Browsing articles tagged with " change"

7 Steps to Support Change

Apr 1, 2015   //   by Jamie Alger   //   Healthy Mind  //  No Comments

Reveal the Unmet Needs Behind Your Fears

No matter how great the change is we are seeking to make, there is always some amalgam of fear involved. This is because the undefined, unfamiliar, unpredictable unknown is vata embodied. In fact, any transition is a vata dominated process, and signs of vata imbalance (excess vata) are common.

Oftentimes, we ignore the valuable message in our fears and focus on criticizing ourselves for not being “tough” enough to make the change. All feelings reveal unmet needs within us. If we can engage in a healthy exploration of our fears, we can use them to come up with a strong list of exactly what we need to support ourselves through the process.

Here’s a link to my feelings are functional video.

For example, I’d been putting off buying a house because I felt too scared of the financial commitment. Once I explored that fear, I understood that I had a need for 6 months living expenses in savings to feel more secure in that transition. This clarity allowed me to set a clear goal to move forward in my home-buying process, and this allowed me to feel more supported and aligned.  Without addressing and exploring the unmet need my fear was revealing, I felt like I just needed to “pull the trigger” on buying, which led to inaction because I was with mixed feelings (a vata state of incongruence).

Change is not about “toughening up” and moving past your fears; it’s about bringing in more support to address them. 

STEP 1: Acknowledge your fears (a simple list is fine) and explore:

What need do I have that this fear is making me aware of?
What would make me feel most comfortable in making this change?
What would help to assuage the fears in this transition (not eliminate them, because fear is a part of the process)?

STEP 2: Come up with a clear list of how to meet those needs, aka how to best support yourself through this change.

This is great to do with a loved one, or coach, or therapist. Since fear and transition are vata energetics, the more support you have and the more grounded you are in a personal plan for that change, the more you balance vata and move through the transition gracefully.

Fire Ceremony to Ritualize the Transition

I personally find fire ceremony to be surprisingly helpful in releasing the old and welcoming in the new, and several of my clients have reported powerful effects as well. Fire is a transformative force and pitta energy embodies this. Fire transforms the wood and air into light and heat energy and smoke. Similarly, we offer into the fire a symbol of what we’d like to transform, and receive the products of the transformation (light, warmth, smoke) as a symbol of what we are looking to change into. It’s a ritual to represent the transformation on a subtle energetic level in our physical world.

Here’s a link to how to do a simple fire ceremony

Overcome the Inertia with Clear Intent and a Plan of Action

So we don’t want to ignore our fears, but we don’t want to let them drive our decision making either. We also have a tendency to be so aware of the fears, that we make fear-based choices. From this place, we avoid change.   We stay in unhealthy jobs or relationships, or patterns.  The fear is important only in that it is a messenger. Again, if you can come to what unmet needs are underlying those fears, you can let those needs drive how you make decisions.

More importantly, where you set your attention is going to determine what you attract in your life. So if the feared scenario is ever-present in your mind, you are aligning yourself with that being your reality. Shifting our attention from the fear to the plan-of-action-to-meet-your-needs is crucial to the desired change happening.

The other facet of vata, related to fear, that keeps us stuck is overwhelm. Other times it’s more of a kaphic stuck where we are fuzzy and unclear about what to do or how to bring about the change, and thus do nothing.

Either way, having clarity of intention is key, as is a clear plan of action. Both are vata and kapha balancing, and thus balance overwhelmed-and-unsure-so-unmotivated-and-passive.

STEP 4: Keep it simple and keep it clear. Define your goal in one sentence. Define a maximum of 3-5 next steps. Define sub steps and details for each of those. This is where you start. The rest will come to you in due time.

Lean In to the Feelings of the Desired Change

Change doesn’t always come about in one fell swoop. What I see more often are cycles of release and manifestation, and phases of shifting towards our intention. How the change happens is what you surrender. This means you have a clear plan of how, only to get you started aligning your actions with your intention. The plan of action you create is just a tool to support you through initiating the change, stepping up and indicating your readiness for the change. However, when your planned approach requires a shift, you surrender to that, understanding you are being gently guided (or not so gently) through the change in the way it needs to best support your spiritual growth. The plan of action is just a first step in “leaning in” toward the desired change.

Watch for the signs in your life. What you are naturally attracted to and repelled by. Conversations, people, dreams, ideas, spirit animals (you get the picture)–anything that feels more like how you wish to feel after this change has happened. In fact, a great exercise is to imagine yourself after the desired change.

STEP 5: Make a list of how you feel in this visualization. (Visualizing is also a powerful tool invoking the law of attraction.) Use this list as a guide to where you lean in.

Any experience in your life that invokes these same feelings is where you want to lean in, center your attention and spend the majority of your time, energy, and resources. Anything that feels more on the side of the desired change, we respond to in a timely manner, and as a priority.

Show Up! Align your Words and Actions with your Intention

Once you have how to best support yourself, a clear intention and a simple starting plan of action, you’ve laid a great foundation towards attracting your desired change. In fact, it’s quite likely that during the process of taking all of the steps above, you’ve already started to shift things in the right direction.

STEP 6: If you are still stuck, start taking practice steps. Take the steps as if you were really making the change, as practice until you are ready to take real steps. For example, I recently assigned a client to apply to 10 jobs outside of her specialty area for the sake of experiencing action that was consistent with her intention of finding a new job. Because these were just jobs that seemed fun to her, and not where she really thought she would find a job, the exercise was light and more playful. In the process, she practiced tailoring her resume, got faster at writing cover letters, started a tracking system to monitor her follow up, etc. She created all of the tools and practiced, so she felt very unintimidated when it came time to apply for jobs in her specialty.

Affirmations, or rather new thought patterns, are a great first step at alignment as well. As you’ve already identified your feared perspectives, use these to identify healthy new thought patterns to replace them. This is not an exercise in denial. It’s a practice of shifting a fear based thought pattern to a more empowered thought pattern. For example:

Fear/victim perspective: I’m fat and Iosing weight is so hard for me.

Empowered perspective: I’m working towards my happy place with my weight and I’m open to experiencing ease in that process.

STEP 7: Starting to align your words and actions is well supported by also aligning your internal dialogue. So every time that fear-based perspective speaks in your mind, you stop it, and replace it by saying your empowered perspective (out loud is great).



May 4, 2011   //   by smohan   //   Healthy Body  //  2 Comments

I personally overcame (it’s an ongoing process) my acne with ayurveda. I had years of antibiotics, RetinA, benzoyl peroxide and even accutane–a super frustrating issue because it’s on your face. When I first looked into ayurveda for acne, I was pretty disappointed. All I could find were some recipes for masks and pitta reducing diets…none of these yielded immediate results for me, and so I gave up on them prematurely.

It’s often not a simple issue of pitta reduction.

The type of acne you have will reveal more about the doshas involved. More dry and hard feeling blackheads (vata)? That’s different from those painful lumps deep down that may never even surface (kapha). Also, the acne can be a secondary issue to another root issue.  Reducing pitta in your life (not just your diet) will help with any inflammation and ulceration. Reducing vata will help with reducing scaring. Reducing kapha will help with oiliness and swelling/ pus. So, you can see that all of the doshas may be involved, and figuring out which approach to take will depend on your individual experience.

In any case, reducing acne means cleaning the blood and circulating lymph (rasa dhatu).

If you have “nodulocystic” acne, the doshic imbalances are down into the level of the ayurvedic muscle tissue correlate, the mamsa dhatu. To reduce the level of the imbalance, start first with the digestive system and the blood–clean up your diet, hydrate, and detox. This means:

  • no weird chemicals (cigarettes/ skin products/ household products),
  • no processed stuff (e.g. diet coke)
  • lots and lots of water
  • alterative herbs (burdock, neem, dandelion are all cooling alteratives) cool and cleanse the blood.
  • herbs that are rejuvinatives to the skin are helpful, as are those which build healthy hormonal flow.
  • triphala helps balance all the doshas and clean up the digestive system
  • follow the dosha balancing approach to your diet depending on your type of acne
  • heavy foods tend to congest/ build ama, and worsen acne.
  • alcohol is a big load of toxins and pitta and dehydrates, so it really worsens acne.
  • maintain healthy digestive fire to decrease ama–there are herbs to help with this (dipanas, digestive teas).
  • I DONT recommend any radical cleanses. Pancha Karma is helpful, but expensive and not necessary.

Reducing doshic imbalances: look at your prakruti AND your vikruti to change your lifestyle and habits

For me this means looking at you and your patterns since before the acne began, and through the experience. Someone with a predominantly kapha constitution is just as likely to have acne just as a predominantly vata constitution, especially in the pitta time of life. In other words, anyone can get acne.  Your constitution is helpful when fine-tuning an ayurvedic treatment, but what has been coming into your life in the time of the acne is more important in my opinion (vikruti).  This means looking at your relationships, routine, climate, etc. Herbs and diet can greatly help and even resolve acne, but ultimately the imbalance came from a lifestyle and habits that are imbalancing for you. If you want long-term acne clearance, likely your lifestyle and habits will have to change.

Your skin is a digestive system. What is it eating?

Switch out chemicals for natural options: shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, drycleaners, etc. Use natural oils instead of lotions…medicinal oils are great tools. Herbal face packs and scrubs help to address the doshic imbalance from the “outside in.” Clean your sheets and towels often. Think of what you hear and feel in your day–toxic words are absorbed too.

Now do all of that for at least a month…not easy! but not impossible either. I did it…you can too:).

Warrior of Peace

Apr 27, 2011   //   by smohan   //   Healthy Mind  //  1 Comment

So you want “the best” in life? You want to have this experience of life be of “the highest” vibration?

I do. Maybe you do too…but how?

Well, “the best” and “the highest” are by definition the most rare and the most difficult to attain. So, no matter what the answer to “how?” is, it’s going to involve work.

Let’s take a moment here to appreciate how intimidating these words can be. We can have compassion for all the times we talk ourselves out of what we know is best for ourselves because we don’t want to do the work. (I forgive myself here…:))

After all, to attain “best” or “highest” means moving from where I am (the betterment process), and that movement = applying energy in a direction = work =practiced discipline.

We are fighting the natural force of entropy (disarray, a.k.a. vata) to establish and maintain a rhythm. Rhythm, rhythm, rhythm so we have a stable foundation = sense of security = a faith from which we can surf the waves of life with more balance.

Who wrestles the untamable degenerative force of wind/vata? You do; with your disciplined practice = routine.

So for all of you whom aren’t yet annoyed with my inserting equal signs yet, the work of betterment is accomplished through routine. What you do routinely, or what the rhythm of your life is made of doesn’t matter as much as the fact that there is a rhythm. I cannot think of one suggested road to greater balance/health/happiness that isn’t based in some kind of practiced discipline.

So, why “warrior” of peace (as opposed to lover of peace)? Well, because this means facing a challenge knowing that it is never-ending; that it will not be easy; and that you will only succeed if you keep your focus on how you benefit from  it–all akin to the discipline of a warrior.

“The ‘battle’ is not really against the self, but against the entropy that brings disorder to consciousness.” (From Flow: the psychology of optimal experience)

To battle entropy, establish practiced discipline, or routine, in your life. That routine will bring more kapha energy into your life, and diminish vata. This means more contentment, stability, and being less affected by stress= peace.

Related posts:

Synonyms of routine

Establishing routine: the two week challenge.



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