There are so many reasons, especially from our earliest days, why we are unable to fully love ourselves. We enter this world completely vulnerable and helpless, and also so psychically awake. Without boundaries, we take on guilt and shame for things happening in our environment, and from this we subconsciously form our self-image. We create a hard shell for survival. If we continue to hide in it later in life, it is ultimately self-defeating. We are blocked from a mysterious, full life of intimacy and sensation. How do we juggle receptivity and assertiveness, connection and isolation, familiar and unknown?
Asking for support not only takes courage, it requires emotional honesty. Furthermore, managing your own impulses and responding to others’ emotional needs is a complex task. “We all have empathy, but we often don’t have enough courage to display it,” (Maya Angelou) for it is not only difficult to show up for someone who is struggling, but because it opens us up to our own pain. Yet, we do not need to relate to be able to support one another. I wish that we are kind to each other, and that we witness ourselves in new ways, for we are all still learning how to be humans on this Earth.
How can I be kind to myself today? Emotional maturity asks I find balance Between my petulant inner child and stern adult. Vulnerability and Strength are not strangers, Nor opposites, but equals.
When wounds open, red heart-juice gushes in To say, “I matter. I am supported.” Those scabs you continue to pick Keep your world small. When you love yourself, Your world continues to expand.
The “outside” may be demanding a lot, But it is only a test of how much I love myself. You can’t keep neglecting yourself. Life is always expecting more of us, May you not be intimidated to give more.
You have been giving and giving, Heart so big and it is time To turn it back to your own precious self. This selfishness is not about pleasure or greed, But about loving up on yourself again and again, For the sake of no one else.
Receive more than you need without throttling it. Let it lead toward your highest good, For you are worthy of abundance. You are Abundance. Spirit does not judge you for living in your light.
I’m pretty fed up with the masculine mass consciousness that tells us that in order to evolve we need challenge, pain, discomfort, and suffering. Sure, all those experiences can be perfect learning tools, helping us discover boundaries, survive life’s bumps, and climb out of pits of doom. Let me just say that i’m writing this cuz I’m terrible at practicing this. Ok not terrible, but I’m definitely a slow learner here, and still feel pulled toward anything that would make me feel like a conventional badass rather than self-assured outcast.
Sure, in struggling the intention is to become aware of your disillusionment, and wiser as a result. But, the design of the soul is not to be stuck in suffering. You aren’t destined for darkness or heaviness. We must not think that ease is empty of wisdom, that there is no growth in a period of peace. Your energies want to play and explore and expand, and they can do so when they feel free. Freedom is the result of peace and ease. In choice-making, path-carving, and soul-searching, the way that creates the most peace and ease is always for your highest good. It is a way of powerful transformation and expansion.
I’m not talking about that fluffy high ya’ll get post spa-treatment during which you spend your entire time on pintrist fantasizing about your best life, or the care-free “YOLO” lifestyle, or the lazy “I’m just going to ignore all my responsibilities and not care” sort of ease….that shit doesn’t last, and it often is our way of feeding our preexisting imbalances. It doesn’t even penetrate us. It lives on the surface. I’m talking about the deep sense of ease you get when your soul can truly rest confidently in it’s ability to take care of yourself. The type of peace that allows your cells to breath your entire body in alignment with your higher self. Sometimes the path is still really fricking hard, but you know you are creating a life that is authentic to you. And that is what makes all other struggle bearable. This is not just a matter of softness, but of immense strength.
Imagine how much free creative energy you would have if you were not in conflict. Most of us probably can’t even imagine that because we are so far removed from such way. Imagine how empowered you would feel if you weren’t stressing the fuck out all the time. You could use your creative energy for so many live-giving things that you can’t even imagine yet. Imagine you are in a bubble, and the hand of stress comes along and crushes that bubble right up against your body, so close that anything that moves could pop it. Now imagine your bubble extends beyond the walls of the room you’re in. Your awareness can extend beyond what is right in front of you and you forget about the 1/6,348,428 chance that a bear is going to attack you at any moment. (How could you ever grow when you are constantly worrying about the bear?!) WOW! Now, from this perspective, what do you want to do with you life? I imagine it isn’t quite the same as the crumpled up bubble prison.
But, alas, we are taught that growth is only made when we do what is hard, or something we don’t actually want, because we need to learn “discipline,” “respect,” “duty,” “selfless service,” and that basically we don’t actually deserve all that we have ever wanted and more. This is bullshit. It all creates noise and disease that cuts you off from your life force and purpose, which is to be a soul and expand. You deserve it all, and you can take full ownership of the internal peace you maintain in your life. The overall concept can be that simple, but of course it is hard to practice this when we’re trained to do the opposite. We have so much information trying to confuse us and convince us we don’t know what’s best for us.
We are in such a strange time….our lives are overflowing with imposed responsibilities and our intellects are bombarded with information that we can’t even process our days, or even say hello to our tender hearts, our true guides. I will propose that creating ease in our lives is more simple than we assume. We already know what would make us feel more human again. We already sense what we want, even if our intellect tries to stomp it out. Fundamentally ease is simple, even if it isn’t easy. Our lives aren’t simple, and maybe that is just a matter of our thought patterns. How have we strayed? How do we return? When we listen, the message is clear, and when we have clarity, we understand that our desires are simple. When we allow our hearts to guide us, the internal world no longer has to fight with the external world.
My practices that quiet the conversation with stress include:
being in nature
gazing into the distance
giving myself permission to feel what I feel
Please share ways in which you already do or wish to create ease and peace in your life, be it a simple daily task, or a larger undertaking. Thanks for reading 🙂
I’ve been hiking more lately not just because I feel at home in nature, but because I’m developing a fantasy (or waking up to my own truth….take your pick) of being a long-distance trekker. I realize I could totally make this happen if I believe in myself. While I am sooo antsy to pick up and seek adventure and connection, these days soften me, and remind me that I live in one of the most beautiful and most healing lands on Earth. Don’t let the lofty title of this post fool you…What follows is a bunch of stuff that came up for me on the trail today. Hopefully you find my quirkiness entertaining, or perhaps even consoling.
I still have cell reception. I should turn my phone on airplane mode. I don’t need to be “connected” while I’m here. But what if my dog dies while I’m gone and Mom needs to call me? Ok, I’m definitely keeping my phone on, but only to tell time and snap a below-average number of pictures.
These sunglasses make me look like John Lennon, and that’s probably not very attractive. Why am I trying to look hot while I’m hiking? I can’t stand those people. I do have a subtle sheen of zinc oxide on my face, so perhaps it is best for me to keep the sunnies on.
I wish this hike was longer because then I would feel like a badass. Maybe I can find a way to extend it. I have to work up to trekking distance status. BUT I’m also glad it’s not super long because I’m kind of anxious to get home, even though I have nothing to do there besides kick it with my parents and submit my weekly unemployment claim.
If I keep up these hikes, between them and riding my bike, my legs are going to be BEEFY come summertime.
Everyone smells like fucking fabric softener. I give up. Why do people associate “clean” with the scent of chemicals? I came out here to sniff dirt and evergreens. AND another 25% reek of perfume… REALLY?! Why are you out here?! I love that you choosing to be active and in nature, but you and the people carrying travel speakers can all go back to the mall and hang out. Please.
I bet all these people I’m passing listen to top 40 hits. What a horrible thing to say. I’m so judgmental (and a hypocrite). I listen to top 40 on the radio…cuz I don’t know how to search or download any cool music …so I can shut up right now.
There are a lot of very small children on this trail…And some folks who would technically pass as senior citizens. Is my body so bent out of shape that these are my workout partners? (No.) Or is it just my ego that is so bend out of shape to even care? (Perhaps slightly.)
Don’t stare at hot daddies. Don’t stare at hot daddies and their super cute families. If you can’t help it, at least smile at their wives and you can try to pet their dog if it seems appropriate. The exception to this is that one hot daddy that smiled at you first…He had two kids, zero wives, and zero rings.
So if I were doing my thing as a trekker, how would I feel about resourcefully gathering, filtering, and sanitizing my own water? (I have the spirit and the physical capacity, but I have some practical wisdom to pick up on). With years of chronic health issues, I’ve been known to contract all sorts of viruses, bacteria, and other bugs, so why would I knowingly subject myself to more of that? Maybe being in nature on my own would heal some soul wound and make all my health problems go away. If not, I suppose I have endured five straight weeks of explosive diarrhea, the first 10 days of which were a solo road trip. So I suppose I could handle what comes my way. Besides, having diarrhea on trail has to be a lot more convenient that in a sedan that has to pull off the road at any given time, hoping to find a gas station without having a (traffic) accident. Our hips were designed for squatting and there is a lot more privacy in the forest.
Unemployment generally has me free seven days a week, so why do I keep hiking on Saturdays and Sundays when everyone else is stinking up the trails and parking lots? Not that I’m antisocial…I am an introvert and YES I did notice I am the only one out here hiking solo, but that’s because I am a silence seeker…not because I’m a loner. I mean, I DID come out here to be alone. What have I really done with my life the last six months? STOP thinking that way, Katrina…You are on a soul journey you can’t measure.
Which way is up. Does it really matter?
I’m really sure-footed walking on uneven ground…I’ve gotta remember that metaphorically spiritual awakening.
Maybe I could make a living by writing silly blog posts like this. I’m a recovering over-thinker and writing this is kind of like word vomit and it feels pretty good. My intellect isn’t getting the best of me. Maybe I could make a living from being funny rather than being a hella woke spiritual warrior like in that other dream I’ve been having. Humor is healing. I would have to find a way to be funny in private…like online or something so I don’t have to be super social…That would drain me. I could start carrying my laptop around everywhere so that I can write these thoughts down on the fly. There’s probably and app for that but I’m not to into the whole app thing.
If I stare at the river rapids for a while, and then quickly shift my gaze to rocks, the lands appears to be oozing and shifting…What really is still and what is in motion? What are our eyes telling us? How are we using our vision? Maybe my eye chakras are opening.
I’m going to sit on a rock down by the river and be super mindful. Brilliant ideas are going to come to me. I think I’ll write my next blog post about all the great ideas that came to me o this hike.
I’m going to be so ready for my beef stew when I get back to the car.
If I count those plantain chips I ate earlier as my daily fruit, then I don’t have to eat the tangerines I packed. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK…so obviously I still have some anorexic tendencies lurking inside me…
Good thing I sat on that rock. It really set a good tone.
I love touching moss. These forests are so textural. What a fucking beautiful place we live. The light is perfect.
I’m definitely going to listen to Bruce Springsteen on the way home. Then I can pretend that this adventure is a lot grander than just 45 miles from home. I’m almost 29…I should be globetrotting by now.
DUDE. Have some grace on yourself. No wonder you have hesitations about manifesting your hippy dreams. You are anything but a wimp. What you have gone through with your health has exposed how next-level badass you really are. You’ve needed these years of societal reliance. No one wants to feel like crap in the comfort of their own home, let alone in the wilderness.
I just pulled off to let about 12 people pass and not ONE acknowledged my existence. How Seattle of them.
If I saw these views in another country I would think they were spectacular, but they are basically just in my backyard so they’re not that exciting…WOW I’m such an ungrateful piece of shit.
Great! Time for my stew. I’m eating right under a major power line. Is that the EMFs making my legs tingle? Oh wait…No, I just sat in a field of red ants. Sweet.
I can’t believe I didn’t pee on that entire hike. That’s unheard of. I suppose I should do a compulsory squat behind the car before the drive home.
In today’s westernized hot bod yoga workout craze, how many times have you heard the phrases:
I want to find balance in my life…
If only I could create a work-life balance…
Move from your core!
Engage your core!
Ok don’t literally try to count. These concepts are all over the place. Capitalism has taken hold of yet another thing that cannot be generalized or materialized and has given it a name and face, and convinced us that we need it and that we don’t have the capacity to create it within ourselves. Everything society feeds us throws us into extremes, and then we come crawling back, desperate for a remedy (temporary if that), remaining trapped without examples of what true, real-life balance looks like. We are told that the more we do, the more we get. Maybe if we made it to a couple classes and chanted a few “Oms” then we would feel better, or even be on the cover of Yoga Journal! The truth I believe I that when you do the optimal amount, you get the best.
Being that EVERYTHING on my natal chart lives entirely on one side, I obviously have no innate sense of what balance is for me. Besides that, I’m an earth sign surrounded by two water signs, which means my need for stability is often thrown on some wild rides. SWEET. I mean, I may have some intellectual sense of what balance is, but when it comes to actually creating it for myself….well that’s just funny. I may seem all centered and stuff, but trust me, I am working HARD because all of my mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual tendencies work to scatter me. That’s great, cuz it makes me highly curious and versatile, but ultimately it can be exhausting and debilitating, especially within modern culture. Thus, I now announce that I have dedicated my life to exploring what balance feels like for me. So, because I have no natural capacity for balance, I have become quite the expert in my experimental self-inquiry.
Of course we want to be proactive in creating balance and harmony in our lives. Balance begets health and we all want health. Health is NORMAL. It is the middle between too much and too little. We know deep within us the familiar place of peace, yet we accept a life that works in the opposite direction. Health and disease are two sides of the same coin. Disease is a deviation of the normal balance. It isn’t a different thing. Thus, healing from dis-ease requires more than just waging war on our imbalances, but to reinstate the natural balance. This natural state of being may not be in your conscious memory and it may seem so far away that you may not even know what feeling you are seeking. Keep listening. Patiently. Compassionately. Consider how long you have been doing things the “other” way….habit evolution takes tiiiiiime.
Balance does not eliminate challenges or highlights. But it does work to keep you centered in yourself as you face exciting circumstances. Being centered does not imply being settled. You can be centered in who you are and what you are doing, and still desire more of what the world has to offer. Enjoy all the contrast that exists on this magnificent planet.
The thing is, since you are always shifting, growing, moving, changing, your ideal balance does the same. Take it moment by moment to eventually see the shape of your own balance curve. Every moment you are shifting from pose to pose, your center of gravity shifts as well.
This brings me to the second buzzword: core.
There is a lot of talk these days about moving from your core…engaging your core, for it is a place to engage, contract, and tighten to become strong. with this approach, our preciously reliable core becomes this condensed point. To remain integrated and balanced, we need our cores to radiate through our entire body, fluffy, radiant and full, not sucked in and flattened. Your center of gravity moves as you do. Allow your core to shape-shift with you as well. Don’t expect the center of your being to stay in one place. That is not what it was meant to do. Balance is a moving target, not a fixed place. Get used to being a work in progress.
Have you ever been called “too sensitive,” “so sensitive,” or just plain “sensitive?” The first two suggest that you are an extreme case, and the third indicates that if you are sensitive at all, you are an outlier. So what if you are? Is the person who called you this a robot? Are the majority of our species actually robots? Are we the few authentic human mammals left standing?
What does this even mean? When did our culture decide that the appropriate way of being is shut off from our capacity to feel, and in denial of true experience? Who decided what the acceptable level of sensitivity is for humans? Why is it frowned upon to freely and safely express our truths and vulnerabilities of being alive? Even on a subconscious level, we try to stomp out emotions and other energies: “bad” ones because we think they are bad, and “good” ones because we think we are unworthy. I don’t want to feel sheepish for picking up on more subtle data than most people do. We were given these bodies to feel things.
And while I want to give these folks a big “Deal With It!”, I’m simultaneously internalizing the ridicule, and taking on the label. Is it YOU who calls yourself sensitive? I don’t doubt it, considering how much the masses have made us feel like we are faulty or weak.
And I’m not just talking about emotional sensitivities, such as getting nervous, irritated, upset, insecure…I’m also talking about the physical effects our flesh experiences. Maybe you get lots of headaches, or your skin breaks out, or your back goes out easily, or you can’t eat anything without having your gut in knots.
Being energetically sensitive likely means you experience or are aware of a lot of “symptoms.” Symptoms aren’t fun to begin with, and because of the way society has labeled “sensitives,” we often get thrown into this cycle (I would make a circular diagram if I knew how on the computer, but for now I’ll just keep it as a list):
Judgements from other people for exhibiting a stigmatized way of being
Being sensitive to other people’s judgements
Feeling ashamed for being sensitive
Manifesting additional or heightened symptoms
Hiding it and denying it in fear of more judgement
Reinforcing perceived ability to operate in the world without being a complete mess.
For years I was great at wadding up my mental/emotional messages and shoving them deep deep inside me. Well that really did the trick, because now I’m such that if even ONE of my leg hairs is out of alignment, I know immediately. (Maybe I don’t shave my legs so I can used them as energetic antennae? Isn’t that one of the evolutionary functions of body hair? I would definitely survive in the wild cuz I would always know when danger was near.) I’ve spent a long while thinking this was a curse, because I couldn’t do anything without feeling a sense of insecurity, and I thought my creativity was a threat. I told myself my body was weak, my mind was scary, and that I was susceptible to any pathogen that came within five miles of me. Well that was a great way to live, let me tell you! So much for self trust…
People will say, “Wow, REALLY? That bothers you?” How dramatic… sorry? Why it doesn’t bother you? Should I be able to smell fabric softener and not be effected? Is that what humans were meant to do? Sorry I can’t eat food that would slowly kill me while capitalist society acted clueless about the obesity epidemic? Sorry I can’t live in denial? Seriously, folks, we’ve evolved so much and some of us still have the emotional capacity of a Neanderthal. And I bet even they wouldn’t like the smell of fabric softener! Should I really have to feel lame because my body rejects things that humans were never meant to have contact with? Should I have to put up with people who don’t treat me (or others) well, no matter how subtle the act? No way. When we are triggered by something, it is a sign from our higher self that it is something to cautious of, to pay attention to, or simply to stay away from.
And why aren’t, say, “angry people” considered sensitive? They obviously are if they are angry about things…they are just able to express their sensitivity in a way that is “strong” or “bold” rather than “wimpy?” I’m not saying that people who aren’t sensitive are inconsiderate. Not at all. But some of them are of the mindset that if THEY don’t personally experience something, then it is impossible for others to as well. I’m like, “Forgive me, I consciously chose to be nauseous because I want you to be uncomfortable, and since I REALLY like to suffer, I threw in some brain fog too.” If things are super subtle then we’ve imagined them and we are crazy. By and large, our society has encouraged and trained us to deny our humanity.
It seems to me that being extra sensitive is only considered a “problem” if it is a human who exhibits these qualities (or at least real life humans…extra sensitive people in movies get a lot of fanfare). You wouldn’t badmouth a rabbit for being a rabbit, would you? Or a horse that startles easily? Or a dog dog with a tail habitually between their legs? You would probably want to study them, or try to comfort them. But if it were a human, most would probably be like, “NOPE. STEER CLEAR. THEY ARE COMPLICATED.” Not that we all should be little bunny rabbits; it’s a tough life! Besides, many of us are more akin to bulldogs, and that’s great! We need bulldogs! But we can’t disparage someone for being of their true nature (even though a bulldog would probably attack the bunny). Even bulldogs have their own unique sensitivities.
Sensitive does not equal susceptible. This gift of receptivity can be harnessed in a way where we learn to navigate the world with strong boundaries. Where we pick up on things but we do not take them on as our own. May we stay open and remain strong. Your intuitive gifts will take you far if you honor them.
I was at a restorative yoga sound bath last night, and my teacher invited us to have an intention for our practice, as teachers often do. What came to me sounds normal and yogi-like, but for myself, I was caught off-guard: COMPASSION. I’ve been practicing yoga for years and the concept of compassion has always been like, “Duh, that’s why I’m here.” But I suppose the truth is that I was never ACTUALLY experiencing the practice of compassion beyond an intellectual concept. I would always ask for patience, gentleness, or presence to be my intentions. So when I curled into child’s pose last night, I was like, “Ok lets see how this goes!” And it went well! My body experienced discomfort and my mind was quite active, especially regarding the discomfort, but my mind also said, “Hey you are feeling things and there is a reason for it.” This doesn’t mean I knew why…and wanting to know the reason is a function of the ego. So I tried to let that go and just say it was ok to be whatever.
So I woke up this morning with the same intention of compassion and lets just say I’m liking it. I mean, usually I operate in such a way that I hold nervous, rising energy in me when I do EVERYTHING, such as assembling my breakfast, walking into my bedroom to put on chapstick, making sure I push my pee out as fast as I can so I can get on with my life! But today! The constant reminder, “all of that stuff is ok,” has actually made for a smooth ride where my gut doesn’t feel like it is rising into my chest, and I can feel my feet on the ground. My back doesn’t hurt as much as usual. My creativity has been flowing and I have been grounded enough to write this blog! I even pooped three times before 10AM and if you know me, you know that this is monumental! And I’m talking ACTUAL BMs…not those fake-outs that leave you more annoyed than relieved. (Sidetone: the large intestine is emotionally linked to forgiveness, letting go….can anyone guess what I’m working on? Eh?) If you weren’t prepared to hear about bodily functions, pardon me. I just thought I would offer some tangible examples of how this is going for me.
All these years of trying to calm my anxious tendencies and be ok with where I am in my life has taught me a lot. Mainly, how much I need to work on patience. Having a lot of ideas and energy and not know how to direct them can cause problems. It can make you more anxious and feel like you are letting yourself down for not being where you want to be. I move fast, but my life moves slowly. (I’ve been told MANY times how quickly I pee but that I made decisions like molasses.) Patience is key to allowing yourself to develop organically and in alignment with what you are truly wanting. It isn’t the way of today’s world. To be patient is to be bold. But, I’m finding that practicing patience doesn’t necessarily make me grounded or at peace. It brings a lot of awareness to my tendencies, but having that awareness usually just makes me hit myself on the head with a stick and say, “BE MORE PATIENT. CALM THE F DOWN.” And then judgement and guilt arise, which even if it isn’t crippling guilt, still perpetuates shame and dissatisfaction with myself. “I’m still operating in a way that aggravates me and I haven’t reached my goal yet,” are the thoughts, even if I don’t know what my goal is. Patience is important whether you know you goal or not.
But, COMPASSION has reminded me that it is ok to be impatient. It is ok to be anxious. For me, anxiety is an every-present sense that “something is just not right.” I have a predisposition to feel (even if I don’t think it) something is off. And then that makes me feel like I am off. I’m the problem. So when I practice compassion, I am reminded that whatever is there, is ok for now. You see, GIULT brings shame and keeps you locked in discomfort. ACCEPTANCE makes you feel safe, which allows you to let your guard down and actually let yourself expand into something else. COMPASSION has been the practice that actually helps me find calm and peace. I sense this is because I am inviting myself to just be, in order to transform into something else. I’m not punishing myself for my habits and I’m not forcing myself to be something else. How can you have patience for where you are without having compassion for where you are? And for the record, acceptance doesn’t mean you identify with what you accept. It means you acknowledge it as a valid experience for the time being. This is soothing and allows energy to shift and expand into something else…something you are wanting. Something that feels more you. Not immediately, let’s be real. It may take time and a lot of patience, but with compassion, you create a context for patience to exist. And to tie forgiveness back into all this, I wonder about the relationship between it and compassion. What I currently say is that forgiveness a post-experience state rather than an in-the-moment state. Forgiveness helps us let go of what has happened, while compassion helps us be with what is currently and continuously arising. Regardless of whether you attribute your tendencies to illness, trauma, your natal chart, your constitution, or your environment, I suggest compassion. No matter the origin, these are experiences you are having.
So there we go…a little Sunday-morning musing. I wish you all a beautiful week, and that you allow yourself the patience, acceptance, forgiveness and compassion to take a BIG cosmic dump, making space for new life enter you. My guess is that everything gets a lot more funny when you can laugh at al the stupid shit you do. Have fun.