Can you feel it?
There is A LOT getting stirred up right now and we are all being impacted in different ways. Transition is in the air (when is it not!?!?) and if you’re not going through it yourself right now, I bet someone you know is.
Some of us are being called forward to meet the greatest challenges of our lives: all time highs and lows in professional pursuits, illness, financial crises, divorce, birth, death of loved ones, separations and everything in between. Not one of us is immune to the experiences that life perpetually offers up as the practice and training ground for us as conscious women.
I’ve been riding a lot of big waves in my own personal life, while also showing up for many others in my life who are being challenged to an even greater degree.
Today I am sharing two of the insights that have emerged out of my personal process as of late, may they serve and support you on your journey.
1. Soften & Surrender
For me, this is often way easier said than done, but it is important nonetheless.
The email that sets you off, the family conflict that keeps getting under your skin, or that other nagging thing in your world is most likely not going to stop happening any time soon. In fact, the upsets, disappointments or major stressors seem to be a huge part of life’s grit.
Attempting to control, perfect or improve every crevice of our life requires a whole lot of energy, that quite honestly is a futile attempt. The notion of crafting a life insulated from these triggers is magical thinking, the real opportunity arises in how we engage and care for ourselves along the way.
Choice and empowerment abides within each of us and can be found in how we relate to and respond to the difficulties. As soon as you notice the grip starting to take hold–some sure signs of this are repetitive mental loops, fantasies of giving someone a taste of their own medicine or persistent fear–this is the moment where you have a choice to take a deep breath, soften and surrender.
Let’s try that again, take another deep breath, soften, and surrender.
Author and spiritual teacher, Michael Singer, writes about this practice of surrender in a way that I find very helpful in his book The Untethered Soul.
I share the following instruction from his book with an important preface: as women most of us do not need another reason to be hard on ourselves or to feel inadequate. His words are an invitation into a way of practicing with yourself, and they may or may not be constructive depending on what’s going on in your life and where you’re at in your own process of personal development. So please, be gentle with yourself and if his words resonate, experiment. If they feel inappropriate for your unique circumstances, allow them to slip away from the impressions of your mind. Another suggestion is that if this feels like too much to do on your own, ask a loved one, a therapist, mentor or women’s group to help hold space for you while you work with this practice.
And now onto Singer’s beautiful instruction:
“When you feel pain, simply view it as energy. Just start seeing these inner experiences as energy passing through your heart and before the eye of your consciousness. Then relax. Do the opposite of contracting and closing. Relax and release. Relax your heart until you are actually face-to-face with the exact place where it hurts. Stay open and receptive so you can be present right where the tension is. You must be willing to be present right at the place of the tightness and pain, and then relax and go even deeper. This is very deep growth and transformation. But you will not want to do this. You will feel tremendous resistance to doing this, and that’s what makes it so powerful. As you relax and feel the resistance, the heart will want to pull away, to close, to protect, and to defend itself. Keep relaxing. Relax your shoulders and relax your heart. Let go and give room for the pain to pass through you. It’s just energy. Just see it as energy and let it go.” (Singer, 2007 p. 105)
2. Allow the Energy to Move
Every emotion, whether it is fear, uncertainty, sadness, joy, gratitude or vulnerability, can be located as sensation in the body. Sensation is a unique constellation of energies in a specific place in the body.
Even if you feel like you are numb or flat, this in itself is still a sensate experience. One of the greatest gifts of being human is that we have the capacity to move our energy and our bodies. Through movement, we create an opportunity for our state to shift and for fresh insight or perspective to come through, even when things are tough.
Sometimes it takes a lot of positive self-talk and courage to get up and move when you are feeling paralyzed by life’s difficulty. This suggestion is not encouraging you to bully yourself into exercise, when what you really need is rest. Rather, it is a loving reminder to choose movement when things get rough. Movement can be as simple as 5 deep breaths, moving from one room to another in your home, heading out for a walk or to a yoga class.
Start to build a trusting and loving relationship with yourself so that when the going gets tough, you have a reservoir of positive self-regard from which you can intuitively choose how to move your energy in exactly the way that will support your unique circumstances.
I’m sending my heartfelt support to you and your loved ones as we all continue to show up for these precious lives.
With my deepest respect and appreciation,