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Healthy Body Image & The Inner Child

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Acknowledging and nurturing the inner child is critical to achieving a healthy body image. The framework of this relationship determines the degree to which our mind and body are connected . . . or disconnected.

Positive body image is more than merely how we see ourselves physically. It’s how we feel about our physical appearance. And more specifically, the ways in which liking our appearance differs from disliking our appearance, and how this translates to our relationship with ourselves and the world.

Genetic inheritance influences our bone structure, body size, shape, and weight. Consequently, we are all different. At the same time, the equation for weight and body mass is the same for everyone: the calories we intake each day versus the calories we burn. Yet if everyone ate the same and did the same amount of exercise for a whole year, we would not all look the same in the end. This has to do with body type and metabolic rate. And the fact is that liking one’s body, or disliking it, is not all about appearance. People of all shapes and sizes, even some with incredible physiques, suffer from negative body image.

The Silver Screen

The media is a powerful influencer in the body image scenario because it propagates cultural images and sells advertising space. Of course, this drives the movie and television industry, as well as industries such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food, and yes . . . diet and exercise. In fact, weight loss and exercising products are particularly notorious for proliferating body image stereotypes.

Here are some relevant statistics:

  • More than 80% of Americans watch television an average of three hours each day
  • Children engage in increasing amounts of media use fueled by internet access through phones and laptops
  • Eight to eighteen year-olds are engaged with some form of media about seven and one-half hours per day

Even animated cartoons and children’s videos commonly emphasize the importance of being physically attractive. It is also relative to note that although sexually objectified images of females in advertising are most likely to appear in men’s magazines, the second most common source of such images are advertisements in teen magazines directed at adolescent girls. The sexual objectification of men— which is less frowned upon socially and receives far less negative attention, but is nonetheless impactful on influencing body image—is also popular in advertising and media portrayal.

While this is merely the tip of the iceberg, what we know is that body image is primarily formed during our upbringing and is heavily influenced by media. Of course, there are other factors that affect body image which can occur at any time in life, such as sexual harassment or assault, bullying or body shaming, and any of the many forms of discrimination that occur based on appearance. But what does that really mean on a deeper level? How do body image and the focus on being attractive effect our perception of ourselves and our individual reality?

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Body Image Mirror Mirror

Physical beauty is a powerful and influential imagery paradigm in our media-driven culture, one in which hearts, minds and dollars are deeply invested.

The concept of physical beauty is core to body image, yet it is a perception that can be false or ambiguous. Indeed, physical beauty is a highly subjective, cultural, equivocal, ever-changing, and historically trend-influenced phenomenon. Enhancement of physical beauty can be purchased in many forms. Physical beauty can be marketed, packaged and sold in dizzying numbers of ways. Physical beauty can be a mask and it can be masked. Physical beauty—vague, mercurial and moody—is even more difficult to define than love.

We abide externalized standards for physical beauty despite a deeper wisdom of diversity and empathy that considers it shallow and superficial, something which only goes ‘skin-deep.’ Some innate part of us knows physical beauty is only so relevant in the greater scheme of things; we understand that it is not the same as physical attraction, yet we still allow it to affect our perceptions of ourselves and others. Thus, if our life experiences, whether based on genetics, lifestyle choices, past traumas or a combination thereof, have led to negative body image based upon this volatile concept of physical beauty—if our self-esteem suffers because we have ‘bought-in’ to the idea that we do not meet socially accepted standards of physical beauty that serve as a prerequisite to love and acceptance—we are harboring false or ambiguous perceptions of ourselves which need to be reconciled.

What Love Has To Do With It

Negative body image is a manifestation of fear—fear that we will not receive the love and acceptance we need—fear that we are unworthy of love because of how we look. This fear reaction occurs on a primal, instinctive level which, in psychological terms, is commonly referred to as a trauma of the inner child. Negative body image underlies addictions, eating disorders and other self-destructive habits, and is rooted in a subconscious disconnection of the mind and body.

Thought processes, behavior patterns and lifestyle choices can emerge that reinforce this negative body image. These often include poor eating habits, lack of physical activity, and a general disregard of accepted wisdom on achieving and maintaining good health. Choosing to be unconcerned about such things is a manifestation of the mind/body disconnect.

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Denial of troubled emotions empowers the inner child to take possession of our personality at times, to hijack our ‘adult’ decision making process.

A common way we compensate for this underlying fear of being unlovable is with food. Eating can be thought of as self-love because it stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain—it makes us feel good­—yet this can become a deceptive form of self-abuse and inner conflict, as we realize on a deeper level that that we are mistreating ourselves. Physical activity, particularly exercising, can serve as an uncomfortable reminder of this dysfunction; in order to appease this inner conflict, many adopt attitudes such as: “I don’t like my body anyway, so I don’t really care.”

Suffering from negative body image means we exist in a stasis of emotional apprehension and apathy; that we have adapted and become comfortable with a way of life which may include unhealthy lifestyle choices impelled by a subconscious fear of being unloved. In order to move ahead, we must begin utilizing deliberate acts of self-discovery, such as mindfulness training and practice, to recognize and alter these psychological, physiological and behavioral dynamics. Perhaps the most critical element in this process is learning to acknowledge and nurture a conscious relationship with our inner child.

The Inner Child

The concept of the inner child is traceable to Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and more recently, Eric Berne, among others. It is a basic principle used in therapeutic applications and 12 step recovery approaches. The idea of the inner child is well-known and accepted in popular psychology because it makes sense; it resonates with people. The concept commonly arises in the context of healing the psyche—of the inner child being wounded, stifled or otherwise emotionally compromised. Yet whether or not injury to the psyche has actually occurred and to what degree, there are many fundamental and holistic reasons to embrace our innate, childlike nature.

“A torn jacket is soon mended, but hard words bruise the heart of a child.”      ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Even if one is raised in the ‘best of families’ under the most ‘normal’ of circumstances, it is possible for a parent to have a challenged moment and say something like: “You’ll never amount to anything.” After all, parents are human and far from infallible. Yet statements like this, which undermine a child’s conviction that the parent loves and believes in them, can cause developmental setbacks that carry into adulthood. It is also common for parents to have expectations of children that either go unfulfilled or to which children grudgingly conform; this erodes self-esteem and creates the feeling of wanting to ‘leave childhood behind.’

Children in dysfunctional, impoverished, or circumstantially challenged families often take on adult roles such as cooking and cleaning instead of playing with friends. They may care for siblings or ill parents instead of having free time to simply be a kid. And sometimes, in more dire situations, a child may become hyper-vigilant to the emotional state of their parents or other adults in the household in order to protect themselves or siblings from neglect or abuse.

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In attempting to leave our child-like self behind, we become emotionally attached to the past. We diminish spontaneity and the joy of cherishing each moment with awe and wonder.

The inner child is deeply affected by the sense of being unloved, or unlovable, or both; this perception can readily transfer to poor self-esteem and negative body image. Experiences such as bullying, physical abuse, psychological abuse, abandonment, and physical or sexual assault are the kinds of events that engender shame, guilt, rage and resentment, and can radically traumatize the inner child. Any experience of being physically or psychologically violated, even when it happens in adulthood, can create this trauma.

The mind/body disconnect occurs when we endeavor to avoid, deny, or set aside feelings associated with troubling events such as these. The inner child is the part of the psyche where emotion is experienced, so when we try to block out fear, anger, shame, rage, resentment, guilt, sorrow, and disappointment, we also inhibit feelings of joy, love, happiness, compassion, empathy, and contentment. As well, we create negative associations and emotional attachments to the past that define us as victims, which is an identity the inner child experiences as being left behind or exiled. By attempting to protect ourselves from unwanted reminders of our trauma, we project fear into new situations that confuses our perceptions and divides our attention between the past and present. This phenomenon is known as emotional looping and is a symptom of what psychology calls “arrested development.”

Broken Crayons

Love and fear are the primal elements of human motivation. Love is the connecting force upon which we thrive. Fear is the dividing force that protects us from threats. Owning shame based on negative body image catalyzes fear founded upon an inaccurately perceived threat, which polarizes our love energy and creates a disconnect within ourselves and with the world around us.

In whatever ways the events of our lives have shaped us, we can only accept our fate and embrace our misfortunes as opportunities. While we cannot forget the past, it is important to acknowledge that change occurs in the present. This is why mindfulness training and the practice of mindfulness meditation have been a successful medium of transformation for so many people. By developing the self-possession and connective consciousness to actually be present with what is happening in the moment, we leave behind knee-jerk, defensive reactions sourced in the past and experience the freedom to reclaim our child-like trust and wonder.

colorful artistic crayons

It is only natural for some of our crayons to get broken along the way; in fact, we sometimes break them ourselves. But that does not mean the days of coloring vibrant meaning and purpose into our lives are behind us. Even with an entire box of broken crayons, we are capable or recreating ourselves.

It is this life force and energy of love—love that diffuses fear and invites empathy and self-possession—which is the foundation upon which healthy body image and a positive inner child relationship resides. Here lies the motivation of physical activity, the preparation and partaking of nutritious food, the sacred acts of caring and nurturing, and the exuberant, child-like outlook that stimulates and invigorates us. Indeed, this loving connectivity is how we pick up the broken crayons of our lives and carefully put them back into their precious boxes. 

©2016 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery. All Rights Reserved.


Cathexis Logo Pic MemeCathexis Therapeutic Imagery specializes in innovative approaches to workplace wellness, mindfulness training, and personal development. Via private coaching, presentations, workshops, training events, and our partnership in the unique online wellness community Your Wellness Room—used by Kaiser Permanente, EFactor and other notable companies—our nationally recognized programs and practices help people and organizations make positive changes. Please call for a free consultation at (818) 512-4371 orcontact us via email.

Managing Life Change: Our Sacred Time Of Transition

Managing Life Change

The terms distress and eustress were coined in 1975 by endocrinologist Hans Selye in his landmark work on the effects of stress

The nature of change itself creates a certain degree of stress. Our reactions can be influenced by our perceptions, which include whether the change is chosen or imposed, and if the outcome is positive or negative. Life transitions we perceive to be negative cause distress, while those seen as positive cause eustress. In either event, however, as we consider the ramifications of moving away from our accustomed homeostasis, or comfort zone, the mind and body react primarily to the fact that a change has occurred

Whether positive or negative, expected or unexpected, life transitions result in leaving behind that which is familiar and facing the unknown. They require coping with mixed emotions such as vulnerability and excitement, anxiety and resolve, disappointment and relief, apprehension and inspiration, motivation and polarization.

Among the most stressful life changing events are:

  • Death of a spouse, parent or loved one
  • Marital separation or divorce
  • Serious illness
  • Marriage
  • Career change or retirement

LOVE & FEAR

The fundamental relationship of love and fear offer a profound and fascinating framework for inspiring and transformative thoughts. They are also critical to managing the life changes that ultimately challenge each of us.

Love and fear are elemental forces we are born with and experience throughout our lifetimes, yet they defy absolute comprehension. Certain psychological theories of the mind consider love and fear as our primary emotions, with all other emotions being secondary. Physiologically, love and fear are tied to our survival instinct and the release of the stress (fear) hormones adrenaline and cortisol, and their anti-stress (love) counterpart, oxytocin. On a mental, emotional and physical basis, love connects us—within ourselves, to each other, and to the world around us—while fear separates us.

“Every human thought, word, or deed is based on fear or love. Fear is the energy which contracts, closes down, draws in, hides, hoards, harms.  Love is the energy which expands, opens up, sends out, reveals, shares, heals.”

~Neale Donald Walsch

Fear often arises in false perceptions of threats that can turn small issues into big ones. Love frequently manifests as little things, intuitive gestures and kind acts, offered in response to larger challenges. Time factors into this dichotomy because many fearful reactions are rooted in our preoccupation with rehashing the past or worrying about the future, while the transcendent qualities of love can only be experienced in the present. This is one reason the ancient disciplines of yoga and meditation teach that tranquility and connectedness are achieved by being present in the moment, a philosophy that draws upon the sage and enduring concept of sacred time.

SACRED TIME

Time is also an elemental force that defies absolute comprehension. Time in the prevailing, linear sense is not a proven constant of the universe; in fact, it is a man-made convention. Perhaps this lends credence to the indigenous notions of time as a sacred, cyclical relationship to the celestial bodies, the cycles of day and night and the turning of the seasons, which are represented in various cultures by myriad depictions of the circle and wheel as universal symbols of life.

Celtic wisdom resolves the conundrum of time by contemplating it in two distinct aspects:

  1. Historical time as linear and consisting of the past, present and future; and
  2. Sacred time as circular and existing solely in the present.

Quantum physics considers time in the context of our relationship with the ever expanding universe. Certainly our individual and collective consciousness expands throughout our lives. We grow older.  And, hopefully; wiser. Mindful MemoriesTo the degree our memories consist of cherished experiences, footprints covered over by the course of time but which still imprint love in our awareness, we know happiness, fulfillment, and excitement. When those footprints are impressions of fear and regret, however, we can also know bitterness, disenchantment, and apprehension. Our emotional attachments to the past, both positive and negative, can create expectation for the future. By practicing being present in the moment—without resistance, judgment or attachment to outcome—we become more cognizant of anxious feelings in ourselves and others without being distressed by them, and realize how simple acts of love can diffuse that fear.

SURRENDER

Our lives are characterized by stressful transitions, events both expected and unexpected, that challenge our functioning, self-esteem and sense of purpose. As we endeavor to manage these changes, let us be mindful of the interrelationship of love and fear, and the importance of being present in the moment. The rich and storied history of our journey through the years—our relationships, vocational and avocational pursuits, health and well-being—provide the vital basis of our identity, which, in the absence of fear, lovingly surrenders emotional attachments to the past.

Even during times of grief, the tomorrow we build for ourselves happens today. Therefore, it is critical to let go of the feelings of regret and sorrow that naturally arise, which is accomplished by consciously investing in the here and now. Relinquishing expectations founded on what has gone before and embracing the challenge we have inherited; responding to the demands of the moment with compassion and empathy, both for ourselves and others; choosing eustress over distress; indeed, this is how life change catalyzes into spiritual growth, and becomes our sacred time of transition.

©2016 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery. All Rights Reserved.

Shawn picture-52

Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht.

Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery specializes in innovative approaches to workplace wellness, mindfulness training, and personal development. Via private coaching, presentations, workshops, training events, and our partnership in the unique online wellness community Your Wellness Room—used by Kaiser Permanente, EFactor and other notable companies—our nationally recognized programs and practices help people and organizations make positive changes. Please call for a free consultation at (818) 512-4371 or contact us via email.

Our Global Ascension Of Consciousness

Global Ascension Of Consciousness

A new world community is evolving, one of diversity and connectedness with all of life. This is the manifestation of a global ascension of consciousness rooted in compassion, emotional intelligence and spiritual unity. Bridging the divisions within ourselves and letting go of limiting attitudes and beliefs anneals our divine connectivity. We perceive the ways in which learned prejudices have rendered us vulnerable to the intrigues of wealth and power. The politically driven machinations of fear and apathy become increasingly transparent, and we are drawn together in challenging our governments to better serve the interests of humanity and the environment.

These are some of the issues fueling this ascension of consciousness:

  • More than nine million people, the majority of them women and children, are hungry and impoverished in a world that can readily afford to feed and shelter them
  • Our precious planet and its wild and magnificent wonders are besieged by the ecologically unfriendly and sometimes devastating footprints of industry, despite the availability of greener and more sustainable options
  • The predatory pricing practices of pharmaceutical companies and their methodical discrediting of holistic practices and cures that can’t be patented and sold
  • The inertia of institutional economic dependence on fossil fuels which fails to entice energy companies into developing viable alternatives
  • The incestuous infrastructure of national governments, financial institutions, and investment exchanges

Awakening

Many now eschew the jaded visage of a corporate owned media that is no longer bound by objectivity or journalistic integrity—a media that propagates the profiteering agenda of the world’s wealth nexus by ‘selling’ carefully crafted and sponsored stories—and purveys fear by sensationalizing crime, natural disaster, and human suffering. Equally disturbing, and what has become painfully evident to everyone, is how politicians fail to represent the collective interest of their electorates due to conflicts of interest created by the dark money of special interest lobbying. These deeply embedded practices circumvent political ideologies and violate the basic social contract upon which democratic governments function, transforming them from a voice of the people into a commodity of the rich and powerful.

It has become obvious that such governance practices cannot sustain our planet or its populace. This is why our global ascension of consciousness is a source of profound hope and inspiration. Considering recent developments in civil rights based on tolerance of gender, race, and sexual preference, all of which have overcome historical cultural and institutional resistance, there is every reason to believe that political lobbying reform, equitable wealth distribution, uplifting of the impoverished, affordable and integrative medicine practices, and sustainability of our planet, are reasonable and attainable goals.

Transformation

The sea change lies within each of us to avoid entanglement in the fences that would divide us. We can accomplish this in the following ways:

  1. By discovering how to invite and nurture this collective spiritual awakening to our connection with all of life;
  2. By finding and giving love amidst the complex personal, ideological, and cultural conflicts that will inevitably arise along the way; and
  3. By kindling our endearing faith in human spirit and ingenuity to preserve the wonders of creation.

An emboldened future where all of life thrives with respect and dignity manifests singularly, within the hearts of each of us. We must reach out to those who resist and hold to the old paradigm— accept and embrace them as teachers instead of reacting to them as adversaries—and reverently understand it is they who will forge our greatest intention.

Compassion, emotional intelligence and spiritual unity do not spare hardship or ensure accomplishment of goals and aspirations; rather, they diffuse intimidation and polarization, thus allowing the rectitude of vision necessary for enlightenment. Ascension of consciousness begins not with answers but with questions—questions each of us must resolve within ourselves: Do we cling to apathy and the little-death of fear?  Or do we surrender to the nobility and courage of love?

Enlightenment

Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht.

Note: I was moved to write and post this article because so many of my clients, in one way or another, have shared their deep concerns about these and other issues plaguing our world. Most have also expressed the desire to find or deepen their spiritual connection. My motivational messages, therapeutic approach, and mindfulness training model resonate with the themes of compassion and love as the way to ‘be the change’ we wish to effect in our lives. I believe casting aside fear and consciously seeking the path of empathy leads to spiritual enlightenment. By enlisting love as our vessel and compassion as our compass, we successfully navigate the stormy seas of our individual and collective realities, discovering sanctuary for ourselves and others along the way.

©2015 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. and Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery

Light Of Winter

Winter Solstice

A WINTER SOLSTICE MEDITATION

(Note: The following article is from a presentation on MIndfulness Meditation given during the Winter Solstice service at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church in Canoga Park, California, on December 20, 2015.) 

In this article and accompanying meditation (see the link below), we celebrate Winter Solstice in a very special way, as we join in mind, body & spirit to invite reborn light into the fertile depths of our individual and collective souls. We shall contemplate and explore the seeded darkness of our inner being; the transcendent mystery of midwinter and its promise of renewal wrought by the pale sun and cold earth; the ancient, echoed wisdom woven by countless seasons into bone and sinew and sense. We shall partake in the interconnected sentience of our living, breathing and enigmatically conscious universe. At this revered confluence of endings and beginnings, this holiest of all seasons beneath the turning of the Celestial Wheel, let us rejoice in ambient communion with the resplendent wonder of the sun’s rebirth in our hearts, and create a cradle of spirituality from which to draw inspiration.

Mindfulness

My practice includes teaching both private and corporate clients mindfulness meditation. There have been thousands of studies conducted by hundreds of independent researchers demonstrating the benefits of mindfulness meditation in reducing stress, managing emotional reactivity, improving focus and concentration, strengthening immune system function, and treating an array of medical and mental health related conditions. It is being widely used in business to facilitate healthy and productive environments and positive workplace culture. There are still skeptics, however, many of whom assign a degree “woo-woo” to the practice of meditation. Having meditated daily for nearly 40 years, I can tell you first hand that whatever woo-woo that occurs is not in the meditation itself, but rather in the experience of higher conscious. We shall consider this phenomenon in relationship to Winter Solstice a bit further, both conceptually and experientially.

I invite you to take a deep breath. Match your inhale to your exhale. Now repeat this deep, measured breathing and focus your attention on it. Notice the air moving. Touch your thumbs and fingertips together; wiggle your toes. Observe yourself in relation to the space around you. Just be present with yourself . . . in this moment. Let go of all resistance, expectation and judgment. Simply allow yourself to experience the here and now.

     “Still yourself. Listen. Breathe.”

This is what is known as a mindfulness moment. The Zen of mindfulness, the bone and sinew of it, the essence of being truly present, is momentarily absolving oneself of intentional thought. And the most effective way to learn the art of mindfulness is through mindfulness meditation, which is a western, non-sectarian, research-based form of meditation derived from the ancient Buddhist practice known as Insight Meditation.

MindfulnessMindfulness meditation develops the skill of paying attention to our internal and external experiences with acceptance, patience, and compassion. The idea of enlightenment, of shifting and expanding perception beyond the realm of human intelligence, is grounded in this subtle and remarkable discipline of inviting a pure awareness that diffuses the habituation of fearful thoughts, emotions and behaviors. In mindfulness meditation, one of the oldest and most venerated practices for exploring the ineffable dimensions of consciousness, the seeded darkness of our inner being, has come of age.

Unity Consciousness

But let’s set aside ancient wisdom for a moment. Instead, let’s use modern science to embrace this old world perspective of the interconnected sentience of our living, breathing and enigmatically conscious universe. I quote Neil deGrasse Tyson, popular astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space:

“The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth.  And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe.”

According to quantum physics theory, beneath molecules, atoms, subatomic particles, and quarks lies a singular unified field of energy, an intelligence from which all forces and particles emerge, a ‘conscious’ structural matrix that exists everywhere in the universe. This energy field is considered ‘conscious’ or ‘intelligent’ because it encompasses the basic behavior of all things within the functioning laws of nature. The scientific community calls this concept unified field theory, or unity consciousness. In his book, A Brief History of Time, Stephan Hawking refers to the phenomenon of unity consciousness as “the mind of God.”

This consciousness, or organic sentience, is foundationally influenced by the interconnection of the Sun and Earth, a transmission of galactic energy communicated through light and vibrational wave frequencies along the infinite electromagnetic spectrum (radio, microwave, infrared, visual, ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma rays); much of which we cannot see or feel.

In his book, ‘The Social Conquest of Earth,’ pre-eminent Harvard biologist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner E.O. Wilson sets forth a stunningly vivid and succinct description of the limited aperture through which human biology allows us to perceive our world.

Unity Consciousness

The migration patterns of birds are a primary example of the ability of animals to sense electromagnetic fields

What is most fascinating and relevant about this account is not that technology can reveal realities to which we are insensate—colors we don’t see, sounds we don’t hear, energy fields we don’t sense—what is most compelling is that all of these are perceivable to biology, just not human biology. It is established biological fact that animals see colors we can’t see; hear sounds we can’t hear; feel vibrations we can’t feel; and sense electromagnetic fields.

All living things are comprised of energy that radiates an aura, a “bio-electromagnetic field,” which results from electrical impulses generated by the movement of electrons around the nucleus of our cells. The human aura includes physical, emotional, and mental/spiritual aspects, and represents this chemical, biological, and atomical connection to the living universe. Research utilizing infrared and Kirlian photography has demonstrated that meditation intensifies or “charges” this aura, which enhances its interactivity with the geomagnetic energy fields of the earth and the cosmos.

From this scientific perspective then, is it such a leap to conceive of creation’s wonder, the transcendent mystery, perhaps even divinity itself, as this conscious matrix of unified energy that surrounds and connects all living things? And is this conception not distinctly akin to what Unitarian Universalism calls “the Interconnected Web of Life?”

Winter Solstice

Winter solstice is the time to honor the transcendent mystery—the wonder of the seeded darkness and the beauty of light reborn. Celebrations of longer days to come and the turning of nature’s seasonal wheel have been common throughout cultures and history. Winter solstice is the promise of patient wisdom beneath the turning stars, a time to embrace the rebirth of the sun with great hope and compassion in our hearts.

Pagan author T. Thorn Coyle wrote that the solstice is:

” . . . a chance to still ourselves inside, to behold the glory of the cosmos, and to take a breath with the Sacred.”

For many people, the Winter Solstice season marks the only occasion all year they set foot in a house of worship. Indeed, midwinter’s confluence of endings and beginnings—the night of greatest darkness and the sun reborn in hope—stirs a searching of the soul’s belonging. It is a time of coming together in fellowship, of setting aside enmities and ideologies, of observing rites and rituals that allow us to glimpse the spiritual cradle of life’s miracle. It is a time of gratitude and wonder, of compassion and grace, of peace and goodwill.

I invite you to join me for a few minutes of Mindfulness Meditation, as we contemplate . . .

Light Of Winter

Winter Solstice Meditation

Light Of Winter Meditation

(click on the link, close your eyes, and enjoy the meditation)

©2015 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery. All Rights Reserved.

Shawn picture-52

Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht.

Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery specializes in innovative approaches to workplace wellness, mindfulness training, and personal development. Via private coaching, presentations, workshops, training events, and our partnership in the unique online wellness community Your Wellness Room—used by Kaiser Permanente, EFactor and other notable companies—our nationally recognized programs and practices help people and organizations make positive changes. Please call for a free consultation at (818) 512-4371 or contact us via email. 

Reality: The Quantum Hologram

The Mind Of God

In his book, A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking refers to the unified energy field as ‘The Mind of God’

There is growing acceptance in the Western scientific community of the ancient idea of a unified energy field that links all of creation in an ethereal bond, an innate consciousness. Many scientists and researchers refer to this phenomenon as Nature’s Mind, Unity Consciousness, or the Quantum Hologram (see Greg Braden article, Oneness & The Quantum Hologram, here).

The navigation of consciousness transcends the boundaries mapped by a pantheon of great human minds, reaching ever outward into this sensory holograph that is creation’s enduring mystery. The connection of all living things, the cosmic equation—the whole of life within every part, and every part within the whole—manifests in our perception of reality as multiple dimensions that elude absolute comprehension and definition. We can see, touch, hear, smell and taste the universe around us, yet these images are shifting perspectives of an even greater fabric and texture, an interwoven awareness we have merely glimpsed through the eyes of science, physics, eastern medicine, psychology, mysticism, and spirituality.

The ‘angle of light’ shed by our specific viewpoint and the various ‘interference patterns’ of our own attitudes and beliefs, serve as vectors of discernment that create the basis for this concept of reality as a holographic image (see M.S. Benford Journal of Theoretics study here). And the function of our mind, body and spirit, the magnetic and vibratory energy of the human aura interacting with the vast energy of the universe, is a critical variable in how the world ultimately presents itself to us, affecting how we perceive and experience our individual realities.

The power of individual perspective greatly influences the enigma of reality and its various dimensions and levels. 14749365_sOur attitudes and beliefs, our emotional intelligence, comprise the filters with which we process incoming information, while also sending coherent emotional impulses to the heart, the electro-magnetic dynamo of the human organism. The heart then transmits this energy, the magnetic force and vibration of our convictions about ourselves and the world—which can be photographed and measured as the seven levels of the human aura—out into the universe. In turn, the unified energy field (see John Hagelin, Ph.D. video on quantum physics and consciousness here), our connection on an atomic, molecular, and biological level to every other living thing, responds with a like reflection. This is how our consciousness, individually and collectively, fashions the Quantum Hologram, or what we perceive and experience as ‘reality.’

©2013 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery

 

 

 

The Wonder Of Past Life Regression

Past Lives

Spirituality Is Often Realized As The Deeper Intention Of Past Life Regression

  • Are you preoccupied with a certain culture, geographical location, or historical period?
  • Are feelings of de-ja-vu something you have experienced profoundly or frequently?
  • Do you have recurring dreams of places, events, or people?
  • Have you ever had the powerful sense of being connected with a friend or family member that couldn’t be explained?
  • Do you experience phobias, fears, anxiety, or premonitions that cannot be traced to a particular source?

THE PAST LIFE REGRESSION EXPERIENCE

Past life regression is an interactive technique of hypnosis and therapeutic imagery to facilitate the mind’s discovery of images that may be related to memories of experiences from previous lives. Explored in books*, mainstream media, and experimental studies, the age-old practice has been scrutinized because the results are not necessarily testable by empirical means. Memories from certain past life regressions have been investigated and found to be basic knowledge of history, or from events such as novels or movies a subject may have read or seen. Nonetheless, the phenomenon has credibility due to its roots in ancient wisdom, and because sufficient numbers of people have reported memories to traceable events that could have been experienced in past lives, including some that are uncanny in accuracy. Among the most fascinating aspects are subjects who spontaneously shift into speaking languages that they have never actually learned, which is known as xenoglossia.

The mythical basis for past life regression is unburdening karma accumulated from previous lifetimes, thus the process resonates naturally for those who believe in reincarnation of the soul. At the same time, the biological theory of genetic memory, as postulated by Carl Jung in his psychological concept of ‘the collective unconscious‘ plays a relevant role, as individuals of various cultures and religious convictions benefit from past life regressions, which are also commonly experienced as memories from the lives of ancestors.

PAST LIFE REGRESSION THERAPY

Past LivesAs a therapeutic tool, past life regression connects the spiritual and psychological self, allowing for a profound shift of perspective in those seeking a deeper understanding of their life purpose and reason for existence. It has been demonstrated throughout history that many forms of pain, suffering and affliction—mental, emotional and physical—can be eased by an awakening of spirituality. And whether real or imagined, in the myriad and unique journeys that individuals manifest from the depths of the subconscious mind, it is most often this divine connection that emerges as the deeper intention of the past life regression experience.

©2013 Shawn Quinlivan C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery


*There are several popular books responsible for a current resurgence of interest in past-life regression.  Two of these, “Through Time Into Healing” and “ Many Lives, Many Masters,” were written by Dr. Brian L. Weiss, M.D., a traditional psychotherapist whose interest in the subject was inspired by a patient who channeled remarkable revelations from a past life about Dr. Weiss’s family and his dead son.  The book “Reliving Past Lives, the Evidence Under Hypnosis,” written by Helen Wambach, Ph.D., uses statistical analysis to compare details recalled in past lives with various historical records of correlating time periods.  The compelling experiences documented in these books are fascinating and thought provoking.

Higher Consciousness: The Cosmic Connection

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Is it possible to change neural pathways, control blood flow in the body, send endorphins from the brain to manage pain, and engage the mind and heart to attract a desired result in life? Can trance states such as hypnosis, mindfulness meditation, and therapeutic imagery really help us tap into the subconscious mind to manifest higher consciousness and enlightenment?

Our Cosmic Connection

Let’s first use science as a point of reference and quote Neil deGrasse Tyson, a popular astrophysicist and current director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space:

“Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us . . . the atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe.” 

According to mainstream quantum physics theory, beneath molecules, atoms, subatomic particles, and quarks lies a singular unified field of energy, an intelligence from which all forces and particles emerge, a conscious structural matrix that exists everywhere in the universe. This energy field is referred to as ‘consciousness’ or ‘intelligence’ because it encompasses the basic behavior of all things within the functioning laws of nature. We individualize perception through our own sensory and mind processes, yet consciousness itself, the innate intelligence of creation, is a phenomenon of the universe and represents the interconnection of all of life.

Engaging The Human Energy Field

Like all living things, each of us is comprised of energy that radiates an aura which can be captured by infrared and Kirlian photography. Science calls this a “bio-electro-magnetic field” and it results from electrical impulses generated by the movement of electrons around the nucleus of our cells.

5577426_sThe human energy field is a dynamic matrix that includes physical, emotional, and mental/spiritual aspects, and represents this universal chemical, biological, and atomical connection. Hypnotherapy, mindfulness meditation, and therapeutic imagery can be used to effectively engage the mind and bring the aura into balance, aligning it with the geomagnetic energy field of the earth and catalyzing its connection to the conscious universe. This is also known as “auric” or “pranic healing” and is a potent connection to our cosmic origins, a force that can be focused and directed.

All aspects of the human energy field, physical, emotional, and mental/spiritual, can be stimulated. Pain, from acute to chronic, can be drastically altered; emotional responses such as panic, anxiety, grief, or anger, can be shifted and detached; concentration can be greatly enhanced; unhealthy habits can be replaced; quality of life can be improved; and true purpose—the sense of higher self—can be realized. Engaging the power of the subconscious mind is indeed how we enhance this cosmic connection, the etheric force of higher consciousness that connects us with all of life.

©2013 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht., Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery