I listened to a lovely talk today on Insight Timer from Elizabeth Gilbert. It was about fear. And the daily practice she has around that. She suggests to write yourself a letter, from Love. Perhaps starting it with words like, "I'm right here." or "I love you.".
Or write the words that you long to hear or the words that you want to hear from others when you are in a place of fear. I LOVE this idea. I feel like it could be used in so many other instances, whenever you just need someone to be your most compassionate and loving friend. So i sat down this morning and wrote my first letter from love. Here it is.
Hi sweetie. I see you have some sadness arising in you. Your hope is depleting. Misery is at your heals. It is o.k. It really really is. It is o.k. to feel afraid of misery. I mean, who wants to feel that? No one! I see you are worried. Worried about all the unknowns. Worried about the possible future challenges. It is o.k. It is o.k. to feel that. It IS scary. There will be loss. A little? A lot? No one knows. What you are feeling is a normal response to the removal of ground from under your feet. If you are not ready to fly, that is o.k. too. I totally see why you are afraid. I get it. I am right here. Come sit beside me for a while. Just sit. Not process, not meditate, not think, not "enjoy the view", not work through this, not feel or find gratitude, not plan.... just sit. And that is it. Just sit beside me for a little while. Just sit.
Well, thank you Elizabeth for sharing this lovely tool. And thank you Insight Timer for having such a broad range of speakers, teachers, topics and styles. And of course, thank you to my Inner Wise Self for nudging me again, to share.
P.S. She didn't have to shout this time. ;)
OK so at 6:50am, today, July 31st 2020 I had what I am calling “an epic download”. Below is the result of that. It isn't edited (except for spelling). Just raw, as it poured out onto the notepad of my phone. The push to share was super strong so at 7:40am, when the download was complete, I shared it with a small handful of trusted friends. And now, I am sharing it to you.
But before I get to my download/musing, a little background and after thought/further download.
First, I am not a functional morning person. 6:50am is way too early for anything other than sleeping or dozing or snoozing.
Second, I understand now why I HAD to write this at 6:50am. I get it. I had to write it at that time because at 6:50am, I've not yet picked up my habits and beliefs from my bedside table. I'm open and still somewhat enchanted by the sleep and dream world. If I’d left it until later it would have been gone. Or if I'd waited to send it until i was out of bed, well, i wouldn't have sent it because I'd get stuck in over thinking and editing it to make it just right.
Third, I am sending this to “the world” because every time I think I won’t bother it feels like my Inner Wise Self shouts at me; “YOU MUST! THERE IS SOMEONE ONE OUT THERE RIGHT NOW THAT NEEDS TO READ THIS! So just get over yourself and do it, my dear.” and I wave my first in the air and shout back “ALRIGHT ALREADY! I HEAR YOU!!” P.S. This is how we always talk to each other. If my intuition isn’t shouting at me, I’m not listening.
O.K., here we go:
To Live Our Best Life
We are all living the best life that we can, right now. If you could live any other way you would be. THIS is what we are capable of right now. Tomorrow might be different, or not.
This is the big thing I’d like us all to accept about each other. Especially those of us that are working on creating a better life for ourselves, our communities, the environment, etc.
Trust! If you could actually do more, you would. Because when you can, you do! And when you can't, you don't. Is there potential for more? Sure. But maybe you do not have the skills or ability or energy or understanding to do so at this time. Will you in the future? Well if your goal or intention is to grow, then probably yes. But it'll happen when it happens. And it won't happen until you have the right skills, ability, energy or understanding.
Life can be scary, and change can be uncomfortable. We can only take on the fear and discomfort we are capable of taking on or facing RIGHT NOW. Does this mean you can sit around and wait for life to come to you? From everything I've witnessed, and what I've experienced in my life, no. Action is required. But Action will look and feel different for everyone. My Action will not be your Action. Your Action might be to dance or cook or take your dog for a walk or sit in prayer or volunteer at a soup kitchen or read a book on aerodynamics. Only you can know what your Action is.
And if you don't know right now then find some activity that makes your heart sing, causes you to expand, makes you glow and do that. And while you are doing that, listen. And then start to experiment. Take action when you can, rest when you need to rest, go easy on yourself. You are doing the best you can with the skills, abilities, energy and understanding that you have right now.
Can we support each other on this journey? You bet we can. Just ensure that your intentions are to support the individual on their path, not yours. Give freely but expect nothing in return. In other words, give if you have something to give. Give it kindly and gently. And then let it go. Because you won't know if the person you are giving to will have the skills, abilities, energy or understanding to receive. Trust that they, like you, will find their way, in their own way. Love and accept them anyways. Lift them up anyways. Love and accept yourself anyways. And continue to take actions that light you up regardless of what anyone else is saying or doing.
Peace and love my friends!
Also, if you feel called to share this, you have my permission to do so, but please share it in its entirety.
I woke up Tuesday in a funk. I was tired and flat. Try as I might, I could not locate my “get up and go”. And, I believed 2 separate things;
I find it fascinating that I can simultaneously believe two opposing thoughts. So these two beliefs duked it out for the rest of the day and I was left on the side lines, watching. Well, this is what it felt like anyhow. The reason I have 2 oposing beliefs is in part due to all the self-growth practices I have in my life that are stirring up some deeply held (and out-dated) beliefs. But, also because of this Reggie Ray quote a friend shared with me a few years ago.
"You have a choice in life: You can either strive to be perfect or you can strive to be whole. If you strive to be whole, you have to surrender to your process. You have to surrender to the seasons of your psyche. You have to realize that allowing yourself to be depressed, tired and totally uninspired is the ultimate trust in the universe.”
I was attempting to have ultimate trust in the universe, and friction was being caused by the part of me that still believes this is silly and impossible.
Wednesday. I woke up, still in a funk. Great, here we go again. So I spent the day watching my two beliefs play mental tennis.
Last night in meditation, this question popped into my head: “How long do I let this go on?” The answer that arose was “You’ll know when to step in, you’ll know what to do cuz it’ll just feel right. This is the trust part of the quote dear.”
So I woke up this morning feeling groggy because apparently my 2 beliefs continued to battle in my subconscious via the dream realm; However, something felt different. It is hard to put into words but I felt like I didn’t need to be in the abyss anymore (and that I had the ability to get out of it too). So I trusted. And I got up. Drank my tea in silence. And then I gave myself a nudge forward and got on with my day.
So another opportunity to give over. Another opportunity to surrender to what is.
I will end this musing first, with questions that I posed in another musing about surrender.
(see Surrender 12/27/2018).
And second: I turned each of the lines of the Reggie Ray quote into questions:
Feeling anxiety, worry, fear and/or tension?
>for simplicity, i will refer to the fab four above as a/w/f/t.
Pause. Yes, stop what you are doing...... pause.
Feel your body and try to locate where anxiety, worry, fear &/or tension are residing
and what that feels like.
And ask your self - “How is this serving me right now?”
Sometimes these a/w/f/t can propel us forward into positive action and sometimes all it does is make us feel awful, uncomfortable and stuck. If it is the latter for you…
Allow a deep breath to fully enter your body and let it go fully - maybe with a sigh. Let go of tension from your jaw, eyes, belly and anywhere else it doesn’t need to be right now.
What I notice, is there is often a recording in my brain that tells me I must keep hold of this a/w/f/t because if I let it go, something unhelpful or undesirable might happen. Most of the time, this is not the case. A/W/F/T keep us in a state of panic, and ignites our stress response, which disrupts our ability to think straight. Most importantly, it affects our ability to access the relax response, which then leads to a whole host of undesirable things. So my invitation to you today, and throughout these times of uncertainty, is to pause often, and check in - ask yourself “What is really happening? Is this helpful?” And, “What can I do right now that will support my wellness?” or “What sort of thoughts/actions might support others in their wellness?”. And try out the breathe, relax suggestion above.
Several years back, there was a group of us that gathered in the Evergreen Lounge after class each week. One of our group had these lovely positive message cards - symbolism of animals. We would each draw one from the pack and read it to the table. One of our group regularly pulled the swan. I’d like to think I remember the message of the swan because I simply heard it so often but I think there is something more to my remembering.
“Don’t give up, give over.”
When I first read those words “give over” I had no clue what they meant. Most messages related to surrender, like “go with the flow” or “be with what is” and “give over” were lost to me. I had no relationship with these words. They were not something that was taught to me in childhood so my adult body/mind was clueless. It wasn’t until a few years ago when
I started playing with what surrender wasn’t, that I started to get somewhere. I know what surrender is not - controlling, resisting, pushing, grasping and pulling. So that is where
I began. When I came upon the “what it isn’t practice” it was like a light went on. I had real life, tactile experience now to sense. I had a relationship with all of those other words. So, I would often ask myself; “Am I pushing? Am I pulling? Am I grasping? etc. And then stop and then listen. Often, if the answer was yes, there was accompanying tension - tight jaw, tense belly, hard eyes and a voice saying “yes, but…”.
So why am I writing about this, at this time? Well, as many of you know, I was sick (and missed) the last week of the session. I received a lovely virus that wreaked havoc on my throat, ears and eyes. Twelve days later, I am just now starting to feel I am on level ground again. I have not been sick like this, for such a long period of time, in a very long time. I thought I would be totally miserable and stressed. I wasn’t.
I stayed even keeled and level headed, for the majority of the time.
Yes, I felt woozy, uncomfortable, and I was in pain some of the time. But I never dropped into a depression, got irrationally irritable or felt hopeless. I cannot be 100% certain, but I suspect it had to do with making a commitment, when the first signs of sore throat appeared, to surrender. I consumed herbs, foods and drugs that would ease my discomfort and support my health, I rested a lot, BUT I didn’t do those things with pushing, pulling, or controlling in mind like “this has to work!”. I simply did what was available to me and then surrendered to the process of being sick and of healing. When I felt impatience arise, I reminded myself to soften into it. When fear of health, finances, etc arose, I asked myself, “what do I gain by stressing out?”. When the searing pain in my ears came on, I relaxed my face and got curious about the sensation I was feeling - experiencing them instead of resisting them.
Ok, buckle up!
I am grateful (yup, grateful!) for this slow-to-heal-multi-faceted “thing” so that I had a chance to really, really practice surrender. To do what I could in the moment and then to give over and simply
“be with/experience” what is.
So, as I do when i share musings, I offer up some questions:
If something is here, right now, and you cannot do anything to change it, can you allow it to be?
Can you see or feel precious energy being used up as you resist what is?
Can you see/feel the excess mental and physical tension being created and held as you hold onto
(originally written and shared in 2007)
I started down the rabbit hole of looking at convenience & speed vs. quality, and as usual, it brought up
a myriad of questions like: Is this need for “now” an addiction? When did quality get put aside to
be replaced with convenience, instant results and speed? What’s the hurry anyhow?
Everything is so fast these days; we have instant messaging, instant coffee, fast food, high speed internet…i notice, most often while i am driving, while i am doing the speed limit many other cars are racing past me, that the stop sign has become a “suggestion” rather than a lawful command and pedestrians waiting at cross walks are ignored.
So the next time you have to wait for something, just notice. The next time you are feeling “in a hurry” when behind the wheel of your car, in a line up, or even on your yoga mat, notice.
Notice your breath;
notice what your thoughts are/were doing;
notice your posture;
notice the muscles of your face and shoulders.
The more you “notice”, the more you’ll catch those hurried moments; the more you catch those hurried moments, the more opportunities you will have to move out of tension, connect with this moment and maybe, just maybe find the understanding of “quality time” anywhere and anytime.
In meditation recently, i sat with some of my closest friends.
The first to arrive was Anger; with her clenched fists. Then came Frustration; with her tight jaw, Addiction; with her twitching and flicking eyes. And more continued to arrive. Impatience; with her tapping fingers. Regret; with her heavy heart. As each new arrival came, we all wiggled and shifted to make a space in the circle. Undeserving arrived and wanted to sit outside the circle, sunken and small but we shifted and made space for her too.
And we sat. In meditation. Together.
We simply sat and allowed each of us to "be".
As more arrived, we wriggled and moved to make the circle bigger.
I realized later that surprisingly, Judgement never showed up. She must have been so caught up in forming lists of all the things wrong in the world that our quiet but active gathering didn't even come up on her radar.
By allowing these parts of me to be present in my meditation, i actually created space.
By accepting these aspects of my self, i got out of my own way.
It was one of the most peaceful meditations i have had in a long time.
so i leave you with some questions:
Can you "sit" with all parts of your self?
Can you let go of trying to force change on things that are not as you think
they "should" be?
I was with a friend the other day when i ran into an old student of mine. This student immediately started to tell me all the reasons why she was no longer coming to class. Her body language changed and even her voice shifted - it was obvious she felt guilty and ashamed. I let this woman finish her list and then i smiled and said something along the lines of "It is great that you know your life well enough to know when your schedule is too full. Take care and good luck." I gave her a hug, said it was lovely to see her again and went on my way. My friend later asked me why i did not try to convince her to come back. That is a great question! I hope that people find themselves returning to yoga week after week and year after year because it works for them and they have seen and felt the benefits a regular practice can bring. If not, that is o.k. too.
We have this weird thing in society where we have to make excuses or even lie in order to save face. I am not going to make it a shame party by telling you the way you are living your life is wrong. Your life is all yours and so are your choices. If you come, great. If you don't, great. I appreciate and respect you either way.
Let me repeat that last bit for you, I appreciate and respect you either way.
Now, if you are having a hard time getting to class for whatever reason, and you ask, i will gladly help you troubleshoot. If you need motivation and a push, that is the job for a personal coach or maybe a mother-for-hire....and that will cost extra!
big hugs to all of you!
so the questions i leave you with today are this:
Can you accept your life the way it is?
Can you accept the choices you make?
Can you be honest with those around you?
And if not, can you be o.k. with that?
Can you accept others for who they are? (this does not mean you should allow yourself
to stepped on in any way.)
Join me here as i expand my awareness and understanding of being human.
This page is:
part writing -
sharing my experiences and offering up questions, if you'd like to play along.
part video -
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