Metaphysical Freedom

Metaphysical Coaching (Life and Business), Counselor Consultation and Supervision, Mindfulness-Based Energy Work


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Speak from Your Heart (Mindful Communication)

How well do you communicate?

Communication is the most important aspect to any and every relationship. There are different types of communication: Verbal, Nonverbal, and Paraverbal. PLUS, your Energetic Space/Aura/Overall Vibe communicates to others as well.
As a counselor, coach, and speaker, I am constantly communicating. However, I too have made the mistake of misjudging or making assumptions while communicating with others (especially in my personal life). These mistakes can be costly…leading to hurt feelings, lack of depth, and even loss of the relationships.

Maybe you just celebrated Valentine’s Day or an anniversary of some sort. Good job, you’re on the right track! Now, take a step back and see what your partner, friend, coworker, etc. is communicating to you.
We can dive into the different types of communication here:

Nonverbal Communication– Most of our communication is nonverbal, meaning it is not what we say, but everything else. You may have heard this before, but let’s break this down into 2 main parts of nonverbal communication.
1. Proxemics-This is a fancy word that describes how physically close the person is to you, or you to the other person. Typically, the more physical closeness indicates more intimacy (emotional, mental, physical, etc.)
2. Kinesics-This is the fancy word to describe what most people would call body language. This includes movements, gestures, and facial expressions

Paraverbal Communication– Our vocal part of speech, which is our tone, volume, and how fast or slow we talk.
I am often a fast talker. Get me excited, and I talk faster. When I work with the people I serve, I am mindful of this, and I adjust. It makes a world of difference to have an even pace and a calm tone.

The way you say something matters!
Examples: “I didn’t say you were dumb.”– Say this with an even tone. Now try this one, “I didn’t say you were DUMB.” -Emphasize the last word. If you say this out loud, you can see that one of them is not meant to insult, whereas the other may cause conflict.

Of course, the other type of communication that I will address here is…

Verbal Communication: It is the use of words to relay a message or express an idea.
This is where many of us get caught up. In the emotional tornado of a moment, we might forget to pause and use mindful communication instead of emotionally driven words.

Let’s tie this in with conflict resolution. If there is conflict, I ask that you try these two things: Be willing to be wrong. Be willing to apologize.

Just an FYI: Conflict is a natural occurrence. The term has been blown up into great proportions meaning war, fighting, and death, but in reality, conflict is a simple, and organic process. Conflict arises because there are different perspectives within the same situation or regarding the same topic. It’s just that simple. We are individuals, so by default, there will be times when we do not have the same point of view. That is the core of conflict. It has been over-sensationalized through media. (That may be for another blog).
One of the keys to facing conflict and communicating effectively is to use Mindful Communication.

7 Core Guidelines for Mindful Communication:
1. LISTEN (And appear like you are listening)-As a counselor, I have gone through several hours of training to be more present with others as they share with me. We call it active listening. You don’t have to be a therapist to actively listen. The concept is simple: Make eye contact, don’t speak-unless you are affirming or encouraging the other to continue sharing, keep your body open, LISTEN FOR FEELINGS, and SEEK to UNDERSTAND what is being said.

Mindfulness Tip for #1Detach emotionally. Keep in mind that the person you are listening to has something that he or she needs to express. Think to yourself, “Let me be here now. There is something that this person needs to say. I am listening.”

2. REFLECT or RESTATE WHAT YOUR HEARD-Do this BEFORE you share anything about your point of view.
Sometimes this step gets lost. Unfortunately, I have been guilty of this at times.
For example, if your partner says, “I worked really hard to get those things that you wanted taken care of, and you don’t appreciate it.”

Be mindful and attentive to these things about your partner: Tone of voice, Energy level, Facial expressions, and mood. Notice…how close is the person to you physically?

Before you start saying your response, do this:
A) Listen for the feeling being conveyed; B) Make eye contact (non-threatening); then
C) Start with a statement acknowledging what you think you heard. “I hear you saying that you don’t feel appreciated for the hard work you did for me.”

3. CLARIFY: After you restate, check in with the person to make sure you got it right. “Did I hear you correctly?” Truth of the matter is that the person will let you know what’s up and if you got it right. This part is VALUABLE. Clarifying gives you the opportunity to understand the other person. At the very basic level, we communicate in order to express ourselves and to be understood. Understanding someone does not mean that you agree with what is said. It means that you are grasping the view of another’s perspective. Once you have gained clarity, then you can share your point of view from a more accurate perspective because you are identifying the real “issue.”

Mindfulness Tip for #3Be patient and BREATHE. Take a moment to reflect on the person’s underlying message. Do not get swept away in emotions or the person’s emotional response. Ask, with the sole intention to get clear on what the person is saying.

4. OWN YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS, and share them: Use “I” statements instead of “You did this…”, “You make me…” etc.
Example: “When you say that I do not appreciate you, I feel hurt. I understand what you are feeling and what made you feel that way. I did not see it that way, and I was not aware of your disappointment. I have been working several extra hours each day and I feel more tired than usual.”

Mindfulness Tip for #4Take a few calming, deep breaths and FOCUS ON YOUR HEART chakra. This is the space where you have affinity for others (and self). Speak from this place.

5. CHECK IN AGAIN AND SUMMARIZE: Allow the person to reflect back to you for clarity. (Make sure to use all the other skills mentioned above if needed.)

6. COMPROMISE/RESOLUTION: Remember the main reason for conflict? It is because different perspectives are related to the same situation. Often, there is a common ground or a space for compromise. During this step, request or offer a solution.
Example: “What would you like for me to do differently?”
Apply the skills from steps 1-5 again. Stay on the same topic! Focus only on 1 thing at this time.

Mindfulness tip for #6BREATHE and remember that A SOLUTION IS ALREADY PRESENT

7. RE-ADDRESS the concern later on: This step might not be needed every time. However, if you and the other person aren’t able to address the issue well enough at the time it is presented, set a date to come back to it.  A refreshed point of view about a conflict can make it easier to resolve.

Take these steps into consideration every time you are communicating with someone. This is the practice of mindful communication. It aids in developing healthy communication styles, preventing or resolving conflict, and developing a greater level of understanding.

Mindful Communication

Communicated with love,
Dana D. Robinson (Intuitive Dana)

 

 


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Empty Yourself (to Serve)

MLK Jr. -Service Quote

My passion is being of service, touching hearts, enlightening minds, guiding, and aiding in the realization of healing and wholeness. There have been several times when I have “missed the mark.” I thought that I was in the flow, being mindful, and in tune with the people that I love as well as the people that I serve.

Thinking this way, I continued in this blissful flow, forgetting an important piece of the puzzle: We all perceive things differently. While I thought I was showing love and being of the utmost service, sometimes the receivers of my actions did not feel the same way. The most sobering experience for me is to find out that I missed an opportunity to be of service because my own point of view misled the way.

Perception is powerful.

One of my favorite quotes says something like this,

“We are the Universe looking at itself from many perspectives.”

Of course! We are individualized expressions of the ONE.

 For those of us who desire to serve others, we must first clear ourselves of our preconceived ideas about serving. We have to know what it is that the receiver truly needs. This may seem so simple, but sometimes it is forgotten. Our perception of another’s needs may be different than what they actually desire. We must meet them where they are, and work with them from there.

 Emptying ourselves allows others’ Lights to guide us. Remember: The Essence of Life within each of us is from the same Source, and healing takes place in many forms.

To be of service, we must first see where we are being led to serve. This way, we are making the most effective impact in the lives of those whom we are meant to bless.

 Empty yourself to serve.

 

With Humility,
Dana
WordPress: DivineDana; IG/Twitter: @IntuitiveDana
http://www.MetaphysicalFreedom.com

 


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Walk the Walk.

Observing the common themes and messages that are shared across social media outlets, I noticed a trend. There seems to be an increase in messages about consciousness and spiritual evolution. What a wonderful experience to see that more people are waking up and getting an innerstanding of Truth.

But, a question comes to mind: Is your life reflecting what you are speaking?

The beauty of evolving is that we learn, our perspectives shift, and then we become demonstrators.

We are living in a time when feel good messages are not enough. It is imperative that we are DOERS and follow through with what we are called to DO.

During this winter season, do some introspection. Take the time to consider what you need to ACT on. When each of us takes the initiative and are postively in action, the peaceful world that we envision becomes a greater reality.

Be. Do. Have.

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With Active Love,

IntuitiveDana (Dana D. Robinson)

http://www.MetaphysicalFreedom.com


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Action is Power

Les Brown-Hands Meme“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have, and never be satisfied.” -Les Brown

Many people express that they don’t pursue a dream or a goal because they want the conditions to be a certain way, or they want things to be perfect. In reality, the conditions won’t change until the person decides to get into motion and to continue to stay in action.

I can admit, in the past, I have been guilty of putting off a goal or a desire due to circumstances. In the past, I have told myself that I had to wait until the situation was perfect or certain pieces were in place. True, there were times when it was necessary to wait on the other pieces of the puzzle, but it was never time to stop doing things towards my goals and desires.

The Law of Attraction expresses that whatever we put energy and attention towards is what we draw unto us. This universal law is simple, and can be actively applied to manifest one’s desires.

However, here is something to consider:
If someone told you that your present situation and surroundings are the result of your past thoughts and actions, would you be bothered, or would you be willing to take responsibility for yourself?

One of the hardest things that I had to admit to myself was that I am responsible for myself and my progress. You are responsible for yours too.

Of course, this does not mean that you won’t face challenges and obstacles along the way, but it does mean that you can choose the course of action you take once they arise.
Ideally, when a challenge arises, one of the best things you can do is mindfully look within and look at key areas connected to this challenge.

Four key areas to examine when facing challenges:
1) Thoughts–What do I really think about this situation? OR What are my exact thoughts?
2) Emotions–How do I really feel about this situation?
3) Underlying Messages–What is this situation helping me to learn?
4) Positive Behaviors–What am I able to do right now that supports a positive outcome?

Examining these things gives you an opportunity to shift a possibly negative perspective into an empowered one. This empowered perspective is one where you recognize that you have choice, and you can make a decision based on the understanding that you are always learning and evolving. Depending on the situation, the choice itself can range anywhere from sweet surrender to engaging in more focus-driven actions.

It is your choice.

Remember: Every action (or lack thereof) always results in some type of outcome.

Think about your life goals and how far you have come towards meeting these goals.
Consider the one most important thing that affects the realization of your goals: YOU

What are you focusing on daily?
What are you doing daily?
Are your thoughts and actions moving you towards or away from your goals?
You always have choice.

Right now, you have made a choice to read this post. In reading this, my hope is that you are gaining some insight or awareness about yourself and how powerful you really are.

There is one thing that I would change about the wording Les Brown used in the quote above.
I would say:

“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have, AND continue to expand.”

There is power in your decision to stay in motion.

Choose Mindfully. Stay Focused. Stay in Action.

With invigorating love,
Dana D. Robinson (Intuitive Dana)
http://www.metaphysicalfreedom.com


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Time to Change Your Direction

Discontent

When your heart speaks to you, do you listen?
OR
Do you talk yourself out of what is being said to you?

There comes a moment when we know without a doubt that we are being called to do more with our talents, our gifts, and essentially our lives.

Depending on where you are in your journey, some people might call it a mid-life crisis. In some spiritual communities, this process is referred to as Divine Discontent. I like to use this phrase because it is more than just a developmental stage; it is the Universe’s way of getting your attention and growing you into someone even better than you were before.

From personal experiences, and working extensively with several clients, I recognized that this process typically happens in stages.

Here is my summary of the stages related to Divine Discontent:

Stage 1: Misalignment= This is when you begin to feel out of sync with what is going on in your life. The things that you normally do might start to feel monotonous and boring. You might start to feel fleeting senses of disinterest or displeasure for these things. (Not to be mistaken for depression symptoms.)

Stage 2: Denial=The awareness of your misalignment increases, but instead of looking further into the reason behind it, you go against what you are feeling and try to continue in your monotony. You basically talk yourself out of whatever it is that you are feeling…or at least you try… which leads to the next stage.

Stage 3: Detachment = This is when you still are not quite ready to “dig deep” and give anything up or make major changes, so you start to distance yourself emotionally from the things that are causing the discontent. Unfortunately, this state of discontent may also spill over into other things in your life. People might notice and comment on your shift in mood and your distant presence. You can’t hide it anymore.

Stage 4: Epiphany/Climax/Aha Moment =This is when Shift Happens. Your discontent pushes you to the edge of introspection. You look inward, and question what is at the core of your feelings. You realize that you need to make changes, whether small, medium, or major ones. You decide that you are willing to make these changes.

Stage 5: Pursuit = You take action and make the necessary changes so that your discontent decreases. You actively seek guidance, whether it be inward, from mentors, or both. You change your direction and move towards your new goal.

Stage 6: Alignment= You feel more alive and the things you are doing or engaging in feel right. You no longer have that unpleasant sense of monotony or boredom. You are in motion, and it seems like everything and everyone around you are propelling you so that you stay in motion.

Stage 7: Realization= You reach that point of bliss where you know that you are doing what you are meant to do. You have moments where you reflect upon where you were before this stage, and you are grateful that you made the changes. You realize that everything was already worked out for your benefit, and all you had to do was take the first step.

Consider what things (or people) in your life that you feel discontent with.
How long have you allowed this feeling to linger?

It may be time to change your direction.

Change Direction Aug2015

With Insightful Love,
Dana (Intuitive Dana)
http://www.metaphysicalfreedom.com
Interested in a personal session?
Set up an appointment here.


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Double Rainbows Do Exist

Recently I stepped away from all of the activities that I do in the big city in order to spend some quality time with my family members at the beach. I went on this trip with the intention of healing and to build stronger bonds with my family.

This mini vacation was manifested from a combination of desires that my sister and I both had. She wanted to take her two sons on one more special trip to the beach before they went back to school, and I wanted to spend more personal time with her. The Law of Attraction delivered her a prize from a drawing which included a trip for 4, lots of free and kid-friendly events, and a few days at a nice hotel directly across from the dusty white sands of the beach.

It was pretty awesome.

During this time away, I had a much-needed opportunity to take a step back and observe the path I have been walking so far. There is something about being near the water, especially the ocean, which cleanses me and puts me in tune with Source unlike any other part of nature.
I reflected on how I started the beginning of the year, and I slowly took note of the things that have manifested since the first day of January. I asked for clarity and assurance of my next steps as I dive deeper into my calling and take greater leaps during these last four months of the year.

One thing about being in nature is that an answer is always waiting to reveal itself. I was riding on a boat, breathing in the refreshing air, and staring meditatively at the ocean waves when a group of dolphins appeared. It was five of them, and each one came up of out of the water to say hello before diving back into the deep. I was asking Spirit a question, and they were my answer.

A few of the dolphins that appeared.

A few of the dolphins that appeared.

One evening, my sister, my nephews, and I left the beach and headed back to our rooms to get ready for dinner. She turned on the television and it was on the Weather Channel. They were doing a segment on double rainbows and explaining the scientific conditions that make them occur. She and I briefly watched the segment, commented on how neat that was, then continued getting ready. I had a quiet thought in my mind, “I wonder if I will ever see a double rainbow.”

The next day was our departure date. We loaded up the car and headed back towards our hometown. The weather was unusual, with patches of scattered showers and sunshine throughout the drive. I continued asking Spirit for answers to questions, and excitedly noted the signs in nature. I saw beautiful deer, turtles, and other animals along the ride.

We came to a four-way stop in a small town when I noticed a rainbow in the sky. “Look, a rainbow,” I said to my sister. She smiled and expressed gratitude that it was there. In that moment, I thought to myself again, “I wonder if I will ever see a double rainbow.”

Rainbow that was present for almost an hour

Rainbow that was present for almost an hour

We kept driving, and the one rainbow stayed in our sight for nearly an hour. It felt magical. Then my sister pointed and squealed with delight, “Double rainbow! Double rainbow!” I looked up and saw a double rainbow in the sky. I said to her, “You know, I was just thinking to myself if I would ever see a double rainbow.” She looked at me with wide eyes and said, “I was thinking the same thing too!”

Look closely, and you will see the double rainbow.

Look closely, and you will see the double rainbow.

And there it was. We laughed and chatted like we used to as little girls. She pulled the car over, and I took several pictures and even made a video. It definitely was magical, healing, and inspiring indeed.

You may wonder why I am telling you about this experience. Because I want you to know that:

Double rainbows do exist.

For me, a “double rainbow” was something that seemed like it was impossible for me to experience or witness.

What is your “double rainbow”– that thing that you think is impossible?

Is it World peace, healing from an illness, unconditional love?

This simple message is to let you know that it is NOT impossible.

Believe in it.

In joy and bliss,
Dana (Intuitive Dana)
http://www.metaphysicalfreedom.com


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What will You Do Now?

This life we live is precious and priceless…similar to the beauty of these flowers.

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There is one significant mystery about Life: Our amount of “time” in the physical world varies from person to person. Time is one of our most precious and irreplaceable treasures. Not the time on clock, but the Life you Live. HOW we spend our time matters. WHO we spend our time with matters. Essentially, we are sharing our Life when we give of our time.

Today I am remembering the life of a good friend whose time on Earth was less than mine: Kenny Reeves, who passed away from leukemia on July 24, 2007. I appreciate the smiles, laughter, and laid-back fun we all had with Kenny, yet at that time, I questioned why someone who was younger than me would also leave the physical realm before I did.

Today, I am also thinking about the people and things in my life that I give time to. I have purposely strayed away from some traditional 9-5 jobs because I value my time and the way that I use it. It can be challenging to spend a lot of your time doing something when you would rather be doing something else with that time. There have been jobs that I absolutely LOVED, which I have given more than the 40 hours a week, yet it was easy to do so.

It is empowering to be consciously aware and to live in the moment. Here is an example of my experience with acting in the moment.

In one of my graduate school courses, my professor proposed a challenge to us, related to the present moment. He dared us to express whatever message we wanted to share with someone who was not in the class, as we were sitting in the middle of class. In a very matter-of-fact voice the professor said, “When you walk out this door after class, you are not guaranteed to return.  Hell, you are not guaranteed to finish this class and leave out of here! You have this moment. What would you do? What would you say to someone that you love or care about right now? I dare you to do it.

I felt the weight of his challenge like a rock was in my stomach. I thought of several people to text or call, but I felt like I had to make a quick decision. (He was counting down). I took out my cell phone and dialed the first number that came to mind. I looked around and saw that several of my classmates were taking out their phones too. A few people got up and left out of class. The professor smiled, and he took out his phone. The room fell silent as everyone was texting or awaiting to hear from the person on the other line.

I began to think about what was happening. What really bothered me about the challenge was that a lot of what he said had validity to it. It made me think of what it must have been like for people when 9/11 happened, or school shootings, or even hostage situations. (Oddly enough, the class was a crisis intervention course.)

My thoughts were interrupted by hearing a ring and then airy silence…

My mother answered. I heard her gentle voice and immediately said to her, “Mom, I just want you to know that I love you.” My voice was shaky for some reason, but I kept talking. “I am in class, and we were told that if all we had was right now, what would we do or who would we contact. I chose to contact you. I am okay, but I just wanted you to know that I love you.” She sounded a little worried, but she graciously said, “I love you too honey.” It was comforting. After we hung up, I texted several of my friends to let them know how much they mean to me. I could hear chatter all over the classroom, and the prominent message I heard was, “I love you.”

This awakened my consciousness again.

At that time, I was so caught up in my own routine as a graduate student that I had drifted away from living mindfully. I appreciate my professor for doing this exercise because I never forgot that experience, and how I felt in that moment.  I allowed myself to think about what matters to me the most and evaluated how I acknowledged those things.

I hope this makes you think about what you are doing with your time on this planet.

We need not wait until a tragedy happens in order to appreciate Life.
We need not wait until a death occurs before we join together to celebrate Life.

 

LIFE Is Right NOW.

Who or what do you need to give time to today?
Sit down, take a moment, and make time for it.

20150722_085912 With Love,
Dana D. Robinson (Intuitive Dana)
http://www.metaphysicalfreedom.com


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Adventures in Africa Part 5: Coming Back to America wasn’t Easy

Approximately 5 days prior to my return from my journey in Ghana, many people started messaging me frequently. Most of the messages said one of two things: “When are you coming home?” or “You’ll be coming home soon!” I kept on receiving those messages almost daily. I felt conflicted when I read them. By this point, I had gotten accustomed to being away from the US, and was excitedly exploring areas of Ghana on my own.

In the beginning of the trip, I was anxiously trying to make sure that I had access to wifi. I have this app on my phone (that I will keep anonymous for now) that allows me to communicate with anyone across the globe who also has the app. The more that I let go of my fears about being overseas, the less that I looked at my phone to see if there was a wifi connection. So, by the time I had reached the closing of my trip, I really did not overwhelm myself with using the app, unless I was talking with the locals and a few friends.
Plus, part of the conflict I was experiencing was because I kept thinking and wanting to reply, “I AM home.”

I loved walking freely down the streets with the locals, smiling, wearing my summer dresses, eating fried or fire-baked plantains, slurping down the sweet chunks of local pineapple, and having heartfelt discussions with fellow young adults about ways we can unify our world.

I was definitely Home.

Yet the time came for me to leave. I was very upset, but checked in with my heart and got clear: “All is in Divine Order and there is a reason for my return at this time”.

I got on the plane heading back to the US. It was going to be at least an 11-hour flight into JFK airport, and then another 3 hours or so back to Atlanta. I wanted to stay awake for most of the trip, so I decided to watch movies while I was on the plane. There were several choices, but I was drawn to two particular films. I watched Selma and 12 Years A Slave during my flight back to the United States of America…coming from Ghana, West Africa.

Notice any irony?

12-years-a-slave-book-cover1Needless to say, I am not sure what drew me to those films (and I knew what they were about), but watching them during the flight had more of an impact than I had imagined. I cried, felt disgusted, and was reminded of another fact about the foundational history of the place I was heading to.

So many thoughts and emotions rolled through me. My parents, who are in their late 60’s and early 70’s now, were once forced to use public amenities that were for “Coloreds/Blacks Only”. They went to schools that were segregated. They saw the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. in real time. My dad marched in demonstrations, and I recalled marching with him and local members of the community as a very young girl in order to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr’s activism when he visited my home town. (Where he was arrested, by the way.)

Then I landed on US soil. I made it back into Atlanta, Georgia, and attempted to re-assimilate myself into American culture by catching up on the latest news. The first thing that I heard about was another shooting of an African American male. I turned off the news and sat in silence for a few hours. I felt numb and heavily detached, because I knew (and know) that this does not have to be.

Not long after that, the shootings in Charleston occurred. Once again, I thought about my experience in Ghana, and then recalled what I was witnessing here in America. It was challenging to go from an environment that oozes with freedom into a place that began to feel oppressive and constrictive. But I always remember that I have choice, and I can choose my own thoughts.

From our thoughts, our feelings and behaviors are affected. We can choose to interact with our environment from an intentional and positive mindset.

Yet, I still chose to reflect upon the history of America…briefly.

Many Americans know that this country was built from the desires of ego-centered men who seemed to have lacked understanding of the True Essence of humanity as a whole. Here it is, the 4th of July, where many of us Americans celebrate Independence Day. Yet, what is really being celebrated? The signing of the Declaration of Independence is not completely about freedom. (I also learned that some colonists did not sign it until an anti-slavery clause was taken out of it, but that may be for another blog post.)
Essentially, the 4th of July is celebrated because the colonies chose to declare their independence from Britain. The colonists were upset with Britain because they were being taxed, feeling stressed, and various rules were placed upon them that they did not like. But think about it…aren’t these same types of taxations and rules in existence in the country right now?

So I ask you, “What are you celebrating?”

I love this line in Bob Marley’s Redemption Song:

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our mind.”

One of the reasons I named my company Metaphysical Freedom is because Freedom first begins in the mind. For example: The colonists who declared their freedom from Britain first had to THINK they could be free from British rule. The slaves who fought for freedom first had to THINK that they could be free. The activists who marched for Civil Rights first had to THINK that change was possible.

I encourage you to recognize the power of your mind and the unshakable freedom that you have from owning your own thoughts and creating your experience from your authentic mind. Not from what someone else has told you, and NOT based on history. History does NOT have to repeat itself, and would not be able to if we renewed our minds and evolved.

 You and I KNOW that there is a better way for ALL of us to live on this planet, and that is in HARMONY with it and each other.

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Celebrate Harmony. Celebrate Love. Celebrate true Freedom.

With Love,
Dana (Intuitive Dana)
http://www.metaphysicalfreedom.com


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Adventures in Africa Part 4: The People Are Rich, but Do Not Know It

I mentioned in Part 1 that earlier this year, I traveled to Ghana, West Africa and stayed for a month. In my time there, I learned a lot of positives about myself and the Ghanaian culture. I also recognized some of my own stigmas, and challenged others’. However, there are some things that I learned which opened my eyes to the reality of the challenges we face due to our ego-centric human nature and history. Through my next set of posts, I will address some “ugly truths” that I developed a better understanding of while being in Ghana.

As I shared in the first post, there were several people from other countries visiting Ghana. Due to my naivety, I thought that the majority of these people were tourists or volunteers. When I spent more time in the country, I paid attention to the landscape, noticed the architecture, and witnessed the different “classes” of people.

There were notably many people from China, India, and France in Ghana. (Through conversation, I learned that there are many people from these countries who reside or visit Africa in general.) I have seen videos of other African countries with “foreigners”, but the experience is different when something is observed firsthand.

I saw extravagant hotels, numerous casinos, and fancy apartment buildings in Ghana. When I asked the locals who owned them, I was surprised to know that most were owned by “foreigners”. These luxurious establishments were in the middle of cities with shack houses, cramped market spaces, and unstable roads. In the least, they were hard to miss because they appeared to have higher quality construction.

Why, you may ask are all these businesses there? Well, think about this: Which nation/continent is one of the largest leaders in cocoa production, has lots of oil, precious metals, diamonds and gold? You got that right. Africa.

I was bothered to not only to witness the economic disparity among the native Ghanaians, but also to observe the ways that the people were being taken advantage of by “foreign” businesses (example: Paying workers far less to run million-dollar businesses). I talked with many educated local businessmen who expressed that other countries are investing heavily in the continent of Africa and its countries. I learned that treaties were formed centuries ago that have left the people with little to no input or income when it relates to the extraction, use, and distribution of their resources.

It is funny to me that a great amount of the American publicity about the continent has been geared towards driving people away from Africa, or displays the people as poor and impoverished. Yet, I clearly saw that other countries see Africa as a rich continent filled with resources and wealthy opportunities.

I am not against people thriving and doing well in their business and economic endeavors, but I do not vibe with groups who take advantage of and oppress another group for their own gain.
It is once again, another form of slavery. The Ghanaian people are very kind, open, and non-violent. Their hospitality is nothing like any Southern hospitality I have experience in the United States. But, something is missing. They are rich and do not know it.

The long-term effects of colonization have left several of the people with a case of learned helplessness. I will talk more about the long-term effects of colonization in another post.

However, a crafty way that I can explain learned helplessness is like this:
A person desires to get help with turning off a light in a room. The person is facing a wall, and the light switch is on the opposite wall that the person is not looking at. Due to the person’s history and past experiences, the person was made to believe that he/she cannot help him/herself. So, this person asks every other person who comes into the room for help with turning off the light. In reality, all that the person has to do is turn around and flip the switch.

When I roamed around Ghana, a lot of the people expressed that they want to come to the US in order to find jobs and make money. Almost none of them said that they wanted to have their own businesses and thrive in their own country. I couldn’t understand it. I felt like they were in a land overflowing with wealth, yet they were seeing it only from a limited viewpoint, and a very negatively skewed one at that.

It appears that their view of their situation is a result of a centuries old “(human) race consciousness” that supports limited awareness of personal strength and freedom.
I desire for the Ghanaian people to know how rich they truly are. Food grows almost everywhere, the air is lively and basically unpolluted (most places I went), and the land has a wealth of resources.

 

Mighty Hill

These ants did not question if they could build this structure. They knew they had the ability, worked together, and did so, unencumbered.

To my Ghanaian brothers and sisters (and you the reader):

Do not look outside of yourself in order to discover riches.
See who You Are.
You Are already Rich and well-equipped.
Tap into your innate strength and wealth.

With loving conviction,
Dana (Intuitive Dana)
http://www.metaphysicalfreedom.com


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Adventures in Africa Part 3: Making Connections

Connecting with the Ghanaian People

I toured a small portion of the country and gathered as much information as I could about the people, culture, language, and customs. Most of the Ghanaian people are Christian, and there is also a large Muslim population as well. The day after Easter Sunday, I visited the beautiful Aburi Botanical Gardens for an Easter Monday festival. There was a live band, picnics, dancing, singing, games, and lots of food everywhere. I noticed the FREEDOM of the people, unlike anything else I have ever experienced. Everywhere that I looked, everyone was walking around confidently, laughing, smiling, and LIVING in the moment. I loved every moment of it!

Here is a video clip from Aburi Botanical Gardens on that day: https://youtu.be/Irxx91oxWMo

Without me saying a word, people noticed that I was “different”and often asked if I was African at all. A few people said to me that my skin was too light, so they were willing to believe I was from South Africa. I found that hard to believe, because I have a brown complexion. (Then, I jokingly thought about the 13% of my lineage that is European.) After this happened frequently, I learned very quickly not to be bothered by these statements because I knew that it was only curiosity.

I met two young men in their 20’s at Aburi. Their names were Francis and Joe. They were excited to meet an American and asked me hundreds of questions. The first thing they said was, “Are you a Black American?” I nodded. Francis and Joe expressed that they wanted to come to America so that they can have jobs and live a good life. I did not want to discourage them, but I was realistic and told them that many people in America are having difficulty finding work. They looked puzzled so I explained more about the American economy until they understood.

I asked Francis and Joe for their Ghanaian names. With hesitance, they told me. Then, they asked me what my African name was. I told them that I did not know. They looked so surprised at me and asked why I didn’t know. I had to explain to them how slavery impacted my family (and many others) to the point where I could not tell them my whole lineage or my ancestors’ names. They continued to look surprised and a little empathetic.

We continued our conversations and talked about several issues facing each country. I wanted them to know how much freedom they truly have and how amazing life can be, right where they were. I ended up talking to them for a few hours, but it was worth it.  After our conversation, they each told me their native names again, and with pride.

New friends Francois and Joe

New friends Francis and Joe at Aburi

There are talented young people in Ghana. I met Jacob during some downtime. Jacob is a creative and fashion-forward young adult. He makes handbags, shoes, accessories, clothing, and much more…ALL BY HAND. As I learned more about him, I discovered that he had given a large portion of his products to someone in another country who paid him little to nothing for it and now sells it in her store for 120x’s more. I encouraged Jacob to share his work globally using social media, instead of just in Ghana. I pointed out to him that he spends a lot of time and effort to do his work, so he should get back what it is worth. He agreed, and has started working with a Facebook page to share his work. (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ja-Creation/832268476851066)

Jacob, a talented and fashion-forward guy. He makes shoes, clothing, handbags, and accessories. By the way, he made the bookbag in this picture.

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Hanging out with Jacob and taking selfies at a local Lounge in Tema

I also had the pleasure of meeting Kingsford. He is another young adult, and he works in one of the small shops in the Accra Arts Center area. He was cool, kind, and made very nice bracelets…BY HAND. I supported his business by getting personalized bracelets made. I would sit in the chair and chat with him while he made them.

Kingsford making a bracelet.

Kingsford making a personalized bracelet.

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Giving Kingsford a goodbye hug and thanking him.

My next to last week in Ghana, I stayed at the home of a missionary woman. She worked with several organizations and had numerous projects. One day, she asked if I could sit in on a meeting and give feedback based on my perspective. I agreed. The meeting was at the Malku Institute of Technology. The topic of interest was marketing and social media. I gave my honest opinion and shared research that I had read.  Surprisingly to me, I was asked to come back and present a workshop to the core staff about the topic. I was thrilled to do so, and I put together a simple presentation to assist them in the best way that I knew how.

Presentation at Malku

Presentation at Malku3Presentation at Malku1

Presentation at Malku5

As I continued with the intention to connect with the Ghanaian people, I discovered that the ones I connected with were ones who needed to be encouraged and reminded that they are worthy of greatness. (Don’t we all need that?!)

Here is another person that I met. Thomas, pictured below. He was my cab driver during my last week in Ghana. Thomas is 70 years old, and has 2 adult children living in New York. He and I had great conversations about spirituality, religion, and stages of the lifespan. Thomas shared that he feels like his time on Earth is about to be up. He said, “My kids are grown and a lot of my friends are dead.” I expressed to him that there is so much life to live right now. He smiled when we talked and shared, “I wish we could have met sooner so we can really talk about Life!” Before I left, he commanded me, “You come back in a year, and I want to meet your husband and baby.” This statement made me laugh.

All in all, I loved to hear Thomas’s perspective, yet most importantly, he also appreciated my willingness to listen.

Thomas, my reliable cab driver

By the last week of my trip, most people said to me, “Are you Ghanaian? You look Ghanaian.” I was so amused by this because the only thing that changed for me was that I felt less like a tourist or visitor and more like I was at home.

 When my host family asked me how I felt about being in Africa and specifically in Ghana, I replied: “I see the faces of my friends and family in the people here.”

It easily felt like home, indeed.

Think about this:

The more we seek to understand each other, the less and less we support the false barriers that exist between us.

Joe gifted me with a bracelet and asked to be a lifelong friend.

With Love,
Dana (Intuitive Dana)
http://www.metaphysicalfreedom.com