40 days of A Space for Soul continues…
I have sorrow surfacing this morning. This sorrow bubbled up after I heard about the break-up of two people I love. Like the tender little flowering vine above, this sorrow winds itself around my heart. And it tightens its grip when I read about some people’s reactions to Bowe Bergdahl’s release from years of captivity in Afghanistan. Most of the press about Berdahl is so mean and cruel; he went from being a victim we heroically rescued from the Taliban to an evil deserter perp in record time. And now his parents are getting death threats. I am so sad when I hear about how cruel we can be to each other. I just don’t see how arguing about who is the real victim and who is the baddest person of all helps anyone.
I am sad from watching people push hurt and pain onto someone else while insisting that it is the right or moral thing to do. We humans excel at off-loading our grief and hurt, don’t we? Instead of sitting with hurt or sorrow and allowing ourselves to feel it, own it and then honestly express it, we spew our pain all over someone else. I get the sense that this pain passing round robin is why we keep repeating the same mistakes again and again, re enacting the same wars, crimes and petty nastiness against each other generation after generation. We lob our yucky dissonant feelings (what Eckhart Tolle calls the pain body) on to another person like a hot potato. We may feel better temporarily, but we’ve simply passed the pain on to someone else and nothing ever gets resolved.
In all the years that I had a private healing practice, I spent most of each session teaching clients how to get in touch with their pent up emotions and then express them than in way that didn’t hurt anyone else. Expressing the difficult emotions is such a key part of being able to heal and move on. But instead of feeling and healing, we continue to spew and blame others for every pain.
Humans have clubbed each other over the head with their pain and their hurt for millennia. Only now, we have raised pain passing to fine art; we employ hate radio jocks like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh to help lob our pain “out there” – onto some evil person who “deserves it.” Or we post and tweet hateful things about people we don’t even know and call it entertainment. It’s easy to lob our pain onto a stranger and walk away.
I am sad about what I heard today. It hurts to be sad, I do NOT like this feeling. But I’ve learned that the only way to move beyond sadness or grief without lobbing it on someone else is to acknowledge what I am feeling right now; I need to sit with it. Sit quietly and breathe deeply. So I will sit and breathe and focus on whatever sensations come up in my body. I will honor this feeling and the big open hearted part of me that cares so deeply and feels so sad. I may weep. I may feel like my heart will break. But I will sit with this sad and honor it with my attention. And slowly, like a summer storm blowing through, this sad will pass.
Sit in a safe, quiet place
Slow down your breathing; count to 3 with each in breath, then 4 or 5 or 6.
Breathe slow and deep. Notice whatever you’re feeling right now.
Lengthen your exhale. Make your exhale longer than your inhale.
Imagine that you can breathe out difficult feelings and sensations. No need to ignore or push them away; just breathe them out.
Just breathe and notice whatever bubbles up from within you; body aches, emotion, difficult thoughts. Just notice whatever comes up and breathe it out.
Breathe it all out without judging it harshly. Breathe it out with as much compassion and self-love as you can muster.
If tears or rage come, breathe that out too. Try to open your heart to each feeling, each sensation. This is your inner weather – this storm will pass.
Just notice and breathe. Notice and breathe and open your heart.
I want to share a guided exercise with you – depending on your perspective, you may look at this as a guided meditation or a shamanic journey. Whatever you choose to call it, this exercise is about helping you to connect with your Soul Flow, or the true essence of you. This is about connecting with who you are beyond all the labels put on you by society. It’s about reconnecting with True You.
Who are you beyond being a mother, daughter, wife, friend, boss, helper, neighbor, lover, bitch, man, son, husband, jerk, buddy, partner, employee… Who are you REALLY?? This guided exercise will help you find out.
We all want perfect health, don’t we? No more physical ailments, no more pain. We each crave a perfectly shaped body that silently and efficiently does whatever we demand of it. But is that even possible?
Human life is about finding a balance point between opposing forces; to be healthy, we must strike a balance between motion and stillness, between liquid fluidity and grounded earthy stability, between shadow and light, between creative and destructive forces. So, our miraculous bodies cannot stay stable and static for long. Our body processes also shift in response to changes in our environment. The world is constantly shifting and changing around us; temperatures rise and fall, one day it rains, the next is sunny. Human bodies are designed to constantly shift and change as well.
This idea of health being a dynamic balancing act becomes so clear when we look at natural environments. Balanced nature is never static; healthy ecosystems are diverse and contain many elements that constantly interact with each other. And the entire natural system finds balance through an ongoing dance between the elements; water wears down stone and sweetens the dirt with minerals that the trees use to grow. And the trees on the riverbank also draw river water up into their bodies and in doing so, slow down and calm the river’s wild currents. The trout rest in the shade of the trees, waiting for bugs to get blown into the current by the wind and become dinner. True balance lies in the web of interactions between bug and wind, fish and tree, stone and water flow.
There is no perfect physical state that we can attain and be ‘finished’ or ‘complete’. Look again at nature – Nothing is perfect in nature; tree trunks are crooked spirals, flowers are not symmetrical, and each animal has little quirks and imperfections in its shape; eyes are slightly different sizes, ears are uneven, spots are imperfect or missing. Perfection is a human delusion, it does not exist in nature. (despite what dog show judges hope and look for!)
Healthy balance is a wobbly, imperfect and dynamic process; much like riding a bicycle requires continuous tweaks and changes to stay upright, so do our lives and our bodies cycle through continuous shifts and changes in order to stay in healthy balance. And it is a waste of time and energy to strive for perfect health. Perfect for what moment, what situation? Our bodies and minds are designed to shift and adapt to each place, to each situation we find ourselves in; it is our strength as humans to be adaptable if only we will allow ourselves!
Allowance of our own imperfections and life’s many wobbles and imperfections is actually a key part of getting healthy. We do ourselves and our bodies a huge disservice when we reject and judge and try to annihilate our issues and imperfections. This is why yogis and sage healers throughout history keep telling us to relax and breathe; to smile at ourselves and our foibles!
Balance and healing will elude us until we can surrender to imperfection and constant change. True healing is about allowing ourselves to be complete just as we are in this moment, warts, bad hair, temper tantrums and all. In the end, healing is not a fix yourself project. And it’s not about finding someone to help you change and improve either. True healing is about learning to wholeheartedly love and embrace the wonderfully quirky, imperfect, amazing and unique creatures we already are.