By Kath Durand, HBI Board Member
A dear friend and mentor recently reminded me of a Ram Dass, quote: “If you want to see how enlightened you are, go and spend a week with your family.” Our discussion came at the perfect time, just as we move into the Holiday Season. I thought about this quote and memories came up of past holidays and the deep disappointment I felt for so many years when I didn’t experience the Hallmark version of Thanksgiving or Christmas. My experience had always been more along the lines of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but without as many laughs or the happy ending. These experiences began from a very young age and created pressure and fear. I dreaded the holidays and most family gatherings, and often as a young adult, just avoided them.
After 10 years in Transactional Analysis therapy and 20+ years actively pursuing and participating in a spiritual journey with a wide variety of practices, the experience of family, holidays and life in general slowly improved. And yet, I was still not entirely adept at dealing with my family and the resulting emotional reactions that came up. Although the reactions had lessened, they were still strong enough to produce some low-level dread at the thought of ‘family time’. Then 8 years ago, I found Open Heart Meditation and Reiki Tummo. The changes and improvements have been so much swifter and more dramatic, even to the point that I now look forward to spending time with most of my family. Opening my heart has helped me to set healthy boundaries and keep them without guilt. While I still have layers to work through, the prospect of the upcoming holiday season is much brighter, softer and sweeter.
Open Heart helped me to grow and blossom in all areas of my life, not just for the holidays. From a very young age I chose to close, shield and protect myself and my heart from negative energy and negative people. As an adult, I even joined a women’s group that was all about learning how to block out other people’s energy and negativity. The biggest problem with that is when you shield your heart/self from the bad, you also block out the good. You cannot block yourself from hurt without blocking yourself from deep love and authentic relationships.
With Open Heart I began to learn and experience that opening my spiritual heart to True Source was the only real and true protection there is. It feels like there is a force field of Love surrounding and shielding me. The more I practiced Open Heart and Reiki Tummo, the more I let the Love of True Source (our Creator, the Source of Unconditional Love and the Source of our true self) into my heart which made me feel safer, calmer and more peaceful no matter what was happening in my life. I also became less reactive to experiences and people who were not acting naturally loving, caring and kind toward me. Many of my family members also began acting differently when I was with them; they were less hurtful and critical.
The Open Heart practice has helped me to shed many of the deep emotional hurts, blocks and burdens I had been carrying for a very long time. I’m still a work in progress/process, and as I continue doing Open Heart Meditation and other Natural Way of Living practices, I feel a deeper sense of calmness, joy, lightness and gratitude. Through learning to open my heart more completely to True Source, I am learning to open my heart to other relationships and to Life.
Very different from the past, my holiday fears, worries and dread are gone. Gratefully, I am moving into this Holiday Season with a newfound sense of happiness, relaxation and peace. As Ram Dass also shared, “The next message you need is always right where you are.”
To ease stress, tension and anxiety this Holiday Season and beyond, you can listen to a guided Open Heart Meditation on YouTube and register a FREE 5 session Open Heart for Everyone (OH4E) class. Natural Way of Living also offers a variety of heart-centered workshops to naturally enhance physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being and health.