I Channel Hikes…

Red Tailed Hawk

I have an innate ability to find great hikes. Granted, I live in one of the most stunning places on earth – Colorado. But I seem to be able to look at a trail map or hiking book and pick the perfect terrain, distance and views given a small amount of information. I set my intention for what I want to experience on a hike and then let my intuition take over. And yesterday, I discovered that I could  manifest new trails.

Peter and I decided to go up to one our favorite parks – Red Mountain Open Space. Just 25 miles north of Fort Collins, this land was once part of a large ranch bordering Colorado and Wyoming in the area called the Laramie Foothills. When the land went up for sale several years ago, three municipalities – Larimer County, The City of Fort Collins and The City of Cheyenne – raised the funds to purchase it and turn it into Open Space Lands. The three adjacent parks host many miles of connected hiking/biking/horseback riding trails and the terrain in each park displays its own personality and flavor. Red Mountain is owned by Larimer County.

Peter and I have been to Red Mountain several times and love the area, but there was one place in the park that I so wanted to see, and there was no way to get up there other than bushwhacking – which is a no-no. So last year we hiked other places, including the park next door – Soapstone Prairie (which by the way houses a famous archaeological site containing artifacts that date back 12,000 years!).

When we got to the trailhead at Red Mountain – we checked the information postings and noticed there was a new map of the area – and guess what? In the year that we had been away, the rangers had built a new trail right up into the canyon that I so wanted to visit! Named the K-Lynn Cameron Trail, it meanders west into a series of sandstone canyons and up onto a ridge overlooking the entire open space.

Here’s a trail map of the area.

While we ate a decadent picnic of fried chicken and cole slaw at the trailhead, a Larimer Park Ranger rode by on his horse, Diesel. We saw him several times on the trail. Here he is herding cattle away from the creek. Larimer rents some of the space to neighboring ranches for grazing and it’s not unusual to walk right by a herd on the trail.

You can see why it’s called Red Mountain.

When we crossed Sand Creek and headed west on the K-Lynn Cameron trail, we encountered the ruins of an old homestead. We see these scattered all over Colorado. Can you imagine what life would have been like here in the Winter?

Here I am almost at the top of the canyon overlooking the valley. This is the spot I’ve been longing to visit, but couldn’t until this year when the trail was finished.

And here are a few shots of Box Elder Canyon, our last stop before heading back to the car.

Yesterday was one of those magical days when I got to appreciate the beauty of the land here in Northern Colorado. I had to pinch myself to believe that I got to hike into a place that I had been so wanting to see for several years. But then again, I guess on some level, I created it! Thank you to my LargeSelf and all those who participated!

Love,

Cathy

©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012

More Bumper Sticker Philosophy

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. – Albert Einstein.

I have long forgotten where I first heard this phrase and then one day, I saw it on a bumper sticker:

O.K. – Think about it – how many times have you thought something, especially about yourself that you fully and completely bought into? Most of our self-blame, self-deprecating, self-criticizing thoughts came from somewhere. They’re either old tapes from childhood, parents, peers, teachers, who probably meant well – at least on some level. Or, they’re thoughts that you cooked up all by yourself, building on criticisms that you heard along the way.

And what about when your mind slips into judgement about something or someone else? The mind seems to constantly want to label, compare, contrast as a way of controlling and making sense of life. But when that propensity to judge kicks in, we’re often left with either a sense of self-righteousness or some icky feeling that then feeds on our love of self-blame. What better way to validate that you’re a shit if you think bad thoughts about someone?

I think Einstein was right. We honor the rational mind too much. Not only do we honor it, we believe it! Think of all the suffering that could be avoided if we simply told our rational mind to mind its own business.

Here are a few suggestions to help you connect more fully with the intuitive mind and tell that pesky rational mind to take a hike!

  • Become the objective observer. When something is too close, we can’t see all of its dimensions. By mentally stepping back and looking at the situation, we can be more conscious and objective. Then we make better choices.
  • Become more familiar with the vibration of the intuitive mind. Some of the qualities of the intuitive mind (LargeSelf, Higher Self) are kindness, love, objectivity, and a bigger picture. It’s that feeling that says: “I don’t see me (them) as bad or scary.”
  • Remember to be in your body. When you find yourself believing thoughts that feel icky,  stop, breathe, come into the present moment. From that place, you can slow down the mental chatter and take back your power.
  • Have a conversation with yourself. Yes, it’s okay to do that – we all do. When a negative thought comes blasting in, you can say: “Interesting point of view. Thank you very much. I’ll consider it, but for right now I’m going to do something else.”
  • As you practice all of the above, notice how your thought patterns begin to shift. Over time, you’ll realize that you have replaced scary, negative thoughts with more loving, kind thoughts. After all, believing everything you think is just a habit. Once you start to changing that habit, you’ll be able to build on it.

So remember, your rational mind is a great tool. But it is just that – a tool. And sometimes it can be a tool (grin)!  Use it to do math problems, read, learn information. But don’t believe it. Because it wants you to give it your power. Just say no…

Love,

Cathy

©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012

Be Where Your Body Is

Last week, during our monthly Energy Healing Course call, Lisa shared her recent experiences with our physical energy healing process. Swallowing back a few tears, she told us of a new awakening. After years of spiritual practice, Lisa suddenly realized last month that she was still mostly fixed in a mental/intellectual pattern of self-judgement. The shift happened when she began focusing more on her body through the physical healing techniques she’s learning in the course.

I teach a kinesthetic approach to intuition and healing, and Lisa related that her new abilities to feel physical sensations brings her more into her body and out of her intellectual mind. Suddenly she realizes that she’s a Divine being in a Divine body. Many of her old perceptions of herself and her life are no long longer important and the physical sensations that she’s experiencing are leading her into new levels of enlightenment.

Lisa’s revelations brought me back to something I’ve known for many years, but it had become so much a part of my own being, my own way of working and healing, that I had literally taken it for granted. Her message is this: our bodies are our direct route to the Divine. Blessed with a huge array of receptors specifically tuned to feel and interpret vibration, when we can quiet the mind and feel – physically feel – the information of the Universe opens to us in ways that cannot be described in words.

Many spiritual traditions incorporate body-centered practices as a way of quieting the mind and bringing the spirit into the present moment. Walking meditation, focusing on the breath, bell or chime ringing, candle gazing, hatha yoga, tai chi – all of these practices help to move us from our intellectual mind into our bodies and in that space, we truly feel the vibrations of our existence.

So – what better way of being body centered than through the process of practicing physical healing? I often say to my clients that I’m incredibly blessed to get to be fully present for twenty-one hours a week (the number of sessions that I typically do). To do my best work, I listen actively, I use my eyes to read the structural patterns in the body, and I use my hands to feel for energy imbalances as well as physical restrictions through palpation. It’s that place of the curious and objective observer (senser) that allows me to glean information, interpret it and act – all the while including my own thoughts, feelings and intuition in the mix.

This isn’t to say, that everyone needs to be a healer in order to be enlightened or happy. But in our world where many spend most of their day in front of a computer screen, simply allowing oneself to feel from a body-centered place, even while typing at a keyboard can bring us back to the present moment.

One of my favorite sayings is this: Be where your body is. If you’re typing on the computer, allow yourself to feel your fingertips touching the keys. If you’re eating lunch, sit down and feel as you take a bite – the texture, taste, temperature, visual appeal of the food. And if you’re doing healing – notice your client and yourself in the interaction. How are they breathing – how are you breathing? How do your hands feel as you touch them or scan their energy field? How does your body feel as you move during the session?

And what other ways can you tune into this marvelous array of sensory receptors in your body to bring you into the present moment and the Divine in your daily life?

Much Love,

Cathy

P.S. – Thank you, Lisa for the inspiration for this post. You have reminded me of something I do all the time, but it has become so ingrained that I forgot to mention it! Love you! Cathy

©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012

Cultivating Intuition – Listen!

Photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons – some rights reserved by Mads Boedker

It has now been twenty-five years since the connection to my intuition was forever cemented. I think I inherited my intuition from my mother. But until that fateful day when it asserted itself so strongly and I continued to ignore it with very unpleasant consequences did I finally learn to“hear” it, believe it and act on it.

I woke up on Saturday morning anticipating my parent’s visit. They were driving down to Miami from Atlanta and I planned to clean and shop for groceries prior to their arrival later in the afternoon. In those days, I was a serious athlete – a middle distance runner and competitive cyclist and on that day, my (then) husband, John, wanted me to accompany him on a bike ride.

As we discussed the plans for the day, I got a very strong sense that I should not go riding. I chalked it up to the fact that I had lots to do in preparation for my folk’s visit. But my husband was insistent. “I can ride the full fifty miles and you can turn around half-way at twelve and a half. You ride back by yourself, and get started with your cleaning and I’ll come back and help you,” he said.

My sense was “DON’T GO!” But because I wanted to get a workout in and I knew I wouldn’t have much time to ride or run while Mom and Dad were there, I decided to go. The sense not to ride was so strong that it kept on, even after I changed my clothes, got on the bike and started the ride. The voice in my head (and I don’t really hear voices, so don’t think I’m hallucinatory) kept niggling, nagging “Turn around, now. Stop and go home.” But I kept going.

Well, I did ride the twelve and a half miles to the turnaround. I said goodbye to John. He continued and I headed home. Within three minutes of our parting, I hit a large dip in the road, the seat post on my bike broke and I found myself face-down on the pavement with a broken tooth and a cut lip that was bleeding profusely. Some people in the neighborhood where I fell saw me go down, called 911 and a few minutes later, the EMTs arrived. I convinced them that I was O.K. as the bleeding had slowed, and we called my in-laws to come get me. After I was home, and my parents arrived, my lip began bleeding again and I had to go to the ER for stitches. While my injuries weren’t severe, the fall certainly put a damper on my visit with my parents and I had to see the dentist for repair of my front tooth. And fortunately, I didn’t end up with any facial scars…

Since that fateful day, I have listened to my intuition (well, for the most part). It made itself so clear and strong that I finally “got it!” That intuitive voice has a distinct vibration similar in it’s uniqueness to the sound of my husband, Peter’s voice on the phone. There is no doubt when Peter calls (even without caller I.D.) who is speaking. The vibration of his voice is different from anyone else’s and I know it immediately. Just like I know the vibration of my intuition.

Yes, I have been known to argue with it from time-to-time. Sometimes in a session, I’ll get intuitive information that seems really “out-there” and out of context. It will say: “Tell them this.” And bear in mind that these are bodywork and energy sessions. The client isn’t always coming for intuitive help.

I’ll go: “No way, they’ll think I’m crazy!” And after a short bout of discussion in my head, I’ll usually acquiesce. And always, it’s 100% right on!

These days, with the Energy Healing work and in developing my online course, I have come out of the closet and am more open about my intuitive abilities. I do offer them, now, as part of my services. But who would have guessed that this new line of work all started with a bike crash!

Have you ever ignored a strong intuitive hit and later discovered that you should have listened? I’d love to hear your stories!

Love,

Cathy

©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012

Cultivating Intuition – Create!

Northern Lights – Digital Painting by Cathy Ulrich

I suspect I’ll be “preaching to the choir” here with many of you about this one, but it’s one of my favorite ways to cultivate my intuition. That is: creativity. I love to write, paint, draw, play the piano, knit, bead and cook among other things. I find that when I’m in that creative space, ideas flow freely and time dissolves.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re doing something creative, you forget everything else? You become immersed in the present, in the activity. When I’m in that space, it feels as if I’m connected directly to Source. My mind is clear, focused and present while I’m painting or playing my piano. And I get lots of intuitive hits.

The idea of Right Brain thinking versus Left Brain thinking is a possible and intriguing theory around the connection between creativity and intuition. When we’re in a space where we are creating something new, we’re using a part of our consciousness that’s plugged into source – that Right Brain, holistic side that opens and invites creation in all of its facets.

I once heard someone say that when we create, we’re surprising God! And since the very nature of the Divine is creative, we become one with its essence. How can we not be connected to receive intuitive information in this space?

So, I invite you to allow some time this week to create. For you wonderful bloggers out there, you’re already writing. I invite you to write but avoid editing at the same time. Separate out those activities. Write first, then go back and edit – you’ll stimulate your creativity even more.

For you visual artists, I’d suggest that you spend some time this week painting or drawing. If you love arranging flowers, set aside some time to pick out a beautiful bouquet, arrange it and find the perfect place to display it in your home. And if you don’t think of yourself as an artist, check out this website. Zentangle.com It’s a wonderful and creative way of drawing that anyone can do.

What do you like to create? And how do you feel when you’re doing it?

Love,

Cathy

©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012

Cultivating Intuition – Move

One of my favorite ways to solve problems is to run. I find that when I can set my feet on the earth, allow myself to breathe and my body to move, I get amazing insights. The information that comes to me is creative, pure, even funny!

I discovered this form of self-therapy after my mother died. I was working though my feelings, understanding my childhood, my loss, my own sense of self, mortality – all those things that represented myself in my family and my world. It was easier to talk to my Mom when I ran. And it was easier for me to hear her responses. And I would even talk out loud to her at times – still do, especially when I’m running (mind you, I live in a beautiful place where I can run on a bike path on an open prairie with few people around. So talking out loud is usually O.K.) These days, I run for the pleasure of seeing what comes into my head!

In her silent retreat, Lola Jones introduces the participants to a process called “non-habitual movement.” I had learned of it in my Rolfing Movement Practitioner Training and it made a lot of sense that she would use it to help participants access their inner guidance. By moving in random patterns to music, we can break up those habitual body and thought patterns which frees us to feel and contact our inner knowing. It feels a bit strange at first, but by inviting the body to lead the movement, keeping the mind as a curious observer, we can enjoy a freedom that we have never felt before.

Not everyone likes to run or even can run, so walking or hiking is also a great way to move. I recommend that you go for a walk several times a week, either alone or if you’re with someone, ask them to walk with you in silence. Feel your feet on the ground, feel your body moving, feel your breath and notice that inner voice arise that wants to be recognized and heard. As you become more familiar with that inner voice, talk to it, acknowledge it, maybe even take a small recorder or note pad and document what comes in.

Have fun with moving and let me know how you’re doing.

Love,

Cathy

©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012

Cultivating Intuition – Savor the Silence

As the energies in our world speed up, all the “shiny” things in our lives become more and more enticing. Internet, social networking, streaming video, television, smart phones, mobile devices – all vie for our attention. But when and where do we allow ourselves to stop and notice what’s going on for us in our inner world?

A few years ago, a dear relative and friend came to visit. She has a hectic life and she loves to come to my home and stay for a while. It’s always wonderful to see the stress in her face melt as she relaxes into the resonant field that Peter and I have created. One day, as we were sitting outside in the courtyard, listening to a meadowlark singing, she said: “You know, I could never live the way you and Peter do. It is silent in your home. Aside from the jazz that you play while making dinner, there’s never a T.V. running. There’s no background noise. If I did that, it would make me feel more intensely and probably drive me crazy. I’m not sure that I could.”

When I did the Religious Science Practitioner Training many years ago, one of our exercises was to turn off the radio in our cars for a week – just to drive around without any noise in the car.  It was astounding to see how many people in the class found it hard to do this simple exercise.

The best vacation I have ever had was the five days of silence I spent with Lola Jones and a fabulous group of people in Lola’s special retreat. The purpose of the silence was to eliminate any distractions so that we could all cultivate a closer relationship with the Divine – to be able to get our nourishment, insights and support from within, rather that seeking outside of ourselves for answers. It certainly worked for me. Not hearing my own voice, nor that of others, allowed me to feel the Presence within me and, while I have always had a strong intuitive sense, the five-day retreat strengthened it beyond measure.

With all of the distractions, the “shiny things” in our lives, pulling our attention this way and that, it can be a challenge to hear/feel/know of that guidance that only comes from within. Savoring silence is one of the best ways to feel it. So even if it is only for a few minutes a day, allow yourself a time of silence. You don’t have to actively meditate or work at it (although it may be work, at first, for some!). Just turn off the radio in the car as you drive to work. Turn off the T.V. for 30 minutes before bed. Silence your smart phone and avoid the temptation to answer that text message.

See what insights come to you when you give yourself this gift. Then send me a quick comment and let me know how it’s going.

What other ways have you found to cultivate silence?

Love,

Cathy

©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012