Headloose. Photo credit: Paola Raymi
I’ve been in a long-term, committed relationship with my body for nearly my entire life. Like any relationship, it’s had its ups and down. We have not always been on the same page and there have been times it felt like we didn’t even know each other. Those are normal relationship issues that everyone has.
What I’d like to talk to you about today is the one time that we almost split up.
It was a few years back. There had been an accident which left my body scarred and burned. It left me shaken, anxious and unsure about the future. As if that wasn’t enough to test the relationship, the accident also brought on early menopause.
This made me unsure of the present as well. I could no longer feel the ground beneath my feet or sense those feet as part of me. It was as if something had formed between me and my body, my body, and the world, breaking my connection to everything.
All the things we used to love to do together, became exhausting. Yoga, pilates… I made up excuses not to go. Romantic walks with the dogs, like to the mailbox? Out of the question. We were still together as far as anyone could see, but we were apart in every way that mattered.
We weren’t talking. Sure, we were still going through the motions. We kind of had to, but we had lost that spark, the magic, and I wasn’t sure we’d ever get it back.
It wasn’t just my relationship with my body. I wasn’t talking to the world either. I wasn’t talking to anyone. I couldn’t follow conversations or focus on anything other than what was going on between me and my body.
Every time we tried to meditate together, it would grow restless and fidgety. I’d get angry and leave. Most days, all I really wanted to do was run home and hide. Did you know that it is almost impossible to run home without your body?
It is. That made it so much worse.
It seemed to me that all fun activities we typically used to do to get us out of a funk or spice things up were no longer available to us. Not meditation. Not Yoga. Not even going out with friends.
Feeling this separation from my body made me wonder: “Who am I?” “Am I dying?” “How long can I go on like this?”
Throughout all of this, so far as anyone could tell, we were still together. That’s because we were together, most of the time. Dreams were the only place I could go to get away, to be by myself but trying to get to sleep had turned into a complete nightmare.
This was new territory for me and it came with all new challenges. Add to that my hormones going haywire.
How do you tell your friends and loved ones, that the two of you might be breaking up?
Maybe we just needed counseling.
How dance re-entered my life.
I had sensed the healing needed to be different than traditional therapy/counseling. Something that not only made me aware of the purpose of what was happening (insight/purpose) but something that could rewire the old pathways and stories in which parts of me and my relationship to my body were frozen or dead (body/instinct).
The best part of this whole story is that my body knew on some level what it needed for us to repair and heal. It was telling me to find a combination of bodywork and inner work. I was slow in listening, trusting and following its prompts but I got there.
It was during a conversation with a colleague that I was made of aware of Bessel A. Van Der Kolk”s book, “The Body Keeps The Score”.
Van Der Kolk’s book is a powerful, truthful, insightful and well-researched study of trauma and new modalities of treatment. It needs to be in the hands of therapists, psychologists, teachers, counselors, police officers, caregivers and just about anybody who works with people and wants to live in a safe and caring world.
Someone needs to put this book in Oprah’s hands.
As I read the book, it showed me what the separation I was going through really was. I followed the recommendations and did the inner work and bodywork. I began to see results. But before I go on, I want to share a few excerpts from the book with you to give you a sense of Van Der Kolk’s thoughts and approach to trauma.
“Psychologists usually try to help people use insight and understanding to manage their behavior. However, neuroscience research shows that very few psychological problems are the result of defects in understanding; most originate in pressures from deeper regions in the brain that drive our perception and attention. When the alarm bell of the emotional brain keeps signaling that you are in danger, no amount of insight will silence it.”
That was on target with how I was feeling.
“Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves.”
I did plenty of that.
“Imagination is absolutely critical to the quality of our lives. Our imagination enables us to leave our routine everyday existence by fantasizing about travel, food, sex, falling in love, or having the last word—all the things that make life interesting. Imagination gives us the opportunity to envision new possibilities—it is an essential launch pad for making our hopes come true. It fires our creativity, relieves our boredom, alleviates our pain, enhances our pleasure, and enriches our most intimate relationships.”
I had imagination and knew to incorporate it into the healing experience.
Next week, I will tell you how these passages helped me learn to be with myself and how dancing brought me and my body back together again, one step at a time.
TO BE CONTINUED.
Photo Credit: Sujan Sarkar
How positive are you?
Are you positive to the point to of unicorns, rainbows and happily ever afters?
Or are you positive enough to see your glass as half full?
Are you just positive enough to list what you’re grateful for?
And shiny enough to know the world won’t always be dull?
Choosing and Being Positive
Being positive requires us to make the choice to change the way we focus our mindset and how we frame conversations, relationships, ideas about ourselves and people in our lives. Staying positive requires us to recognize that the state of our biochemistry, hormones, lipids and proteins influence our emotions and bodies very directly, as well.
Here’s the problem: If we aren’t in the right environments or are emotionally, hormonally, physically, or spiritually off balance, we may find that choice to be unavailable to us. We feel the pull and drag of doubts and fears. It fast becomes a conundrum like which comes first the chicken or the egg? Which matters more, the hormones, et al or the chosen mindset?
Perhaps we don’t have to have an answer when it comes to this question. Maybe, we can approach this scenario in two ways: actively create a positive mindset eg: think what a wonderful opportunity you face when there’s a hard day ahead, and take advantage of delays and waiting time to relax. Think to yourself- “This delay gives me the opportunity to breathe and relax instead of rushing around.” The relaxing in turn creates a more pleasant inner, hormonal environment which in turn creates a more positive attitude.
Practicing choosing to be positive and at the same time, making the choice to relax, create positive feedback loops making it more and more the default response for most situations and realities you may encounter in your daily life. A win for all.
Playing Bigger, Brighter and Stronger
Now let’s move the conversation up a few notches.
Is it possible to upgrade our positivity mindset?
Could a more positive mindset provide a tonic to firm up our sense of self and security in these challenging days of upheaval, uncertainty, and doubt?
I believe it can.
Here are 5 ways you can boost your positivity today.
1 Vision and Clarity – ask yourself: how big is my vision for myself and all the things that are important to me? If your vision is one in which you are a loser every time eg the one who doesn’t get the job, or make the money, can’t go on vacation or feel excited about life, it may be time to scrap those thoughts and start thinking bigger in which you experience joy or fulfillment, a vision that makes you feel proud of yourself.
2 Get the Data – ask yourself whether you prefer being positive or negative? Which feels better to you? Whichever is the most rewarding then go for that way of being.
3 Practice makes it possible – ask yourself: am I willing to be positive in the face of my negative scripts? Am I willing to make the changes even if they feel hoaky or I feel self-conscious?
4 Peers and seers – ask yourself: who are the most positive people in my life? How do I feel when I am around them? Make an effort to surround yourself with people who inspire you. Develop your ideas, share your passions and feed your heart and soul.
5 Passion – ask yourself: what am I passionate about? What can I discuss endlessly? What truly lights me up? Do more of that.
Building our positivity muscles can create the kind of momentum to achieves goals that have lived as secret, untapped dreams: an Oscar speech, a Nobel Prize for peace, ending hunger, finding self-fulfillment, becoming a parent, overcoming trauma and so on.
I invite you today to consider upgrading your positivity levels and bring on the new dawn for better days ahead for all of us.
If you would like some loving guidance, encouragement or a roadmap for unleashing your positivity, even if it is under layers of struggle or trauma, please click on this link for a chat about how we can get you started.
Looking. Photo credit: www.viviphotography.net
Funny, how what we teach can very quickly become what we need to practice ourselves.
Last week, I told several clients: “do it different this time” as they navigated situations that were triggers for them. Instead of going to their default mode of worrying, hiding, or numbing out I asked them to become aware of their go-to responses and try something else.
Today, I need to think along those lines as I encounter obstacles and delays in multiple directions, from the printer not printing, to cleaning dog poop because the dogs decided to go inside (because it snowed), to filling in travel visa application forms that are impossible to fathom.
Over the last 5 or 6 hours I’ve observed myself talking to customer support at Canon and the guys at Cox & Kings Global Services (C & KGS), Keeping in mind how I usually behave after long wait time on the phone: irritable/impatient/anxious and trying, really trying to do it differently this time.
First, as I waited and then as I spoke to customer support with both companies, I did the following things differently:
- I relaxed my body and let go of the squeezing
- I didn’t multitask whilst on the calls
- I took my time explaining and listening to customer support personnel
- I decided to drop 3 things from my to do list (including writing this post)
- I reminded myself that if the travel visa took longer to get or that if, I didn’t get it, it would not be catastrophic.
- I breathed in and connected to my center
By the end of the calls my printer was working, but the application process had come to a standstill. I need supporting documents that I don’t seem to have.
I have taken the next step by contacting the consulate with regard to the visa and hope for a positive outcome pretty soon. As part of my do it different mindset, I will be waiting without anxiety, squeezing or impatience.
That is how I am doing it differently and it seems to be working. How about you, are there situations in which you would like to do it differently? Can you catch your default reactions in time? I would love to hear about your experiences, struggles and successes alike.
Lady Gaga nailed it. She made us feel good as we watched her spectacular halftime performance at the Super Bowl.
She sang, jumped from the roof,* sang some more, danced and leaped off again. It was exhilarating to watch. I wanted more.
Then, for a moment, my mind flickered back to President Trump’s inauguration speech. I had hoped that he would surprise us and show up presidential and inspire us.
It didn’t happen, at all. Instead, I smelled a strong whiff of Emperor Palpatine.
I don’t think that Trump wanted us to feel bad.
I think what he really wants is, perhaps for the Twitterverse to love him. He maybe going about it the wrong way.
But both Gaga and Trump are inspiring me today. Gasp! What Trump inspiring? Yes! Stay with me a minute and keep reading.
Trump and Gaga have achieved incredible success and we can learn from how they did it, to make good happen in our lives. Here are 6 good ways to get started.
1 Have a specific goal with specific results. Trump: president. Lady Gaga (Super Bowl): to make us feel good. Keywords: goal and results. Write down a specific goal or dream and the results you would like to see.
2 If you want something you have to go for it 100%. There is no holding back. Gaga wanted a “never done before” spectacular show and she made that happen by jumping and spider crawling through the air. It was the daring that caught us all. Keywords: daring, innovative. What can you do today that is daring?
3 Trump was an outsider, a joke when he started his bid to become the Republican Party nominee. Now he’s POTUS and the joke’s on us. It takes time, energy and money, people. Keywords: focus, determination: keep your eyes on the prize.What can you do to keep your dream moving forward today?
4 Lady Gaga has her fans and Trump has his fans. They help maintain the momentum and keep the engine moving forward when things get tough and are there to cheer the wins. Keywords: support, have people who love you around you. Look around at your crew, do they stand with you for your dreams? It may be time to prune energy drains and recruit people with vision and skills.
5 Whether we like or dislike Trump or Gaga, they are who they are. They accept who they are. Keywords: Self-acceptance, self-confidence. Do you accept who you are? If not, this is a great starting point to dive deep and find your good self.
6 One percent inspiration and 99% perspiration. There are no two ways about it- we’ve got to work hard and keep at it until we achieve what we set our minds and hearts on. Keyword: hard work. Are you willing to put in the extra creativity, work, and energy to make your goals real?
Is there something that you want to make happen? Reread the list above and get your ducks in a row. You can be unstoppable and achieve what you dearly seek to achieve. You may feel like the underdog: outmatched, under skilled. That you don’t have enough money or that it’s simply too late, but as President Trump and Lady Gaga exemplify, you can still make things happen.
Who inspired you today? What was it about them or what they did that motivated you? Truly, remember it’s never too late to start getting fit or get your dream job or find yourself in love with life!