1/20/2017

Friday Feels 05

Friday Feels 05 x Ashley Neese

Today is a strange day and I’m sharing some of my favorite things to get you through the weekend. I’ve got new about a new radical space on the east side, some of my favorite reads this week, a recipe I will be trying, and a talk to keep your spirits elevated this weekend. Sending love to everyone taking part in the women’s march tomorrow. Your presence and voices are needed. All my heart. x

 

Feeling so happy this is happening on my birthday tomorrow.

Dolphin music is literally everything.

A radical feminist wellness studio in Los Angeles that is creating a safe space for everybody.

This chili recipe tho. Can’t wait to make it.

For those interested in shadow work.

Really excited about what these folks are creating in DTLA.

Modern tools for integrated living.

Donal Trump’s astrology chart. Wow.

Essays that endlessly inspire.

Justin Bieber at the Rose Bowl this summer. YAS.

An inspiring talk on prosperity. Be prepared to get fired up!

Fingers crossed we get to see the wave next month.

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Photo x Lani Trock

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1/18/2017

Releasing Judgement & Reclaiming The Shadow

Releasing Judgement and Reclaiming the Shadow x Ashley Neese

Two months ago I decided to go on a self imposed judgement cleanse. I got to a point where I was tired of judging myself and others and was ready to do some serious work around it. Like my experience with most things, once I set out to make a change, the piece I am trying to shift becomes much more intense. Any time I put my focus towards an area where I want to grow, it magnifies. I knew I needed to change how much I was judging, but to be honest I didn’t quite how much until the cleanse.

In 2015 I committed to a 40 Day No Complaining Challenge that changed my life. It has been over a year and a half since I began that journey and it’s amazing how little I complain any more. The cool thing is, when I find myself complaining now I am able to turn it around so quickly, usually within seconds. This whole judgement thing has been another story. I am now on my second 40 day practice with it because it has been so confronting.

I’ve been judging myself and others for as long as I can remember. Most of my life I felt like I knew what other people should be doing with theirs and that was intensified by the fact that once I got sober people started seeking out my opinions on how they should be living. I’ve also had ideas about how I should be living/feeling/thinking/behaving that I couldn’t always manifest as quickly as I’d like to. That whole life is a journey/process/always in flux reality has never been an easy truth to grasp.

Releasing Judgement and Reclaiming the Shadow x Ashley Neese

There is this phrase in the recovery community, the road gets narrower, and that is exactly how I have been feeling around judgement the last six months. I’ve spent years and years working on my energetic body, becoming more intuitive, psychic, and sensitive. As I’ve continued to hone and sharpen these skills I notice that when I judge myself or another person my body has an immediate and intense reaction. Each time I engage with that behavior my solar plexus tightens and my stomach turns. Often my throat gets scratchy and I feel immense pressure in my head. When I started deeply listening to my body and paying attention to these signals around judgement, it became crystal clear to me that judging is not supporting my growth. Furthermore, this pattern of judgement is blocking me from being an open and clear channel in the present moment.

Judgment simply cannot exist in the same way it has existed moving forward in my life. I know where I am headed and the work I am here to do and a big part of it is shifting my judgements. In order to start this work I needed to understand why I judged in the first place. This might sound really obvious, but it took me a few meditations (and probably the last several years of personal growth) to really get to the root of it. What I have uncovered through self inquiry is that my judgements are always connected to my shadow work. Anytime I judge someone for needing attention for example (a big one in my life) I understand that they are activating the part in me that needs attention too, but is afraid to ask for it. Oh, just writing this I am having loads of feelings come up. Feeling so vulnerable!

Shadow work.
Judgement.
We’re going in.

Releasing Judgement and Reclaiming the Shadow x Ashley Neese

When I began these self initiated judgement cleanses I wasn’t fully aware of the scope of the work I was committing to. I thought it would be pretty straightforward like the No Complaining Challenge: when I notice a judgement simply turn it around into a blessing. Seemed easy enough. That totally hasn’t been the case. The more I became aware of my judgements the more I saw that in order to really shift them I had to drop down into my shadow work and take a longer and more uncomfortable look at what was happening below the surface.

And wow, there was a lot happening below the surface.

Our shadows are the unconscious aspects of our personalities that we had to at some point growing up hide or attempt to push away. As children we had to stuff down some aspect of ourself that wasn’t well received by our parents or the people who raised us. I was told as a child that I was too sensitive more times than I can remember. Because those intense feelings and intuitive gifts were not nourished or valued they became my shadow, aspects of myself that I was ashamed of and often referred to as negative. As adults we continue to spend most of our time trying to discard, will away, distract ourselves from, or cover up those unconscious parts of ourselves that we dislike. While I have worked through those particular shadows over the years and created a life and career out of my empathic and intuitive gifts, there are still other aspects of myself that hide in the darkness.

Negating the traits that we don’t like within ourselves leads to repression. The more repressed our shadow aspects are the more we judge others who seem to freely exhibit them. For example, when I judge someone who has achieved a great deal of success in their career I know my work is to look at the ways I am playing small in mine (especially when it comes to writing essays for the blog!). The shadow trait I am experiencing in this example is procrastination which in my case leads to fear and further down to the root, that I am unworthy.

Recently I found myself judging a very beautiful woman for being so open with her sexaulity. I know, it’s really embarrassing to admit here, but if you’ve been reading my posts for the last few years you know I’m all about transparency. When I took the time to explore that judgement I became aware of my own repressed feelings around expressing my sexuality in a more open and fluid way. When I dig a little deeper into those repressed feelings what comes up is residual shame from being raped, guilt for having abortions at a young age, wishing I had asked a woman out on a date, and ultimately negating my sexuality because I felt like I needed to punish myself for my past desires and experiences. My take away from processing and getting clear on my shadow aspect in this case is that I need to forgive myself fully and step into my sexuality by taking more risks with my sexual expression.

Releasing Judgement and Reclaiming the Shadow x Ashley Neese

What I have come to understand is that every time I experience intense feelings of judgement or criticism around someone it is because I am projecting my shadow aspects onto them. I’m also keenly aware now that on a deep level I am rejecting a part of myself that I don’t like. The truth is, the people who I judge are some of my greatest teachers. Each time I notice a judgement or criticism about someone else I have an incredible opportunity to do some really deep work on myself and move towards more self acceptance, unconditional love, and equanimity. This is exactly the kind of personal growth I want to focus on this year and I am truly grateful for each chance I take to heal, transform, and integrate new ways of being into my life.

Repression of our shadow aspects feeds limiting beliefs, creates major blocks in our energy bodies, and often leads to physical, emotional, and mental illness. Recognizing when we are judging and criticizing is the first step towards crafting new beliefs, clearing those blocks, and moving into more vibrancy and well being. One of the most important concepts to remember is that every time you are judging or criticizing another person there is always some repressed shadow aspect of yourself that you are projecting onto them. It feels really uncomfortable to be around someone who is expressing a part of ourselves that we are rejecting. It takes courage to shift the focus back to ourselves and take a look at what is in our power to change.

Similarly, when you notice that you are caught in self judgement or criticism it is because you are dealing directly with your own shadow, or aspects of yourself that you are trying to hide, discard, will away, distract yourself from, or cover up. Judgements and criticisms of others might feel in a moment like they are giving you a sense that you are better than or above someone else, but all they are doing is cutting you off from living a less polarizing and fragmented life. Judgements and criticisms of yourself keep you small, powerless, and cut off from the rest of the world.

Releasing Judgement and Reclaiming the Shadow x Ashley Neese

Awareness is always the first step towards integration. It’s impossible to shift anything without the light of awareness. You release judgement through reclaiming the shadow. In order to be less judgemental and critical of yourself and others you must dive deep into your shadow work and inquire to find out what is really going on within. Here are a few of my favorite questions to ask:

Why am I so annoyed or frustrated with myself/that person?
Where does that (the thing you are judging or criticizing) live within me?
What scares me about this situation/that person?

The next time you notice you are judging or criticizing take a moment to pause and breathe deeply. Steady your breath long enough to inquire about your shadow and discover its root. Ask the questions above. Turn the focus onto the aspects of yourself that feel unworthy or unlovable. Stay with the feelings as best you can. Allow yourself to fully feel them. Write. Breathe. Make some sounds. Move your body. Make time to share your feelings and process everything with a trusted friend.

Each time you move through the steps of getting clear on why you judge or criticize and do the healing work of exploring the shadow, you are that much closer to accepting your darkness and limitations. Self acceptance is the needed medicine for returning to your true nature: wholeness. As long as you live in judgement and criticism of yourself and others, you are stuck in patterns of isolation and separation that block you from experiencing your true nature. These blocks are detrimental to your evolution, growth, and ability to generate inner joy. Releasing judgement and reclaiming the shadow is how you come home to who you have been all along: open, whole, and full of love.

Releasing Judgement and Reclaiming the Shadow x Ashley Neese

When I set out to go on a judgement cleanse I had a limited understanding of how my judgements were connected to deeper, hidden aspects of myself, or rather aspects I was trying very hard to conceal. There is a phrase in recovery rooms, when you point the finger at someone else there are four fingers pointing towards yourself. Or another favorite, you spot it you got it. It’s humbling to admit but it has taken me years to fully grasp the complex meaning behind those words and begin to integrate them into my system. One area where I am working on releasing judgment is around my healing process and how long it seems to take at different times in my life. In the past even writing this would have sent me into a shame spiral, feeling so badly about myself that I wasn’t ‘further along’. Today, in this moment, I am choosing to reclaim the shadow and move towards being in acceptance of where I am on my path: a woman who has been through so much, has integrated a great deal and still has some work to do. And to be honest, when I write this piece I feel my resilience, strength, and devotion to personal and spiritual development and that makes me want to keep going to see what’s next.

Healing doesn’t happen in a vacuum and it is in no way linear. We heal in cycles and b putting ourselves way out there in front of each other. We heal by admitting what we are struggling, by sharing our experiences with people that we trust, and by showing up for others when they need it. I know this shadow work is a big part of what I am here to focus on this year. In some ways I will be working with releasing judgement and reclaiming the shadow for quite some time and I am perfectly okay with that. I am open to this healing happening with ease, grace, and acceleration, but I am ultimately really just open to how it continues to show up and evolve in my life, without judgement of course.

To a year of being imperfectly perfect.
To a year of awareness.
To a year of long exhales.
To a year of acceptance.
To a year of curiosity.
To a year of integration.
To a year of evolution.

 

All my heart. x

If you would like support locating the roots of your judgements and transforming and releasing these patterns of beliefs feel free to reach out for a session. Breathwork is an incredible tool for diving deep into shadow work, shining a light on our unconscious patterns, and clearing the way for a bright and wholehearted life.

 

Photos x Lani Trock

1/13/2017

Friday Feels 04

Friday Feels 04 x Ashley Neese

Happy New Year! It feels good to be posting on the journal for the first time this year. I have several posts lined up in the queue that I’ve been working on over the last month. It’s taken me a little while to get back into the groove of writing and I am nearly ready to share what I’ve been working on behind the scenes. In the mean time here is what I am feeling these days to get you though the weekend. See you back so soon. Lots of love. x

 

An honest and heartfelt podcast I cannot get enough of.

It’s the last weekend to see Electric Earth in Los Angeles.

Herbs to keep my mind sharp on busy days.

Oprah interviewing Thich Nhat Hanh. So much sweetness and wisdom.

Some of the best relationship therapy out there.

Getting my list together for this epic gem show next month!

What you need to know about the planets right now.

Oh bless the 80’s.

Definitely making this gorgeous meal for dinner this weekend.

Tried to watch the OA last week with Nic but it was too scary for me. Everyone I know is obsessed.

Because apparently I only read books about relationships.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

 

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Photo by Anaïs & Dax

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12/30/2016

Friday Feels 03

Friday Feels 03 x Ashley Neese

As 2016 comes to an end this weekend the focus of Friday Feels will be around closing out the year and creating a vision for 2017. I’ve rounded up my favorite journal entries and a few outside resources to support your visioning over the next few days. I’ll be diving deep into clearing the decks and calling in my dreams over the weekend and I’ll see you back here next week. Fresh start. Open heart. 2017 I am so ready for you! x

 

Letting Go

Relationships: If they can’t ride with you it’s time to let them go.
Sometimes taking a trip to the dumpster is necessary.
Remembering loved ones from years past.
Letting go with grace.

 

A Vision for the New Year

Part 1: Your accomplishments.
Part 2: What are you ready to release?
Part 3: A vision that lights you up.

 

A Little Extra Inspiration

Favorite podcast right now.
For an energy pick-me-up.
Deep belly laughs and nourishing honesty.
Higher love. On repeat. Always.

 

If you’re looking for support to get clarity on what you want to create for this upcoming year and release blocks that are in your way, I’d love to support you in a private session.

 

Photo x Lani Trock

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12/29/2016

How to Set Intentions with the New Moon

How To Set Intentions with the New Moon by Ashley Neese

On the last new moon of they year it feels very fitting to write about my new moon rituals. Creating rituals around the moon cycles is a powerful way to connect with our hearts and the universe on a regular basis. New moon rituals range from simple, elaborate, to everything in between. The most important aspect of your new moon ritual is that you connect with it and set aside time to engage with your practice each month. You will be amazed by the energy that comes from hitting the reset button with each new moon and how much you can manifest in such shorts period of time.

A couple of years ago I started a new moon manifesting practice at the suggestion of a friend. I had been paying attention to the moon cycles for a while in relation to my monthly cycle but hadn’t done much work in terms of connecting it to other aspects of my life. When I started researching new moon practices I discovered what a potent time it was for calling in desires and manifesting visions. I began with a simple ritual that I have expanded on over the years and have taught to many of my clients.

The moon has eight phases. The most well known is the fifth phase or full moon. The new moon is the first phase of the moon, when it orbits as seen from the earth, the moment when the moon and the sun have the same ecliptical longitude. The moon is not visible at this time except when it is seen in silhouette during a solar eclipse when it is illuminated by earthshine. –Wikipedia

New moons represent the beginning of a cycle and the full moon represents a clearing or release. In farming traditions the new moon in the time when the soil is most fertile and wet. Many farmers and gardeners plants seeds on the new moon as the moon’s lunar gravity pulls water up. The new moon is considered a growth phase and is an ideal time to plant seeds in our gardens as well as our hearts for the future. The new moon is an invitation to start fresh, call in intentions, and set the tone for the next cycle.

How To Set Intentions with the New Moon by Ashley Neese

Asking the universe for what you want is a very powerful practice. Combine asking for what you want with the clean slate of the new moon and you have a potent recipe for creating the vision you most desire. The new moon offers an energizing and exciting time to recalibrate your energy for the upcoming cycle and bring a upgraded level of consciousness to the dreams you long to make a reality.

Learning to clearly ask for what you want is a big part of this practice. It requires you to dig deep into your heart and listen to what it is telling you. Often we find ourselves caught up in what we think we should want, what others want for us, or there is an ambivalent attitude about really going after our dreams. I’ve worked with many clients who feel guilty about what they want and believe they will never get it. This usually stems from feeling a big sense of lack in their lives, that they don’t deserve what their hearts want or they don’t feel worthy enough of their true desires. These belief systems need to be addressed in order to make the most out of these new moon intention rituals. The beauty is you do not need to have it all figured out right now. All that is required is an open heart and a willingness to explore what surfaces in your life with courage.

The new moon occurs every 29 1/2 days making it is easy to create a monthly intention setting ritual. Check the moon phases calendar and then take a moment to plug in all the new moons for 2017 right now, that way you have them and you don’t have to think about it each month. Consistency is key with any practice or ritual and the more energy you put into it each month the more you will receive back. Setting aside time each month on the new moon to get clear on what you want to manifest is number one. I typically suggest taking the few days leading up to the new moon to start honing in on what you want. Invite a tender and curious energy into your daily breathwork and meditation practices and notice what reveals itself. After a few days of paying attention you will have much more clarity when the new moon arrives on what you want to call in.

With each new moon I like to start with a clear deck. If something I am working on hasn’t materialized yet I can add it to the list again, if it has, there is always space for something new. I keep my new moon intention lists to ten items. All ten items can be centered around the same subject or you can focus on different areas. Either way, stick to ten, more than that and lists become scattered and way less potent. Better to keep things clear, concise, and simple than over complicate them. Universal energy is most efficient when we are. Think about it for a moment, absolutely no energy is wasted in nature – this is a key lesson here in writing out intentions and manifesting.

Please note that your new moon lists should be written by hand on paper. Something very magical happens when you put pen to paper and this is key in the intention setting process. If you like you can designate a notebook just for your moon lists.

And finally, you have 48 hours once the new moon begins to set your intentions. These hours are the most potent for manifesting and it’s good to get in the habit of working within this 2 day time frame.

How To Set Intentions with the New Moon by Ashley Neese

STEPS FOR SETTING INTENTIONS WITH THE NEW MOON:

Pray for openness.
Anytime you set out to write your new moon list it’s very important to begin with a simple prayer. The prayer itself can be an intention to hold space for yourself while you write out your list. Keep it simple. Keep it honest. If you don’t have a prayer practice (this will be an upcoming blog post as it’s something I get asked about almost daily), you can use this one:

Dear universe, I am here to connect with spirit, truth, and love. Please make me a channel of your divine wisdom and help me see clearly in all aspects and help me tune into the greatest good in my heart.

 

Create a sacred place.
This can be an altar, desk, or corner in your home. Create a little area that is beautiful and reserved for your spiritual practices. I have a healing room in my house with crystals, plants, singing bowls, and photographs of some of my teachers and heroes. This can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. Carve out a little space that makes you feel inspired, grounded, and connected to your deepest self.

 

Clear the space.
Clearing the energy of your sacred space sets the tone for your practice and helps you align with the present moment. Here are some of my favorite plants for space clearing. As you clear your space say a simple prayer to ground your energy and intentions:

Dear Universe, may I have your support to clear this space so that my truest intentions can flow clearly from my heart onto the page.

 

New moon breathwork.
Breathing is a key aspect of manifesting and it will help you release any tension in your body so that you can write down your new moon intentions from a heart centered space.

Begin by taking a long exhale out of your mouth.
Place one hand on your belly and one on your heart.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Make your inhales and exhales long and smooth.
Breathe in this fashion for several minutes, until you become very clear and grounded.
Finish the practice by placing both hands on your heart and sending gratitude to your body.

 

Write your list.
Take out a sheet of paper and write the date and the following: This, or something better, now manifests for the highest good of all concerned. This statement gives the universe permission to substitute as needed to keep your manifestation karma super clean and clear.

Next write a list of what you want to manifest. Remember, 10 items tops! Be sure to write your statements in positive and affirming language, “I am” and not “I need” or “I want.” Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. This sounds basic but in the beginning it can be a little challenging, especially if you are accustomed to spending lots of energy thinking about what you don’t want.

Allow yourself to dream really really big here. If that little voice of judgement creeps in, acknowledge it and get back to your list. This can be part of the manifesting process, especially when you’re asking for something huge. Go for it.

One of the big keys to writing your list is to getting into how each item FEELS. If you have followed my outlined steps you will be in an open space to truly listen to your heart. Spend time feeling into each item as you write it down. If it isn’t resonating with you 100% do not put it on your list. Part of this practice is learning to feel as if you already have what you want, this is basic Law of Attraction, if you can feel it with your entire body it will be more likely to come into reality.

Feel the feeling of the wish fulfilled. – Wayne Dyer

 

New Moon Meditation.
When your list is complete spend 10-15 minutes meditating on it. Go through each item one at a time and focus on how it feels in your body and how it will feel once you have manifested it. Once you have gone through your list let your attachment to your intentions go and settle into the curiosity of how the universe is conspiring to make your dreams come true. It’s a wonderful practice at the end of your meditation to say to the universe that you are freeing yourself from clinging to your wishes and that you are grateful and excited for what is to come.

 

Close out the ritual.
Once your meditation is over, say a simple prayer to close the ritual. Put your new moon intention list away until next month where you can go over it to see what has manifested. When an item on your lists becomes real thank the universe. If there are things that are no closer to coming into this dimension, I would consider revising them. Also make note of what intentions you are inching closer towards. During next month’s ritual you can go through this inventory of your previous list so you will have more clarity moving forward.

How To Set Intentions with the New Moon by Ashley Neese

I have worked with many different new moon intention setting rituals and practices over the years and the above outline is the way I am currently engaging with this process. It might seem like super time consuming in the beginning but once you get into it you will enjoy setting aside time each month to connect to yourself, your heart and your deepest desires.

I typically take 1-2 hours for this each month as it has proven to be so healing in many ways. I often suggest to clients to start with 30-45 minutes and see how that feels. Above all have fun with the ritual and please let me know how things go with it, I cannot wait to hear!

Wishing you all a gorgeous new moon and end of the year.

All my heart.
x

 

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Photo x Asami Zenri

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© ASHLEY NEESE 2017 ";