Monday, September 18, 2017
Recently I was at the hospital. I was sitting there watching people and thinking that I see 2 sorts of people. Those that appear strong inside themselves and those who don’t.
Those who have a strength inside them let this show. They may not even know. They may not even be aware. But something makes them different from the others. It’s like they know they will be okay, whatever happens. It’s as if they know that they will be taken care of, in a way that fits with honouring themselves. They know they are still in charge. They know they will be listened to and respected.
The others are looking down, looking closed off, being sorry for themselves, feeling worthless and just doing what they are told. And maybe attracting more despair and more of being a victim. And really, these people are only victims of their own beliefs. It is easy to drop into feeling sorry for oneself, especially when one is in pain. Or when the professionals are telling the worst case scenario, as they do. It’s easy to feel down and go further down when health issues multiple. And especially when someone believes unconsciously that they are worthless or not of value. So just know that you are of value and are worthy of respect.
We so want our bodies to work well. Except when, we have some unconscious desire for attention and care, and it seems the only acceptable way to get this is to be sick or need hospital care. Or when one believes the words spoken are the truth whereas they may be an opinion.
As I was sitting there, I was asking myself…..which sort of person am I? (What sort of person are you?) I realised that it is possible to be both at different times. Emotions can be triggered by the words spoken by professionals. This can be compounded by another specialist’s words. It is difficult to sort out the information in one’s head to see how it fits with one’s understanding of one’s self. The key is to stay present. Lift oneself up and engage brain. You can do it. Promise yourself you will let yourself feel the overwhelm, the confusion, the worthlessness, the terror, the hopelessness later. In the meantime, focus on the person in front of you and know that inside yourself, you can sort this out. Show that you respect yourself by putting your head up and asking that question. Give that piece of information even if it is not important. Be listened to. And let yourself blob while you wait, and wait again. A bit of numbing out by watching the TV or by reading the trashy magazine can give you a rest from the thoughts. And honour yourself by acknowledging the feelings that are stirring inside you……later, let yourself feel them, because by letting yourself feel them, they give way to a developing clarity. Then you can do what’s right for you.
Thursday, September 7, 2017
Long word…………………taking a long time to actually do something.
Do you have something that you want to do, but you keep putting off? Do you have something that you are going to do “one day”? Maybe you have several things you have put off, that other people, maybe family, have heard you say you are going to do. When?? If you put them off so long that you can’t do them, will you feel relieved or resentful? What is really in the way? What is the cost to you personally of not doing them?
You may not even know that you are putting off doing something. It might seem so natural to think that it will happen sometime. It might seem like the absolute truth that there are reasons why you haven’t done that thing. The reasons may seem very real. You may believe your thoughts about why you can’t do something just now.
With me, it feels like I wait for the right time. Sometimes it seems like the more I think about it, the more I don’t do it, and then suddenly, its right and I do it with no thinking. I have had a lot of practise waiting for the right time. Waiting. Waiting. Preparing the words. Preparing my mind. Not being confident enough, thinking that I was not good enough, worrying about other people’s feelings, feeling responsible for others feelings, not wanting to be exposed as me.
So what gets in the way for you? Apart from the reasons (really!). Our minds seem to be programmed to come up with reasons to not do stuff. Our minds are so good at producing the doubts. Underneath these reasons, we might worry about what people will think of us. It might be plain scary to be seen doing what we want to do? What if we fail? What if we succeed? We might worry about being judged. Or criticised.
You might have a dream that you want to follow but then the mind asks how are you going to do that bit, or where is the money for that, or maybe it’s not the right time. Our minds can go into overload about the detail. What if you were to just take the first step and don’t even think about the next step. Concentrate on just this step. I remember learning this lesson when walking/climbing up a mountain in India – the only thing to do was to focus on just this step. It wasn’t even one step at a time, which implies that another will follow….it was just concentrate on this step. Nothing about the next. Try it….take the step, feel how it feels and the next step will be revealed as you complete the one you are doing.
Recently I got called on my own procrastination, and realised that I was putting something off for no good reason really. So I will do it this week. Will you?
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
I broke a bone in my ankle 45 years ago. Any relevance for today?
Physically, I have had issues with the hip and the knee on that side. Probably because back then, it was a case of plaster up to the knee for several weeks and no physio afterwards. Would this have affected how I walk, how I use that side of my body, where I put my weight in different positions?? Quite likely. And would these different patterns of walking and weight bearing have continued over the years meaning that some parts of the body are now being strained? Probably.
And, what about emotions and beliefs stored in the body? Well, I have faced some emotions stored in my hip and knee, and let these go.
Now it is time to revisit the memory.
This is what I remember. I had taken my flatmate to work on her motor scooter. I was returning when I went round a corner. I turned the accelerator handle bar the wrong way!! So I went faster, rather than slowing down. At that moment I froze, so I was unable to reverse the action. I sped round the corner and drove smack into a parked car on the other side of the road, which flipped me and the scooter onto our sides in the middle of the road. Since then I have mightily blamed myself for the huge mistake that I made. Any time I have remembered it, I have felt so stupid and so bad. I made a stupid mistake. A mistake that should not have happened. It was more than a mistake…. I had actually done the complete opposite to what one should do. So not a little mistake. In my mind it meant that I was worthless and totally stupid. Throughout my life this is how I have felt about any mistake. No matter how little.
Today I also realised that in the moment, I froze. So I was unable to correct. Which would have been simple to do. Doubly stupid. Why? Probably because as a child, I had developed this strategy. I made a mistake, I got told off, and then someone else fixed it. (because I was not clever enough to fix it) So I learned to freeze myself, to not feel, to not think, to just get through the next few moments. And then someone did it for me. This strategy had an effect on how I handled the scooter accident situation. And no one there to fix it for me. And really it need not have been like that, if I had had a different coping strategy in place.
Consider your own strategies. What do you do when you make a mistake? Do you wish you could wind the clock back and undo the mistake? Do you joke about it, in order to cover up your feelings? Consider your childhood and see what strategies you developed to cope with mistakes. Just know that whatever your way of dealing with mistakes, that these were strategies were put in place when you were young. You have more internal resources now, so take a look, and maybe change your strategies.
Friday, August 11, 2017
There is that saying….something like you can’t change it so just accept it. How do you feel when someone says that to you? Not listened to? Not heard? Yep. Me too. (might be something in there about not worrying too)
Then from a spiritual point of view, there is the goal of accepting whatever circumstance we are in. But what does this really mean? That we allow people to tread all over us? That we put up with things as they are? That we don’t try to fix things? That we don’t think about changing things? That we don’t plan to walk a different path?
As humans we seem compelled to want more, or better, or healing or fixing or improving. We want more money. We want a better house. We want better health. We want to fix our body. We want to be more confident. We want to be someone better than we are. We want to develop spiritually.
The concept of acceptance seems to be opposite of these. And then there is the thing of judgement entering into this. If we have the perfect life, we will accept life as it is, won’t we? How do you judge what is perfect. You might say, everything in balance. (not being greedy, of course!) How do we get to balance? And maybe this is just a concept we like because it allows us to feel comfortable. Some of us really like to feel comfortable. No conflict, no annoying emotions please.
I suggest that acceptance is something to be considered in any moment. Do you accept that right now you are in pain? Do you accept that right now you do not have the abundance of money that you would like? Do you accept that right now you do not have the house that you want? Do you accept that right now you do not have the life that you want? Or you are not the person you want to be? In getting a sense of acceptance, there is a relaxing that happens. There is a letting go of the effort that has been taking place. The effort makes you tense. It can make pain worse. It can make you grumpy. It can make you unhappy.
Acceptance means that you accept in this moment. It does not mean that things won’t change. Somehow, in the relaxing, other options appear, that wouldn’t if you are tense. Somehow, acceptance opens the door to more. Letting go of effort, supports you in living your life fully, because you are then open to possibilities that arise. You can be light with the circumstance, knowing that things change, with no effort from you. Amazing things can happen. More amazing than you believe you deserve. Just stay relaxed. Just stay in this moment. Treasure yourself so that you don’t put up with circumstances, that you don’t allow others to tread all over you. Trust your amazing self to know what to do.
Friday, July 28, 2017
We think we are clever. We think we are doing the right thing. We think we are being righteous. We think we are being good. How? By not allowing our emotions. It’s how we have been conditioned by our family, and by society. We are taught that it’s good to be calm and balanced all the time. We strive for this. We strive to be right in this.
When I was younger people admired how calm I was. I can tell you, that it was a big cover up job. Any hint of emotion and I stuffed it down. Too scary. Too unknown an area. And there was a cost to me. It meant that I sailed along in life without experiencing the richness of life. I didn’t experience any strong emotions, either the “negative” ones or the exciting joyous ones. Bland, I say. BLAND!!.
Do you know what to do with your emotions? Do you allow them to be felt? Do you find them scary and stuff them down before you even get a little feel? Is your life bland?
How about you do a little experiment with yourself. Have an intention to be curious about your feelings. Maybe when you are on your own so you feel safe. And see what happens. As you experiment more you will begin to notice more about how you are feeling. Allow yourself to feel the emotions in your body. When your mind jumps in with the story of why you feel this way, just ask your mind, where in the body do you feel this, and bring your awareness to that part. Your mind will try and jump in again, it’s what minds do. Redirect your awareness to your body. Your body is where emotions are felt.
These days, I am actually more genuinely calmer than I was earlier. Well, you know, in-between the other emotions!! My body has been learning that I will allow emotions to be felt. So they arrive. The good, the bad and the in-between. All emotions are welcome in me. This allows me to live life more lightly, because emotions come and then they go. Emotions do not hang around when they are welcomed to be felt.
Sometimes we want to have the thoughts about the emotion. We want to analyse them. Somehow it seems to justify them. Somehow if we can blame someone else or some circumstance for our feelings then we don’t have to own our own feelings. But really, give yourself some trust. Know that it is safe to feel feelings in your body. If you fall apart into vulnerability, so be it. It is actually okay. If you fall into anger, this is okay too….feel it in your body. If fear or even terror arises, feel that too. You do not have to do anything with the emotions, except feel them. Then they dissolve.
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Have you ever noticed that after some work on your body, such as massage, bowen, physio, yoga, that emotions arise? Or when you have been to the doctor about an issue? Take note next time, because developing awareness allows you the opportunity to feel emotions that can then be released.
Research has shown that when emotions are stuffed down over time, something in the biochemistry of the cells changes. The cell receptors close in a bit. And if your immune system is down and if disease is going to come knocking, then these cells will be affected. If you have a chronic condition there will be an emotional cause buried deep inside. The World Health Organisation says that over 85% of diseases have an emotional component or cause. Add emotional release work to your health plans.
Recently, I had pain in my hip. When I went to bed one night, I was rubbing my hip…. Giving it some love really, or trying to distract myself from the pain!! But keeping my awareness on the hip. And without effort, an emotion came up and was felt. It was shame….certainly an emotion I don’t want to feel. Certainly one that I stuffed down. But in being honest with myself, I acknowledged it. And then a memory came. I then spoke and got things off my chest. I mostly spoke to my younger self ……..until her and I reached a point of understanding. Since then, the pain has been going.
You can bring your awareness to that part of your body and ask the question: If this part of my body had words what would it say? And how does this make you feel? This may give you a clue because arising from the emotion, there may be a memory. Have compassion for yourself. Know that all emotions are valid. In our society we usually learn to stuff emotions down. “be brave”, don’t cry”, don’t get angry, don’t be sad, time to get over it. And all this does us a disservice. We actually need to learn to allow ourselves to feel emotions. It is not about projecting emotions out there and acting out against other people. It’s not even about talking about them, because usually we get into the story of why we feel that way. We start trying to figure out why we feel that way and the reasoning becomes blame. And repeating the story keeps the emotion there. The ultimate treatment for emotions is to feel them in the body. These is where we naturally feel them, and it’s unfortunate that we have been brought up to think them, rather than feel them. So when you feel an emotion, subtly or strongly, let yourself feel it in your body. Bring all your awareness to the feeling, focusing on your body so the mind is occupied. Relax into the emotion and it will dissolve in a short time.
Thursday, June 29, 2017
This is not a column of how to make relationships work, nor how to find the perfect relationship. It’s about you and me. There is something in the core of us that wants to be loved. To be cared for. To be treasured. To be safe and protected. There is a want to share fun things, to share achievements, to share troubles. Someone who just “gets” you. Someone who values you and respects you. Who really listens. Someone to show love to, to care for and do things for. Me too.
For some people, these relationships are with family members. For some people, these relationships are with close friends. For some people these relationships are with animals. And for some, the love is between love partners.
What do you bring to a relationship? You bring your personality, your behaviour patterns built up over years, your way of talking, the words and phrases you use, your habits, your love language, your values, your beliefs about life, your beliefs about yourself, your need for control, your need for physical closeness, your need for spontaneity, your need for clarity and rules, your need for understanding…………….. And then, do each of these things match those of the other person? Not in terms of whether these factors are there and apparent, but rather HOW they manifest in daily life for you and the other person. What is the sea-saw effect inside you when there are differences? How much internal movement happens when you try and be the same? How rocky do you like things to be? How much conflict can you tolerate? Do emotions such as resentment build up inside?
Notice what goes on inside you. You are questioned ……..how do you interpret these questions? You are told what to do………do you interpret this as being controlled or not? You are given feedback………do you interpret this as criticism or not?
And do you notice that all these things depend on how you feel about yourself? If you feel great and confident in yourself, things just slide off? If you are feeling a bit down then differences in comments, beliefs, values can seem important.
Our perspectives and interpretations are how we see our world. Inside you are an amazing being. In relationship you have the opportunity for connection with another. But there may be a gap between you. What is dropping into this gap and being lost?
Our innermost needs arise at odd times and we may not always be aware of them. As they arise, observe how they sit in you. Maybe you can meet your own needs. Maybe you can take care of you. Show yourself compassion. Show yourself love. Treasure you. Take time for you to meet your needs. Maybe you need some quiet time, some walk in bush time, some creativity time, some listen to yourself time. And then your expectations of the other may not be so definite.