<![CDATA[Beth Bennett, PhD ~ Consultant/Writer-Editor - Blog]]>Sat, 16 Sep 2017 11:13:19 -0600Weebly<![CDATA[For the Love of the Game]]>Sun, 01 Feb 2015 14:20:38 GMThttp://bethbennett.net/blog/for-the-love-of-the-gameIt's Super Bowl Sunday, and I never thought that I'd be paying attention to the outcome, frankly, until this week. (Sorry, Dad, I know you're watching tonight. You tried your best to interest me in football; you really did.) Sometimes, the Universe just moves in a fun and unexpected way to jolt us out of a rut. That happened this week for me.

The outcome is that I'm one of 25 psychics predicting the Super Bowl result in a Huffington Post article out this morning. You can check out the article at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/31/psychics-super-bowl_n_6572696.html.

For me, this is just one more example that the serendipity of the Universe trumps our plans and expectations every time. No matter what plans you have for yourself in the game of life, the Universe challenges you to think bigger and to always remember to have FUN. Here's to the winners, all who fight the good fight to try to be winners, and all those who play for the love of the game, whatever game it is!

P.S. Sorry that I've been absent from here for so long...but I'm back now. See you again soon, my friends!
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<![CDATA[Let Confusion Reign!]]>Sun, 12 Oct 2014 13:32:33 GMThttp://bethbennett.net/blog/let-confusion-reign Have you ever made a big decision and feel a weight lift off your shoulders? I'm that you have, and so have I. But I have also made big decisions and NOT felt relief, not at all. At times, I make a huge decision, and my inner questioning just doesn't stop. I had that happen this week. I made a great decision last week, but something about it just didn't feel right. As I result I began to reexamine every aspect of my decision, and I became confused. Had I made a bad choice? What was the purpose of my confusion? Why was I confused about something that was clearly a good decision from every angle—spiritual, practical, emotional?

Sometimes the only way to learn is through confusion. Confusion can be a friend who helps you figure out what is really the best path to take, even after you have made a life decision that seems to limit you to a specific commitment or direction. Through examining the details of your decision and the plans that follow, you can find the flaws in your plan—not flaws in your decision, but instead in its aftermath. So it was with me this week. It wasn't my decision that was faulty, but instead the manner in which I was acting it out. Because I am naturally very detail oriented (may have mentioned my slight propensity toward OCD here a time or two!) and I really like certainty (who doesn't?), I paid attention to my confusion and followed up on the details of my plan. Consequently, I have saved myself both a lot of money and the future regret that I certainly would have felt had my original plan been enacted.

Though it's perfectly normal to be confused in the decision-making process, typically confusion clears up after you've made your choice. When you remain confused, this can be a sign that something isn't what it seems. Wait. Take a step back from your decision and try to locate the exact source of your confusion. If you meditate on the situation as a whole, usually some one or two problem aspects come to the front where you can examine them and deal with them. In my case, my intuition acted to get my attention through confusion. As I examined the practical details, I found a problem in enough time to deal with it and not threaten my overall goal.

Intuition works in whatever way it must to get your attention. If you are like I am, being confused instead of relieved after my choice was unusual enough that it served as the Universe's attention-grabber. Never ignore your confusion, especially if it's annoying. It is trying to tell you that you have missed something or may be slightly off in your plans or direction.

Frequently, people get confirmation of a life direction in a reading but then want to know the exact steps to make a hoped-for outcome real. Sometimes I get direct and specific steps, but nearly as often I have to say, “You'll know. Take the first step, and you'll figure out the next step to take after that.” For me, confusion serves this purpose. I took the first step, then my confusion allowed me to fine-tune my direction, and I figured out the appropriate next step. I had to take the first step, however, before I could get direction on the second. That's how it may work for you too. Take that first step. Then listen for a possible course correction, then proceed.

Many times I also consult with folks who are in the midst of making a decision or who are fearful about committing to a decision. That situation is completely different—and a topic for another day. Here I'm talking about one way you can develop your intuition, so you can use it to help you with large decisions and also on a daily basis. In many ways, your intuition is like a muscle. As you use it, you strengthen it. As you strengthen it, you can depend on it to deliver more. And as you depend on it and it delivers, you continue to trust it, rely on it, and use it, making it stronger still. That's what we call a win-win in my business, people.

Please share any intuition stories you have in the Comments! Until next time, my friends...
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<![CDATA[With a Little Help from My Friends*]]>Fri, 03 Oct 2014 19:34:13 GMThttp://bethbennett.net/blog/with-a-little-help-from-my-friends Events this week remind me that no matter how well-developed my intuition and internal guidance become I need affirmation, confirmation, and redirection along my path. I tend to get locked in to belief that I must figure it all out for myself, without input from outside sources other than my own connection to Spirit/God/Universe. What I needed this week, and got, was a two-by-four upside my head that I also can and must rely on the advice and intuition of friends and other advisers.

I know that my life lessons come exactly as they need to for my highest good, in general, but it's in the day-to-day practice that I can get confused and unhappy with myself. I can really be hard to deal with when I believe I'm off track, because I expect to stay on track. I am so connected during readings and get such clear guidance about what is going on for others that I get all crazy if I cannot do this for my own life. Specifically, I needed a reminder that just because I have agreed to be of service others in this lifetime doesn't mean that no one can be of service to me! Self-reliance and independence are all very well, but everyone sometimes needs a little, or maybe even a lot, of help to get by. I'm no exception, but I had to get to a very rock versus hard place scenario before I opened up to this, the last and final, possibility: I should seek advice from those who have experience and knowledge that I do not—gasp.

I never believed that I am exempt from life lessons certainly, but I sure did expect that I would be the first to hear about my own lessons. As if guidance and intuition formed a Life Lesson Coming at You advance warning system. Not so. I cannot tell anyone anything in a reading that would rob a person of a life lesson or something that person MUST figure out for himself. For some reason, I was forgetting that this applies to me too! My expectations of my Guides and myself were ridiculous and against how this whole cosmic learning system works. I hereby issue a formal apology to my Guides:

                                                                I'm sorry, guys!

Other than the mental self-torture I put myself through when I turn out not to be perfect, this lesson episode actually has ended less painfully than many of my life lessons have (Stubborn, check. Thick-headed, check.). No one has been irreparably harmed in the making of this life lesson.

It's all very well to develop your intuition and to seek your own counsel for every life decision, especially a big one. It's no good to be always swayed by others' opinions and beliefs. No one walks in your shoes and knows what you know about yourself.

It's no good either to predetermine that no one outside yourself has information, knowledge, or guidance for you to benefit from in making decisions. Guidance often comes perfectly in the form of friends' advice and counsel, or an outside person seeing something that you are simply too close to your situation to see. For me this week, once I opened up to others' counsel, I had the information I needed to make an important decision. Good. But even that decision is dwarfed by the insight that I must seek the advice and encouragement of others when needed. That was the real Life Lesson: not making the decision itself, but the process of making it. Even better. It's a good week when I can say I learned something important and finally got out of my own way. Thanks, Friends!

*I was also helped, especially today, by listening to The Beatles. Thank you, Paul, John, George, and Ringo.

Until next time...

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<![CDATA[Why I Stopped Worrying about Being a Hermit and You Should Too]]>Fri, 26 Sep 2014 19:24:16 GMThttp://bethbennett.net/blog/why-i-stopped-worrying-about-being-a-hermit-and-you-should-too Whether you are a Hermit or love someone who is, I'm here to relieve your mind of worry about the need of hermits to BE hermits. In the U.S., land of the gregarious and friendly, there tends to be a prejudice toward people who prefer their own company over that of others. The image of the dangerous, mentally ill “loner” only requires one crackpot living in a shack full of explosives and rage to put everyone on guard forever, looking for signs of pathology amongst their hermit-like family and friends. Those who are naturally out-going and social really do worry about those who prefer solitary activities to what, for them, seems like an extreme degree. On behalf of the other Hermits out there, I say, “Thanks for your loving concern, but we're really OK.”

For me and others like me, personality (think “introvert” on the Myers-Briggs) and spirituality intersect, and I can only be myself: a person who loves humanity deeply but can find it difficult to love the person next to me in a crowded elevator, crowded party, or crowded concert. In fact, it is rare to find me at a crowded anything. Fun and exciting for some equals loud and overwhelming to others.

Think about it this way. After you've been here a few times, you've gathered life experiences and met all sorts of different types of people. You've tried out different lifestyles yourself: rich and poor, male and female, this country or that country in whatever historical period. You have “been there and done that.” You're the spiritual equivalent of an old person. There isn't much that you haven't seen or experienced directly. Your an older soul, maybe even an Old Soul.

Therefore, your need to be social can be limited. All our souls require is for us to fulfill our spiritual mission in each life. What if you're near the end of your Earth missions and mostly what's left is to know yourself and God/Goddess/Universe completely?

The older soul also typically desires to burn off karma, rather than create new karma. One way to look at the cycle of birth, death and rebirth, is that when you get toward the end of your development here, you don't want to create a bunch more karma with people that needs to be repaid, and you especially want to avoid situations where you allow others to create karmic debts to you. As an older soul you might feel obligated to come back simply to help others repay their debts or to assist in their spiritual development. A more detached perspective can come naturally to the Hermit. Certainly, among other spiritual practices, Buddhism specifically teaches detachment.

Now, gregarious and outgoing people can be older souls too—as their life lessons require them to be so. Such outgoing folks are spiritually developed, but they are not likely to experience being called out over being too social.

So if you'd rather stay home and read a book on a Saturday, I get you, my Sister or Brother! I've got your back, and I know you've got mine. Stop judging yourself for not being a party animal and needing copious amounts of Quiet Time to recharge and think your thoughts. Be aware though that you can only allow yourself to get just so Hermit-y before you might get to a scary place you cannot get back from. Life is also about balance and not scaring people who love you.

To all you lovely extroverts out there: when your Hermit best friend shows up at your party, take it for the compliment and testament to your friend's love for you that it is. Even if you love nothing better than to gather a huge group together to have fun, try to plan a little one-on-one time with your Hermit. That's what Hermits like best. Chances are, though, that if you have a Hermit bestie, you already know this.

It's easier to achieve our life's goals, whether practical, material, emotional or social, when we're not all tangled up inside about how or who we are. Hermits on are on to something, for by tuning out the world they free up resources for inner development. Too much outward focus on relationships keeps us preoccupied with the world instead of developing inner Self. We may all run, but we cannot hide forever from the need to embrace our inner Hermit to develop the gifts of the Self.

Until next time, my friends...


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<![CDATA[Healing a Hurting Heart]]>Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:52:10 GMThttp://bethbennett.net/blog/healing-a-hurting-heart Every day, I talk with people who are working on many levels to heal, grow and move their lives forward. Though many people's hearts hurt due to relationship issues, it is not necessarily romantic relationships that cause the most long-lasting hurts. All of our relationships are important for our growth and happiness, including our relationship to Self.

In my experience, painful self-doubt concerning one's relationships is common among people who are paying attention to their spiritual lives and want to be sure that they are moving in the best direction. Taking responsibility for our choices and making amends where we have caused hurt is all very well and good. But that step is not where I see most people getting hung up. Most often where I see a need for healing is in the next step: self-forgiveness for mistakes or hurting others. Deep self-doubt, rooted in the experience of not wanting to make any more mistakes, can paralyze us and make us afraid of engaging in new directions and new relationships of all kinds.

How can we heal our hearts and let go of the hurt?

I recommend a meditation practice from the Buddhist tradition called Loving-kindness or Metta meditation. One of the many beauties of this particular meditation is that it is very simple to learn and to start practicing. There are many ways to do it, and it doesn't have to be performed in a rigid manner. Once you have tried it and have felt the benefit of it, you will then be encouraged to continue it. This meditation goes back to the earliest Buddhist writings and is given as a prescription for anger and self-doubt. Current scientific research indicates that metta meditation increases the meditator's sense of social connectedness, among other benefits, including feeling happier. This meditation lifts your heart, allows you to let go of all kinds of pain, and helps you to feel more connected to yourself and to others.

Please remember if you are new to “meditation” or to this particular type of meditation that you do not have to do it “perfectly” for it to work or for you to see benefits. Please try it! I think that you'll feel better for it, and I know that the world will.

Loving-kindness or Metta Meditation
  1. Sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Place your hands comfortably in your lap or however feels right. Breathe slowly and deeply several times in and out, focusing on your breath.
  2. Bring your attention to yourself. You can choose a phrase to speak aloud, such as an affirmation or mantra, like “I am safe, peaceful, and happy” or “loving-kindness,” or you can visualize sending yourself love, whatever works for you. When you feel it, aim that feeling at yourself; as you speak, direct your words to yourself. I envision sending the energy to my heart. Keep sending yourself this energy or repeating your affirmation/mantra until you feel like you're done sending yourself love. If your mind wanders, don't worry, just bring your attention back to your affirmation or your feeling and keep going. Your mind will wander. That's what minds do; just be patient with your mind and keep redirecting it back to your meditation.
  3. Next envision a beloved person, such as a teacher or a friend. Speak your affirmation to him or her, as in “Sally is safe, peaceful, and happy” or envision sending love to her.
  4. Now envision a neutral person, such as the barrister in your coffee shop, or your bank teller, someone you don't know well and have neither terribly positive nor negative feelings toward. Speak your affirmation or send him/her love.
  5. Now envision a difficult person, someone you've been having trouble dealing with. Speak your affirmation or send him/her love. If you have trouble sending love, pick a different person. Sincerity is mandatory. If you cannot feel the love, don't try to force it. Skip this step and try again another day! You can stop here if you are new to this practice, but as you get more experience and confidence, you will add another step.
  6. Envision sending love out to the whole world, the whole Universe. Send your love in every direction: up and down and in the four directions out from you. Let it radiate from you until it fills the world. When you are finished, gradually come back into a sense of yourself; focus on your breathing for several breaths. Open your eyes.

That's the Loving-kindness Meditation.

I am going to sit this Loving-kindness Meditation next Saturday, September 27th at 7 PM Eastern. I hope that you will join me. I think we all certainly can use more love sent to us, and the world sure can use it too. You can let me know that you are going to join me, which I would love, or just sit in, wherever you are and for whatever time you can, sending yourself and anyone else you choose some love.

Until next time, my friends...Please leave your comments and suggestions. I love to hear from you!

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<![CDATA[The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Summer]]>Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:26:48 GMThttp://bethbennett.net/blog/the-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-summerPicture
Summer may be for many people a time of a slower, more leisurely pace, bright sunny days spent near a swimming pool, or even a trip or two. I had big plans for summer 2014. The universe had other Big Plans. My summer involved lessons in patience and acceptance, mostly of my own frailty and acceptance of what is in the moment, rather than the sun-filled days I had intended for myself.

What I want to focus on here isn't those big lessons, but instead I want to share a coping strategy that helped me through my Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Summer.

Find something that you love to do, and do it as much as possible. No, not glugging gallons of box wine! Something healthy or at least healthy-ish.

A decent coping strategy should be something that takes a lot of mental focus and effort and uses energy in an area the OPPOSITE of the area in your life you're having trouble in. For example, if you're having a terrible time emotionally, take up something physically demanding. At a difficult time in my life, once upon a time, I took up mountain biking. Oddly enough, when my emotional turmoil ended, so did my need for mountain biking. I had helped manage my angst by spinning bicycle pedals. Though I loved mountain biking, it was a bit hard-core, i.e. dangerous, for me once I didn't need that intense level of distraction. I was able to move on though, due to mountain biking. And a lot of box wine. No, kidding about the wine.

Or take my summer. I couldn't do anything physically that I wanted to do. No swimming pool. No walking, for most of the spring and early summer. Then as summer progressed, walking with a cane, and not very far. So I turned to mental pursuits and threw myself into competitive duplicate bridge playing. (Even more than before, because to be honest I previously had a pretty intense bridge addiction.) Playing bridge requires every ounce of mental energy that I have, and then some. Perfect for distracting from physical pain and the emotional distress of long-term physical problems. All I had to do was bring a cushion for my chair.

The other element of the coping distraction is that whatever the activity is, it must be something that you love doing that brings you joy. Ideally, it requires so much of your attention and focus that you cannot think about anything else and are able to exist only in the moment. In this way, your chosen activity becomes a form of meditation and a practice of mental discipline.

Simple, right? Simple, but not easy.

In the middle of whatever crisis, identifying what you love can be a challenge, if you don't already have a few healthy, beloved activities. If you are lucky, you have a friend who you trust who can point out some options. Otherwise, you'll just have to take my word for it that this technique will work and that you can overcome any desire to sit and wallow or choose more destructive coping strategies. See box of wine, above, for example.

For me, the last component that makes bridge perfect as a coping strategy is that it is a social game. I cannot play without a partner, and we cannot play without two other people as our opponents. Duplicate bridge also has rules about sportsmanship and being polite, so one cannot bring one's problems to the table and take them out on others. The social aspect keeps me from feeling too isolated or from getting too dramatic about my troubles. Bridge keeps me connected to people in a good way. It reminds me of the troubles we all share—our fragile hearts and impermanent bodies. Find a hobby that you love, and do it as much as possible. Good advice even without a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad summer.*

The (sorry, terrible!) picture shows the trophy that I won over Labor Day weekend at the Regional bridge tournament here in Atlanta. Thank you to my partner, Holly! We won 1st place in the Saturday Afternoon 49er Pairs.

Please leave your comments, questions, and suggestions for future posts!

*Thank you to author Judith Viorst for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. If you haven't read it, do yourself a tremendous favor and check it out. I so get you, Alexander, my friend.


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<![CDATA[The More Things Change...]]>Sun, 07 Sep 2014 04:22:14 GMThttp://bethbennett.net/blog/the-more-things-changeWelcome to my updated website. I'm very happy to have my blog and my website all in one location now, and I hope that you enjoy visiting. I will be putting up a "real" post very soon.
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