Balance Your Solar Plexus to Combat Imposter Syndrome

Turn highly sensitive characteristics into a power tool for your writing career.


“I’m a fraud!”

“I’m not a good enough writer.”

“What am I thinking? No one will be interested in reading my work.”

Any of these self-deprecating mantras resonate with you?

Mantra. There’s a word. If you’re thinking it’s one that doesn’t quite gel with the negative connotation preceding it, then you’d be right. Words like ‘self-deprecating’. A quick squiz at Wikipedia will inform you that the word “mantra” denotes a sacred meaning, a numinous sound or utterance — ‘A group of words in Sanskrit believed by practitioners to have psychological and/or spiritual powers’.

No, I’m not delusional (yet!) nor am I messing around with your head. I’m not attempting to spin a dark twist on an ancient practice rooted in the divine, either, but I did choose the word ‘mantra’ for a reason.

Still uncertain about my intentions? Read on, skeptic creatives, as I attempt to dissect our self-sabotaging inner-demons and pave a way to eliminate those bad boys forever.

Imposter syndrome (IS) is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. In a nutshell, IS boils down to lack of self-belief and self-confidence. This upbeat, feel-good phenomenon isn’t just reserved for the creatives of the world. We’re not so special in that regard. It affects people in all walks of life. However, are you aware that creatives are almost always highly sensitive people who respond to the world in a more reactive way? Nuances like IS are always lingering beneath the surface, ready to pounce.

The nature of writing is an extremely personal practice. Through our words we purge our souls, bleed our hearts, drown in our experiences and flirt with our innermost fears and desires.

We draw on those cards; writers write about what obsesses them.

But finding the courage to go there doesn’t always equate with the fearlessness required when the time comes to share our gift with the world. For highly sensitive people, this is the moment when imposter syndrome strikes like an old relic you cannot shake.

You know what I’m saying. It’s that moment of truth. You’ve just spent countless hours banging on the keyboard and drinking endless cups coffee. You are a writer — committed to story and dedicated to producing your best work and all that entails as you’ve persevered through the long journey. You’ve plotted and outlined. You’ve developed and argued with your characters; you’ve spent more time procrastinating than you’ll admit, and there were times when you succumbed to resistance. Afterwards, you probably paid with a hefty side of guilt. You’ve gnawed, screamed and knuckled down. Then you’ve pushed through the creative blocks and rejoiced when those sweet, magical bouts of inspiration arrived to flow into your words.

Ah, the life of a writer — fascinating yet frustrating all at the same time. And rewarding, because all those hours accumulated to produce your baby, and now that you’ve cleaned, pampered and typed the last words on your preciousness, other people are going to read your work. People are going to judge your intellectual labor too. Cringe.

Brace yourself, dear writer, as you battle those rancid nerves and sometimes forget that you need to breathe. I’m not sure this feeling will ever completely subside but I can offer you a few tools to combat those inner brutes as well as provide suggestions for turning highly sensitive characteristics into a power tool for your writing career.

So, take a deep breath as we get into the guts of this article.

High Sensitivity is a Superpower

Science has confirmed the existence of high sensitivity (did we really need it validated?). In fact, research has showed about 20% of the population are highly sensitive by default. What I mean is that people don’t choose to respond to the world in a sensitive way, they just do.

Before you go brushing this trait away as a sign of weakness, think again. Studies reveal that highly sensitive people (HSP) are often intellectually gifted and are extremely empathetic creatures. They have a heightened sense of awareness too, with an uncanny ability to pick up on the emotions and vibes of those around them. Additionally, highly sensitive people are more likely to cultivate and trust their ability to become attuned and communicate with their higher-mind, AKA their inner-guidance system. Superpowers!

Being a highly sensitive person can mean pain. Quite literally. You may experience acute physical, mental or emotional responses to many situations. These triggers may be external or internal (damned those intrapersonal feedback loops!) While some people want to accredit high sensitivity to the shy at heart, this is not always the case. They can be introverted, extroverted or somewhere in between. However, the traits making you highly sensitive can also be a magical gift for being an amazing writer. Let’s look at how we can use sensitivity to enrich our creative writing.

Embrace your Super-Sensitive Qualities.

Observant

HSPs are aware of details. This characteristic is invaluable as a writer. Often, the small details in our stories can be overlooked or drowned in the bigger global story. Whether it’s story structure and plot or character development, paying attention to detail can provide the qualities and insights that will enable our manuscripts to shine.

Imagination

This mystical resource is critical to the success of every fiction writer. However, the best fiction taps into the minute details that brings characters and scenes to life.For example: An unexpected character thought, reaction, oddity or flaw; the paint flaking as a door opens; the slight limp in his swagger; the way her eyes glaze when she becomes whimsical. You get the drift. Without extreme sensitivity, these details might be impossible to capture.

Generosity

Writing is sharing information and giving to the world. This is particularly true for non-fiction writers. Our true intentions stretch beyond literal recognition or other desires. The act of being an author is generous. Non-fiction authors spend hours tapping into their most sensitive parts — downloading their brain, coordinating and cataloging their thoughts to produce their most useful information to benefit others.

Now that we’ve plunged into why imposter syndrome may be a prominent factor affecting writers and covered a few ways high sensitivity can positively impact our creative work, it’s time to break open the shell, reach within and circle back to those mantras. It’s time to explore the Solar Plexus, discover its key characteristics and how we can make the most of this powerful energy center.

The Solar Plexus is part of the sympathetic nervous system.

This complex system of radiating nerves and ganglia is found in the pit of the stomach. While it plays a vital role in the functioning of the stomach, kidneys, liver, and adrenal glands, this bunch of nerves is also responsible for anxiety symptoms.

That’s right; after the initial rush of excitement accompanying a book release, how often does that high suddenly fade into an internal slide into self-doubt and belief? If this scenario sounds familiar to you, then you’ll know it’s a bad case of imposter syndrome that’s making you feel like a walking scam.

Considering it is the Solar Plexus in our physical bodies that lies at the center of these discordant feelings, we’re going to push beyond the flesh, nerves and ganglia to explore this part of ourselves in a somewhat intangible sense. We’re going to get a little esoteric and discuss the Solar Plexus Chakra.

You’ve probably heard about the seven chakras that exist in our subtle etheric bodies. They are often referenced in the context of emotional healing or meditation. However, you may have found the concept confusing, or not quite figured out what place it might have in your life. But don’t fret, it’s not just the experts that can work with chakras; you can too.

The Solar Plexus Chakra is the third chakra. It is located just above your navel, resonating with the color yellow. This is the energy center associated with self-belief, self-worth, ego, courage, confidence, and personal power. It is vital for this energy center to be balanced so that we don’t experience negative emotional issues.

Let’s examine some of the main elements correlating with the third chakra before moving on to talk about a few alternative approaches we can take to ease our anxiety when it comes to those jarring feelings imposter syndrome can produce.

Key Meanings Associated with the Solar Plexus Chakra.

· Willpower and personal power

· Taking responsibility for one’s life, accepting self-control

· Mental abilities — the intellect

· Forming personal opinions and beliefs

· Making decisions, setting the direction

· Clarity of judgment

· Personal identity

· Personality

· Self-assurance, self-confidence

· Self-discipline

· Independence

Signs your Solar Plexus Chakra may be Imbalanced.

· Excessive control and authority over your environment and people

· Or the opposite in case of blocked energy: Feelings of helplessness.

· Being obsessed with minute details, seeing life through a filter of negativity which may cause you to lose sight of the bigger picture

· Being manipulative

· Misusing your power

· Lack of clear direction, purpose or ambition

· Self-sabotaging behavior and feelings

The Solar Plexus Chakra plays an important role in our self-confidence and self-worth. When this area is out of balance or blocked, we can experience feelings of depression or anxiety, lack of self-control and low self-esteem. These symptoms can also manifest physically and may include:

· Constipation

· Irritable bowel problems

· Reflux problems

· Binge eating

· Addiction

· Overweight or underweight issues

· Diabetes and stomach ulcers

As we move through life, it is important for us to maintain our health in all facets — mind, body and soul. Given the nature of our hyper-connected world, sometimes this can be a challenging state to achieve. If your personality leans toward the highly sensitive side, events like book releases can become overwhelming, particularly when facing deep-seated, self-worth issues fanned by the frenetic flames of imposter syndrome.

By focusing on clearing the Solar Plexus chakra, we can find balance in those moments when dissonance becomes a prominent emotion. Here are a few tools to get you back on track and back to the page.

Crystals for Third Chakra Balance.

Did you know that crystals vibrate with specific frequencies of color and light? There are many crystals and gemstones that help to balance and clear the Solar Plexus Chakra of blockages. Solar Plexus Chakra crystals include:

Citrine

Happiness and confidence, emits large amounts of positive energy. This crystal encourages you to maintain a positive state of mind to attract everything you want in life.

Pyrite

A crystal of positive energy. Helpful for negative thoughts fixed on misfortune and despair.

Yellow Calcite

Helps to increase your vitality and strength. It can give one new hope and a renewed sense of optimism.

Tiger Eye

Helps to release fears and anxieties. It is a great stone for giving courage and self-confidence. Particularly helpful for those who experience lack of self-worth.

Now that we’ve lined up a few crystals, you may be wondering how we’re going to use these gem-babies to help balance our energy center. I have two words for you — meditation and mantras. Yes, this is the part we turn those self-deprecating “mantras” into something positive. So, grab your crystals and let’s get started!

Meditation and Crystals for Third Chakra Balance.

Meditation is an extremely effective way to balance and clear your chakras. The following is an example of how to combine crystals with meditation and mantras when your Solar Plexus Chakra feels out of balance.

1. Hold your crystals in your non-dominant hand while sitting or place them on your body above the naval while lying down.

2. Inhale deeply and imagine a white light coming into the top of your head, allow the light to fill your entire body.

3. When you exhale, imagine any negative energy releasing from your body through your breath — consciously release any low energy vibes and stress.

4. Envision a golden ball of light below your naval spinning clockwise. Every time you inhale, imagine this light growing bigger and brighter. As you breathe out imagine all the blockages and negative energy leaving your being.

Mantras for Third Chakra Balance.

· I am a great writer

· Through my words, I have much to offer the world

· I can make a difference

· I believe in myself

· I am confident

· I am worthy of success, happiness, love (or insert desirable outcome here)

· I am grateful for the opportunities presented to me

· I am a creative writer

· I have the courage to keep going and conquer my fears

· I am everything I wish to bring forth

I’m certain you’ll agree these affirmations sound more like the sacred mantras Wikipedia told us about earlier, right? The greatest thing about practicing mantras is that you can offer yourself any positive outcome you desire. Your thoughts and words have power beyond the ones you release to the world in the form of your stories. They also form the essence of who you are, so choose them wisely.

Now that you’ve become more acquainted with imposter syndrome and high sensitivity and discovered ways to balance your all-powerful Solar Plexus Chakra, it’s worth remembering how important it is to practice self-care.

When you balance your Solar Plexus center, you will feel lighter and confident, and recognize your true potential. You are a creative being, here to spread love into the world through your words and creations. Keeping yourself balanced and cultivating your self-belief will not only improve your quality of life, but also reflect in your work.

Give it a shot sometime; what have you got to lose other than the demonic imposter syndrome?


Originally Published by The Ascent on Medium


Meditation is Sexy

“With our thoughts we make the world.” – Buddha

One way to access our creative higher-mind is through meditation. I know what you’re thinking – meditation is nothing new and it doesn’t sound as exotic or as sexy as the Tarot. But before you go jumping to conclusions, I’m going to tell you that meditation is extremely exotic and stone cold sexy.

How? I hear you ask. Great question. It is through entering the euphoric buzz offered through meditating that we are able to push through our inner boundaries to frolic with mysterious tales and visit enchanting worlds – and most importantly, we then allow higher messages to flow through to us that inform our daily writing. Is there anything sexier than that? 

Considering meditation has increased in popularity over recent years, there may be a good chance you’re already doing it, have tried it, or popped it on the to-do-someday list. If it’s one of the latter two, now is the perfect time to chillax and get your Zen on.  

 The practice of stilling the mind has been around and exercised by our ancestors for centuries. And for a tradition to stick around for so long, obviously there must be something to it, right?

Apparently, the exact origins of meditation are subject to debate among scholars, but whether this spiritual exercise originated from the Dhyana, Taoists or Buddhists, makes no difference to us writers. It is in the here and now that we can reap the many benefits offered through the continued use of meditation, and where we should take advantage of this limitless well available to us.    

While it comes as little surprise that many people throughout the world are keenly interested in meditating, only a few really understand its true purpose. Most of us are aware of the many benefits meditation provides. Research shows that when we meditate, our brain stops processing so much information. The frontal cortex goes offline, the activity in the parietal lobe slows down, the flow of incoming information in the thalamus reduces, and the reticular formation dials back the arousal signal.

What does this mean? – Loads of mental benefits. Meditation brings the brainwave pattern into an Alpha state that promotes healing and mindfulness. With regular practice meditation helps to:

  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Improve emotional stability
  • Increase creativity, happiness, clarity and intuition
  • Sharpen the mind
  • Expand consciousness

But wait, there’s more! The benefits of meditation are not only limited to our minds; our physiology undergoes a change too. Every cell in the body increases with more prana (energy). As our prana increases, so too do the physical benefits. Some of these include:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks
  • Decreased tension in the body – eliminating headaches, ulcers, muscle and joint issues as well as easing insomnia
  • Increased serotonin production that improves mood
  • Improving the immune system
  • Increased energy levels

If you know a little about meditation, the above examples are probably familiar to you. There’s no denying the perks of the regular practice of meditation. Overall, stilling the mind reduces suffering on many levels, yet there is a higher, more valuable purpose to meditation that you may not know – It is through meditating that we strengthen our awareness to and begin to nurture our connection to the source of all creation, and thus open the portal to our higher-creative minds.

How perfect that you have this unlimited resource available at your fingertips!

I know that the prospect of meditation can be discouraging at times. Often, it can be difficult to calm your mind, stop the thoughts and get into a space that is quiet. I’ve been there. When I first started out, I soon gave up after a few tries with the assumption that meditation wasn’t for me. I’m an INTP personality type, which means my mind rests at an almost constant stream of ideas and thoughts – to the point I often drive myself mad. Naturally, meditation was an impossibility for someone like me.

Not so.

I did leave it alone for a while. A few years passed, until one day after studying some spiritual text, I dug my heels in. I found a piece of meditative vibes that suited me, grabbed my earbuds and set off to embark on a journey, determined to nail this baby or die trying. That’s another characteristic INTPs possess – when the conditions suit and we’re feeling it, an unshakable mindset can be our greatest asset. Although, I’m not sure my husband would agree.

Regardless of all things personality-driven, once I had decided to persist, nothing could stop me from my daily meditation sessions. Slowly I learned how to still my mind and release my soul to other-worldly dimensions. The invisible barriers parted more and more until I was able to enter the higher realms and succumb to the joy and peace those places brought, and I experienced the intensity of a love the likes of which cannot be fully articulated. There are no words enough to explain it to those who do not understand. Yet, for those that do understand, no words are needed.

I want you to understand.

The higher realms can seem like an abstract notion – a golden mirage dangling like a transparent carrot you can never quite reach. Truthfully, I can understand the driving thought behind that assumption. There was a time that I may have considered something similar. But I am here to tell you that those other dimensions your physical senses are unable to perceive exist and are as real as the tangible life you are experiencing at this moment. Some would argue that those higher realms are more real than our physical world, but that’s a whole other subject.  

 The main point and takeaways are this – through meditation we can raise our vibration. When we achieve a higher vibration or energy, we begin to disembody from our fleshy exterior, and still our mind enough to enter the great silence. This is where we can feel our connection to all that is and become aware of an intelligence much higher than any of us. When we begin to make the journey toward these higher planes, we begin to dissolve the invisible veil often shrouding our lives; we begin to reacquaint with our authentic selves.

This is where the magic happens. Meditation is like the springboard for your creativity. It is the place where limitations mean nothing and we open a current to receive information and messages, and act as a vehicle to a higher intelligence. This is where art has the ability to transcend art and is truly worth persevering through the sessions it may require to achieve a higher-state of mind.

Now that we know the value that meditation has on opening the pathways to our higher-creative minds, let’s have a look at a few tips to get you in the Zen zone.       

  • Sit or lie comfortably. You may want to invest in a meditation chair or cushion.
  • Close your eyes – or not. I prefer to shut my baby browns and see through the eyes of my soul.
  • Choose a soothing or divine sound that resonates with you. I use the spiritual sounds mentioned in the book Wishes Fulfilled by Wayne Dyer. These sounds are based on I Am, That I Am.  
  • Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe.
  • If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.
  • Meditate with a focus on creating a current with your creative resource. I will often ease into a session by repeating the mantra “I Am creative writing” or “I Am this pure revelation of everything I wish to know” – keeping my current work in progress in mind.

Meditation is where we find our sacredness and our truths, and with continued daily practice, meditation will help bring balance and clarity into your world as well as magic. As a storyteller, the world needs your magic. Get sexy and exotic with meditation and relish the beautiful experiences that abound in you. I promise you won’t regret it.   


Originally published at Romance University on 07/30/2019