The Healing Code: How to reclaim your health & well-being in three powerful steps

The Healing Code: How to reclaim your health & well-being in three powerful steps

The Healing Code proposes a revolutionary concept of health and healing: That most of our physical symptoms, illness and disease are created by unresolved emotional pain in our heart. While the concept of healing our body through our emotions is certainly not new (e.g. Louise Hay ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ and other great works), the Healing Code provides a simple yet powerful methodology that has been used by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to heal their emotional pain and heal themselves of illness and disease. Sounds a little too good to be true, right?

I’ve recently been reading a book called The Healing Code (2010) by Dr Alexander Loyd, with Ben Johnson (MD) as co-author. My sister put me onto it after we’d been discussing how much painful emotion I was feeling about a certain issue in my life. She suggested I try the Healing Code, claiming that it would resolve many things for me without me even realizing it. I was a bit reluctant to read yet another self-help book, but I was so intrigued that I bought myself a copy. For the past month or so I’ve been using the method known as the Healing Code. While subtle at first, I’ve most definitely noticed a real change in my mood, energy levels and inner peace since using it. It’s as though a curtain of fog, anxiety and heaviness is slowly being lifted and I’m starting to tap into my inner well of joy, optimism and health again. So much so that I thought I have to share this with you all. The book has a 4.5-star rating (out of 5) on Amazon out of 1500 reviews, and while it’s received a decent amount of backlash and criticism, this is counteracted by a resounding amount of positive feedback and literally hundreds of thousands of testimonials from people who have healed significant issues in their life.

The Healing Code was ‘discovered’ by a doctor called Alex Loyd whose wife suffered severe depression, to the point where she’d contemplated suicide several times. They tried dozens of different therapies, both conventional and alternative, and read a library full of self-help books over ten excruciating years, but nothing seemed to create lasting change for her. In desperation one day he sent a prayer out to the Universe to please help save his wife. That night, Alex had a dream about certain hand positions that could direct healing energy to the body at the four main ‘healing gates’ of the body. He was shown the steps of a healing process that would completely cure his wife’s clinical depression, and as it turns out, has now helped people all around the world heal all kinds of physical problems, sometimes even diseases as severe as cancer.

The Healing Code is a short healing practice that can be done by yourself, to yourself, in around six minutes, three times a day. It involves saying a prayer/request and then directing the energy in your hands to the four main healing gates of your body in a certain sequence (30 seconds on each healing gate), while focusing on ‘truth statements’. I’ll describe each of the three components of the methodology for you.

1. The Four Healing Gates

The four ‘healing gates’ of the body that Dr Loyd was ‘shown’ correspond to the master control centres for every cell in your body. For a short 8-minute demonstration on YouTube of the hand positions you can go here. They appear to work like a hidden fuse box and when the correct switches are flipped on, they will allow healing of almost anything. Directing energy at the healing gates, while focusing on truth statements, removes stress in the body that had switched off the fuse switches. The four areas that are targeted by holding the four specific hand positions are.

Bridge (between the eyes): The pituitary gland (often referred to as the master gland because it controls the major endocrine processes of the body) and the pineal gland.
Temples: The higher functioning left and right brain, the hypothalamus.
Jaw: The reactive emotional brain, including the amygdala and the hippocampus, plus the spinal cord and the central nervous system.
Adam’s apple: The spinal cord and central nervous system, plus the thyroid.

These four centres cover the control centres for every system, organ and every cell of the body. When directing energy towards these ‘gates’, healing energy flows from these centres to everywhere in the body.

Using your own hands to direct energy for healing is not a new concept, it is indeed what underlies all ‘alternative’ healing techniques such as Reiki, Tai Chi, Qi-Gong, acupuncture, emotional freedom techniques (EFT) etc., which all aim to harmonise and correct destructive energy patterns within the body. The healing code appears to heal the destructive energy frequencies, thereby healing both emotional and physical issues. While I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first, using these hand positions while focusing on my truth statements has given me noticeable improvements in my own mood, health and vitality.

2. Truth Statements
Truth statements are sentences you say out loud to yourself, or listen to as a recording (I recorded mine as voice memos on my iPhone), that heal the areas of life where you feel emotional pain or trauma. The truth statements break through what he calls ‘three inhibitors to healing’:

1) Unforgiveness
2) Harmful actions (things you keep doing even though you know they’re bad for you)
3) Negative beliefs.

As Dr Loyd says “These three issues must be addressed and removed from your heart if permanent healing is to take place. If they remain, they will block or inhibit your heart’s ability to heal the rest of the issues in your life”. You can use the truth statements they provide to heal these areas, or you can make your own truth statements that feel more resonant and relevant (I have used a mix of my own and theirs). You can get a copy of their example truth statements on their website by following this link.

There are also 9 virtues that need to be instilled in your heart to enable healing in all areas of your life, which he calls The Core Healing System:

1) Love
2) Joy
3) Peace
4) Patience
5) Kindness
6) Goodness
7) Trust
8) Humility
9) Self-control

So in total there are 12 ‘healing code categories’. To find out which areas are the best ones for you to focus on, you can use their Heart Issues Finder, which is a questionnaire that helps you pinpoint the emotional issues that are biggest in your life at the moment. You can work your way through all of the virtues eventually, but they recommend starting with the most difficult ones.

3. The opening prayer/request

This is the prayer that you use to open your healing session.

“I pray that all known and unknown negative images, unhealthy beliefs, destructive cellular memories and all physical issues related to _______________________ [your problem or illness] be found, opened and healed by filling me with the light, life and love of God. I also pray that the effectiveness of this healing be increased by 100 times or more” (This tells the body to make the healing a priority).

The whole premise underlying the Code is that our physical symptoms and illnesses are caused by what they call the ‘issues of the heart’; emotional pain that we carry with us because of negative experiences we have endured in our life. Each time we experience something negative, we create a picture in our mind of that experience, or a ‘destructive memory picture’. These destructive images creates stress in the body. Stress puts the body into ‘fight or flight’, a physiological response that puts all bodily systems on high alert, which is a necessary response to save our lives in emergencies, but should not be maintained for long periods of time. The problem is that the average person in today’s society stays in fight or flight for long periods of time. When that happens, there is one inevitable result; eventually something breaks down and shows up as a symptom. I can personally vouch for the terrible effects stress have had on my body. In my twenties I gradually developed chronic fatigue syndrome (where you get overtaken by viruses and experience complete adrenal exhaustion, among other symptoms) due to the high level of chronic stress present in all areas of my life at the time. When we develop too many symptoms, this can develop into disease, which is simply where the weak link in the chain broke under the pressure called stress.

To help you understand their process, I put together a graphic that helps to summarise and explain how the healing code works.

Emotional Pain and Stress

The codes appear to heal all problems – relationships, mental health, career, performance issues etc. – because they propose that all of these problems have the same source: stress caused by emotional pain in our lives, that led to destructive cellular memories in our unconscious minds. Up until recently it has been very difficult to heal the emotional issues in our heart for three reasons:

  1. People don’t generally want to admit they have them;
  2. If they have emotional pain, they don’t want to talk about it, and;
  3. We haven’t had a way to effectively deal with emotional pain on a medical level.

Emotional pain is stored in your cellular memory, which is memory stored in your cells – all of your cells. For many years, science believed that memories were stored in the brain. However we now know that memory is stored all through our body, which explains why organ transplant recipients sometimes start taking on thoughts, feelings, dreams and personality traits of the organ donor. To have permanent, long-term healing, we need to heal destructive cellular memories. We all have memories in our lives that are full of feelings like anger, sadness, fear, confusion, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness… the list is endless. You know how when you recall a certain situation in life that was very painful, you can actually feel it in your body? You bring the image to mind, and immediately you can feel the effects in your body, the anger, rage, betrayal or other heavy feelings. We can often feel them as a physical sensation. That’s because recalling the ‘destructive cellular memory’ has immediate physical effects on the body.

Trying to find ways to ‘cope’ with these negative memories only makes things worse. Suppressing our destructive cellular memories requires a huge amount of energy, and it’s constant. What is desperately needed, and (the authors claim) will change the face of health forever, is a way to heal the destructive cellular memories as opposed to merely coping with them and trying to suppress them. Once you’ve healed the memory, you will not feel the negative beliefs associated with the memory, your body will not be sent into fight or flight mode, and you will feel greater levels of inner peace and improved health.

The whole book is based on two propositions:

  1. To heal your problems you have to heal the stress. Stress is defined as “any situation that makes you feel frustrated, angry or anxious. What is stressful to one person is not necessarily stressful to another”. Any time we’re feeling strong negative emotions, our body goes into fight or flight mode;
  2. To heal the stress you have to heal your destructive cellular memories, which are the images stored in your unconscious mind from emotional pain that generate negative emotions and hence, stress.

So how do I do the Healing Code?

To start the Healing Code process, you bring to mind an issue that you’re struggling with. This could be ‘my migraines’ or ‘my relationship with my mother’ or ‘I’m constantly being over-looked at work’, for example. While holding this issue in mind, you then say the opening prayer out loud. You then let go of the problem, and start to focus on your truth statements out loud or listen to your recording, while using the hand positions they show you in the book, spending thirty seconds on each healing gate, for a total of six minutes. While doing the Healing Code, I can literally feel my energy lightening and lifting.

The truth statements are so powerful because we often know the truth in our heart the first time we hear or see it. It resonates and uplifts us and we feel it to the deepest core of who we are. That’s because we have a mechanism inside of us called our ‘conscience’, whose sole purpose is to help us find these truths. When there are too many lies in the heart related to a given subject, the voice of the conscience is drowned out, or at least confused, by competing and disagreeing voices. The key is clearing out these misunderstandings of the heart, and that can be done by reciting the ‘truth’ out loud.

If you’re also intrigued by the potential and possibility of the Healing Code, I urge you to get your hands on a copy of the book and start implementing the simple methodology. Enjoy the power and beauty of the truth statements – the ‘honeycomb, sweet and comforting to the soul’ that can be felt as you relax into your meditation. And let me know how you go. I would love to know if you feel a positive shift, as I have done.

In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,


Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Career, Life & Business Coach
Helping you find your path & purpose so you can shine and make a difference, doing what you love.
Whispering Heart Coaching

As an interesting side note on cancer, the co-author of the book Dr Ben Johnson has spent his career specialising in cancer research and treatment. In his opinions, cancer is caused by four issues:

  1. Emotional issues
  2. Heavy metals
  3. Acid pH/oxygen deprivation
  4. Viruses

There are increasingly effective medical techniques to deal with issues 2, 3 and 4 in the conventional medical system. However what has been lacking is a way to deal with emotional pain. Could it be possible that this simple methodology for healing emotional pain could be part of the answer to dealing with this? I pray so.

Peaceful Heart: 7 powerful steps to cultivate deep and lasting inner peace

Peaceful Heart: 7 powerful steps to cultivate deep and lasting inner peace

One of the keys to enjoying life to its fullest and experiencing lasting happiness is our ability to maintain inner peace, even in the face of challenging or hurtful situations. Do you find yourself getting knocked off-centre regularly by different people and situations? Or do you often feel hurt by the actions or behaviours of others towards you? If so, you’re not alone. It’s difficult when someone’s behaviour takes us by surprise and we go from feeling happy and balanced, to suddenly feeling hurt, sad, angry or upset, particularly if it’s someone we consider a friend, a close colleague or partner. But most often, someone else’s hurtful behaviour is a reflection of their own inner turmoil, and nothing to do with your own value as a person. Instead of feeling hurt and unworthy in the face of someone else’s negative behaviours, what if you could be so grounded in your own sense of self-worth that you don’t take their behaviour personally? What if you could remain calm and resist the temptation to react or get drawn into unnecessary drama? I’ve learned that our ability to stay calm and unaffected in a (perceived) hurtful or negative situation is directly related to our level of self-love and acceptance. And in this article, I’m going to share with you the most powerful technique I know for developing this essential quality.

Imagine how good it would be to feel peace and wholeness within yourself and to accept, embrace and love everything – all your quirks, idiosyncrasies, habits and tendencies – and to find a way to love all of it, such that nothing that anyone says or does can make you feel bad about yourself. Imagine if you could feel so secure and in love with who you are, authentically and at your core, that nothing disturbs your feeling of inner peace and you don’t see outside events or situations as a reflection of our own self-worth or value. One of my favourite teachers Panache Desai talks about the way we see someone when we’re completely, head-over-heels in love with them. Remember how delicious it feels when you first fall in love? Or when you meet a new friend who you think is just amazing? Even if friends or family try to warn you about negative qualities they think they see, you don’t take any of it on board because you love this person so much that you just refuse to see anything bad about them. Imagine if you could feel that way about yourself? If no matter what anyone says or does to you, it doesn’t affect you because you know you’re a valuable, wonderful, precious person that the other person would be privileged to have in their life? This is the level of radical self-acceptance and self-love I believe we all need to develop and maintain as part of our mission in life.

Because when you develop this level of self-love, you’re so at peace with yourself and with life that nothing can disturb your sense of well-being. And this has a positive impact on everyone and everything around you. You’re like the rock in the middle of the storm, exuding nothing but peace and tranquility outwards to others like ripples in a pond.
Unflappable. Wrapped up in your own self-love.

Sounds great, right? But how do you reach this level of self-love and acceptance? As you grew up you were probably bombarded with all kinds of negative messaging that led you to believe that you’re not OK just as you are. You probably needed to work harder, be smarter, achieve more, do more, change the way you look, find better friends or whatever it was you were told. As a result, you probably developed a very good inner critic who beats you up and criticises you before anybody else can. And if you’re like most people, that inner critic takes up a lot more space in your mind than the loving, caring voice who tells you that you’re wonderful and perfect as you are, who is forgiving and understanding when you make mistakes and comforts you with kind words when you need them. But somehow you need to find ways to start giving that loving, caring voice more time and space in your own head and heart. Panache describes this level of self-love that I’m talking about as the ‘liquid gold’ that lives deep within you. It’s your true essence and who you were when you came into the world, before you started becoming bombarded with societal conditioning and negative beliefs about yourself and life. And finding that liquid gold is a little like the mining process itself; you have to dig and excavate through the layers of stories, pain and untruths that you’ve accumulated in life, before you can access it.

I did a lot of this digging and excavating in my mid-thirties during a life crisis that caused me to revaluate my entire life. With the help of my counsellor and various therapists, we peeled back many layers of emotional pain that I’d accumulated. While I realised at the time that I wasn’t ‘done’ in any sense, I thought we’d worked through the majority of obstacles to self-love that I had within me. And for a few years I cruised along in a fairly harmonious way, feeling quite peaceful and satisfied. But it’s almost as though life lets us off the hook for a little while and when we move to a new level of self-love and acceptance – BAM! Life brings us new, difficult situations that show us where we still harbour old wounds and where we haven’t yet reached peace and acceptance within ourselves.

This is the dynamic that’s been happening to me this past year. I’ve been confronted often with situations in relationships that have been very challenging and painful. There have been many times when I’ve been thinking “What’s wrong with me?”. Slowly I’m coming to realise that it’s life showing me the next part that’s up for healing – another part of myself that I haven’t yet learned to embrace and love; another situation that is highlighting where I don’t love myself enough such that I’m unaffected by the opinions and behaviours of those around me. Of course, we always need to carefully look at our own role in situations and take full ownership of where we’ve contributed to it going ‘wrong’. But in some cases, it’s not about us. Sometimes just by being yourself you will trigger reactions in someone else because of emotional pain they’ve accumulated in their own life. When this happens, what if you could be so resolute in your own love towards yourself that when you feel you’re ‘under attack’ you could just step back and say “That’s OK; this is not about me” and not react? And instead, have sympathy for the other person because they don’t yet feel good enough within themselves to feel peaceful and accepting of everything within and around them? 

Self-love and self-acceptanceIt’s very difficult to remain unaffected in the presence of someone else’s anger or passive-aggresive behaviours that are directed towards you, but learning to be peaceful and non-reactive is the biggest gift you can give yourself and others. Rather than adding to the drama, you’re able to diffuse potentially difficult situations. You can always tell when you’re in the presence of someone who feels very comfortable in their own skin, right? They exude a kind of peace and tranquility that is infectious and lovely to be around. They make us feel good about ourselves, because they feel good about themselves.

And how do we get to the point where we feel really good about ourselves? It’s an ongoing process that we’ll find ourselves working on our whole lives if we’re committed to the process of cultivating inner peace. There are many different techniques and therapies available for helping us heal our emotional wounds and develop genuine self-love. The process I describe below is often referred to as working with your ‘Inner Child’ and has been the most powerful exercise I’ve found in my own life to help liberate me from my own triggers and patterns. Next time you feel hurt by someone else’s behaviours, try these simple yet powerful steps:

Comforting your Inner Child

STEP 1: If someone has just done something that feels hurtful or unfair, avoid reacting immediately (if you can) and take a deep breath. Feel the emotion rising within you and try to sense where and what the feeling is. Is it sadness? Is it anger? Is it in your chest? Or in your solar plexus? Or your gut? Try to breathe into the feeling and be with it for a moment. This is hard if someone else’s behaviour takes you by surprise and you’re triggered into a default response. If you’ve reacted, don’t worry. Find a way to excuse yourself as quickly as possible and give yourself some space and time to process what’s just happened.

STEP 2: Find a quiet spot as quickly as possible and close your eyes. Try to sit with the emotion that’s been triggered in you. If you can, try to name the feeling. Sometimes just naming the feeling can be very liberating. Say it out loud: “I feel so hurt” or “I feel so let down” or “I feel so angry” or “This really hurts, here in my heart”. This step is powerful because as the saying goes, “You have to feel it, to heal it.”
STEP 3: Try to recall when you’ve felt this feeling before. Perhaps it was recently or perhaps it was a long time ago. Go back as far as you can and try to recall your earliest memory of this feeling. For example, I have a pattern of feeling hurt if I feel I’m being ‘left out’ of certain situations. When I sat with this feeling of being left out, I was able to trace it back to many situations that I experienced with my two sisters as I was growing up, when it felt as though they were excluding me. My earliest memory was when I was about five years old. If you can only remember a recent situation, that’s OK. With time you’ll be able to access your earlier memories. But most psychologists agree that all large emotional triggers we feel now are caused by an original ‘wounding’ event that happened once or multiple times in your youth.
STEP 4: Bring that original or earlier event to mind and picture your younger self sitting in front of you. How were you feeling? Sad? Hurt? Disappointed? Angry? Ashamed? Try to tap into all the feelings and see yourself feeling them. When I first tapped into mine, I could see my younger self sitting on her own, sobbing with sadness, big tears rolling down her cheeks, shoulders heaving up and down.
STEP 5: Now in your mind, wrap your younger self in your arms and cuddle him/her as you would your own child. Tell them you’re here for them and you understand how they’re feeling. Tell them it’s OK and that they’re a beautiful person, or whatever you feel called to tell them. Tell them you’re sorry they’re feeling this way and you’re here to make them feel better. Hold them in your arms as long as you need to.
STEP 6: Now, remind your younger self of all their positive qualities. Remind them that they’re perfect, whole and complete just as they are. Do this several times, or as many times as you need. Stay with you inner child as long as you need to, and when you feel ready, let them know you’re going now, but that they can call on you any time.
STEP 7: Open your eyes, take a few deep breaths. You have just conversed with and comforted your inner child. Know that you can do this every time you feel hurt or triggered. Do it as often as you need to.

Self-love and self-acceptance quote by Eleanor Roosevelt

The Inner Child technique is one of a number of important tools and techniques to help yourself cultivate self-love and acceptance. To help you on your own path of greater self-love and acceptance, there are a number of other techniques and ideas you can implement. I suggest that you also read these related blog articles:

There are also several great resources and courses I would also recommend:

  • Bethany Webster’s 7 week course “Heal the Mother Wound” which can also be applied to healing any other relationship in your life, and does not involve the other person – this is an inside job, with powerful effects on your life and your ability to stay grounded in self-love and acceptance.
  • Claire Zammit’s 7 week course Feminine PowerThis course was life changing for me and a huge turning point in my ability to make peace with my past, to embrace who I am and to start creating the future I love.

Books – these books will help you immensely on your journey to greater self-love:

  • Homecoming: Reclaiming and championing your inner child – John Bradshaw
  • Healing the shame that binds you – John Bradshaw
  • Healing the child within: Discovery and recovery for adult children of dysfunctional families – Charles Whitfield
  • Inner bonding – Becoming a loving adult to your inner child, Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
And finally, if you need help in discovering your ‘true path’ – the work or vocation that makes you want to jump out of bed each and every morning – please claim your FREE copy of my E-Book PATHFINDING: HOW TO FIND AND START LIVING YOUR UNIQUE CALLING.

How to find your life purpose

In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,
Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Life Coach & Career Strategist
Whispering Heart Coaching
Raw, real & authentic: 5 ways to express your true self more fully

Raw, real & authentic: 5 ways to express your true self more fully

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are”
– Brene Brown

Being authentic (or striving to live an authentic life)  is the most important thing to me these days, right alongside my cherished husband and two little boys. After having spent the first 35 years of my life in complete misalignment with the genuine desires of my heart and soul, I finally realised that I had lived my life trying to live up to the expectations of others, trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be. I struggled and pushed myself relentlessly in studies and a career that weren’t aligned with my strengths, but rather what I thought would win me the validation and approval I desperately craved. I became a master of shape-shifting, able to adapt myself to be what I thought others wanted me to be. I played small and dimmed my light, trying to fit into groups who couldn’t see or appreciate the real me. I didn’t feel as though the world could or would accept the real me. It didn’t feel ‘safe’ to be me, and if the truth be told, I didn’t know how to be me.

And while I’ve come a long way, I still find it very difficult in many situations to be the real me. I still find myself shape-shifting to fit in with certain people or groups, and as Brene Brown’s quote says above, authenticity is “a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real”. I need to very consciously choose to be real. I often don’t say or do something because I’m worried about how it could be perceived. And sadly, while I want more than anything to be true to my deepest beliefs and desires, quite often I’m not. It’s not that easy. We’ve been conditioned and taught by our culture and society that it’s more important to be liked and to fit in than it is to be who we truly are. On top of that, many of us assume that who we are is not good enough and so we’re constantly trying to act like those who we think are better, or we dim ourselves down to match those around us so that we don’t stand out and attract unwanted resentment or judgment.

Imagine if we could all be incredibly proud of our unique personality, warts and all? Imagine how it would be if we all felt safe to shine brightly and show everyone the beautifully imperfect person that we are? To be courageously and unapologetically ourselves. My vision for my coaching business at Whispering Heart is to “support each other to find our own authentic voices, be true to our hearts and to joyfully bring our unique gifts into the world”. And if this is the case, I need to make a fierce commitment to live authentically myself. And so, for this month’s blog post, I decided to take a closer look at what being ‘authentic’ actually means.
The O magazine recently posted a great article on authenticity by Mike Robbins, author of Be Yourself, Everybody Else is Already Taken. He outlines five guiding principles that I thought serve as great guide posts.
Here they are:

The five guiding principles of authenticity

1. Know yourself
“Knowing ourselves, like being authentic, is a lifelong journey and process, and is an essential ingredient in the ability to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life. The more deliberate we are about knowing ourselves, the more we can grow and evolve consciously”, says Mike Robbins. Knowing ourselves means being honest about who we truly are, understanding how our past has shaped our personality and our beliefs, confronting the parts of ourselves that we don’t particularly like and would rather avoid – you know, those bits that we might be a bit ashamed of but nonetheless form a part of who we are and how we think and behave. One of the most effective tools I know of for getting to know yourself deeply is The Enneagram, an ancient system for classifying the nine different personality types; it is an elegant system for understanding your strengths and ‘shadows’, and provides a road map to greater self-mastery. You can find out more at The Enneagram Institute

2. Transform your fear
“Being who we really are, expressing ourselves honestly, being bold and going for what we want in life can cause a great deal of fear in us”, says Robbins. It’s natural to feel fearful about showing our real selves to those around us, and of expressing ourselves in a way that is unapologetically real. Personally I find it really scary to put my real self out there. The first time I wrote a blog post I experienced a ridiculous level of fear and to be honest I still do each time I publish something. By daring to speak out about our true feelings and views, we put ourselves in a vulnerable possible and expose ourselves to possible attack. There will always be people who love and appreciate what you have to say, who you are or are striving to be, and there will always be some people who dislike or despise what you have to say or do. It’s an unfortunate fact of life. But if you spend your life being fearful of being real and authentic, you’ll never experience the joy and freedom of authentic self expression.

3. Express yourself
Expressing yourself freely is the cornerstone of authenticity. It means speaking up about your views when appropriate and having the courage to challenge others respectfully when you disagree. It means having the courage to express the real you through your appearance, activities, home design and any other aspect of life that is an expression of you. Robbins says “When we’re willing to passionately, vulnerably and boldly speak up and express ourselves, we tap into our power in an authentic way.”

4. Be bold
Being bold, while scary and challenging for many of us, is essential if we’re going to live an authentic life. “Boldness is about stepping up and stepping out onto our “edge” in life—pushing the limits of what we think is possible or appropriate. It’s about living, speaking and acting in ways that are both courageous and true to who we really are”, says Robbins.

5. Celebrate who you are
“From a place of true self-appreciation and self-love, the fear behind our worries and the motivation for our goals dramatically changes from something we have to avoid or produce in order to be accepted and valued, to something we’re genuinely concerned about or really want to accomplish” says Robbins. Give yourself genuine appreciation for all the things you do, how you show up in life and your noble intentions. Celebrate the wonderful person you are, and forgive yourself lovingly for the areas where you feel you fall short. You’re only human after all. Appreciating yourself is a wonderful way to strengthen your ability to express yourself authentically; you’re no longer dependent on the approval or validation of others because you’re coming from a strong place of self love and appreciation. When you’re no longer motivated by the approval of others, now you are finally free to express yourself freely and unapologetically.

In addition to these 5 guiding principles above, Robbins suggests that being authentic includes the following elements.

Being authentic means you…

  • Live true to your values, expressing yourself, taking risks, focusing on what matters.
  • When you have a conflict with someone, you talk with him/her about it directly.
  • When you need help or support, you reach out and ask for it.
  • You know what matters most in your life, and you live consistently according to your priorities.
  • When you don’t understand something, you admit it and ask for clarification.
  • When someone challenges or disagrees with you, you don’t back down if you know it’s your own personal truth.
  • You are not strongly influenced by the opinions of those around you – your heart is your most important guiding compass.
  • You usually feel safe speaking up and sharing your true feelings, even if they’re negative.
  • You don’t worry about making mistakes and letting people down – you certainly don’t let that stop you doing anything.
  • You are aware of your strengths and feel grateful for them.
  • When you make a mistake, you have compassion for yourself.
  • When you don’t want to do something, you say no.
  • You go after what you want and you’re willing to take risks to get it.
  • You’re willing to admit when you’re wrong, and apologise accordingly.
  • You embrace all your feelings, even the ones you don’t like.

And here’s something that feels really liberating to do! Robbins suggests that if you’re serious about stepping up and being authentic, why not write a letter to the old you and tell them you’re moving on – a sort of break up letter to your old, less-than-real self. It can go something like this.

The break up letter – This is where I leave you

(I’ve written my own specific parts of Robbin’s recommended letter in italics below. If you’re tired of playing small and hiding your true self from the world, write out this letter and substitute your own words in the italic sections!)

Dear Fake Me,

It wasn’t all bad. We had a good run. I know you were trying to protect me when you kept me from admitting that I wanted to break free from the life I had created for myself, that I wasn’t living in alignment with my heart and soul, and that I wanted to make radical changes in my life. And I know you were trying to protect me when you got me out of saying no to that voice in my head that really wanted to drop everything and follow my heart, which would have made life really uncomfortable. (Remember? We just quietly seethed inside instead. Good times!)

Plus, there were all those times we spent running around after other people, doing things we didn’t really want to be doing, to please others. And you stopped me from following my heart, by making sure I was too afraid. That’s what’s really held us together all this time, you know? Fear. Of being seen. Of being disliked. Of not being loved for who I amOf not making my parents proud. Of not being seen as ‘successful’.

But now – and I hope you won’t take this personally – we’ve grown apart. Remember that time you said I couldn’t show my real self to the world? That’s it’s not safe to be me, fully, that’s it’s not safe to shine my light … even though I wanted to so much? I always thought you were looking out for me. But really, you were controlling me. I was too scared to tell the difference.

And now here we are.

We’re through. I’m ready to start speaking up. I’m ready to be the version of me that shares and shows what’s REALLY going on inside of me, that never says or does anything to try to appease others. I’m ready to stop being inauthentic and start being myself fully, brilliantly, as flawed as I am, in all my imperfect glory. I don’t want to keep my feelings bottled up when I’m with my family and friends, and when I feel as though someone will be uncomfortable with what I have to say, and every time someone tries to shame me.

But most of all, I plan never again to fake it – to pretend I’m somebody I am not, or to pretend I’m OK with superficial, inauthentic conversations, when really I just want to be real, and for everybody else to be real.

You served a purpose in my life, but we want different things. It’s not you, it’s that you’re not me.

So take care of yourself, you won’t hear from me again.



Wow – it feels so good to write that! I feel the power surging within me already! It feels amazing to take a stand for nothing less than becoming my true, authentic self.

So come on, let’s all usher in the new year with an intention to be real, genuine and unapologetically authentic. Are you in?

Want to know more about me and my journey? This recent post will update you on my journey for authenticity.

In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Life Coach & Career Strategist
Why some people are ‘toxic’, and how to make sure you’re not!

Why some people are ‘toxic’, and how to make sure you’re not!

There have been a lot of posts circulating recently about ‘toxic people’ and how to deal with them. Many sources outline how to identify these people as early as possible and how to cut them out of our lives, which is easier said than done in most cases, especially if these ‘toxic’ people are family, colleagues or other people we live or work closely with. We’ve all been around those people who can leave us feeling drained or a bit ‘off’ after an encounter with them. Others leave us feeling downright irritated or annoyed, or some people leave us feeling really bad about ourselves. There are many different ways of displaying ‘toxicity’, but they all have one thing in common: So-called ‘toxic’ people need to bring someone else down in order to boost their own feelings of self-worth.

The first thing you need to realise if you’re dealing with someone like this is this: Their behaviour towards you has nothing to do with you. Psychotherapist and life coach Jodie Gale says “Often the person is deeply wounded and for whatever reason, they are not yet able to take responsibility for their wounding, their feelings, their needs and their subsequent problems in life” (see footnote 1). So it’s not that these people are toxic themselves (no-one is inherently bad unless they’re a diagnosed sociopath) – they’re wounded. But the way they unconsciously act out their wounds towards others can be labeled ‘toxic’ because their behaviour is hurtful and damaging to others. Often they’re completely unaware that they feel the need to hurt others because they don’t feel good about themselves. But that doesn’t excuse their hurtful behaviour. They will find ways to bring others down – intentionally or unintentionally – because it feels like the only way they can lift themselves ‘up’. And the effects on those around them is damaging.

Some of these people go to extraordinary lengths to hurt others as a way to make themselves feel better, which can be really painful if this person is a family member or someone who you had thought was a ‘friend’. They don’t yet have enough self-awareness to take responsibility for their own feelings and their unfulfilled needs, so they look to the outside to release their pent up frustration and ill feelings. If you happen to be the target of someone’s subversive, toxic behaviour, it’s quite likely that you trigger one of these emotions in them:

Perhaps you have or are something that they want to have or be. They may not even be aware of it; in their eyes you probably just ‘get their hackles up’, but underneath their irritation may be feelings of envy, resentment or bitterness that you have what they want but feel they can’t get.

You may threaten their position somehow. Perhaps they’ve worked hard to create feelings of safety and superiority (to cover up their feelings of inferiority), and you threaten this position in some way. If this is the case, they’ll need to hurt you to try to get you out of the way and to retain their sense of control.

Perhaps they feel you aren’t paying them enough attention, or aren’t making them feel special enough, as a result of their own feelings of unworthiness. So they’ll try to hurt you back to make themselves feel better.

The fact is, whatever the dark feelings are that you trigger within them, it’s up to them to take responsibility for these feelings and to do the inner work to clear them. You’re simply acting as a mirror, reflecting back to them where they’re wounded and unhappy. We all know how painful and unpleasant it is when we’re the target of someone’s toxic behaviour. That’s why it’s so important that each and every one of us have the courage to face our own shadows. By shadows I mean the not-so-nice parts inside of us, the dark and the ugly parts, the parts we would rather deny, disown or push underground. If we don’t face these dark parts of ourselves, own them and do the work to transform them, our darkness ‘oozes’ out towards other people in the form of toxic behaviours.

Author Mark Matousek (author of Sex, Death, Enlightenment) talks about seven ‘shadows’ that hide our inner light, obscuring our pure and original essence of love and compassion. We’re all born as pure love; we know this to be true when we’re with a baby. We all love babies because they’re pure and not yet been wounded by life. The main ‘shadow’ emotions that hide our inner light are:

1.   Shame
Somehow in our childhood we’re all made to feel ashamed of something. I felt ashamed of my strawberry blonde hair as a child after someone called me a ‘carrot top’ in school. I was ashamed of the fact that I didn’t grow breasts until many years after my girlfriends first grew theirs; and later I was ashamed of many of the reckless things I did in my teens when I was trying so hard to be cool and accepted. Many of us harbour shame but we don’t really know it. When I first started seeing a therapist during a very difficult phase of my life many years ago, the first thing she said was “I can see you feel shame around many things”. My first reaction was “Shame? I don’t feel any shame”. But as she probed deeper, I started to cry and cry as I realised just how much shame I had been holding onto. This was the first critical step in my own healing, to acknowledge my shame and to love and forgive myself for all these things I felt shame around – I’m only human after all. If we don’t recognise and release our own shame, it unconsciously leaks out onto others in ‘toxic behaviours’.

2.   Rage
We’re told from a young age that anger and rage are bad emotions; “Don’t get angry, it’s not nice”. But in fact anger is a very necessary emotion that tells us where we feel our boundaries have been violated. It’s telling us something important about ourselves. Perhaps it’s telling you that you need more privacy, or that you need to articulate your boundaries more clearly, or that you need people to respect your needs. If you feel angry about something that’s happened to you, what is the anger caused by? Usually there is grief or sadness underneath the anger. If we were taught to listen to and honour our anger as children, to ask what it’s trying to tell us, the world would be a different place. We wouldn’t be ashamed of this valuable emotion and we would know how to process it. As Mark Matousek says “It’s humbling to admit our anger. It gets us off our self-righteousness, off our soapboxes, to admit I have anger, I have shame, I have rage, I have greed and the rest of it. It makes us human. It brings us into contact with the rest of the human race. Compassion is to feel with the suffering of a person. If we don’t accept our own suffering, we can’t possibly have compassion for the suffering of others.”

3.   Envy
We’re told that we’re not supposed to feel envious, that we should appreciate what we have and be joyful for others. But again, envy is an emotion that can teach us about what we really desire ourselves. If you feel envious towards someone, it’s because they have something that you dearly want. Rather than become bitter and resentful towards that person, let it tell you where you desire things in your own life. And then take responsibility for creating those things in your own life. Envy is very useful for helping us understand how and where we want to improve things for ourselves.

4.   Greed
Greed is another ‘shadow’ emotion that can cause us to act out in toxic ways, if left unacknowledged. If you feel insatiable in some areas of your life, Mark suggests “Ask yourself, why do you feel like you’re not enough or like there is never enough? Where do you feel like there is not enough in your life? Why when you get what you think you wanted, are you not satisfied? Why is that? What is that? That’s greed. Don’t judge yourself for it. Just acknowledge it because what that greed is telling you is that your desire cannot be satisfied if it’s coming from external things. True satisfaction has to come from within. Unless you’re coming from a position of wholeness and sufficiency within yourself, greed will always be active in your life.” True fulfilment comes from knowing ourselves deeply, from clearing our wounds and learning to love ourselves and our life. It also comes from orienting ourselves towards service to others; becoming someone who gives rather than just takes. To be able to receive in life, we must also learn how to give.

5.   Lust
Most of us are afraid to even admit to feelings of lust. As Mark says, we’re terrified of lust because we believe that it’s stronger than we are, we’re scared of where it’s going to lead us. But if we can admit to our lust and try to understand what it is telling us, it can diffuse the power within it, and we see that it’s connected to passion, which is a wonderful, life-affirming power. Mark says “Remember that passion is key to our own well-being and to our spiritual awakening. We need our passions. They’re part of what give our life meaning. It’s part of what gives us our humanity”.

6.    Fear
All of the above emotions are connected to fear in some way – fear that we aren’t enough, fear that we won’t have enough, fear that we will be consumed by our dark emotions so we push them underground where they become toxic. Ask yourself, where is fear holding you back? Where is fear preventing you from fully enjoying your life? What are you afraid of in desiring what you truly want? Acknowledging our fears and embracing them, rather than suppressing them, is the only way to diffuse their power and to move back towards love. As my healer used to always say “There is only fear or love. Always choose love”.

7.    Grief
Another emotion that most of work hard to suppress is grief. Grief can be a beautiful thing if it isn’t pushed underground and subverted. It is precious because as Mark says “it’s proof of your heart, it’s proof of your caring, and it’s proof of your compassion. The wound is proof of humanity”. Inside most of our wounds we can find grief at some level. So ask yourself where you feel grief in your life. Where have you suppressed grief so that it’s turned to sadness, bitterness or depression?

None of these emotions I have outlined above are bad. They become harmful when they’re denied, disowned or suppressed. We all have these emotions; it’s part of the human experience. But instead of trying to push these bad feelings aside, we need to move towards them, embrace them, ask what they’re trying to tell us, and where we need to allow ourselves to heal. The more we try to ignore them and pretend they’re not there, the more they will leak out unconsciously in toxic behaviours towards others, harming or hurting those we spend our lives with.

The next time you’re in a situation where someone has triggered one of these feelings in you – anger, shame, envy, greed, lust, fear or grief – pause for a moment and ask yourself why? Which feeling has been triggered in you? What is this feeling trying to tell you? Is there somewhere in your life you feel you need or want something that you don’t have? Does this person trigger your own feelings of unworthiness? Where do you need to heal yourself so that you can feel more whole and peaceful? It’s not always easy navigating our own emotions. If you’re stuck in negative emotions triggered by someone else, reach out to someone who is trained to help in this area – a therapist, a coach or a healer. Heal the wounds that lie underneath these shadow emotions. Try not to lash out at others with your negative reactions. Otherwise you run the risk of hurting others, perhaps someone you love. We owe it to ourselves, and we it to everyone in our lives, to own our own shadow feelings, to process them and to take radical responsibility for creating our own happiness. Try to be a positive influence in the lives of others – that is where we will find true happiness and fulfillment.

In service to helping you find greater levels of peace, flow and happiness in your life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Life Coach & Career Strategist
Whispering Heart Coaching

Footnote #1:

Family drama! Three ways to survive those dreaded family reunions

Family drama! Three ways to survive those dreaded family reunions

For many of us, Christmas and other festive celebrations can be a joyous occasion full of family reunions, where we reunite with loved ones to celebrate, relax, unwind and enjoy each other’s company with good wine and good food in a relaxed atmosphere. It can be a beautiful time of re-connecting, bonding and sharing good stories. And yet for many of us it can also be a time of dread and anxious anticipation about reuniting with certain family members with whom we have ‘strained’ relationships. We might have good intentions about staying positive and bright, to not let others knock us from our centre, but somehow in the presence of these family members we find ourselves being triggered into our old insecurities and behavioural patterns that we thought we’d left behind years ago. I guess that’s why the saying goes:

“If you think you’re enlightened go spend a week with your family”
– Ram Dass

So true. There’s nothing like a family reunion to show us where we have unhealed emotional pain.

Part of the challenge is that as family we can tend to lock each other into boxes. The same old stories can get told over and over again (“When you were little you always ….” – ugh) and used as a definition of who we are, when in reality we’ve moved on and grown so much since our childhood years. In many cases we remember painful situations with another family member that occurred in the past and how they reacted or behaved towards us, and then we use that as our ongoing definition of them. We remember how they hurt us, how they made us feel, what they did that we felt was so undeserving or mean (of which they will have their own version of how mean we were). And that situation (or several situations like that) becomes a reason to create distance between each other as a means of protecting ourselves. We don’t want to put ourselves in the situation where we feel the same pain or bad feelings again, and as a consequence we might find ourselves drifting further and further apart, to the point where we have only sporadic correspondence and know very little about each other’s lives. Then this lack of communication only makes the relationship even more difficult when we reunite. It’s virtually impossible to have a light-hearted, flowing and joyful conversation when we have unresolved emotional pain standing in the way.

It’s different with family members where we share a close bond – we talk regularly, we share the details of our lives, the ups and the downs, we reach out to each other for support and advice and we connect with each other simply for the joy of it, for the love and connection it allows us to feel. As a result of this frequent and intimate contact we really know each other. Nothing we say or do can be misinterpreted because we know each other’s motivations and intentions.

Yet one encounter in a strained family relationship can completely knock us off-centre, through a simple off-hand statement, joke or facial expression. This can immediately (and usually unconsciously) trigger us back into our old defence and behaviour patterns, confirming the other person’s opinion that we’re still the same person we were at the time of past conflicts; in this way keeping each other locked in the old behaviours that led to the conflict in the first place.

The difficulty in strained family relationships is that at the time the original wound occurred in our relationship, we felt something fundamental about ourselves that was painful – perhaps “I’m unloved”, “I’m unworthy”, “I’m misunderstood” or “I’m a bad person”.  Then we perceive all future encounters with this family member through this filter, being sensitive to anything that might trigger those old feelings of separation and unworthiness, making it hard to rise above the situation and remain neutral or unaffected. It can be a vicious cycle that leaves us feeling frustrated, misunderstood and deeply sad that we can’t move beyond the old wounds to a new place of understanding and compassion for each other.

So how do we gracefully navigate these strained relationships, in a way that’s beneficial to both parties, giving each other the possibility to experience a new way of being together that is kinder, more open-hearted and forgiving?

Here are my three suggestions to try this Christmas.

1. Fill yourself up with self-love

The only way someone else can make us feel bad about ourselves is if they trigger our own feelings of unworthiness and separation. If we know in our heart that we are beautiful, lovable, loving and loved, then nothing can make us feel otherwise – not even an uncomfortable family encounter. We need to find a way to love and accept ourselves as we are, fully, wholly, including all our lovable faults, idiosyncrasies and imperfections. Only once we are able to love ourselves unconditionally and fully, can we become immune to uncomfortable family relationships, because nothing anyone can say or do can make us feel bad about ourselves. This pulls us out of the old cycle of engagement that creates more conflict.

2. Acceptance

Acceptance can take the pressure off the situation, making it easier for us to navigate the relationship. By acceptance, I mean accepting the fact that some relationships are as they are: difficult and challenging. And that it’s OK not to have a perfect relationship with everyone in our life. We’re all different and we’re not going to have a close bond with everyone in our family. And perhaps it’s OK that some family members never understand or accept us. Perhaps they will never know us intimately or interpret our words or actions accurately, leaving us with the feeling that we can’t do or say anything right. Letting go of expectations that we will one day have a perfect relationship with this person might create space for a real opening and possibility for a new way of relating in the future, if that’s part of our path together.

3. If possible, forgive

My last blog post in October was about the concept of Colin Tipping’s Radical Forgiveness process. I’ve always found forgiveness a tricky concept because too often we’re made to feel bad if we don’t forgive someone quickly and move on. But Colin’s process explains in detail the five steps that are necessary to move through the forgiveness process in a way that honours our own feelings, giving ample space and time to our feelings to allow ourselves the chance to heal and move forward. An important concept that is part of this approach is the possibility that this strained relationship has appeared in our life to help us heal a certain part of ourselves or to grow spiritually, designed to help us see and love more of ourselves. Colin has designed forgiveness processes specifically for healing rifts with siblings and parents which I will most definitely be working on myself these coming months.

Finally, realise you are not alone with this. So many of us struggle with the pain of unresolved conflicts which all resurface at family reunions, often leaving us feeling disempowered and at a loss to know how to move forward so that we can look forward to these reunions with joy. If you have any success with the tips above please let me know, I’d love to hear! I’m with you on this one, working hard to make Christmas a more loving and joyful occasion.

In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Life Coach & Career Strategist
Whispering Heart Coaching
Are you struggling to forgive? Try a little ‘radical forgiveness’

Are you struggling to forgive? Try a little ‘radical forgiveness’

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you”
– Lewis B. Smedes

I’ve always felt a slight resistance to those who advise that the key to happiness and inner peace is to release and forgive all the people who have wronged or wounded us. It sounds noble and virtuous and I’m sure all of us would love to be able to release our painful emotional wounds through forgiveness in a heartbeat. But it’s surprisingly difficult to do and feels somewhat like an emotional bypass when we try to sweep away our deep and painful feelings with a magic wand. Simply trying to forgive others has often left me feeling worse despite my best intentions, when I feel the same old painful feelings of victim-hood, pain and anger arising, leaving me feeling like a ‘bad person’ because I’m unable to just forgive everything.

After many years of working through my own layers of emotional pain, I think I finally I understand why it can be so difficult to ‘just forgive’. Last week I came across Colin Tipping’s Radical Forgiveness philosophy, which summarises beautifully how we need to work through the forgiveness process in order to feel true, authentic and lasting forgiveness. Radical Forgiveness is a five step process to move through the different stages required to release ourselves from our story of pain and hurt, and to move into a state where we’re able to see the bigger picture and even understand the value and gift that the situation has given us. This requires a willingness to hold an open mind to new possibilities of viewing the situation, which in itself may take time, patience and courage. But the rewards are beautiful if we’re able to do this.

Each of the five steps to the Radical Forgiveness process are critical, they need to be worked through in the right order and the process won’t work if you skip a step. Here are the steps in a nutshell:

1. Tell the story

It is important to have your story heard, witnessed and validated, as this is the first step to being able to let it go. Personally I have always found this step to be very healing when done with either a coach, therapist or good friend, however you can also do this step through the use of a Radical Forgiveness worksheet that Colin makes available on his website for free. It works just as effectively working through this step by writing out your story.

2. Feel the feelings

For me this had been the missing piece! In order to be able to release and forgive someone, we first need to get inside and really feel every single emotion that wells inside of us when we recall the situation. As Colin rightly says, “You cannot heal what you don’t feel. When people access their pain, this is the beginning of their healing”. This is why the forgiveness process hadn’t worked too well for me in the past. Attempting to sweep away my negative pain and feelings under the mask of ‘forgiveness’ is skipping the most crucial element needed to heal: feeling.

3. Collapse the story

As Colin says “This is where we make a conscious choice to withdraw the energy we have given the story and begin to realise that the story is mostly our interpretation of events based on our limited perception of reality, and since there is more to it than meets the eye, it is largely an illusion”. Yes! This has been key for me too, realising that there are so many angles from which to view a situation, and we have chosen only one, constructing our own story about how the other person wounded us and why. But what if there is the possibility that this is only our perspective, and there are many other possible ways to view the situation?

4. Reframe the story

This is a big one. Take a deep breath, and consider…. that maybe, just maybe, the situation was not a tragedy or cruel twist of nastiness on behalf of the other person, but rather it was exactly what we wanted (and needed) to experience for our soul growth and in that sense, was absolutely perfect. Could it be so?

Can you feel the sense of lightness and peace that starts percolating inwards as you consider this possibility? This step has personally been an immense sense of comfort to me on my own journey, being able to view all my ‘woundings’ as beautiful, sacred events that have helped me become the person I am today. As Rumi says “The wound is the place where the light enters you”. Could it have been a perfect sequence of events that we experienced to bring us closer to our true essence and soul?

5. Integrate

This means letting this possibility filter into your being, allowing it to reach you at a deep, cellular level, such that it can re-program your heart and mind and begin the true process of authentic, lasting forgiveness. This may take a moment, or it may take several weeks or months, but if you’ve worked through the steps, you will eventually experience the lightness and inner peace that true forgiveness brings.

The beauty of this process is the way it allows us to reach in, touch and feel all the emotions we’ve been harboring inside over all the years. By leaning into our feelings and giving them space to be seen and heard, instead of trying to sweep them away with our magic wand, we can open ourselves to the possibility of healing and emotional release. Opening our hearts and minds to the possibility of viewing the situation differently allows us to release our story of victim-hood and to see the higher purpose and gift in the wounding, in all its perfection.

So if you feel the burden of being unable to forgive someone, try a little radical forgiveness. And please let me know how you go, I would love to know!

In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Professional Coach & Founder
Whispering Heart Coaching
Open heart, big fence: 5 ways to maintain strong & healthy boundaries in life

Open heart, big fence: 5 ways to maintain strong & healthy boundaries in life

‘Healthy boundaries’ is a term I’ve become really familiar with only in recent years. Learning about the whole concept was a revelation for me, particularly when realising I hadn’t had any boundaries in place in my life for the longest time. All the years of struggle, depletion, exhaustion, overwhelm and anguish had been because I had allowed the needs and desires of others to dictate my life. Somewhere along the way I had learned that it was not OK to put myself first, that it was more important to meet my perceived expectations of others, and underneath all that… I felt that I was not worthy of putting my own needs first. I was so busy trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be that I actually didn’t even know what I wanted or needed – let alone have the courage to take a stand for that. Needless to say, this was not a joyful way to live.

For the past five years or so I’ve been learning, albeit gradually and sometimes not so successfully, how to set boundaries in my life. Sometimes I’m really tuned in and I can take a stand for myself and my needs, and it feels great when I’m able to do that. To my surprise, those around me adjust quite easily when I’m able to communicate my boundaries effectively and lovingly, and it usually does them a favour too; it helps avoid situations that are likely to cause stress and tension for everyone and makes things easier and more joyful all round. It feels empowering to set a boundary and have it respectfully met.

But there’s a bit of an art to maintaining healthy boundaries and I’m still learning how to do it. Unfortunately just last month, on a holiday with extended family, I experienced again what it’s like to let my boundaries be crossed and to lose control over my well-being because of it. There are some situations in life that we know are going to cause stress and tension. When we willingly put ourselves in those situations without clear and healthy boundaries, it’s almost guaranteed to cause trouble. My step-father calls these situations “putting your hand in the mincer”. That’s what I did last month – again.

Why did I willingly put myself in a tense and predictably difficult situation? I think because I had naively hoped that maybe this time things would be different; that maybe this time we’ve all grown and matured enough to be able to handle things differently; that perhaps we’ve all managed to move beyond childhood wounds and let go of resentment; that perhaps each of us is even capable of accepting our own role in family conflicts, forgiving each other and letting go of the grudges we hold. Unfortunately, those naïve hopes landed me in a very unpleasant and difficult situation, where I had completely let down my guard and allowed family members to violate my personal space and emotional well-being – which in turn affected my young boys and my husband. Given how unpleasant this whole situation was, this was a huge wake-up call for me to re-learn very fast how to set and maintain healthy boundaries.

Of course, we always need to look at our own role in conflicts and understand how/where it went wrong and what we can do better next time. We need to try to understand what we can personally do differently and how we can be more effective at preventing stressful situations or conflicts. Perhaps there’s a difficult conversation we need to have to resolve an issue. Or perhaps we need to work on our own preconceptions and judgments about other people and cultivate more loving acceptance within ourselves towards others. And yet sometimes we just need to accept that no matter how much we wish and hope things could be different, certain situations just are how they are, and may not ever change. Some people have certain views and judgments about us due to their own pain and childhood wounding and they may not ever change those views and judgments until they do their own inner work (which may never happen). So we must learn how to make peace with that and instead of trying and wishing we could change things, we need to learn how to manage these situations more effectively.

How do we know if our boundaries have been crossed?

Psychologist Dr Dana Gionta says that we can recognize when our boundaries have been crossed by tuning into our feelings. There are two key feelings that are red flags or cues that we need to enforce more healthy boundaries: discomfort and resentment (ref. #1). If someone or a situation is causing you discomfort or feelings of resentment, she suggests asking yourself “What is causing that? What is it about this interaction, or the person’s expectation that is bothering me?” Gionta says “resentment usually comes from being taken advantage of or feeling unappreciated. It’s often a sign that we’re pushing ourselves either beyond our own limits or because we feel guilty (we want to be a good daughter or wife, for example), or someone else is imposing their expectations, views, values or judgments on us.” In all these cases, we’ve let the other person’s needs, expectations, views and judgments interfere with our own sense of well-being.

The way we feel around someone else can also be a big cue to strengthen our personal boundaries. Life coach Britt Bolnik calls it ‘checking your personal engine light’ (ref. #2). She says you should think about how you feel around certain people that drain or upset you; someone with whom you feel you lose yourself. How does it feel in your body when you’re with them? How does it feel in your mind? How does the presence of this person affect you? Look at the list of feelings and sensations you’ve come up with, and imagine that your body is like a car, with a dashboard full of warning lights. You’ve just identified the ‘check the engine’ light for your personal boundary system. It’s a security warning that your personal energy field has been breached, and you’re letting in stuff that isn’t yours. This is exactly what I unwillingly allowed this past holiday; I was letting in all kinds of ‘stuff’ that wasn’t mine to take on. My personal boundaries were weak, unguarded or unclear, and I was giving away my personal energy unconsciously.

So how do we set better and more ‘healthy’ boundaries for ourselves?

Here are six tips and strategies that will help you protect your emotional well-being in difficult situations.

1. Know your limits
You can’t set healthy boundaries if you don’t know what your limits are. What is it that you needto protect yourself physically, emotionally and mentally? What is it that knocks you off-centre or leaves you feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, resentful or just plain irritated? What are you able to accept and tolerate, and what are the things that make you feel uncomfortable and stressed? Dr Gionta reminds us that feelings of stress and discomfort help you identify what your limits are.

2. Make self-care a priority
By making self-care our priority, it means we’re giving ourselves permission to put ourselves first – the first critical step to setting and maintaining healthy boundaries. When we recognize the importance of our own feelings and honour them through prioritizing self-care, “our need and motivation to set boundaries becomes stronger” says Dr Gionta. She says putting yourself first also gives you the “energy, peace of mind and positive outlook to be more present with others and be there for them”. And we all know that when we’re in a better place, we can be a better wife, mother, husband, colleague or friend! If I haven’t made the time to do my yoga workout, I can become quite the grumpy mum and wife. No one benefits from me not taking care of myself and my needs.

3. Be assertive
Dr Gionta says that even though we know intellectually that people are not mind readers, we still often expect others to know what hurts us. But since it’s most likely that they don’t know, it’s important to find a way to communicate clearly and effectively what we need from any interaction or situation. Being up-front about your needs and expectations and being able to communicate them clearly means there’s much less room for stressful situations to arise. In the past, I’ve sometimes been a little hurt by someone else’s assertiveness when communicating their own boundaries (and that was possibly because at the time I didn’t know how to assert my own), but afterwards I was often grateful for their assertiveness because when everyone’s expectations and needs are clear, it avoids all kinds of uncomfortable situations.

4. Practice makes perfect
Communicating your boundaries assertively is a skill and takes lots of practice. I’ve been practicing for years now and given my recent difficult experiences I realise I’m still far from getting this right. “Setting boundaries takes courage, practice and support. It’s a skill we need to practice and master” says Dr Gionta. But it’s worth taking on the challenge to change, because when we’re able to enforce our healthy boundaries, it’s a great feeling.

“You change for two reasons: Either you learn enough that you want to change, or you’ve been hurt enough that you have to.”
– Unknown

5. Ground and protect yourself as preparation for maintaining boundaries
Life Coach Brit Bolnik talks about using the technique of grounding to help maintain your boundaries. I’ve been practicing this one lately and it really helps. I love the way she describes grounding: “Grounding is akin to the way a tree sinks her roots into the earth to stay secure in a storm. It’s the first tool in creating healthy boundaries – nurturing a connection with ourselves, our centre. When we’re grounded it keeps us from being blown around in other people’s winds. It gives us a way to focus and still ourselves to connect with our heart and our intuition. That’s what keeps us steady and connected and focused. There are as many ways to ground as there are people. I like to take five minutes to actually imagine my root system connecting me into the earth, like a giant oak tree”. This simple oak tree meditation has really helped me stand my ground and stay centered around people who tend to knock me off centre. I’ve started building this into my daily practices.

It’s impossible to avoid all difficult situations entirely. When you know you’re about to enter one, Brit Bolnik suggests to try taking a few minutes to ground yourself and then imagine breathing a bubble of protective energy or light around you. Think of it as space that will only allow in love and positivity and deflect anything else. Really see it and feel the force of it around you. This really works too if you believe it does.

So in a nutshell, healthy boundaries are about getting to know yourself and your needs intimately. Know what you need to stay centered and balanced, know the things that maintain your sense of well-being and comfort and fiercely protect those things. Don’t let other people’s expectations or your own naïve hopes stand in the way. If you’re not sure whether a certain situation will ruffle you, take the safe route and build in measures to protect yourself anyway. This is not selfish or unkind; it’s a way to avoid stress and tension for everyone involved. No one benefits when things get tense and stressful or worse, spiral into arguments where unkind things are said and conflicts arise.

So dig deep, have a chat with yourself and find out what you need to stay happy, balanced and grounded. And let me know if you have any breakthroughs!

In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Professional Coach & Founder
Whispering Heart Coaching
The gift of writing: How to find meaning & purpose in the story of your life

The gift of writing: How to find meaning & purpose in the story of your life

“Story is a vehicle for us to create meaning in our lives. We need story like we need our bodies. It creates our meaning”
– Mark Matousek, author of Sex, Death, Enlightenment

A few years ago I was in a very dark place. Life felt heavy, overwhelming and horrible. My heart ached constantly and every morning I struggled to get out of bed, tired of the continuous sadness, depletion and exhaustion that plagued my life. Nothing made sense and life seemed cruel and meaningless. As I forced myself to put on a brave, smiling face every day to go to work and face the never-ending deadlines and meetings, inside I felt like I was dying. It was exhausting to put on this facade day in, day out, to pretend that I was happy, coping and succeeding. While inside I was desperately sad and exhausted – emotionally, physically and spiritually.

As often happens when we’re in these dark places, I prayed for help, for some small sign that there was meaning to all of this, and some glimmer of hope that things would get better. Shortly after, an email landed in my inbox from the famous visionary thought leader Dr Jean Houston, about her upcoming course Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. To this day I still don’t know how I got onto her e-mail list. I didn’t know much about her work at the time or the courses she offers. But her email caught my attention and after years of feeling like I was on the wrong path and that my life was not going where I wanted it to be going, Jean’s call to finally uncover my true calling felt like an absolutely essential and urgent thing for me to do. So in spite of my head telling me I didn’t have the time or money to do this course, out of desperation I enrolled myself because my heart was begging me to.

Jean Houston’s course – among other serendipitous things that happened soon after I sent out my S.O.S call to the universe – was the start of a slow but massive shift in my life. One of the key elements in her teachings is the power of story and myth to create meaning in our lives. One of the assignments we had to do as homework was to describe the story of our in lives in the context of the ‘Hero’s Journey’. The Hero’s Journey is a pattern of storytelling identified by the famous American scholar, Joseph Campbell, that weaves through many human stories, movies, drama, theatre and myth. It describes the typical adventure of the archetype known as The Hero, the person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe, or civilization. The journey typically includes the following 12 stages.

The Hero’s Journey
1.    The ordinary world
2.    The call to adventure
3.    Refusal of the call
4.    Meeting with the mentor
5.    Crossing the threshold
6.    Tests, allies and enemies
7.    Approaching the cave
8.    The ordeal
9.    The road back
10.  The resurrection
11.  Return with the elixir (Read more details about the Hero’s Journey click here)

Since becoming aware of this pattern of narrative in our storytelling, I’ve seen it appear as the underlying theme in many films and stories in our entertainment world, the most famous and obvious ones being Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I recognise it woven into children’s movies when watching them with my young boys.

At first I was a bit skeptical about the significance this could have as a homework task, but I dutifully sat down and started to write out my life within the template of the Hero’s Journey. I made up a fictional name for myself and started writing about my life in third person, describing the key events and relationships I had been through. As I wrote about the different phases of my life, amazingly I began to see how my life has roughly followed this basic theme, and that during the time that I was working on this assignment, I was stuck in the phase of ‘refusing the call’. I had spent my life living in the ‘ordinary world’, and had heard the ‘call to adventure’ several times deep within my heart. Except that I had been busily refusing the call, blocking it out, determined to make my life follow what my head insisted was the right path, rather than surrendering to the impulses of my heart – ‘the call’ – that wanted to pursue a different kind of life. The more I resisted this call, the more I suffered and the deeper I sunk into the abyss. It had taken deep and prolonged suffering and finally a ‘meeting with the mentor’ – my wonderful healer who held my hand and helped me surrender to my own inner truth, courage and wisdom – that finally allowed me to ‘cross the threshold’.

After spending many years committed to overcoming my fears, doubts and insecurities and preparing myself for my new career path, it currently feels as though I’m immersed in the ‘tests, allies and enemies’ phase in which I’ve surrendered to the call, while continuing to be tested in many ways to strengthen my resilience and resolve. I’m learning who my allies and enemies are and learning to surround myself with loyal and supportive comrades who support my journey in this ‘new world’, as I strive to live my brightest life and make a positive contribution through my work and presence.

I can’t explain the uplift and joy I felt after recognising my life story within the archetypal pattern of the Hero’s Journey. Suddenly my pain and suffering felt worthwhile and a necessary part of my life’s journey. It gave my life meaning just as Mark Matousek suggested happens when we harness the power of story. By choosing to follow my heart I feel I am now on my way to ‘return with the elixir’, tapping into the joy, flow and abundance that comes to us naturally when we align with our heart and soul. This road will not be easy, but it’s the only road that makes sense to me now. Sometimes my inner skeptic comes in and tells me this is just something we tell ourselves to help ourselves feel better. And then I think – so what? If we find meaning, comfort, strength and motivation by seeing ourselves within this context, as the Hero within our own lives, surviving trials and tribulations on our path to finding the treasure, then isn’t that great? And isn’t that all that really matters?

And yet another interesting thing happened as I found the courage to share my story with others in my course group. As I dared to put myself out there and share my story, suddenly I was being approached by several class mates who were telling me that they related to so much of my story and that they too had been through similar things. And as I read through the stories of everyone else, it occurred to me how much I also related to their stories, and how much of our collective human suffering follows common themes and patterns. And this, says Jean Houston, is why myth and campfire stories are so important to us, because they connect us to each other through the sharing of common human experiences and emotions. They connect us to each other and they give our lives meaning. And this sense of meaning and connection is what can be so healing when we surrender to the power of our story.

In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Professional coach & founder
Whispering Heart Coaching
Soul-care: 10 ways to comfort your being in times of overwhelm

Soul-care: 10 ways to comfort your being in times of overwhelm

When I was in my mid-twenties to early thirties I suffered from a mystery illness that could only be explained by medical doctors as ‘chronic fatigue’. Most doctors told me it was all in my head when their blood tests didn’t reveal any hint of a problem. But I knew there was something seriously wrong. It started out as a very heavy fatigue and gradually turned into a living hell as I became overtaken by numerous viruses and infections. I tried countless therapies and healing techniques while spending all my time (and money) going from one doctor, healer or therapist to another. Nothing helped. I kept working during this period, but every day I woke up feeling drained, unwell and exhausted before the day even started; it was an extremely unpleasant way to live. It wasn’t until someone suggested I go to the Tara Health Centre in Perth (Australia), where I was living at the time, that I finally found the help and support I needed. Thanks to their cutting-edge diagnostic techniques and treatment methodologies, they were able to help me recover my energy and vitality in less than a year. During the treatment process it became apparent that I was and had been under high levels of

During the treatment process it became apparent that I was and had been under high levels of emotional stress, which has a profound impact on our physical health. The therapists told me I needed to pay attention to my emotional well-being and that I should find ways to soothe and nourish my soul, to support my physical recovery. Up until that point I had never prioritised my own emotional well-being. Aside from doing regular yoga and meditation, I’d spent my years partying hard, studying hard and working hard trying to establish myself in the professional world and keep up my social life. I’d been stuck in a perpetual cycle of over-achievement, people-pleasing and self-neglect, all trying to seek the approval and validation that I so desperately craved. There had been no time to seriously consider the needs of my soul. But I now see clearly that that’s precisely why I developed the chronic fatigue in the first place. I made a commitment to nurturing my own soul and emotional well-being, and with time I started to really feel and appreciate the deep connection and interdependence between my emotional well-being and my physical health. I’m now passionate about helping people find ways to nurture their own emotional well-being in order to thrive physically and emotionally.

One fantastic method that has profound positive impacts on your emotional well-being is The Healing Code, which I share in another blog article called The Healing Code: How to reclaim your health & well-being in 3 easy steps. I recommend having a read through this article to learn how you can heal illness and emotional pain using Dr Alex Loyd’s simple yet very powerful process. It’s a technique I revert to time and time again when I experience illness or an emotionally painful situation. Recently I came across Anthony William’s book. Recently I came across Anthony William’s book Medical Medium, that describes ten beautiful ways for coming to a place of deep rest, connection and nourishment, to enhance and maintain your emotional well-being. William, a medical psychic who has devoted his life to helping people overcome illness and disease, was four years old when he shocked his family by announcing at the dinner table that his symptom-free grandmother had lung cancer. Medical testing soon confirmed the diagnosis. Anthony is now the go-to healer for well-known people such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomi Campbell and Christiane Northrup. Several of the techniques he describes in his book were new for me and I hope they provide you with some new ideas and inspiration to bring some more soul nourishment into your own life, as they have for me.

1. Meditation With all the focus and attention on the benefits of meditation these days, I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that meditation is first on Anthony’s list of methods to soothe your soul. You may be familiar with traditional forms of meditation, which involve sitting quietly and choosing a single thing to focus on, perhaps a mantra or a lit candle, or a recorded voice that guides your thoughts. In all cases, the intention is to quiet the ‘monkey mind’ that’s caught up in endless thoughts, to reach a state of stillness and to be able to access the intuitive guidance available underneath. I like to think of it as being like a big lake that’s stirred up by river streams (thoughts) pouring in and out. When we stop the turbulence by stopping the flow of water in and out and allow our thoughts to become still, suddenly the water becomes quiet, the sediment starts to settle to the bottom and the water on top becomes crystal clear. These moments of stillness and clarity have profound positive effects on your body, mind and soul. If you’ve tried meditation and felt frustrated by the inability to free yourself from thoughts, you’re not alone. Meditation is a ‘spiritual muscle’ we have to strengthen, and like any muscle, it gets stronger with time. The benefits of meditation include better sleep, greater inner peace, greater feelings of trust in the flow of life, better relationships and greater productivity. I find that meditation soothes my soul and in times of overwhelm, it’s my go-to tool to centre and re-balance myself. One of my favourite meditations is one I learned from one of my mentors Gina Marie Mele for connecting with your heart – your body’s centre of love and peace – to immerse yourself in its energy and receive its gentle guidance. I These days there are many great Apps available for smartphones that have beautiful music or guided meditations, such as

One of my favourite meditations is one I learned from one of my mentors Gina Marie Mele for connecting with your heart – your body’s centre of love and peace – to immerse yourself in its energy and receive its gentle guidance. I These days there are many great Apps available for smartphones that have beautiful music or guided meditations, such as Calm or Buddhify. All you need is 10 minutes a day (longer if you can, but ten minutes is a very good start) and you will start noticing the soothing effects of meditation on your soul.  

2. Waves on the beach If you’re fortunate enough to be able to get to a beach regularly, according to Anthony “it’s possible to maintain a superior meditative state of healing by watching the waves on a beach – if you know how to tap into them.” Anthony says he’s seen countless clients heal themselves of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), pain and suffering using the following technique: As you sit, stand or walk on the beach, envision every wave as a surge of soul-cleansing energy. When a wave comes in, imagine it bathing any pain and scrubbing loose any damaging emotions or thoughts. As the wave recedes, watch it take away all those impurities. With each new wave, let yourself be cleansed of poisonous memories, injuries from past lives and stains on the soul. See them all wash out to sea. When you feel purified, let each new wave bring strength and renewal to your spirit and soul.

3. Surrounded by trees Getting out in nature is of course very healing in itself, but for the most healing and soothing effect on your soul, Anthony suggests taking a moment to appreciate the peaceful environment around you and to pay special attention to the trees. Turn your mind to their root systems. Think about the minerals and water they’re drawing from deep within the earth, up through their trunks, up through their branches. As you let yourself feel surrounded by this deep earth energy, envision roots growing out of your feet and into Mother Earth’s soil, down into the centre of the earth. Something I like to add (thanks to a technique taught by Amy Oscar) is to imagine my energy merging with the molten core of the Earth, and then receiving her energy back up through the soles of my feet. This is a beautifully grounding experience. When you intuitively feel it’s time to end the grounding, imagine that you’re leaving your roots protected and preserved in the earth as you break free and walk away. These roots remain a part of you. Wherever you are, transcending time and space, you can draw healing energy from the earth when you need it. I do a grounding technique each and every morning called Connecting Heaven and Earth by Donna Eden, which is another great way to begin the day feeling fully grounded and in your body. It’s also incredibly soothing for the soul. Grounding techniques fortify every aspect of your being. They strengthen your root chakra which reinforces your will to survive, invigorate your spirit to receive positivity and ward off negativity, and create a strengthening frequency for body and soul.

4. Free as a bird As Anthony explains, bird-watching is a healing and soothing activity simply because it takes you into nature and into a state of presence and mindfulness. When you truly focus on seeing and hearing the birds, you elevate it to a very enlightening meditative experience. Birdsong, Anthony says, is the most sacred form of music; it mends a fractured soul and can reverse disease. Apparently this is because the frequency of these melodies resonates deep within your DNA, allowing it to reconstruct the body on a cellular level. If you listen to birds with respect and appreciation, your life will begin to transform. Observing birds is powerful too. Anthony says that here on Earth our souls can feel caged and our spirits suppressed. When we witness a bird’s freedom in flight, it “ignites and unleashes the spirit and breaks the cage of the soul.”

5. Bee watching Bee watching is a secretly miraculous meditation according to Anthony. As bees dance from flower to flower, absorbing the sun and distributing pollen along the way, they emit a healing frequency that reverses disease and promotes soul and emotional restoration. This is something we can’t understand on a rational level, but our cells understand. When you make yourself aware of the bees and ask your body to tune its channels to their frequency, all of the cells in your body will start to resonate with this healing vibration.

6. Collecting stones When you want to cleanse yourself of negative emotions, Anthony suggests taking a walk in nature and keep your eye out for small stones that call to you. Over the course of your stroll, select three that feel good to hold in your hands. Name each stone by the label of whatever feeling you’re harboring that you’d like to leave you. For example, you might name the stones Guilt, Fear or Anger. Anthony suggests that you keep the stones on your bedside table. Develop a relationship with them; become friends. The healing frequency of the minerals will act as an antidote to whatever ails you, whether emotional, spiritual or physical. When the time comes that you feel the stones have done their job and you’re ready to let them go, carry them back to nature and release them into a body of water such as a pond, ocean or lake, river or stream. The living water will purify them of the venom they’ve drawn from you, and you’ll walk away purified too.

7. Sunbathing Anthony suggests that it will be centuries before scientists discover all of the healing benefits that the sun provides. Not only is it calming and warming, but “the sun’s rays contain mystery elements and promote biochemical reactions in our bodies that produce more than just Vitamin D”. No wonder I can feel so miserable in cold climates if I haven’t seen the sun properly for months! He says just look at pets and how they instinctively find a warm, sunlit patch on the floor to bask in. All animals love to sunbathe; they know it’s a powerful healing tool. Anthony suggests spending time each day to allow your skin to absorb sunlight, if possible. He suggests acclimatising to 15 minutes a day, taking care not to get sunburned. If it’s a cold time of the year, find a peaceful spot where the sun comes through a window. He says to make the meditation most powerful, call upon the Angel of the Sun to help the rays enter into your being to soothe your soul and heal your body.

8. Picking Fruit Picking fruit, Anthony says, is one of the most powerful meditations in existence. He says it is a sacred act of respect and gratitude to Mother Earth for the miracle of food. Even if you only do it once in your lifetime, it will be an experience you can reignite over and over, just by thought, to activate the healing in your soul. Anthony explains how each piece of fruit on a tree is living food that’s connected, via the plant’s roots, to living water deep within the earth. When you touch the fruit, your cells will resonate with the fruit’s grounded nature, spreading peace throughout your body. On top of that, fruit picking forces you to stretch as you reach for the fruit. These natural stretches apparently supersede any human created exercises. Although I have to say I adore Donna Eden’s 5 minute Morning Energy Routine, which is a series of delicious stretching exercises that wake up, energise, heal and harmonise the body. This is another one I do religiously every morning because it feels so good and my health feels so much more resilient when I remember to do it. Picking berries or wildflowers has the same effect as picking fruit, apparently. Since humans have existed on the planet, berry picking has been a celebration of abundance. When we follow this millennia-old tradition, it ignites the ancient celebration of life within our soul and promotes healing. As you pick the fruit, meditate on all the months of development that led to this moment. First the plant started as a seed and grew to fruiting size. When it reached maturity, it didn’t start bearing fruit every month of the year; rather, it developed with the seasons. Our lives go through similar cycles. When we take the time to focus on nature’s rhythms, we activate trust and faith within our souls that our efforts to live a good life will be fruitful.

Picking berries or wildflowers has the same effect as picking fruit, apparently. Since humans have existed on the planet, berry picking has been a celebration of abundance. When we follow this millennia-old tradition, it ignites the ancient celebration of life within our soul and promotes healing. As you pick the fruit, meditate on all the months of development that led to this moment. First the plant started as a seed and grew to fruiting size. When it reached maturity, it didn’t start bearing fruit every month of the year; rather, it developed with the seasons. Our lives go through similar cycles. When we take the time to focus on nature’s rhythms, we activate trust and faith within our souls that our efforts to live a good life will be fruitful.

9. Watching your garden grow I think most of us these days have heard about the therapeutic effects of tending to a garden. Anthony says “Getting your hands in the dirt for the sake of growing new life grounds your body, strengthens your spirit and rejuvenates your soul. Further, the soil carries the soul of Mother Earth. Getting (literally) in touch with that puts you in sync with divine natural rhythms.” As you garden, you’re also absorbing the sounds of nature and if you pay attention, you can observe the chirps of the birds, the buzzing of the bees and the wind rustling in the trees. Weeding can have a profound effect too, Anthony says, if you envision each weed as an ill thought, negative emotion or painful memory. When you pull it out, you’re “simultaneously removing it from your soul and mind, making room for more abundance in your life.”

10. Gaze beyond the stars Anthony suggests that to reclaim your soul, you can spend time each night gazing up at the sky. “First get familiar with the stars; your soul has a direct telepathic connection to them. Let their light and the wonder of their existence resonate for a few moments. Then shift your focus to beyond the stars. Envision that your home lies way up there, in a place free from suffering. Tell yourself, This is a home I belong to, and will someday warmly return to… You can stargaze for just three minutes a night and find that your soul rejuvenates in dazzling ways.” When reading Anthony’s suggestions, I realised that in many ways he’s suggesting we return to the ways of our ancestors and indigenous people, who naturally honour and respect nature’s rhythms. They intuitively know that the way to a happy and healthy life is to live in sync with, and pay respect to, nature. They live in a state of wonder and awe at the intelligence of nature and all natural systems. In Australia in the 1980s, the government rolled out a scheme to provide housing for our indigenous Aboriginal people. They were outraged when the Aborigines would remove the mattresses from the houses to sleep out on the street. From the Aborigine’s point of view, they needed to be connected with nature and the stars while they slept and couldn’t understand why we would want to sleep inside. Somewhere along the way in our modern mode of living we’ve grown disconnected from this connection to nature. This could easily help explain why so many people today suffer from depression and chronic disease. So please enjoy these techniques for reconnecting and re-tuning yourself to nature, to soothe and nourish your soul. I’ll definitely be trying to implement more of these in my life myself these coming months. Please let me know if you feel any difference or improvement in your mood, health or vitality, I love hearing from you!

In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,
Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Life Coach & Career Strategist
Whispering Heart Coaching