What is your motivation? This was an ongoing question we would all be asked as Drama Majors, while building our character’s back story.
What’s the motivation for that line reading, that movement, that emotion?
It was a question that often stopped us and gave us pause, while we made sure that there was a valid reason for our choice.
Long after leaving theatre work behind, it still remains a valid question, doesn't it?
Let's explore this difference when it comes to Our Selves.
One is supportive, ongoing and lasting. The other has a superficial, even fleeting impact.
Wouldn't it be worth distinguishing between the two? -- and nurturing the one that taps into resilience, strength and steadiness?
I've taken a common enough question, "How do you feel?" and replaced the last word with fear for a reason.
So often when we're moving through a turning point in our lives, we get stalled in the process by what seems to be fear. Yet - that's not accurate for what's really happening.
Let's parse the difference between fearful thoughts and true fear.
Are You doing the "right act" in the "wrong arena"?
This is a great question that a dear friend of mine asked me years ago - long before I was trafficking in energy work, while I was still in broadcasting. It stopped me in the moment and pulled me up short, by bringing me back to the present.
It's another way to take care of Your Self and deepen your practice.
Oh no! Not those -
How often are we confronted with the practice - or lack thereof - of boundaries?
The very word alone can stir up all kinds of emotions, thoughts, fears and regrets: moments missed because our boundaries were too limiting or too lax.
What if we were to treat an ordinary boundary as something that isn't fixed or set in stone, but rather something that is quite breathable and pliable?
"Pull up a Chair ….."
Let's consider a different way to weather a well-worn situation - a long standing pattern that doesn't seem to budge, change, or heal.
You know what I'm describing. We've all been there more often than we'd care to admit.
So - let's navigate it in a different way, shall we?
How many times have you - have we all - made some comment that is dismissive, judgmental, shortsighted, incorrect, or even cruel? In those moments, we can be so sure of our "expertise" in assessing the situation and summing it up so very neatly.
How about we turn that moment on its head and branch out into a deeper practice?
Let's dive a little more deeply into Listening with the Bodymind, shall we?
I'm often asked how to tell the difference between our thoughts, fears, and worries ( what I call our Chattermind ) and that deep place of knowing, our internal compass, which I refer to as the Bodymind.
Actually, there is a quick way to discern between the two. All it takes is a bit of practice and a willingness to listen.
Let's consider "Martyrs" - we've all known them, and perhaps some of us have one or two of them in our life right now.
Why the quotes? Because "Martyrs" aren't the real deal and remembering this can prevent a lot of upheaval, heartache and even guilt.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard this phrase lately - "you would think" that he, she or they would know better; behave differently; act accordingly; do what I want; listen to me; take my advice; follow my lead and so on ….
Yet, what is this phrase really about? What is the signal it's sending You?
Let’s begin with the definition of triage —
to assign degrees of urgency to (wounded or ill patients).
Triage is performed in a critical situation — one that involves life or death split second decisions. I’d like to look at it from a different angle or two.
Let’s play with a paradox — “Get a grip" / "Let it Go".
"Get a Grip" -- Step back into reality, reel Your Self in, calm down.
"Let it Go" -- Drop your expectations, stop pushing your agenda, move on.
We've all heard these two phrases as separate admonishments, yet what if we put them together as part of our practice?
My father used to have a great phrase:
“Let them screw it up the way they want to!”
I call on this mantra often. It reminds me that our agenda isn’t necessarily what someone else needs in a given moment, and it gives a nod to our need (ego) to show others that we really know what’s best for them.
In a word, this teaching comes down to boundaries —
A couple of quick questions:
Are you "shouldering" too much responsibility?
Do you have a "heavy heart"?
Does someone’s behavior make you “sick to your stomach”?
Have you been “hot under the collar” due to work?
Yes — these are all turns of phrases that we use. However — let’s take another look at what they might teach us.
“Beware the Guru.”
This is a mantra I return to often, especially when I’m with a friend, colleague or even a client who doesn’t consider challenging their Practitioner(s).
We all look to guides, teachers and experts in our quest for Wellness. Some we find very effective, with some we don’t resonate, and with others we cede Our Selves to their agenda.
My question to You is: Are you truly charting your own Healing Path? - or are you just following someone else’s Directions?
Here’s a very basic practice that will not steer you wrong when you find Your Self at the crossroads of Words and Actions.
It’s a short cut that will allow You to bypass all kinds of seeming miscues, misinformation and mysteries.
It’s another way to “drop a pin” as part of your internal GPS system.
Here's an interesting practice to do when you find Your Self in the place of what I call "less than". You know that feeling -- surrounded by the mental ghosts that haunt us in the moments of doubt, loneliness or fear -- whether what we're feeling is accurate or not.
It is effective across the board with challenging emotions, events, and thoughts.
The other day, I found myself writing this reminder:
"Stop expecting to have your expectations met."
Somehow, this simple statement felt quite liberating and hopeful.
“Black cyber giving” — it sounds incongruent with the intention of the season, doesn’t it? The Holidays are now the “Holy Daze” and we are stunned by it’s overwhelming energy.
Let’s consider another way of celebrating this time of year, shall we?
"If you think you're enlightened,
go spend a week with your family."
With the holidays quickly closing in on us, I thought it’d be a good time to review what I like to call “table manners”. We all know the basics — regardless of whether we’re adept at them or not: rudeness checked at the door, mouth closed while eating, no reaching into someone else’s place, common courtesy, and so on ……
Let’s move away from the table, take these dining do’s and don’ts and practice them in any number of situations that we’ll be faced with in the coming weeks.
Are You ready for the challenge?
"What if something "bad" happens?"
Ah yes -- the universal "what if?"
Let's talk about what I call the past or future imperfect. No -- not the way we learned the tenses in language class, rather, the way we perpetuate them in our lives.
It usually indicates a different pattern /way of being that has become the status quo -- the beginning of an era, movement, or behavior.
I'd like to take it back a few steps, though, change one letter,and look at what I call the now normal.
"...why don't you love me?
Oh -- you do? I'll see you later ...."
(Stephen Sondheim / "Follies")
Let's talk about what I call "emotional ambushes".
Let me elaborate.
"If at first, you don't succeed, try, try again."
Let's rewrite this proverb right now. Let's replace the word "try" with allow. It immediately shifts the energy of the intention and creates the possibility for any number of outcomes.
Let's take a different look at procrastination. How many times and ways have we chastised ourselves for not plowing through our "to do" list in record time? What if there's wisdom and a different possibility that "procrastination" offers?
Granted, standard issue procrastination is obvious -- when we're choosing something -- anything -- so we don't "have to" do what's necessary. Taking this deeper, though, there's a fine, distinct line between procrastinating and cultivating your right timing.
"Failure is not an option." ~
(from the movie "Apollo 13")
Let's dare to eliminate "failure" as a possibility, let alone an option, shall we? How often do we give ourselves only two outcomes for an event: success or failure? A++++ or nothing. Not only is there no wiggle room, this is a setup for the one thing we can be so afraid of: Can't, musn't, don't "fail".
Let's consider something I like to refer to as "Altitude Sickness" -- not the kind you get from traveling to places high above sea level. Rather, the kind you get by opting for the "high road" in a given situation.
I'd like to connect with our Inner Lady Macbeth -- let's "dish the dirt", though not in the way we usually do. Instead, I'm referring to something I saw years ago on a kitchen magnet:
I'm by no means advocating a boycott of cleanliness -- after all, "neatness counts". Let's just put things into a different perspective.
I know, this is a popular buzz phrase and sometimes it gets to be a little much, doesn't it? However, I felt it was the right time to reconsider this sentiment. There's truth here, and if you're willing, it can make the deeply challenging times less so.
"If it isn't moving, it's dying."
Gil Hedley, Somanaut
.....one of the best distillations of wellness I've ever heard ....
Consider the fact that we are mostly water.
Now consider all of the ways water occurs in nature, especially when contained by land: oceans, lakes, ponds, streams. When you're standing in a crystalline river / stream bed and you can see allthe rocks around and below your feet, what is the water doing?
Think babbling brook vs. an algae covered pond. This is why movement = wellness.
When was the last time you saw a new litter of kittens or puppies? Remember how they tumble all over each other -- "elbowing" or "pawing" their way to their mother when they're hungry? I call it "Scrambling for the Feed". It's an image I'd like you to consider.
Watching babies invariably invokes a response of "awww", how cute. However, let's overlay this behavior onto adults, when they grasp for something without any regard to their surroundings. Not a very pretty picture, is it?
"Self-Love, my liege, is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting."
Though William Shakespeare said it more poetically, there is a modern version we've all encountered:
"Adjust your own oxygen mask before assisting others."
Isn't that selfish? even cruel? -- Really? -- Let's play out the scenario--
How many times did we all hear variations of this as we were growing up?
Despite our protestations, there's something to be said for heeding this advice.
So many of our word choices, emphasized phrases and even speech patterns can reflect how we physically manifest our thoughts.
Don't we all know someone -- ourself? -- who repeats phrases like:
It's killing me ~ This always happens ~
I hate it when ~ I'm not good at that ~
I can't because ~ If only .... then ~
I couldn't possibly ~
It's because of my background ~
and so on ........ It's no wonder our physical selves respond accordingly.
Let's reframe "Self-Reflection".
While catching up with a dear friend the other day, I found myself grousing about someone we both know. At almost the same moment, we looked at each other and nodded in recognition that the "issue" at hand was much more about me than our friend. The reminder I evoke is the phrase "mirror, mirror" from the story of Snow White.
Remember how the Evil Queen would receive an answer she didn't like? -- an answer that was accurate, yet infuriating for her? We're much the same way, when confronted with an example of our "lesser selves".
Anytime we're emotionally charged by a person, situation, or behavior, it's not really about them. It's about us. Invariably, what we're being presented with is an aspect of ourselves that we aren't aware of, don't like, or have disowned.
Let's consider "ANGR" -- and no, this is not a typo.
A few years ago, I was in a medical bookstore, browsing the racks. I found myself drawn to a book on cardiac rehab. As I thumbed through it, the pages fell open to a discussion about the impact of anger on the heart. I figured it would be "no brainer" info, until my eyes fell upon the etymology of the word.
ANGR, in Old Norse, originally meant GRIEF.
Let's begin with a dictionary definition of the word "reframe":
To look at, present, or think of (beliefs, ideas, relationships, etc) in a new or different way; to redescribe, from a different perspective.
Now let me put this into an accessible practice for you:
Consider the rich lessons a sculpture holds. It's a wealth of different views, textures, perspectives and styles in one object. You can experience it from different angles, in different light, during different times, and so on.
You can return to it and see it anew, walk around it, or just commune with it. We've all done this. We all have our favorites. What if you were to allow the sculpture to be a representation of possibilities, full of limitless teachings?