Personal Growth

How to Lose Your Mind and Regain Your Life

Americo Yabar and Carla

Don Américo Yábar and Carla in 1996 at the Yábar ancestral home outside Cusco.

Nearly 20 years ago, Andean mystic Don Américo Yábar looked me straight in the eyes and advised, “When you lose your mind, you’ll go far.”

I must have given him a blank look at the time, being so in my head as I was. It took me a while, but I finally caught on. It’s been my focus ever since to follow a path of integration. Not losing my mind completely though, I find that it does serve me in certain ways to navigate this culture.

It’s more about losing the smallness the habitual conscious mind often demands. It provides rationalizations that can keep us in our “place” through habit; or the part of us that wants to control—which we all have to some degree—that loves the hard edges of logic and facts. We miss so much if we think things must be seen and known in order to believe they exist.

There’s an aspect within any of us that generates resistance when we consider a larger life than the one we’ve been living, to align fully with the Core Self. That’s because we’d step outside boundaries, ways that are known. That’s a normal response. But it’s only through opening to what is out of habit that we move beyond what has held us back, grow and discover what’s possible.

No invention or transformative process has ever come from thinking inside the box.

Rio Paucartambo Cusco Region, Peru ©1996 Carla Woody

Rio Paucartambo
Cusco Region, Peru
©1996 Carla Woody

My work is with folks who want to live through their deeply held values. A while back I was mentoring someone right upon the threshold, ready to move into transition. She knew the direction she needed to go. Yet, a part of her was petrified; she literally felt frozen in her body, unable to make a decision. We used a process that moved her into the reality she envisioned in order to try it out, well beyond all her worries. As she “looked back in time” she said, “Why was I so scared? Make it all such a big deal? It seems like nothing now.” With the portal established, she took the option her heart told her to take.

If we make decisions through the Core Self, where spiritual values and intent reside, choices are always pure. No subterfuge. No rationalization. Only what speaks of compassion, integrity and unconditional being. Only what’s most beneficial for all concerned and contains clarity.

For me, it’s about following energy. It’s a felt sense. This is the part about losing my mind. I recognize when I’m once again at a crossroads, which can happen in any moment, and the true direction beckons. It’s compelling. I know it holds truth, even if I can’t put it into words. This is so whether it has to do with my work or personal life. The part about using my mind comes in very handy with grounding things into everyday reality, strategies to put something in place. I believe in integration—not either/or.

Interchangeably, I may refer to this portal to Cosmic Consciousness as the Infinite, Core Self, intent or place of the heart. You’ll have your own reference. It’s a felt sense of interconnection with All That Is. You develop the alliance by becoming your own Witness—gently catching yourself, fine-tuning your beliefs and resulting actions—then losing your mind to integration with the heart’s wisdom.  And repeat the process until there’s no need…because we’re human.

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Note from Carla: If you find yourself consistently bumping up against blocks or clarity has taken a vacation, take a look at Navigating Your Lifepath. For over a decade, folks have made significant positive shifts in their lives using my program—and kept the changes.

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Interview with Becca Begnaud, Cajun Traiteur

In October 2012, I was visiting friends in Lafayette, Louisiana—Cajun Country—and fell in love with the area. My time there was made that much more interesting by meeting Becca Begnaud who is a traiteur, a Cajun prayer healer. I was invited to interview her for The Lifepath Dialogues during a program of hers. To me, the outcome was fascinating. We cover a lot of ground. Listen to Becca as she talks about what it means to be a traiteur, Cajun culture and challenges on the path as a healer. It’s worth 38 minutes of your time.

Interview on You Tube.

Interview on You Tube.

I will be returning to Lafayette shortly. Becca will be sponsoring my work for her Healing Arts Collective. You can find the details of the November 15 talk Timeless Pathways for Today’s Spirit Keepers and November 16 workshop Asking the Answer in this downloadable flyer. I’ll also be giving a talk in Baton Rouge on November 14 at The Red Shoes, a center for personal and spiritual growth. I’m very much looking forward to returning to this area, rich in so many ways.

Categories: cultural interests, Gratitude, Healing, Interview, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Film Review: The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

Documentary by Judy Irving

 Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

Before I watched this documentary I thought it might be an interesting piece on wild parrots in an urban setting. It’s that but much more. Mark Bittner is a homeless man who began feeding the wild parrot flock around Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. Over time he was able to develop a relationship with the birds and cared for those who were injured or sick. He brought them into the small apartment where he was squatting until they were well, giving them names. Through the filmmaker’s lens, we’re able to experience their separate personalities. There’s Mingus, a cherry head, who loves to dance to the blues. And Connor with his quiet regal manner, a blue-crowned parrot in a flock of cherry heads, too many others to name here. I don’t want to give away too much.

At the heart of the story is how Mark found inner peace and his place in the world through service to the parrots. There may be a message for many of us in this poignant and inspiring film.

View short clips on You Tube. Available via Netflix, Amazon and elsewhere.

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A Tribute to Glenn Woody

Glenn Woody at 14 years old.

Glenn Woody
at 14 years old.

My father Glenn Woody was born into the Dust Bowl of Delhart, Texas, up in what’s called “The Panhandle.” His mother succumbed to complications of childbirth shortly after, and his father was already an elder. Dad was the last of twelve, a good gap in years from the next youngest. His was not an easy childhood and nurturing was absent.

The family was literally dirt poor. I’d seen a few yellowed photos of a broken down, unpainted house set on bare ground with my grandfather, father, and what kids were still left at home, posing out front. But I really had no idea how dire the conditions until I was visiting my folks at their home in Ohio over Thanksgiving last year, and we watched The Dust Bowl, a documentary of those times by Ken Burns. That night my dad began telling about his growing up years, in a way he hasn’t done before. He’s a quiet man who keeps most of his thoughts to himself, the exception was his professional life. I’m glad he decided to open this line of communication.

Before my father’s time my grandfather was well-off, owning a six-hundred acre farm that he intended to divide equally and leave to his children. But the relentless winds and flying dirt endured through several years withering everything in sight, including the old man’s dreams. My grandfather finally picked up the family left at home and moved to Elkhart, in East Texas, where life was marginally better but not much. It sounds like, in the end, he was defeated.

I’m writing of these things because origins are important. The direction of my father’s future and outlook could have been repetitive of the household where he grew up. That’s what usually happens. But it wasn’t that way. I’ve just returned from another visit with my folks. We’ve been discussing family line in much detail. My mother told me that, in those early years of their marriage, my dad would tell her nothing was going to stand in the way of his success. To this day—at the age of eighty-one—tenacity is a major part of his make-up, integrity a partner. Those two qualities served him well and, as far as I can tell, he did indeed achieve those things in life that he deemed important.

Glenn and Sue

Glenn and Sue Woody during
an Air Force promotion ceremony.

He entered the Air Force as an enlisted man, got out, went to college and then law school. One of my earliest memories was of him studying, consistently. Dad returned to the Air Force and retired as a lieutenant colonel, choosing to end that leg of his career rather than accepting orders to Washington DC that would put him on the track to general officer. He went on to serve as a senior trial attorney in civilian service for almost an equal number of years. The accolades given him over the years were many in the places he served in-country and overseas. That’s about career.

Several months ago, Dad was interviewed for the Veterans History Project sponsored by the Library of Congress. Once the video has been edited it will be placed on his page with photos and more. A story he told in that interview really speaks to the kind of person he is. He talked about his time in Vietnam, something he has only started to do recently. He was stationed at Phan Rang, one of the most bombed air bases, and ran the legal office. His predecessor handed down a high rate of court martials related to drug charges, without consideration to severity of usage or situation. Not so with my father. He told the GIs he had no tolerance for hard drugs like heroin. With marijuana he’d give them one chance. He used reason and benefit of the doubt. Court martials were drastically reduced as a result. But I think the next disclosure touched me most. On Sundays, his only day off, he left the base and visited the troops in the outer reaches, physically got down in the trenches with them and asked after their welfare. That’s something that wasn’t in his charter—and put his own life in jeopardy in the course of doing so.

Dad and Carla

Dad and me during our
Summer 2012 vacation in Ireland.

My mother and I have always been of utmost importance to him. He calls us “his ladies.” And he has an affectionate but silly nickname for me that only a few of my closest friends know. We didn’t always get along. Particularly when I was a teenager, we butted heads. I’ve been told that, in some ways, my dad and I are alike. Tenacity is known to turn into stubbornness at times. We could hold our separate positions well if we had different ideas on something I should do. All that has mellowed with age.

Most importantly, my dad taught me about not giving up, to keep on keeping on when it’s something I value deeply, even in the face of great obstacles, and upholding integrity. I couldn’t have asked for a better role model.

On this Father’s Day I want to say…Dad…I’m proud to be your daughter.

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A Tribute to Sue Woody

I’m fortunate to have my mother. All the years of my life she’s been by my side—even across many miles. Both my parents have. When they couldn’t fathom what in the world I was up to or, in some cases, why I’d gone to (truly) dangerous locales on the other side of the world…the belief in me was there even while worry may have been present. You can’t buy support like that.

Mom photo 1

Childhood years in Palestine, Texas.

 On Mother’s Day, this post is about my mom: Sue Woody. She grew up in difficult times and circumstances in the small town of Palestine in East Texas, an only child. She received little nurturing herself and later said to me that she didn’t know what she was doing as a mother to me. I suspect that most mothers feel that way. However, I believe she knew exactly how to raise me and acted on intuition. I am, in many ways, the product of the parenting I received.

When I was a teenager and wanted to paint my entire room shades of purple with stripes on the ceiling, not only did she say okay…she helped me. What mother does that? Mom always supported my creative urges. Dance in the early years. Five years of piano lessons. A sewing machine when I wanted to make my own clothing. Art lessons with a local artist.

 When I was fourteen I was hell on wheels, experimenting with everything. She knew enough to give me lead rather than rein me in. As a result, while I got into a lot of things—that she’ll never know about—I never got into any real trouble. I went to the edge, testing the waters, but always drew back. I can say this, knowing myself: If she’d put stringent restrictions on me I would have gone over that edge, just to rebel. Instead, I experimented with boundaries and stayed safe.

Sue Woody at 13 years old.

Sue Woody at 13 years old.

 I have many stories. Here’s a humorous favorite that reflects her pure belief in me. I’m also an only child. As my mom has gotten older, she’s been worried that I’m not in relationship. I’m guessing she’s still hanging on to the fairy tale about the white knight.

 So, a few years ago when she wistfully brought up her wishes for me, I told her this: “You know, it would have to be someone fully engaged in life. Almost an icon. Like Robert Redford.” I always say this tongue in cheek when someone asks about my status.

 But she looked at me seriously and said: “I think he’s available.” I had to give her the sad news shortly after that Bob Redford had gotten married…

Probably fifteen years ago we were having a deep discussion about life in general, how things unfold. She said to me, “I didn’t have the choices available to me that young women do today.” And that’s very true. Most women didn’t. Things have changed radically over the last forty years. The opportunities are now there.

Glenn and Sue Woody on vacation in Ireland in 2012, both at the age of eighty.

Glenn and Sue Woody on vacation in Ireland in 2012, both at the age of eighty.

 Someone once told me that I’m fearless. I don’t know how true that is across contexts. But I do generally feel safe in the world, at the belief level. The grounding allows me to venture into places in the psyche and geographically perhaps others wouldn’t go—willing to take calculated risks. Experiment.

But it’s doubtful I would be many of the things I am…if my mother…in all her inherent wisdom…hadn’t nurtured that spirit in me that wasn’t given flight in her. With love to you, Mom. I’m so proud and grateful to be your daughter.

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History, Herstory, Your Story

Periodically I offer retreats, an opportunity to create a parenthesis, a safe haven to cocoon, in order to create clarity of intent and direction without the “busyness” rewarded by our culture that can feed distraction. Sometimes we work in the area of family lineage. I’ll share with you the introductory paragraphs of the process sheet I give participants as one approach in this area.

Collective UnconsciousThere exists a collective unconscious—a field of information—in your family line; what is passed down in underlying knowledge and expression through generations.

History/Herstory.  Her story. His story. Your story.

Now is an opportunity to bring to consciousness what was unconscious. Witness. Inquire. Reflect. To choose what is yours—your own heartbeat and what of your lineage aligns to it.

Marking out space on the floor as a timeline, you have those who came before youyour ancestorsand those who came from youyour descendants. We all leave our fingerprints on others in ways wider than we might imagine, even if we have no biological offspring. Stepping back to witness interwoven connections over time can give a whole new meaning to your own personal choices in the present and what you can and do affect.

***

I have people work as partners, trading off once complete. The partner acts as a witness to the explorer’s process, also to document significant aspects and prompt questions. In this way, the discovery and its effect have depth.

InheritenceFirst, they just observe from a point beside their lineage timeline. Then I invite them to walk beside the timeline and note their own responses and, when their body is drawn, to step onto the timeline and into the body/subtle energy field of that ancestor. I encourage them to do so even when it doesn’t make logical sense; an ancestor generations back isn’t even known to them. After “becoming” the ancestor these are some of the questions answered: What intelligence is communicated through posture, sensation or energy? What is the patterning? Is there a gift?

Usually the draw has to do with a vibratory resonance. Something within them has found a match in some way. The origins of a talent may be suddenly explained through this sort of inquiry. Or maybe the discovery of a detrimental pattern, having skipped a generation or two, but active in the present through the past, is now apparent. What are the stories that have been passed down through the family field of invisible information?

These new awarenesses are but seeds. From this place, answers to follow-on questions can emerge, and means of getting there can present themselves.

What are the gifts you’ve been blessed with that you wish to pass on?

What are any dreams that you’ve taken on that aren’t yours to live?

What are any wounds to be healed that are not yours to be borne?

As the reader, you might wonder how anything could come from this exercise. Here’s what I’ve found to be true through many years of guiding such inquiry and undertaking it myself. There’s something in playduring the parenthesis of a retreatwhen we take off the overcoat of our everyday selves. Then an inner intelligence has a chance to take the lead, delve into areas usually not given notice and integrate the results into day-to-day thoughts and actions.

Energy FieldThis particular line of inquiry is produced from the person’s own energy body, their resident fieldnot through analysis by the mind. In fact, if the everyday mind takes the lead in this process, the explorer will likely be hindered or stalled. Although, insight will be channeled to the mind through energy intelligence.

Whether it turns into conscious awareness or not isn’t really important from my standpoint. For those who are used to intellectual investigation, this pathway can be especially frustrating because they may not know what created the shift. But in the end, is that really important? Or is it more meaningful that lifeafter such a level of work – naturally evolves to include clarity and joy?

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Note: This process was inspired from  NLP and the ground-breaking work of Virginia Satir and Bert Hellinger in family systems.  Then it was further produced from inquiry into my own lineage and ongoing exploration into the ways of energy.  If you’d like to know more about retreats go here or get in touch.

 

Categories: Energy Healing, Healing, NLP, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lifepath Design [Special Offer] – Why take the long way home?

Lifepath Design Special: Your Personal Intensive
Spring Limited Time Offer

I would rather be a superb meteor, ever atom of me in magnificent glow,

than a sleepy and permanent planet.     — Jack London

Fulfillment

Fulfillment
Photo: Carla Woody

 Spring is the perfect time to come to life—completely. There are those of you who have been itching to accelerate a breakthrough, and I want to do my part to support that process. As a gift to subscribers and Facebook friends, I’m offering a private retreat day at a deep discount. (Your intensive may also be divided into two sessions.) I have space in my calendar to engage with seven people over the next couple of months in this way. If you’re interested, get in touch: info@kenosis.net.

Such an intensive won’t be to everyone’s taste.

Cloudburst

Cloudburst
Photo: Carla Woody

But it will be a perfect match if:

✯ You are hovering at a threshold and want to move through it;

✯ You seek to sort through options and dissolve confusion;

✯ You aim to bring a deeply held dream to ground and create clarity;

✯ You desire to engage your spiritual values, your highest priorities and kickstart a fully expressive lifepath;

✯ You are ready to invest in yourself and move beyond stagnation.

It’s my passion to mentor people through a process I went through myself and refined over twenty years to make it readily accessible to others. That’s why I’m making a special discounted offer of $897 ($1497 value) for seven people. Your personal intensive may be taken in person, via phone or Skype. This invitation is good until May 8 and must be taken by July 12.

Here’s an extra bonus: If you decide you need additional guidance, you can apply the retreat cost against Navigating Your Lifepath, my six month mentoring program. You can also read more about my own journey.

Why take the long way home? A well calculated shortcut is ever so much better.

If you fit the criteria above, I’d love to hear from you: info@kenosis.net. Be sure to act now! Lifepath Design Intensives are something I rarely offer due to other commitments. If you’re ready to work, then let’s do it, and it would be my honor.

Categories: Healing, Healthy Living, NLP, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Playing with Uncertainty

Do you remember what it was like to be a young child when everything was new? Being awestruck by all that you saw, heard and felt? Did you pick things up and examine them closely, put them in your mouth? Play—no holds barred? Sing at the top of your lungs just to hear what your voice sounded like?

Mollamarka Girl

Mollamarka Girl
©2003 Carla Woody

As the years unfold, most people become more and more comfortable with certainty—and forget to have the fresh perspective of a child. In fact, the older we are, the more afraid we are likely to be of uncertainty and even become stuck when something unforeseen happens. Paralysis occurs when we are fans of control.

But when spiritual evolution sends a calling card, if we acknowledge the invitation and accept, what we’re asking of ourselves is to let go. At that point, we find ourselves at a threshold, an urging at our back to move through it. Perhaps little may be seen in that beyond place, maybe nothing. Yet embracing the unknown is how we learn and grow.

Metaprograms and Change

 From NLP, metaprograms define how we individually sort information and guide our thought process. Metaprograms predict our behaviors. Note that metaprograms often differ depending on context—relationship, work, etc.—and are a complex mix but easily determined through language patterns. All metaprograms are useful in some context and can be shifted if the orientation is causing an issue.

I’m going to zero in on a couple of metaprograms that I find have a lot to do with how we deal with change—and good to know if we’re contemplating transition. Below is a very brief summary that discusses the outer limits of a range. Most people have some mixture of both.

Toward/Away from: People with a “toward” orientation have their eyes locked on a goal—and go for it. They have blinders on and anticipate the pleasure of having what they want. Those with an “away from” orientation are focused on what they don’t want and avoiding pain. When asked what they want…they often have no idea.

Options/Procedures: People with an “options” mind set are excited by alternatives and possibilities. They love to explore and may do so endlessly. Those with a “procedures” orientation tend to think in black and white terms and love doing things step-by-step to completion. If the procedure is interrupted, they usually grind to a halt.

The Trapeze of Spiritual Travel

It’s natural for all of us to settle into a lifestyle over time and incur aspects of life that become familiar, whether they truly serve us or not. When we choose to “Enter the Forest” beyond the threshold, it involves uncertainty—stepping outside the environment that we’re used to—where we know what to expect, at least most of the time, of ourselves and others. It’s predictable. Those who will have the most emotional difficulty when faced with upheaval will be folks with paired, outer limit “away from” and “procedures” metaprograms.  On the other side, those with paired, radical “toward” and “options” metaprograms may love the journey but have a challenge coming to a place of right fit and new-found foundation.

Danaan Parry’s parable “The Trapeze” really speaks to the balance between control and letting go in order to catch the next swing of the trapeze.

“The Trapeze” video on You Tube.

 There’s also the need to invoke early childhood qualities we may have forgotten: curiosity, appreciation, courage and finally, discernment to determine what truly tastes and feels good. That way we discover what further nurtures us.

The process can be a truly mystical one if we allow it. We will be delivered to the other side, indeed, transformed on the way. And in the midst of letting go we can play with uncertainty—as an ally. We can trust in an age-old process, one learned well by high wire artists and children.

 This is a form of spiritual travel.

***

 Drawn from Navigating Your Lifepath, the six-month mentoring program.

Categories: Healing, Healthy Living, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution, Spiritual Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Origins

 And so we begin, as all human beings do, in space, expressed by a word, permeated by time. Time is a suggestion we swallowed to hold our world together—creating a kind of comfort, but also terror in the false knowing that what passes has a beginning, a middle and an end. We invented words as conductors for experience, but language is meaningless to the intricate nuances of existence. We collectively convinced ourselves that the ground where we stand is solid matter, when the only foundation we truly have we cannot physically touch.

At the soul level, we long to move beyond what is human-made to That which is not. We hope to know the deeper realms of a reality the everyday eye may have experienced solely through fleeting glimpses—of what it cannot determine. We seek to be promised what we may only have scented through the permeable walls from another dimension. We desire to be inspired by what has stirred our bodies in unknown places with hints of rapture. We ask for the sign when the gift has already been given.

Moray Mist Artwork

Moray Mist
©2002 Carla Woody

There is an old Taoist story of parents watching their child as she sleeps next to them. In her sleeping state, the child moans and frets. She twists in discomfort. The parents cannot help their child no matter how much she hurts. If the child would awaken, she would see that the suffering is nothing but a dream.

The mind is the charioteer of experience, while the body is the vehicle that carries out the orders of its driver. The gift we have been given is the one called possibility, whose intent offers to tie all together, creating strands of a whole life rather than a disintegrated one. The gift we have been granted is what throws light into dark places. The gift held out to us has always been present. But accepting the gift has a price—courage. It is an undying courage that allows any of us to whip the dream horse and startle awakening.

*****

Standing Stark Cover

Excerpt from Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage.

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Lifepath Dialogues Gathering: The Spiritual Meaning of Lineage (Audio)

Lifepath Dialogue Gathering

The Lifepath Dialogues Gathering is held on the fourth Wednesdays, 6:30-8 PM, at Creekside Center in Prescott, Arizona. The intent is to build like-hearted community and dialogue about what truly matters. I choose monthly topics from my blog and host the evening with special invited guest(s) whose philosophies and work are relevant to the topic. The format involves my presentation of material to create a framework and interview of the special guests. This portion is recorded to share with the world community—wherever you are. Then we turn off the recorder and turn to intimate sharing.

The February 27 Lifepath Dialogues Gathering:

The Spiritual Meaning of Lineage

The complete unedited audio is about 40 minutes long. Click below to listen. Please be patient as it may take a few minutes to download! I hope you enjoy.

 LD02-13

This discussion was based on the post:

Lineage: Calling on the Ancestors
By CARLA WOODY
Author of Calling Our Spirits Home and Standing Stark
Founder, Kenosis and Kenosis Spirit Keepers

SPECIAL FEBRUARY GUEST:

TERRI HANAUER-BRAHM

Terri Hanauer-Brahm wondered why her father refused to discuss his past and why her relatives were the same way. She uncovered a family secret that sent her on an odyssey of discovery. Out of her quest came a book: “The Hanauer Family: Before, During and After the Holocaust.” She will share with us what this journey has meant to her.

 

Categories: cultural interests, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution, Spiritual Travel, Travel Experiences | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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