Posted in Healing, Psychology

Facing our fears and shame

Fear and shame are like monsters under our bed.

Too often, these unwanted feelings remain repressed and buried in our subconscious.

As long as they remain hidden, they can exert power over our words and actions unconsciously.

But when we choose to face them, we begin to see them for what they are – illusion.

After all, fear is said to be False Evidence Appearing Real.

A notable shame researcher Dr Brene Brown said, “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”

In this video, I share about how facing our fears and shame can be a form of psychotherapy, as we make the unconscious conscious and free ourselves from the power of these repressed emotions.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Psychology

Ignite Video Challenge

There is a song called “Words don’t come easy”.

For me, words don’t come easy, especially when it comes to speaking. I tend to write more than I speak, as I usually express myself better in writing (well, hopefully) than in speaking.

I have become afraid of public speaking since young because I have been made to feel as if I didn’t matter, or my views didn’t matter, whether at home, in school or at work.

As a result, I have become reclusive and reluctant to speak. When I do speak, I usually take time to warm up to make a speech or engage in a conversation.

However, lately I have embarked on a new venture. I have joined a free 30-day Ignite video challenge which started on 11 September.

This video challenge helps me to deal with my fears and anxieties as I learn to take videos of myself speaking to the camera and share them in the Ignite video challenge Facebook group.

This group serves as a safe and non-threatening environment, where team members share videos and offer encouragement and constructive comments for further improvements with one another.

It is an upward journey to me, as much as it is an inward journey.

I would like to thank coach Sam Choo for recommending this video challenge, as well as those in the online community who have encouraged me along the way.

In case you are interested to check out the video challenge workshop, here’s the link: http://lightitupvideo.com/ignite-resplendent/

#IgniteVideoChallenge

Posted in Psychology

Reflections of passion

By doing what I love and sharing what I know, I put myself on a limb and risk being criticised, misunderstood or attract jealousy.

Depending on who I share my experience with or who I teach, something in me may stir up something in my audience, whether positive or negative feedback or traits or vibes etc.

I am also in the process of growing, being moulded and refined even as I put myself out there to share my experience. Will I be subject to the same temptation of jealousy, fear of being embarrassed or rejected, and so on?

I suppose a good teacher would want their students to become equipped and empowered, and ultimately do better than me in their own area of expertise.

Teaching, after all, is not about competition as it is about continuing and passing on a legacy of positive contributions to humanity and Nature, for future generations to grow, thrive and prosper in good time.

Posted in Healing, Psychology

Understanding a woman and her feelings

all is love

“This is one of the most life-changing articles I have ever read. I make 100 copies at a time and hand them out to everyone. It takes 5-10 minutes to read, but worth every second. It helps women to understand their feelings, be responsible for how we are wired, and will help men to help their women out of a shutdown. Here is the article from Alison Armstrong:

The most important article I have ever written. Please feel free to pass this on to all the women AND all the men in your life. – Alison.

Heart and Lungs, Life and Energy Imagine, if you will, a woman. Let’s look inside of her. Not the way a doctor might see her, but someone with more intuitive vision. In the center of her chest is a very unique organ. It looks like a disk about the size of a salad plate, up to two inches thick, and it fills her chest. When it is healthy, the color is a vibrant red or magenta or red-orange, and the surface is soft and even bubbly. Like the lungs, it pulls life and energy in from the environment. Specifically from nature, from the joy of loved ones, from beauty. Like the heart, it is connected to every part of her body through a complex circulatory system. As life and energy are pulled into it, life and energy travel to every extremity.

This organ is called “her feelings” and it is the core of her being.

When a woman is delighted or happy, this organ fills with life and energy, expanding and expanding. The life and energy move from her chest to her lungs, and she may breathe more heavily or deeply. From there, the life and energy move to her throat, and she may laugh or giggle or sing. Continuing upward, her mouth turns into a smile, her skin glows and her eyes sparkle. The life and energy flow through her smile and skin and eyes to the people around her and they are uplifted. When the life and energy reach her brain, they fill her head with hopeful, loving, magnanimous, creative thoughts. And as they reach her arms and legs, hands and feet, her step becomes lighter and she may even dance.

This is when she is her most powerful, and paradoxically, her most vulnerable. Bask in her beauty and light and treat her with care.

Pain and Blackness, Silence and Immobility Imagine now that something happens which “hurts her feelings.” Intentional act or mere oversight, when a woman’s feelings are hurt, the process works in reverse. The rate at which this occurs depends on how harsh or shocking was the hurtful act or comment. It may take three to thirty minutes for the process to be complete.

Within a few seconds the organ has constricted, changing color to black or dark gray and becoming hard and tight like a rock or fist. Vibrant and pulsing a moment before, it lies lifeless. The woman might gasp as she feels the core of her being shrink and harden. Then this new death travels the pathways that life and energy flowed through just moments before.

Being closest to her lungs, breathing will be the first to go. She will feel as if she can’t breathe and her actual breaths will become shallow. Next is the throat. She will be able to speak for only a few moments longer and then the death-feeling will shut down all energy to her throat. The “silent treatment” that others dread is not voluntary. She cannot speak. Her eyes will suddenly become sensitive to light, and especially to people. She’ll have to avoid all eye contact, for it hurts them. After a few more minutes the life and energy is gone from her arms and legs. If she can’t cocoon, she’ll move slowly. If she can, she’ll find a safe place, curl up and become immobile. As time passes, her body feels heavier and heavier, like dirt is being piled on top of her.

In her experience, she has been completely shut down. Then the real mischief begins.

For one small, crucial part of her brain has a back up generator, which turns on as the rest herself shuts off. And it has access to a specific set of files. Let’s call it “the Rage Monster.” While she lies breathless, speechless, blind and immobile, the Rage Monster dips into all the records of irritations, annoyances, pet peeves, and any unresolved injuries. With only these to work with, the Rage Monster starts churning out speeches. Its fantasy is all-out verbal warfare. It plots revenge.

As time goes on, the Rage Monster will gather momentum. Physical proximity to the person who her hurt her feelings fuels the Rage Monster, giving it energy. Though lying buried under dirt, mute and blind, the woman may try to move to a distance from the source of the hurt, understanding intuitively that this might quiet the beast in her head. She may move to another room or out of the house altogether. On the surface, the Rage Monster may take over the woman’s facial muscles, making her look angry or upset. But underneath its rantings, a small voice in her head is pleading for help, hoping the person who buried her might come dig her out. For he or she is the only one who can.

On the Other Side

Now let’s look from the point of view of the man. Why a man? Because women are more vulnerable to the men they love than anyone else on Earth. And because feelings are different for men. Or so they have told me. Men’s feelings, while just as deep and significant, don’t have the circulatory system women have. Scientists tell us that men don’t have as many connections in their brains from the feeling centers and language centers. This is good, by the way. Different but valuable for many purposes.

So, having a different relationship to feelings in general, the man does not realize that he has just hurt the woman. Whatever he did or said was not intended to be hurtful. Healthy men (which most are) never intend to hurt women. And that same remark or action would probably not have hurt him. He has no idea that her feelings are the organ at the core of her being from which all life and energy flow. No one has ever explained that to him.

After a prolonged silence, he starts to worry that she may be mad at him. He hopes this isn’t true. If he loves her, then her being mad at him is the worst thing that can happen. He is hoping, and maybe praying, that she’s upset at something else, but please, not at him. As one man expressed it, “I’d pay a million, billion, gazillion dollars for her not to be mad at me.” For a being designed to pursue success in every area, this is the worst failure. She is the sun and the moon and both have suddenly deserted his life. And he doesn’t know why.

If she does something that clearly indicates that the anger is directed at him, then hope will die, he’ll know he failed, and there is nothing to do now but fix it. If he has been able to fix it in the past, he’ll quickly respond. If he has never been able to fix it, then he’s really sunk.

Until the woman does something that overtly communicates anger, like going to sleep in the other room or stomping out of the house, he’ll keep hoping that it isn’t him. This is how the woman can be left buried under the dirt in darkness and silence for hours. He doesn’t mean to be cruel. He doesn’t know that she’s drowning and that he’s the only lifeguard.

“I’m Sorry I Hurt You” Raises the Dead

When he does go her, he’ll want to confront the anger head-on. Because he thinks it is real. He doesn’t know that it is the Rage Monster’s default program of miscellaneous junk that really didn’t bother her that much at the time. If he engages the Rage Monster by being angry himself – perhaps because it seems unfair to him that she is angry – then he’s likely to hear all the trash that has been being gathered and rehearsed. A smart man will treat it like the garbage disposal backing up. An informed man could avoid it altogether.

Beneath the anger is the hurt that shut down the whole system and enabled the Rage Monster to take over. If he says, “I’m sorry” – and means it – life will suddenly flow back into her chest and make its way to the rest of her body. It will take a while to reach all the different parts, so he should be patient. But as soon as he says, “I’m sorry,” with true kindness and remorse, the generator to the Rage Monster will shut down and its products quickly fade away. Her true self will take over her mind and her vocal chords again.

What should he be sorry for? Women usually need to hear “I’m sorry” for two things. She needs him to apologize for whatever he said or did, or failed to say or do. And here’s the catch – even if it was justified. Suppose he was late because his boss kept him at work. Completely understandable. But she still needs him to apologize for being late.

The second thing is even more important. Sometimes it is all that matters. She needs him to apologize for how he made her feel. She needs him to apologize for hurting her. He should say, and mean, “I’m sorry I hurt you.” If she suddenly sobs when he says, “I’m sorry I hurt you,” he shouldn’t fear. This sob is a powerful release of the hard, black fist that has gripped her chest. These words open her prison, and soon, she will be tearful but almost smiling, and on her way back to breathing in life and energy again.

“Ouch” May be the Magic Word

Having recently discovered that Greg, my husband of ten years, didn’t know any of the above, I became passionate about telling every man I know, and encouraging other women to do the same. I also began to wonder if there is a way to short circuit the whole cycle. I asked Greg what might happen if, during the few moments before my throat shut down, I said, “Ouch.” Would that alert him to my being hurt? Would that have the lifeguard jump into the water immediately and save me? Greg thought it might.

I understood, of course, that saying “Ouch” would not be easy. When I have been hurt and the system is in the processing of shutting down, making me more vulnerable seems like the last thing I should do. But I was determined to try it at the earliest opportunity.

The very next evening Greg said something that hurt my feelings. Since I was on the way to the market with my mother, my throat didn’t immediately close down, so the Rage Monster could vocalize. I called Greg on my cell phone from the grocery store and gave him a piece of my mind. He reacted in anger and, naturally, fought back. That made the Rage Monster boil to dangerous levels. Some will of mine prevailed and I hung up, thereby gaining some crucial distance.

As I picked out cucumbers and peppers, a small voice in my head said, “Perhaps you should have said ‘Ouch’.” The Rage Monster responded, “It’s too late for that!”

When I arrived home, all the usual symptoms were there. Although I was preparing dinner, I moved slowly, I could hardly speak and I couldn’t look at Greg at all. Then Annie, my youngest, volunteered to get something from the garage refrigerator, where Greg was at the time. Suddenly, I broke through and said, “Annie, tell Dad, ‘Mom says Ouch’.” She looked at her sister like I was crazy so I repeated myself more emphatically. She said okay and went to the garage.

I think he ran. A moment later he was encircling me with his arms and saying, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry I hurt you. Thank you so much for saying ‘Ouch.’ Thank you so much for telling me what you needed.” Suddenly I could speak. I told him simply what hurt. He apologized. We hugged. And it was over. Just like that. I haven’t had the chance to try “Ouch” again. By understanding so much of men’s behavior, I am rarely hurt by the things they do. So it was an experiment of only one incident. But since then I have spoken to hundreds of women about our feelings. They have all agreed with the description here. I encourage you to try “Ouch” yourself. Whether you can do it in those first critical moments, or muster the ability some time later, as I did, I think it is worth doing. I would love to hear how it goes. Peace.”

(Source: http://jimmytst.tumblr.com/post/30032393528/all-is-love-this-is-one-of-the-most)

Posted in Freedom, Healing, Love, Psychology

Protecting my vibe

One of the hardest things to do perhaps is to love and accept ourselves and be gentle with ourselves and others at all times, as we live in constant interactions with society.

We are constantly being judged by others, no matter how well we conduct ourselves, how well we speak, how good our intentions are, how much we seek to improve or learn from our mistakes, etc.

If people judge us, perhaps it is because they haven’t learnt to love and accept themselves as they really are too. (The same goes for us, as we all are on a journey.)

Self-love and self-respect is so important that it requires practice on a constant basis, with the need for mindful breathing, for continual awareness.

How do I know when I haven’t really loved and accepted myself for who I really am fully?

  • When I fail to be gentle with myself because I have allowed shame to cripple me instead of using guilt and contrition as an impetus to grow and learn to do better
  • When I don’t carry myself with respect and dignity because I forget to be mindful and watch my body posture
  • When I judge others, because I haven’t learn how to integrate my light and dark sides
  • When I place expectations on others to fulfil my needs, not realising I am already complete and whole
Posted in Peace, Psychology

HOW STAYING NEAR WATER CHANGES OUR BRAINS

It is interesting to learn from the article “How staying near water changes our brains” that “negative ions come primarily from natural energy sources, such as storms, rivers, and ocean tides”, which increase our capacity to absorb oxygen, help our body and mind to rejuvenate faster and promote healthy serotonin levels for mood regulation. I noticed that whenever I pass by a river or beach, no matter how small the water channel or water body is, I would instinctively turn my head to look at the water as I am naturally drawn to the calming, refreshing effect of the river or sea, merely by looking at the water.

Like the article says “Bodies of water, such as oceans and lakes, can help us to easily connect with our state of awe. This promotes mindfulness, reduces stress, and increases our physical well-being.” I can also relate to what it says about how “the rhythm of water can lull us into a deep and hypnotic state of relaxation” because I often find myself lapsing or being lulled into a state of relaxation and meditation when I pause by a river or sea.

Posted in Psychology

Exploring what it means to be conscious

I can meditate and experience a sense of being out of time and space for a while, but I need to remember that it doesn’t necessarily make me better or more enlightened than others. The danger is that I can become overly detached or even pompous and lose my humanity and ability to relate to others at a human level.

Yes, I am in the world and not of the world, but still I am in the world and need to reach out to help alleviate suffering and pain in the world as a fellow sentient being. By acknowledging my own suffering and pain and practising compassion towards myself, I can extend compassion towards others.

For instance, I can observe without being involved in an online discussion in a cycling forum, and I find myself making judgments about how people write and respond to one another and share their viewpoints which may come across to me as calm or argumentative or wise and so on. Then again, I have been there before myself, and I may have some blind spots that others can see when they read my posts in the forum. I need to realise and remember that I am both an observer and a participant of life. I can’t simply be an observer and not participate at all because it would be like living in a bubble.

It occurs to me that one paradox of life is that to be free from being bound by the worldly concerns of life, the way out is not to numb myself to not feel the feelings and emotions, but to allow myself to feel the feelings and emotions that a “normal” human being would feel. As much as I don’t like to be held hostage by circumstances and have my moods dictated by happenings that are beyond my control, and as much as I am learning to “respond” like a thermostat instead of “reacting” like a thermometer, I have to acknowledge the fact that I am not above Nature and I am also not beyond being a human being.

Animals, for example, seem to cooperate fully with Nature by being spontaneous with emotions in accordance with circumstances – whether they be joy, fear, sadness or some other feeling. They can be very intuitive in their own ways, sometimes not in the way we humans understand or are familiar with. Whether they are conscious of their own emotions or intuition is another story, as I don’t really know if they are conscious or capable of self-reflection and contemplation. But what I can do on my part as a human being is to practise flowing with Nature as well, and choose to be conscious of my emotions while living and being in this dynamic world.

 

Posted in Healing, Love, Psychology

Thoughts on how to clear dark entities

This comprehensive blog by Elizabeth Dahl Kingery reminds me of Nikola Tesla’s quote about thinking in terms of energy, frequency and vibration if we want to find the secrets of the Universe, for everything is energy which changes from one form to another. Given that the earth is about 4.6 billion (or 4,600 million) years old and the modern human species is relatively young, about 200 million years old, there must be a lot of energy that has been accumulated over millions of years circulating around the world, changing from one form to another, through the continual birth and death and evolution of plants, animals and human beings. As her blog said, there are benevolent and malevolent energies or entities we encounter in life, and each of us has our unique, individual ways of doing “our deep inner work of moving through (our) painful emotions and fears towards enlightenment”, whether it be deep relaxation, visualisation, meditation, certain crystals, herbs and high-frequency food and so on.

This cycle of existence, which suffering and pain is a part of, reminds me of the Buddhist concept of samsara – I googled and found this article by Teal Swan that has a similar view of accepting and embracing and working through our feelings and emotions in the process of doing our deep inner work. Recently, I decided to articulate in a blog on why and how I am learning to feel and express my feelings and emotions in order to more fully experience what it is to be human and to be alive.

And yes, we can trust and allow our intuition to guide us “because (our) higher self knows best what someone needs, and when they’re most open to receiving it.” I also have come to see that “self-love and self-empowerment are the most effective healing modalities for clearing entities” because the highest form of energy and the highest frequency is love, and our true self or identity is essentially and intrinsically love.

Posted in Equality, Grace, Healing, Inspiration, Love, Peace, Psychology, Racism, Religious fundamentalism, Unity and harmony

Social activism – the inner life

Social activists need to grow as humans as well because the greatest enemy isn’t outside, whether it is white supremacy or colonialism or patriarchy; it is the untamed ego or shadow side of us. (We can have a holistic t’shuvah understanding of ourselves, recognising that while we bear the image of the divine, we have a capacity to do tremendous good or terrible evil.)

When we succeed in bringing about a revolution and challenging and dismantling white supremacy, for example, the question is “what’s next?” Is the response “who’s the next enemy?” If so, it can become a means to not deal with our interior life and stay preoccupied with fighting against an external perceived enemy all the time. This can lead to infighting in social activist groups or movements as the members begin to turn on one another. But if the response is “how can I continue to create a better and more humane world?” then one can find creative ways to bring about or facilitate restoration and reconciliation. It might mean working through one’s own pain and suffering to experience healing and peace more and more; it might mean reaching out to help the oppressed heal from their pain and suffering; it might mean working with the white people who are aware and willing to bring about equality in real and tangible ways in society, and so on.

To be sure, social activists are human and have their own fears and egos and insecurities. But are they going to allow these to override their primary motivation in activism, which is a love for oneself and others and working towards their emancipation? If others’ freedom and well being are their top priority, they can choose to not their own hurt pride and wounded ego get in the way of their mission to alleviate the oppressed of their pain and suffering.

Social activists have to learn to develop a thick skin and a willingness to be open and receptive to questions and criticisms. They have to realise that as public figures who have a platform that is open to scrutiny from the rest of the world, they cannot be shielded or sheltered from opposing views or different perspectives. Instead, they can choose to learn from the criticisms and different perspectives to do their own soul searching, to grow and expand, to become stronger and bigger persons.

Social activists need to create a space for themselves to embrace their own brokenness, weaknesses and vulnerabilities as well as that of others. Only then can they live an honest and authentic life, and continue to inspire others with their humanness.

Social activists can choose to learn from other role models who have been through struggles and upheavals themselves and who are open about their struggles. People such as Rob Bell and Carlton Pearson, who have suffered and been ostracised in their work to challenge oppressive systems and mindsets and who have worked through their struggles and shared openly about them, can serve as such role models.

Posted in Equality, Identity, Inspiration, Love, Psychology

Conscious Parenting: Shefali Tsabary at TEDxSF

Video information

Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in New York. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University, New York. She is the author of the multi-award-winning, The Conscious Parent. Heralded as a game-changer in the parenting genre, this book turns the traditional parenting paradigms on its head and revolutionizes how we raise our families. She has been exposed to Eastern mindfulness at an early age and integrates its teachings with Western psychology. This blend of East and West allows her to reach a global audience. Her ability to appeal to both a psychologically astute and consciousness-driven audience establishes her as one of a kind in the parenting field. She lectures extensively on mindful living and conscious parenting around the world and is in private practice. She resides with her husband and daughter in New York.

“Parents, few hold a greater power or more immense responsibility. And this is why I’m here today, to propose that we occupy the role of parenthood in an entirely different way, with a renewed curiosity, a heightened awareness, a transformed commitment. Because nothing like parenthood that needs to be at the forefront of our global consciousness. It’s the call, the linchpin that affects how our children will thrive. Everything: how they take care of themselves, each other, the earth, show compassion, tolerate differences, handle their emotions, create, invent, innovate. This is where global transformation begins. We cannot expect our children to embody an enlightened consciousness if we parents haven’t dared to model this ourselves. It all starts with us and how we parent.”

To a large extent, this observation is true, although I would add that children who did not experience conscious parenting from their own biological parents are also able to embody an enlightened consciousness when they decide to listen to their own heart and devote themselves to conscious living and philosophy as they grow up, and choose to learn from other conscious people who serve as their role models.

“You know, we don’t hurt our children because we are evil or ill-intentioned, certainly not out of a lack of love. We hurt our children for one reason only: it’s because we are hurting ourselves and we barely know it. It’s because we are unconscious, because we have inherited legacies of emotional baggage from our own parents. We’re sitting on the emotional baggage that lies dormant unconscious, waiting to be triggered at a moment’s notice. And who better to trigger us than our children? They just know the buttons to push.

Through our children, we get theatre seats, orchestra seats to the theatrics of our emotional immaturity. You know when we lose our temper with our children and believe that they’re devils and monsters, chances are it isn’t because they’re that, but because they’ve triggered an old wound within us. They’ve made us feel feelings that we don’t care to feel. They’ve made us feel powerless and out-of-control, helpless, and in order to regain a sense of supremacy, we lash out at them in reactivity. You know when we pick on our children nonstop, we nitpick at them, ‘Why aren’t you like this? Why don’t you do that? Why couldn’t you be more like her?’ chances are it’s not because they are inadequate, but because we come from a place of inner lack, and we ourselves live under the tyranny of a severe inner critic. You know when our children are disrespectful to us and cross our boundaries and we fret and fume, and commiserate with our friends about our evil children? Chances are it’s not because they’re wild and chaotic, but because we ourselves have a problem with our leadership, with consistency, with order, with handling conflict, with saying no.

You know, our children come to us whole, complete and worthy. They’re happy with two sticks, a stone and a feather. But because we’ve been conditioned so deeply in an unconscious manner, so severed from our own sense of presence, wholeness, attunement, and sense of self and whole and abundance, that we project a sense of lack onto them, and we teach them, ‘Do not depend on your sense of self for worth and value, but look outward. Look to the Ferrari, the corporate corner office, to the casino, to the pill, to the bottle, to the needle, to spouse number one, two and three, to where you live, to where you graduated from.’ Because we are severed from a sense of being, we are consumed by doing. This is how we know self value. We teach our children, ‘You can’t simply play, you must achieve. You can’t have a hobby, you must excel at it. You cannot dream, you must dream big, and why really dream if you can’t succeed?’

It’s time for us to change the spotlight, to turn it inwards, and change it from being the child who needs to be fixed, the child as the one with the problem, and parental evolution as the solution. … The time to awaken is now. The parenting paradigm needs to shift. No more the parent as the greater than, but now we need to look at our children as equal if not greater transforming agents. Our children are our awakeners, they are our teachers.

It is time for us parents to answer the call, to pause, to reflect more, to connect to our own abundance, to trust our children, to understand their brilliance, to follow their lead, to self-love, to create purpose, to enter worth, to be in gratitude. For this is how our children will absorb wholeness and abundance, fullness and spirit. And from this place, they can fly free. It is time for us parents to answer our call to our own awakening. The moment is now and our children await.”

An inspiring and impassioned speech indeed, full of insight and wisdom for conscious parenting and conscious living, which I believe will result in a greater healing of humanity and the planet. I would add that each of us can be that conscious parent because “family”, as a concept and social construct, needs not be confined to blood relations only.

Each of us has the power to be that example, that role model, for other children to learn from, so each of us – whether we have children or we are childless – can choose to awaken to who we really are intrinsically – spiritual beings on a human journey who are already whole, beloved and abundant.

We are not defined by our actions, and neither are we defined by our age nor gender. The concepts of “father”, “mother”, “son” and “daughter” are only applicable in the physical realm that are tied to gender, age and biological relations, but our true self is genderless, ageless and formless. Therefore, each of us can play the role of a father, mother, son or daughter to someone else. Just as it can be said that each of us has a divine feminine and a divine masculine side, it can also be said that each of us has a sacred call to being a parent and a child. We are all parents to someone else, and we are all children to someone else as well. This is because we are all interrelated and we are all one in the deepest essence of our beings.