I’m Back!…New Photography Services

Posted May 1st, 2007 by Heidi Straube
Categories: Classes, Retreats, Photography, Images

"Honoring Inner. Creating Outer" has been my tag line for some time now.

While it was originally designed to reflect my work in counseling and healing, where I help others to find their inner essence and express it in the outer world, it also serves to describe all of the other ways that I facilitate bringing inner truth and beauty into the outer world.

So with that in mind, please allow me to to introduce you to a visual expression of "Honoring Inner. Creating Outer.": My work in photography.

I've had a photography business for some time now, although I put it on hold for a few years as I took a break to live in New Mexico, work on my book, and generally regroup. But I'm back, and happy to be actively shooting for people again. I'll have a separate website soon dedicated to this, with its own blog, but in the meantime, here's the latest for you to to explore and enjoy…

Start with my original photography website here (on first page, click on "Portraiture.") You'll find samples of the work I've done with children, adults, and some traveling and serendipitous photos. All of these photos were shot in natural light, and hand printed by me in museum quality style.

While this website reflects my black and white work, I'm now also shooting in color digital. I'll have a  new photo website soon that will give you some samples of that work. In the meantime, you can see some of my color images at my two photo blogs, one in Greece , and one I've called the "Spiritual Traveler. "

When you've seen all of the still images you can handle, check out my sample "muvee." This is for those of you who want a memento of the event or family gathering that you would like to keep in your heart through pictures. I come and shoot the gathering, and then make a short muvee which you can keep for yourself, give to those who attended, and also give to those who couldn't. (Single photos are also available.) You can see a sample  here .

(It takes about 3 minutes to download this muvee…I've given you a full product sample. I'll be posting a shorter sample this week.)

I didn't want to neglect those of you who also yearn to "honor inner and create outer" (yes, you, the creative type!) So I'm also offering photography classes, including private instruction. I'm even available as your own personal muse!

A full listing of services is here.

Enjoy! Celebrate!

And call me when you, too, are ready to participate in the visual version of "Honoring Inner. Creating Outer."

A Different New Year’s Resolution: Slow Down…and Listen to Your Soul

Posted January 2nd, 2007 by Heidi Straube
Categories: Inspiration

The holidays are over, 2006 has passed, and the New Year has begun. And as you start the year, you remember all of the things you've been putting off but still intend to do.  

Your tendency now is to jump in, ramp up that energy, and tackle what has been lacking.

But is this the best way to start the year?

Let's look at how you've been treating yourself. You've been running fast through the holidays, rising to the occasion, pushing yourself just a little harder to do something special….you did it!…and now when it's over, instead of taking a break, resting , and reflecting….you're jumping back up and running again.

It's a never ending cycle, eventually exhausting.  Is this how you really want to continue living your life?    

I'd like to propose a new priority this year, a different kind of New Year's resolution.

It may be exactly opposite from what you "think" you should do right now. But trust me; it can change your life. Here's the new resolution:

Slow Down. Relax. And Listen to Your Soul.

It's time to slow down, honor yourself and listen to what you really need. This is the perfect time to relax, claim your life, and reflect on what that means. Then, more clear and rested, you can start the new chapter of your life.

What am I calling the Soul? Of course there are many interpretations of the word, but I imagine it as the energetic piece of us that holds our Truth. It's the part of us that really knows what is needed and has the capacity to lead us to the highest calling in our lives.

The soul doesn't belong to any specific religion. It's personal, our own connection with the Divine, Intuition, or Knowing. If we listen, it will always point us in the direction that we know is how we truly want to be.

Think about the word "Soulful". What does it bring to mind? I have visions of people dancing, happy, full of life, and in touch with their greatest possibilities. Or I imagine a person with deep, deep love, bottomless compassion, and a vast understanding of the wonder and beauty of life. Whatever your version of "soulful;" it's usually quite appealing.

With such wonderful associations, you'd think it would be natural to put Soul connection as a top priority. Why, then, might you find it difficult to take even 5 minutes a day to slow down and listen?

Here are some thoughts and solutions to help you put soul listening as your top New Year's resolution:

1.     Barrier: In today's world, you receive far more support for your outer actions than your inner reflections.

Plain and simple, you'll get a whole lot more attention from people if you tell them, "I just made $5,000 today" or "I completed the project this afternoon" than if you say, "I just finished talking to my soul." Unfortunately, taking time to go within, becoming clear on who we are, and finding best action are not highly supported in this go go world. But the benefit is clear: the more you take time to reflect and be congruent with who you really are, the more you'll find yourself being clear, confident, and attracting best results.

The greatest leaders of the world did not accomplish what they did by continually going and going. They also spent quiet time reflecting, assessing, and considering "right action."

Solution: Honor your life choices as being just as important as world decisions. Balance the time you spend "doing" with time spent listening inside.

2.     Barrier: Listening to your soul may bring you thoughts you don't really want to hear.

While getting in touch with your soul sounds like a lovely, blissful experience, sometimes it will lead you to places you've been trying to avoid. You may, for example, know that your relationship is in trouble. You've been putting it off, but your soul says it's time to talk. You're scared and afraid of painful results…now you wish you had never slowed down and listened!

What kind of pain do you prefer? The long, drawn out kind which never stops, or the shorter, intense kind that has better things come afterward? Listening to your soul and acting on its guidance may cause disruption in your life, but it also brings a relief and opportunity for good that is blocked when you hold onto the old things that aren't working.

Solution: Remind yourself that the most spiritual thing you can do in life is to truly be all that you are. If you live your full potential, you will naturally be taking right action, and serving others.  Whether in career, marriage, or lifestyle, if you stay true to your soul, you will open the way for new, positive possibilities that are currently beyond your imagination.  

3.     Barrier: You may not be listening because you don't know how.

It's hard to hear inner guidance if you don't know how to do it. Has anyone ever taught you how to listen to your soul?

Start by noticing how your body feels when you're making a decision. Have you noticed how relaxed it feels when the decision is "right", and how tense you feel when you know you're not really behind what you've acted on? That's your soul talking through your body. It also talks to you through prayer and meditation.

Solution: Trust the signals of your body, and act on them more often. Pay attention to and use your intuition. Find a teacher, healer, or meditation class where you can explore soul listening more deeply. Honor your need for this skill just as much as your need for food on the table, and a roof over your head.

The ancient shamans believed that when a person was stressed, unhappy, or ill, it was because their soul was lost. The shaman's task was to go find the soul, and return it to the body.

I believe that your soul is probably not lost, but is more likely neglected and wandering because of your busy life. If you're willing to slow down and take time to listen, your soul will speak, guide you, and help you live the way you really want to live.

Slow down, relax, and listen. May 2007 be your most "soulful" year ever.

Heidi Straube, M.Ed., LPC has been helping people for over 20 years to live the lives they yearn for. A licensed psychotherapist, contemporary shaman, and healer, she gives "Soul Whispers" readings, sessions of relaxation, inspiration, and counseling to help people to slow down, listen, and be guided in career, relationships, and lifestyle choices. Call 713.521.1676 for appointments, visit  http://www.heidistraube.com/,  and register for her free teleseminar, "Have You Listened to Your Soul Lately? How to Hear the Whispers of your Soul and Guide your Life", January 17, 2007, from 7-8 PM CT.

Are You a Failure?

Posted September 1st, 2006 by Heidi Straube
Categories: Inspiration

 

Last week, in the beginning of her session, a client of mine said sadly, "I feel like such a failure." My heart went out to her; I had similar feelings when I made some major leaps in my own life. But now I know, and I want her to know:  A failure? Impossible.  Anyone who has the courage and awareness to step out, risk, and take the leap to create a passionate, meaningful life cannot be a failure. My client, in fact, is actually a reflection of success.

Perhaps you, too, are feeling like a failure, even as you are taking the steps that feel closest to your heart and creating a life that works for you. You may be feeling torn: As you do what feels right, there is still a nagging voice that is harassing you, putting you down, and making you feel like you are creating a new life not out of strength, but because of failure.

Let's talk about some of the reasons why you may be feeling this way and some tips for a new perspective.  

 

1.                  You haven't done things in the "expected" way.

Generally, if you live your life in a traditional manner, you receive support and affirmation. You are living in a way that everyone can recognize, understand, and know how to support.  If you get a promotion, everyone knows to get excited for you. If you buy a house, people congratulate you. Get married, have children, or buy a new car and you will most likely hear many versions of "Welcome to the club!"

If you step out of the usual lifestyle, however, you are not only experiencing the unfamiliar yourself, but you have plunged others into a new reality too. When you are living differently, people often do not understand what you are doing and don't recognize the "cues" for affirming your success. So they don't congratulate you on quitting your job, give you positive advice about pursuing your artwork, or act in all of the ways that they would know how to if you were making choices like them. What looks like disapproval may even just be the fact that they cannot imagine that they would be happy if they were taking the risks that you are taking. Here's the problem: Since you are not receiving the standard warm and fuzzy affirmations, you end up concluding that you must be a failure.

Of course you're not a failure, you're just different. Review the choices you have made (and why), remind yourself of your values, and reaffirm that living from your inner spirit is a good and honorable thing. Then seek others who are also living their lives from the inside out and who can provide you the support and encouragement that help you to continue on your path. Find a mentor, join like-minded groups, and continue to create your new direction.

2.         You don't have the usual symbols of success.

As you start living in a different manner, you yourself may not have the familiar signposts that previously signaled your success. For example, before if you were asked to be on an important committee, you could see that as a sign that people respected your work or valued your judgment. If you were approved for a mortgage, you knew that you had reached a certain level of success in order to qualify.

Now that you have started living a lifestyle that is self-created and totally unique to you, however, the same markers may not apply.  You will need to come up with your own definitions and indicators of success and not be relying on what, in some cases, are old and out-dated frameworks. Making more money, for example, a time-honored sign of success, may not make you feel as successful as when you rejoice in how much more you now travel, or take pleasure in your increased relaxation and happiness.

What is most important as you create your life is to recognize that true success is the act of living your deepest values. Spend time becoming clear on what is most important to you, and then take action to create your life accordingly.

3.      You aren't totally comfortable with the "new you."

 

It may take some time for your mind and body to become accustomed to the new image and lifestyle of the person you are becoming. This is an expected part of the change process, not a personal defect. Since we are usually most comfortable with the familiar, there is a tendency to become critical of ourselves if we are not 100 percent sure of the direction we are taking. Rather than assuming that you are a failure because you haven't been able to totally embrace your new direction or don't fully know what it is, remind yourself that you are a success because you have finally begun the steps of doing what is right for you.

 

4.      Things aren't moving as quickly as you expected.

 

We live in a culture that loves speed, often making it a major condition of success. Those who can produce the fastest are considered the winners. This may be true in a material, commercial sense, but it doesn't apply to personal inner change. You are a complex person, doing the biggest work of your life as you sift through the layers of what has always been done to find the essence of how you really want to live. Don't consider yourself a failure if your life hasn't changed overnight. Recognize that planting seeds, germination, and blossoming have their seasons, and that your "grand opening" will come

5.         Finally, if you remember nothing else, remember this:

                You can't possibly be a failure when you are exploring and living out who you are.

                If this is truly important to you, the failure may be if you don't do so.

           

 

My first podcast

Posted July 18th, 2006 by Heidi Straube
Categories: Classes, Retreats, Inspiration, Podcasts

Here's my first podcast! The recording of last month's teleseminar, "Striving is a Waste of Time."

Click here to play…

Enjoy..Thoughts and reflections welcome… 

If Not Now…When?

Posted July 16th, 2006 by Heidi Straube
Categories: Inspiration

Last week a client of mine who had signed up for a series of sessions with me e-mailed to say that he might need to postpone our meetings. "I really do want to make the leap and find the work that is right for me," he said, "but I'm just so busy with my current job. Could we wait and figure out what I want to really do with my life when things are not so hectic?"

Another client was in the initial stages of "taking the leap" with me. His homework was to begin the exercises in my workbook, taking first steps that would help him to find a new, fulfilling direction. At our scheduled appointment he said, "I haven't even looked at the workbook. I've just been so busy. Maybe I need to do all of this when I don't have so much going on."

I completely understand the dilemma of these two people. They obviously have a lot to juggle in their lives, many needs that demand attention. I'm sure you have come up against the same kind of frustrations. You know you need to make a change, you know you want to make a change, to make the leap into something you have always desired, but you keep putting it off. Here is what I said to the people above, and here is what I say to you:

"I completely understand. But if not now… when?"

When are you going to put first what is most important to your heart and soul? When do you think that you will "naturally" have time to really change your life?

Life is consuming. It fully takes our time, energy, and attention. It makes perfect sense to want to schedule personal work when things are not so hectic. But in my experience, life rarely slows down on its own. In fact, if anything, it seems to gain momentum if we don't take charge. Without awareness, our lives become faster and faster, until we feel like we are in a runaway train, searching for the brake.

If you are waiting for life to slow down before you do _____ (you fill in the blank: put in whatever it is that you have promised yourself that you will do to make yourself happy as soon as you have time, money, friends, etc.), I'm afraid that you'll be waiting for a long time. Life only slows down when we deliberately make it slower. Your life will be more manageable, stable, and satisfying when you make a commitment to taking the steps needed, no matter how tiny, to put into motion the changes that you want and yearn for.

Perhaps you already know this. But knowing and doing are two separate things. Why aren't you slowing your life down, and starting to make or at least explore the changes you want?  From working with hundreds of clients, here is what I have seen as a major block in moving from knowing you must find time to actually doing it:

You see the change you would like to make as a huge project. You fear that making this change will be even more time consuming and stressful than the responsibilities that you already have in your life. Although you may be stuck and unhappy, you think, "Why add even more stress to my life?"

Perhaps you want to quit the job that you are totally bored with and finally open that restaurant you always dreamed of. It's totally overwhelming, however, to imagine planning and executing all of the details: buying land, finding a building or builder, designing the concept, acquiring investors, creating menus, and on and on PLUS work at your 60 hour a week job. How can you do it all? So you wistfully dream the dream, but take no steps toward it, as you continue to commit your time to the work that does not thrill you.

There is a way to keep your life stable, fulfill your responsibilities, and still change your life without losing everything.

How?

By taking the change that feels so huge and breaking it down into small, manageable steps.

Although you may have the spiritual enthusiasm to make a major life change, your current circumstances may truly not allow that change to happen overnight. Also, besides intensely desiring to "take the leap", you may equally fear that by doing so you will lose everything. You can minimize that fear and integrate changes into your familiar lifestyle more easily if you allow yourself the safety of taking small steps.

To begin your life change adventure, take the easiest and most attractive step you can think of. Let yourself enjoy this beginning! Then, taking more small steps, let your excitement build. Feel the satisfaction that comes from completing actions, and the inner richness that occurs when you are creating what is really right for you. Test what fits, what does not, and revise your direction as you go along. You'll find that as your momentum builds, it becomes easier and easier to "find the time." And as your vision becomes real and you continue the process, the steps will fall into place, with the momentum naturally carrying you through the leap into your new life.

 Taking smaller, pleasurable steps, my "homework client" committed to 3 workbook pages a week, instead of the whole workbook at once. The other client decided to begin with the less time consuming but fascinating interest inventories. They are now both firmly on the path to taking the leap. What can you do? Take a moment right now, and think of the most enjoyable first step you could take to begin a change you have been yearning for.  Wanting new work? Write down what you want so you can clearly tell someone who could help you. Desiring more spiritual time? Meditate 5 minutes tomorrow morning. Take a step, no matter how small, day by day, week by week, year by year.

Your yearning for "more" is an essential part of your being. Don't back off because it feels too big to handle. The fact that it feels big is a reflection of your own magnificence, the expansiveness of your being. Nurture your dream; make time for it. And if you are tempted to wait until later, remember: "If Not Now… When?"

You Can Wear Your Goggles if You Want To

Posted June 16th, 2006 by Heidi Straube
Categories: Inspiration

Last week after lunch I was driving through a quiet neighborhood admiring the homes, when suddenly a woman in a bathing suit and flip flops, a towel wrapped around her waist, stepped into the street with a stop sign in her hand.

I looked around. No school in sight, certainly no crossing guard uniform, but this was definitely an official stop sign.  So I dutifully stopped, curious to see what would happen. Within seconds I was rewarded by the sight of a long line of 6-year olds, walking hand-in-hand, two-by-two, dressed in all kinds of swimming attire.

As they trooped across the street, I was struck by how individually each child was dressed. Here came a girl with short dark hair, sporting a pair of cowboy boots and a smart two piece bikini; there was a tiny boy with manly boxer trunks, planets all over them; next a  boy wearing light-up sneakers, and a girl with old-fashioned white sandals.

But the most arresting sight to me was a little long-haired blonde girl in a one-piece no nonsense bathing suit, the curls of her hair peeking out from beneath the straps of bright blue swim goggles. The goggles firmly in place on her face, eyes intensely peering through the blue lenses, she walked with clear purpose, looking ahead to their destination: the gate in a fence on the opposite corner.

 
OK, now stop right here and answer this:

When was the last time you marched across a city street, wearing only your bathing suit, hand-in-hand with someone who may or may not be your best friend, WITH YOUR SWIM GOGGLES ON? And ditto for wearing your cowboy boots with whatever you pleased or insisting that every piece of clothing you own has planets on it.

Well, you may have graced the neighborhood with your unique outfit just last night, but I haven't had the occasion to do so recently.  Seeing those kids got something going in me.

First, I was definitely jealous. I remember having a major fight with my mother and being late for kindergarten because I wanted to wear my frilly dress-up socks to school and she adamantly refused to let me. Goggles would have blown her mind.

But the whole energy wasn't really about socks vs. goggles, of course. Something much bigger was grabbing my attention here. What was so appealing?

Here it is:

These children were expressing themselves, unselfconsciously and with freedom. They were walking in the world, living in the moment, looking forward to a great swim. They had staked their claim about who they were and were wearing the clothes to reflect it.  And they had no awareness that in a few short years they likely would not be crossing a city street in their own unique costume with the same unlimited abandon.

Which has gotten me wondering. What would it be like if we all wore swim goggles, cowboy boots and bathing suits (or the equivalent of our true self-expression) as we went about our work and daily tasks?

Would the world fall apart? Would business not get done?

Or would we feel the joy and creativity and experience of the amazing results that happen when we're permitted our own true expression? 

 
And how about this:

Rather than concentrating on wearing the right uniform, and deliberately maintaining the image that we're supposed to present, wouldn't it be more valuable and expansive if we used that same time and energy to concentrate on those goals and expressions of spirit that are closer to our hearts? Wouldn't the world have to change for the better if everyone was truly living from their soul?

I understand that "free expression" can be tricky.  I did have a flash of concern one day when I walked into my bank at  Halloween and the manager greeted me dressed in a full devil outfit. Hmm… he was taking care of my money?

But I had a pang of envy when I saw those children crossing the street.

I want to live more like that.

Don't you?

I challenge you to do one deliberate thing in the next week that reflects your true and free spirit. Break out and give the world a bigger taste of who you really are inside!

And watch for me as you drive down the street. Maybe I'll be the one in the blue swim goggles.