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Resilience and SoulAlchemy

1 May

We are all trained to have our eyes on the ups of life and orient ourselves toward them: We want the perfect partner. We would like to be successful. We like wealth. We want to be healthy. We want it all — and there is nothing wrong with wanting. But here is an issue: you may have a fairytale script for your life. And just as in a fairytale you may expect the happy ever after. Forever.

But then life throws you a curve ball……..

How do you react? Shocked. Shaken. Unprepared.

Here’s a truth: Life is cyclical. It is a sequence of ups and downs, of good experiences and painful experiences. Unless you die very young, chances are that you’ll encounter disappointments and losses—no matter how beautiful or intelligent or wealthy you are. No insurance can guarantee that you’ll go through life without losses.

How do we deal with the downs of life?

The common ways of coping are: shop more, eat more, self-medicate via drinking, or go on anti-depressants. In the long run, these all are self-defeating and tend to leave you feeling hollow, or fat, or more vulnerable. Eventually, you get used to shutting down, and you create more reasons to be depressed. Soon, you are caught in a downward spiral. You become less open to yourself and the world around you and you become more and more separated from joy.

So, how do you deal with the uncertainties of life, with defeat and loss? How can you emerge from one of life’s downs without being broken and shut off?

The key is resilience. Resilience is the capacity to experience the full spectrum of life. Resilience is when we learn to ride the waves of life and begin to accept the downs along with the ups. When we are resilient we can bounce back more quickly after a downward stretch and start to find joy again.

How can we nurture resilience?

SoulAlchemy® is a path to resilience. It teaches us to embrace life in its fullness.

In SoulAlchemy® you learn to connect with your inner truth. You learn to accept that the ups of your life will be accompanied by downs. By looking at all of your life courageously, you learn to authentically embrace your feelings. As a result you feel stronger and become more resilient.

SoulAlchemy® is a journey through memories and associations. It is also a journey into your potential and into your core. SoulAlchemy will bring you closer to feel the fullness of life—your life—and leave you encouraged, empowered, and resiilient.

Learn more about SoulAlchemy® at evaruland.com/alchemy.

© Eva Ruland, May 2018

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SelfCare strategies for challenging times

3 Dec

The last weeks have been a major challenge for all progressives in this country. The normal reaction to a challenge that we can’t easily solve and that might have major consequences for our future and the future of the planet is to experience fear and feel stressed. Both the body and the mind shut down and lock into emergency mode. Over time this wears us down physically and emotionally. Mentally, it leads to revisiting the same loop of being caught in inescapable doom. We cannot think clearly and we cannot find a way out. We become the deer in the headlight with no way to go, or the hamster that runs and runs but never gets anywhere.

In times of crisis we need to take extra care of ourselves, especially when the crisis threatens our reality or we feel  our life as we know it crumbling away. In those times we need a refuge. We need to know where we can go to feel safe and find respite. For babies, that place is the mother’s bosom. As adults, we don’t necessarily have a bosom to rush to. We need to create our own refuge to survive the challenge or crisis. Where do you find refuge? How can you tune into serenity when the country (and perhaps you too) is unsettled after the elections? How can you enjoy the season and take care of yourself?

The greatest place of refuge for me is nature. It has tremendous nurturing energies and restorative qualities. For me, nature has the power to transform stress into inner peace, whether i hike the ridge of the hills here in the San Francisco East Bay, walk through redwood forest, or enjoy a long stroll on the beach. Even a short walk can be magical, as i was reminded last Sunday. We were heading to San Francisco to check on a friend’s cats and decided to go to Fort Funston for a walk, but because we were busy until mid-afternoon, and because i needed a moment to gather myself, it was 4pm by the time we left Berkeley. We reached the bleach just before sunset which was regrettable, but we were in for a treat. It was one of the most magnificent sunsets i have experienced. The photo  above was taken that evening and i share it here to give you a glimpse of the colors that evoked the supernatural even though the photo does not give full justice to the magic of the moment. We did not get to walk far because the tide came in fast but we enjoyed every moment of our 30 minutes on the beach and left with our spirits soaring.

In a way, winter is the season for refuge. When the days grow short it’s the time to lean more inwardly and give refuge to body, mind, and soul. It’s the season for quiet time and for creative expression. Winter is the perfect time to grab a hot chocolate and a book and find a comfy couch or chair, or a hot tea and some art supplies. Another refuge is sharing time with friends. In Germany we have a tradition of coming together on December Sunday afternoons when it’s cold and grey outside, light candles, tell old stories, eat cookies and other treats, and perhaps engage in an art or craft project. As you know, i love SoulCollage and this time of the year i feel particularly drawn to it. It’s creative, it’s introspective, and it furthers deeply nurturing community. It’s perfect as it invites you to delve into yourself, then emerge with the images you found as we share our collage cards in the group. The depth of the sharing is often awe-inspiring.

What is your refuge? How can you give yourself more of it? How can you give yourself quality (soul)time?

Need help finding your refuge? I have a Holiday Special that might be just right for you. The BreakThrough Package includes a private visioning session plus one month of coaching for only $450—you save $150. It might also be just the right meaningful gift for a dear one. http://evaruland.com/gifts.html

Wishing you sweetness and peace,

Eva

11 years later — a true story about consequences of loss

5 Sep

I am back from Germany and had a great time. The biggest blessing i experienced in Berlin was community, and the greatest gift i received was the support of a very capable friend who offered to help me and my four siblings sell my mother’s house which has been empty for many years. We siblings have dragged our feet—my sister local to the house who was my mother’s caretaker and is the main heir has been too emotional, and those of us far away did not feel in charge, as we are only secondary heirs. But after years, even from the distance across the globe, i have become upset about the situation. It feels disrespectful to my mother’s memory to not deal with the estate (the house has been neglected and is in disrepair). So, when i set off to go to Germany, facilitating a settling of my mother’s estate was my major objective, next to spending quality time with my 5 year old niece Stella, my sister Anne, and some other people close to my heart.

I tell you about this not to cast blame on anyone but to share a story of loss and its consequences. Underneath my sister’s procrastination (the house was left to her) was an overwhelming sense of loss with which she was left more or less alone. It may be that my family’s situation is particularly extreme as we siblings have dispersed in all winds, living on three continents, in time zones so different that talking to each other on the phone regularly is almost impossible. But i know that my sister’s pain and isolation is not an uncommon occurrence. Major losses are super tough challenges. And it does not matter much whether it is the loss of a parent, a friend, a partner, a close family member (including pets), or the the loss of one’s long-term relationship, one’s health, or one’s youth. The shock of death and separation, the scariness of major health problems, and the depressing cultural implications of dwindling youth are not only hard to face—we are usually not prepared for them and most have no support structures to help. When this loss is the death of a loved one there might be a lot of sympathy, but there is usually little capacity to be in the presence of grief. When the loss is that of one’s youth, often there is not even sympathy.

For the last two years i have been offering Midlife Alchemy. My intention with it has always been to offer a structure that provides the space to reflect, process, and find support in times of loss, impending loss, or during a major redefining of one’s self. I want to fill the cultural gap around loss and offer a place that encourages authenticity and trust, inspires self-reflection and sharing, and becomes a place for emotional healing and transformation. With Midlife Alchemy I am offering the kind of space and support here that i wish my sister would have in Germany.

Midlife Alchemy is not just about loss. It is about embracing what is and connecting with your inner strength in the face of what life presents you. It is about reconnecting with your true nature so that you can gracefully unfold and be the beautiful being you came into this life to be.

A new in-person Midlife Alchemy group in the Bay Area is forming this month. We will meet on Thursday evenings. You can find more information at http://evaruland.com/MidlifeAlchemy. Please don’t hesitate connecting with me if you are interested but have any questions.

Happy Solstice!

21 Jun

I spent the solstice with a small group of friends in my friend’s garden. We honored nature’s beauty and her creations and basked in the afternoon sun. And we playfully used the garden as a place to find pointers for our next personal growth steps. ….. Two of my friends picked carnations, one white and two pink. I was attracted to a deep red nicotine flower. My friend’s husband chose a tiny yellow wildflower. We all collected gorgeous leaves of different sizes, shapes, and textures. I found a heart-shaped stone, a velvety carmine red 5-petaled flower, a sage leaf, and a wooden lizard. These items gave me useful hints and encouragement. The stone pointed me to  the importance of living from my heart. The flower illustrated the miracle of witnessing the unfolding of myself and the people around me—i am thinking particularly of the amazing transformation i see in my clients. The velvety softness of the flower and of the sage leaf reminded me to be gentle with myself and others. And the lizard told me that i have great resilience. Like the lizard i would rather shed my tail than be caught or stepped upon. It’s that resilience that helped me reinvent myself and move to a different continent. The lizard also teaches me patience—it takes time to regrow a tail.  

Stone walkway

lush garden with wooden lizard.

 
I encourage you to take a moment and use the longest days of the year for reflection. Spend some time to reflect on the first half of the year. Appreciate what has unfolded and note the progress you have made on projects that are important to you. Contemplate what nurturing input might help your projects grow to fruition. And what would fertilize and nurture your growth? Be playful. Bask in the warmth of the sun to recharge. Spend some time near the water to refresh and cleanse. Enjoy the company of people you love.
© Eva Ruland, 2016

What color is your blossom?

31 Mar

Spring has started with sunshine and a show of lush green and the first blooms. It is as if nature put on a perfect show to teach us a lesson—that we are at our best when we show our innate beauty, that which makes us unique.

Spring is a celebration of new possibilities and of differences. Flowers come in different colors and shapes, and so do humans. Some of us are high endurance people, others are sprinters; some of us have a firm grasp on facts, and others are more ethereal and easily travel into the realm of imagination. I see us all as unique flowers, contributing to the beautiful tapestry of life.

Spring is your time to embrace your uniqueness and celebrate it. It’s the time to get yourself out and show yourself in your you-ness. What is your unique color? What does your blossom look like?

I offer 3 different ways of supporting you in making strides toward being yourself more fully.

Coaching. In this completely individualized approach the focus is on you, where you’re at and where you want to be. Coaching supports and guides you in taking a new kind of  responsibility, that of agency. This is the deepest approach to self-discovery and has lasting effects. Ready for a life-changing journey? Read more here or contact me.

Midlife Alchemy group. I guide you and the group through a transformative process of self exploration using writing and imagery. Sharing in the group creates a community and accelerates insights. A new midlife alchemy group will start in May. http://evaruland.com/MidlifeAlchemy

SoulCollage group/workshop. I guide you in the process of connecting with your soul through images. This is a quick+easy approach to self-discovery. Repeated participation is highly recommended. Check out dates and sign up: http://evaruland.com/soulcollage.html

All 3 approaches have specific benefits and lead you to experience profound change in how you see yourself and your world. They work well in tandem—the more attention and time you invest the faster you’ll see change.

If you need help deciding on where to start, contact me. We’ll talk about it and i will help you choose what’s best for you right now.

Happy spring!

© Eva Ruland, March 2016

Let go and be yourself

31 Jan

A while ago a came across a poem of great beauty and wisdom that i want to share with you and reflect on. Here is the poem:

She Let Go by Safire Rose

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgments. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go. 

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go. She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all of the memories that held her back. She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

I believe that this poem describes a key to happiness. The letting go described here is the letting go of judgement of self and others, the letting go of the wish to please. It is the letting go of expectations, our own and those of others, and of fears. Our world changes drastically once we let go. While everything around us might continue to be the same, how we experience it changes for us once our attitude changes. Just imagine life without being self-conscious or worried. Once we let go of expectations we not only let go of a major source of stress, we also side-step disappointment. Once we stop caring about what others think and expect, and throw our own harsh inner critic in the wind, we make room for our essence to unfold. We become more ourselves.

Once we free ourselves from playing a role and squeezing ourselves into a box of expectations that doesn’t fit, we gain authenticity. We finally become true to ourselves. We shift from living a life dictated by outside factors to living our soul’s longing. When we do that we connect with the river of joy. This river of joy runs through us and every animate being. It springs from the source and runs through our soul. Once we take down our walls of defense and pretension and allow our soul to shine through, we automatically connect with this river of joy. It is as if “the sun and the moon shine forevermore.”

————

Having trouble letting go? I can help you. Choose a modality (coaching, SoulCollage, or Midlife Alchemy) that resonates with you, or contact me at eva_at_evaruland.com.

© Eva Ruland, January 2016

Why SoulCollage?

12 Oct

Have you ever wondered why I as a transformational coach offer SoulCollage® workshops? It is because SoulCollage® is a highly accessible and effective tool for transformation. SoulCollage® is a vehicle into the soul: an opportunity to give voice to all of who we are. Doing so we become more aware of our complexities, and ultimately we become more whole. We become the person we are meant to be.

3 soulcollage cards from the September workshop

3 soulcollage cards from the September workshop

SoulCollage® is a creative psycho-spiritual system that allows us to discover ourselves at our own pace, one card at a time. It meets each of us exactly where we are—it does not over-challenge nor under-challenge. Each card contributes to a more complete picture of who we are. SoulCollage® honors the personal, archetypal, energetic and spiritual dimensions of our being. The result of practicing SoulCollage® is psychological wholeness, self-acceptance, inner peace, and balance. I highly recommend SoulCollage®. For me, SoulCollage® is the easiest, most effective way to go deep. Come and check it out. Please contact me if you have questions.

To find a SoulCollage® workshop visit www.evaruland.com/soulcollage.html

These are two different ways to experience SoulCollage®. The Sunday workshop gives you a taste of this powerful practice. The newly forming group which meets twice a month for 3 months allows you to deepen your practice. In both the workshop and the group we will create cards and share them by giving voice to the elements of the cards. As an added bonus of coming to the group you will make strides toward developing your SoulCollage® deck. Having  a SoulCollage® deck is like having your own personalized super tarot deck. — No artistic background needed. Come and enjoy this process that is powerful yet easy to practice.

© Eva Ruland, October 2013