Monthly Archives: August 2016

27. Solving Problems, One Emotion At A Time

problem solvingAs a health practitioner, I work with clients on a regular basis, addressing physical, emotional, spiritual, and energetic issues that interfere in one way or another with progress, growth, and overall satisfaction in life. These can cover a myriad of topics, which can make it difficult to whittle down into a small niche. I was asked three interesting questions today, that helped shine a light on the most sought after topics I encounter. I’m sharing both the questions and my answers, in hopes it might clarify the purpose of this blog and what I hope to bring to the table for you, the readers!

What are the most common issues people ask you about?

More often than not, individuals seek my assistance when they find themselves stuck and seemingly unable to determine what courses of action will change their state of unhappiness. It’s usually regarding chronic health conditions and/or uncomfortable emotions they experience but don’t fully understand how to identify, know how to process, or effectively release so they can finally heal. They often find themselves holding back in fear, unable to speak their minds or communicate their truth in the meaningful, transparent, and vulnerable ways necessary to create depth and meaning in life. Some things that can inhibit these are emotional wounds from childhood or adult life, traumatic experiences, low self esteem, false beliefs about who they are and their worth or value, fear-based worries about how they are perceived by others, fear about losing control, fear of being hurt again, rumination about the past (whether good or bad), and the self-sabotage they engage in that often keeps them stuck and unable to move past their present situations.

It’s also important to point out that chronic, physical illnesses are rooted in emotional and energetic imbalance in the body. Many that seek my assistance are struggling with chronic illnesses, and as we begin to address what’s happening on a physical level, this gives way to the emotional issues rising to the surface. It is often difficult, if not impossible, for individuals to physically heal without first addressing the core issues that created imbalance to begin with, and learning to change the thought and emotional processes so it doesn’t continue happening in the future. Quite often once the deep, emotional, internal soul work has been done, the physical symptoms abate.

What I find in much of today’s society is what I call a microwave mentality. Most want a quick fix, a purple pill, a magic bullet, or some lever to pull to immediately, magically transport them from their current uncomfortable state of being, to the life of their dreams. Without, of course, having to do any of that difficult, unpleasant, internal work necessary to get there. Unfortunately, that’s not realistic, yet that’s the common bill of goods we’re being sold. The popular intervention is just numbing the problem with medications, yet how’s that really working for us? As soon as the meds are stopped we’re right back at square one again, as nothing is really being addressed, nothing changes, we are just numbed to the point we don’t really care about it anymore… until we do. What becomes important is finding a way to navigate the necessary internal work, but in a supportive fashion, with grace and ease.

My personal journey of the last few years has been one of great introspection, evaluation, and healing. After being on medications for depression, anxiety, auto-immune, and other issues for close to 40 years, I decided to wean off the meds (under doctor supervision, of course), stop being numbed, and begin addressing the true underlying issues in both the heart and the mind. I’ve been 100% med free for some time now, and both the physical and emotional awakening journey have been intense, to say the least, but in a good way. Definitely some difficulties, but the benefits have far outweighed any negatives and I’ve allowed myself to freely feel and experience everything… the good, the bad, and the ugly! Healing can only come when we’re in a state of allowance to feel and experience what we are meant to, in order to fully release the emotions, trauma, and experiences. Our conscious minds do such a great job of trying to protect us from pain that they’re constantly sending the message to fight those uncomfortable feelings and just push that mess down, hide it deep, forget about it, and just move on. Only that never really works long term. Those ignored emotions are buoyant, and will continue to rise to the surface again and again until they are finally dealt with and fully released. We typically recognize these as triggers that happen throughout our day. External things that we experience or encounter that trigger some type of reactive emotional response or uncomfortable feelings within that bring out our less than stellar behaviors. That can be anything from irritation, anger, violence, yelling, lying, blaming, or sometimes withdrawing totally… all of which are protective behaviors engaged to immediately shut down whatever is creating the discomfort, rather than process it. Science and medicine have made a lucrative profit by selling the notion that if you’re unhappy, just take this little pill and everything will be just peachy! More and more are learning the hard way that those little pills come with a hefty price, both monetarily and physically/psychologically! In the end, there is no avoiding the deep internal work that must be done to find our own space of peace, joy, contentment, and satisfaction in life. I’m doing that work daily now, assisting others who are now on that journey or wanting to begin it, and sharing my experiences and insights with any interested in shining light in those dark places.

Is there a particular story you find yourself telling over and over?

I spent the majority of my life being crippled by what others thought about me. I specifically remember a time when I was practicing with an ensemble group I sang with at church. As we were practicing, there were two women at the other end of the room, quietly whispering to one another, as one of them glanced my way. Of course, my immediate, paranoid thought was that they were talking about me! In my mind, I created a virtual cafeteria of potential, critical conversations they could have been having, all revolving around ways that I was inadequate. Within a very short period of time, I had really worked myself up into a negative, defensive tizzy that was anything but conducive to uplifting singing! At the time, I lived in a space that was very negative, self conscious, defensive, and definitely coming from a place of inadequacy and unworthiness. The false beliefs and narratives I held about myself were the very things that tainted the perceptions I had about how others viewed at me. They were my own issues being projected onto the people around me. In hindsight, I giggle to myself now recognizing what was more likely happening was one lady leaned over to the other and quietly whispered, “Good God, I have a wedgie from hell and need to get this sorted before we get out on that stage!” I mean come on, who was I to think that I was so important everyone else was talking about me? One of the difficulties that comes with a very poor self esteem and significant inadequacy issues is that we become hyper vigilant in our self defensive focus. We are so engrossed in our own protection that we can’t really see what’s happening outside our little self-protective bubble. We’re so focused on the things we feel are inadequate about ourselves that we assign those beliefs to anyone who happens to glance our way. In most of these situations, nothing could be further from the truth. One of the beautiful freedoms that came from doing the necessary internal work and both learning about and loving who I authentically  was, is that I no longer determine my own value based on the opinions of others. That means their opinions of me no longer matter! YAY ME! That is a freedom I want every single person to be able to experience!

What terms or phrases do you find yourself consistently using again and again?

We have to do the deep internal soul work to bring about our healing.

Loving and accepting yourself unconditionally is necessary to find peace and contentment. It is only when we are totally content with ourselves, that the opinions of others no longer matter.

Pull back and view things as an observer, rather than a participant. Understanding that the way others behave has nothing to do with you and their reactions are based solely on their perception of life. Recognizing this is critical in learning to stop your own emotional reactivity. The way we react to others is all about our own beliefs and perceptions. The way others react is all about theirs. It’s not personal.

I hope these questions and answers shed a little light on both the focus of my blog and the heart I have for sharing my own experiences in ways that can touch the lives of others. At some point or another, almost everyone experiences these emotions and difficulties, it’s just rarely talked about in our daily circles. It’s time we started talking about them, understanding how to better navigate them, and finding clearer paths to happiness and fulfillment in our lives.

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby

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26. Disassociating With Pain

painWe Have A Choice To Make    


I’ve made a choice. It’s the very same choice we all have the ability to make, yet we don’t always realize it’s an option available to us! In my case, and often in others as well, once we learn we have this choice, we still don’t choose to make it! We fall back on old habits and fear, as sometimes the comforts of dysfunction and sameness are so much easier than making the choice to change things that will without doubt shake our world to the core. This is what keeps us frozen in our sadness & discontent! What’s this earth-shattering choice, you might ask? It’s the choice of living my true identity! Now that might not sound like a very serious choice, but it’s a lot more involved than you might think!

 

Being Over Identified With Pain

 

As a very emotionally, sensory, and energy sensitive individual, I’ve had my share of trauma and drama! Some of the difficulties came by my own hand, some definitely by the hands of others. The role of victim comes to mind, and often even martyr, as I had taken my life’s experiences to heart and claimed them as part of who I am, a rite of passage, if you will. Being over-identified with pain and trauma had set the stage for me to continue in similar pursuits, often even seeing these great difficulties as a badge of honor, and my role in this life. Experiencing tremendous amounts of emotional pain and feeling continually let down by myself and others, presented a pretty interesting canvas, on which colorful images were birthed, and added to my long litany of hurtful adventures. Somehow there was identity found in this. These beliefs and behaviors also kept me very locked in the past, sharing my old stories of victimhood with those who would listen, finding camaraderie with the walking wounded, who I often found just further drained me.

 

Pain Is Not A Requirement To Empathize With Others

 

Inevitably, something wonderful, miraculous, and often profound would come from these woes! As a writer, I began to see what I identified as a very clear calling coming from these endeavors. Through my pain, I was able to write and share insights, as well as encouragements for others who were likewise struggling. Interestingly enough, the effects it had on others were pretty amazing. I was so lifted by seeing the spirits of others touched and encouraged at such a deep level, that it brought me temporary reprieve from my own pain, yet somehow what applied to everyone else never really seemed to apply to me! I had wrongly identified that pain & disappointment were necessary for me to carry forth my purpose of encouraging others through writing. I mean after all, how could I possibly identify with those in pain if I wasn’t constantly in it, right?

 

I’ve always been a bubbly, life of the party kind of girl! Very childlike in my enthusiasm and passion, & one of the first to jump on the silly train, should it ever pass by! What I began to realize was that I had become increasingly serious, intense, & expecting of woe, much more so than my former playful self! I had also stopped following through on things that had great potential for joy and fulfillment in my life. Perhaps this was a self-inflicting sentence, insuring much more misery, so I never ran dry of new material? Who knows, but one thing for sure, IT WAS NOT HEALTHY!

 

Necessary Changes In Perspective

I’ve had a fairly recent jolt of awakening! When I say jolt, I actually think that might be a rather mild word, not quite adequate to describe the shift of thinking and perception that has been taking place in this noggin of mine! I’ve been given the great gift of being able to pull back from myself and look from a distance at what I choose to engage in and how it affects me, as well as others in my environment. Perspective changes are an interesting thing! For the first time, I was finally seeing that we don’t have to sacrifice ourselves to pain & disappointment to connect in a very meaningful & intense way with others, in order to be of great hope & encouragement to them. Now that might sound like common sense to some, but for me, this was a huge revelation! Many of us, myself included, have so aligned & identified with the past pain in our lives, it was defining who we were, rather than something just being an experience that happened to us.

 

Springing Forth Into The Newness Of Life Today

 

What this means to me, and millions of others just like me, is that we can lay our stories of victimhood down. We can leave behind the pain, suffering, & difficulties, as well as the emotional traumas that come with them, and begin to experience joy in our lives once again! YAY! We have been given a tremendous choice, and it’s up to us to decide if we will continue to walk in the shadows of yesterday’s pain, or spring forth in the newness of life today, full of hope, wonder, passion, and yes, even pleasure, that has always been just around the corner for us, if we would just recognize the choice and make it!

 

Choosing To Embrace Hope, Joy, And Passion

So, my choice has been made! You know the saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life!” Well today, that is truer than it ever has been! I choose my very own, personal, true identity in life! Not an old identity forged from the crumbs of yuckiness past, but a beautiful identity of truth, and purpose, and long standing faith, that has proven yet once again that I am not alone and there is great purpose for me, as well as happiness, IF I CHOOSE TO EMBRACE IT!   I choose hope, joy, passion, wonder, amazement, and yet still intend to use my writing in powerful ways to benefit those around me, but equally as important, because it makes me feel AWESOME and it’s something that makes me happy!

 

Love and Light!

Laura Lum Corby 🙂

25. The Cost Of Pleasing Others

Pleasing OthersI ran across the photo below today! Oh that I would have learned this at an earlier age, although in hindsight, those lessons have made me who I am today, and therefore I suppose were necessary!

Living In Fear Of Judgment

I have spent the majority of my life trying to please others in every aspect, for fear I would otherwise be rejected and end up alone. I honestly had no idea who I was, what I truly thought and what my core beliefs were, and I was petrified to explore those depths. What if I was identified as different, far outside the boundaries of normative, rational thinking? The fear of judgment and isolation drove me to constantly wear a mask, becoming a master chameleon, able to morph into any environment and willing to sacrifice any semblance of who I was, or who I thought I could be, to insure I didn’t become the outcast. By outward appearances, I was calm, collected and seemed very much on top of my game. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Inside I was a total basket case, knowing full well I was not anything close to what or who I was pretending to be, and deathly afraid others might find that out. I maintained my closely guarded secret and my mask became a permanent fixture in my daily wardrobe. The interesting thing was that in spite of all my efforts, I still remained on the outskirts of most social circles and with very few friends. The very thing I was trying to avoid by masquerading to please others, still became the ill fate I re-lived daily.

Wearing The Mask Is Exhausting

I finally got to the point, not all that long ago, that I had experienced enough. I was sad, lonely, seriously depressed, and feeling very much without hope, as I had no idea how to change what had become a miserable and exhausting existence. Wearing a mask and pretending every day, going the extra mile to consistently gain the approval of others was an incredibly tiring venture, and yet I saw no other options, as I was so blinded by fear.

Choosing To Be Ourselves

One day, I just found myself too tired to lift the mask to my face any longer. Suddenly, I had to stop. It wasn’t really that I decided to face my fears, although that does sound more noble, rather it was more that I was just too exasperated to continue the charade and I didn’t have the energy to care what others thought about me any longer. This was a defining low point in my life, but looking back, I also recognize it as one of the best days of my life. This day I chose to be me and start discovering myself at the risk of being rejected by others. Whereas before, my pendulum was swinging in one direction with me never really articulating my own thoughts, now it was swinging in the exact opposite direction and a bit too fervently, I might add. I had gone from one extreme to the other. I was now spewing every thought, belief and commentary that surfaced in my head, boldly, somewhat obnoxiously, and seriously lacking in tact!

Finding Balance

Thankfully, with time and age, I began to find balance. Recognizing that though I no longer had the need to please others, I also needed to be more judicial about what thoughts I chose to share and how! The power behind this newly found freedom was identified in finally understanding those that judged me and I had worked so hard to please were the very ones with the problem. It was their issue not mine. They were unable to accept me as I was, with an understanding I was a work in progress, still being molded, and had not yet arrived. They had the need for others to appear as them, so their own identities didn’t stand out as different. It all started making sense. All this time, I had thought I was the only person in the world feeling this way when in retrospect, most were struggling with the same issues and therefore the vast majority were not being themselves. They were masquerading as well. There was a whole pack of frauds, stealthily cloaking their own personalities and amazing traits to fit the status quo, that didn’t really even exist!

Finding Your Authentic Self

Since that time, I am constantly traversing my inner depths to identify my individual beliefs, truth, and my authentic self. No longer do I feel the pressure or the need to bow to public opinion and change my behaviors to persuade others to feel better about me. I recognize that I truly am an amazing, genuine, spiritual, loving being and have much to offer this great world of ours. My value and worth can no longer be determined by beliefs and the approval of others. I have confidence in who I am called to be and the path I have chosen to walk. The funny thing is, as soon as I stopped caring what others thought and started being real, vulnerable and authentic, I started being a people magnet. I started drawing people into my circle, making friends, and experiencing depths that most are not even aware exist, and really with no effort on my part, other than the remembrance to just be myself and nothing else! All that time and energy that was being spent trying to impress others is now being used to make positive changes in our world. The only people I strive to reach now are those who are hurting and in need of unconditional love and healing. Fear of rejection was a prison, holding me in bonds that interfered with what I was called to do and rendering me ineffective. Those shackles have been removed and I am free now to express the depths and intricacies of my journey. In doing so I hope to encourage others to follow suit and not be afraid to be their authentic selves. I very much look forward to others journeying beside me, sharing in the depths and complexities of life and yearning to continually go deeper. In letting go of these habitual patterns, we will find the miracles that have been waiting for us the whole time, but we were unable to see when we were so busy pleasing others!

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby

24. Journey By My Side

Journey by my sideAt the end of this life, I want to sit beside the one I love, holding hands in silence and knowing I have been known, fully loved and understood. No words are necessary to speak the volumes created by time and sharing this life together. The years will have woven together fragile, single strands into tapestries of passion, adventure, shared experiences and fond memories. Though struggles will surely come, the depth and respect gained from difficulty will be the stones that pave the way to deeper intimacy and being truly known. What fear is there when all is known and yet unconditional love still abounds? What obstacle cannot be conquered by such hope and commitment? It is when selflessness reigns and self-servitude fades, that one is truly found behind the mask. Who dares that level of transparency along side another? Incredible meaning is to be found at these often unexplored depths, yet this is not for the weary and vulnerability is the right of passage. So for now I sit alone, the distance in my sights, hoping for one to appear on the future horizon who wishes to journey by my side.

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby

23. Living In The Present

Time is a paradox, stretching between a past and a future that have no reality except in our own minds. The idea of time is a convention of thought and language, a social agreement. Here is the deeper truth: We have only this moment. ~ Dan Millman

Ruminating On The Things Of Old

We have to learn to live in the moment. I have often heard another quote that says, “To live in the past leads to depression, to live in the future causes anxiety, to live in the moment is bliss.” This is quite true. All we have is now, this very moment in time. Not even just today, as what happened 2 hours ago is still in our past. The moments of our past have culminated to help develop us into who we have become and therefore are highly important as they prepare us for what’s ahead. Yet allowing our minds to ruminate on things of old creates a disconnection, a short-circuit if you will, that traps us in the thoughts and feelings of the past and keeps us from experiencing the present. Rumination, constantly replaying experiences from the past in our minds eye, leads to depression, second-guessing ourselves and the decisions we have made, and can destroy our confidence and self-esteem, creating in effect anxiety about the future.

Fretting Over And Rethinking The Past

Some examples of rumination would be longing for that once wonderful relationship, which leads to sadness, as we tend to remember only those good times and wish we were still in that moment. It also re-creates soul ties which can be crippling as we try to make forward progress and leave our past behind. Another would be questioning an argument that ended an old friendship, which leads to self-judgment, wondering if we did and said the right things and if we had done something differently, if it could have changed the damaging outcome. How many times do we find ourselves fretting over an examination we did not do well on and rethinking what went wrong and potential ways we could have done it better, which creates self-judgment, feelings of inadequacy and often stress about upcoming examinations? Rumination can also lead to a blame game. We can usually clearly see the actions of others, but from our own perspective, we can miss the pivotal roles WE played in those situations. We often see things in our past as we choose to remember them, which is many times not factual and often not controlled by our conscious mind. Our subconscious is wonderful at reframing things to maintain a self-protective state and our own preservation.

Our Minds And Memory Can Deceive Us

I can remember just recently going back to a home in Ohio that I lived in for 5 years. I had a perfect picture of this house in my mind and remembered exactly what it looked like. I could see the color, the steps and walkway, the neighbor’s house next door, the landscape around us, all of it. Or so I thought! When I arrived I was STUNNED to see that it looked NOTHING like what I had remembered. The present owner saw me looking at the house and I introduced myself and explained my father had built this house and I lived there for some of my childhood years. She invited me in and took me on a tour. The only thing I remembered somewhat accurately was the fireplace and part of the basement, but even those were not to scale. They were far smaller than I remembered. It was somewhat of an awakening for me, as I really began to realize our minds can often deceive us.

Perception And Interpretation

How old we were, our size or height at the time, what our beliefs and perceptions were, what frame of mind we were in, and the emotional state we may have been in at the time all play a considerable role in how we perceive things and how they become stored in our memories. So often two people experiencing the exact same incident, at the same time and place, will recall the details very differently, as they are interpreted through their life experiences, and therefore will often be deviating from one another. The point is, we cannot always trust many of our memories and the emotions attached to them. Something I may have seen as frightening and overwhelming because of my fears, someone else may see as exhilarating and welcome because they love the adrenaline rush! Regardless, looking back on past events exposes your body to the same stress it was experiencing when you were living it the first time! Unfortunately, those things we seem to ruminate on most are not the pleasant memories, but those difficult things we feel for some reason we may have left unresolved, even if just within our own minds, or that left us with emotional scarring of some kind.

The Physical Toll Our Emotions Play

How do we know it recreates the same stresses in our bodies? There have been scientific studies done on mirror cells in the brain. Athletes have been wired up to test and record muscles firing as they perform their sport. At a later time, they are wired up and asked to perform that exact same sport again, but this time only in their minds, imagining it is taking place again. In doing so, the same muscles fire as they would if they were actually performing the sport. Your mind does not distinguish between you actually running a race, or just imagining you are running it. This is stunning in that we create an enormous amount of unnecessary stress on our systems by simply ruminating and reliving past experiences in our minds. The physical, emotional and spiritual toll here is more than we might be considering and quite often leads to depression and again, anxiety about like situations happening in our future. This is often the place where physical illness begins, as stress wreaks havoc on our systems, lowers our vibrational frequency, which in turn, reduces our cell voltage/pH making us more acidic.

The Importance Of Dismissing And Redirecting Thoughts

Although it’s easy to say we should live in the present, it’s a difficult thing to do at times, as our minds often drift into somewhat of an auto-pilot mode. Memories and emotions can be triggered by sights, sounds, smells, familiar people and many other things. Where we get into trouble is allowing ourselves to continue in those past thoughts, encouraging and entertaining them as if to relive those encounters in-depth and savor every detail of the occurrence. We have to learn to acknowledge memories as they come up, and just as quickly dismiss them, not allowing ourselves to ruminate about them any further. Many have difficulty dismissing and releasing thoughts that come up, so we have to consider ways to manually take control of our thoughts and redirect them elsewhere.

Taking Responsibility For Our Thought Life

One of the best ways I know to redirect our thoughts is by making a gratitude list. When I am experiencing a pervasive thought that I am aware could quickly take me in a direction I don’t need to go, I IMMEDIATELY (notice I didn’t say 20 minutes later) start thinking of everything I can that I am grateful for! If I run out of things (which never really happens, but I’m playing devil’s advocate here) then I move to plan B. Some of the other things I will try are singing my favorite songs, calling a friend, listening to the radio, problem solving anything that’s at hand, etc. Really, anything that occupies your mind in a positive and healthy manner is redirecting you away from a state of rumination! We have to take responsibility for our own thought life, which is something we don’t talk about often enough. It is our choice to decide what we are going to spend our time thinking about. Someone once told me that by ruminating on old issues, we are letting those people and things live in our heads rent-free! EVICT THEM!

Make a decided effort today to live in the present.

Only allow your mind to be consistently occupied by the things at hand RIGHT NOW. Acknowledge everything else and then LET IT GO! We cannot change anything from the past and there’s no purpose worrying about a future that may or may not happen! Make the deliberate decision to change your mind when you catch yourself ruminating or becoming nostalgic. Learning to focus on what’s happening right now and what you have to be grateful for will become a life-transforming behavior that will empower you to truly engage yourself in the present and enjoy it to the fullest!

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby

22. What Is The Most Important Lesson I Have Learned?

True love and true joy can only come from within. When we find love and happiness outside of ourselves, that also means it is something that can be stripped from us. Then where are we? People change and leave. Circumstances change. Material possessions come and go. If our love, joy, meaning, and purpose come from within, it can never be taken from us. We are whole alone, which means finding external love and sources of happiness will just be icing on the cake, but if they are lost, we remain whole. Perhaps saddened for a time, but love, joy, and purpose within remain intact.

The greatest journey is that of self-discovery. Who are we? Whose are we? Why are we here? What is holding us back? Of what are we afraid and why? Does it get any better than this? What is the true source of love and joy?

These are questions I am finally answering and beginning to understand at much greater depths. This is my passion, along with assisting and encouraging others along the same journey! Who wants to walk with me?

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby