There was a time when I could,
when the stars were my playground.
The way that I’m used to. I want to do things the way I always have, and yet I know they’re not working.
Sound familiar? We all do it. Why? Because change doesn’t come easy. Not for most of us anyway. The longer we’ve been walking the same old worn path, the deeper the rut, and the harder it will be to get used to another.
Let me be clear here. The path I’m talking about can be an old mental pattern or way of thinking. It can also be a way of behaving. Finally it can consist of more subtle muscular patterns such as tension in your shoulders, or your lower back, or a knot in your stomach…you get the picture.
I have been meditating for years, and after considerable upheaval and chronic health problems that lasted for years consider myself quite healthy. Yet even today when “stressed”, old patterns surface; anger, tension, judgement towards myself, fear, thoughts such as “I can’t deal with this…”, etc.
When I can sit with these various energies I am able to locate where they are in my body. By noticing them I give them permission to be without resistance (which is what creates the problem). In a way I am being loving to myself as one would be to a child. This very act of BEING PRESENT starts to unravel the layer of pain I have created.
More on this in further Blogs which will answer questions such as…
As I thought about this other way of being still or Meditating, as discussed in the last Blog, Meditation has Different Forms, I had various thoughts of doubt come up, coupled with emotions and physical sensations. “I am trying to control things.” “I have to do it that way.” “I have to be perfect.” “I…”, well you get the picture.
It’s amazing how much we resist, how things like doubt and fear can leave us feeling alone and disconnected, how much I felt these things.
It’s amazing how a different idea, way of doing things, belief, can trigger these feeling in us. No wonder our political arena resembles a Junior High School playground. No wonder we have killed over these things; values, culture, Religion.
And it’s not going to change, regardless of what policies, social systems, etc. we have in place. It will only change when we change, when we can sit with and love, if you will, ourselves, our own insecurities. As our consciousness expands to embody all of us, including the shadows that terrify us, that lay hidden, that we blame on external forces like our spouse, our parents, etc. It’s only then that we can know and embrace ourselves and others.
I remember it was a beautiful day in early spring. The sun was shining and I could hear the wind as it rushed through the new leaves just coming out on the trees.
I wanted so much to go outside and enjoy this wonderful day, but there was a part of me that was feeling afraid. My mother used to say that’s the way I was just made.
I didn’t want to feel this fear anymore though, so I tried yelling, “Go away fear. I don’t want to feel you, not one more day. Go away.” I kicked my feet and pounded my fists hard into my pillow, but it was still there.
I curled myself up in a ball on my bed, but it still found me. It can be really sneaky.
Looking out my window I saw people outside, walking their dogs, lying in the sun, riding their bikes.
I began to cry, and I rocked myself back and forth on my bed.
Just then I remember having a thought.
Getting up I pulled my shirt on over my head and put on my shoes. Excitedly I began to race downstairs on my way out the door.
“What about the fear?” I heard a small voice inside my head. “Aren’t you afraid?”
I felt a small shiver down my neck.
And then I leapt out the door, “Come on fear” I yelled, touching that place in me where I felt the fear, lovingly, “You can come and play too.”
And as I made my way outside I remember beginning to feel the fear transforming, and a warm/open feeling taking its place.
You see fear can’t exist where love is, and the best thing you can do when you feel feelings that are scary or uncomfortable is to name them, recognize where you are feeling them, and then love yourself in spite of what else you are feeling.
Remember you may have certain feelings, but you are not those feelings. You are sooooo much more!
Naturally You, Mark Michalica, with the help of his lovely wife Vicki Oppenhiem, has started the Denton Holistic Health Network for holistic health practitioners in Denton County, Texas. DHHN is meeting once per month to create a network of practitioners, conduct outreach activities to the community, hold special events, and to have FUN making new friends.
Exercises on Body Awareness.
First find what word works best for you at this time; mind, awareness, consciousness…each is slightly different, but you can use any of the three or some other word that feels right. I will be using awareness and consciousness throughout this first exercise.
Allow your awareness to move down to your feet. Feel your feet, and how they feel on the ground. Are they comfortable or are they sore from the shoes you wore this day? Allow yourself to feel their weight on the floor, and as you do, take a deep breath.
I will encourage you to breathe, in through your nose and out through your mouth, however, as you start this process you can breathe any way that is comfortable to you.
Now gently and slowly, move your awareness up from your feet and up through your calves to your knees, just being aware of any and all sensations, breathing, in and out, gently perceiving the subtle voices from your body.
As we continue, allow yourself to bring your consciousness up through your thighs and into your hips and sacrum. Feel the weight of your body as you sit in your chair, and continue to use your awareness.
As you move through different areas of your body, sensations, emotions and feelings may surface and come to your attention. Try not to judge them as good or bad, right or wrong. Give them the same space and love as you may a small child. Simply be aware of their presence and observe them as they come to your attention.
Breathing, in through your nose and out through your mouth. There is nowhere more important to go, or no place more important to be at this moment then here, with yourself, lovingly, being.
Continuing to move your consciousness up from your hips through your lower abdomen slowly become aware of this vast space that extends up to your ribs…this is an area that we often associate with strong emotions and sensations, so spend a little extra time there if you wish. Finally before you leave this area bring your awareness to your spine observing how it extends up from your sacrum. Allow yourself to experience it’s strength and it’s intricate anatomy, and share the gratitude you have for all the years it has supported you. Spend a little time with this thought as you continue to breathe, in through your nose and out through your mouth. No resistance, simply being with conscious awareness.
Continue the same process as you move your consciousness into your chest and through your shoulders, up through your neck, and into your head, finally moving down into your arms and hands. Again, remember the goal is not to change what is happening, rather to observe what is happening with awareness, with consciousness. And lastly breathe, in through your nose and out through your mouth. No resistance.
You may end here, or find some other way to end the exercise to your liking; with prayer, meditation, affirmations, etc. You may like to just return your awareness to your heart, and spend some time allowing yourself to experience the love that is there, allowing yourself to share it with yourself. This is up to you.
To conclude I would like to say there are many books, tapes, and CD’s that can offer you suggestions, or similar exercises to this one. Find one that works for you and that you are comfortable with. I have purposefully not included any religious connotations, as I believe people of all religions can practice this and other exercises with benefit. Also though there are many other types of visualizations, there is something personal about getting acquainted with yourself on this level. This is something we typically are not used to doing, and can lead you to a more fulfilling life.