Expanded Awareness: Perceiving Other Realms

The French philosopher, Teilhard de Chardin, reminds us that “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience.  We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” [i]  How might your life be different if you lived from the expanded perspective of your soul/spirit?  We can glimpse one aspect of this possibility by exploring the experiences of people who have perceptual abilities that are not usually available to the general population.  For example, many visionaries, artists and writers open to dimensions that enliven their creativity.  Peak performers in every field access a realm beyond our typical understanding which they name as flow or being in the zone.  I know people who sense the presence of people who have died.  Others recognize energy originating from different lifetimes.  Several colleagues communicate with animals and many more converse with angels and ascended masters.

As an energy teacher, I recognize that we can grow our consciousness and expand our perceptual abilities.  One way to open the door to other dimensions is to observe from the heart.  The Episcopal priest, Cynthia Bourgeault looks to Wisdom traditions to know what it means to see with the heart:

  1. The heart is an organ for the perception of divine purpose and beauty. It is our antenna, so to speak, given to us to orient us toward the divine radiance and to synchronize our being with its more subtle movements.
  2. The ancient Wisdom traditions . . . directly perceived that the physical world we take for our empirical, time-and-space-bound reality is encompassed in another: a coherent and powerful world of divine purpose always surrounding and interpenetrating it. . . . [I]f the heart is awake and clear, it can directly receive, radiate, and reflect this unmanifest divine Reality.
  3. The heart serves as a bridge between the mind and the body and also between our usual physical world and this invisible other realm. [ii]

The following meditation opens the eyes of the heart:

Begin by taking several breaths and focusing your awareness on your heart.  Then look around and notice your surroundings.  Let your eyes pause on one object and simply observe it.  If you notice your mind activating a thought such as a label or a judgment, take a breath, return your awareness to your heart and continue to simply observe the object.  If you notice your mind moving to the past or future, take a breath, return your awareness to this moment and continue to simply observe the object.  As you give your full attention and presence to this object, gradually let your gaze soften.  Be aware of opening your heart to take in more than the outer appearance of this object.  Deepen your awareness to encompass the Source of All Creation present within this object and within you.  Rest in this expanded awareness and allow your experience to unfold itself.  After several minutes return your awareness to the room, knowing that you have expanded your perception and created a clearer pathway to and within your heart.

Although the process of expanding awareness can be dramatic, like a quantum leap, more often it is very gradual and subtle.  Repeated practice clears the pathway.  Be curious.  When you open to new possibilities you might discover unknown horizons of awareness that make life magical.

To read more of Cynthia Bourgeault’s discussion of how Wisdom traditions view the role of the heart go to https://cac.org/blessed-pure-heart-2018-02-05/

Starry Night by van Gogh, (1889) courtesy of Google.

[i] Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Quotes. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved February 19, 2018, from BrainyQuote.com Web site: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/pierre_teilhard_de_chardi_160888

[ii] Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Way of Knowing: Reclaiming an Ancient Tradition to Awaken the Heart. (Jossey-Bass: 2003), 33-35.

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Being a Creator: Emotions, Serendipity and Shifting Energy

What does it mean to be a creator?  It means being one who brings something into being.  We think of creators as people who work with a medium such as images, sound or ideas.  What if our own lives are the primary thing that we are to bring into existence while living on this planet?  If this is the meaning of life, then we are all creators.  Today’s blog expands on earlier posts about the role of emotions in bringing our dreams to life.  It also explores the concepts of serendipity and shifting energy as they relate to creating our experiences.


Abigail Brenner, an author and psychiatrist, writes “E~motions of Change = Energy in Motion.” [i]  From an energetic perspective, all emotions are energy (E) in motion (E+motion).  In other words, our feelings are the power that generates our creations.  Their movement carries our intentions from the arena of ideas to the realm of experience.  The quality of the carrier emotion influences the nature of the outcome.  Chaotic emotions such as fear, doubt, anger and shame, for example, infuse disturbances that distort and disrupt our desires.  Therefore, it is essential that we fashion our lives with sentiments such as love, gratitude, joy or excitement.  We MUST pay attention to what is motivating us and shift the perspective when we notice fear or doubt.

Recently, I realized that I was making a fear-based decision.  I am planning a celebration for my niece’s upcoming wedding.  After experiencing two power outages, I know that I do not want to risk losing power during the party.  I decided to change the location.  When I recognized that I was acting on the fear of losing power, I shifted my focus to what I desire.  I want to host a smooth, warm, happy celebration and we need electricity for warmth and smooth operations.  While the decision to change the location remains the same, the feelings that fuel my choice provide a very different energy for the party.


Serendipity is the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.[ii]  Creators live in a flow that encourages serendipity.  The other day, I received an email that clearly demonstrates this concept.  I take an online course through Mastering Alchemy and a colleague wrote:

I raise livestock. Today I had just finished putting out new salt blocks for the larger animals but I still had 3 pens of goats and only 1 small block left. I set it on the front of the All Terrain Vehicle, and while driving carefully on my way over, I thought to myself if I should try to saw it into three pieces. No I will just alternate it between pens until I get more, but that is more work and it would sure be nice if it were in 3 pieces. Just then it fell off and hit the ground and broke into 3 pieces, just the right size for each pen. I started laughing and thought how cool is that?

Shifting Energy

Creators understand that when we don’t like something, we have the capacity to shift the energy and change our experience.  As an example, a short time ago, I was caught in a “death-grip” conversation.  I thought to myself, “This is not what I want.  I prefer to contribute to the discussion.”  Because I was so uncomfortable, I repeated this statement to myself three times.  Suddenly, the other person stopped ranting and made a heart-filled statement about how he is affected by the topic he was discussing.  He paused as his feelings flowed through him and I was able to respond from my heart.  This two-sentence interaction shifted the energy between us and shortly after that we were laughing and engaging in a balanced give-and-take.  I successfully noticed a situation I did not like and transformed it simply by focusing my attention on what I wished to experience.  As my colleague from Mastering Alchemy said, “How cool is that?”

The more capable we become at directing our thoughts and managing our emotions, the greater our capacity to stimulate serendipity, shift energy and influence our experiences.  May 2018 be a year in which you create with ease, precision and joy!

“The Artist’s Tools” oil painting by M. Naples; Google.

[i] Brenner, A. (2011). E~motions of Change = Energy in Motion. Psychology Today. In Flux. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-flux/201106/emotions-change-energy-in-motion

[ii] Google Dictionary. (no date provided). Serendipity. https://www.google.com/search?ei=OXxiWtcw5qqNA8XTg9AB&q=what+is+serendipity&oq=what+is+ser&gs_l=psy-ab.1.0.35i39k1j0l9.336531.339330.0.341758.….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.12.864.6..0i131k1j0i67k1j0i20i264k1j0i3k1.119.nwDUIgb-LfE

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Light Shining in the Darkness

This time of year is sacred in many cultures, religions and wisdom traditions.  People throughout the world are turning their attention to family, friends, sharing, peace, love and joy.  Keeping this in mind, today’s post builds on the concept described last month about countering chaos with coherence.  The emotions of sharing, peacefulness, love and joy are feelings that activate heart/mind coherence in our individual energy systems.  Each one of us becomes like a candle radiating the light of positive feelings.

When two or more people in close proximity focus their attention on similar emotions, they strengthen those energies in each of their electromagnetic fields.  As millions of people around the planet maintain a similar focus at this time of year, we become like millions of points of light shining in the winter darkness.  Our combined energies create an electromagnetic field that activates positive emotions in others.

Researchers at the Heart/Math Institute have studied this phenomenon, which is called “Social Coherence.”  The Heart/Math Institute reports that we feed the electromagnetic field with our emotions and this is a season when many people are feeding the field with uplifting feelings.  To learn more, click on the following link and watch a four-minute video by the HeartMath Institute titled “What is Social Coherence?”


May 2018 be a year in which you shine your light in peace, love and joy.

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Counter Chaos with Coherence

Last month I wrote about how world events affect us even when we are far removed from them.  Today I will explore the concept of coherence as a way to respond to global turmoil.  This post defines coherence, describes a way to activate it and lists some of its benefits.

What is Coherence?

According to Wikipedia:

two wave sources are perfectly coherent if they have a constant phase difference and the same frequency, and the same waveform.1

Figure 1, below, shows three coherent sine waves.   They have

  1. a constant phase difference (their crests and troughs occur at the same time)
  2. the same frequency (the distance between wave repetitions remains constant) and
  3. the same waveform (an identical shape – in this case, a simple down-to-up or up-to-down shape called a sine wave)

Coherent waves maintain a steady pattern in relationship to each other.

Figure 1. Three Coherent Sine Waves

In humans, coherence occurs when we activate and maintain a consistent, harmonious relationship in the wave patterns produced by the mind (brain waves) and the heart rhythm measured by an Electrocardiogram (EKG).  When the mind and heart are in coherence, they work in partnership rather than interfering with each other.

Sound provides an analogy for clarifying the nature of this harmonious relationship.  When musical instruments are in-tune with each other, they work together to create beautiful music.  If one instrument is out-of-tune, its tone creates discord in the overall sound.  When many dissonant sounds happen at the same time, the combination can sound like radio static or white noise.

Similarly, when the mind and heart are out-of-tune or incoherent, their wave patterns interfere with each other.  This creates a mild sense of irritation, distractibility, or in the case of severe incoherence, an inability to make decisions or enter relationships because the mind and heart target two different priorities for life.

How Do We Activate and Maintain Heart/Mind Coherence?

The HeartMath Institute has developed a method called the Quick Coherence® Technique that encourages a consistent, harmonious relationship in the wave patterns between mind and heart.  To activate heart/mind coherence:

  1. Heart Focus: Focus on your heart or the area in the center of your chest
  2. Heart Breathing: Imagine your breath is flowing in and out through the area of your heart. . . . find a nice smooth rhythm.
  3. Heart Feeling: While maintaining heart focus and heart breathing, try to activate a positive feeling. This could be a feeling of care for a person or animal, a feeling of appreciation for the good things in your life, or an uplifting feeling you had at a special time or place.  Without trying too hard, just ease into a positive feeling while maintaining heart focus and heart breathing.2

What Are Some Benefits of Coherence?

Activating a state of coherence has many benefits.  It stimulates positive emotions, calms and energizes the mind and body, increases effectiveness, improves relationships and it generates a positive field of energy that uplifts those around us.   Maintaining heart/mind coherence is a comforting and effective way to respond to tumultuous and disconcerting world events.

1 Coherence (physics). (2017). In Wikipedia. Retrieved November 11, 2017 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coherence_(physics)

2 Quantum Intech, Inc. (2011). emWave2 Quick Start Guide.  p. 11.

Coherent Sine Waves image from Wikipedia

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Current Events Call for Balance and Stability

Look around.  The events of the last several months have caused chaos, fear, anxiety and suffering.  Since August, three major hurricanes have blown through Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Puerto Rico, leaving flooding, destruction and desolation in their wake.  In September, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook central Mexico, toppling buildings and killing more than 200 people.  On October 1, a shooter, firing from a Las Vegas balcony, killed 58 concert-goers and injured 546 more.  Since October 8, fifteen fires blazing in California have killed at least 42 people and damaged or destroyed more than 5900 structures.  Since October 15, more than 4.7 million people posted the phrase #MeToo on social media, revealing the sexual harassment, abuse and rape borne by women around the world.

How do these events affect you?  There are many ways to answer this question.  I would like to explore the energetic impact.  To comprehend that effect, it is necessary to understand how energetic fields influence us.

Every person has an energetic signature that broadcasts 24 hours per day.  When people in close proximity to each other experience similar emotions, their energies interact and generate a stronger, cumulative energetic field.   For example, when you enter a room in which one person has been fuming about a problem or situation, it is likely that you can sense that something is wrong, even when that person says nothing about their circumstance.  If you enter a room where two people have been arguing, their combined feelings will generate a stronger energetic field of emotion.

Now imagine the suffering of the millions of people recovering from hurricanes.  Think about the fear activated by nearly 9 million people in Mexico City when the Earth shook.  Consider the confusion and terror experienced by thousands of country music fans in Las Vegas.  Imagine the tremendous sense of loss felt by the residents of California.  Notice the pain of millions of women subjected to sexual harassment, abuse and rape.

When a large number of people feel similar emotions at the same time, their strong feelings create an energetic field that flows outward like waves emanating from a rock thrown into a body of water.  Those waves expand until, eventually, they wash over you.

Perhaps you have been feeling stronger emotions than you would expect from your current circumstances.  Some of my clients have noticed waves of anger.  Others have said they are unusually anxious.  Many have expressed deep sadness.

Since few of us see energy, many of us are unaware of or discount its impact.  However, if you were standing in the ocean as six-foot waves pummeled you, it would require resilience and stamina to maintain your balance and stability.  Although emotional energy is less dense than water, it still disturbs us.  The disturbance is very powerful when it arises from the anguish of millions of people.  World events affect us even when we are far removed from them.

How are you caring for yourself in this time of chaos, fear, anxiety and suffering?

The Scream by Edvard Munch from Google.com

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Autumn Equinox: Finding Balance in the Changing Seasons

Vintage Balance Scale Today is the Autumn Equinox. This annual event offers an opportunity to think about balance, growing darkness and Earthly influences. On the Equinox, balance occurs between daylight and darkness.  During the following six months, growing darkness expands to the shortest day of the year and then turns to lengthening light before equalizing, once again.

Our lives also cycle through experiences and their seeming opposite. For example, we split our time between play and work.  Solitude alternates with companionship and rest alternates with activity. With the hectic pace of our modern world it can be extremely difficult to maintain a sense of balance.

When we can simultaneously hold an awareness of both poles of seeming opposites, we stand in the point of Oneness that underlies all creation.  This additional viewpoint, often called the witnessing self, shifts our perspective from the duality that mimics a teeter-totter to a triangle which is a much more stable platform for relating with the world.

In addition, the Autumn Equinox reminds us that we are creatures of the Earth and her cycles affect us.  As flowers go dormant and trees lose their leaves we are invited into a time of quiet.  When seasons change, weather patterns destabilize.  In people, instability may reveal itself as distraction, impatience, anger or unpredictability.  It can be helpful to accept and relax into the instability, knowing it will pass when a new season establishes itself.  We can also use this period of instability to establish new patterns because changes occur more easily when instability loosens the hold of the current state.

How might your soul reflect the influences of the Autumn Equinox? The following questions provide a starting point for an inner dialogue to nurture the yearnings of your deepest self.

Where in your life do you notice space for quiet reflection?

What (if anything) is out of balance?

How does the transition from summer to fall and then winter affect the different aspects of your being, such as your body, emotions, thoughts and spirit?

How does this transition affect the different aspects of your life, such as your work, recreation, relationships and care for yourself?

What is one way you can use this season to align with your soul’s desires?

May the power of the growing darkness enrich your life and your soul.




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The Creative Process: An Example with Watercolor

Continuing the exploration of creativity that has been the focus of these posts since January 2017, today I describe how I applied the creative process while painting a recently completed landscape of a friend’s front yard and entryway (see Figure 1).

Figure 1
Welcoming, Watercolor by Catherine Grytting

When I design and produce a work of art, I focus on elements such as composition, value, color, focal point, flow, etc.  At the same time, I am aware of the discreet aspects of the creative process.  As a reminder, the factors that have been examined in previous blog posts include:

Setting an intention

Focusing your attention on your intention

Letting go of control and allowing the process to unfold

Receiving what the Universe brings you and

Giving thanks

I started this watercolor project when a friend gave me a photograph of her home and asked me to replicate the image.  I SET AN INTENTION to demonstrate my love for my friend through the act of painting a picture of her home.  Love is one of the most powerful energies in the Universe.  Our creations always benefit from an infusion of love.  To further support my intention, I chose a triangle of words that summarized the states of being I wanted to experience throughout this project: masterful, joyful and beauty.

I FOCUSED MY ATTENTION ON THE INTENTION throughout the entire process.  Many times, as I sat down to paint, I remembered my intention to demonstrate my love.  This frequent revisiting of my desire kept my attention on the intention.

LETTING GO OF CONTROL AND ALLOWING THE PROCESS TO UNFOLD began as soon as I started applying the first wash which lays the foundation for the painting (see Figure 2).  For me, watercolor is a capricious medium.  The water causes colors to bleed into each other.  Salt sprinkled into the mix creates blossoms of light.  Splattering paint generates a mottled texture.  These and additional techniques cause the image to take on a life of its own.

Figure 2
Welcoming, Watercolor by Catherine Grytting, Stage 1

RECEIVING WHAT THE UNIVERSE BRINGS began as I made artistic decisions based on the emerging composition.  For example, I noticed the subtle shapes of the background trees and intensified and nuanced them so that they resembled the photograph.  I also observed the configurations of light and dark that formed the house.  I strengthened and refined these patterns to bring the structure into clearer focus.  I repeatedly made changes, observed how my handiwork affected the painting and then made further enhancements that built on the shapes that had appeared in the first wash (see Figure 3).

Figure 3
Welcoming, Watercolor by Catherine Grytting, Stage 2

GIVING THANKS/Celebration: Although earlier posts emphasize the importance of gratitude, in this case, the final step was celebration.  I gave the picture to my friend for her birthday.  As we honored her special day, I celebrated the conclusion of this project.  I demonstrated my love for my friend, masterfully produced a beautiful work of art and felt joy during the process as well as when I presented her with this gift.  In addition, I continue to feel joy every time I see the painting hanging in her home.  Here, celebration, rather than giving thanks, signaled to my soul the end of this venture, thereby making creative energy available for a new project.

The steps of the creative process map a precise path to successful outcomes.  Whether you are crafting home-improvement projects, tasks for your employer, works of art, friendships, life experiences or anything else that captures your imagination, “[i]f you can imagine it, you can achieve it.”[i]  How will you direct your creative energy?

Special thanks to my art teacher, Joan Archer, who provided feedback on and assistance with this painting.  To learn more about Joan, visit her website at http://www.joanarchergallery.com/about/

[i] https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/williamart110017.html


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