Feel it fully without telling a story

Don’t beat yourself up.
Don’t let it define you.
Don’t let it define someone else.
Don’t create a story that makes you feel worse.
Believe it or not, that story is your sabotage, not truth.
Don’t let other people’s stories define you.
Whatever happened that made you feel the way you feel happened, and your feelings are real.
Your stories are not.
But those stories are indeed like another event that happened – just in your head – and they hijack your ability to work through the actual event.

DO feel what you are feeling. Feel it fully. Move your attention to your body. Live and breathe in the feeling. It’s yours and it’s real.
Is it coursing through your veins? Clutching your stomach? Closing up your throat? Aching your back? Tensing your shoulders? Heating you up (where in your body)? Giving you a headache (is it dull, sharp, shooting, where)? Is your body crying inside? How do you know? What does it feel like?
Instead of resisting them by trying to make them go away so quickly, delve into them and feel them lovingly and compassionately. Breathe as you do.

Just like you want to be seen and heard, your body wants the same; see and hear your body. You want to matter, so rather than ignoring your body, give mattering to your body, because you do matter. If you can give it to yourself first, you will find it easier to receive it from others.

This is a vital part of moving through your emotions.

If you give yourself a little time to see and hear yourself, then you can hear what your Self needs to work this through. If you can give yourself some time to matter, your actions will matter to you. Otherwise, you relegate yourself to your story that unfairly defines you and informs your actions and quality of life. And, well, you know that story.

Is this waking you?

As an individual and a collective, we’ve experienced frustrations over our lifetimes witnessing obstacles, limitations, and injustices getting in the way of humane progress. We’ve had opportunities to make change in our own lives so that we are not complicit. And we have, to an extent.

We were busy. Filling our days with obligatory habitual schedules, figuring out what to eat, getting our chores done, watching the news and feeling disgusted, and being exhausted.

I’m reading that carbon and greenhouse emissions have dropped dramatically throughout the world because of coronavirus, down 40% from this time last year in NYC and 24% in Europe. Crime has also dipped dramatically in many cities. And of course, school shootings aren’t happening.
Will we be able to mitigate the economic effects of this global lockdown so that there isn’t a rapid upturn in crime and pollution once it’s over?

We have an opportunity.

An opportunity to step back and get thoughtful about our self care (as it relates to health, our relationships, and our work) and what we ripple outwards. We have an opportunity to teach our children how to live now that we are house-bound with them. Our education system is archaic to say the least. We have an opportunity to teach them what isn’t taught: how to live. (The schools have opportunity to shift their approach as well.) We don’t have to become educators in the traditional way, but we can become examples, teaching them life skills and self-authority through the enjoyment of living – the enjoyment of getting up in the morning, making healthful meals together, getting the laundry done, playing games, talking together, picking up hobbies and interests that were replaced by the screen, thinking of others that aren’t physically with us and reaching out, getting fresh air whenever possible, reading together, and discerning when to indulge in the screen (because screen time is fun– in proper doses). We get to decide when to spend money (as a family).

We get to see who is important in our lives, how we respond to difficult situations, and how creative we can be. After all, we are in the creative age. We get to transform the archaic systems as a collective, but first we get to transform our own minds. Momentum is on our side.
We need to truly extend concern for everyone’s health and economic well being now more than ever. When these concerns and sense of creativity and desire for whole health and transformation emerge as a society, and in our own individual lives, our conversation begins to shift from division to love.

Instead of dwelling in fear, resistance, and paranoia, seize the opportunity to take command over the space you’ve been granted to retreat, redeem, and reprioritize. Your thoughts, your concerns, your individual shifts count. More than you know.

Feeling emotions

We need to grieve. It validates the loss and allows us to move through.
Anger is important. It reveals our boundaries, our values, and it shows us what we feel threatened by.
Fear: It teaches us discernment. Harnessed, it propels, challenges limitation.
Confusion: It may be telling us we haven’t been living right action (living in alignment). We’ve cowered to fear.
Worry: We are living in the future, using our creative energy focusing what we don’t want.
Depression: We are living in the past, spinning stories using all of the above.
Sarcasm: Fear. Bravado. Wall.
Happiness: We forgot our obstacles and remembered who we were (and are).

Your trajectory is set right now

The present moment contains past and future. The secret of transformation, is in the way we handle this very moment.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

No matter what the future holds, whether you perceive what comes as good or bad, it will be determined by how you respond to things today.

Our response is activated by the lens from which we choose to see, and as long as we choose to see through that lens, we will act upon that story and experience similar things in the future. Different action through the same lens doesn’t yield different experiences; just a different story. Different action through a different lens does.

If you don’t like what you see, it may be time to shift that lens. The work here is in observing how you respond to things because the way you respond will tell you everything you need to know about yourself, and your Self is the trajectory.

On Communication

Good Communication Is As Stimulating As Black Coffee, And Just As Hard To Sleep After.

 –  Anne Morrow Lindbergh 

I love this. It’s a dance to be learned for sure. I know I’m not perfect at it, but as a constant observer, I totally see that how much I am willing to participate in the dance, and how responsive I am to the cues on when to lead, when to let the other lead, and when to switch makes a world of difference. This sort of attentive listening and exchange rapidly improves the quality of my life, and the opposite is also true.

Ways to listen and ways to respond

When someone initiates a conversation with you about something they are either working through or are celebrating…

  1. You can listen as you filter what they say through your own lens – what this might mean for you, how you identify, how it makes you feel, and how you can stay relevant – and you can prepare your response. You might even respond and share while they talk because you don’t want to forget later. When someone comes to you with something… you will have missed an opportunity to truly be there for them and to get to know them beyond what you already think you know.
  2. You can listen by getting yourself out of the way. Their tone means less about you and more about what they are experiencing, which is about them. You can listen to understand what they need at that very moment: (a) to simply share, let it out, or think out loud with you as the sounding board and a safe, healing space, or (b) they can be looking for suggestion or advice from you. But they will ask, and if you aren’t sure, you might want to ask first before you give it.

You can respond in a way that fulfills your need, or you can respond in a way that fulfills theirs. They offer different trajectories on the level of intimacy in a relationship.