Advice to Myself – Keep on Flowing

 How do I stay true to myself as I flow though this world?  

“Do I change like a river, widening and deepening, eddying back on myself sometimes, bursting my banks sometimes when there’s too much water, too much life in me, and sometimes dried up from lack of rain?

Will the I that is me grow and widen and deepen?

Or will I stagnate and become an arid riverbed? Will I allow people to dam me up and confine me to wall so that I flow only where they want?

Will I allow them to turn me into a canal to use for they own purposes? Or will I make sure I flow freely, coursing my way through the land and ploughing a valley of my own?”

–Aidan Chambers, This is All

Can I keep flowing and resonating with my joy, my truth, even when surrounded by others who are awash in sorrow or fear or rage?  How do I hold my ground and allow the world to be however it is today?  I will not do any good to anyone if I drop my light, my joy and resonate with the pain of those around me.

Maybe it isn’t cruel or crass to stay joyful while others in the world suffer.  What if our joy is the most potent medicine there is for the wounds of the world?

I want to acknowledge joy as the amazing gift it is. And to keep opening to joy, even in the face of the darkness and pain in the world around me.  May I hold my joy sacred and allow it to flow far and wide.

☾☽

“But just as the river is always at the door, so is the world always outside.
And it is in the world that we have to live.”
-Lian Hearn

What is Awareness?

“Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment.
 This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, 
every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), 
every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, 
every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath. 

Every moment is the guru.

–Charlotte Joko Beck

My experience of awareness;   I take Dog Goddess Brigit on a walk by the river. We walk the same path almost every morning.  On many occasions, I have returned from our walk and realized that I didn’t really notice my surroundings at all that day. I have been completely lost in my thoughts, unaware of what was right in front of me. I have been wrapped up in planning my future or ruminating on my past and the river slipped by unnoticed by me.

But some days are different; some days I actually focus on the path and my steps and the sounds on the wind. I notice the feel of the leash in my hand, the smell of some bush or tree nearby.  And those moments when I am actually present and aware are so potent!  On my aware days, I notice many new things that I never noticed before – even though it is the exact same path Brigit and I walked yesterday.  An aware walk is magical.

It is as though I am more alive in aware moments. Awareness amps up my sensations and makes everything richer and fuller.  For me, even awareness about something heavy and hard like sorrow or pain beats feeling half alive.  I’ve learned that numbing out and avoiding yucky emotions and sensations comes at a price – if I numb out,  I will also lose the yummy sensations and emotions that make my life sing.

Meditation teacher, Jon Kabat-Zinn describes awareness as being mindful, being present with whatever is in this moment. He calls it the art of “falling awake”.  Ram Das tells us to Be Here Now.  Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh speaks of dwelling in the present moment.  Not just living… dwelling in the moment.  Seems like a very simple idea. And I find it very difficult to pull off most days!

Modern life seems to be about distraction rather than awareness; we distract ourselves by turning on TV shows we only half watch. We woof down food we don’t really even taste.  We walk around dreaming of tomorrow or lamenting yesterday. We surf on the internet, popping from screen to screen without really taking any of it in. We pride ourselves on being able to do 3 things at once, even when we can’t actually remember much about doing any of them!  Is that living?

I suspect that Dog Goddess Brigit is at least 100 times more aware than I am on any given day. My big, “superior” human brain gives me the ability to analyze and plan far beyond anything a dog can plan. And those same human abilities complicate the simple act of staying present and aware in this moment. My strength is also my weakness. Can I stop planning and analyzing long enough to notice what is here, right in front of me?  Analysis is as useless as a dog chasing her own tail when it comes to being aware.

I wonder how much I miss when I am walking through my day half aware of what’s around me here and now?  What would it take for me to double or triple how many moments of the day that I am actually present?   What if I stop analyzing EVERYTHING and put my big, silly human brain to work sensing and perceiving what is here in front of me? What is the value of analyzing what happened yesterday if I miss today?  How much richer can my day to day reality become if I make awareness my priority?

☾    ☽

Being the Joy of You

Joyful Baby Me

Joy spontaneously flows in us, as us, from us
When we remember how AMAZING we truly are. 

Can we allow ourselves to BE that space of flowing joy? 

What will it take for each of us to relax into Being Joy? 

What will it take for us to live from that place of flowing joy? 

How much joy can we embody and share with the world? 

These are the questions I wonder about, that matter to me.
Am I willing to open to the possibility of more Joy every day?? 
How about you?   Would you like to live in joy every single day? 

If your answer is YES, please join me by phone from wherever you find yourself on September 13 and / or September 20th.

Let’s explore remembering who we truly are!  Let’s explore being pure joy!

What: Being the Joy of You Tele Call Series
When: Thursday September 13th and September 20th, 2012.  Attend one or both calls – your choice.
Where: Phone in from Any Town, Anywhere
Cost: $19, includes both Tele Calls on Sept. 13 and Sept. 20

Contact me if you want to be part of this Joy thing:  nancy@nancylankston.com

Space

Central Wyoming

I am here in this space.

The sun is warm, the wind soft.

I open in this space.

Everything is here now.

I am this space.

Flow Like a River

“May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing 
and no holding back, the way it is with children.” 

~Rainier Maria Rilke

When I get impatient with myself or the world, I try to pause long enough to remember the river, the flow of the river that I love so much.  When life does not instantly present me with the exact and perfect outcome – the perfect and glorious outcome I had all planned out in my head in excruciating detail – at those times, I try to remember to just breathe and flow with how things ARE, rather than how I wish they would be.

Resistance is futile; life is NEVER perfect. And life unfolds in its own wild and wonderful way, no matter how hard I kick and scream and struggle and fight against what IS, trying desperately to get the exact future I had imagined and dreamed of.

Sit and breathe. And breathe some more…
until I can stop whining and fighting against what is unfolding right here and now in front of me.

How horrible to miss out on today because it doesn’t look exactly like my dream of it yesterday!

Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is.
The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”

~Virginia Satir

A Love Letter

A love letter to my fellow therapists, doctors, nurses, healers

I know how much you want to help each client who comes to you. I know how hard you work and study to help them. I am right there with you; I have been a healer of one sort or another for over 25 years. I know how much you care for your clients and want to help them heal.

You love them and want to help. But what if you actually have very little control over whether your client improves and heals or not? What if your clients are in charge of what happens in each and every healing session, NOT you? And what if being a healer or therapist no longer meant you were supposed to have the answers, or know how to fix your clients’ problems? What if being a great healer / therapist / doctor does NOT involve dispensing advice and healing wisdom to the suffering masses like some kind of Healer Dear Abby?

How would embracing your lack of control change your healing practice?

Each client holds the keys to their own healing. Every client has their own answers – even if they don’t believe it yet!  At best, you can be a helpful conduit or sounding board – someone who helps your clients find a new perspective on their personal journey of self-discovery and self-healing. At worst you will try to take charge and actually get in the way of their healing.

Stop and take a breath. Give yourself a moment to grasp the idea that you are NOT in charge and you CANNOT CONTROL if and when, much less how your client heals. Each client is responsible for whether they heal or not. Does this lack of control and responsibility for your clients’ healing fill you with relief or infuriate you?

No matter what you do or say, no matter how many classes you take or how good your therapy techniques are, your client will choose whether they heal or not.  You don’t control that, they do. If one of your clients heals, it is NOT because you did an absolutely flawless massage, gave them the perfect pill or performed the best sphenoid release in the Midwest. It is not because you said just the right thing or executed a flawless lymphatic drainage routine.  People have been healing from all kinds of illnesses and pains for thousands of years before your favorite drug or healing modality was even invented.  And isn’t obsessing about technique how we healers handle our own discomfort with not knowing how to make everything all better for everyone? Honestly?

This idea of the client being responsible for their own healing probably bursts all your fantasies about “if I just get really good at the right and perfect technique, then my clients will heal.”  In my experience, there is no silver healing bullet – so stop looking for the “perfect” therapy, the “perfect” medication or herbal remedy, the “perfect” modality.  Besides, that search for the perfect healing tool will only make you feel like a failure over and over and over again.

Open to the possibility that you have never been in charge of anyone else’s healing and see what happens for you and your clients. Remember that it is their body, their mind, their emotional reactions that determine how much healing happens in each session with you.  Each client comes to you with a unique set of issues and strengths. Each client will heal in their own unique and unpredictable ways. If you want predictable outcomes, give up healing work and become an engineer.

So, if you cannot control the outcome of healing sessions with your clients, why be a healer at all? What is the point? How can you help anyone?

Before you throw in the towel and completely give up healing work in despair, try a few radical healing acts in your sessions. Shift your focus and see what kind of healing magic is possible:

  • Consciously turn control of the session over to your client and their spiritual source. And share with each client how large and in charge they actually are! Help them to access their own wisdom and their own power, rather than relying on yours. Every time you feel shaky or uncertain about what you are doing and if you are helping, take a breath and turn control over to your client and spirit.
  • Your mental and emotional state matters way more than ANY therapeutic technique or modality you use in a session. Keeping an open heart and an open mind has a big impact. Be aware of how you approach each client – what thoughts are running through your head, what emotions are surfacing? Are you getting caught up in needing to find the answer – or can you take a breath and let your client flounder around and discover for themselves what they need?
  • In each session, hold space for what else is possible. No matter what has happened for this client before, lasting healing is possible now. Hold the knowing that your client can heal whatever is ailing them – even when they have lost faith. Even when neither one of you has any idea exactly when or how healing might occur. Even when healing seems impossible, you can hold the memory of how other clients have shifted and found balance and healed. Hold the awareness that human bodies heal in amazing and miraculous ways every day. Set an intention in each and every client session that healing is possible, that healing is just a breath away – even when you have no clue how it can occur. Set a healing intention that your clients truly can shift and heal now.
  • Shut up and listen. Do you know how rare it is to find someone who will actually LISTEN? The simple act of listening is profoundly healing. Try listening instead of grasping for answers. Try listening and NOT giving advice! And try asking your client what they like, what feels good and healing to their body, what would help them right now. Can you stop assuming you know what they need?   Can you respect and honor your clients enough to put your ego aside and follow their lead? Make it your priority to create a space where clients can find their own answers.

Each client who comes to you is on THEIR own personal healing journey, not yours. So, take a big breath, smile at your silliness and learn to let go of control. You never really had it anyway.