Coloured portrait

Coloured portrait

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Awareness Heals

Awareness heals. Awareness is the ultimate surgeon, mender, therapist.

Growing strong is a challenge that requires focused determination and action.

So does growing soft.

Massaging the body's knots with foam rollers and balls is not enough when the tension is mental.

After years of chronic built up body tension, relaxing is a challenging task in itself. The whole body feels like one big tension knot, contracted and tight - not tightness of muscular strength, but tightness of tension.

I lie down or sit in a chair, and bring my awareness to the body as a whole, with curiosity and care. Awareness is integrated: body-felt sensations, together with mental pictures, together with verbal thoughts. At first, the body is one tight blob, grey, dark, with shallow, quick breathing and conflicting thoughts.

I take one breath in, and on the exhale I loosen up whichever muscles are first to cooperate: the belly, the pelvic floor, the jaw. Another breath in, and on the next exhale the cooperative muscles soften a bit more, creating spaciousness and luminosity. Breath and thinking slows down. The dark, grey blob lightens up in some areas. I notice my thoughts, but pay attention less to their content, and more to their quality. Mental arguing dissipates and thoughts become more peaceful.

The head, neck and shoulders are the least cooperative in releasing tension. The front of the body lightens up first, at first in waves of warmth, and then the occasional muscle jolt of spontaneous release, followed by a sigh of relief. The mental images are more luminous, as if the dimmer's turned on brighter light. The belly and chest, more spacious, and the inhaling has become softer on the top, deeper, and more fulfilling.

The head begins to soften, at first the right hand side. The left side of the face and head, by comparison, feels dark, small, contracted, heavy, stuffy, the left eye squinting. The trick with Awareness is that it must be caring and non-judgemental, so instead of the old, habitual self-deprecating internal dialogue "Why the fuck can't I let go of tension?", I regard all of my feelings as being equally lovable parts of me, of the Self, some of them parts that I am aware of (the soft, bright, spacious ones), and some of them parts that I am not (yet) aware of (the tension, pain, gray heaviness).

Loving, caring Awareness washes over the entire self, dissolving whatever it's time to dissolve, accepting that which lingers, and then the stretch reflex kicks in, a sure sign of relaxation, and I stretch, and smile, and sigh with an audible 'Aah', and bubbles of energy percolate down the limbs, and I am a tad softer now, a bit lighter, brighter and more spacious.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Grief

Grief comes and goes in waves.

When a wave of grief washes over me, like it has been for the past few days, I'm grieving all my losses that I hadn't fully grieved in the past. The 'knot in the throat', heaviness in my body, the downward movement (like I want to lie down on the ground), and the tears arise together with mental images - memories of past unfinished grief that I now can, and do finally address, now that I'm well equipped with what it takes to face, feel, and process.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Fixing what's broken in life, beginning at home

Repairing everything I can, beginning with what's accessible - the "Low-Hanging Fruit":

- A piece of broken jewellery that I wasn't able to use for years is now fixed! Jewellery represents something valuable and beautiful, an externalization of inner qualities and strengths, like talents. When I sent my pendant to repair, I thought of the talents I hadn't been able to use and share.

- Anything beyond repair gets disposed of. That's the easiest way to get rid of dysfunction :-)

- A beautiful pair of linen pants kept falling when I danced, so I stopped wearing them, and every time I saw these pants in my closet, I told myself: "Such pity!" How does the "Such pity" mental state affect various areas of life?

I sew an elastic band to the linen pants and now I can dance in them!

- Anything that doesn't fit, goes away. That's how one wave of clothing left my closet. The second wave gone were clothes that don't suit me, even if they fit, and even if they're new: not my colour, not my flattering shape, "not my thing". I've exorcised the devils in my wardrobe! Who wants things in life (jobs, relationships, surroundings) that don't suit you?

- All the shoes that hurt my feet are gone! No more painful movement! I'm keeping flats, minimalist, comfortable shoes and cultivating Moving With Pleasure!

- Weeding the garden. Weeds are plants in the wrong place. If I didn't put it there, or if I put it there and there's too much of it (like the peppermint plant this year), or if I put it there and I have changed my mind about it, it gets weeded! Weeding the garden, then the Facebook posts I follow, then relationships.

- Cleaning and tidying up regularly, because it's easier and more accessible to turn chaos to order in one's home than in all other areas of life!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Awareness Through Movement

Awareness through movement:

I woke up thinking of a topic that brings up fear, and I tense up. I close my eyes and notice what specifically I am doing, and feel that I am squeezing my thighs while rolling my pelvis backward. I am now curious to see exactly what I'm doing, so I repeat this motion slowly, with attention, squeeze and roll back, then relax, the squeeze and roll again. 

What else participates in the movement? 

I notice that as I roll my pelvis backwards, I press my shoulders forward, as if they meet in front of my body, and I lift my chin up and tense my eyebrows. I repeat the tensing and releasing over and over again, deliberately and very slowly, small movements, and I let a sigh of relief out, a spontaneous tension release.

I take a rest and feel my body. It's easier now to relax the pelvic floor muscles, and there's flow down my legs, with occasional twitching, a pleasant feeling of something bubbling up.

I ask myself, what else? As I resume the movement of tensing, rolling and releasing, I notice how the balls of my eyes participate in the movement, tensing up, focusing in one particular point where I look at the mental image of a disturbing memory. The movement becomes a rocking between the past (past 'tense', hahaha!) and the relaxed present moment, and I continue to sigh and relax into the now, in my my body. 

Being in my own skin has just become a little bit easier. Thinking of the topic of my earlier concern, it seems now manageable.

#awareness #embodiment #awarenessthroughmovement 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Personal Updates

In case you're wondering...

Separated husband is hospitalized for a month now. I'm selling the house, sorting out finances, making runs and calls to hospital, banks, lawyers, doctors, his workplace, cleaning house, packing, sorting, throwing, crossing the town from where I live to the property home and back. Dealing with rules, laws, bureaucracy and plain shitty circumstances that are out of my hands. 

My work projects are waiting till this is all sorted out and cleared. Spending very little time on Facebook: when personal stress is hugely demanding, the world's problems fade away in importance...

When this is all cleared, I'm having a party and you're invited!

~~~

That I treat a cruel person with compassion has nothing to do with rewarding or reciprocating his behaviour, but it has to do with who I am and what I cultivate.

I don't follow feelings because there's a mix of them: "You're a hurtful, heartless asshole and I want nothing more to do with you!"; "I am so sad to see you suffer like this, can I make it better for you?"; "You dug yourself into this hole with your crappy lifestyle and attitude, now live with it!", "There have been times when you did kind things for me, and I remember them" and "I can't let you fall through the cracks, no one else is there for you, so I will!"

I follow the compass of my own compassion and try to do that which is kindest, and which I can live with after the deed. No, I am not sure, and I have doubts. I have no map for much of my choosing, checking with my feelings but not relying solely on them, and checking often with the wise and caring people in my life - friends, coaches and therapists.

When I get burned out, which I often do, since I'm still fragile after the years of distress, and while I'm still grieving for Kinook, then I return the focus of my compassion to myself and run to a yoga class (even if in street clothes and without a bra!) or do some other practice (or iPad games, or Netflix Therapy) and then spiral my care outwards again, to include others.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Tensions on the Road to Recovery

The road to recovery from trauma is bumpy when the tail end of long-term adversity hits you. Ideally there would be time out from stresses, two months in a Spa in the Alps or two years in a Buddhist monastery, followed by a steady rebuilding of resources. 

My time, attention and actions are intended to build the future that I like, and demanded by the consequences of past choices. There are tensions between what's urgent and what is important. There is tension between treating someone like the cruel, mean-willing abuser and deceiver that he has been , or like the embodiment of human suffering in need compassion.

My mind can hold opposites, but my actions can only be singular, and I must choose.

How is the future best served?

What is the kindest course of action?

Which course of action is the most fulfilling, in the long run? The most liberating? The most harmonious?

And how can the body know with clarity which choice is which, if I am to follow the pleasure principle, when tension is so intense and acute, that it causes pain?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Types of Healing Modalities

What do you know about healing methods that are not part of medical science?

There's a great deal of confusion about which is what, and all methods that are not Western science are placed in one big box.

You can categorize the disciplines and approaches in several ways. 

Complementary  methods are those that work well alongside drugs, surgery and regular medical interventions. You can seek massage therapy, see the chiropractor and receive Reiki treatments, and still take your antibiotics.

Alternative methods are those based on principles that are at odds with medical science practices, and are used instead, as an alternative: classical homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.

Natural therapies use nature-sourced remedies. Instead of taking Tylenol for a headache, you take feverfew tincture.

Holistic methods are comprehensive modalities that regard the human or animal as a whole, body and mind not separate but one thing, and consider all the various subjective and objective factors to health. Homeopathy, holistic reflexology (the Grinberg method), TCM and Ayurveda are holistic.