Creating Emotional Boundaries

Emote means to move. Emotions are meant to move us, to propel us; to keep us moving. Yet, we can have difficulty separating our emotions from ourselves. We can begin to believe that we are our emotions. This is not the case. Just as our cars are not the fuel they run on, we are not the emotions that move through us, nor that we grasp and hold onto to and “save for another time.”

Emotions are energy. Just as we wouldn’t do well to hold onto an electrical line, it doesn’t support us to hold onto our emotions nor to suppress them nor to allow ourselves to become them. In so doing, we stagnate in some way.

To gain a healthy boundary with our emotions, we must learn and practice activating the witness within. There are different instructions and I find the following is the imagery that has worked best for me. You may find others descriptions more helpful and meaningful. I encourage you to find or develop the analogy that works best for you!

Imagine you can seat your awareness/consciousness in a saddle or a captain’s chair that is both between your eyes, and back towards the center of your brain. From here, see your emotions (and life) as a movie. In this space we acknowledge the emotions, we see them, yet we are not pulled under by them.

It is such a freeing practice and one that is best practiced as frequently as possible!

Namaste

Healing The Roots of Despair

In talking with my mother about the culture of the county in which she was raised, which I only visited as a child, I have come to a new understanding of some of my habits. It frightens me to be publicly recognized for my achievements. Actually, that applies to any recognition, even one-on-one.

Compliments are not something that I find easy to receive. My mind focuses on where things “could have been better.” While this mindset pushes me to do better, it also thwarts my ability to feel at ease or at peace with … just about everything in my life.

Where my mom grew up, those who “had more” or who “looked pretty” were targeted by others … there was a culture of rape and a fair amount of lawlessness. So anyone who “had,” could be expected to have something taken.

The effects of this culture meant people were, out of fear, generous in giving to others and also in putting down their own achievements. It was better to be pitied (at least people would “bless your heart”) than to be seen as having something that someone else wanted.

So here I sit with this awareness. Seeing how complicated it can be to feel comfortable with being at peace or even happy. Softening into the fear, shining the light of my awareness on why happiness has scared me, aside from brief glimpses. Slowly, the fear begins to melt.

Within a metta meditation, I send love back up the ancestral lines, and the community that brought this fear into being. May all beings be at peace.

Namaste

Allowing the Transformation

It is in allowing, instead of fighting against the shackles, that we set ourselves free.

It can be a challenge to have patience when we’ve decided to make changes in our lives. We often move from status quo to “green light go, go, go” in .24 seconds. When we push to have the changes take place, we create greater resistance as we are actually acting out of fear. When we rush we also ignore the parts of us that are holding back and not ready for the new. Out of fear we begin to create and new obstacles come into play.

As much of a challenge as it can be to do, once we decide to take those steps we must sit back and wait for the next steps to unfold; much like a rose. When we rush and push, we will be unable to hear the small quiet voice within giving us our next steps or instructions. Breathing into the need to push, leaning into it, and allowing it to exist, helps us in our transformation.

Here is a prime example. After a break up, I wanted to “be okay” with everything and to no longer be upset at him, myself, and the circumstances behind the broken relationship. Pushing to be better “right now” only resulted in my frustration growing larger and further blocking my ability to think and act clearly. Finally, I recognized what I was doing to myself: pushing past my own limits and leaving the broken pieces of me to fend for themselves.

When I find myself doing this, I find it best to do the following sequence:

  • Sit quietly (at least mentally) and allow as many of the painful emotions to surface as able. Take note of where they reside in the body.
  • Return to the center, and feel the mantra, “I am willing to love myself as God does, infinitely.”
  • By repeatedly breathing this intention into the restricted spaces within, the tempest falls apart with each mindful breath.
  • “Rinse and repeat” when the tempest returns, begin the process again.

While I’ve still not reached my final resolution, I’ve reached a greater sense of peace and calm in the midst of this tempest. When it begins to read its head up again, I return to this sequence; it is the path to freedom. For it is in allowing, instead of fighting against the shackles, that we set ourselves free.

Namaste

Are We There Yet?! Hiking at Half-Pace

To force the flower to blossom is to destroy its petals.

IMG_2275.jpgThis is my favorite time of year to hike. I love the lushness and fresh green of everything during spring. It gives me new hope of the things to come. Yet, on this day I noticed something different: the intent of my hike was to de-stress and I was rushing!

It was as if I were on a mission or death march. It was as if my internal cruise control had gotten stuck at 90 mph. The life events of April 2018 were in my rear view and yet they were still driving me, pushing me to keep moving. Don’t stop. Rush. March. Plod forward. Go. Now. 

I had begun to question my need to rush through the hike when I saw two snails on a tree. It was as if they were telling me I was needing to follow their lead…so it was then that I slowed down my pace. I imagined I moved with the grace of nature’s pace.

 

IMG_2279.jpgSoon after, I also chose to be as present as I could, to more fully receive each stimulus of my senses: to drink in with my eyes the beauty of the forest, even of the needle and leaf liter, with my feet to feel the sponginess and give of the ground, and with my ears to hear the song birds belting out tunes. Now as I type, I can remember and feel more than I would have, had I kept up with the death march.

 

 

As I look back, I see where I haven’t wanted to accept my life as it has been. Rushing wasn’t about the hike, it has been about where I am in life. I see where I have been rushing to get to the next level, and in doing so, I’ve been wasting energy on things that cannot be affected nor rushed, much like the blossoming of a flower. Today, I recognize that right now, this is where I am; like it or not. So what is the point of all of this struggle?

IMG_2292.jpg

These are lessons I’ve learned previously and much like the decaying tree, it’s all the same material – just now viewed at a new depth.

 

Namaste’

Detoxing Addictions both Emotional and Chemical

A few weeks ago, I posted a prayer request for a loved one to receive the support s/he needed. This person was not eating regular meals, and instead was drinking a superhuman amount of vodka per day. Since then, s/he has started the detox process and is eating again, returning to human status.

In developing compassion for this individual, I started to look at my own addictions. In doing so, I recognized that on a basic level it doesn’t matter what we’re addicted to: an addiction is an addiction is an addiction.

Each substance or behavior keeps us out of our own control and power. When we are addicted to something we feel powerless to change and so we don’t. Various addicts like to think they are better than others, but I no longer feel this is true… just my humble opinion. Each addiction steals our power.

So with this in mind, I chose to initiate the process of stepping away from addictions (chemically with junk foods, alcohol, coffee/caffeine, and emotionally with unhealthy habits of relating). At first, my biology craved the sugar and the caffeine. Those effects were minimized for me with an herbal detox.

The more challenging aspect has been the emotional response. For it is now that I am recognizing that the emotions I was suppressing with my addictions have begun to surface. To stay on top of these emotions, it has been important for me to keep centered and grounded. Meditation and self-care have been saving graces. Prayer and support of friends have also been tremendous in getting me through.

For several days, I have felt like I’ve been surfing in a bad storm. There have been periods of grace, yet overall it’s been tumultuous. To keep on my surfboard through the emotional waves, I have dropped into my center and grounded by imagining my consciousness being in the “bowl” of my pelvis. At times I have also imagined my tailbone sprouting roots that go downwards into the center of the earth, which takes away all that no longer serves me.

Furthermore, softening into the emotions allows for grace. Journaling has also helped. The big move, however, has been finding my willingness to forgive and send love to any others involved; including myself. At times it has felt like every trespass and each grievance had bubbled up. In finally seeing each item as a part of me that had not healed, I have become more compassionate towards myself…and others.

This detox and getting away from my addictions has helped me to see all of the emotions I was tucking away for another day. All of these chemical distractions were what I used to avoid feeling my emotions. To avoid feeling myself.

I also recognized during this time that my focus on others has kept me from taking responsibility for myself. In blaming others, I failed to see where I was failing myself.

Change takes effort. Yet we are worth the effort. When we can make these changes that support ourselves, we can further support others.

Each light that is lit helps to spark the light in others.

May we each find the solace we seek within ourselves and our Higher Power, instead of the things that are external and uncontrollable.

Namaste

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