The New Book is Available!

Hello everyone and hope you are well!

I am excited to announce that Touching the Invisible: A Field Guide for Living is now available.
After almost 3 years it is humbling and exciting to have it completed.

The book is over 500 pages of insights into mind body, neuroscience, biology, awareness and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes us who and how we are. There is also an entire section devoted to exercises you can try or develop into your own practice.

To read more about it, see a preview or order a copy, please visit:
TouchingtheInvisible.com

As always, please feel free to be in touch!
Blessings,
Jacqueline

Loving without conditions

In this podcast we explore the power of unconditioned love, especially for oneself. I offer insights about the physiology of love and its healing powers. We are wired for love and designed for growth. No matter what we have learned previously in our life, we can cultivate unconditional love as a new habit.

Our Inner Tribe and the power of relationship.

This podcast offers a different perspective for the ways we relate to our emotions, moods, habits of inner chatter and the impact it all has on us. Inner Tribe is a metaphor and a technique for working with our unconscious and the ways it directly influences. Each of us has so many different parts of ourselves that show up moment to moment. They can range from joy filled to angry to anxious, and anything in between. These parts of us show up based on a variety of internal or external stimulus. The key is noticing when they arrive and then knowing how to develop your relationship with them.

The Invitation

In this second podcast of the series I offer an invitation to explore our core resources. We each have these amazing super powers but we sometimes forget that they are there for us to access. In this podcast, I make the proposal for why each of us is more brilliant than we currently imagine.

The Journey Begins

This is the first podcast in the series and it took the shape of an interview between myself and Sam Fisher. He asks questions about this practice and why I began developing and sharing it. This podcast will explore our being human and offer tools and insights through the Sound Body Wisdom practice. It’s a space of possibility expanded by science, mind-body practices and personal wisdom.

Undeniable self love

“It’s undeniable how brilliant you are, in an unreliable world you shine like a star.”

These are the opening lyrics to a cheesy Pop song I enjoy. Listening to it today, I reflected again on the ease with which we give away such love and adoration to others…..but not typically to ourselves.
Generally speaking, when we sing a song like this we are singing about someone else.

I reflected further upon my own journey with ‘love songs’. Remembering that about 10 years ago I made a shift in my way of relating to songs like this.
At the time, I was going through some challenging events personally and I had such a focus on external love and relationships. (And yes, there had been a ‘break-up’ involved in this personal exploration.) And I realized that what felt like unbearable ‘suffering’ was my persistence in wanting to have someone be the focus of these ‘love songs’.
Since I couldn’t change the fact that there was no ‘somebody’ and I couldn’t change the radio playlist…..I had to shift my perception and focus.

It took some negotiating at first, but eventually I realized I needed to whole heartedly sing this to myself. Every time and without exception I needed to be able to put myself as the ‘somebody’ in the song.
It couldn’t just be the occasional ‘positive affirmation’ or lip service. I needed to have the same verve as if I was singing it to someone other than me.
(Don’t get me wrong, I am an uber romantic and I enjoy having someone to sing these songs to…..but now, I am equally able to sing them to myself.)

As I have shared this perspective with people there sometimes seems to be a hesitance; a worry that this could perhaps be seen as narcissism.
I find this fascinating……
How could unconditionally loving oneself be seen as ‘excessive self-love’?
(I would imagine a narcissistic personality would mean there are problems arising from an out of balance self- centeredness that disrupts other interactions.)

I am simply talking about the pure and unfettered loving of oneself that is our birthright.
No more, no less.
Why would we choose anything else?
And once we have this resource within ourselves…are we not even more capable of offering it without conditions to another person?

For this reason…… I sing loud and with a big heart…..
…….for me, for you and for the romantic joy in it all……

The gift of Improvisation

After teaching a recent workshop I was reflecting on ‘improvisation’ and how it is a consistent tool I utilize in my work (and in life)….. so I thought I would share some ideas.

I feel that improvisation takes you ‘off script’ and into being more present in ‘the moment’.  It can also develop our intuition and senses.  It can be engaged in many different ways (in performance, in travel, cooking, making friends, work etc) but often it asks you to turn off the ‘auto pilot’ we are using most of the day. I think auto pilot serves a purpose to be sure, but it can also impose some limitations.

I feel improvisation is about opening up to possibilities or seeing options you didn’t realize were already there.  It can create new pathways for thinking, seeing and being. Some of the ways it can achieve this is by taking us out of ‘ordinary’ space and time, asking us to step to ‘one side’ of typical and potentially pushing our comfort buttons.

Being ‘off script’ can be unsettling….you don’t know what comes next….and it is in this ‘unknown’ that you can discover a new way of being in your body, your thoughts and in your experience of yourself and living.

I truly believe we can shift our habits of thought and perspective in ways that can remove limitations put in place over time.  This shift can have benefits in our health, creativity and our perceptions of self.
Improvisation assists this by interrupting the rapid fire ‘auto pilot’ of ‘shoulds’, routine and statements of what defines things. Improvisation can help us observe these patterns by juxtaposing new possibilities and simply interrupting the ‘typical’.
This interruption can allow for more potential by cracking a window in our conditioned thinking and behavior.

Our ability to more fully know (and express) ourselves is one of the most significant explorations we have in this life. To remain open and curious about ourselves is a continuous gift; the journey is never complete and is always teaching us something. And when we give permission to perceive ourselves and the world in new ways, it creates a domino effect that also touches others.
We each are amazingly brilliant beings and the effect our thoughts and perceptions have on one another (and ourselves) is quite tangible……

…..in life and on stage…..I always endeavor to remember this……

Thanks for reading…..

beyond personality

I was recently talking with a friend about the challenges that can arise in seeing all people as equal (yet different). We were actually discussing a basic Buddhist perspective that everyone is ‘the Buddha’ or has Buddha nature. For me, regardless of the ‘spiritual’ teaching or text…..essential equality is a simple truth. In my authentic core I can find no reason for this to be ‘untrue’.

But it doesn’t mean it’s easy to practice…..

I was remembering a few years ago when I was on tour in the SE. I had gone out for my morning walk and was pondering the difficulty I was experiencing with ‘living’ this simple truth on a daily basis. I questioned more deeply and asked myself what it was that got in ‘my way’ of being able to see each and every person without exception as equal; no one person intrinsically greater than or lesser than another.

The general reply I found was ‘personality’.

I would get stuck around people’s personalities and my ensuing preferences and opinions about them. Basically, nuances in my personality juxtaposed with theirs.
Over the years, I had developed the ability to find space in my attachment to my own personality but there would still be those exceptions, those individuals where it would get sticky for me.
With the exception of becoming a hermit, I wanted to create a tool or practice to help me dissolve this stickiness.

As I continued to walk, I noticed I was in this lush garden district filled with such incredible variety of flowers and trees. I saw particular types of flowers and trees that I thought ‘I love those, they are my favorite’….etc.
And as I noticed my personality and preference expressing itself for these ‘personalities’ in nature, I wondered if I could see all of this plant variety around me as ‘equal’ and individually (and collectively) beautiful. And believe me, there are some plants that I could easily not see as ‘equal’ to others. So, on that morning walk I began to ‘practice’ with the plants…..and I practiced every day.

After a little time I was able to let go of the stickiness of comparison/judgement and just accept each plant I encountered with equal appreciation. (I still have my opinions or preferences but I have created space to choose my perspective moment to moment….stickiness is not the ‘default’)
With my new tool and lots of enthusisam I thought ‘I am ready to now apply what I have learned to people!’
Needless to say, it didn’t work the same with humans as plants. There was still so much attachment and ego fluctuation in relation to certain people and interactions.

So I pondered some more…..wondering if there was a middle step….a place where personality would be less potent….?
And I thought about newborn babies; the way they can feel less ‘sticky’ for me. (They certainly have personality, but seem to be less ‘filled’ with it.)

So I decided to try something else.
Any time I found it difficult to see someone as ‘equal to’ (and without comparison to) others…..I would imagine them when they were first born. As soon as I did this, everything just came into balance and the attachments/judgements evaporated. It was like a love bomb went off and there was no need for the comparisons of greater than/lesser than. It was a simple space of ‘being’….neutral witnessing.

By using this tool I found a way to work with these ‘sticky personality’ moments and find a reprieve from my conditioned mind. I was able to create more space and compassion, not only for the complexities of the personalities of others……but for myself too.

Ahhh yes, a lifetime of study and practice…..

‘but why’…..

Why do I write?
I think it is a process of refinement and discernment through words and energy. Perhaps it is a way of pulling threads and coalescing as I go. I am not sure exactly…but a process.
And I witness so much as I go…..
Observe…..
So much curiosity all entwined in this being human.

I generally remind myself of a 2 yr old constantly and perpetually asking…. “but why?”….
This is the question that follows most moments and thoughts throughout my days. I might see an ad on television, overhear a ‘gossip’ heavy conversation, witness a perceived imbalance in exchange or dynamic between people or groups, interpret a certain suffering ……and as I begin to flex opinions and judgements…this question ‘interrupts’ it all.
“But why?”…..

It is amazing how this practice supports my not getting swept away in judgements and criticisms. Because asking ‘why’ says ‘I don’t know’. It humbles me immediately; creates space for other possibility. And it is a questioning that simultaneously asks me to let go of any attachment or desire for finding an ‘answer’…..because this asking has no focus or goal for an ‘answer’ per se.

The questioning allows a multitude of responses/possibilities to emerge so that my single snap judgement or conditioned opinions have some company; all standing shoulder to shoulder.
My asking ‘why’ becomes a practice of looking in between the cracks of this constructed ‘human’ world we have; our derogative stereotypes, social dynamics, judgements, insecurities, systems of greater than/lesser than,’suffering’……(and so much more)….
To witness the spaces between and all around the concepts and habits…

The ‘why’ is a softening into these complexities….with compassion and curiosity.

And perhaps….
just perhaps…..what if these inherited and potentially unquestioned perspectives of self, life and other were to underlie so much of the imbalance that fuels this sense of ‘suffering’ in the world? Would you change anything? Would you ask ‘…but why…’?

A song

Do you have one of those songs…?
….. one that can just create a sense of wide open space or ‘peace’ within you?

It’s as if everything falls away and this sense of calm and respite fills you. It’s almost like nostalgia but without the ‘ache’ because you feel content…home.

{Nostalgia- a wistful desire to return in thought or fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s own home or homeland; A sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place and time. From Greek: n`ost (os) a return home}

My song today is Alexi Murdoch’s Orange Sky. For me, it’s a spacious landscape within which I can find nourishment and an expanded sense of peace.

Thought falls away

In my cells I can effortlessly feel everything connected. There is no above or below, greater than/lesser than…..
All connected, all in floating balance, all breath…..
A vibrant feeling of contentment, not desiring more or less….

I think many of us have these songs, these moments….
So of course I imagine what it would be like if each of us could live in that experience for a few minutes simultaneously. What would it be like for each of us to have that feeling of peace all at once?

And I wonder to what degree that sense of ‘home’ or that yearning for it (’nostalgia’) might vary or be the same for each of us wherever we live? What is this feeling as humans for a return to ‘home’; a yearning for another time where we felt a perceived sense of contentment? (And are there ever times we know that it lives inside of us and not in some other time or place.) Is this a universal experience?

What a curious phenomenon….nostalgia…..being human….

I have witnessed my own relationship to ‘nostalgia’ and ‘home’ unwind/shift over the years so that when the song ends….the feeling doesn’t disappear (because the song didn’t ‘create’ it). The minutes of the song serve like a small ‘retreat’ time to recharge, recount and remember. It reminds me that whatever I feel in those minutes dwells within me; that every breath is my ‘home’. And that the practice is to live each present moment with an authentic sense of contentment……every moment a balance of the blessing and challenge…….every moment a ‘song’.

And so I smile and push ‘repeat’……..

….and thinking makes it so….

We live these finite lives and each of our days we fill with continuous thought.  In a way I suppose we are our thoughts because it is these very thoughts that construct our worlds, opinions, actions, emotions, choices….the manifest  ‘reality’ of our days.

There is a quote from Hamlet that often leaps to my mouth….’There is neither bad or good but thinking makes it so.’

…..’thinking makes it so….’

I am sure many would make debate about the existence and definition of ‘good’ and ‘bad’.  But my focus of curiosity is on …..‘and thinking makes it so’.  As I peel layers of ‘self’ I find continuous chains of thinking.  Peeling brings thinking.  Writing brings thinking.  Most activities are thought based.  We are formulating thoughts constantly.  And all these thoughts inform and influence us.

Such influence in fact that there can be a challenge to know one self without the thoughts.  How can we separate our ‘essence’ from all the thinking?

I must say that in writing about this I put my pen down often.

I simultaneously feel I could write indefinitely (in circles) but that it is also as simple as the words of Hamlet. 

So then, why do I write?  Well, I feel compelled to follow threads and ask questions; to question the ‘thoughts’…..all the thinking.  Even though it is the mind I use to do this questioning (the mind that also indulges the habitual thinking process)….I find these flash moments of the unexpected.  Glimpses that are in between these mechanisms and offer me the very breath I use to interrupt the habits of thinking  that can limit me….get me stuck…..put me on auto-pilot.

To be honest, this experience is beyond words to truly describe.  But I feel it….something…..I feel it.  And I witness the possibility of interrupting thought and thinking.  I witness an expanded palette of ‘choices’ when I am aware (and interrupt) this slipstream of the mind; when I am not simply riding on the unquestioned suction of its propellers.

The vehicle of my thinking is an elaborate creation that has been in continuous design since my birth (at least).  How incredible.  How vast.  I don’t know that I could (or need to) dismantle such a work of ‘art’.  But I have found that creating spaces in the soundtrack of my thinking has changed my life.  Changed it in a way where I experience more compassion, spaciousness, unconditioned love and a range of choice.  I am able to see an array of other possibilities in my concepts, perceptions and ensuing emotions.   I also get to see where I feel attached to certain concepts and emotions.  I don’t feel inclined much these days to figure out these attachments as much as ask if they are serving to nourish.  What do they create?  Perpetuate?

(….’but thinking makes it so’….)

I have found there is a dance with thinking and that I am not just along for the ride.  There is infinite potential and discovery in those spaces within the slipstream/soundtrack of our thoughts.  These spaces are not quite as ‘straightforward’.  They leave a bit of mystery to it all and a loosening of the ego.  But if I am improvising with …..’and thinking makes it so’…..then perhaps I can counteract the possible discomfort that accompanies mystery with simply ‘thinking’ another potential  ‘reality’….

What do you think?

Thanks for coming along on the journey…..

How is it that…..

I constantly come back to this same curiosity…..

”Why wouldn’t we love ourselves every moment of the day?”

Why not love authentically and unconditionally and how could this question ever get old or redundant?
When we love ourselves and live this inner experience of unconditioned Love it seems that what follows is that this love generates more love and ripples out to other people and situations.

It is quite simple and yet so complex. It becomes even more complicated when it seems we get confused about what is truly unconditioned Love. I have experienced people describing the ‘unconditioned Love’ they are enacting and yet there are so many subtle cues that perhaps it is not quite without conditions.
My way of cross checking myself is noticing if there is any ‘but’ or caveat attached to the love. For me, any ‘condition’ even remotely attached means there is still some refinement left for me to do. 
I generally then ask myself what the ‘but’ or condition means to me.
I also ask what possible reason I might have for not loving myself or another person without judgement?

Why isn’t the status quo more about meeting each person without judgement and reducing the habit of creating lesser than/greater than comparisons between us? Why do we write so many ‘stories’ that seek to limit people?
(When I say ‘stories’ I am talking about what we mentally ‘write’ about ourselves or others that somehow defines us or them. These definitions can then come to limit or ‘box-in’ ourselves or the other person. At times these stories can also incorporate a sense of us or them being ‘better’ than the other. What would happen if we saw everyone beyond the limitations of story? Can we do that?)

There are many factors for how we have gotten so entrenched in judgement, comparisons and a lack of self love….so many ways we have been conditioned to think these are healthy and normal human behavior.
In this mix is our general relationship with words and concepts.
Language can get fairly sticky when it comes to our ideas and stories about ourselves, others and the world.

A perfect word example would be the topic of this initial question: ‘Love’.
You could ask 100 people what it means and probably get 100 different answers or emotional responses. 
Try sitting with the concept of ‘Love’ for a few minutes and see all the different ideas, definitions and feelings that come to you. 
Now imagine that it is different for every person you might encounter in 1 day. And than multiply this times the diversity of each culture around the planet.
Where and how do we all meet on this fundamental word and concept? How can we use such a diverse and individualized expression in sweeping generalized ways?

We can apply this same exploration to other potent words/concepts:

Happiness
- Success
- Good
- Purpose

These and so many more are subject to the influences of the past and societal standards towards what is perceived as ‘normal’ and desirable.  Each has a ‘should’ attached to it in relation to our lives. And each one wields a heavy effect on our personalities, perceptions and the world we create.

How is it that we haven’t figured out that ‘normal’ is an illusion we buy into? How is it we are so readily accepting of criticism, judgement and competitive systems of coexistence as the standard?
When did this become the ‘norm’….and did it happen all at once or as a slow and quiet movement……

 

All things connected……

I have noticed that my energy this last month has not been outward in my writing/sharing. I have been digesting and unwinding threads in my research about human trafficking and labor/sexual slavery (as I am about to work with 2 organizations in Nepal/India focused on these issues).

I suppose I am not surprised that as I research more I find how everything is connected. That all paths lead back to the core questions about:
~the roles we play out as humans
~whether or not we choose to question our conditioning no matter how ‘status quo’ it looks
~what happens when we are disconnected from our core sense of self love

My intention is to breathe into a practice of non-judgement and to look at these injustices through the lens of these essential questions. I don’t see how it is possible to separate any of it…..
How can we isolate human trafficking and forced sex labor as problems unto themselves. The issues are always complicated when it is about money and control/power. The threads of this go way back into history and in every geographic location. It is undeniably linked to prostitution, pornography, the sex industry, socio-economics, gender inequalities……it goes on and on.
Even the impressions I have personally had about strip clubs or prostitution (as becoming increasingly about an empowered choice more often than not) are being pretty much blown out of the water. All of it has been based on assumptions or misguided information that is far from accurate and simply convenient ‘smoke screens’.

Again, I am not here to judge….that is not my desire or my style.
I want to understand even though it is incredibly uncomfortable most days as I continue to learn more.

As I read and research about the rise and development of the sex industry here in the United States along with:
~the increase of violence in pornography in the last few years
~the rapid growth of internet pedophile sites/clubs in the United States (coinciding with the accessibility of the internet)
~ what is unraveling and being learned about the priests within the Catholic Church
~ American companies outsourcing to developing countries to run their pay per view live sex channels and the increase in violence and use of children for American clientele.
~ Perceptions men and young boys have about women in relation to violence and sex cultivated by exposure to pornography
~ The ‘why’s and ‘how’s of men choosing to pay for sex (with women and children) and what they expect and desire

……I realize all of this and more is shaping this territory of human trafficking and forced labor.

We have all allowed for this ‘settling in’ to an accepted sense of ‘norm’ when it comes to living our lives. We see every day (as the presidential race heats up) more prominent topics debated around the nature of religion, marriage and the Occupy Wall Street movement…..
So many judgements being cast and assumptions based on historical ‘values’ and ‘norms’…….
but how do we truly come to know ourselves and live in this diverse world together if we simply perpetuate old standards and imbalances?
How do we create common ground when each of us, to some degree, buys the ‘norms’ without question?

This includes our perceptions around:
~ ideas of success and competitive drive towards this ideal
~the gender roles we each accept and perform without question that shape the world we live in (in comfortable and disempowering ways)
~the inherited conditioning that shapes our choices and personality
~sex and our own sexuality

I understand to some degree our inclination towards this…….
…..if something is the accepted ‘norm’ why on earth would we question it?
That would seem like undue work wouldn’t it?
So I suppose that it is exactly this that I am pondering……that it comes down to each of us questioning our/the ‘norm’ and our comfort zone. To enact this ‘undue’ examination because it is perhaps the core of how atrocities such as human trafficking, slave labor and sex labor can be dissolved.
(Just look at something as recent as slavery and the Civil Rights Movement in our American history alone to get an idea of how this plays out)

What I speak of is a challenge on many levels for myself as well.
I have never had a direct issue with pornography or prostitution…..it has fallen into a category of ‘to each their own’ (to be honest I had not perviously put much thought into it). And I have no puritan ideals about sex to impose on anyone…..I believe in ‘let your freak flag fly’ as long as you are not harming someone else and not labeling, judging or imposing on one another.
And I am ALSO seeing how inherent the proliferation of pornography and prostitution is in the problems of sexual abuse with children, violence against women, sexism, pedophilia, forced sex labor and on and on…..
It was much simpler when I generally thought of these as separate issues….and yet the more I learn the more intertwined it all reveals itself to be. And the more I realize every choice we make can underlie these societal conditionings around gender subservience and sexual dynamics (what it means to be a ‘man’, a ‘woman’ and how we repress or express our perceived sexual drive).

They say (and I agree) that you can pass laws and legislation but the only true way to eliminate this epidemic (of trafficking and forced sex labor) is to decrease demand.
How can we do that?

What is it in our humanity that perpetuates the instinct to exploit those we see as weaker or vulnerable?
How do we continually act out injustices on others to have power, control and financial gain?
What is it about our sexuality and gender roles that feeds such a demand for the sex industry to exist?
Why do we allow and make room for anything that does harm and makes any person or group ‘less than’ and abused?
I am not judging people for what they do….instead I am trying to understand what drives us to want those things that directly or indirectly harms another person. In my opinion, condemning people for these choices does little to understand the ‘why’…..it just allows us to point fingers.
There are ways in which each of us perpetuates less than nourishing stereotypes and prejudiced ideas about what it means to be a woman, a man or simply a ‘successful’ human being.
How can we each create awareness and responsibility for the subtleties of our own thoughts and perceptions as a form of revolution?
Or at the least….a slow unwinding of prevailing inequalities……

Thanks for riding this with me…..
take care of yourself and one another….
Jacqueline

ps
feel free to check out:
resonanceofhumans.wordpress.org
to learn more about the work I am doing and human trafficking.

Self Care redux

Self care……
A topic revisited…..

This is something that means very different things to different people and manifests differently just as much.
I have heard friends speak about wanting to put more attention towards this and yet it becomes elusive for them. It’s clear that the desire for ‘self care’ tools is strong so why does it seem to evade us?

As I ask these questions I look within myself for as many perspectives as possible in the complexity of being human. I untether my fixed thinking and allow myself to get a broader view from many angles.

Each of us has our own individualized range of personal (and conditioned) perspectives. They can be simultaneously our blessing and challenge. Our unique conditioning is what allows each of us to discover our own particular insights and teachings in the world.
This discovery comes from personal reflection, questioning and being curious about one self.
What works for one person may or may not work for all. We can certainly be inspired by what others discover but I believe it is ultimately a personal journey of the individual to reflect and ask questions. It is amazing to be motivated by things and people outside of us but to remember that the spark of this inspiration is coming from within us. We could not see, feel or realize any of it if it weren’t first inside of us.

I mention this because I feel that many people detach from their insights of personal growth, giving it away to something/someone outside of them. It seems easier to assign wisdom to anything other than our selves. This balance is critical to me on the path of self-care.

In many ways, personal reflection and awareness can sound so simple in print but can be a bit more complicated to embody and integrate. It asks us to touch upon and inquire in areas that are not necessarily our ‘comfort’ zone. It can immerse you in vulnerability and places of uncertainty.
I believe a key companion to accompany personal reflection/awareness is an abundant dose of authentic compassion or non-judgment. It’s not confusing to me why many of our vulnerable or uncertain parts might not want to reveal themselves if they think they’re going to be beat up, invalidated or criticized.
We need to be able to witness and hold ourselves with deep respect, reverence and love for all that we are…..every part of us…..right now…..not some ideal in the future. Right now, this breath, with all the blessings and challenges that are part of us.

Perhaps now I might re-focus towards the practical.
It’s all fine and good to talk about loving oneself but sometimes all the talk keeps it a bit intangible. I think when it comes to the details of self care we all find those foggy places and are not quite sure what the next step might be. More often than not we can be inspired by something we heard or read….. but without practical tools it remains this lofty goal or a cozy notion for ‘some day in the future when I am an evolved person’.
My sense is that we are that evolved person right now and much of what we need is within us this very moment. Like riding a bike….we have the tools we need but we have to practice and get the feel for it.
As I have said before, I think what ends up serving the individual on their journey of self-care (aka: self love) will be ongoing and uniquely their own creation. Each of us has our own learning curves, our triggers and different needs. Discovering more about all of them can help you create tools for shifting your old patterns….in particular, patterns that limit your capacity for self-care. Only you can do this level of personal questioning and discovery.

I thought I might share a few tools that work for me and perhaps you might get sparked or inspired to improvise with them and create for yourself…….

-I ask questions…….

For self-care I ask myself if a situation, person or pattern nourishes me. Then, I listen with a soft heart of non-judgment.
The listening is equally as important as the asking in this.

I also speak to myself as a ‘tribe (see my other post about ‘inner tribe’), acknowledging that I have different aspects of myself that show up with varied opinions and needs at different times.

I compassionately listen to the diverse voices that sometimes emerge and simply honor and respect them …without judgment. (You might be surprised what you can learn when you listen without pre-conceived ideas of ‘right and wrong’)

The more I learn about the needs of these different parts I slowly gain insight about my personal behaviors and habits.

As we get to know ourselves more……we realize that one size does not always fit all. Through our self-awareness that comes from questioning, trial and error…… we can understand why some tools work for us while others don’t. We can let go of comparisons and make choices based on personal wisdom and our own unique needs.

Bottom line:
I question, listen without judgment and allow myself to gain insight into how I personally function so I can create effective new tools and technique based on this insight.

-I make lists and observe

Instead of trying to figure it all out ……I simply make a list of objective observations.
This might look like:
~Tightening in chest
~Rapid fire thoughts
~Sense of overwhelm
~Need to distract
~Swelling of anger
~Feeling of insecurity

Nine times out of ten there are all sorts of indicators or re-occurring behaviors that accompany periods of lacking self-care. Many of these are entrenched or learned and have yet to be interrupted.

I simply make the list and leave it until later.
Then when I am not immersed in the feelings/sensations I can connect to things on the list with curiosity.
This will then lead me back to asking simple questions and listening to what follows.

This simple act of listing helps me observe objectively. From there insights can emerge.

It is only through the guide of personal awareness that I am able to unwind the habits that deplete me. Lists teach me to be an engaged observer who is my own best ally.

-When steeped in emotions….
Try to notice the emotion and pause….create a little space.
Remind yourself that what you are feeling is just a moment in time and let it keep moving. Try not to let it get stuck or frozen. Every moment is completely fresh and new. Try thinking of each moment as un-fabricated. Next, look at the ‘entanglement’ and say to yourself ‘there is nothing wrong here’….and notice how that feels….observe whatever thoughts or feelings that follow.
Relax your grip on the moment…..relax the storyline and allow yourself to breathe back into open space inside. Open space without storyline can sometimes be threatening to the habitual pattern so it’s not always simple to manifest. There are many attachments to the image of ‘me’ …….looking and being a ‘right’ way and retreating into this familiar version of self can feel more secure than the wide open space. Space is threatening because there is nothing to hold onto or attach to there.

Play with these….and play with your own imagination and perceptions.
(I sometimes think we underestimate the role of imagination in our own self-discovery. It is a powerful ally when we let it be.)
Perhaps something in these tools might assist you on your discovery of learning yourself….wide-open.

……loving oneself without conditions and judgment IS self-care…..

Thanks for visiting!


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