The Journey to Know Thyself

It has been some time since I posted but writing on the topic of Know Thyself has been a priority. I have been working on a book to Know Thyself through Nature and Nurture, using tools of meditation, mindfulness, and journalling. One of the biggest questions that has come up as I have shared what I am doing is why the topic of Know Thyself.

I believe that each of us have instances that disconnect us from ourselves. There are life events such as trauma, scenarios that lead to people pleasing, relationships, work situations, school situations, and simply life that constantly throws new scenarios, opportunities, input, and challenges towards us. Depending on what is happening we have the best of choices and time to reflect on how that fits with who we are or a variety of reaction and actions up to and including survival mode.

I don’t know anyone that was raised to take self care time to make sure they know who they are from a young age and take time to make sure they are acting, reacting, and making life choices that keep them connected with who they are. What I have both experienced and seen in others is following life opportunities as they arise. A prime example is a job that is either a necessity or appears to be the perfect job. Weeks or months later the shine has worn off and going to work tears the individual apart mentally and physically. I spent many mornings crying my entire way into and from a corporate job that I had. Other examples include: Visiting a family member has you physically dreading the experience or worse yet you numb out with drinking to deal with the experience. Hanging out with a friend that everyone else loves in your life, makes you feel miserable because you don’t want to do so.

All of these instances are feelings telling you that you aren’t living in accordance with your truth. That certain people and situations are not feeding your soul, but eating away at it. Know Thyself is self care, self knowledge and personal power. It is not a stagnate part of you, but one that is mutable and ever-evolving, as you are ever growing and changing your self knowledge and self awareness should. By making the self care to Know Thyself a part of your awareness and checking in with yourself and having the tools to Know Thyself a regular part of your self care routine I believe that each of us can create a life truly connected to who we are and what has meaning to us. This in turn leads us to a life filled with relationships and opportunities that feed us, in stead of eating away at our soul.

Knowing who we are and what we want or need makes creating personal boundaries, personal space, self care, and speaking what we need for ourselves in loving kindness (sometimes firmly) a lot easier and a lot less scary. I spent too many years trying to find a reason why I felt one way, but well-meaning family and friends told me I should be happy living XYZ way. I was miserable with the life I was living. People told me I was ungrateful because I had what everyone dreamed of. When I explained they weren’t my dreams, I was told I was selfish. No, I was being honest about my truth, but I wasn’t in a place to be seen and heard. However, I could have saved myself so much heartache if I had known that it was okay to not want what others want. It is okay to have different dreams. It is okay to want a different way of life.

We all need to Know Thyself and how to express that in loving kindness. Then we need to find ways to live in alignment with who we are and what we want. I believe that if people Know Themselves more and live out societal and familial expectations less, we would have a lot more happiness and loving kindness in the world. After all, it is difficult to live and share loving kindness when we are not happy with ourselves and our personal situation.

I hope you continue to join me in the journey to Know Thyself.

Mindfulness and Goals

As the optimism of the New Year Resolutions fade, let’s focus on how we can use the practice of mindfulness to maintain and achieve our most important goal for ourself in 2021.

The practice of mindfulness can guide your on the journey to attain the goals that you wish for yourself and your life. Comment with the number one goal that you wish for yourself this year and we can discuss how mindfulness can help you achieve this goal!

Comment below or come to the facebook community that is just beginning!

The messy side of meditation!

Let’s talk about meditation. I don’t know about you, but when I think of meditation I think of quiet time with no interruptions. That is not always a reality. Can it happen? Absolutely!

Does it happen each time you meditate? That depends on your lifestyle and living arrangements. If you live alone it is easier to get that quiet time. Turn off your cell phone and Viola, you have some quiet.

Roommates can be tricky to coordinate with each others comings and goings; but with communication and planning it should be manageable. Have a family with children? Good luck! There are days I swear my toddler has radar tuned to “mommy time!”

There is hope! Communication with anyone that you live with is vital. Tips and tricks for meditation time cues:

lighting. Recently, I have been changing our smart bulbs to purple when I am meditating. Also, I have been communicating to my three young children that when they see the purplelights that means that someone is meditating. The person meditating needs the respect, peace and quiet for self care.

Timing. I really do try to get up prior to my children, but between exhaustion and child radar I am not always successful. When this happens I pause my meditation, toss them on the TV or tablet they want anyway and take the time I need for my self care. Why? Because I have learned that I am short of spoons without my meditation and even an interrupted one balances more than simply skipping it because the , time isn’t right on perfect.

Getting ready for your day. Take your time and be mindful of every action on getting yourself looking and feeling your best for this day. When the kids, roommate on partner come in firmly and politely let them know you are doing set care and want 20 minutes to yourself. Make taking deep breaths and setting intentions as much of your morning and evening self care as brushing your teeth!

Meditation and mindfulness don’t always look the way that we want them to. However, that doesn’t mean that we should give up on this self care. It means we make it work for us within the circumstances of the moment and create our own ideal.

Mindfully yours,Irisa

Fear is my co-pilot; where is the eject button?

Every single one of us has Fear. The extent to which fear has twined its way into our mind, thoughts, actions and beliefs deepens the blocks within each of us and keeps us from living our best authentic life.

Fear is the backseat driver in most of our lives. Most of us do not even realize that Fear is controlling our life. Fear limits us. Fear keeps us from living a life that we adore.

Where do fears come from? There are many places that fears grow. Some are from our personal experiences and others are from another individuals experience and influence on our life.

Fear keeps us from:
… setting healthy boundaries,
… being honest with other people,
… following our dreams,
… speaking the truth as we both see and feel it,
… loving relationships,
… health,
… living a life that we adore.

None of us can reach our potential while we have fear whispering in our ear. I have allowed fear to limit my life by listening to fear disguised as practical advice. This was a behavior that I was taught by my parents and well-meaning friends when I was a teenager. Unfortunately, those lessons took hold and formed deep blocks to my happiness, creativity and abundance.

I have always been a writer and photographer. For as long as I can recall they have been my passion. During high school I realized I could take an artistic track to prepare me for post-secondary education or career. I came home so excited with the plan to take a variety of art courses and which technical colleges to apply to after.

There isn’t a time I ever recall being so excited about the potential of life. Knowing that this was my path and plan for my time here. Then I went home and told my parents what I wanted. Practical advice crushed my spirit that day. Being told I was too smart for a path that would never allow me financial stability or respect and was a fool to follow such dreams. Art is a hobby, not a career. Authors don’t make money or become famous until they die. Many discussions on how this was foolish and I would be unsuccessful and starve followed and created blocks within myself.

Rooting blocks and fears:
… Artists cannot support themselves
… True success comes from going to college
… Money is what makes you successful
… Making $50,000 a year and buying a house will make me happy
… A secure job is happiness

Conversation after conversation arose in high school around my passions. Each one was squished with practical advice. Until fear took firm hold and I was a senior in high school. That year was sad. I had no excitement for my future other than to be done with that town and live elsewhere. I was going to a college of my parents choice and taking a major that made them happy. This made me feel worthy of being loved by my family because I was following their dreams; not mine.

Prior to the college semester beginning I was in the mountains with friends and family. An older friend who was in forestry and taught me much about nature was chatting with me. He asked me what I was going to do in college. English? Art? Yes, he knew my parents feelings on it but supported me. I told him I was going to major in accounting at an all girls Catholic college. There is nothing wrong with either choice, except they could not be farther from my personal truth. Never, have I seen anyone spit a beer so far in my life. Why? he asked. That isn’t your dream.

The only answer I have found is that in four years of high school so many fears had rooted in me. Fears of being unloved if I was my authentic self. Disappointing people by not listening to their advice. That I would starve and die alone if I followed my art. As such, college was a massive disaster that lead to a lot of debt, personal crisis and heartache but no degree.

Now that fear was the main voice in my ear a constant internal battle began. The battle of who I was and who I was supposed to be. Supposed to be ran the show for a long time. Many years were spent in a corporate financial career that was successful by society standards. This colored my first marriage, living arrangements, friendships and made me miserable. I was financially well-off, people considered me to be in a loving relationship and I had a nice home. Fear and misery were my constant companions. Depression was my best friend because I felt awful for not wanting that life. Stating I was unhappy only led to me being told I was ungrateful.

I share this because no one can tell you what type of life you should be grateful for. Being poor, writing and creating art made me happier than thousands in the bank, a nice house and one sided happy relationship.

No one should tell you what your definition of success is. We all have different goals and capabilities. The interests, passions and desire to share that with the world is different for everyone. Whatever you bring to the world is a gift, if it is done with love.

Fear leads us to judge and put our perceptions, wants, needs and disappointments on others. This creates block after block within individuals and communities. As long as we continue to share fear, we will not know ourselves. We will not build loving, supportive families that create supportive, safe, nurturing communities. Fear will continue to control and destroy the best of what we are … our ability and desire to love.

Love puts us in alignment with the Universe. When we operate from a place of love our world shifts. Abundance, knowledge, wisdom, respect and much more begin to fill the spaces where fear, anger, judgement and other limiting emotions lived within us.

It is Okay to not be okay. Things are never perfect. We are people living real lives and having real experiences. That means this work is cyclical for us. Whether you are just beginning your journey of self discovery or have been walking this path for decades we all have times were we have to remember that It is Okay to NOT be Okay.

Struggles in life are normal. Emotional and mental blocks are normal. It isn’t like you do the work and after so many levels you hit this miracle place where there are no blocks or struggles. I can’t say do this work for a set amount of time and you will earn your trophy. What I can say is that by doing the work you have tools to handle what life throws at you. By doing the work you recognize when you are not being true to yourself. You recognize when fear is whispering in your ear or speaking instead of love.

Today’s Mantra: It’s Okay to Not be Okay and I am still lovable.
You do not have to be perfect to be lovable. You do not have to be perfect, just be the best you that you can be at this moment.

In Universal Love,
Irisa MacKenzie

Do you ever feel like everything is going wrong?

Sometimes it feels that no matter what we do everything goes wrong. All of our plans go astray. Unexpected financial expenses come out of nowhere. Frustrations seem to pile up. It seems the harder you try the more resistance you find.

You cannot help but think of all the hard work you are putting into yourself. Whether it is changing behaviors, habits and self expression. Attitude. Aligning with Universal abundance. Conscious guardianship of your finances. Healthy lifestyle and habit changes. Whatever you are working on so you can better Know Thyself and create the life you adore is just going as wonky as possible. I empathize so much.

For decades I have remotely discussed my dream of being a writer and speaker. I have given workshops when time allowed, but didn’t make the time for this focus. I dabbled, sound familiar? Finally, I have been making space in my life to prioritize this dream.

I took the necessary steps to cultivate creativity. Lots of art was made. Writing prompts have been used and contests entered. Daily journaling. Telling my family I want time to work on my writing career … consciously using the word career to make that energy and attitude shift. Joining a writers group with a time commitment to projects. Telling family and friends my goals … the scariest one!

Next to this I am working on health and nutrition. Aside from the dietary changes I bought a bike. Third ride, I crashed. I am talking twisted wrist and ankle, major bruising and road rash on my leg and arm, seriously damaged fingers (typing hurts).

It certainly does not feel like the Universe and I were working together. It would be so easy right now to say this was a sign to not move forward. Instead, I took a breathe and meditated.

Opening myself to the Universe I realized that aligning doesn’t just happen with a snap of the fingers. Myself and the Universe are checking each other out to see how we best mesh for this new phase of our relationship. It isn’t unlike dating someone and a major change happens in that relationship. You both need to see where you are currently, input the new information and determine the next steps to line up your individual life goals. Sometimes things get a little weird at first and there are misunderstandings.

This down time for resting these bones has given me more time to contemplate, plan and evaluate how to achieve my goals. I’ve done a map of how I hope August will go. Then I worked on some outstanding projects to clear them up and create more space for my primary focus.

A setback is often just that. If Murphy drops by for a visit and totally mucks with your plans, don’t let yourself think the Universe doesn’t want to align with you. Offer Murphy a drink and let his weird wisdom wash over you. Talk to the Universe. Open yourself to the bigger picture. Evaluate and adjust, but don’t give up.


Know Thyself – A Journey of Self Discovery

One of the most important things to know about yourself is that you grow and change. Know Thyself is not a destination, it is an ever-changing journey. I have spoken with many that believe they cultivate an idea of who they are and they become married to that self-image that they fear acknowledging any changes (internal or external). This leads to misery, for you and anyone who shares your life.

Google the phrase ‘journey off self-discovery’ and you will find articles, blogs, web posts and quotes aplenty. Knowing who we are and our life purpose is central to a persons need to fit in and find a place in the world. I believe it is why we are obsessed with labeling ourselves and others. We need things to make sense and fit together. This gives us a sense of control in our lives.

Control starts with knowing you, truly and honestly knowing you. The you in your heart that you do not speak about to anyone. The one who is afraid of being made fun of for liking XYZ. That is the you. That is the person you need to know and cultivate to have a life you adore.

First, embrace the fact that we grow and change by both internal and external factors. External factors are more easily recognized. They are things such as school, career, partner, friendships and societal expectations. Internal factors are more difficult because they are often emotional. Changes in relationships, physical or mental health, and our thoughts, feelings and desires based on our life experiences and choices.

Externally, my life changed when I left home to go to college. It was a time of absolute freedom from another controlling my decisions; however, I was wrestling with my familial expectations versus what I wanted at that point in my life. Given lack of life experience, new situations and people I made a lot of choices that I learned from; some of the lessons were very harsh and life changing. However, I lived, experienced and chose. Without these experiences I would not have been led to the person who introduced me to meditation and encouraged me to pursue my love of art and writing.

This situation and the choices I made at age 17 put me on the path of self-discovery. My love of philosophy and mythology led me to the greek maxim “Know Thyself”. Decades of study, contemplation and reflection on this maxim have led me to believe in this as one of the foundation blocks of the healthy self. It has also led me to believe that you cannot embrace yourself as a stagnate discovery, but a mutable journey.

Think of it as weaving a beautiful tapestry full of light and dark colors. If you solely focus on the light, the brightness is overwhelming and seems gaudy and unreal. Focusing only on the dark is depressing and tragic. However, woven together they create a balance of beauty. A connecting web of a life fully lived.

Often, we allow societal and familial expectations to overshadow our self desires and expectations. This leads to imbalance in the body, mind and spirit. These imbalances can cause anger, depression and physical illness (just to name a few).

Have you ever thought: “I have no right to feel unhappy or dissatisfied with my life because everyone tells me how lucky I am? Yet, this isn’t what I want. I know I should want this, but I don’t?”

That is living for expectations that are not for you. One persons ideal is another nightmare. My ex-husband wanted to live in a certain style house with a certain type of friends, no kids, no pets and work corporate jobs at a certain income. I was dying on the inside to the point I was physically ill and seriously depressed. Each day I went to a career I hated, over-shopped trying to fill the void of the family I wanted and became more and more depressed as people told me I was ungrateful for the life I had.

I wasn’t ungrateful, I was living a life that was not for me. I was living a lie that my soul knew. The more I worked on Know Thyself, the more I understood this. I tried to make it work in that life situation but the fact was we each had different truths for what we wanted for life and those truths were incompatible.

Not everyone will come to extreme life realizations. I did and had I not, I would have lived my life unhappy. Instead, I had the courage to find my own path. For me, this path includes a partner who is my best friend with three kids under 8 and two dogs.

Know Thyself looks different for every one of us. There are many paths to get there. I personally love writing, as such journalling is one of my primary resources for gaining personal insight. Meditation is an amazing way to slow down and start the connection process. Mindfulness is a fantastic way to slow down and stop constantly multi-tasking. Music (composing, playing, listening) is soothing and can assist us in connecting with our thoughts and feelings. Art is great for mindfulness and connecting, as well as expressing emotions. These are just the tip of the ice-berg.

Going forward we will be discussing the paths to Know Thyself. Subscribe to further explore this topic.

Creating Normal

Creating normal during these times is important to combating the anxiety and depression of the effects on society due to coronavirus. Most Americans spend their days packed with things to do. We hurry from work to school to appointments to obligations to home and reset for the next day. Quality time is hard to get due to packed schedules. Down time and relaxation can be looked upon as being lazy and unmotivated.

Americans are now faced with enormous amounts of down time, alone time and time with their families … all of which can be made into quality time. First discover yourself. Stop and take a breathe. Think if you could do anything you wanted what would it be? Learn a language? Pick up an old hobby? Cuddle with your partner? Play with your kids? Read a book? Play a video game? Now is the time to do it. Feeling guilty? Start small. Set a timer for 30 minutes and then go do a chore around the house for 15 minutes … repeat.

This is a time of huge reset for the world. All the busy has been stopped. Uninterrupted time with those we reside with is upon us. Many of us have been detached from ourself, our family, friends and the world around us for a long time. Our lives have become filled with things and obligations. Now is the time to see if that is the quality and type of life we really want. Take the time to shape your world the way you want to. Let us make the best of these times and create new normals during this change.

When is the last time you focused on yourself? Spent several hours just with you? Being alone is not a punishment, frightening or scary. You are an incredible person who deserves to be known but no one else can know you if you first do not Know Thyself.

Don’t know where to begin? Get a journal (notebook will do fine) and write down three things that you used to enjoy doing. Can you write three more? If so great, if not that is okay for now. Examine what you wrote down. How realistic are these activities for your current life? How does the thought of pursuing this activity make you feel?

Now make a list of three activities that you are curious about. Can you write three more? If so great, if not that is okay for now. Examine what you wrote down. How realistic are these activities for your current life? How does the thought of pursuing this activity make you feel?

Next, pick one activity to try at least three times this week. Write down your thoughts and feelings after each experience. This will help you determine if this is an activity you wish to continue doing in the future.

Along with this, speak with your family and find out what they want to do, try, learn and explore. You will learn things about yourselves and each other. Use this to bond and grow your relationships and yourselves.

Happy Exploration!

WaterLily Nature and Nurture Homeschool with Sassy Viking Mama