Free Your Creativity

(My daughter, Grace, happily creating.)

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” -Pablo Picasso

Do you have a nagging or anxious feeling that something is missing in your life? How joyful and fulfilled do you feel? Many people don’t realize they are seeking satisfaction in ways that never really fulfill them. We all have urges toward creativity, although many of us have not learned to recognize those urges and instead channel our energy into other places that do not truly satisfy us. We may find ourselves stifling our creativity with distractions like seeking out food, going shopping, turning on the TV, watching a movie, surfing the internet or getting on the cell phone.

I have often been aware in my own life that I feel real joy and satisfaction when I create something or express myself freely. Sometimes it is when I write poems, others times when I dance, or when I draw or paint. Even when I cook, but not just the usual cooking, when I am really creating and innovating, using my creative-intuitive energy.

Just lying in bed in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep and making sounds and music with my own voice, experimenting, playing freely – is very satisfying and deeply relaxing. Have you ever tried it? I also do this sometimes when I am having trouble meditating or I am under stress, I just hum, make sounds and sing notes at random, sometimes while moving and dancing like a crazy, happy child. Why not? Why not allow yourself such freedom? It is amazing how just a few moments of this can change your mood, shake off stress, free up your mind and body.

Often when I suggest to a client to try drawing or painting they say, “I can’t do that, I can’t draw!” This is the most common response. I always challenge it as not true. Everyone can draw. If you can move your body you can draw, paint, sing and dance. Only if you are judging yourself and measuring yourself against others can you make such a statement as “I can’t draw or dance.” This is not about doing it in a certain way or trying to be like anyone else, in fact that goes against the whole point. True creativity comes from within, is individual and authentic. It needs to be approached freely, intuitively and experimentally.

What happened to the free child in you, the freely expressive creative part of you? How did he or she get squashed? Why are you ignoring your creative free self? It is this self, if freed again that will bring you so much joy and fulfillment. There is no stress supplement, anxiety or anti-depressive medication in the world, nor special exercise, yoga or even meditation that can bring you the depth of joy and fulfillment that your innate creativity and freely expressing your heart and soul can bring to you.

We were all created in the image and likeness of God. God the Creator. I highly suggest finding the creator in yourself and giving him or her free expression. It may not be easy at first, but don’t give up. Once you free your inner creative self and give yourself freedom to express your heart and soul, you will experience a very deep satisfying joy and fulfillment, and you will satisfy a very deep need you might not know you even had.

People with an active creative practice find their health and relationships vastly improve. Blocked creative energy will create illness and havoc in people’s lives. The doctor of the future will be diagnosing blocked creative energy as one of the number one causes of physical and emotional disease.

One very good book that has helped many people recover their creative self is The Artist’s Way, written by Julia Cameron.

Enjoy!

I would love it if anyone wants to share their poems, drawings, paintings, music or other creative endeavor with me!

Emotional Healing and Holistic Psychotherapy

Throughout my life and my career, I have come to know that unresolved emotional issues and trauma are the root cause of most physical illness and disease. For over 30 years, I have been researching and helping others as a counselor, healer, coach and naturopath, and I have also been seeking ways to heal and improve my own physical and emotional health. In the process, I have been to and have experienced almost every kind of therapist and healer that exists. Finding the healing you seek may feel hopeless or impossible, but I don’t believe it has to be. It is my hope that I can offer insights from my personal history and professional experience on what actually works, heals and prevents unhappiness and dis-ease.

Emotional healing is often needed when people are suffering from physical health issues and difficult life or relationship issues. Sadly, I often hear people say they have tried therapy and it did not work or that it is difficult to trust in the therapeutic process. I understand this. I saw my own mother suffer throughout my childhood with severe depression and emotional issues. She went to psychiatrists and psychotherapists for years, and she even tried hypnosis to stop smoking. Nevertheless, she died of a horrible cancer with many unresolved issues when she was just 54 years old and I was 24 years old. I personally suffered for much of my life with PTSD and terrible social phobia and anxiety, all of which stemmed from considerable childhood physical and emotional abuse.

Before my mom died, I was headed to the life of healer and counselor. Friends, family and strangers often sought me out for help. After her death, I pledged to find out what was behind her misery and her cancer. I wanted to do something about the incredible suffering I witnessed in the world. It was at that time that I committed to spending my life researching the answers to my questions, so that I could help others heal their lives and to prevent such suffering. In sharing my experience, I hope to help others avoid all the time and money it took me to heal. I missed out on a lot of my life, and for my mom it was far worse, as it is for many people.

Blocks to the Emotional Healing Process

To begin with, avoid (as much as possible) all pharmaceutical medications, traditional medical doctors and psychiatrists that know little more than dispensing medications. The majority of all health problems do not need medications, accept in a minority of circumstances. When seeking help for emotional issues, avoid for the most part all traditional psychotherapists, analysts and what I call “just talk therapists.” These types of therapists often perpetuate the problem by keeping their clients stuck in their story of suffering. While we all need compassion and validation for our experiences, I do not believe simply talking about difficult emotional experiences is an effective means to healing. There are forms of psychotherapy that really work and are transformational.

Avoid drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, and all mind-altering drugs. It is amazing how many people lie to themselves about the amount of alcohol they drink and why, or smoke pot to relax and take the edge off. In truth, these individuals are numbing themselves out and in doing so, separate from and ignore their deeper feelings and needs. If you want great health and happiness, I encourage you to notice instances where you may feel pulled toward something that allows you to suppress or “turn away” from anxiety, fear, and emotional difficulties. Instead, do all you can to turn toward your own experience, to make it more conscious, to feel it more. Every time you suppress or mask uncomfortable feelings or emotional pain you are going down the path to disease, cancer, heart attacks, failed relationships, failed businesses, and all kinds of troubles. Furthermore, using ‘sacred herbs’ or hallucinogenic drugs to gain consciousness or enlightenment is complete foolishness and entirely unnecessary.

Lastly, do not get in the habit of using over-the-counter medications or even health supplements to suppress your symptoms. Make up your mind to heal the real causes behind your symptoms.

Health on All Levels

If you are going to get to the real causes behind your symptoms, it must be understood that you are whole, and profound and lasting healing can only happen when each part of you is attended to and healed. Approach all physical and emotional health problems with consciousness, on the physical, biochemical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. For instance, there are people who have been in therapy for years that will likely never get over their anxiety or depression if they do not correct mineral or nutritional deficiencies, or support their adrenal glands or thyroid. There also are people who take the perfect supplements and have the perfect diets, but will never get over their anxiety or depression if they do not work with someone like a psychotherapist who knows how to resolve the root emotional trauma from the body and mind.

To assist you in working with your physical and biochemical health, I have found naturopaths to be the most helpful, though other kinds of practitioners like acupuncturists, homeopaths and chiropractors can be very helpful. In searching for any type of practitioner, counselor or doctor, look for those that are truly holistic and that you feel a heart and spiritual connection with. Unfortunately, many naturopathic schools are turning out doctors that are little different than traditional medical pill-pushers chasing symptoms.

Finally, approaching the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of your well-being is fundamental in the process of rediscovering your innate health. For most people, this will involve finding a skilled therapist or similar healer, who understands the value of resolving emotional trauma and other difficulties stemming from the past.

Finding the Right Therapist for You

While they are not always easy to find, great therapists do exist. Academic degrees, even lots of very impressive ones, do not make a good therapist. Look for a psychotherapist or counselor who is deeply empathetic, heart-centered and intuitive. They will create an environment in which you feel welcome, safe and free from judgment. However, remember that no person is perfect and in any case that you feel unsafe or judged (or if anything else doesn’t feel right), be certain to state your experience to the therapist. Often the most valuable insights and healing take place when difficulties arise in the therapist-client relationship, though the therapist needs to willingly reflect on themselves and genuinely share and resolve their own feelings within the therapeutic relationship. With this in mind, realize that conflict will arise at times within yourself or with the therapist, but it should not be an immediate signal to run from the relationship and quit the therapy, as often these are the times when great breakthroughs will occur.

I recommend a therapist who will help you to see your innate goodness; after all, you’ve likely been doing the best you can with what you’ve been given. A very skillful therapist can help you leave the past behind and become fully empowered in the present to live the life you deserve. They will encourage you to nurture yourself, and to have a daily practice where you can be in silence and invite deep relaxation. Your life will begin to move and transform in ways that free you. You’ll let go of guilt, shame and fear. You’ll start to look at life differently. Your hope and faith will rise and positive changes will begin happening in your life and relationships. Blocks will melt away, your life will become more productive and your relationships more fulfilling. Eventually you find yourself feeling freer and forgiving others, even if little to nothing may have changed in the lives of the other people in your life.

Somatic and Mindfulness-Based Therapies

I have found all the best therapists are trained to work somatically, meaning that in every session guide you will be guided to remain in connection with your breath and sensing your emotions as their arise in your physical body. For example, if you’re telling your therapist that you had an argument with a friend or partner over their losing a job, a somatic orientated therapist will ask you to tune into your body as you tell the story. Maybe your heart begins to race—so tune into that. Stay with it, what’s there? I can only imagine the racing heart may possibly be saying “fear.” A somatic therapist will help you stay with the experience, rather than getting caught up in the story of the job loss; staying with feelings of worry about money, the children’s tuition that must be paid, and such. It is in these moments of great inner focus that incredible things often happen and the client is able to move through difficult experiences and emotions with greater clarity, insight and peace.

It has been my experience that the best therapists understand the importance of body awareness and mindfulness in their practice. To be specific, these therapists may have training in Gestalt, Somatic Experiencing, Transpersonal Psychotherapy, Hakomi and other mindfulness-based therapies. Gestalt therapists often invite the client to dialogue with different parts of themselves, or with people in their lives. This can be tremendously transformational, enlightening and healing. This type of therapy brings the client into experiencing their issue right in the moment, rather than just talking conceptually and intellectually about it. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a technique that can be helpful as well. Something else that is very useful is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). I have been using it myself and with clients for over ten years and I find it tremendously helpful. Once learned well, EFT can be very helpful for a client to practice on their own. More important than the therapy or technique, I prefer when therapists can combine their training with their own personal experience and unique gifts.

I have also greatly benefited by and encourage dance movement, social dancing, time in nature, journaling, drawing and painting, healing music and voice work, light therapy, various types of body work, and transformative heart speaking.

Spirituality

Last but certainly not least, I want to emphasize the importance of spirituality in healing. At our foundation we are spiritual beings, deeply connected to one another, the world and to the larger universe. However, this connection is often lost when painful experiences and emotional wounding scares us into closing down our hearts, disconnecting us from ourselves, our Source Energy and the world around us. This disconnection is the root cause of all suffering. Rather than leaving this dimension unspoken or ignored altogether, I find it of the utmost benefit to bring our spirituality right out into the open and directly into the therapeutic or healing relationship. In this process, we become more in touch with our divine self, our deepest authenticity and basic goodness, and in doing so, we can experience these same qualities in all other beings.

I have come to understand the healing journey as an inherently spiritual one. I have found the most meaningful and most helpful emotional therapy included the spiritual and energy dimensions, and led to deeply transformative, life changing and enjoyable experiences. The spiritual tradition or religious orientation clients belong to matters very little. In my practice I work with people from every religious background and spiritual orientation, agnostics and atheists included. The important piece is my willingness and capacity to communicate in a language my client can understand and agree upon. Deep relaxation, inner focusing, meditation, prayer, energy work, even shamanic work can have their place in psychotherapy, and often lead to remarkable or miraculous healing progress.

Conclusion

Despite many people’s unproductive or bad experiences, psychotherapy can be very healing and life changing; it certainly helped me tremendously transform my life. I find great therapy leads a person to their true deep self, where there is peace and connection to one’s gifts, creativity and enjoyment of life. As a result of some great psychotherapists, along with my own considerable self therapies, I no longer suffer from PTSD, social phobia, procrastination, anxiety, deep grief or depression.  Again, a combination of things helped me. All my naturopathic knowledge, research in diet and nutrition, lifestyle and environment helped me tremendously as well. Though without holistic psychotherapy, inclusive of body, mind and spirit, I would not have healed my health and life in the major way I have experienced.

Today I am 54, the same age as my mother when she died. I am very healthy, very at peace, and have a very successful naturopathic health business, as well as a very successful psychotherapy and life coaching practice. I wish my mom could have known and received the help I have, though she inspired me with the passion to follow this path. I am grateful now to be able to fulfill my pledge of years ago; to be able to guide others to live healthy and happy lives.

Read my related article, Whole Body Healing Starts in the Emotional Mind.

It is my hope and my life’s passion to bring great health and whole-body healing to the lives of others. If you want more information on counseling/healing sessions with me, please visit me online at www.ImagineHealing.com and www.LongNaturalHealth.com.

Timothy Long, Psychotherapist, Life Coach and Naturopathic Health Consultant

Healing Starts in Your Emotional Mind

If you want to heal your body of cancer or any disease, if you want to prevent cancer or any illness, if you want to get to the root of most physical illness, or emotional illnesses like PTSD, anxiety, social phobias, depression, dysfunctional marriages, broken-hearted relationships, even failures to succeed in career or business, no matter how it is you want to improve your life, the first place you want to begin is your emotional mind.

For over twenty-five years I have interviewed and counseled hundreds of clients both as a naturopathic health consultant and as a psychotherapist. I am certain that unresolved mental-emotional imbalances and trauma are the root of most health problems, disease, emotional unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life. Many people do not see this because much of it is hidden from their consciousness. I see my work as bringing awareness and consciousness to these underlying causative factors, as well as providing healing, counseling, or advice as needed.

The following excerpt was taken from this article from Acupuncture Today. I highly suggest you read the whole article if you want to heal your body or your life. According to Darrin Starwynn, OMD, LAc:

The controversial German doctor Ryke Geerd Hamer discovered what he calls the “shock-conflict” causation of cancer and other major diseases. He proposed that cancer stems from emotional-psychic causes that remain unresolved over long periods of time, and that emotional healing and meditative practices provide the best cancer treatments. According to Dr. Hamer’s observations the body is able to heal itself of most cancers if:

1. The patient is given therapy and support for de-programming and releasing the harmful effects of the shock-conflict on her body.

2. The patient’s body is not interfered with by over-use of medical treatment. This rather bold view is based on the belief that many treatments given by oncologists interfere with the body’s self-healing process and aggravate the emotional causes of cancer by promoting fear and disempowerment.

Dr. Hamer has been persecuted for his practices, as you can understand from that last statement. During one trial he went through in Wiener Neustadt, Austria the prosecutor of his case had to admit into evidence that 6,000 out of the 6,500 patients with mostly advanced cancer that Dr. Hamer had treated were still alive 4 – 5 years after being treated by him. This, a 90 percent success rate, is unheard of in conventional treatment of advanced cancers…

Summary

While most patients are aware of their surface emotions, they are not as commonly in touch with the deeper causative levels that have helped create the life path culminating in their current issues and diseases. Practitioners who can evaluate and treat the emotional imbalances at the root of cancer can be of great assistance both for remedial treatment and raising the awareness of the patient (See full article by Darren Starwynn, OMD, LAc)

It is my hope and my life’s passion to bring great health and whole-body healing to the lives of others. If you want more information on counseling/coaching/healing sessions with me, please visit me online at www.ImagineHealing.com and www.LongNaturalHealth.com.

Read more about finding the therapist that’s right for you in my article Emotional Healing and Psychotherapy.

Timothy Long, Psychotherapist, Life Coach and Naturopathic Health Consultant

The Power of Saying Thank You and Giving Gratitude!

by Wendy Betterini

In a previous article, I revealed a simple process for writing your own powerful affirmations. I discussed the importance of getting clear about your existing beliefs, writing affirmations to replace those old beliefs with new empowering ones, writing affirmations in the present tense, the importance of consistent repetition, and the necessity of believing in the words you’re saying.

Today I’d like to share a simple three-step process that can greatly increase the power and effectiveness of any affirmations you use (whether you’ve written them yourself or use someone else’s).

In the movie “The Secret,” Cathy Goodman shares her personal experience in beating breast cancer without chemotherapy or radiation. She says, “I truly believed in my heart, with my strong faith, that I was already healed. Each day I would say, ‘Thank you for my healing.’ On and on and on I went, ‘Thank you for my healing.’ I believed in my heart that I was healed. I saw myself as if cancer was never in my body.” Cathy’s story is astounding to say the least, and her husband, Morris Goodman, has an amazing healing story of his own. (Learn more about them athttp://www.themiracleman.org)

However, for the purposes of this article, I would like to concentrate more on the phrase Cathy used to heal her body of cancer. “Thank you for my healing” is such a simple phrase, but it holds tremendous power! There are three key reasons why, and they are the same simple steps you can use to literally supercharge the effectiveness of any affirmation:

1) Gratitude. Giving thanks for something automatically puts us into a state of allowing and receiving. It puts us in a state of non-resistance with the Universe. This is powerful enough when we’re giving thanks for something we already have (because it attracts more things to be grateful for), but when we do it with something we want, the power is magnified drastically! Why? Because we are putting our full faith into the belief that what we desire will come to be in the physical realm. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, a strong belief that something is true will most definitely bring it forth into reality! Notice that Cathy didn’t say, “Thank you for the healing that is on the way,” or, “Thank you for my upcoming healing,” or, “I know I will be healed, thank you.” She said simply, “Thank you for my healing,” with full faith that she was ALREADY healed. Can you sense the power in that sentiment?

2) Affirming the process. Though Cathy affirmed she was already healed, notice that the language she used puts the emphasis on the process of healing. She didn’t say, “I am healed,” she used the form of the word that implies a transition in progress: heal-ing. This may seem like a contradiction, but it’s the perfect combination of focus to achieve the desired result.

Though we put our full faith into believing our desire has already manifested, choosing words that support the PROCESS of manifestation can be easier for us to believe. Why? Sometimes the jump from our current reality to the new reality we desire can be too big of a leap to make and still be believable. Believing that something is in progress seems like a smaller mental leap than trying to force ourselves to believe it’s already a done deal.

To demonstrate this point, consider the difference in feeling you get from these two affirmations:

– I am a perfect size 5.

– My body is becoming slimmer and lighter every day.

If you don’t wear a size 5, stating an affirmation that you do is largely ineffective, simply because you know it’s not true. With enough forceful repetition you might be able to convince yourself and bring forth such a reality, but you would have to overcome plenty of inner resistance first.

The second affirmation is much more believable, isn’t it? It causes feelings of excitement and pleasure because you can visualize your body shrinking in size, clothing becoming baggy, and smaller sizes looming in the near future. The mental state this affirmation activates is perfect for attracting the desired result.

3) Focus ONLY on what you WANT. Finally, the phrase, “thank you for my healing” is powerful because of the absence of something. Notice that cancer isn’t mentioned anywhere in this affirmation. Though breast cancer was certainly Cathy’s reality at that moment in time, she didn’t emphasize or reinforce it. She didn’t say, “Thank you for healing my cancer.” Because that would have been affirming that cancer existed in the first place! With affirmations, it is crucial to focus ONLY on what you want, not what you DON’T want. Likewise, with the two example affirmations above, notice I didn’t mention “losing weight” or “burning fat”. Fat doesn’t exist in the mind of someone who is thinking slender thoughts.

Can you see how these three simple steps will add power to your affirmations? If you’re skeptical, try it yourself and see! Just to get you started, here are some more examples:

“Thank you for my growing abundance.”

“Thank you for my considerate and romantic spouse.”

“Thank you for my successful business.”

“Thank you for healing my eyesight.”

“Thank you for returning me to a perfect state of health and vitality.”

“Thank you for the happiness and joy I experience every day.”

“Thank you for the many blessings I continuously receive.”

“Thank you for freeing me, mind body and spirit.” (This one is especially good for addictions!)

As you recite your affirmations, allow yourself to really FEEL the immense gratitude your words convey. Conjure up an image in your mind of your desired circumstances already formed and actualized. See yourself in the midst of these new circumstances, shouting your joy and thanksgiving to the Universe. The more you can do this, the more power your affirmations will contain, and the more quickly your chosen outcome will manifest.