Silence Your Inner Critic

I confess that I’m very hard on myself. Whether it’s because I’m the oldest child or a Capricorn or any myriad of other things, it’s just a fact of me. And because of this, when I fail to meet my own (often ridiculously) high expectations, I sometimes say unkind things to myself. I use mean, rude, awful words that I’d never dream of saying to anyone else. And I don’t just say these things once, let it all go and walk away. I often repeat them, berating and punishing myself.

During one berating spree, I happened to catch the television drama, Parenthood, and a character said something I needed to hear: “Life will knock you down more times than you can possibly imagine. Don’t knock yourself down.”

inner-critic

Why is it that we are almost always harder on ourselves than we are on others? Why can’t we give ourselves the same compassion and understanding that we give others so freely? And why do we even listen to ourselves when we get like that? Author Natalie Goldberg said “We follow that voice inside us as if it were God. But it’s really just a thought.” It’s so true: those awful things we tell ourselves really are just thoughts. So how can we silence them? I don’t know all the answers, but here’s what I’ve been trying.

Realize you’re being critical. Sometimes these reactions are so automatic we don’t even know we’re doing it. Like breaking any bad habit, realizing you’re doing it is the first step.

Tell yourself it’s just a thought and tell yourself to stop it. Just because you’re saying it to yourself—and just because you’re buying it—doesn’t mean it’s true. When you realize it’s just a thought, it deflates the intensity and the power it has over you and it’s easier to tell yourself to stop. By the way, I recommend telling yourself these things aloud if doing it silently doesn’t work. You may feel a little crazy at first talking to yourself, but it brings a conscious awareness that’s sometimes more effective than saying it silently.

Imagine what you’d say to a friend and say it to yourself. When you change the words you say, you change the energy being directed at yourself. That inner critic cannot thrive in that more loving kind of energy. And I recommend doing this one out loud for effectiveness too if needed. The weird stares you may get are totally worth the effectiveness.

These are the steps I’ve been trying that are helping me silence my inner critic and grow on my spiritual and emotional journey. I hope these tips help you too.

loving-onesself

Be Open to Spiritual Guidance

It’s only human to feel stuck every once and a while. Life gets difficult and perspectives narrow, and we need a little help now and then. I know when that happens to me, I need a little guidance to help me widen my perspective.

When you feel stuck, where do you turn for help? Do you read an inspirational memoir or a self-help book? Talk to a relative, family member or a good friend? All of these are wonderful options to give you some needed perspective. But sometimes, the guidance I need is something beyond even the best friends or books. That’s when I’ve found being open to spiritual guidance can give me much-needed answers, direction, and peace.

You don’t have to be uber-religious or a Zen master to be receive spiritual guidance. You don’t even have to be certain what you think or believe about the metaphysical world. I’ve found that just have to be open to it for it to come. You just have to do three things:

1. Get quiet. It’s hard to receive answers when your mind is buzzing or you’re stressed or preoccupied with all of the noise that vies for our attention every day. Unplug and sit quietly. Go on a walk. Go to nature. Just remove yourself from your to-do list and the hustle and bustle long enough to hear something besides all of that.

2. Get centered. Get out of your head and into your body so when the answers come you can really recognize them. Here are 5 tips to help you.

3. Ask and listen. I’m not going to guarantee that you’ll physically hear a voice or you’ll see angels or a light or anything, because it’s not always like that. More often than not, when you really need answers and ask honestly, and when you’re quiet and centered, they come in various ways. Maybe they’ll come from inside of you and you’ll feel them suddenly or gradually. Or maybe the next time you talk to that friend or read that book or get a reading, the next thing you hear or read will be just what you need. But when you sincerely need something and are open to it, I believe the answers come.

The next time you feel stuck, be open to spiritual guidance. Whether it’s something with work or life, whether it’s something seemingly small or a pivotal life decision, spiritual guidance can help you navigate it with peace and assurance.

Like clouds parting, spiritual guidance  gives you clarity and perspective.
Like clouds parting, spiritual guidance gives you clarity and perspective.

Letting Go Brings Blessings

As a teenager, I participated in a memorial service for the mother of a friend who’d lost her battle with cancer. The service ended with those in attendance releasing colorful balloons into the sky. (This was long before we knew that act may have adverse repercussions on local wildlife). It was a beautiful sight to see those balloons ascending into the air, cheerfully honoring a woman who’d brought cheer to our lives. And releasing those balloon gave us all a tangible way to begin to let go and move on from the loss of her in our lives.

It is both painful and scary to choose to let go sometimes. Whether it’s letting go of the loss of a relationship through death or change, pain from the past, or a belief or situation that no longer serves you, it can be a difficult choice to make no matter how necessary that choice is at the time.

balloons

But there are also many blessings that come from letting go. Just like the balloon floating into the atmosphere, you feel lighter and less weighed down after letting go. And the lightness that letting go brings can open up room in your heart and life to make room for new relationships, situations, beliefs, and more than can teach and enrich your life in countless ways that never could have come without it.

I encourage you to choose to let  go of a belief, situation, or relationship that doesn’t serve you any longer in order to make room for the blessing of one that does. Your heart will be lighter and your life will be transformed for the better. Then watch for new opportunities to flow that never could have otherwise.

I’m not promising it will be easy. But I will promise it’ll be worth it.

Benefits from Readings: Caring for Family

When people hear “psychic readings” they often think of receiving mystical predictions for the future. But knowing the future isn’t the only benefit that people receive from readings. You can gain clarity about situations that you may be confused about or too close to have perspective on, especially when it comes to people who are close to you. The perspective you gain from a reading can help you know how to best support or help family members.

Readings can help you gain perspective to know how to better help family members and loved ones. Photo by J.K. Califf.
Readings can help you gain perspective to know how to better help family members and loved ones. Photo by J.K. Califf.

When Marsha* came to me for a reading, it was to ask about the future of her twenty-year old daughter, Kim. Suspecting Kim was in an abusive relationship, Marsha was naturally concerned and wanted to know if the future entailed her helping Kim quickly end that relationship.

During the reading, I felt impressed that Kim’s relationship was emotionally abusive as Marsha suspected, but the main guidance that came through for Marsha was perspective on her role in the situation. As a mother, Marsha naturally wanted to save Kim from the relationship, to get her out of that relationships before it did damage. But Marsha’s spirit guides clearly communicated that, although they understood Marsha’s concern, her role was not to save her daughter from that relationship. Instead, it was to be there for Kim through it. Kim’s choice to be in that relationship would bring important lessons that Marsha couldn’t interfere with, and what Marsha’s being there for Kim would help Kim know she could go to her mother for help and support when she chose to leave it. While that wasn’t her preferred role in the situation, the perspective Marsha gained from the reading helped her better understand how to handle the situation and gave her more peace about it.

If you need perspective about a situation you feel you’ve lost objectivity about, a reading with me can help you gain perspective and clarity.

*Names all changed to protect client anonymity. 

Choose to Let Go

letting-go

Growing up, I loved to sing and perform, and I often did so in choirs and plays at school and in my community. I loved it so much, that I took a chance and auditioned to attend the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts—and I was delighted when they accepted me. I began my sophomore year of high school there, believing the integration of arts with academics would be the best experience of my life.

But I quickly learned that my beliefs were incorrect. While I made good friends, had great experiences, and enjoyed the arts portion of my schooling a great deal, I found myself unchallenged—even bored—in the academic arena. Supported by my parents, I chose academics over the arts, letting go of the opportunity to attend that school and returning to my former high school for the remainder of the year. It was a bittersweet decision for me at 15, but letting go of that opportunity opened the way for other challenges and led to other opportunities. And even though I sometimes wonder, “What if I’d stayed? Where would I be today?” I haven’t ever regretted that decision.

When you come up against a roadblock, change, challenge or disappointment, you really have three options: try to change it, remove yourself from it, or let it go. I know many people who feel that last option is being weak, that letting go is somehow the same as giving up. But letting go can be a powerful action that brings greater peace of mind, and it actually takes a great deal of strength. When you choose to let go—of being right, of resentment or regret, of your own agenda or plans, etc.—and I mean really let go, you are choosing peace of mind. And you can discover a world of possibilities you didn’t know existed.

Not sure where to start when it comes to letting go? I recommend checking out this fantastic list of 40 things you can do to let go for some useful tips.

Intuition Access in Just 10 Minutes

vision-just-ahead

Making time to quiet your mind is one of the best ways to connect with – and learn to listen to – your intuition. And the more practice you get connecting to your intuition the easier it is to perceive—and the easier it is to have access to answers and guidance that will help you navigate through life.

But our lives get busy, and there’s sometimes a shortage of time and quiet. Luckily it doesn’t have to take a lot of time to get in touch with your intuition. In just 10 minutes, you can quiet your mind and be able to access your intuition to gain insights on a regular basis. All you need is

  • a private place to sit comfortably,
  • a pen and paper, and
  • something to keep time with.

Here’s how:

Take 5 minutes to meditate. Spend 5 minutes in a private, quiet spot meditating. Whether your preferred meditation method is focusing on your breathing, saying a mantra, following a guided meditation, doing a walking meditation or a combination thereof, meditate according to it for five minutes to clear your mind and get centered in your body.

Take 5 minutes to listen and write. Now that your mind is calm and clear, ask yourself a question for which you want guidance. It can be what direction to take in your career, what kind of things would improve a relationship, how to help your family, anything. Then take 5 minutes to write whatever comes to you, paying attention to the ways intuition speaks to you. Don’t question or judge it. Just write. At the end of your writing time, look over what your wrote and see what resonates with you to take away as an answer.

This exercise is easy to do and helps you connect to your intuition for needed answers—and in only 10 minutes! Try it to help you on your journey. And if you’re still needing some answers, book a reading with me for clarity and perspective.

3 Ways Intuition Speaks to You

theresa-lucero-intuition

“But I want the big, booming voice,” my client, Kristen, protested. She’d come to me for a psychic reading, and during it, I’d shared messages and advice from her spirit guides. And while Kristen had confirmed that the messages had resonated with her, she admitted to being puzzled. She had received many of the same messages before her reading, but she had questioned them because they didn’t come in the form she expected: a big, booming voice telling her plainly what she needed to know.

I explained that I don’t hear a big, booming voice, either, that messages come to me in a variety of bits and pieces of impressions, pictures, feelings and words, rather than fully formed ideas. I then get to interpret them, putting them together like a puzzle picture coming together.

Kristen was amazed, because that’s the kind of tidbits of info she receives as well. She thought the absence of a big, booming voice meant her antenna for messages was somehow weak or out of order, but she was right in tune. She just didn’t know it.

Understanding how intuition speaks to you is the first step towards following and trusting it. Here are three ways intuition communicates.

1. Intuition speaks to us through synchronicities.

Not just the title to an album from The Police in the 80s, synchronicities are “meaningful coincidences of outer and inner events that are not themselves causally connected. The emphasis lies on the word ‘meaningful’. (Marie Louise von Franz)

Whenever two or more independent incidences of a theme/topic repeat, it could be a synchronicity. They can come from a phrase or sentence jumping out when reading to a friend saying just what you need to hear… anything. Intuition speaks through these meaningful coincidences, so being mindful of synchonicities is key to getting an answer you’re looking for. As Carl Jung said, “Synchronicity reveals the meaningful connections between the subjective and objective world.”

Try it: Put synchronicities to the test through this exercise:

After getting quiet and asking the divine/your guides/your higher self/your intuition a question, pay close attention for the next 24-48 hours to the conversation you have with others, the entertainment you watch/listen to, and the things you read. If you notice repeats of the same theme or topic happening independently of one another, then it could be an answer for you.

Billboard

2. Intuition speaks to us through “clairs”.

A prefix meaning “clearly or clear”, “clair” is added onto other sensory words to describe the intuitive ways we receive information, guidance, or answers. Whether you clearly hear, see, feel, or know something without explanation, such as just knowing someone isn’t being honest or hearing a voice telling you to take a class to learn something new, this is another key way your intuition speaks to you.

clairvoyance = clearly seeing

clairaudience = clearly hearing

clairsentience = clearly feeling

claircognizence = clearly knowing

clairalience = clearly smelling

clairgustance = clearly tasting

Try it: Not sure which “clair” your intuition speaks through? Try this exercise to find out.

Get quiet. Take a few deep breaths. Ask the divine/your guides/your higher self/your intuition a question. Then pay attention to what you hear, see, feel, etc. to experience an answer. Which clair comes through for you?

3. Intuition speaks through symbols/dreams.

Dreams can hold the keys to our unconscious and are often the language of intuition. Look for recurring items and symbols in your dreams in terms of

1) what they actually do (for example, a car is a mode of transportation),

2) what they mean to you (a car may mean freedom, independence, mobility, etc.),

3) what they may represent in society or mythology (a car can mean status, industry, performance, etc), and

4) how they make you feel.

Then see what that item or symbol is doing in your dream to see what your intuition could be telling you.

Try it: Try this exercise to consciously call on your dreams to speak to you.

As you get ready for bed, take a few moments to get quiet. Take a few deep breaths. Ask the divine/your guides/your higher self/your intuition a question. Then pay attention to what dreams you have that night and write them down first thing the next morning. Did anything in your dream serve as an answer?

If you want more guidance about intuition, check out my classes page to sign up to learn more.

Make a Difference by Being You

unique-light

I don’t think it’s any secret that there are many problems in the world. It can seem very daunting at times, and other times it can feel doubtful that anything, let alone one person, can make a difference.

But you can help make a difference.

As Michael Meade said, “Changes in the world happen with changes in individuals.”  And for change to happen in the world, it needs the unique voice and life that is you. People who have awakened to who they truly are, embrace it, and live the life they are uniquely meant to live have impact and leave the world a better place.

Thanks to Amy Oscar for sharing these beautiful words:

You-Shaped Hole

Sometimes the world feels inhospitable.

You feel all the ways that you and it don’t fit.

You see what’s missing, how it all could be different.

You feel as if you weren’t meant for the world, or the world wasn’t meant for you.

As if the world is “the way it is” and your discomfort with it a problem.

So you get timid. You get quiet about what you see.

But what if this? What if you are meant

to feel the world is inhospitable, unfriendly, off-track

in just the particular ways that you do?

The world has a you-shaped hole in it.

It is missing what you see.

It lacks what you know.

And so you were called into being.

To see the gap, to feel the pain of it, and to fill it.

Filling it is speaking what is missing.

Filling it is stepping into the center of the crowd, into a clearing, and saying, here, my friends, is the future.

Filling it is being what is missing, becoming it.

You don’t have to do it all, but you do have to speak it.

You have to tell your slice of the truth.

You do have to walk toward it with your choices, with your own being.

Then allies and energies will come to you like fireflies swirling around a light.

The roughness of the world, the off-track-ness, the folly that you see,

these are the most precious gifts you will receive in this lifetime.

They are not here to distance you from the world, but to guide you

into your contribution to it.

The world was made with a you-shaped hole in it.

In that way you are important.

In that way you are here to make the world.

In that way you are called.

– Tara Sophia Mohr

One more thought from Michael Meade: “If you don’t live the unique life you came to live, no one else will ever live it.”

I invite you to live the unique life you were meant to live. Give voice to the unique way you see things. Share your unique talents. Spread your unique light and fill the you-shaped hole in the world. It will make a difference. 

5 Tips to Remain Centered

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like your mind is just so full it gets hard to think or make decisions? For me, it’s the same effect as feeling overwhelmed, but it’s more of a feeling of being overloaded. That’s usually when I realize it’s time to bring some of that energy from my head to the rest of my body, to get grounded or centered.

Now, I’m far from a Zen Master, and I’m still learning how to be centered, but here’s what I’ve figured out so far. When I’m centered:

  • I feel calm.
  • I’m more likely to be proactive, rather than reactive.
  • I have the energy to handle the curve balls life throws at me without panicking or going into panic mode.
  • I have better access to guidance through my intuition, friends, family, the divine, spirit guides, angels…anything.

All of these benefits help me think and cope better overall. And being centered also facilitates connection to yourself, so it is one way to access spirituality.

But how do you find that centeredness in the midst of a crazy day? Luckily, you don’t have to go on an extended retreat. Although it’s not always easy to get centered, let alone achieve and maintain it with any sort of regularity, here are five tips that can work for me.

Tip #1: Take deep breaths. Take just a moment to breathe deeply. Use the number five as your guide: Inhale, hold your breath and exhale, each for a count of five. Do this five times in a row, and you’ll notice a difference immediately. The best part about this is you can do it anywhere pretty inconspicuously and as many times as you need throughout the day. Try it in the car, at your desk, in the middle of a meeting or an argument, to start your day or finish it…you get the idea. It’s amazing what a little oxygen can do to ground you.

breathe

Tip #2: Enjoy some quiet time. There’s an amazing amount of power in quiet. Our lives are filled with so much noise–it’s no wonder our brains get full. Unplug and make time for quiet. A few ideas:

  • Get up a little earlier and enjoy a few moments of quiet before the hustle and bustle of the day begins.
  • Take a walk around your block or office building or go somewhere quiet, whether it’s a library or a park.
  • Meditate or pray. If you aren’t sure how, get a guided meditation CD, or join a local meditation Meetup Group in your area to learn and mingle with others who share this interest.
  • Write or reflect.
  • Take a bath.

Anything that helps you relax and focus will help you be more centered, and having quiet time is a great way to do this.

quiet-time-bath

Tip #3: Experience nature. Nature has a slower rhythm than busy, modern life, so being in it naturally (pardon the pun) helps you center. You don’t have to go to a remote mountain to access nature. Walk barefoot on grass in your backyard or neighborhood park. Feel the sun on your face. Play in the sandbox with your kid. Anything that brings you in contact with the earth more will help you feel its rhythms, slow down and be more centered.

nature

Tip #4: Do grounding exercises. The first, or root, chakra is all about grounding, or connecting us to the earth. This is an important part of getting out of your head and into your heart and body. Certain exercises help you strengthen this sense of connection, and none of them require a personal trainer. Try:

Stomping, marching, or kicking. This brings the energy to your feet and legs and can’t help but bring you back into your body. Just make sure you have a bit of an open space to do it so you don’t hurt anyone in the process (yourself included).

Listening to music with strong drum lines. Play drums or turn your dashboard or desk into a drum set. Get a heavy beat going. Drums and a heavy beat easily get you grounded and more centered.

drums

Tip #5: Invoke scents. Aromas speaks to the primal part of your brain and immediately help you be in your body more. Try inhaling some earthy, grounding scents, such as patchouli, cypress, vetiver or sandalwood by burning your favorite candle or diffusing essential oils anytime for immediate results.

aromatherapy