Monthly Archives: June 2014


Obsession is a way of organizing our lives so that we never have to deal with the hard part. -Geneen Roth

My aim is not to judge our obsessions, but to become conscious enough to be able to witness them with awareness, curiosity and self-compassion so the old beliefs upon which the obsession is based can eventually become obvious. Only when we recognize irrational beliefs for what they are, can we begin to change them.

Many of us with strong obsessive and compulsive behaviors – in my practice it’s usually those who have addictions and emotional eating issues – tend to think they can’t get through the hard part.

But how we get through it is to connect with it. To scream, sob, throw tantrums – then feel it in our bodies and sit with it. We need to feel it – especially in our bodies.

The biggest roadblock for many of my clients is helping them get in touch with what is going on in their bodies. If we can connect with that, we can move through many of our emotional problems. The problem is that most of us are scared to death of our emotions. Maybe we think if we let ourselves feel sad or cry we’ll never quit. Or maybe we were told when we were younger that to show emotions is weak. The best way to not show them is to not feel them, so when something emotional comes up we avoid it like the plague!

I received that message as a kid – and shut off my emotions for years. I can promise you, it’s no way to live. Now, even though is often sucks to feel things, simultaneously I feel gratitude for the ability to connect with it, because I know that will get me past it and I’ll eventually be able to see the growth I’ve made. That is a GREAT way to live!

What I’ve Learned

This is one of those posts that I repeat every few months – partly because I receive feedback that it helps others, and partly because I need to remind myself of these lessons. I also change and add to it each time, because I keep learning my lessons!


Like many of you, there is someone in my life that challenges me in just about every way possible. That person is someone I love very much. I’ve spent lots of energy trying to understand, help this person, and at times, to realign my side of the relationship so that it feels better to me.

The realization I’ve finally come to is that this person has been and continues to be my greatest teacher. I now believe that we are joined together in a spiritual path through which both of us are meant to learn.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned (and often am even able to practice :)) so far:

-To enjoy the moment. Yesterday may have sucked and so may tomorrow, so when it’s good, I relish in it. Even if today is the one that sucks, I’m learning to appreciate the lesson and the fact that if nothing else, it will propel me upward eventually.
-To love unconditionally, with no strings attached, is the only true love. Anything other form is either obsession or some other form of self indulgence.
-To allow the other to live their life in their way, even though it feels very wrong or unsafe to me.
-To want the peace that I want for myself even more for the other person.
-To send that person love every day (at LEAST once a day) – and those days when I’m not feeling the love to ask God to make me an instrument of the loving energy that comes from the Universe.
-I’ve learned and practiced a meditation where you breathe in the pain of another and breathe out the healing energy of Love. -We don’t have to be in each others lives every day. Sometimes the best we can do is love them from a distance.
-To honor the others perspective on life and understand that we each see our environment through the lense of our own experiences in life. Based on that person’s belief system, I can respect their choices.
-I can’t hurt enough for the other person to make them better. All that does is double the amount of hurt. It doesn’t help the other, and it certainly doesn’t help me.

In order to do ANY of the above, I have to allow space in my life to let something new in. If I keep myself obsessively busy trying to understand it, control it, fix it or worry about it the only thing I’ll be successful at is numbing myself. Any of these behaviors will keep me from having the space in my life to allow anything else to come in. Peace, true understanding or love will not be able to squeeze in. And I will have drained myself dry of any energy I had to be of help if and when the opportunity comes.

I’m not saying I can practice all of this all the time. Life isn’t all or nothing, and sometimes, even though we learn, it takes several reminders before it becomes a part of us. But each time I get pulled back down, a new light eventually comes on and I’m that much further ahead than I was before.


SANAYA SAYS: Donning Your Cape

“Oh, but I don’t want him or her there!” you cry, and this is understandable if that one’s energy is so very dissonant to yours. If you are unable to see from your soul’s perspective, you will spend your time together focusing on how your two vibrations grate against each other. Ah, there’s the rub. That other is in your life for a purpose. If they rub you the wrong way, there is growth to be had. Can you be in their presence long enough to ask your higher self why the discord? Yes, you can choose not to include another in your activities, but when you can include them and find peace, then you have turned what would have before been an unpleasant situation into a triumph of the spirit.

How to survive a clashing of vibrations? Be like Superman. Put on your spirit cape and your giant “S” and rise above the clatter. Do you recall how humble Superman was? He did not go about telling the world that he was the caped crusader, and we recommend you do the same. Quietly shift to your greater role and see why that other acts as they do. Now muster all the compassion in your heart and silently send it their way from that giant “S” on your chest. Suddenly it will not matter who is in the room, for your love will have changed the whole dynamic. You have saved the day for your lower self. Isn’t it powerful to be a superhero?

– Sanaya (a collective consciousness channeled by Suzanne Giesemann)

What I Learned from my Dad

In honor of Father’s Day, I want to take a moment to remember my dad, Harold Koestel. He transitioned to the other side in 2003, but I continue to feel his presence in my life daily.

He was a shy, gentle man who grew up speaking German in his home, then went to school, having to speak only English and getting the message that made him unintelligent. He was never unintelligent. My dad was a hard-working farmer. As a child I always believed he was successful because he was so wise, but later, I realized there was a lot of chance involved in farming. I now know his success was a combination of the two. He had a rough life in a lot of ways, and he didn’t always think enough of himself, but he taught me so much.

I learned to be giving. My mom was a teacher, so when I was home sick, even though he probably didn’t have the time, he would come in and fix my lunch – milk toast, just like I liked it. He never complained.

I learned to be compassionate. When I was a teen I drove my car into the ditch. Dad hopped on the tractor and pulled it out, saying, “No problem. Everybody makes a mistake now and then.” And I saw him nurture, love and care for his parents, mother-in-law and my mom until they each went on before him. I also saw him do and give to other farmers and families in our neighborhood when they were down on their luck.

I learned determination from him. You decide what you want and then you do whatever it takes to get it. If you REALLY want it, you look at what you’re willing to do and what you’re not willing to do. (And there had better not be anything on the “not willing” side).

I learned to look for the funny side of life. He couldn’t wait to tell a dirty joke – and then he would giggle so hard he almost cried. He laughed so much that he had a hard time finishing the joke! He always looked at the humorous side of things.

My dad was a simple man – he didn’t like a lot of fuss. He didn’t join a lot of organizations or have public accomplishments that can be listed here, but he made the world a little better one kind deed at a time.


Failure is an editorial judgment imposed by others – (usually those who came before us, whose values we often assume without much consideration).

Actually, I don’t believe much in failure. Every effort produces a result. It may not be the result we wanted – or thought we “should” get, but it is a result. The only time it MIGHT be considered a failure is if we don’t learn from it and just give up.

Thomas Edison failed many times before he successfully invented the light bulb. Some say that it was 10,000, while others say it was 1,000. Another source says he tried 3,000 times. So even if it was “just” 1,000 times that’s a lot of attempts. When a reporter asked him about his many failures, Edison simply said, ‘It just meant that I was that many times closer to success.’

So if we don’t get the outcome we thought we would accomplish, then it’s an opportunity to learn a different way to accomplish the goal. And maybe, eventually, we determine that original goal isn’t really what’s best for us in the long run. If we had accomplished it the first time, we might never have learned that.