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.
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.