Reframing our Relationship to Stress

This podcast gives an overview of how the nervous system functions in relation to stress as well as looking at the difference between physical threats and perceived stressors. Our bodies are amazing! They are designed to meet stress but we need to understand the importance of having a more flexible nervous system and what getst in our way of this. Super simple exercises are included in the podcast for you to explore.

 

Awareness insight and exercise

I have been speaking to the importance of awareness and why it is essential. Here is a simple exercise I call ‘Body Scan’ to help you build your personal awareness. You can do it in as little as a few minutes or longer when you have the time. This episode offers you the basics so you can do it on your own anywhere.

Our Relationship to the Unconscious

This podcast explores the nature of the unconscious, how it interacts in our life and ways to shift our relationship to it. Developing our awareness and learning to interact with our unconscious is a game changer. For more insights and exercises check out the website SoundBodyWisdom.com.

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……

History~memory~choice -Part 2

Try this…….
The next time you find yourself in a situation of challenging emotions, conflict or conditioned reaction…….try to imagine everything you are thinking and feeling as this river. By this I mean let go……. try to consciously allow it to flow over (or through) you without getting stuck on one thought or feeling. Let all possible thoughts, ideas, perspectives flow without limitation as you choose to look around and see what else there is.  Remind yourself you can always choose when you want to narrow your vision and grab that familiar branch or rock….. but see if you can surrender. For just a few moments see if you can sense that there are other possibilities for how you might choose to see, feel and think.
Notice how it feels to let go of ‘right and wrong’, certainty or the attachment to feeling or thinking a specific way. Let the river take you and see if you can notice something new for however long you are in it. Just notice what you see and feel and perhaps allow the waters to soften you. (I have found when I feel myself soften…..I am able to be with my past conditioning/responses but can also open to a new landscape in the present.)
**Perhaps think of it in metaphors you would enjoy…… maybe a fabulous crossword puzzle, a challenging piece of music, a math problem or an incredibly satisfying organization project. A place where you bring your attention and slowly reveal that which was not seen or known before.**

I want to share a personal story that is an example of what I am trying to describe.
This story is probably one of the greater defining stories in my life and had such impact on so many aspects of who I am.
My grandmother died when I was 12 and there was a consequent chain of significant events which contributed to her death being emotionally and psychologically complex.

I have spent quite a bit of time in the past few decades unfolding the layers of this grief, the loss and the story.
This time of year it is ever more present as a certain tangible melancholy seems to invade my cells starting around my birthday in early March.  And so it has become like a pilgrimage of sorts each year at this time……honoring my birth, the coming of Spring and my grandmother’s passing.
Perhaps that all sounds so clear and tidy……but it can be pretty messy along the way wrestling with so many ghosts of thought and emotion.

So…….now that you have some back ground let me share how this particular story of me connects to what I am writing about.

The other day as I was talking to a friend about how things unfolded with her dying (overflowing with all my years of personal reflection and insight). I realized again almost for the first time, as memory is sometimes conveniently attached to certain perspectives, that I was still choosing to perceive her dying  as ‘tragic’ and negative. There was only ‘black or white’ and I chose ‘black’.
As I softened and allowed myself to be curious I discovered (and remembered) so many other truths.
The truth that life unfolds with unknowable blessing and challenges. That it is up to me as far as how I carry those memories, how I tell those stories and how I let it permeate my sense of being in the world.
As a child I couldn’t do that….the only choice I knew was grief and deep loss and that was what I carried with me unquestioned into adulthood. This seemed like a fair assessment…….so why would I question it?

I choose to question it because I realized that only feeling the ‘grief and loss’ perpetuated the perception of ‘negative’ or ‘tragedy’ in some way. And when I allow myself to be in the river of thoughts and emotions and let all perspectives wash over me…..that is when I see there are so many other elements to the landscape other than the rocks of grief and loss.
The other day I wasn’t clinging to a branch where all I could see was the story of this as a ‘sad tragedy’. When I allowed myself to keep moving through the waters of possibility and not remain stuck in one perspective,  I could recognize I am amazingly who I am because of her passing and all that followed.
That it is absolutely possible to be with the grief, honor her life (and death) and also recognize that there was so much beauty that also grew from it. That her dying was not just an ‘end’ …..it planted seeds of beginning within me. From here I am able to both feel appreciation for her life and her death….as well as the other things that followed.

Arriving in this perspective has taken curiosity and permission (and still there are times I ‘forget’). I could easily stay attached to the familiar perspective of ‘sad tragedy’ but through practice I have found other ‘truths’ and through this I have found greater love, appreciation and freedom.
I believe this is true with most aspects of our stories, memories and lives.
Why not be curious? Why not gently unfold layers and discover new possibilities of how you feel and think in your skin and in the world?

We have this possibility every day…..every moment……..perhaps just pick one and see what you find……
why not?

Thanks for reading……..
blessings
jacq

guilt

Guilt

…….is fascinating.

Just look at the word above and see what it elicits from within you.

It’s more than a word…..it is a whole ecosystem that is vast in scope and persistent in the human experience.
If we let go of discussing the many religious affinities…… we still have so much left to reflect upon (even if it is perhaps fueled by religious lineage).

Let’s make a short list of some potential guilt triggers:
-Eating (or not eating) certain things
-A choice made during a major life event
-An action taken that affected someone else adversely
-Simply feeling happy
-‘Awkward’ social interactions
-Forgetting to send that birthday card

Guilt is also something we find utilized as a technique for influencing the behavior of others:
-A parent with a child
-A partner with their intimate
-An organization with its members
-Advertisers toward consumers

……and I am sure you could add even more to these lists.  Guilt is also powerful at its most subtle and I think this contributes to its continued life span and affect.

I personally feel ‘guilt’ has no real value (which I can imagine stirs any number of responses) and is a non-growthful mechanism.
I have had some argue that guilt is what helps guide your behavior in a society. But for me that is the role or job of the ‘conscience’.
The definition of conscience is:
an aptitude, faculty, intuition, or judgment of the intellect that distinguishes right from wrong. Moral evaluations of this type may reference values or norms (principles and rules)

So, if we have conscience to do the work of assessing our choices….what is the role of guilt?

(And to clarify….I feel guilt is different from the natural and balanced process of remorse that we sometimes experience and transform throughout our life. I think remorse left to fester can become the weight of guilt and no longer a process but a location.)

Guilt feels like it keeps us dwelling in the past as opposed to living in the now or the possibility of future.
Our conscience is what helps us reflect on our choices/behaviors and decide if might have ‘fallen short’,  need to make amends or grow in a certain aspect of ourselves. But guilt on the other hand seems to tether us and limit us. It can become a resident presence within us.

Here is the thing about the past……we have the ability to choose how we perceive it and feel about it. We get to choose how we tell the story. This is not saying you can change the things that have happened in the past nor is this saying you should be ‘dishonest’. I am simply saying you can change how you feel about the events of the past because they don’t exist except as a memory or as a perception we tell ourselves and others. You can decide how you would like to tell the story of your past in which it is more supportive for your growth in the now and energy you take into your future. Not always a simple unwinding….. but with practice this becomes an amazing tool for personal growth.

Perhaps ask yourself where guilt has become habitual? Think about any or all the moments in the course of a day or week where you feel guilty or ‘bad’ about something (no matter how small….because they accumulate).
Is it possible that guilt has become a method for avoiding growth or change? How does guilt give you permission to simply remain in the perception of inadequacy or sense of misery? What else might you notice?

Remorse, sadness or grieving is a natural response and human process we all go through. It is an opportunity to feel and move through the waves of emotions and emerge into a place where the weight of these emotions are not limiting you. In contrast, guilt, rarely seems to be helping you move into new territory or growth.

Throughout our lives we all make ‘poor’ choices, cause hurt or behave in ways that we struggle with deeply…..
I don’t think there is a way to avoid this. But the potency of these events is truly in how we perceive these moments, tell the story and let them evolve as we move forward with new insight.

How does guilt support your growth and continued brilliance?

(And when we make poor choices, for which we might have guilt, are those choices not often caused by our not feeling brilliant but small? And wouldn’t dwelling in guilt create a perpetual cycle for more poor choices…… and more guilt?)

The only things I can imagine that have any authentic value are the ones that lift us up. The things that allow each of us to rise to our brilliance and meet it fully. Anything that keeps you ‘small’, less than or feeling lacking doesn’t serve you or the world.

Ultimately, each of us needs to look at what lies underneath the guilt and find the emotions, stories and energies that are keeping the guilt stuck within us. Guilt is less about the event itself and more about how we perceive and feel about it. This is where your tools of unconditioned love and curiosity can come in……..
Let the feeling or story of guilt become the guide towards Love. I have found, in my life, that Love is truly greater than fear (or anything else). That things like fear, anger and guilt typically exist from a lack of loving within myself. Nobody could teach me the details of this……I had to discover its essence on my own.

I had to be curious enough to love myself…….
…… to let go of feeling attached to ideas and move towards what brought me closer to my brilliance.

Thanks for reading and sharing.
blessings
jacq

motivation for discovery

Does the change you desire for yourself come from comparing yourself to things externally or does it comes from your own intuition or inner sense of constriction/limitation?
So often we look at the world around us and through a process of judging, comparing and critiquing we create a list of ‘shoulds’ that become our guide towards personal growth. The challenge of this, I have found, is that it becomes more of an imbalanced ego based directive that is rooted in this system of ‘greater than/lesser than’.

It is tricky to write about because there is such subtlety in all of this and no ‘black or white’ definitives……..

We certainly want to strive to grow and sometimes it is an external ‘reminder’ that can help us. But I am talking about the process of seeing someone/something outside of ourselves and then feeling a sense of ‘lacking’ based on comparison and judgement completely entrenched in a sense of ‘greater than/lesser than’….completely based on reaching for something outside of us. We then push and pull and critique ourselves toward trying to look or be this perceived better way.
The missing piece quite often in this process is personal reflection that allows you to ask what these certain qualities or outcomes mean to you. How might this ‘change’ serve you and how does it inspire you?
It’s possible to see the external stimulus and take it inside of yourself, allowing your own authentic intuition to be your guide…..not starting from a sense of ‘lacking’ or ‘less than’ but of curiosity. To have a personal barometer for your own needs toward the growth that will most supprt you.
Each of us is completely unique, not just in fingerprints and DNA, but our personal journey and map of who we are and what is essential for our livelihood. We might find similarities and affinities with others….of course….but ultimately we are beautifully unique and each of us needs to take responsibility to get to know ourselves and ‘tweak’ our personal journey as we go.
Much in the same way that a medicine someone is taking at a particular moment might not be a medicine I need to take in that same moment (in fact, I could possibly get sick if I do) we must remember to listen to our own needs and experiences.

For me it starts with being an ally to all my parts. A place of unconditional love and not self deprecation and criticism. A place of feeling whole already and yet open to growth, increased wellness and evolution.

Feeling inspired to grow and cultivate parts of yourself is beautiful work. To do this ‘work’ authentically I think it is essential to discover where your motivation is coming from.  Too often our endeavors for ‘personal growth’ become set ups for perceived failure or unhealthy comparisons of merit.  This seems to create an idea that ‘personal growth’ is not really possible or that it’s something we are perpetually ‘chasing’. I often hear people joke about the possibility of ever reaching enlightenment, as if it is a lofty goal only certain ‘elite’ reach. The truth is we all have it within us already…..it is only our perception of where it is, what it is and who we are that can limit our connection to it.
All this ‘personal growth’ is already within us. We need to do the simple and yet complicated practice of being curious to know ourselves because even the best tools can fall short without personal knowledge. All practices and tools involve you walking the path and doing the work of you. Nobody can do it but you.

I was watching a movie where a character said “You need to choose your thoughts the same way you choose your clothes”. I thought this was a great reminder to how simple it can be….with practice. Getting to know our thoughts and discerning….choosing……this is the art and practice of being human. The choosing of our thoughts completely shifts the playing field to one of empowerment and personal reflection…..not just being pushed and shoved by models of ‘lesser than/greater than’. We get to choose these thoughts that in turn affect how we feel and how we choose our actions toward ‘personal growth’.
You have all the tools you need within you….there is nothing to obtain that is outside of you.
Why not cultivate them……..
Truly.
Reach within and discover.
Be open to the surprise and the challenge.
Be curious.
Be Loving.

Unplug from so much that you have been taught when it comes to the journey of personal growth and begin to know what medicine you need right now and what might be limiting you.
Only you can discover it.
Why not dive into the ocean of you…..is there anything more precious and amazing?

Thanks for reading.
blessings
jacq


Fatal error: Call to undefined function fabthemes_content_nav() in /home/ian/public_html/soundbodywisdom.com/wp-content/themes/Pilgrim/archive.php on line 85