When Work Isn’t Working: Signs That It’s Time To Quit Your Job

Are you on the fence about whether or not to stay in your current job?  Are you doing work that maximizes your greatest potential while having fun and making good money along the way?

Over the last twenty-five years, I have worked with thousands of employers and employees  as a management consultant, career counselor and psychotherapist.  There are particular elements that either lead to satisfaction or dissatisfaction at work.

Below is a self-assessment to help you determine whether it’s time to re-engage at work or quit and move forward.

If you answer “No” to many of the indicators below, it may be time for a job or career change to do work that is in better alignment with your interests, personality, values and competencies.

 

Personal Enrichment

  • I utilize my greatest talents and skills in my job
  • I have the opportunity to grow and develop at work
  • I am good at my job
  • My needs for achievement are being met
  • I am in alignment with what I value
  • I bring my spirit to work
  • I express myself freely
  • I do my job with integrity
  • I trust myself
  • I enjoy my work
  • I typically feel calm at work
  • I look forward to my work day

Job Enrichment and Job Design

  • My job is meaningful and significant
  • I have flexibility
  • I have clear goals at work
  • I set my own goals or participate in setting my own goals
  • My goals are challenging, but achievable
  • I receive feedback regarding my work
  • I can see the results from my efforts
  • I understand how my job adds value to the organization
  • I have a variety of tasks I perform
  • I have autonomy and responsibility in my job (I can make decisions and problem solve without being micromanaged)
  • I can advance or move into other areas that would fulfill me
  • I feel valued and respected

Environmental Factors

  • I am recognized for my work
  • I like my peers
  • I like my customers
  • I like my boss
  • I respect my boss
  • I feel secure in my job
  • I trust people at work
  • I am rewarded equitably for my effort and competencies
  • I am paid equitably compared to others
  • I respect and believe in my company
  • I like my work environment (e.g., the facility you work in, your work space, working from home)
  • I have the tools and resources to succeed in my job

If you answered “No” to many of the statements above, it may be time for a new job or career!  Are you feeling stuck?  Is there something that you are resisting?

Career counseling/coaching can help you uncover and express your life’s work!  Imagine doing work that is meaningful, joyful, fun and rewarding.  Still on the fence about whether to leave your job or stay, career counseling  can help you gain insight into  your situation immediately.

Karen Storsteen, M.S., M.A., in an intuitive therapist, career counselor and management consultant.  She has worked in the fields of human and organizational development for over twenty-five years and educated and counseled hundreds of thousands of leaders and individuals to self-actualize and reach their greatest potential.

Known for her “uncanny intuitive gifts”, Karen Storsteen blends this talent with proven psychological methods to help people gain instant insight and awareness in love, work and life. She helps people let go of limiting thoughts and behaviors so they may experience the miraculous and catapult their lives forward.

Storsteen is revolutionizing the way people think and feel to achieve results they never thought possible. She provides counseling and business consulting services, as well as intuitive sessions, globally and by phone.

She has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, and has been a regular on morning radio and several FM/AM and internet radio stations. Her work is well recognized by Fortune 500 leaders, professional organizations (such as the Mensa the High IQ Society), higher education, the media and general public.

Karen graduated with Honors with a Master of Arts in Psychology from Regis University, holds a Master of Science in Management and Organization, and Master’s Minor in Finance, from the University of Colorado, and Bachelor of Science in Business Management. She holds numerous certifications in psychological, behavioral and organizational assessment and human performance improvement technologies.

To learn more, you can go to karensinsight.com and karenstorsteen.com or call Karen Storsteen at 303-506-6745.

Copyright © 2018, Karen Storsteen. All Rights Reserved

Jesus Giggled and Threw Me in the Water

Jesus SmilingAlthough it happened several years ago, I remember it like yesterday. One of the worst blizzards in Colorado Springs history and I was caught in the middle of it that Sunday night. Home was about 60 miles north and the roads were frozen with black ice. I called most every hotel in the area to find a room, but even the Broadmoor, a five star hotel, was booked as everyone was afraid to drive that frigid evening. I had no choice, I had to head home.

As I slowly entered the freeway, my adrenaline rose as I felt my tires lose traction. Cars were sliding off the freeway uncontrollably and abandoned cars outlined the road. Gripping the steering wheel, I said a brief prayer for all of the drivers and asked the Divine to keep us safe. My brain was racing which was the polar opposite of the meditative state I had been in earlier that day.Snow storm car

Earlier, I had been giving psychic, medium and intuitive counseling sessions at the Colorado Springs Metaphysical Celebration. I had immense gratitude as my psychic awareness was on high that weekend. I remember helping a woman determine how her brother died, helping a married couple reunite and helping people gain greater clarity into their life’s work. If you have had a medium reading with me, you know that is it easy for me to connect with your loved ones on the other side, but this was a rare occasion when I was also seeing loved ones on the other side walking to other psychics to greet their clients. It was Heaven on Earth. My heart was full.

The producers of the event required that all readers charge a nominal fee. I didn’t care; I was so fulfilled doing my life’s work and engaging with the Heavenly realm through direct experience with the Divine and my clients, that most everything else was secondary. As I packed-up my things up at the end of the event, I reflected on my values and the internal struggle that continued to plague my mind. You can likely relate to a similar experience of when you find yourself passionate about something deep within your soul that, at your core, you want to fully express and yet, you wrestle with the “practicalities” of life and how to find the balance.

As you may know, for years I had been a management consultant and executive coach to large Fortune 500 companies. I loved this work as well, but found myself out of balance as I didn’t have much of a life except for work. Management consulting was most of my bread and butter and very lucrative. I was a single mom supporting two children through school and college with two expensive homes. I didn’t have any back-up. The stakes were very high.

At the time, I was reorganizing a multibillion dollar company in Canada and there was a miscommunication between the project management firm and the client about the time I was going to devote to the project. I understood it to be half time while the project was requiring me to work 60 hours a week most of the time. The work was interfering with the time I could devote to my private counseling practice which I very much valued. I struggled as keeping my commitments is also one of my highest values. I communicated my struggle to the client with no response for quite a while. I thought if I left the project, I would be putting myself and kids at great risk financially and I didn’t want to negatively affect the project. I could lose my house. If I stayed on the project, I wouldn’t be focusing on what is most important to me – helping people uncover and express their Divine Spirit. I was torn. And then, on this subzero evening, while driving in the middle of this frightening storm, something miraculous happened…

6650893 - opening of lightAs I gave my full attention to driving, trying to see past the flurry of snow blinding me from the road, I began to see with clarity the image of Jesus presenting himself on my dashboard. It was as if I was watching a movie of the two of us. I heard him giggle and he said, “You have been exonerated from the consulting project. We have work to do!” Then he threw me in a body of water, smiled lovingly, and disappeared. This mystical experience was brief but profound.

Messages from the Divine are straightforward, loving, often playful and clear. I found myself feeling liberated, peaceful and happy. By the time I arrived home, I googled the definition of the word, “exonerated” just to make sure I understood Jesus’ message. The definition means to “absolve someone from blame or fault of wrongdoing, especially after due consideration of the case.” It means to “release someone from a duty or obligation.”

The next morning I received a call from the project manager who said, “We think you will find this good news, you have been let go from the consulting project.” It was just as Jesus said to me the night before! I felt free, and at the same time, scared. I knew I manifested the outcome with the help of the Divine, but how was I going to cover all of my bills? You may have had that experience as well where you manifested the end of a job to pursue something more fulfilling, but also have been afraid of the uncertainty. You may have even blamed the organization you worked for and thought, “How dare they do this to me when I have expenses to pay and kids”. But if you are real with yourself, is it possible you weren’t happy there? If it isn’t working for you, it isn’t working for your employer.

This is a story of faith, living and breathing from your gifts, and taking risks. When you are on the fence, Divine intervention is available. You can trust this pure love completely. You are part of the Divine and therefore, you can trust yourself. When you are not listening to your heart strings, the Divine will help show you the way and clear the path. Jesus symbolically threw me in a body of water. This is not something an empathetic parent would do to their child if their child didn’t know how to swim. Jesus knew I could swim and that I had everything I needed to pursue my life’s work, even when I questioned the outcome and if I could survive at the time pursuing it. Would I lose all of my corporate clients if I came out of the closet as a psychic medium? Maybe. Was the risk worth taking to re-mind people to uncover their innate intuitive brilliance, listen to their soul, and trust and use their God-given gifts? Absolutely.

The miracle continued…the next week I was offered a regular spot on FM morning radio as a psychic, medium, counselor and business consultant.   I was being my authentic self, doing my life’s work and making money along the way. It was as if Divine guidance said, “Okay, you took the risk, you are being your authentic whole self, you graduated, and here you go!” I flew rather than fell… Jesus knew it all along. I just needed to “own” it. And then more magic occurred…

Enthusiastic and excited, after my first morning on the FM radio Canistershow, I returned home that evening with a man I had been seeing.  I hadn’t been home all day and my kids were gone for the week. No one had been in the house since I left at dawn that morning. As my dear friend and I approached the kitchen after a wonderful dinner out, to our amazement, there in the middle of my maple floor stood the metal lid of the glass canister that my mother had given me for Christmas years earlier. My mother and father passed within a year of each other a few years earlier. My friend, an analytical mechanically inclined, “non- woo-woo” mind (with latent intuitive gifts), picked the lid and canister up to examine how in the heck a metal lid could jump from the back of the kitchen counter five feet in the air, to the middle of the floor. He studied, processed, shook his head, looked me in the eye, laughed, and said, “Well I guess you blew the lid off of it today Karen! There is no glass ceiling!”

I love when stuff like that happens, don’t you?

Happy Easter to you and your family! To new beginnings, exciting adventures, and wonderful surprises ahead oh’ brilliant one!

Love,

Karen

To learn more, go to karensinsight.com and karenstorsteen.com.

Copyright © 2018, Karen Storsteen. All Rights Reserved.

Treasure In The Trigger

Viktor Frankl QuotesConsider the last time you were triggered…Recall when you felt angry, heartbroken, and/or devalued when someone said or did something and you felt pain, imbalanced, shaken, or disturbed.

What is the trigger bringing up for you? Even if their words or behaviors were unfair and imbalanced, ultimately, your reaction, as you know, is really all about you. You are responsible for how you are feeling and the beauty in that is freedom.  It’s about how you feel and think about yourself and how you are receiving their message.

There is gold in the trigger as it’s pointing to the parts of you that are unhealed.  You can only let it bother you if you give it power or believe that what was told, shown, or demonstrated to you is somehow true about you.

The trigger is pointing the way to an unclaimed part of you or a part of you that doesn’t feel whole.  It may be pointing to a part of you that you cut off from yourself years ago and may likely have to do with the direct and indirect messages you received and perceived about yourself in childhood.  The trigger is helping you to become purer in your relationship with your True Self, your Divine Self.

Feeling rejected or abandoned is a common trigger.  For example, consider a love affair that ended suddenly.  You are left to wonder what happened and what went wrong. You question, “Why wasn’t I good enough?”  “What didn’t he or she see in me?”  “Maybe if I did this or that he would have stayed.”  “If only I could have made her feel more secure in the relationship and for her to know how much I love her.”  “Why does everyone leave me?”  “What did I do wrong?” “The men in my life always leave me starting with my father.”

There is treasure in reflecting and questioning why you were/are triggered to the extent that you can go deep within, learn from it, empathize with yourself and gain insight and self-awareness.  The key however, is to be gentle with yourself instead of beating yourself up–particularly beating yourself up for that which is out of your control. Beating another up or trying to fix them is another way you disempower yourself.  It takes the focus off of you, can lead to self-denial, and keep you from healing yourself.  It keeps you from the gold!  Using the example above, your lover may have left for a myriad of reasons; perhaps they also have abandonment or attachment issues. Their reasons may have nothing to do with you, although I understand these learning experiences can be very painful indeed.

The only way you can be abandoned is if you abandon yourself.  Do not abandon yourself in the face of abandon.  When you feel whole within yourself and love all sides of you, honoring your strengths and having empathy for your weaknesses, you are in-tune with the totally of your being and coming from a place of acceptance. You stand in quiet peace and in your power.  No one can diminish or trigger you unless you allow them.

You are not rattled by the words and doings of others, because most of what they say and do has nothing to do with you — it’s a reflection of them.  You are not responsible for what others say and do and you are not in control of their actions.

You will move away from those experiences that trigger you when you have learned what you needed to learn about yourself and healed.  You no longer resonate with that experience or energy and therefore, you no longer attract it into your energy field.

When you accept yourself fully, you accept others and situations as they are and grow to love each experience from a place of wonder, gentle observation, unconditional love and peace. You experience liberation, freedom and utter amusement and joy as you realize that each and every experience is a wonderful gift that encourages self-exploration and discovery. You can think of those who trigger you as characters in your play of life.  With self-awareness, you have the choice of how you will perceive each experience and you get to decide how you want to show-up! You have your journey and others have theirs.  Let go and enjoy the ride!

About Karen Storsteen, M.S., M.A.

Karen Final nosmile copyI am an Intuitive Therapist and blend intuitive gifts with transpersonal psychology and counseling to help you gain insight, awareness, healing and growth in love, work and life.

Having worked in the fields of human and organizational development for over 25 years, I have counseled and educated hundreds of thousands to self-actualize and reach their greatest potential. I help people let go of limiting thoughts and behaviors so they can experience the miraculous and catapult their lives forward.

Do you need clarity and peace of mind? I am here to assist you whether you are going through a difficult life transition, having relationship issues, seeking career counseling, grieving the loss of a loved one, desiring business consulting, or an intuitive read. I also provide intuitive and leadership development classes.

I have been featured on ABC, NBC and CBS, Inc. and TED Magazine, and have been a regular on morning radio and several FM/AM and internet radio stations. My work is well-recognized by Fortune 500 leaders, professional organizations (such as Mensa, the High IQ Society and the Project Management Institute), higher education, mental health professionals, the Crime Wire Bureau of Investigations (for finding missing people and solving suspicious crimes intuitively), media and the general public.

I graduated with Honors with a Master of Arts in Psychology from Regis University and a Master of Science in Management and Organization, and Master’s Minor in Finance, from the University of Colorado. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. I have numerous certifications in psychological, behavioral and organizational assessment and human-performance improvement technologies.

I provide counseling and business consulting services, as well as intuitive sessions globally and by phone.

To learn more, go to karensinsight.com and karenstorsteen.com.

Copyright © 2018, Karen Storsteen. All Rights Reserved.

When Did You Know You Were Psychic?

I am asked this question quite often and recently it occurred to me that it may be time for me to share my story with you.  In the Masters of Psychology program, we are trained as therapists to be a blank slate for our clients and patients.  The thought is that by doing so, we can be a better mirror for you.  This belief was based on Sigmund Freud’s work many years ago and psychoanalytic psychology.  We have learned a lot since then however, and while I understand the reasoning behind this philosophy, and would not take time up in a client session to talk about myself, it’s often through sharing our life stories, struggles and victories that we best relate to and learn from one another.   We each have our own unique and sacred story. I so much appreciate you sharing the most intimate moments of your life with me.  The opportunity to connect so deeply with you is precious to me.

“When did you know you were psychic?”  This question was recently asked by a TV producer while interviewing my daughter and me.  Without any hesitation, my daughter best answered with another question, “When did you know you could see?”   She was born with it, as was I.  It runs in my family.

The word psychic means “of the soul”.  You have a soul and therefore, you are psychic.  Sometimes you will have extraordinary mystical psychic “hits”, while a lot of the time, you won’t even be aware of all of the psychic information you are picking up on a daily basis.  Sometimes it’s a matter of noticing what comes naturally to you, such as synchronistic events, intuitive dreams, and knowing who is on the other end of the phone before you answer it.  As you notice your psychic abilities at play and experiment with them, you will naturally turn-up the volume and better tune-in!

Our soul, genetics, and upbringing all affect the degree to which we are psychic.  Reflect for a moment on how each of these factors may have affected your intuitive abilities.

Based on past life regressions, I am pretty certain that I was a practicing psychic in past lives and my road was not always easy (I believe I was hung and burned at least a few times because of it).  Coming out of the closet as a professional psychic in this lifetime was like jumping off a cliff.  At the time, I had developed a fifteen year career consulting to Fortune 500 companies doing executive coaching, human performance improvement, and developing corporate universities for leaders.  I was a single mom with my own consulting business, supporting two kids, putting one through college, and paying for two houses.  I was going back to school at the time for my second master’s.  I was terrified that when I came out of the closet with my psychic and medium abilities, that many of my corporate clients would shun me and that I would lose many of them.  I worried that my reputation as a serious management consultant would be thrown down the toilet.

Just prior to this time, both of my parents died unexpectedly, just months apart from each other, while I was going through my divorce.  I felt alone and didn’t have back-up.  Connecting with Source was my saving grace and where I gained strength, security and clarity.  Connecting with Divine guidance was where I found solace throughout my life.

As is often the case after we face our greatest fears, we realize in retrospect that what we were afraid of was really an illusion.  Thank God (literally) that when I jumped of the cliff, I flew rather than fell.  As I look back, falling would have been impossible.  I followed very clear messages from Divine guidance and Jesus, as well as my higher self.  As with all of us, it’s about listening to our inner voice and Divine guidance, trusting, and acting with faith.  We have all had times when we have suffered through the inner conflict between staying with the known and what we consider the safe and secure route versus stepping into the unknown, speaking our truth and trusting our higher self.  It can be an arduous transition in our lives to say the least, but it allows us to grow and gain wisdom through our direct experience.  It’s through our direct experience where the real learning occurs.

My purpose for being was clear to me as a child and at the age of fourteen, following a conversation with my dad about the purpose of life, I documented my life’s mission to help people uncover and express their Divine Spirit.  My early career had been an expression of my mission, but I felt the need to unfold and express further to get to the core of what I was really here to do.  All of the beautiful, as well as the painful and traumatic experiences of childhood, prepared me for this unmasking.  I had to let go and let God.  Our ability to listen to our soul and Divine guidance will ALWAYS point us in the right direction.  What a gift it is for us to know that the soul goes on and that death is an illusion.  I wanted to share the consciousness of loved ones on the other side with the grieving here and teach people how to use their intuition to follow their passions and make decisions that would lead them down a peaceful and joyful path.  I had no choice really… I had to jump…

As a side note, right after coming out of the closet, I ran into one of my best childhood friends on Facebook.  She was two years older than me and I used to spend most every weekend at her house when I was a toddler and in elementary school.  We hadn’t spoken for about twenty years.  I said, “You will never believe what I am doing these days.  In addition to being a psychotherapist, I am a psychic-medium!”  I was a little concerned about how she would receive it.   She wrote back and said, “That doesn’t surprise me at all.  Our family didn’t talk about it, but I had a brother who died as a toddler and when you were little, you were always seeing him when you spent the night and talking about him.”  I recalled never being able to sleep at her house so that made sense to me.

I will share more about coming out of the closet with you in a future blog.  As a society, we are gaining a greater understanding of metaphysics and consciousness, but we still have a lot of work to do to normalize psychic ability as a supersense.  What once was thought of as science fiction is now being proven as scientific fact.

As I mentioned, psychic ability runs in my family.  It’s in the genes and my upbringing had a great influence on who I am and what I do now.

My father was a medical doctor and surgeon in private practice.  I still remember him gladly driving his 1965 beat-up Galaxie to make house calls.  As a toddler and years thereafter, my father took me on rounds at the hospital to see patients.  I worked with him in high school.  He loved his work, and his patients, and practiced lovingly until he was 75 years old!  It was not until he was dying of a sudden stroke in the hospital where he had practiced the majority of his career that I happened to see a plaque of recognition to my dad as Chief of Staff.  He didn’t present with an ego and I was always surprised that he rarely showed signs of work stress.  I remember him weeping when his patients passed.  They had become his friends.

Some of you know my dad indirectly through our psychic readings!  Although he passed away 15 years ago at the age of 79, he provides his thoughts from the other side when it comes to your health questions.  He gives you insights about how your psychological blocks can be causing your bodily issues.  He was very empathic and a natural healer and teacher.  I often feel today that I am in private practice with my dad!

He also had a very curious and expansive mind and was eccentric.  As a young child, I remember Beethoven often playing boldly in the background while my father shared the bouquet of his Cabernet with me (he loved his cheap Burgie beer just the same!).  Overwhelmed with gratitude, tears streamed down my father’s face as we went out back to observe the stars.  The adventure often followed by a late night discussion about our galaxy, biology, the purpose of life or Einstein.  My dad, like my mother, never spoke down to me, even though I was quite a bit younger than my other three siblings.  My parents assumed that my siblings and I were ready to embrace pretty much anything they wanted to teach us.  It is probably because of their influence that my kindergarten teacher wanted to bump me up directly to the second grade.

When I was thirteen, I remember “lying out” in our backyard by the pool.  I very much appreciated growing-up on a hill in Southern California overlooking the ocean.  On this sunny summer’s day, my father was on the other side of the yard exploring when I heard him excitedly call me over to where he was kneeling.  He said, “Karen!  Come here!  You have to check this out! What the heck?  How do you think this thing got here?  That’s interesting!”  Honestly, I was relaxing and although I always wanted to support my dad in his new findings, I felt lazy and didn’t want to move.  I was sunbathing after all and at thirteen, that’s a big job!  My dad’s enthusiasm wouldn’t let up and so I reluctantly went over to see the specimen he was raving about.  I asked in a disinterested tone, “What is it dad?”  And in utter wonderment he replied, “I think it’s a weed!”

Being psychic is kind of like that… Although my dad would never say he was psychic, didn’t think of himself as psychic, never read any of my mother’s books from her metaphysical library, or participated in her psychic classes back in the 60’s at UCLA, he was definitely highly psychic!  It was because of his psychic ability that he saved my mom’s life (that’s another story) and many of his patient’s lives.  He recalled seeing his deceased mother at the end of his bed (which is pretty common, have you ever had the experience?), but what I am really talking about here isn’t those bold, in your face, kind of experiences.  I am speaking about a general way of living in and experiencing the world.

Our psychic and intuitive ability is greatly heightened when we live in the present moment; when we are in absolute awe in the presence of beauty whether we are witnessing a beautiful sunset, moved by a romantic song, eating chocolate cake, or even finding delight in a newly discovered weed!  We are far more psychic when we are curious, playful, and childlike.  We are more psychic when we approach life with heartfelt gratitude and do not let the illusions of our egoic mind imprison us in fear and stress.  We are psychic when we are doing work that has meaning and significance to us and that allows us to contribute using our greatest talents.  It’s about being in-tune with ourselves and to feel and embrace the totality of our being.  When we feel all of our emotions, have empathy for ourselves and accept and love ourselves unconditionally, something magical occurs.  When we are connected body, mind and Spirit, we realize the difference between us is an illusion.  We realize we are connected to everything that exists.  We are connected to the cosmos, nature, animals, people, and to all planes and dimensions.  We are aware of our omnipresence.  We feel into the world of the mystical even when we are doing the mundane.

When we have empathy for ourselves, we can heal ourselves.  When we have self-empathy, we can feel deeply into the world of another and help others heal.  To be an empath is to be psychic.

From as early as I can remember, I empathized with others and could feel into their inner world.  Before the age of seven, I remember commonly asking adults how they were doing and they would say something like, “I’m doing well!  How are you?”  But their words often sounded off to me.  Why when they said they were fine was I feeling their pain?  It was as if two conversations were happening at the same time.  One was what they said aloud, while the other was coming from their heart and soul. The two conversations didn’t match up and it was as if there was static on the line.  Their soul would always have a greater resonance with me.  As a side note, most children are more in-tune and expressive with their feelings so I didn’t have the dissonance with other children typically, like I had experienced with adults.

Unlike a lot of healthy children however, I kept my feelings to myself. I identified with the adults who said they were “fine”, because I too felt I had to be fine, otherwise the chaos and conflict in my family would be too overwhelming and make matters worse (of course this is what a child believes and it’s not true – a child cannot save or break a dysfunctional family system).  Early and repeated childhood trauma stemming from my mother’s alcoholism, contributed to my sixth sense.  Many of you understand being hyperaware due to childhood trauma, whether caused by alcoholism or otherwise.   Children of alcoholics often have a keen sense of observation to ensure the safety of themselves, the alcoholic parent and/or other family members.  I was frustrated, angry, and had an undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder that I carried until healing it finally in my thirties.  As an important side note, when I healed my stress disorder my psychic abilities went through the roof! As a child, I also felt great empathy for my mother, siblings and father.  This empathy led me to play a support, “counselor” role to my father and friends from as early as I can remember and… well you know what I do for a living!

I believe our greatest wounds are a wake-up to our calling.  Wanting to see my wise mother reach her potential was one of the key catalysts to helping others realize theirs and paved the way for the work I am doing toward my own self-actualization.

To be continued…

Your Life Review

As we are closing out the year, it may be a good time to do a life review s13379238 - woman with her eyes closed leaning on a mirrored tableo that we may prepare for new beginnings and a more joyful and healthy future.

When a significant aspect of our life isn’t working, it is often because we haven’t healed wounding from our past.  We may be unconscious of how particular life experiences shaped us and how they are contributing to what we perceive and therefore, experience now.

As you know, we have very adept defense mechanisms that help us manage our pain so as not to allow the pain to completely overwhelm us at the time and prevent us from functioning.  This is particularly true in childhood as we are dependent upon our caregivers for our survival and security needs. However, if over time these issues are not addressed and healed, they will keep presenting themselves in numerous ways later, whether in relationships, financially, our business or health.  And worse, if not healed, these issues will show-up in our body as illness and disease.  Our body wakes us up when our mind has gone to sleep.

As I ask you the following questions, allow your subconscious and intuition to speak to you.  Trust that your answers will come to you easily, effortlessly and immediately in a flash of insight.  Allow your heart and inner voice to lead you.

What is troubling you at the moment or lately?  How is past conditioning and/or wounding affecting your current reality?

Pick an ineffective and prominent pattern that keeps showing-up in your life. When did the pattern begin?  Go back to as far back as you can remember (most thought patterns develop in early childhood).

What contributed or led to the development of this pattern? What was happening in your environment at the time?  At the time the pattern developed, what did you believe to be true about others and your environment?

How did you interpret these messages from the outer world, in other words, what meaning did you place on these events?  What did this say about you and the beliefs you now hold about yourself?

To what degree are these beliefs and perceptions self-limiting and based on the past?  What does your higher-self want you to know about what is actually true about you?  In this moment, what is Divine guidance saying to you?

How are your circumstances today mirroring these limiting self-concepts?  How are these patterns hindering you from realizing your full potential?

32229146 - high resonance healing wordsWhat would happen if you let go of these limiting beliefs and patterns?  How might your future be different from today and your past?  Is it time to let go of these outdated and ineffective patterns now?  If not, what more do you need to learn and experience before you can let go of them?  What, if anything, are you waiting for?

Reflecting on the pains of our past is tough and takes courage.  Shoving issues and feelings under the rug however, makes things worse, strengthens unhealthy defenses, and ultimately results in us being cut off from ourselves and others.  These unhealed aspects of us show up as projections on others and can wreak havoc on our lives.

52459174 - soul concept  as a human silhouette with butterfly wingsThe grieving process may take time.  Steps typically include denial and numbness, anger, bargaining, sadness and despair — but then something amazing and miraculous occurs.  Sadness and despair can lead to a shift in perception — a positive shift in thinking and believing gained through acceptance.  Acceptance of what occurred and how the experience helped shape you for the better and what you learned from it.  Inviting and allowing your own healing is the gift that you give yourself as it requires self-care and leads to empathy for oneself.  The blessing is that you are able to develop your underdeveloped side and reintegrate lost aspects of yourself to become your “Whole Self”.  Ultimately, you are allowing your soul to speak to experience and express your Divine Spirit.  What is more important than that?

Karen Final nosmile copyAbout Karen Storsteen, M.S., M.A.

I am an Intuitive Therapist. I am known for my “uncanny intuitive gifts” and blend this skill with transpersonal psychology and counseling to help you gain insight, awareness, healing and growth in love, work and life.

Having worked in the fields of human and organizational development for over 25 years, I have counseled and educated hundreds of thousands to self-actualize and reach their greatest potential. I help people let go of limiting thoughts and behaviors so they can experience the miraculous and catapult their lives forward.

Do you need clarity and peace of mind? I am here to assist you whether you are going through a difficult life transition, having relationship issues, seeking career counseling, grieving the loss of a loved one, desiring business consulting, or an intuitive read. I also provide intuitive and self development classes.

I have been featured on ABC, NBC and CBS, Inc. and TED Magazine, and have been a regular on morning radio and several FM/AM and internet radio stations. My work is well-recognized by Fortune 500 leaders, professional organizations (such as Mensa, the High IQ Society and the Project Management Institute), higher education, mental health professionals, the Crime Wire Bureau of Investigations (for finding missing people and solving suspicious crimes intuitively), media and the general public.

I graduated with Honors with a Master of Arts in Psychology from Regis University and a Master of Science in Management and Organization, and Master’s Minor in Finance, from the University of Colorado. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. I have numerous certifications in psychological, behavioral and organizational assessment and human-performance improvement technologies.

I provide counseling and business consulting services, as well as intuitive sessions globally and by phone.

To learn more, go to karensinsight.com and karenstorsteen.com.

Copyright © 2016, Karen Storsteen. All Rights Reserved.

Living The Life You Want? Outsmart Your Subconscious Blueprint

Although you work hard, try your best, and have the best intentions in love, work and life, do you often feel that making your dreams a reality is an uphill battle or that you are spinning your wheels? Do you feel stuck perhaps?  It may be a sign that your subconscious is running the show!

Consider a romantic relationship for example. Often the relationship starts well and then as it progresses, problems begin to present themselves.   Picture yourself falling madly in love.  You feel you have finally found your soulmate–someo92208954_sne who truly “gets you”.  You feel a passionate and familiar resonance, as if you have come home.  The chemistry is crazy and you can’t get your new found mate out of your head.  You are blissful, energetic, intuitive, and in the flow of life.  You literally glow!

Biologically and neurologically, there is a lot to be gained from this experience.  Your endorphins are on high.  You are releasing dopamine, vasopressin, oxytocin and growth hormones, all of which stimulate the growth of cells.  In this loving state, you are highly aware, attuned and conscious as your desires are being met.

Then one day you find that the partner you are planning on spending the rest of your life with is hiding his finances from you. You are concerned as you will soon be married.  You ask him why he is doing this and he suddenly raises his voice at you defensively and tells you that it’s none of your business. You are shocked as you have never heard him be so curt with you before.  He supports his argument by saying that it’s normal, his dad always managed the family finances and gave his mother an allowance.  What he learned in childhood  is inappropriately being carried out in his adult life without much, if any, conscious thought.  His blind spot,  if ignored, will create conflict and dysfunction in the relationship.  You have your blind spots as well,  which will affect the relationship.

As another example, imagine you fall in love with an amazing woman and as things start to get more serious between you, you notice she starts to pull away.  She seemed committed to the relationship at the beginning, but later you feel as though she has one foot in the relationship and one foot out. You tell her you feel like a yo-yo.  You learn that her father abandoned her early in life.  Although she is unaware of it, you believe that it is highly likely that her fear of abandonment is keeping her from fully being in relationship with you.

We could change the above scenarios to include a million other examples of what can happen when we move out of the honeymoon phase and into the what the heck just happened phase or when we move from a conscious state of mind into an unconscious one.  You may ask, who is this new person who has entered the relationship?  Is this my love?

12005719 - ripples in mind

As you know, with all of us, there is a side that is conscious to us and a side that is unconscious to us and that is outside of our awareness. This is huge problem because that which is invisible is not changeable. Our subconscious can run havoc on our lives and we lose control.

We have hopes and dreams for our relationships, careers, and life and we may have trouble making our vision a reality.  We inadvertently sabotage aspects of our lives as if on automatic pilot without knowing how we arrived at our unfavorable destination.  Our relationships are compromised and our prosperity, happiness, and lives thwarted.  Our health declines as we feel like a victim to our circumstances and the stress causes us to fall into a fight, flight or freeze response. The stress is neurotoxic to our brains and bodies.

So what is going on here?

The conscious mind is the seat of your personality.  It is the creative part of the brain that houses our hopes, dreams, and desires.  The rest of the brain is the subconscious mind that reacts to a stimulus response or that is a reflex or habitual.

The evolution of higher mammals, including chimps, cetaceans, and humans, brought forth a new level of awareness called self-consciousness. Or simply the conscious mind. The newer conscious mind is an important evolutionary advance. The earlier, subconscious mind is our autopilot, the conscious mind is our manual control.  For example, if a ball comes near your eye, the slower conscious mind may not have time to be aware of the threatening projectile.  Yet the subconscious mind, which processes ~20,000,000 environmental stimuli per seconds vs. 40 environmental stimuli interpreted by the conscious mind in the same second, will cause the eye to blink {Norretranders 1998}.

The subconscious mind is like a database in which you call up programs or records of information.  It contains temporarily forgotten information and well as repressed memories.

How did your subconscious mind develop?  Your subconscious mind primarily developed in the third trimester of your mother’s pregnancy and continues until the age of seven.  At that time, you were a sponge for information and learned through observation.  You observed your parents, grandparents and siblings primarily, as well teachers, friends, clergy, community, etc.  During that time, and due to the mirror neurons in your brain, you picked up all sorts of information about what to believe, what to perceive, how to behave, what to think, and it all became programmed into your brain.

Interestingly, according to Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., biologist and best-selling author, whose book, The Biology of Belief, was awarded 2006′s Best Science Book of the Year, before the age of seven, your brain waves were operating in a state of theta. Theta is a slower brain wave state than our typical waking state which is beta or alpha (alpha being a slower state than beta).  Theta is the state of hypnosis when you are open to suggestion and imprinting belief systems.  It is also often the brainwave state that I am in when I am doing psychic readings as we are far more intuitive in this state.  Consider how easily young children learn multiple languages during the first seven years.

The observations you learned from your environment during that time were imprinted into your subconscious with hidden memories.  They are not your wishes and desires, they are not your spirit, but a result of others peoples’ thoughts, teachings and behaviors.

Bruce Lipton and other researchers state that the subconscious mind controls 95% of how our circumstances manifest and that only 5% of our mind is controlled by the conscious mind.  In other words, only 5% of the time, are we consciously creating the life we want.

In addition, researchers state that roughly 70% or more of these subconscious programs are self-sabotaging and limiting.

When the conscious and subconscious do not agree, there is disharmony which affects every muscle in our body.  Our body is literally weakened.

Stephen Call, an epigenetic researcher, says that “we are architects of our own experience.  Your subjective experience carries more power than your objective situation.  What you perceive is more important than the world in which you live. Your behavior today will affect your grandchildren.”

What we now know about epigenetics is that we can change our genetic predisposition and rewire our brain.  We are not victims of our genes or experience.

According to Bruce Lipton, the conscious and subconscious minds learn very differently.  For example, it is very common for me to hear in my private practice that my client has read several books to overcome their self-limiting behaviors (e.g., low self-esteem, excessive anger, codependency in an abusive relationship, etc.), but they still find themselves in the same old patterning and with the same set of issues year after year. When you are reading a book, the conscious mind becomes very smart, but the subconscious mind doesn’t change its’ programming.

What can you do to change the subconscious wiring? 

15277283 - businessman at psychoanalysis

  • Psychotherapy is an excellent way to get in touch with your subconscious so you can choose your thoughts and behaviors consciously rather than being imprisoned by them.

Psychotherapy enables you to understand how you learned to disown aspects of yourself that were not positively reinforced in childhood. Being the smart young person you were, you learned to show up in the world in a way that would help you survive and gain continuous love and approval and conversely, hide the parts of yourself that you thought were unlovable.  You hid them from others and overtime, you too lost track of these aspects of yourself.

Carl Jung referred to this as our shadow side.  For example, if you grew up with a militant and controlling father, you may have learned to be overly accommodating, passive and follow orders.  Your shadow side may be the positive attribute of leadership and your father’s shadow side, following, listening and going with the flow.  The counseling process helps you uncover these hidden aspects of yourself and bring them to the forefront so you can be conscious of how you “show-up” in life and strengthen attributes, as well and let go of outdated patterns.

Levoy said, “If we are afraid of the dark because we can’t see, we are also afraid of the light because we can see.”  What are you afraid of seeing?  You can only see others and situations as clearly as you see yourself.  Everything else is a projection.

Free association, where your mind wanders and you express yourself freely in therapy, can also help you access your subconscious.  Transference is also powerful.  Transference is the inadvertent process by which the feelings and emotions you had primarily toward a parent or person in childhood are projected onto your therapist.  You do this unconsciously with your mates and loved ones, but a therapist will understand this and lovingly help you see your projections.

  • Dreams are also an excellent way to access your subconscious.  Dreams wake us up and often speak to us in the form of symbols and metaphors.  If you start to journal your dreams or simply take notice of them, you will better understand your unconscious perceptions, fears, and desires.
  • Hypnosis is an excellent way to change subconscious wiring and replace unhealthy beliefs and attitudes for positive ones.  In addition to psychotherapy, you may have experienced a guided imagery or hypnosis session with me privately or in one of my classes.
  • Hemi-Sync is a type of music therapy that vertically integrates the left and right hemispheres of the brain and slows down brain waves to align with the stronger electromagnetic rhythms of the heart.  Young children’s minds are typically in sync and harmony which is another reason they learn so quickly.  Putting headphones on before you go to bed and falling asleep to this music technology that includes guided messages, will allow you to rewire your subconscious from negative to positive beliefs and perceptions.  As a side note, you can also quickly exercise both sides of your brain to fire in harmony by crossing your arms and legs.  I have been facilitating this exercise in my classes for years!
  • Allow your intuition to speak.  For example, right now, what is the first thing that comes to your mind (gut, heart) when I ask you: What do you need right now?  What do you want?  How do you feel?  Your intuition speaks to you in a flash and will tell you what your subconscious is thinking.  The conscious mind is slower, whereas the subconscious mind picks it up right away.  You may have had a reading with me where I tune into your subconscious mind to bring hidden obstacles and unconscious patterns to the surface so you can deal with them.  You know when these insights feel right when you resonate with them and your body responds (you may get the tingles or have an aha in the  moment)!
  • Notice your life at present.  Your life now is a printout of your subconscious programming.  What is showing up for you?  What wonderful things are coming easily into your life?  Conversely, what areas of your life are problematic or troublesome?  Where are you swimming up-stream?  As stated earlier, if there are areas of your life that are very difficult, it is probable that these issues are due to problems in your programming and beliefs that have been handed down to you through others –sometimes handed down from generation to generation, or ones that have been indoctrinated and embedded in your culture.
  • Learn new habits. It takes roughly twelve weeks to learn a new habit.  If you have a habit that isn’t serving you, exchange a new healthier habit for an old one.  Over time, the newly learned habit will become part of your new norm and you won’t even have to think about trying to learn it anymore.  Remember learning how to play a new sport, ride a bike or drive a car?  It took a lot of effort from your conscious mind at first, but through repetition it became habitual and programmed into your subconscious mind.  I am sure you have driven from point A to point B and upon arrival, vaguely remembered how you got to your destination!
  • Understand past lives.  Through hypnosis or an intuitive read, you can gain extremely helpful information about your past lives and better understand how they relate to unconscious conflicts in this life.  You will learn what your soul is trying to wake you up to in this life.  Past lives can point to your calling in this life and what your soul needs to learn and accomplish to self-actualize/self-realize.  I will talk more about past lives in future papers.
I utilize all of the methods above to help you unlock the secrets of your mind to let go of unconscious patterns and manifest your greatest desires.

About Karen Storsteen, M.S., M.A.

Karen Final nosmile copyKaren Storsteen is an Intuitive Therapist and blends intuitive gifts with transpersonal psychology and counseling to help individuals gain insight, awareness, healing and growth in love, work and life.

Having worked in the fields of human and organizational development for over 25 years, she has counseled and educated thousands to self-actualize and reach their greatest potential. She helps people let go of limiting thoughts and behaviors so they can experience the miraculous and catapult their lives forward.

Do you need clarity and peace of mind? Karen Storsteen  can assist you whether you are going through a difficult life transition, having relationship issues, seeking career counseling, grieving the loss of a loved one, desiring business consulting, or an intuitive read. She also provides intuitive and leadership development classes.

She has  been featured on ABC, NBC and CBS, Inc. and TED Magazine, and has been a regular on morning radio and several FM/AM and internet radio stations. Storsteen’s work is well-recognized by Fortune 500 leaders, professional organizations (such as Mensa, the High IQ Society and the Project Management Institute), higher education, mental health professionals, the Crime Wire Bureau of Investigations (for finding missing people and solving suspicious crimes intuitively), media and the general public.

Storsteen graduated with Honors with a Master of Arts in Psychology from Regis University and a Master of Science in Management and Organization, and Master’s Minor in Finance, from the University of Colorado. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and has numerous certifications in psychological, behavioral and organizational assessment, as well as, human-performance improvement technologies.

Storsteen provides counseling and business consulting services, as well as intuitive sessions globally and by phone.

To learn more, go to karensinsight.com and karenstorsteen.com.

Copyright © 2018, Karen Storsteen. All Rights Reserved.

Signs That Your Mate Isn’t Going To Change

Are you in a relationship and desperately want things to improve but are consistently disappointed and upset because your relationship doesn’t seem to get any better? Of course, relationships always have ups and downs, but if you find yourself in a state of constant despair, you may want to closely evaluate whether you can move forward as a couple or whether it’s time to lovingly let go.

We stay in unhealthy relationships for a myriad of reasons. Children are an important reason to try to make the relationship work (as long as they are not your partner!). Sometimes we have businesses together, share financial obligations or find ourselves feeling powerless, hopeless and/or afraid of being alone forever.

However, we are not on planet Earth to imprison ourselves, or our mate, and be unhappy. We desire a soulmate, not a cellmate.

To improve  our relationships, we must have:

    1. the motivation to change, and
    2. the capabiity to change.

Often people have the capacity to change but not the motivation. Conversely, there are times when people’s capability to change is compromised due to wiring in the brain and a mental disorder (e.g., psychopathic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, etc.).

Too often I see partners stay in the relationship because they believe they can change their partner, or even “save” them. Why try to save a partner who does not want, or feel the need, to be saved? “All I need to do is provide my partner with all of the love and safety they need to reach their full potential.” Often, the rest of the sentence that goes unstated is the assumption that if they provide this to their partner, then they will get the same in return.

Another common tendency is for people to feel guilty about potentially “abandoning” their partner and to feel responsible for their partner’s well-being. This can lead to enabling the status quo and unhealthy behavior patterns. If people do not choose to do their own personal work, they have already abandoned themselves and the relationship.

In addition, I often hear, “If he loved me enough, he would change.” It is important to note that your partner’s behaviors may not have anything to do with you. Unless long-term dysfunctional patterns of behavior are understood and healed, these behaviors will continue to present themselves across relationships.

In  relationships, we have blind spots. This can come from idealizing our partner, romanticizing about what the relationship could be, and from our unconscious projections that stem primarily from childhood. Levoy states, “If there is terror of the dark because we cannot see, there is also terror of the light because we can see.” What are you afraid of seeing?

Notice what you are receiving from your partner in the present moment. Notice how they are “being” with you. What is your sex life like? What goes on in the bedroom is often a microcosm of the entire relationship. Who is the giver? Who is the taker? Who initiates? Is it detached, open, controlled, communicative, playful, adventurous, boring, serious, soulful, loving. Does it ever happen? :-)

I would not do the work I do if I did not believe that people can change! The great majority of people naturally grow and change! We must also be aware that our partner is starting from a place that is different from ours and that they may not want to change with us, for us or for the relationship. All people progress at their own pace and for their own reasons.

Of course, we first need to look at ourselves and what we are doing that benefits and hinders the relationship. We need to look at our own motivation and capacity to change and uncover the unconscious thoughts, wounds and motivations that can inadvertently kill any relationship!

Below are signs that your partner may not change: 

    1. Your mate does not demonstrate a desire, willingness or effort to work on the relationship.
    2. Your mate doesn’t value your values and priorities, and you don’t value theirs. Don’t expect a person to change their values.
    3. Your mate is consistently defensive, chooses the victim role, plays the blame game and is rarely accountable.
    4. Your mate is unreasonably self-absorbed. This may be demonstrated by their failure to show empathy, disregard for your opinions, and their need to be understood but not to understand. It’s their way or the highway…
    5.  Long-term signs that your partner has difficulty attaching. Attachment disorders show up in the relationship when:
        • you feel like a yo-yo (one minute your partner is with you, then they run, and then they are back again)
        • your partner is consistently unavailable and you can’t count on them
        • your mate is overly needy and controlling
          note: Healthy attachment occurs when partners are interdependent (not overly dependent or so independent that you never see each other).
    6. Your partner is resistant to personal growth and won’t go to counseling or workshops, read or try new ways of being.
    7. Your mate is more concerned with being right, or being in control, than with collaborating and focusing on a win-win.
    8. Your partner chooses numbing behaviors over being fully present. This may be demonstrated through addictions, whether drugs, alcohol, sex or workaholism.
    9. The same issues keep repeating themselves over and over and never get resolved!
    10. Your mate is unwilling to forgive the past, and anger pervades.
    11. And last, a tell-tale sign that your partner won’t change is when they tell you, “I’m not going to change”!

How would your partner answer the above descriptors about you?

What have you noticed in completing the assessment above?  If many of the descriptors describe your mate, or if there is just one behavior that is so severe you can’t live with it, it may be time to take action and stop the pattern.

When you value the relationship more than yourself, it may be time to self-empower. Put your oxygen mask on before assisting others! If you are unhappy, your partner is unhappy. As a reminder, you can love others only to the extent that you love yourself! 

Are you having trouble deciding whether to stay in or leave your relationship? Call me at 303-506-6745 to gain clarity, improve the relationship or lovingly let it go.

Karen Final nosmile copy
Karen Storsteen, M.S., M.A.

About Karen Storsteen, M.S., M.A.

I am an intuitive therapist. I am known for my “uncanny intuitive gifts” and blend this skill with transpersonal psychology and counseling to help you gain insight, awareness, healing and growth in love, work and life.

Having worked in the fields of human and organizational development for over 25 years, I have counseled and educated hundreds of thousands to self-actualize and reach their greatest potential. I help people let go of limiting thoughts and behaviors so they can experience the miraculous and catapult their lives forward.

Do you need clarity and peace of mind? I am here to assist you whether you are going through a difficult life transition, having relationship issues, seeking career counseling, grieving the loss of a loved one, desiring business consulting, or an intuitive read. I also provide intuitive and self development classes.

I have been featured on ABC, NBC and CBS, Inc. and TED Magazine, and have been a regular on morning radio and several FM/AM and internet radio stations. My work is well-recognized by Fortune 500 leaders, professional organizations (such as Mensa, the High IQ Society and the Project Management Institute), higher education, mental health professionals, the Crime Wire Bureau of Investigations (for finding missing people and solving suspicious crimes intuitively), media and the general public.

I graduated with Honors with a Master of Arts in Psychology from Regis University and a Master of Science in Management and Organization, and Master’s Minor in Finance, from the University of Colorado. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. I have numerous certifications in psychological, behavioral and organizational assessment and human-performance improvement technologies.

I provide counseling and business consulting services, as well as intuitive sessions globally and by phone.

To learn more, go to karensinsight.com and karenstorsteen.com.

Copyright © 2016, Karen Storsteen. All Rights Reserved.

 

Are You On The Right Path?

Are you listening to your intuition and higher self? Are you allowing your soul to guide you? Or … are you feeling out of alignment with your innermost desires and wondering if you are going in the right direction? Is it time for a life change?

Follow me through this mini-self-assessment to determine if you are on, or off, your life path…

You may not be listening to your intuition and may be ready for a change when:

    • you are in a rut, bored and lackluster
    • you feel so disoriented, you need Garanimals to get dressed in the morning
    • your gut is whining for Pepto-Bismol
    •  you envy a snail for its get-up-and-go
    • you’re so depressed, Charlie Brown has become your motivating force
    • your angry temper tantrums have Yosemite Sam crying for mercy
    • you are so tired, your “blankie” has boundaries for nap time
    • you feel somewhat worthless – like a penny waiting for change
    •  you feel you are such a pain in the butt, even your underwear is on meds
    •  Pity City has become your new destination point
    • you keep bumping your head against the wall
    •  you feel like a cellmate rather than a soulmate
    • you feel numb with loss of heart
    • you feel like a marionette with everyone pulling your strings
    • you have exceeded your procrastination goals
    • your fears have hijacked your brain
    • sleeping is a thing of the past, and being awake is as well
    • you feel like a ship without a rudder
    • your favorite pastime is playing with a lint ball
    • you are sick of being sick
    • you have lost confidence in yourself and your abilities

Conversely, you are listening to your soul and on your life path when you:

    • are in alignment with what you value
    •  listen to your gut and heart, knowing your answers can be found beyond the confines of reason and analytical thinking
    • feel positive about the future
    •  trust, in the face of uncertainty, that everything will work out beautifully
    •  sleep through the night and wake up singing “Zippity do da!”
    • are in the “Zen zone” and are very peaceful
    •  two hours feels like 10 minutes
    • enjoy your work, and your workmates are more like playmates
    •  feel valued
    • follow your inner guidance system over the opinions and expectations of others
    • experience doors opening easily for you, often with a red carpet
    •  are often in the right place at the right time (experience synchronicity)
    • have confidence and grin when you look in the mirror :-)
    • are in the flow, in the zone and immersed in life
    • can change direction with ease when something isn’t working
    • feel creative
    • can resolve problems and make decisions with ease
    • know who you are and what you want
    • do not rush and take personal time
    • are as energetic as Tigger on steroids
    • use your innate talents and strengths in your work. You do work that is fulfilling, has meaning and is enjoyable
    • have a contagious laugh … even when no one is there

If many of the behavioral indicators on the first list describe you, it may be time to change direction! The good news is that it’s the internal struggle and the pain associated with your current situation that will provide the catalyst to propel you forward. We experience cognitive dissonance when we are not in alignment with what we value. It’s our inner conflict that helps us remember what is important, and that helps us bring ourselves back into balance. Having said that, it is difficult to make important and effective life choices under stress.

anxiety depressionOver time, stress is neurotoxic to the brain and literally shrinks higher brain function, negatively affecting our intuitive and decision-making abilities (among many other things). The primitive brain, which is in charge of “fight, flight or freeze” responses, takes over. Neuroplasticity is the process that rewires the brain away from the amygdala and stress reactions to neurological power (this important subject will be discussed in other blogs). For now, you must know that reducing stress is imperative, and a necessary first step, if you are looking for clarity.

If you are not on your life’s path, you can do something about it! Learn how to reduce stress, listen to your inner voice and follow your higher self. I am here to help!  Call me to step into your new life today!  303-506-6745.

Karen Final nosmile copy

About Karen Storsteen, M.S., M.A.

I am an intuitive therapist. I am known to have “uncanny intuitive gifts” and blend this skill with transpersonal psychology and counseling to help you gain insight, awareness, healing and growth in love, work and life.

Having worked in the fields of human and organizational development for over 25 years, I have counseled and educated hundreds of thousands to self-actualize and reach their greatest potential. I help people let go of limiting thoughts and behaviors so they can experience the miraculous and catapult their lives forward.

Do you need clarity and peace of mind? I am here to assist you whether you are going through a difficult life transition, having relationship issues, seeking career counseling, grieving the loss of a loved one, desiring business consulting, or an intuitive read. I also provide intuitive and self development classes.

I have been featured on ABC, NBC and CBS, Inc. and TED Magazine, and have been a regular on morning radio and several FM/AM and internet radio stations. My work is well-recognized by Fortune 500 leaders, professional organizations (such as Mensa, the High IQ Society and the Project Management Institute), higher education (Regis University, The University of Denver), mental health professionals, the Crime Wire Bureau of Investigations (for finding missing people and solving suspicious crimes intuitively), media and the general public.

I graduated with Honors with a Master of Arts in Psychology from Regis University and a Master of Science in Management and Organization, and Master’s Minor in Finance, from the University of Colorado. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. I have numerous certifications in psychological, behavioral and organizational assessment and human-performance improvement technologies.

I provide counseling and business consulting services, as well as intuitive sessions globally and by phone.

To learn more, go to karensinsight.com and karenstorsteen.com.

 

Copyright © 2016, Karen Storsteen. All Rights Reserved.

Heartful or Heartless? Empathy and Brain Wiring

Have you ever wondered why a significant other, family member, work associate, or even political leader, seems to lack empathy and compassion?

Your brain goes around and around the multitude of painful conversations you have had trying to figure out why on earth they said and did “XYZ”! To make matters worse, they don’t seem to recognize the degree to which they have hurt you and they have difficulty accounting for their behaviors. They have a hard time understanding and seeing things from your perspective. You tear your hair out in disbelief! You may be saying to yourself, “If they loved me, they wouldn’t treat me like this… They are mean spirited… After all, I would NEVER treat someone like that!” Their words and actions seem incomprehensible to you. 

When we are in the midst of a difficult relationship, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. But what if someone’s compromised ability to empathize is not intentional? What if their behaviors have nothing to do with you or anyone else? What if what you considered mean spirited, or even evil, was due wiring in the brain?

Are some people born with brains wired for greater or lesser empathy? What parts of the brain control empathy? How does stress affect empathy? How do personality disorders, such as narcissism and psychopathy, affect one’s ability to empathize? Groundbreaking findings in the neuroscience of empathy are stated to be some of the greatest discoveries of our time.

What Is Empathy? Empathy is the action of understanding, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another-even if you haven’t had the same experience. Put simply, it’s the ability to put oneself into the shoes of another person. Empathy is the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. Empathetic people are more socially, emotionally and intuitively intelligent.

Research suggests that empathic people also tend to be more generous and concerned with others’ welfare. They tend to have happier relationships, greater personal well-being and have greater communication and relational skills.

What Part of the Brain Controls Empathy?

Mirror Neurons

Neuroscientists have discovered specialized cells in the brain, called mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are a type of brain cell that fires when you (or an animal) do an action, and also when you simply watch someone else doing the same action. For example, when you are picking up a tennis ball, Motor Neuron A (which also happens to be a Mirror Neuron) fires to tell your hand to reach out and grab the ball. When you watch your friend pick up his ball, Motor Neuron A also fires as if you were also picking up the ball, even if your hand is not moving at all. Thus, the neuron “mirrors” the behavior of the other, as though the observer were itself acting.

In humans, brain activity consistent with that of mirror neurons has been found in the premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area, the primary somatosensory cortex and the inferior parietal cortex. The supramarginal gyrus is part of the somatosensory association cortex, which interprets tactile sensory data and is involved in perception of space and limbs location. It is also involved in identifying postures and gestures of other people, and is thus a part of the mirror neuron system.

Stated more simply, mirror neurons spontaneously create brain-to-brain links between people. This means that our brain waves, chemistry, actions, thoughts and feelings can literally mirror those of the people who we are communicating with, watching on television, or those who we simply have in our thoughts.

Mirror Neurons and Intuition

Reading thoughts is one of the ways I do  intuitive work with clients, as you may know. I feel love and empathy for my clients, both as an empath and intuitive  and can pick up thoughts, feelings, behaviors, pictures, and body chemistry without gaining any physical information from them (for example, when I am taking calls from listeners on radio and am able to provide valid insights although I don’t know anything about them prior and can’t see them). Most of us can develop our empathic and psychic skills.

When Does The Brain Inhibit Empathy?

Empathy brain 2 Supramarginal_gyrus_-_superior_view2
Supramarginal Gyrus

The right portion of the supramarginal gyrus appears to play a central role in controlling our empathy towards other people. When this structure isn’t working properly, our empathy becomes severely limited. Research has shown that disrupting the neurons in the right supramarginal gyrus causes humans to project their emotions on others, inhibiting empathic ability and causing people to be more egocentric and have difficulty perceiving the emotions of others.

How Does Stress Affect Empathy?

A flood of stress hormones, over time, is neurotoxic to the brain and literally shrinks higher brain function, in particular, the prefrontal cortex, leaving the primitive brain which is in charge of a flight, fight or freeze response. Under enduring stress, we can become paranoid, short-sighted, and self-centered. All of the intelligences decline, including social, emotional, and intuitive intelligence – the intelligences required for empathy and compassion.

Having empathy isn’t as easy when we are in a distraught emotional state. It can be hard to give when we are afraid, insecure or needy. To be truly empathetic, we must be able to distinguish between self and others, and in times of stress, the distinction between the two can be blurred.

Interestingly, a recent research study by McGill University found that a drug that blocks stress hormones can increase the ability of humans and mice to “feel” others’ pain. Another test found that when the mice were put under stress, they showed less empathy for their cage mates.

Personality Disorders and Empathy

I often hear individuals carelessly throw out the label “narcissist” without a clear understanding of the disorder. Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder suffer from low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority, while also projecting displays of arrogance and vanity, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Self-centeredness is also a typical characteristic.

According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, one of the key behavioral indicators of narcissism is “Impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; excessively attuned to reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self; over- or underestimate of own effects on others.”

One of the key traits of pathological narcissists is their lack of compassion, deficit capacity for emotional empathy and dysfunctional capacity for cognitive empathy. A new study finds that people with narcissistic personality disorder have structural abnormalities in a region of the brain that has been linked to empathy. In particular, pathological narcissists have less gray matter in a part of the cerebral cortex called the left anterior insula. Gray matter is primarily composed of neuron cell bodies and non-neuron brain cells that provide nutrients and energy to neurons, rather than sending and receiving information. The left anterior insula region of the brain, which is thought to be involved with cognitive functioning and the regulation of emotion, has also been tied to the generation of compassion and empathy.

Antisocial personality disorder, often referred to as psychopathy or sociopathy, is a disorder that is characterized by lack of empathy and remorse, shallow affect, glibness, manipulation and callousness. Other descriptors include a long-standing pattern of disregard for other people’s rights, often crossing the line and violating those rights. A person with this disorder has compromised impulse control and difficulty with emotional regulation.  Addictive behaviors, risky behaviors, inappropriate sexual promiscuity/infidelity, pathological lying,  anger/rage/violence, and lack of responsibility/accountability are some of the symptoms.  A person with antisocial personality disorder (APD) often feels little or no empathy toward other people, and doesn’t see the problem in bending or breaking the law for their own needs or wants. They also have difficulty learning from past mistakes which is why they continually repeat dysfunctional and destructive patterns.  Criminals with this disorder are often repeat offenders.  The disorder usually begins in childhood or as a teen and continues into a person’s adult life.

Many people believe psychopaths are evil and immoral by decision. What most don’t realize is that empathy can be left behind at birth in those genetically predisposed to psychopathic behavior. Antisocial personalities tend to narcissistic, highly manipulative, self-centered, compulsive liars, and overly preoccupied with how others perceive them.

Sociopaths differ slightly from psychopaths in that they may not have been born with a gene wired for this disorder, but their environment may have been so traumatic that, over time, their brains wired to lack empathy or became severely compromised.

A September 2013 study from the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago published in the open access journal, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, found the neurobiological roots of psychopathic behavior. As part of the study, researchers found that when individuals with psychopathy imagine others in pain, brain areas necessary for feeling empathy and concern for others fail to become active and be connected to other important regions involved in affective processing and decision-making.

When highly psychopathic participants imagined pain to themselves, they showed a typical neural response within the brain regions involved in empathy for pain, including the anterior insula, the anterior midcingulate cortex, somatosensory cortex, and the right amygdala. The increase in brain activity in these regions was unusually pronounced, suggesting that psychopathic people are sensitive to the thought of pain. When participants imagined pain to others, however, these regions failed to become active in psychopaths. Moreover, psychopaths showed an increased response in the ventral striatum, an area known to be involved in pleasure, when imagining others in pain. Mirror neurons can allow antisocial personalities to read faces, calculate others, and even imitate acceptable social behavior for the sake of manipulation, but a person with this disorder doesn’t feel for another and care about hurting another’s feelings. Those who are charmed, devalued and discarded  by people with this disorder are typically left feeling that their lives, bank accounts, psyche and spirit have been destroyed.  Depending on the severity of the betrayal and abuse, they may be left with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Can those with narcissistic and antisocial personality disorder become more empathetic? The researchers at the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago believe that “finding the neurobiological roots of empathy vs. psychopathy may lead to intervention programs in a domain where therapeutic pessimism is running rampant. Honing in on neural networks needed to make people more empathetic may be the key to targeting psychopathic behavior and lower violent crime. Imagining oneself in pain or in distress may trigger a stronger affective reaction than imagining what another person would feel, and this could be used with some psychopaths in cognitive-behavior therapies as a kick-starting technique,” the authors conclude.

Neuroscience has a relatively new understanding of how the brain works through neuroplasticity. Only in roughly the last fifteen years have we learned that the brain has the ability to expand, reorganize and integrate higher brain function.

Can we help people who lack empathy gain it? It depends.  It depends on the person, their capabilities and motivation.  Research on brain science is rapidly progressing.

With respect to anti-social personality disorder, currently treatment is limited and the prognosis poor.  One of the problems is that those who lack empathy may not see it as a problem and instead will project their issues (and how they subconsciously feel about themselves) onto others.   They typically won’t seek treatment unless forced to by the legal system.

My hope in writing this article is to bring a new, and perhaps enlightening perspective toward those who lack empathy. You know you are an empath when you empathize with those who lack it!  Your own healing can occur when you realize you are neither the source of this problem, nor the cure, for that matter.

Karen Storsteen, M.S., M.A., in an intuitive therapist.  She has worked in the fields of human and organizational development for over twenty-five years and educated and counseled thousands to self-actualize and reach their greatest potential.  Karen is known for her “supersensory and uncanny intuitive gifts”, and blends this talent with proven psychological methods to help people gain instant insight and awareness in love, work and life.  

She helps people let go of limiting thoughts and behaviors so they may experience the miraculous  and catapult their lives forward.

Karen is revolutionizing the way people think and feel to achieve results they never thought possible. She provides counseling and consulting services, as well as intuitive sessions, globally and by phone.

Storsteen has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBC, and has been a regular on morning radio and several FM/AM and internet radio stations. Her work is well recognized by Fortune 500 leaders, professional organizations (such as the Mensa The High IQ Society), higher education, the media and general public.

Karen graduated with Honors with a Master of Arts in Psychology from Regis University, holds a Master of Science in Management and Organization, and Master’s Minor in Finance, from the University of Colorado, and Bachelor of Science in Business Management.  She holds numerous certifications in psychological, behavioral and organizational assessment and human performance improvement technologies.

To learn more, you can go to karensinsight.com and karenstorsteen.com.

Tired of Trying?

TiredOne of the themes I have been hearing a lot lately from clients is, “I’m exhausted. I’m tired of trying.” “Why does everything have to be so hard?” “When does it get easier?” “I’ve been at this for so long, haven’t I learned my lesson yet?” When I hear many of the same messages in a short period of time, I consider it a helpful sign from the Universe that we need to pay attention. A breakthrough is possible.

Do you have a dream or goal you are having a hard time manifesting? In what areas of your life are you feeling dissatisfied or discouraged (for example, health, money, lover, kids, job, or career)? Have you hit the brink of despair?

Often when I dive deeper with my clients, at the root of their discouragement are a million assumptions about why “XYZ” isn’t happening or won’t work! “I have to lose weight before a man will love me.” “No one wants to hire me, I am too old.” “My child will never forgive me.” “You have to be a man to get to the top of the career ladder.” “I’ve wanted to sing professionally since I was a child, but my parents were right, I would never make money at this.” Get the idea? We often stop ourselves before we even begin! You may say, “Well, I really have tried and believe me, things aren’t working.” I believe you. Is it possible that you have created this reality?

Your behaviors are based on your beliefs. We all know that beliefs create our reality. It’s quantum duality. Let me give you an example. It’s quite common for me to hear from women that their organization will not put them in the most senior roles because they are a woman and companies prefer men at the top. While gender bias in the workplace has been backed by numbers, it is possible that by changing our thoughts we can create a totally different outcome. When I was growing up, for example, my father treated my mother equally and did a lot of the household duties that in that day were considered “women’s work”. My parents taught me that I could do whatever I aspired to and to get a great education. They treated me like an equal. My dad even nicknamed me “Chief”!

In consulting to organizations, I never had concerns that men would treat me “less than” because I was a woman. It wasn’t ever part of my upbringing, belief system or paradigm. What was the outcome? I opened doors at the top and enjoyed coaching and consulting my clients who were both women and men. My relationship with men in business has been based on mutual respect even in industries considered to be very male dominated, such as oil and gas, manufacturing, and engineering. As a human being, of course I have had other assumptions and beliefs that have inhibited me and have had to work to bring them to the surface and clean things up.

What walls and barriers are you inadvertently creating based on your beliefs and assumptions? For every dream or goal you want to achieve, list the assumptions that are both hindering and helping you. Drill down on your assumptions until you get to the core of your beliefs and what is driving your behavior. Below is an example from a client.

Dream/Goal

Beliefs/Assumptions
To save money and to feel financially secure
    1. I never have enough money
    2. Money created conflict and separation in my family
    3. Money is evil because it separated my family
    4. Because money is evil, I need to get rid of money as soon as I receive it

In the above example, we can see why my client had difficulty saving money.  It was not until one of our sessions that she realized she equated money with evil.  Of course she wanted to get rid of it!  As was true in my client’s case, our beliefs and assumptions can go unnoticed.

The research says that roughly 85% of our thoughts are unconscious.  We have very adept defense mechanisms and have been hiding thoughts from ourselves since childhood.  We put these thoughts into our subconscious primarily because we were afraid to show the sides of ourselves that did not earn us love and approval as children.  Counseling and an intuitive read, as many of you know, are excellent ways to bring these unconscious thoughts to the surface.  Meditation is another excellent method.  We can only change when we see our blind spots!  That which is visible is changeable.

For each dream/goal that you listed above, on a scale of 1 – 10 (1 being a weak attempt and 10 being a very strong effort), how would you assess your level of effort in reaching your objectives?  Be frank with yourself.

Let’s consider the following formula in light of your self-assessment:

Motivation X Capability = Performance

For your weaker attempts at accomplishing your goals, what is the problem?  If you are not motivated, perhaps it is time to reflect on the degree to which you really value your dream or goal.  How important is this dream/goal to you?  Do you feel you want to accomplish it or that you should accomplish it?  Forget the “should’s” and focus on what you really want.

If your goal is something you really want, but you haven’t exerted the effort, are you afraid of the potential losses that may occur with your gain?  It’s actually common for people to fear that if they aspire to their unlimited potential and self-realize/self-actualize, that they will be shunned by family and friends, or at least not as well liked or loved.  It may break the unstated family patterns.  For example, you may want to go to college, but no one else in your family aspired to that goal and in fact, you were told by your parents that you don’t need the degree.  Fear of rocking the family pattern and dynamic can result in a whole host of self-sabotaging behaviors.

On the other side of motivation is the aspect of capability.  If you tried “XYZ”, are you concerned as to whether you would have the necessary knowledge, skills and attributes to accomplish your dream?  Do you lack the confidence to apply yourself?  What can you do to gain the capabilities you need to be successful? 

Reaching our dreams is a process and one that requires adaptability, focus and discipline.  For the dreams/goals where you have exerted a lot of effort, but not reached your intended outcome, don’t give up.  It may take years to accomplish a particular goal.  It doesn’t mean the goal is wrong or that the Universe does not support you.  Possibly you just need to make a minor shift to accomplish your goal or try an entirely new path to attain it.  Maybe you need to partner with a different person or people to make your dream a reality.  It may be that there are many things you need to learn along the way.

It is about enjoying the voyage as after you accomplish your goal you will simply set another one and the adventure will begin again.  It’s the journey that gives us the juice in life.  I have accomplished objectives that I thought were important at the time only to realize that the outcome was unfulfilling and sometimes painful.  The gift is participating in the game and the wisdom you obtain along the way.

Achieving

The small things you do every day to accomplish your objectives are important.  You may not see the result for a while, but all of the things you do daily add up whether it’s learning a new skill, losing twenty pounds, saving for a house, or preparing to run a marathon.  It takes discipline.

The most successful people work very hard.  Even the most brilliant minds have had to apply themselves.  Albert Einstein stated, “Genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work…”  Einstein’s parents thought he was retarded at an early age as he had problems communicating.  As a child, Einstein was introverted, lonely and withdrawn.  Consider Thomas Edison who developed hearing problems as a child and who left school as a boy after being referred to as “addled” by his teacher.  What did these two individuals accomplish?

FaithThe act of “trying” takes faith.  Successful people take risks.  There is no return without risk; the greater the investment, the greater the reward.

Consider where you reside relative to the chart below:

Limits Oneself

Unlimited Potential

Stays within the paradigm Changes the paradigm
Already knows what is true Questions what one “knows”
Numb, lacks curiosity Asks the questions why, what if and why not?  Wonders what could be
Risk averse Takes chances
Sees life as scary Sees a world of adventure
Life is boring and hard Life is fun
Overly planned, consistently in adult mode, serious Playful and spontaneous, childlike wonder
Sees limitations Sees possibilities
Resistant Resilient
Worrisome Brave, courageous
I’ll believe it when I see it I’ll see it when I believe it
Hopeless, faithless Hopeful, faithful
Gives up easily Tenacious
Makes excuses, victim thinking Is accountable and responsible for ones choices and life
Ashamed of mistakes, focuses on failures Sees mistakes as an opportunity to learn and tries again.  Focuses on values, meaning and potential
Observes the game In the game!

Is trying worth the effort?  Imagine yourself at the end of your life reflecting backward.  How do you want to be remembered?  What did you stand for?  How did you add value to the lives of others?  What did you teach?  How much did you laugh?  How did you love?  What did you accomplish?  Did you live or “die” while alive?  The choice is yours…

Karen final smile picture posterAbout Karen Storsteen, M.S., M.A.

Karen Storsteen, M.S., M.A., in an intuitive therapist.  She has worked in the fields of human and organizational development for over twenty-five years and educated and counseled hundreds of thousands to self-actualize and reach their greatest potential.  Karen is known for her “supersensory and uncanny intuitive gifts”, and blends this talent with proven psychological methods to help people gain instant insight and awareness in love, work and life.  

She helps people let go of limiting thoughts and behaviors so they may experience the miraculous  and catapult their lives forward.

Karen is revolutionizing the way people think and feel to achieve results they never thought possible. She provides counseling and consulting services, as well as intuitive sessions, globally and by phone.

Storsteen has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBC, and has been a regular on morning radio and several FM/AM and internet radio stations.  Her work is well recognized by Fortune 500 leaders, professional organizations (such as the Mensa The High IQ Society), higher education, the media and general public.

Karen graduated with Honors with a Master of Arts in Psychology from Regis University, holds a Master of Science in Management and Organization, and Master’s Minor in Finance, from the University of Colorado, and Bachelor of Science in Business Management.  She holds numerous certifications in psychological, behavioral and organizational assessment and human performance improvement technologies.

To learn more, you can go to karensinsight.com and karenstorsteen.com.

Copyright © 2014, Karen Storsteen. All Rights Reserved.