Out of Crisis

Most of my life has been in some sort of crisis mode. Sometimes personal, sometimes relational, sometimes professional. It’s been something almost continuously since I was around 8 years old.

Today, there are many unknowns in my life but no crises. Everything is working out and falling into place. So many things I worried about in the past are either resolved or no longer a concern.

The few times in my life when someone’s life has been on the line in my hands, I was calm and rational until help showed up and then I completely fell apart. Every emotion, every fear, every pain, came flooding through all at once. As mentioned in previous posts, I have historically been better at thinking about my feelings than feeling them. Now that I am on the other side of crisis, I have space to feel fully and it’s intense.

Unresolved issues from many stages of my life are getting triggered in one form or another for processing. I am practicing all the things I encourage other people to do in my coaching and workshop practice and uncovering my own hang ups. I can easily say to myself “I love you” “I approve of you” “Everything I touch is a success” but…… If I try to say “I am a success” in the mirror or looking at another person, waterworks fall. And I am not talking about trickling tears, I am talking about tears big enough to form a puddle in my lap. So much of my life has been merit based. “Notice me!” “See how good I am doing?!”…. But inside, feeling completely insufficient and inadequate.

I share my struggles because there is something therapeutic about saying it aloud and to encourage others who are facing similar challenges but keeping it bottled up inside, feeling alone. My drive to heal the world stems from my desire to heal myself. Maybe when the whole world is healed, I will be too….. But that’s a bit backwards. The more I deal with and process my own junk, the more powerful I can be in the world helping others do the same.

We are all connected. No one suffers alone. No one rejoices alone. We all feed into and pull from the collective energy force we all share.

There is nothing wrong with feelings. They are what they are. There is shadow whenever there is light. Every experience has a lesson and a blessing, whether joyous or painful. May we all be open to learning the lessons and receiving the blessings.

From my heart to yours,
Thanks for reading

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Grateful for the Bunny In My Backyard

A rabbit has taken up residence in the MIDDLE of my open backyard.  He spends most of the day in the same spot.  The dog leash is long enough the dogs could chase him if they wanted but they don’t bother.  I sense that if I were to try and approach him, I wouldn’t catch him, and maybe the dogs feel the same thing.  He doesn’t move when they come out; he just hunkers down in his spot and watches where they are.

In him, I see the capacity to be hyperaware, vulnerable, and yet completely calm.  He knows exactly what’s happening around him but chooses not to move.  He doesn’t hide under or behind anything and yet is somehow protected.  In the place where he sits, he can exit in any direction at any time but he lives in the moment.  Perhaps I can too.

In my yoga practice this week, I have set my intention on moving steadily, effortlessly, through the movements, letting my breath guide me.  I let go of being having perfect timing and just let my pace come naturally.  I think about the peaceful bunny in my backyard when I catch myself having jerky movements or feeling afraid.

Rabbits can bounce around frantically or they can be completely still.  I have the same ability.  My mental adjustment has made my practice feel completely different. I feel vulnerable on my mat but I’m learning to embrace that feeling.  I am safe.  My body knows what to do.

Life supports me.

I’ve spent much energy in my lifetime, running away, resisting, fighting, opposing…  I’m learning I can be just as effective sitting still.  My stillness does not mean I can’t move quickly.  It doesn’t make me stuck or less significant.  I can be aware and move where I choose, when I choose, just like the bunny in my backyard.

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

Building an Inner World – My Feelings are Gifts

It has come to my awareness that I have lived most of my life off the energy of those around me, in their worlds, not mine.  A little like a well meaning parasite, I haven’t developed much within myself to give without somehow first receiving.  Because of that imbalance, I have constantly felt like I’m not enough.  There’s no way that someone else’s energy is ever going to be enough for me and there’s no way I can ever be enough for someone else if my own tank is empty.

I realized that part of the reason I had so much trouble feeling like I belong is because I hadn’t spent time or energy making myself a home within.  If I am not at home inside, how could I ever think I could find a home outside?  I am capable of thinking positively and sending out positive vibes all over the place but I’m deluding myself if I think that can make up for a core full of untended wounds.

I have been accused of living in my own world and not ‘reality’ numerous times.  I recently deduced that accusation comes when I have been living in the accuser’s world and decide to leave.  They notice.  They see me as having left reality because I left their reality.

I have taken that feedback personally and used it to feed my dark wolf. I have spent my energy fighting my feelings, trying desperately to control them, only to have them burst out at the most inconvenient times.  I have analyzed them, judged them, shamed myself for feeling them, distracted myself from noticing them and tried to convince them they aren’t real…all to no avail.

I am grateful to have recognized the real issue has been a lack of a self sufficient inner world.  I am building one now!  It’s a place where I am safe and only the people I want to join me are allowed in.  It’s a place where I make the rules and can change them any time I choose, with complete, unconditional acceptance.  It’s a fantastical place for me by me!

My feelings are gifts.  They are indicators of what I believe in my core.  Although they are not facts, they come from a place that knows the truth even when I’m telling myself lies.  They can be wind in my sails if I work with them.  They can be the waves that take me to new levels of self-understanding and self-awareness if I allow it.  And… they can be fun!

No one has ever accused me of being boring. 🙂

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

It is possible…

In yoga, there is this concept of “practice”.  Not crossing a finish line or attaining merit but value gained from consistent practice.  Your own practice; your own body’s way. This concept of practice opens up a whole new world of possibilities because it’s not necessary to master something, only to set out to practice it.  Intention…

It is not necessary (or possible) to solve all the problems in the world.  By solving some problems, you may even get in the way of someone’s growth.  However, it IS POSSIBLE to set intentions.  It is possible to practice a certain frame of thought, feed peace, starve unrest, and take the next step in the direction you want to go.

It is not possible to change what other people do but it is possible to imagine people living healthy lives, making choices that are right for them and wishing good things to come into their lives.

I do not know why or how but I am here typing truth I have seen in my life now: good things have come to those to whom I have intended good things to come.  I did not do it, I know this, but yet I feel in some way I helped.  If nothing else, I let go of negative thoughts about their situation, freeing myself of that unnecessary burden.   I am unable to spend mental energy on everyone in the world but I do have people in my circle of influence I can practice loving unconditionally.  We all do.

What if we all did?  What’s the saying about 6 degrees of separation?  If we all thought about good things coming to 6-10 people, including ourselves, could we change the world?  I think so.  I have seen positive changes in my life when people are praying for me.  Even if I didn’t believe in how they were praying or who they were praying to, their prayers worked.

I find peace and joy by feeding peaceful and joyous thoughts.  It hurts my heart when people are unhappy, burdened by negativity and feeding helplessness.  I was taught that you shouldn’t be happy if other people are unhappy and it seems that there’s always someone who is unhappy.  That does not work for me so I’m practicing something else, a different way of thinking…

No matter what, there is someone in the world who has less and someone in the world who has more.  If not in material things, in something else (intelligence, physical ability, number of friends, health….).  It accomplishes nothing to compare oneself to someone else.  The only value in looking at what someone else says, has or does is to see yourself in them; see ways you can grow.

I am testifying before you now that you do not have to carry the burden of misery.  Unpleasantness happens but it’s over more quickly when it’s seen and accepted for what it is: a bump in the road, an opportunity for growth, a bookmark to remind you what you are grateful for…

I close with excerpts from Yoga Sutra 1.33 that resonated with me:

The first suggestion is that we cultivate friendship and happiness towards those who are happier than we are.  When we are fortunate enough to meet people who are consistently happy and content, we should seek out their friendship.  In this way we can learn from them and share their joy… We can become so busy wishing we were happy, that we lose the opportunity to share and learn from them…

The second suggestion is that we cultivate compassion for those who are unhappy.  All people, and all living beings, want to be happy.  When we are suffering, we are so grateful to others who offer any support – even just a friendly smile or a knowing glance…Even if the person is not someone you know, or if it is someone you don’t like…their suffering is keenly felt, and finding compassion in yourself pushes out hatred and opens a place of love…

The third suggestion of Yoga Sutra 1.33 is that we cultivate joy and gladness toward those who are virtuous…appreciating the virtuous actions of others and celebrating the good fortune of others.  Often times, it is easier to see the faults and shortcomings of others, and unfortunately, that causes our mental energy to become critical, divisive, and harsh.  When we see good in others, and celebrate their good intentions and actions…we feel a sense of unity with them, and a general sense of appreciation for others.  Also, when we see other people receiving good fortune – whether it’s a promotion, a new loving partner, a winning lottery ticket – we are often tempted to evaluate whether or not they deserve what they have received…If there has been some gross injustice, perhaps you will chose to take some action… but generally speaking, if we can celebrate with them and be glad for their good fortune, we will find ourselves feeling a sense of peace, rather than one of conflict.  Naturally enough, none of us is perfect, and we all appreciate it when others forgive us our shortcomings and look at our finer qualities instead.

Finally, the hardest of all, is the suggestion that we remain undisturbed by the errors of others…  In his speech “Loving Your Enemies,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talks about the difference between loving a person and liking a person… finding the ability to recognize the humanity in others, even if they have committed harsh or terrible actions.  We do this, not for their sake, but for our own sake – so that we do not fall into a cycle of unforgiving, impatient and vengeful behavior.  This doesn’t mean that we mustn’t act in the world; this is not an excuse for not getting involved in matters of justice and social progress.  However, when we are able to see the humanity in others, we keep ourselves centered – and we are able to act in the world from a place of calm and stability, rather than lashing out from an emotionally reactive and defensive position. And this is when we are most likely to be effective and to change people’s hearts and actions.

Namaste