What the Heck is Spiritual Bypassing?

This past May I had the great privilege of speaking on a panel about spiritual bypassing at the Yoga Outreach conference, this blog post was created in collaboration with the dedicated folks at Yoga Outreach.

You might be wondering what the heck spiritual bypassing is, you are not alone in this wondering! To be taken to the blog post, please click the link below:


Imposter Syndrome is a Thing

Imposter syndrome needs to be outed.

I am sitting in my cozy residence room at Pacifica Graduate Institute, second semester into a five year PhD program, listening to the symphony of frogs outside my window and reflecting on a baffling realization.

Like a confessional, over the past few days I have heard colleagues express in their own ways, a similar concern that has plagued them, whether it be a brief passing thought or a lingering sense of: I don’t belong here. And I am shocked every time I hear this, because these are highly intelligent, inwardly aware, warm hearted doctoral students, and still the I am not good enough is present.

It has led me to reflect on my own sense of “Who do you think you are to be doing this?” And there is a part of me that has chimed in over the past months that says “You are not academic enough, you are not intellectual enough, what are we doing here?! You’re in over your head!”

It is curious that I spent four years in undergraduate studies, three years completing a masters degree, and am now embarking on five year journey which will throw a second Masters degree in the bag, in addition to (if all goes as planned) a PhD and there is a voice inside of me that comes up here and there that points it’s crooked finger at me accusing me of not being academic enough?!

Imposter syndrome: The feeling that you are not good enough, that you didn’t make it here (wherever) by merit, that you just slipped through the cracks.

The bait in the imposter syndrome trap is comparison. It is so tempting to compare ourselves to others. Often we have been presented with ample opportunity and encouragement to do so from the time we were kids. Media and marketing that profit off of our lack of self worth have watered the seeds of “wow, I don’t look like, act like, think like, ____like that” and consequently “I should  look like, act like, think like, ____ like that”. Add social media to the mix and we have a lethal elixir to substantiate our lack of worth and belonging.

The thing about comparison is that we are not objectively comparing ourselves to another person. We are comparing ourselves to the story we tell ourselves about the other person.

From a depth psychology perspective, whatever we are unconscious of is projected onto others. Carried within our unconscious shadow are all the parts of ourselves that we do not like or want to acknowledge, but also our unlived potential. So whether we are incredibly triggered by someone or we put them on a pedestal, we need to start to shine conscious light on these parts of ourselves to reclaim both our darkness and our power.

Imposter syndrome is usually silent. Part of the trap is thinking that you are the only one feeling this way, clearly this is false. Every one of us experiences this in our own way.

We all have an archetypal predator or saboteur in our psyche that shows up whenever there is an opportunity to step into our power. This is the part of our psyche that inherently does not want us to succeed. Usually the higher the stakes the more present the predator. And it needs to be outed. We take its power away when we name it, when we talk about it. It loosens its grip when light is shone on it.

I encourage you to reflect on how your predator shows up and challenge you to start to name it. Catch it when it comes up, let it know that you see it. Over and over. Until it shrivels under the light of consciousness. And when it comes back, repeat.

If you are interested in learning more about the internal predator, projection, and the process of reclaiming our power, join me for an upcoming Women Who Run With the Wolves group, more info to be found here: https://www.lianayipcounselling.com/new-events/

The life/death/Life Cycle: A writing exercise

Solstice is around the corner and as the darkness turns to light once more, I reflect on the life/death/Life cycle. This cycle seen in the seasons applies to everything, from relationships to interests, from careers to thoughts and states of being.

There is a tendency to hold on for dear life to the things that need to run their full course, from birth to death, to create room for whatever needs to grow in its place. Letting die what is familiar and feels safe is hard, often we stay in old patterns because, despite being harmful to our current selves, they provide a comfortable cloak of safety and familiarity.

Letting things run their course does not have to mean that entire things need to be let go of, for example, it may not mean that a relationship itself needs to be let die, it may mean that a part of it, or a way of being does. These things that we hold so tightly to most probably have served us in the past, however we drag them around in the present when all life and purpose has been drained, thinking that there must be something wrong with us. 

Our current culture teaches us to hang on. Especially to life, to youth, optimism, and "progress". We are expected to stay moving upwards toward the ultimate superhuman goal, happiness, immortality, whatever it may be. The light and the dark have been split, the darkness devalued, the downward curve of the life/death/Life cycle detested and pushed aside. And yet expectation of continual upward progress is as unrealistic as demanding nature to stay eternally in Spring and Summer.

Can we allow ourselves to ride the assents and the descents of the cycles that are natural to being human? I invite you to hold both the light and the dark with equal value in following writing exercise inspired by the work of Dr. Estes. 

life/death/Life Writing

1. Take a piece of paper and fold it so there are three columns vertically
2. At the top of the far left column write "life" (with a lower case L)
3. At the top of the middle column write "death"
4. At the top of the far right column write "Life" (With a capital L)

Reflect on your life, where has this life/death/Life cycle shown up? Fill in the columns as you go along. 
The response can be as small as a mood change throughout your day and as big as a tragic event or life transition. Be sure to fill in the Life column with what was able to grow after that death. 

Is there anything currently that perhaps served you at some point that is no longer serving you?
Where do you find yourself now in the life/death/Life cycle?

Be gentle with your self as you reflect. 

FOMO & The Return to Our Inner Compass

Do you sense that there is something more, something is missing?

This sense is a good thing, a very good thing- we need this sense to open our eyes to the possibility that something isn’t working. And indeed- if we are living and participating in this culture- your intuition is right- something is absolutely amiss. As a society, we have missed the mark. Progress defined by material wealth. Corporate emptiness. Environmental disaster.

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What is Psychotherapy Anyway?

Anyone else feel like their soul is starving? In a world that is whirring by in a series of fragmented events, news feeds, screens, text messages, with intermittent periods of sleep, we are constantly being taken outside of ourselves. We can easily fool ourselves that we are being nourished by our jam packed schedule, or spending time on social media.

Psychotherapy, as tending to the soul, is where space is held for you.

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Doing VS Being: The Plight of our Generation

Now, there is something that we need to reflect on. This is not just a social media, having the entire cyber world in our pockets, problem. This is not happening in a vacuum. We live in a society obsessed with productivity as a marker of self worth. Our to-do lists are running our lives, we forget that we created them and not the other way around.

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Stepping out of Projection and into Human Relationship

Remember growing up and watching Cinderella, Snow White, or the Little Mermaid? Snow white singing some day her prince will come? Who doesn't love a tear jerking romantic comedy? As we grow up most of us have these images in our minds and beings that romance will sweep us off our feet, it will make us happy, fix what we feel is wrong in our lives, and we will live happily ever after. 

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