Want to make a difference? Three ways to start right now.


We all want to make a difference, feel like we are here on earth for a reason.  Truth is most of us feel totally unimportant when it comes to actually changing  the world.  We often think of grand external gestures that make the most difference to the world, but there are three simple things we can all start doing right now, that would radically change the world as we know it.  Now before you read them and get all indignant at me, let me clarify, I said they are simple, I didn’t say they were easy.  In fact, you could easily spend your whole life trying to master just one of these things.  But I do believe they are all connected to each other, and as you read them, I want you to imagine how different the world would be if we all did these things regularly.

Let yourself be vulnerable.

Author, researcher and speaker Brene Brown has written a lot about vulnerability.  She has identified shame as being the primary emotion that drives us to do bad things.  What she has found is that in letting ourselves be vulnerable, we find the courage to quit all the behaviors that we use to numb ourselves to pain.  We also separate from the shame cycle that keeps so many of us locked in misery.  In her book Daring Greatly she writes:

We all have shame. We all have good and bad, dark and light, inside of us.  But if we don’t come to terms with our shame, our struggles, we start believing that there’s something wrong with us — that we’re bad, flawed, not good enough — and even worse, we start acting on those beliefs.  If we want to be fully engaged, to be connected, we have to be vulnerable.  In order to be vulnerable, we need to develop resilience to shame.

She goes on to illustrate how shame correlates highly to violent crime, bullying, addiction and aggression, but that over-coming shame leads to innovation and daring: that in order to take risks we need to feel worthy and resilient to shame.  Notice how I said resilient, not immune.  In what ways does shame come up for you?  How has shame made you do things that hurt others?  Shame is a necessary part of humanity, but it shouldn’t be what shapes our every move.  For more great stuff by Brene Brown check out her TED talk.

Follow your heart’s desire.

In a previous article I discussed how our heart is the part of us that is most connected to our highest calling.  If each one of us had the courage to fully embrace what our highest calling was, we would live in a world where each person inherently knew, and felt, their own value.   When we aren’t in touch with our heart’s desire, in its truest form, we also find that we are drawn to material things, as a means to satisfy ourselves.  But we all know that money alone can’t buy you love, or fulfillment, or even happiness.  By truly tapping into what really fulfills us, what really inspires us, we find that we don’t need to consume as much, we don’t need to spend as much, and that alone would make a huge difference in the world.  Have you thought you really wanted something only to get it, and realize it isn’t enough?  Do you harbor desires that you don’t talk about because you are afraid they are selfish or trivial? For more on this, check out a talk I did this past May.

Realize your connection to everything.

It’s a myth and a falsehood that we are separate individuals with out connection to everything around us.  When we come from a place of feeling like we a separated from everything, we don’t consider how our choices affect our family, our friends, and our environment.  We also feel isolated, alone and cut off from that which truly feeds us.  One of the greatest lies of this era is that the earth is merely a collection of resources to be exploited by man, rather than a living breathing entity with a life all of its own. Read more about the  Big Lie and how it affects us.   The world around us is rich with things we cannot see or name, we are all connected to each other in ways we could never imagine.  Did you know that your heart has a magnetic field that affects people you come into close proximity with?  Or that most of us can sense what others are feeling even when they never say anything about it?  What if you lived your life knowing that you were part of an immense web of interconnectedness instead of feeling like an isolated being?

How do you incorporate or struggle with these three concepts?  Leave a comment below, and be sure to share this article if you find it useful.

Allison Carr LAc believes that healing yourself makes the world a better place.  Learn more about her work and classes at http://allisoncarr.net/
photo credit: nutmeg66 via photopin cc

Are these 5 things keeping you from finding spirtual community?


medium_3437790239We all want it:  connection, community, our ‘tribe’, to feel like we belong.  One of the most common things people tell me they long for, is a sense of spiritual community.  Not only finding a belief system they resonate with, but being able to share it with others.  And why not?  I have found that some of the most intense and profound experiences I’ve had with other humans has been in a shared spiritual context.

But if you aren’t into organized religion, how do you find a group of like-minded people to have spiritual connection with?

In this article we are going to discuss some of the most common pitfalls that keep us from the community we crave.

Don’t assume it will just come to you.

Just like getting a date, finding a job or finishing a project, this isn’t going to just happen on its own.  You will have to put some hard work and commitment into finding your community.  Put yourself out there, find classes, meditation groups, or gatherings where you are likely to meet others that share your beliefs. Test the waters.  Forming community takes time, and a willingness to engage.  This doesn’t mean you can’t ask your spirit guides for help, or say a prayer for what you want, it just means that you are also going to have to take some human action.

Don’t be too picky at first.

When you are first getting started don’t rule out opportunities just because they aren’t an exact fit.   That goddess group may not be exactly your cup of tea, but you may meet some folks there who feel the same as you.  Go with an open mind however, don’t go just to trash an event, or talk shit about it afterwards.   At the same time don’t stick with something that really doesn’t resonate with you.  See if you can find the balance between trying new things, and being honest with yourself when it’s just not for you.

Don’t propose on the first date.

All too often we are so eager and thirsty for spiritual community we go in looking to form commitment before even getting to know someone.  If you find yourself going to meditation groups, classes, or public rituals for the sole purpose of finding people to form a group with, you may be coming on too strong, and missing the gifts available to you.  You would never propose marriage on the first date, so why would you expect someone to commit to a deeply intimate connection with you on the first meeting.  Test the waters, go slowly, get to know people  before proposing you all form a coven and become blood sisters.

Don’t assume that having spiritual commonality will protect you from human drama.

We would like to believe that when we are dealing with folks on a spiritual plane that we can bypass all the petty shit that gets in the way of normal friendships.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  In my experience, our vulnerability increases dramatically when engaging in spiritual activity with others, and often so does our bad behavior as we sometimes seek to cover for our weaknesses by acting out.  Before joining any group, or forming one of your own, ask yourself how well you know the folks involved.  Are you likely to be supported and treated kindly when your shit comes up?  How well do they deal with their own shit, and are they willing to take responsibility when they act out?

Don’t try to control the process.

Unless you are trying to form a cult, you will need to relinquish some control over how things unfold.  You may have the perfect idea of how best to form community, or make commitments with others, but you don’t always know best.  True community is based on a shared value system, where everyone is honored for their unique gifts.  In my practice we have a belief that each person present in the group is holding a very important piece of the puzzle and that we wouldn’t be complete without them.  This ensures that everyone’s perspective is valued and no one person has all the authority. Trust that when others show up, they are there for a reason, and when they can’t be there it is also for a reason.

So how do you do it?

Put yourself out there, meet other people and then start slow.  Invite folks over for a casual solstice dinner, or new moon ritual.  Don’t get too heavy or too deep at first.  See who sticks around, who do you have commonality with, who does it feel like you can trust.  Don’t take it personally if folks aren’t ready, just find the ones who are.  Also recognize that no one person needs to be everything to everybody.  Certain folks may be great for a causal dinner, but not the types you want to book a weekend meditation retreat at the beach with.  Other people may be the type that you can spend hours going incredibly deep with, but they don’t get along with your other friends.  It takes all kinds of people to form community.

In what ways do you struggle with finding spiritual community?  Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to share this article on Facebook and Twitter if it resonates with you.

Allison Carr LAc believes that healing yourself makes the world a better place.  Learn more about her work and classes at http://allisoncarr.net/
photo credit: AlicePopkorn via photopin cc