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Divine Authenticity?!

As a gender variant person, a gender non-conforming person, a person that doesn’t identify with either side of the gender binary I have found that authenticity is at my center. When a person like me is faced with such a huge opposition to societial norms we are forced to face our own authenticity. When we don’t we find ourselves depressed, mentally ill, and overall disconnected from ourselves and the world. Many of us will try to fill those roles expected of us as whatever we were assigned at birth but for most of us, that means ignoring or giving up a big part of ourselves. As we come out of the closet and learn to embrace this authentic gender expression we are faced with personal shame, societal rejection, invisibility, and an overall feeling of being an outcast. We search for others like us… and in our tribe we discover there is an entire authentic person beneath that gender-nonconforming expression. Yes, we are gender-nonconforming but we are so much more as well.

I personally still struggle with staying authentic and have found all sorts of things that keep us away from our authenticity. All that is expected of us as children and projected on us from our parents is usually the first layer to be removed. Many of us naturally do this in puberty and young adulthood. Then as we mature we learn there is more to us than the role we play, that if we work to stay within our role we will actually deny ourselves that. As a mother and wife I found myself lacking expression of my divine masculine and found that when I began to explore it, just that act of masculine explorations was enough to push me to change my personal expressions. I soon divorced my husband and thought that by being with a woman it would be easier to express my divine masculine. Although I actually learned that my divine masculine was not just wrapped around my romantic and sexual desires and instead it included even more. Exploring the concepts of gender where not just simply romantic and sexual, nature shows us they actually include much more than that. As I personally began to unfold my own beliefs and concepts around gender I was faced with a deeper understanding of the human race as a whole.

In my exploration I discovered authenticity, I happened upon it in my unraveling and in my awakening. At first I thought, “Hollis you are very different than other people, a different perspective and a different way of being. You are an outcast.” This was no different than how I felt when I played gender roles, how could this be? No, I didn’t play gender roles and instead tried to express myself as real as possible. I began setting boundaries, speaking my truth, and dressing how it suited me that day. People had to leave my life because my boundaries or truth speaking was just ‘too much’ for them. I began to listen to other people’s boundaries and even helping them set them when they didn’t understand why they were so upset.  In that support for other people’s boundaries, I began to understand authenticity even deeper. Some people that we think are authentic or ‘being themselves’ are often acting out of an insecurity wound, therefore still not authentic. In helping others define, speak and find their boundaries and truth I found that my own personal insecurity wound began to unravel, because now I had an understanding that almost everyone struggles with authenticity in our culture. Most cultures do not support an authentic expression, they may say they do but we all know that when we challenge the status quo we are faced with rejection, distrust, and even possibly endanger ourselves and those around us. Many cultures, certainly American, deeply suffer from narcissism and codependency – (mentally illnesses that depend on each other to exist) which keeps us all from our authentic path.

When we are on our authentic path we know it because we call it ‘bliss’. In the Fire Circle community after 3 nights of all-night fires people can finally feel free to be ‘themselves’ and in this expression, they call it ‘bliss’. Its when we feel loved for who we are, not what role we play. In every authentic expression I have ever met there is a deep need for authentic connection, a need to be respected and loved for who you are, naturally.  Authenticity is completely unique for each and every one of else and in that, we are a rainbow of people.

In my book Divine Androgyne – A Sacred Path for Gender Variant People I help detail out steps to unravel what keeps you from your most authentic self. Everything from childhood trauma, gender roles, peer pressure, and a lack of our connection to nature and divinity can keep us from our authentic self. Many of us learn, especially in the Fire Circle, spiritual & psychic community, and pagan community, that in our authentic selves we can be celebrated more deeply. We can feel more accepted, seen and loved in communities with authentic leaders that also work to express authentically. Authenticity is when we take time to connect with the divine to understand all our parts, even our shadows. When we learn to embrace our shadows, know our quirks, and share our light we find a deep fulfillment deep inside. We are all created completely unique and each one of us has a unique experience of life, we are all spiritual beings with unique gifts to share with the world. We all have connections to the ‘other side’ and ‘divinity’ and are capable of helping others in our communities.

When a leader in a group is insecure and acts on that insecurity we find things like narcissism and sociopathy. The divine has gifted us the experience of awakening to these sick ways. The old leadership styles that include things like control and dominance, lead to those around these old leaders to act on THEIR insecurity in ways we call ‘co-dependance’. Some of us play one role more than the other, while some of us work to bow out of this game. These groups can evolve into cults and have formed our culture for years, now Americans are known narcissists. We even talk about how we have entire generations of narcissists. Today many people are awakening to these old ways of leadership and finally stepping forward to call people out on them. The #MeTOO movement, the unraveling of long-time cults, the dwindling popularity of being part of those groups, the gender and sexuality revolution, and the general mental health unraveling is becoming more evident every day. This is our evolution, humans are finally saying ENOUGH! We will evolve away from these old ways of being. As we shed our codependent and narcissistic ways we will begin to step into true authenticity and the communities able to embrace said authenticity will rise from their grassroots!

We can know a truly authentic person when some very important vibrations are present such as vulnerability, can the person show their most vulnerable state? Have you sensed that this person is sharing something or doing something that creates vulnerability for them? Vulnerability is different for most of us. Have you witnessed a true and deep apology, that’s a good way to know if someone can be vulnerable. We all have different boundaries and needs, a gender variant person might find themselves having to ask people for gender pronouns that are appropriate and in this act, we ‘out ourselves’ as transgender and can receive a target upon that act. We know it, too, that’s why we don’t always ask. Not just a target of crazy violent people but also those that refuse our gender pronouns, that say its too much for them or that we are just creating trouble in asking for this pronoun thing. Although there is also great reward in the opening to vulnerability, when we do ask we are likely to find allies that are willing to stand up for us. When we share the risk of being transgender with our allies we can find connection and support, the ultimate in life rewards. We find our boundaries and begin to draw them, even just one at a time is better than ignoring that upset feeling in your gut when someone calls you by the wrong pronoun. Most of us have different boundaries like about giving gratitude, who wants to keep giving to someone that never says Thank you or recognizes our gifts? We all have boundaries and when we are brave enough to define them we will find ourselves even more confident than before when we were hiding our vulnerability and ‘not saying anything’ or ‘being nice’ about boundary-crossing. SPEAK UP, we NEED YOU TO SPEAK UP! When we act from our own integrity, when we respond to emotions rather than react we find that our response is more in line with our true authentic self. We have all reacted to something and regretted it later, yet on the other emotionally triggering moments we have been able to process the emotion, realize the impact of our reaction and then craft a more aligned response. When we respond to emotional situations we can find that we are acting in our most authentic of integrity. When we hold our integrity as real, necessary and as our personal guide we feel more secure, confident and authentic. In that walk we are authentic and when we can walk this way in the world our lives will speak our authentic messages. Each of us have authentic messages for the world.

We each have our own experience and journey ahead of us and the divine intended for each one of us to walk an authentic path that will not only inspire others but manifest things that will heal the world at large. You will know when you are expressing authentically because you feel like an authentic magickal creature spreading their wings with a deep sense of security, depth, and confidence. Go where people will celebrate your authenticity and more of you will unfold for the world, and suddenly you will begin to feel like the wealthiest person alive and your bank account will have little to do with it. You will know because you will feel secure, you will feel loved, and you will feel free. We must offer our light to the world, humanity is relying on it, nature is relying on it, the planet earth needs us NOW. Find your authentic path and walk it with confidence & strength, just because it’s authentic doesn’t mean its easy. Only YOU know your most authentic self, show us so we can celebrate YOUR part of the rainbow!

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Alternatives Healthy Holistic Inspired Permanent Change ReWiring Your Brain Yoga

Let it Go! – Rewiring the Brain

By Hollis Taylor

Let it Go! Letting things go is a lifelong exercise. Attachment seems to creep up even for people that are not suffering with mental illness. Those of us that have come through some so called “mental illness” and challenging times often find ourselves attached. We could be attached to a medication after surgery, sugar, alcohol, or video games. We could be attached to Facebook, Television or YouTube. These attachments form and the next thing we know we are dependent on them in a way that was never intended. I have found myself with many addictions including nicotine, alcohol, sugar, video games, internet, television, sex, fast food and even shopping. There are many levels to addictions and its different for many of us, but in the end we must “Let it Go!”.

Attachment can lead us to depression, bi-polar behaviors, and other ‘not so fun’ emotional expressions. The attachment to things is how we find ourselves in a state of these emotional expressions we don’t care for. Many of us reach out and are faced with quitting something that gives us comfort and pleasure. Those moments we realize we have become attached to something. What were we reaching for? Most of us need comfort, release or an outlet, often I need all these things when I reach for my addictive substance. I understand that in myself and recognize that I am always finding another way. Finding even something else to focus on that is healthier than being dependent on things we know are not good for us. This is how yoga showed up in my life. I want to say though that for you it could be something else, maybe some other exercise or possibly meditation.

I used yoga to focus me away from the things I had been using to comfort myself. I managed to use yoga to help me quit everything and it still helps me stay unattached to things. As I said, its a natural human experience to get attached, we think we want safety hence change is dangerous. In this transformation we can realize that the things we had been reaching for are not good for us. We need to instead reach for other things that boost our confidence like Tree Pose. Practicing Tree Pose can boost our confidence. Also accepting when we fall out as fact, letting it go. Some days we will be deep in tree pose like we always do and suddenly fall out. This happens to keep us humble. This happens to keep us grateful. This happens to helps us “Let it Go”.

During meditation we experience a similar “Let it Go”. The practice of meditation is to simply clear our mind. We constantly practice letting go of our thoughts, hence why meditation has been such a deep emotional healing tool that has last through time. I hear excuses like “I can’t meditate because I can’t sit still or I can’t stop my brain from thinking” but when you truly want peace in your mind almost all of us find our way to meditation. The point of meditation is the practice of clearing our mind. So everyone experiences “thinking too much”. In the practice of letting go of the thoughts we are practicing for our everyday life. As a result in our everyday life, when we find ourselves attached to something, we can simply “Let it Go”.

A great meditation focus is to image the sky blue and clear. As a thought moves it is a cloud. Read the message on the cloud and then slowly let it disappear. Each time the cloud comes in be sure to visit the emotion or thought for just a moment, then watch it disperse into your clear sky. The practice of touching it will allow us to feel the feeling and not oppress things deeper, instead we just Let it Go! Like a balloon to the sky just let it go. There are tons of practices and approaches to letting it go. You can even write your thought or emotion on a piece of paper, burn it, and then meditate to let it go. Once you experience the peace on the side of letting it go, we want to get there quicker next time, hence bringing us to a daily practice of Letting Go!

When practicing Yoga we can experience life on our mat and recognize our thought patterns. Are we holding on tight to a pose or how the yoga is done? When we flow in life and yoga we find better results in the end. We know when we should let things go, deep in side we know we should be letting things go. When you are ready, when its time to “Let it Go” – reach out to your community for support or Call me at 1-888-INGENIO Ext. 05051094

 

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Alternatives Healthy Holistic Inspired Love Permanent Change ReWiring Your Brain Transitions Yoga

Rewiring the Brain to Receive Comfort

My history is horrific including extreme neglect at an early age. Of course I don’t remember but many psychiatrists and psychologists have informed me that it would be next to impossible to overcome the neglect I suffered as an infant. This explained most of my insecurities and needs for affection, including the seek for sexual attention as a sex worker. This is the message I heard in my teens and twenties regarding my mental health. I received diagnosis and medications as a result.

I was highly disappointed in the medications! I found them to certainly cure me of my ills but slowly they seemed to suck all my creativity, spice for life, and even personal awareness. I noticed first becoming more and more “Eore-ish” on the medications. Then the things I normally cared about seemed to have less meaning and after a while I didn’t care about those things either. My personal awareness became non-existant until finally I stopped trying “new medications”. In the end they all lead me to the same place. I refused to see any type of professional guidance as a result of feeling pressured to take medications.

Years past until finally it was time for me to revisit professional help. Again, I heard how my past would define my tomorrow and that without medication it would be very difficult if not impossible to overcome. After a few trials I finally landed with a counselor willing to try something different, even after he tried to convince me to medicate. When I refused all medications, including synthetic hormones, he began to really think about how to help me. He researched new techniques and came back to me with Cognitive Behavior Therapy techniques for General Anxiety Disorder. I was able to blanket the techniques as a tool for a large piece of my mental anxieties.

I took those techniques and I began to use them in my yoga practice. I was and am still determined to continue to rewire my brain from unhealthy to healthy. The techniques helped me get centered into myself through breathe work and an awareness to our bodies, mind and spirit. Then I apply the same techniques in my practice with a simple gentleness. Since I can be extra hard on myself I must practice being gentle with myself. I must find a way to practice gently in order to heal myself, especially during my monthly feminine cycle.

Taking our time during yoga and really becoming centered in our selves is our intention. We move in sun salutations focusing on only breathe, allowing the mind to clear. Then finding ourselves in child’s pose we take a full rest. We really settle into our breathe in order to fall completely into our most authentic selves. On the days I know I need extra gentle care I use pillows to support various positions in order to fully rest in them.

A good place to start with this practice is to end each of your yoga sessions with just a few minutes laying flat on your back. Place your right hand on your heart in order to fill your heart with self love. Your left hand empowers your third chakra by holding that spot just below your belly button. Then while holding your hands repeat to yourself or outloud “I am a good person. I deserve all my love. I love you!” or whatever you think is good for you! The intention is simply to empower the third chakra to bridge the gap to the next chakra – to encourage self love, empowerment, and a compassionate self opinion. All the while working on steading your breathe. If anything enters your mind, simply let it go. No need to hold onto it since meditation will often fill our brains with 100 domestic distractions. Instead let them drift out like clouds and focus on the clear blue sky.

I find that music is empower for me and I particularly enjoy hang music, kirtan, or even inspiring music like MC Yogi. I would highly recommend this as a daily practice to solidify your ability to not only give yourself gentle kindness but also to be open to receiving it. Comforting ourselves is our own best medicine! Rewire your brain, nothing is impossible!

We don’t need medications, a lover, or our family to comfort ourselves. The one person in the world that is most reliable is ourselves. With that understanding we can conclude that we are responsible for comforting ourselves and often the best at it. In comforting myself I have found my prescription. Its called self-love!

I would love to teach you the techniques! I want to empower you to take care of your own health! Let’s Rewire your brain!

1-888-INGENIO Ext. 05051094

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Rewiring your Brain – Choosing Happiness

Many of us suffer great trauma in our lives. When we suffer greatly in our childhood and youth we are faced with a habit, of chaos & trauma. As a child I was usually alone, since I suffered intense neglect. Neglect means there was no adult around to watch over me and keep me safe. That experience lead to profound sexual abuse including incest and rape by the age of 8 years old. I suffered greatly from emotional, mental, and physical abuse as well. These traumas made a mark on my mind, they left me with a habit of suffering. Many of us have different levels of this, some of us suffer greatly, but most of us have some habit of suffering.

Even though the traumas that we suffered were many years in our past we still hold onto them, they still haunt us. Many of us suffer with PTSD which can easily lead to depression. In suffering we learn that if we focus on the horrifying things in our past we are faced with a pretty dismal outlook. If we are to take a different perspective we must first understand that it is a choice. In my personal experience I have stepped back, realized I am no longer in those unsafe situations and then reassured myself that I am safe. Once I realized that these old feelings of suffering and so forth are from my past I am very ready to let them go. I desire good health, happiness, & peace for myself and pray to be surrounded by love. Most of us want this for ourselves.

When your in a pattern and habit of suffering though, you can find yourself finding ways to be unhappy. Choosing to see the stuff in life that sucks, its not hard, just read the news. We can find more suffering, which has become a habit from our trauma filled past, by focusing on our past, seeing only the horrible news, and losing all hope for the future. This behavior creates more suffering for ourselves and many of us find that we are comfortable here. Have you ever felt yourself want to laugh when your upset and crying? That resistance to laughter is exactly what I am referring to in this article.

In my experience, when I realized my attachment to sadness I was horrified at myself. How could I continue to keep myself from happiness, this is stupid! I want to be happy why do I keep myself suffering. Simply, I discovered it was a habit. I learned it from my family members and even my lovers. I had to find a way out of this habit since it served no greater good in the now fairly safe world I live in today. In the past it served as a defense from constant disappointment, preparing me for the worst situation. This defense served me well when my life was full of trauma but now I had grown up, changed my environment, and was focusing on a healthy mind, body, and soul. Although my world is not perfect I no longer live in conditions that I am a helpless child or confused teenager. I have control over who is in my life, how I spend my days, and who has sexual contact with me. Today I am safe. Its time to shed this old habit of suffering, I have zero desire to suffer anymore. I have suffered enough! I am done!

Letting this go proved to be harder than I thought. This habit lingered in my mind like pre programming from my childhood. No surprise that I ended up this way but how do we reverse it? Psychiatrists have been trying to medicate me since medications became the main form of treatment for behavior like this. As if treating me for the depression I suffer from is going to retrain my brain to choose happiness. I understand their urgency and fear to rectify my depression as I suffered from suicidal thoughts. I spent my entire youth as a cutter and drug user. I understand the need for medication in these extreme cases but I don’t want to be medicated. My medicine is Yoga. As I defy modern day medicine and rewire my brain I offer those of you that also have this habit of suffering,  an alternative “medicine”.

I want to include that I also discovered that artificial flavors, preservatives, alcohol and sugar easily triggered my depression. This became more apparent as my happiness practice continued to go deeper and deeper. I found that certain foods in my diet greatly increased my suffering and made it harder for me to achieve happiness. Although I don’t have a perfect diet, extremes are not necessary, I do try to keep these 4 things out of my daily diet. I now suspect that some forms of wheat could be addictive and possibly also contributing to my depression. If your suffering from depression regularly just be aware if these things are in your daily diet.

My first step was to find a visual piece for happiness. I found this necessary for happiness because of the simple fact that smiles are contagious. At the time my home life wasn’t exactly filled with happy people, in fact most of them suffered from depression. I was gifted a “Happy Buddha” after expressing my desire for one. I deeply appreciated the gift and began to use it almost immediately. I created a daily practice of smiling back at the Buddha, whom was happy to always smile at me. I would place my prayer beads on him every night before I went to sleep, kiss him good night, and go to sleep with the best smile I could summon. Then each morning when I rose I would remove the beads, kiss him, and smile back. I would try to wear the beads all day in remembrance of the importance of a smile. Just the act of smiling has beneficiary effects on the brain and its contagious! By healing ourselves, we heal others in the same turn.

Then I took my smiling to the mat. Even after this daily practice for weeks and weeks I still found myself entering depression. One of my most sensitive times is the week before I experience menstruation. I do believe that male bodied people and even trans men on synthetic hormones still experience a fluctuation in hormones and therefore mood. There are so many triggers its hard to to say just one thing that gets us there. Even in the best daily practice we can fall off the happy wagon! When I find myself lost or seeking comfort I find my yoga mat. I have found that I can re-wire my brain in order to reach my emotional goals. I want to overcome this habit of suffering and choose happiness, instead. So as I breathe and go from pose to pose I focus on smiling. Even if it’s fake or I am uncomfortable I push through and smile anyway. Sometimes I have to cry or scream before I can smile, but by the end of my practice I am smiling. When I am done crying and screaming I then step in and ask myself, “Well now that we have honored all that is terrible by crying our eyes out…what can I smile about?” When I am honest with myself I can find reasons to smile. Even if its “Well I am no longer living in unsafe conditions and I can take care of myself.”

In my regular practice I work to prevent these “falling off the wagon” episodes. I use “Happy Baby” in my daily practice and I focus on the most important part, smiling! I also add smiling to all of my rest poses such as “Mountain Pose” – “Child’s Pose” – “Downward Dog” “Lotus” and “Corpse”. I simply rest in these poses and try to remember to smile as I regulate my breathe. Often, I regulate my breathe and smile simultaneously. I also smile after I fall out of a balance pose or don’t follow my plan in yoga. As if I am finding humility in my practice. Laughing at ourselves when we fall out of “Tree Pose” can really help us learn to choose happiness. When I am in my flow I try to smile through it, this is not a chore to do yoga, this is my medicine. This medicine feels good and I am grateful for the tool. Happiness easily sets in when these types of conditions are set up. Even when life isn’t easy, even when we fail, even when life sucks – We SMILE and therefore choose Happiness as a result.

Happiness has brought me great strength to overcome big things. It has seen me through some very hard times and in that I am grateful. I have learned a lot about smiling and happiness over the years that I been practicing this way. It has greatly improved my overall health, my stress levels, my relationships, my mental health, and it even increased my connection to the divine. The practice of smiling in yoga regardless of what pose I am in, fell out of, struggled to achieve, or worked hard to flow in and out of has rewired my brain. Although I am not perfect, my habit of suffering has been greatly reduced, instead I have a habit of being happy. So even in the hustle and bustle of my life when I forget my daily practice of happiness I no longer slip into depression as easily as I did when I first started. Today, I recognize when the old habit of suffering creeps up. I also realize that the regular creeping up of suffering is the human condition talked about by many buddhist monks and spiritualists. I smile because I have rewired my brain by simply smiling through my yoga practice and creating a daily habit of awareness. I no longer allow any of the perpetrators of my past to create more suffering for me today, they have no rights to me. They never did and never will. I am grateful to be responsible for my own choices.