursery Rhyme

Hardly! Though it is a beautiful thing, to hear nursery rhymes, and other fairy tales as a child. I remember how lovely these worlds seemed and how I wanted to be in them. It is up to the parent to help transition the child, into the realities of life once they hit puberty. Unfortunately, in a traumatic household, the child figures it out for themselves.

Recently, I turned 60 years old. I took a trip with a good friend of mine, another therapist, for four days. She is 73. Her job was to help me transition into my sixth decade. I perceived this birthday as one that would cause a lot of depression and anguish for me. It did not. The reason for this was that I was not alone. I had built up a strong female support system in the past year. They are all in my age group or older and they all resonated with what I felt like. On my big day, they sang songs, sent cards, they all made a point of congratulating me in their own special way. There is nothing like having strong, trustworthy, faithful female friends during a time of need. It is part of what being a woman is all about.

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Centering Prayer: Intuitive Wisdom in the Aftermath

Oh God, unto whom all hearts lie open. Unto whom desire is eloquent and from whom no secret thing is hidden. Purify the thoughts of my heart by the outpouring of your spirit, that I may love you with a perfect love and praise you as you deserve. Amen

The Cloud of Unknowning

The discomfort you face, will lead to enlightenment. In the moment, when you feel such pain, try to remember this.

It is easy to let the ego win over and turn to anger, find solace in addiction or self-soothing that is going too far vs. taking care of the self. Ego wants to control the suffering but this is only a tease, a way of making you feel as if you are receiving justice. Ego gives you nothing but more pain, more time with the negative energy, more space in the connection with that bad occurrence, person, because you are unwilling to let go. Because you don’t want to let go of whatever you struggle with. Did you realize this? Your pain only lasts because you allow it to last. The minute you focus on letting go and letting God into your life, the pain will subside. You will grow. You will attain enlightenment.

Seven months ago, I began a devoted practice to centering prayer. It can also be called contemplative prayer. I learned about this on Insight Timer. I read the book “The Cloud of Unknowing,” who’s author is unknown. I read the book by Father Thomas Keating, “Open Mind, Open Heart,” which teaches centering prayer and explains what this is all about.

Open my heart, awaken my mind and cleanse my soul

A daily prayer that I offer up before meditation

The devotion to this practice is sitting still for 20 minutes – 2x/day. You are listening for God, you are sitting with God, you are still and silent. What do you hear? Probably nothing. Maybe birds singing, a lawn mower in the distance, people talking on the street, chattering or racing thoughts going through your head. You say a word “Truth,” “Love,” “Justice,” “Intelligence,” “Help,” whatever word you choose to help bring you back into this space when your mind loses the silence. Jon Kabat-Zinn would say, when your mind wanders off a thousand times, bring it back a thousand times.

It does not matter that your mind wanders off, your body is still, you are quiet – in the sense that your body is not moving or doing anything, you are in a place of contemplation. If the thoughts come up, there is something there that God wants you to listen to and do something about.

Twenty minutes, two times a day seems so great to many. How much time do you waste on the computer? You have children but yet you still make time for this. If you are on the computer for 20 minutes or more, you have time for centering prayer. How much do you spend working out? How much time do you spend reading a book, listening to music, cleaning your house, etc… etc… If you have time for all of these things, you can make a space for centering prayer. Your life depends on it.

When you struggle with society, the chaos of the world, the Babylon which we have turned into – a hedonistic community of people who think of nothing but themselves. Fear, anger, torment, trauma, anxiety, frustration, feeling unloved/unwanted, without a consistent faith in some spiritual cleansing practice; you are nothing. You cling to a need for fantasy and self-soothing that will take your mind off of things and give you this delusion that you are happy and content. That your self-centered needs are being met. When we focus on just ourselves and are in denial that life has a timeline and that there is an end and that we have a responsibility to others, as well as ourselves, you get nothing. Maybe a few moments of pleasure but ultimately nothing but pain and emptiness inside.

Devotion to centering prayer gave me a place to go to, when I was in a dark place last year. No matter what, I continued. I made a promise to God that I would never give up, no matter what. In the aftermath, my life began to change. It wasn’t in the twenty minutes, nothing earth shattering has occurred – so far. By this I mean, I have had no conversation – as one might imagine you are seeking. I have had some experiences, but this is not something to explain out loud. I did ask once, for God to show me that He was there, by giving me a sign in meditation. My right arm suddenly became so heavy, I could not lift it. It wasn’t until I said “Thank you,” that it then began to go away. I didn’t say that though for a long time, because feeling it gave me such pleasure. In that moment, I needed to have some tangible experience and He indulged me.

If it weren’t for that dark place that another he, a more troubled soul, who is devoted to himself and his pain – if it weren’t for him pushing my buttons and twisting my heart around and then punching me in the gut (metaphorically), I might not have come to this place. Often, we go to God when we are in peril. I am grateful for the lesson I was given last year. This pain and suffering woke me up. I had been in a deep slumber for forty some years, in reality, my entire life. I had assumed that I had been awake a few other times, when I felt I had finally gotten it. Then another lesson would be put in front of me and I realized I was still asleep. Still following the same path, dissociating in life. If it weren’t for pain, how could we ever reach enlightenment? Not that you search for it, believe me, you will get it one way or another. Now, though, I have asked God to bring my lessons through intuitive wisdom.

And, this is the aftermath of centering prayer. In my awakened life, outside of those twenty minutes, I am speaking positively, openly, affirming, attracting goodness. I have prosperity, balance, love, friendship, abundance, wealth, health, and happiness. Most and more importantly than all of this, I have Intuitive Wisdom. God speaks to me through this wisdom as He is showing me things that I need to see and learn. Sometimes they are painful realizations about my past relationship and sometimes they are insights to share with my clients. Sometimes, I am just sitting still with others and not looking for things to upset me. Sometimes, I am listening to my listening of those around me and guided when to speak and when to not. I have never not felt loved or alone.

I love the Lord who listened to my voice in supplication. Who turned an ear to me on the day I called. Return my soul to your rest, the Lord has been very good to me. For my soul has been freed from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling. I shall walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.

Psalm 116

Walking with the Lord, with my God, my unknowing, my patience and unconditional love and support, is my favorite line of all.

I surrender.

Note: There is an app for centering prayer that you can download and set up. I chose these quotes from the Cloud of Unknowing and Psalm 116 for my featured prayers to begin and end. I created my own individual prayer, which I mentioned here, so that I had my own voice to offer up to God. I do not claim any religion. I follow a solitary spiritual path, based on my study of World Religions, that has encompassed my entire adult life. Prior to that, it began intuitively but not consciously.

The Madman and the Shaman

Illustration by Arthur Rackham

The difference between a madman and a shaman is that a shaman comes back, they gain something and use the tools they have learnt to heal others through their own survival guide. ~ DiosRaw

I would like to address these terms as archetypes. The Madman representing the narcissist, the person in denial, the person who wishes to live with their head in the sand. The Shaman representing the teacher, the master, the healer. The madman stays complacent and will never change. The shaman forever grows but also gives back to the community.

Just yesterday, my client was asking me “How can they [the narcissist] see things that I can see but they don’t learn anything?” It is a question I have asked myself a million times when I have dealt with a narcissist (or a person in denial) in life. This would be similar to looking up at the stars and not noticing how beautiful the night is. It would be similar to seeing a deer in your back yard and not wondering why it chose your yard and no other. A person who looks at a forest but is annoyed for it blocks the sun. A suburban person killing a wild animal for getting lost and having no place to go (especially in a new development, that has eliminated their habitat).

Each day we are giving new opportunities to grow. We make mistakes over and over again. The madman pushes them away and blames someone else. They end up being served the same lessons over and over and over again. Yet, they continue to see the mistake as being the other persons fault and refuse to take responsibility for how it occurred. For their own role in the matter. They live a life with a mask on. The eyes look out upon the world but see nothing. Their body is rigid with control or force. Trying to manipulate people into doing their bidding. Their mind stays unnourished and never blossoms. Like the movie “Groundhog Day,” each day is repeated, over and over again for the rest of their life.

The shaman grows from these mistakes. The shaman looks at these lessons as blessings that provide pain but also comfort. They explore the pain, knowing that at some point they will heal from this, and at that time, will be stronger and wiser. The comfort is the realization that this will pass one day, once they rise above the struggle. While they may not love the obstacle and would not wish it upon others, they understand it is there for a reason. Once they have embarked on this journey and have come to the destination, they give it back to others. Like with Jesus on the cross, he acknowledges that the nails hurt but willingly sacrifices himself for others. This is the shaman, a person living with “Christ” Consciousness.

The shaman can be the psychotherapist, the naturopath, the holistic practitioner, the massage therapist, the chiropractor, the professor, the spiritual teacher, many many titles can come from this archetype. At the same time, people may have these titles and yet be the madman instead. The madman can be anyone. You must trust your instinct and stay mindful of the choices you make. You can be the shaman.

Manners, Morals, Faith and Values: A Decline in Current Civilization

I blame my own generation for the current downfall of manners, morals, faith and values. We stopped paying heed to these rituals and rules to continue rebelling and punishing our parents for corporal punishment and other frustrations growing up. However, this decline is seen generation after generation, due to wars which caused society to shift from a state of depression with the loss of sons, brothers and husbands, but also economic changes as well. The decline also has suffered due to relocation of families, who are no longer near grandparents, uncles and aunts. Of course now we have social media, cell phones, texting which all correlate to a decline in the above as well as religious practice or even spiritual beliefs as well. Will we ever go back, I certainly hope so but it is highly unlikely. People get lazy and just as their ancestry or cultural background is watered down from the old country to the grandchild, the same has occurred for manners, morals, faith and values.

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Dreams – An Enlightening Conversation with Ellen and Jeannine

Ellen and Jeannine

Dreams are often a mystery to the dreamer. Listen in and learn some basics on how to decode the symbols in your dreams.

To learn more about the presenters:

Ellen Seigel, LISW-S To work with Ellen as a Transformational Life Coach contact her: ellen@BeHappyNoMatterWhat.com or call 614-389-5795

To receive enlightening Contemplative Thoughts daily and receive a chapter download from her book Be Happy No Matter What – 5 Steps to Inner Freedom, visit http://behappynomaterwhat.com

Jeannine Vegh, IMFT at Transformative Psychotherapy, LLC https://jkvegh.com

Survivors of Narcissists Workshop available at Udemy https://www.udemy.com/course/embracing-me/?referralCode=C515C00CF7BBEE83BEC5 Blogposts on Psychology, the Arts and Ohio Women’s History https://discerninggal.com

Disclaimer: As we are two humble therapists, all discussion you see between us in the video/podcast is based on our training and education, therapeutic work in our practices, and thoughtful opinions formed over our years. We are not the last word in this discussion, and we commit to providing ongoing resources beyond ourselves to enlarge your understanding of this complex subject. Thank you for viewing and we hope this will be helpful as you move forward on your journey.

Spirituality – An Enlightened Conversation

Spirituality is a personal perspective. Join us as we discuss what It can expand into. 

To learn more about the presenters:

Ellen Seigel, LISW-S To work with Ellen as a Transformational Life Coach contact her: ellen@BeHappyNoMatterWhat.com or call 614-389-5795

To receive enlightening Contemplative Thoughts daily and receive a chapter download from her book Be Happy No Matter What – 5 Steps to Inner Freedom, visit http://behappynomaterwhat.com

Jeannine Vegh, IMFT at Transformative Psychotherapy, LLC https://jkvegh.com Survivors of Narcissists Workshop available at Udemy https://www.udemy.com/course/embracing-me/?referralCode=C515C00CF7BBEE83BEC5 Blogposts on Psychology, the Arts and Ohio Women’s History https://discerninggal.com

Disclaimer: As we are two humble therapists, all discussion you see between us in the video/podcast is based on our training and education, therapeutic work in our practices, and thoughtful opinions formed over our years. We are not the last word in this discussion, and we commit to providing ongoing resources beyond ourselves to enlarge your understanding of this complex subject. Thank you for viewing and we hope this will be helpful as you move forward on your journey.

Aging – An Enlightening Conversation

How about some uplifting ideas about aging. We’ve been trained to think we are born, age, deteriorate and die. Guess what….there’s much more to life and Life Force experiencing than that. We look at aging through various lenses: societal, cultural, family of origin, and higher consciousness.  Hear our mix of awarenesses as your consciousness expands.

To learn more about the presenters:

Ellen Seigel, LISW-S To work with Ellen as a Transformational Life Coach contact her: ellen@BeHappyNoMatterWhat.com or call 614-389-5795

To receive enlightening Contemplative Thoughts daily and receive a chapter download from her book Be Happy No Matter What – 5 Steps to Inner Freedom, visit http://behappynomaterwhat.com

Jeannine Vegh, IMFT at Transformative Psychotherapy, LLC https://jkvegh.com Survivors of Narcissists Workshop available at Udemy https://www.udemy.com/course/embracin… Blogposts on Psychology, the Arts and Ohio Women’s History https://discerninggal.com

Disclaimer: As we are two humble therapists, all discussion you see between us in the video/podcast is based on our training and education, therapeutic work in our practices, and thoughtful opinions formed over our years. We are not the last word in this discussion, and we commit to providing ongoing resources beyond ourselves to enlarge your understanding of this complex subject. Thank you for viewing and we hope this will be helpful as you move forward on your journey.

Critical Thinking – An Enlightening Conversation

What is critical thinking and what are its various uses and benefits? This topic shines brightly in the “sorely needed in our society”  category. As you listen, appreciate your ability to think with finer and finer discernment. Be open to picking up new tips on honing your skills in this area. You can also notice how you inspire others to use their Critical Thinking ability. 

To learn more about the presenters:

Ellen Seigel, LISW-S To work with Ellen as a Transformational Life Coach contact her: ellen@BeHappyNoMatterWhat.com or call 614-389-5795 To receive enlightening Contemplative Thoughts daily and receive a chapter download from her book Be Happy No Matter What – 5 Steps to Inner Freedom, visit http://behappynomaterwhat.com

Jeannine Vegh, IMFT at Transformative Psychotherapy, LLC https://jkvegh.com Survivors of Narcissists Workshop available at Udemy https://www.udemy.com/course/embracing-me/?referralCode=C515C00CF7BBEE83BEC5 Blogposts on Psychology, the Arts and Ohio Women’s History https://discerninggal.com

Disclaimer: As we are two humble therapists, all discussion you see between us in the video/podcast is based on our training and education, therapeutic work in our practices, and thoughtful opinions formed over our years. We are not the last word in this discussion, and we commit to providing ongoing resources beyond ourselves to enlarge your understanding of this complex subject. Thank you for viewing and we hope this will be helpful as you move forward on your journey.

Misinformation & The Death of Personal Responsibility

Once again, I am submitting a reblog from Dr. Rod Hoevet as I think his words are inspiring and raw. It is important to hear the truth in others and to reflect upon this in ourselves.

Rod E. Hoevet, Psy.D.

We are witnessing a tragedy unfolding before our eyes. Seemingly every day, the world is abuzz with the latest controversy, which these days seem to almost invariably be about who is responsible for sharing so-called “misinformation” and who is responsible to moderate it. This is a terrifying trajectory that has no good outcome. 

As of the writing of this article, Joe Rogan – former MMA announcer and immensely popular podcast host – is public enemy number one. Musicians and others are protesting his podcast and its host alleging that he is spreading “misinformation,” specifically about Covid-19. Within the past few weeks, the tragic anniversary of the Capitol riot occurred and the US was abuzz with commentaries and opinions about what happened, why and who was responsible. As one example, this story, heard on NPR on January 5, 2022, included an interview with Craig Silverman from ProPublica and his investigation…

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Happiness: Ellen and Jeannine in an Enlightening Conversation

The many perspectives we share in this episode will stimulate new self understandings, going beyond society’s general view points on the matter and take you further in your quest to experience happiness and satisfaction as a default setting.

To learn more about the presenters:

Ellen Seigel, LISW-S To work with Ellen as a Transformational Life Coach contact her: ellen@BeHappyNoMatterWhat.com or call 614-389-5795 To receive enlightening Contemplative Thoughts daily and receive a chapter download from her book Be Happy No Matter What – 5 Steps to Inner Freedom, visit http://behappynomaterwhat.com

Jeannine Vegh, IMFT at Transformative Psychotherapy, LLC https://jkvegh.com Survivors of Narcissists Workshop available at Udemy https://www.udemy.com/course/embracin… Blogposts on Psychology, the Arts and Ohio Women’s History https://discerninggal.com

Disclaimer: As we are two humble therapists, all discussion you see between us in the video/podcast is based on our training and education, therapeutic work in our practices, and thoughtful opinions formed over our years. We are not the last word in this discussion, and we commit to providing ongoing resources beyond ourselves to enlarge your understanding of this complex subject. Thank you for viewing and we hope this will be helpful as you move forward on your journey.