Rio Chama Publications

The Rio Chama Blog

The blog page offers holistic information regarding all facets of healing—be it emotional, spiritual, mental, or physical. We welcome your participation: email us your questions and comments regarding posted information or add a comment to the blog.

IS YOUR EGO TOO BIG?

6blog AThese days it is not unusual for people to talk about the ego—a term somewhat related to narcissism. When a person seems too self-centered he/she may be cited as having too big an ego. The fact of the matter is that ego has two important jobs: it is the internal organizer of our personality and helps us survive through its ability to think, evaluate, and prioritize. Furthermore the ego has as much growing up to do as our physical selves and research indicates this involves traversing ten stages. (Loevinger, J. & Wessler, R., 1970.)

Unfortunately research shows that 80 percent of people dwell in stages 5 through 7, with stage 6 being pivotal as a person begins to sense a vague sense of increasing self-awareness on both thinking and feelings levels. At this point a person often wonders if there is more to life than money, fame, and “good times.” Fortunate are those who through reflection, psychotherapy, or other means begin to feel and express thoughts and emotions previously unknown. Included in these new behaviors and attitudes are:

  • A growing awareness of life

  • Recognition of multiple possibilities and situations

  • Believing that exceptions to rules are possible

  • Seeking alternatives to difficult situations

  • Awareness that one is not living up to social standards or ideals

  • Increasing acceptance of individual differences

In reading the above, perhaps you can appreciate the dividing line between persons who are stuck in the lower stages and those who aspire to move upward to the Universal/Integrated tenth stage, where an individual:

  • Understands the importance of being in a state of awareness as often as possible

  • Participates in non-evaluative, integrative witnessing of experience and the meaning of6blog B existence

  • Is at peace with inner conflicts

  • Experiences a deepening sense of connectedness

  • Lives in a constant state of flux of experiences and changing states of consciousness

  • Is aware of the illusion of a permanent individual self

  • Relies on intellect and intuition when appropriate to do so

  • Experiences the bridging of psychology and spirituality

  • Is at one with self and others as ongoing participants in creation

  • Appreciates peak and transcendent experiences being increasingly in the foreground

Learning about each stage—especially the middle and upper stages can be of great help, not only in identifying one’s present stage but also in catalyzing movement to higher stages. The award-winning book Grow Up Your Ego: Ten Scientifically Validated Stages to Emotional and Spiritual Maturity is the perfect book to help do so! Comments about your own experiences regarding ego growth—and how and why it has or has not occurred—are most welcome!

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DO YOU SPEAK YOUR TRUTH?

Time for truthSpeaking one's truth is a hallmark characteristic of being mature. This isn't always easy. Children often lie in order to avoid punishment. Adolescents are known for stating falsehoods when bragging about themselves. Adults don't want to appear "less than" in relationships. Sometimes we don't even know what the truth about ourselves actually is!

Many people are aware of portrayals of famous figures whose videotaped interviews include direct quotes that clearly provide evidence of lies. We desperately need those in the public spotlight to model honesty: CEOs who are committed to "telling it like it is." Politicians who are so well known for "fudging" the truth need to either change their ways or be removed from office.

Do you know how important the truth is? Benefits from truthful living include:

  • You don't have to remember your liesTrust
  • You earn trust and respect
  • You'll create deeper connections with people
  • You'll feel more confident
  • Trust creates opportunities
  • Lying takes energy
  • Truth attracts truth
  • You will have better relationships and be healthier

Here are relevant questions:

  • Are you prepared to take an inventory regarding the degree to which you are truthful?
  • If you find yourself deficient, what is the first step you take to become more honest?
    • Would it be monitoring what you say every day?
    • Would it be writing down the number of times you lie every day?
    • Would it be confiding in a trusted friend of your determination to be truthful?
    • Might it be writing a comment on this blog anonymously in which you promise the world that you will indeed join the "truthful track" of life?

happy loving coupleIf you are a truthful person, congratulate yourself! Comments regarding how that came about and what it is like would be helpful to readers and are very welcome!

 

Jeannette M. Gagan, PhD, is an award-winning Author, licensed psychologist, shamanic practitioner, and an Ambassador for Peace. Over the years she has learned to use writing as a platform to educate, celebrate progress, and set new goals for PEACE within for all.

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How Is Your Shadow Today?

Blog4b man covers face 150Shadows occur in various ways: the sun casts a shadow on a clear day, and a bright moon casts a shadow at night—both of which are visible. On the other hand, each of us has a “shadow self,” whether recognized or not. Psychologically the shadow self is the unknown part of us—that which we can’t see in ourselves. It is the dark side of our personality and consists of emotions and impulses like rage, envy, greed, selfishness, desire, and striving for power.  

Where does the shadow come from? To begin with, every child naturally develops a shadow, shaped by what our parents consider good and bad. The parts of ourselves our parents don’t like, we repress and hide from our awareness; these form our personal shadow. In some cases greed is frowned upon, and in others sexuality is taboo.  When I was a child anger was banned—I don’t remember my parents or my siblings expressing anger. I was well into my adulthood before I realized rage was a stranger to me and something I needed to tend to—which I did.

Indeed, how we handle our emotions makes all the difference. Identifying our shadow selves—our disowned parts—is the doorway to our uniqueness because the shadow can also hold our creativity, power, and vigor.

Benefits of doing shadow work include:basketball shot

·      improved relationships

·      clearer perceptions;

·      more energy

·      enhanced physical health

·      integration/wholeness and maturity

·      best of all, greater creativity! 

How can you work on your shadow self? By:

·      cultivating self-awareness and showing compassion toward feelings that are emerging, which can involve doing the FACE meditation (see blog 3)

·      being honest with yourself and developing a courageous willingness to see unpleasant traits in your behavior

·      observing your emotional reactions and recording your discoveries in a journal.

Try this basic exercise: Make a list of your positive qualities, and next try to identify the opposite within yourself. For example if you are a calm person you may be repressing an agitated part of yourself that constantly challenges your calm part. So begin to identify with this agitated part—make friends with it and know it’s acceptable to be agitated, too.

frustrated woman screams at computerIn my case, I listed these qualities: an excellent student, a responsible employee, a supportive friend.

On reflection, though, I realized I had become a perfectionist. What lurked in the shadow of this perfectionism? I ultimately understood that since I hadn’t bonded with my mother, I repressed the disappointment and resentment of not feeling cherished by and connected with her. When, in my adult years, I gradually began to acknowledge and welcome the feelings I had repressed, I most definitely became more creative: I am about to release my third book!

Comments about the above are most welcome, especially sharing experiences of working on your shadow self.

Jeannette M. Gagan, PhD, is an award-winning Author, licensed psychologist, shamanic practitioner, and an Ambassador for Peace. Over the years she has learned to use writing as a platform to educate, celebrate progress, and set new goals for PEACE within for all.

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Jeannette M. Gagan
Excellent point, Mary--There is specific content (including exercises) in the Grow Up Your Ego book about dealing with one's shado... Read More
Tuesday, 26 December 2017 12:01
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ARE YOU CONTAGIOUS?

Strange as this may sound, the word contagious has both negative and positive connotations. When a person has an infectious disease, it is best to avoid exposure. On the other hand, when a person lends a helping hand to another, their compassion and connection can be transferred. Giving a ride to a stranded person; sending flowers to a sick person; responding empathically to another’s woes; or donating to a worthy cause are all examples of the upside of contagious.

woman meditatingSimilarly, ideas are transmittable. That’s why books are written—including my forthcoming book The Paradoxical Return of the Feminine: Raising Awareness and Creating Peace. In this memoir/guidebook, I share information about what I learned from others as well as understandings that came from within myself. For example, mentors have played an important role in my development. And my own insights often came from dreams that both illuminated issues in need of resolution and also sometimes indicated pathways to change. Both of these examples demonstrate the transmission of ideas. Of course there are many ways to heal oneself, and what is good for the goose may not be good for the gander. That is why I encourage readers to become aware and cultivate the inner wisdom.

couple meditatingThe Paradoxical Return of the Feminine offers in-depth information about various ways of healing—physically, emotionally, and spiritually—including little-known methods that indeed result in positive outcomes. When readers pursue the same or similar healing methods, they are doing so by contagious association! One healing modality I use is the FACE meditation. Remarkably, this is an easy practice that can be done at any time to increase well-being and inner strength. Originated by a clinical psychologist, Christopher Germer, PhD, in his book The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, this meditation can be used when a person experiences a difficult emotion or pain. You can experience this yourself by relaxing into a comfortable position, closing your eyes, and beginning with

  • F—feel the pain or emotion;
  • A—accept it;
  • C—compassionately respond; and
  • E—expect skillful action or a favorable outcome.man meditating

I use this meditation quite frequently and have found it very helpful, especially when I experience a difficult emotion. Not surprisingly, via being contagious I suggest you try this meditation several times before you decide whether it is right for you—and please comment here about your efforts, whether positive or not. Who knows how your feedback may spread to readers who, by contagious transmission, will try it for themselves in a successful way!

Jeannette M. Gagan, PhD is an award-winning Author, licensed psychologist, shamanic practitioner, and an Ambassador for Peace. Over the years she has learned to use writing as a platform to educate, celebrate progress, and set new goals for PEACE within for all. 

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WHO HAS THE POWER: MALE OR FEMALE?

Many females are currently telling the truth of being sexually assaulted—whether by a family member, a co-worker, a celebrity, or a national political figure. The extent of this dirty secret has been kept under wraps for eons; its exposure now offers great hope for change:

  • disclosure prompts other assault victims to come forward
  • speaking one’s truth strengthens the abused person and facilitates their pursuit of healing and peace
  • calling out violence can deter future violations

woman with colleaguesYou might ask, “Why have so few females spoken about this before?” I think my own experience is typical and provides insight: The sexual abuse I experienced was not by well-known males but by a family member. This nuance may bear heavily on a female’s expectation of being believed. Next, shame and self-blame silence many (www.journals.sagepub.com). Furthermore, I was a child, and I coped with trauma by immediately repressing memories of the abuse—for decades. Ultimately, the effect of being overpowered by violence leaves a fear of being ostracized, and anxiety builds that life will be detrimentally altered because it is not under our control.

Surely, all this secrecy helps maintain power in such men’s lives. We believe that they hold the power, not us. Conversely, today’s phase of more females telling their truth strips male perpetrators not only of power but also, potentially, of finances, status, and freedom, if convicted of their crimes. Such reprisals serve as a powerful lesson to males who are or plan to be perpetrators.

However, achieving social justice is only half the story. Each of us must heal and reclaim our power. As a part of my healing, I first confronted the perpetrator. Though awkward and difficult, this eventually resulted in harmony between us. Importantly, I was able to forgive. I then took the bold step to write about it so the “whole world” would know the truth of my life—the bad, the ugly, and fortunately the BEAUTY and PEACE of it. In so doing, I owned my female power: the power to love myself, to stand strong, to affirm my life. Please believe me: once you move in this direction, you will go far. Milestones along my path include nurturing a thriving family, obtaining advanced educational degrees, building a practice, and writing three successful books (the third will be published in 2018), which I hope will bring others awareness and inspiration.

My question today is this: Is there a secret in your life—past or present—about which you feel shame, depression, anxiety, fear, or terror? If so, what is the first step you can take to heal your wound?

  • Write it down?
  • Tell someone close to you whom you trust?
  • Make an appointment with a therapist?
  • Ask your family doctor for a referral to an experienced therapist?

Whatever you choose, you will have made a major stride in healing yourself and claiming your power—for which I congratulate you!!

I invite your comments below.

Jeannette M. Gagan, PhD is an award-winning Author, licensed psychologist, shamanic practitioner, and an Ambassador for Peace. Over the years she has learned to use writing as a platform to educate, celebrate progress, and set new goals for PEACE within for all.

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