Coloured portrait

Coloured portrait

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Ways to Tell a Life Story

Happiness has, in part, to do with how we tell the stories of our lives. The ultimate happy ending is how we die, whether we die well or not. The rest of the story, is how we live.

Life is suffering. Buddhist thought tells you so. Once you get that right, you make it your purpose to remedy that suffering for yourself, your loved ones, and the world. 

The stories you read and you watch depict some kind of suffering. We focus on what’s wrong, and it sells - it is a known fact among fiction writers and journalists that good news doesn’t sell, but bad news, and stories of pain, suffering, tense plots, unmet expectations, frustrations and losses make good articles, books and movies. Tragedies, stories of war, of injustice, and of every kind of suffering receive the highest ratings. 

How does listening and watching these stories impact your psyche? 

You already had, and maybe still have, your share of suffering. And you have also been having your share of joys, fulfillment, and triumph. But what makes a happy ending story of your life? Clearly, a good death - death is the end of this life’s journey. Everything in between your birth and your death are mere episodes, and they end where you choose to end each one of them, and that peak of the most intense suffering, or at the culminating joy. 

Happy ending stories, from fairy tales to Hollywood movies, are so uplifting because each story takes a wrong turn through some kind of suffering (threat, loss or conflict) but it ends on a high note life episode - the wedding, the game winning, the end of the war, the return home, the slaying of the monster, finding the lost love or finding a new and more suited loving partner. When the movie stops on a high note, we are left uplifted; when the movie ends on a low note, we are left depressed. Watch enough depressing movies and you’ll unconsciously mimic the pattern, and tell your own life stories as little episodes of horror. Watch enough happy endings and you will find it easier to end each of your life episode’s story on a high note, thus adding to your own sense of strength, good fortune, well-being, and overall happiness. 

Perennial Wisdom traditions have always incorporated story telling as part of their healing protocols - stories of heroism and danger, of Darkness and Light, of good fighting the bad, which always end with a message of triumph, where the good prevails and the Light conquers the Darkness sending the listener’s mind to look for the high note in their own life’s episodes, past, present and future. The illness can cease at least in part because we tell it to do so. The despair can turn into hope through reframing your story even when in the midst of a difficult time. Stories have saved my soul in the darkest of times: Joseph Campbell’s Hero journey have helped me reframe my identity from viewing myself as a Victim of an external Perpetrator to seeing myself as the archetypal Hero, and the adversity or adversary as a Dragon to slay. No Hero complains about having a Dragon to slay; Heroes get wounded, but neither helpless, nor bitter and resentful. And when they’re done with the Dragon, and with healing those wounds, they return to their village with a story to tell - a story of triumph, of course.

Next time you binge on Netflix shows, notice how watching those back-to-back episodes leave you feeling. What is the quality of your dreams after watching at night? What does your narrative sound like in both your inner dialogue, and in the outer dialogue of your conversations with others? Do you feel inspired to act towards your purpose, or disheartened, discouraged and stuck? 

Which parts of your past are highlighted as you articulate what happened: the lows or the highs? And while you are telling your story, how do you breathe? What do you do with your muscles? How do sit or stand? 

If as you are reading these words you are going through hard times, I encourage you to nourish your soul with some stories of triumph, of sunshine after the rain, of reaching the end of the tunnel. And maybe one day you’ll tell the story of what you’ve been going through and inspire and uplift others.


Monday, January 14, 2019

The Greatest Joy Ever

Day 71 Self-Love: Desire 
I have swam with dolphins in the Red Sea and swam amongst live corals and myriad colourful fishes. I strolled through the Keukenhof gardens during the April blooms to the sound of magical music. I gasped in awe watching the green iridescent dance of the Northern Lights above the Canadian Arctic. I trained my palate to incredible flavours mostly unknown to my culture of origin where I grew up and nourished this body and soul with textures and fragrance of heavenly foods. I abandoned myself in embraces of passion to pleasures which sent shivers up my spine. I have played, as an adult, in theme parks where I had more fun than in my entire childhood, and I have travelled to Belgium to let its chocolates melt on my tongue until I sang out loud with glorious pleasure, and travelled through France, walked up the Mont Saint Michel looking down at the tides; I’ve strolled through the Swiss Alps with two of my best friends and asked them to pinch me, to truly believe that what I was seeing was true, and not a dream. I breathed the air of beauty and awe surrounding the paintings and statues of classic Italian Masters, and burst out in tears of gratitude at the chance of being there, inside the St. Peter cathedral in Vatican, the Florence Uffizzi, and the tiny gems of art exhibitions in Venice. 
I have listened to music that made my heart vibrate with such beauty, and saw more beautiful sunrises and sunsets in gorgeous nature than I can count. I have breathed in the air fragrant with pine in the mountains, and air filled with salt by the sea. I have trotted alongside beloved paws on long hiking trails and the Mediterranean beach; and rubbed happy bellies, and kissed cold, wet noses that I loved. I played-fought with puppies till my hands turned pink and my heart melted down in a hot puddle of love.
All these pleasures that I have lived seem to pale to the absolute best joy I have known so far: the pleasure and joy to inspire, enrich and connect; to touch your life even a little bit, to give you hope, to give you strength, to add to your life a little bit so that you can flourish. 
Adding to someone else’s happiness is my greatest desire, my greatest joy, and my greatest reward and pleasure.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Encouragement and Self-Love

I heard my teacher talking about how much he enjoys supporting people in doing what they want to do. He had just worked with a professional singer and helped her through a personal breakthrough. He himself does what he wants to do, and has been doing it for fifty years or so.
Encouragement is transmitted and reflected back.
I heard a community leader talk about how success always eluded her. She also de-platforms anyone who disagrees with her views.
I heard a mother saying how her daughter wanted to be a dancer, but she, the mother, thought she wasn't talented enough, and discouraged her from pursuing dance. The mother has led a dull, mediocre life with no creative pursuits.
I heard a mother deny her daughter the cat she wanted. The mother's face spells chronic dissatisfaction, the corners of her mouth point downwards even when she smiles.
We pass on the encouragement or discouragement we ourselves received. 
A teacher once asked me what I wanted to do with my life. She specified: "Not what you think you may be able to do. What do you want to do? Later you'll focus on the 'how to'. This teacher lives her life as she is wanting to, her family supports her, and oh, her children are creative and she always boasts with their accomplishments. 
I'm walking in the footsteps of brilliant teachers - the voices of discouragement are fading away, and encouragement, bit by bit, wins.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Five Questions to Save Your Soul

Day 68 Self-Love: Five Questions that have saved my soul, and could save yours as well.
Asking yourself the right questions is key to your flourishing.
Self inquiry is an art, and useful when based on useful presuppositions. Here are five examples from my experience:
- "What is possible?" presupposes that there are possibilities. When having faced adversity, and feeling depressed, having difficulty envisioning a future or anything good in it (this works well for yourself, your loved ones, or the world), this question switches your attention from the disastrous past and the painful moment, to open your heart and mind to possibilities previously hidden from your awareness.
- "What do I need?" is a great question to ask when in the midst of an intense negative emotion. The question presupposes that you need something, and it will help you redirect your mind from the pain to the need it points to, which is the first necessary step towards purposeful action towards self-fulfillment.
- "What do I want to accomplish by doing this...x...action?" This question presupposes that you are acting on purpose, and if you weren't acting on purpose, but unconsciously acting out of habit or reactive response, the question will help you set a clear intent for your action and make it purposeful. In my experience this leads to a different experience than when remaining unconscious in our behaviour.
- "What is needed of me?" is a question I find useful when contracted in self-absorption (what, moi?!). The contracted, separate self is where the suffering happens at the highest intensity. This question presupposes that a) you are part of something bigger than your small self and b) you are needed to contribute something uniquely yours in this something bigger than the self. Finding your purpose makes all the suffering worthwhile and all your battles worth fighting. 
- "How can I turn this...x...(pain, adversity, suffering) into a resource to enrich me and others?" How many times I have asked myself this question! This inquiry is the equivalent of the Münchausen Baron pulling himself out of the mud by the hair (if you're old enough, you might know the story). This is my 'go to' crisis question, when suffering is intense or even overwhelming, because it presupposes that there is some kind of goodness latent in the crap that's been happening to me, that all crap is compostable and gardens can be metaphorically grown on top of it. 
Do you have any useful questions that have been helping you along? Post them in comments.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Intuition, Wisdom, God and the Body

A fragmented view of the world, and implicitly of the human being, regards intelligence, reason, wisdom, the mind and the body as different and separate compartments of existence. In fact, medical science looks at the body as an ‘it’, an object to measure, dissect and quantify, while the mind is addressed as something floating in space from the neck up. Psychotherapists traditionally are allowed to talk but not touch, whereas physiotherapists and massage therapists are allowed to talk but not touch.

An integral view of the world, and of the human being, looks at the body as a manifestation of thoughts, and thought as an emanation of spirit, or the void, ground of being, or realms of all possibilities. The human is body, mind and spirit - three different words to describe aspects of the same self. A reductionist view explains all of the human experienced as being located in the brain - “it’s all in your head” - but which brain? Both the heart and the gut are brimming with neurons, and in fact, the nervous system, which is how information circulates, reaches all the parts of the body, from the central location to periphery. Information goes back and forth between thought, wherever thought is generated, and the body. Try this: lift your right arm to your side, palm facing down. Did your arm move? Why? What made the arm move? It started with a thought, right? So thought can move the body. What about the other way round, does the body influence our thinking? Let’s see. Try this exercise:

Leading with your head, curl your body forward and raise your shoulders to bury your head between them. Lower your head, looking down, bring your eyebrows together in a frown, and press your tongue against the palate. Now say out loud: “I am peaceful and cheerful”. Do you believe the statement?

I did’t think so. It feels like a blatant lie, doesn’t it. Now shake your hands a bit, as if you’re shaking that state of being off, and try something else:

Sit straight in your chair, and reach out with the top of your head high up towards the ceiling. Soften your tongue, and iron out the space between your eyebrows. Let your shoulders be heavy and drop down away from your ears and behind your back. Soften your gaze, expand your peripheral view, let your eyes go out of focus (after you read these instructions). Lift the corners of your mouth upward and take an audible sigh, saying the sound “aah” out loud, on the exhale. Now say out loud: “I am peaceful and cheerful”. Is it any easier to believe the statement than in the previous body state?

What have you learned from these exercises? 

Did you just shift the state of your body, or the state of your mind? Is there even a difference between the two? Or is there a state of being, which is a body-mind state?

How does the information travel from thought to body and from body to thought? What if there only is one intelligence, one wisdom, with different channels and expressions? I would like to propose that the human being processes information in one integrated way, with different levels of sophistication and specialization.

Sensations

Sensations are the basic signals in the body which inform us which input in our environment is life affirming and which is harmful. This is our basic instinct, the “gut feeling” which we share with all animals. Sweet, fragrant food spells “safe to eat and nourishing”, such as ripe fruit; bitter or foul smell or taste spells: “poison, harmful”. Dry mouth spells dehydration, and is the sensation feeling which inform us that we are overdue for a drink of water. Heavy eyelids spell fatigue and prompts us to take a nap (not to drink another cup of coffee). Our basic embodied instincts have programmed us to navigate a complex environment brimming with both threats and treats long before we could read food labels. When learning to listen to our gut feeling, we can spare ourselves of a lot of danger, and follow our nose so to speak to a more vibrant health.

Emotions

Emotions are “energy in motion”, information that is more complex than sensations, which is geared towards both safety and satisfaction. Emotions are for sensations what molecules are for atoms. Just like sensations, emotions are also felt through the body - and contrary to what much of the talk psychotherapy is making us think, they happen also below our neck, not “all in our head”. 

Emotions are specialized pieces of information which point towards aspects of life worth noticing and acting upon. In their primal, raw form (to distinguish from a habitual pattern of an emotional state one may be stuck in for a length of time sometime as long as years of life) emotions prompt us to take action. Emotional intelligence is the cultivated ability to differentiate and distinguish among a spectrum of emotions, identify them in oneself and - with the help of empathy, another useful trait, in others. Here are a few examples of the role of emotions:

Fear - Fear points towards something that threatens our biology. To keep our body intact, fear places us in a fight, flight, freeze or collapse state. We run away from the threat, wrestle with it and hope to win, play dead, or keep a low profile. 

Anger - This is the emotion arising when there is a threat to our sense of self and personal boundaries. Our biology is not threatened, but perhaps our reputation, or our property is. If someone insults you, judges something that you are passionate about, or steals your favourite toy, you will feel angry, and fuelled by anger you will have the stamina to go do yourself some justice. 

Sadness - This is the finger pointing towards dysfunction. Whether your electronic device doesn’t work, or your marriage, you will feel sad. Sadness prompts towards the need to repair or replace something that’s out of order. 

Grief - Grief arises with loss. It can be loss of a loved one, loss of opportunity, loss of property, loss of a dream, a plan, a hope, or a relationship. 

There are, of course, the so-called positive emotions, which point towards that which is nourishing, such as the delight that you feel when listening to a piece of exquisitely beautiful music; peacefulness, which emerges when you act in accordance with your own values; joy, which points towards the expression of one’s essence and deep fulfillment; and love, which indicates connection and more. 

Language

Sensation tells you that a berry you found in a bush is poisonous. Fear arises when a mean person urges you to eat that berry. Language is how your best friend warns you to not eat that berry, and how your self-defence teacher instructs you to defend yourself against the bully. Language is for emotions what cells are for molecules - yet a more complex way to process information, specialized to an even greater complexity of human needs and purposes. 

Language is how you inform yourself about the greater areas of your interests, including how to bake a fail-proof soufflé, market your business effectively, communicate with clarity your ideas, and make sense of life’s curbs and turns. 

Intelligence is the quality needed to acquire and process increasingly complex information. Wisdom is the quality needed to make the most of the acquired information, and act timely, harmoniously in life affirming, self affirming ways which are good for your long term benefit and for everyone in your circle of care. Intelligence tells you that something is there - how interesting! Wisdom has both a utilitary component - how is this useful? - and a compassion component - how is this kind?, and it relies on the harmonious integration of sensation feelings, emotional feelings, and intellect - both verbal language and mental images. 

Why this mapping?

When you understand how you process information from basics to complexity, it is easier for you to use the right channels of inquiry for the right purposes. For example: you can effectively check with your body’s sensations the safety or lack hereof food, drink or medicine. But sensations alone may not be enough to decide whom to marry or which meditation retreat to go to, and for how long. Intellect and language will do a research to find the right teacher for your personality, values, personal and cultural preferences and budget of money and time, and when you come across someone reputable and you’ve looked them up on Google and YouTube, both your emotions and your gut feelings will tell you “yay” or “nay”. Complex choices must be run by complex information processing. Body sensations can help, and sometimes they can hinder. Here’s why.

There’s a lot of you in there

Have you ever been scared of something? Yes, me too. Have you ever acted courageously? Same here. So who are you, a scared, or a courageous person? Do you remember Meredith Brooks’ song:

“I'm a bitch, I'm a lover
I'm a child, I'm a mother
I'm a sinner, I'm a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I'm your hell, I'm your dream
I'm nothing in between
You know you wouldn't want it any other way”

You may think of yourself as being one personality, with clearly defined traits, but inside your psyche there are many voices, also referred to as sub-personalities, each with their own agenda, sometimes in agreement with each other, and sometimes in tension or even conflict with each other. If you have ever had a dilemma, you know what I am talking about. The practice of Voice Dialogue, founded by two psychotherapists, Hal and Sidra Stone, aims at contacting each of these voices, interviewing them, learning their purpose and naming them. We all have an Inner Critic, a Controller, a Protector, a Victim, a Hero and such other archetypal perspectives, alongside with a number of Inner Children, young voices in our psyche that haven’t caught up yet to the fact that we are now grown ups and can’t just play and eat ice-cream all day long. 

If you use the wisdom of your body through muscle testing or direct observation of your body sensations or direction of body movement to ask questions pertaining to decision making, you must ask yourself who is showing up to give you an answer. “Shall I eat ice-cream at midnight?” This question will be answered with a wholehearted “yes” if a young part answers it, or a definite “no way” if the Controller replies. So you want to be clear of both the purpose of your choice - what are you seeking to accomplish (for example, soothing an intense present emotion, so eating sweet might be a good band-aid strategy, or long-term health building, so eating sweet may not be useful); and make sure to address the question to the right voice. I like to ask my Higher Self the questions - and what I mean by Higher Self is that part of me that is the kindest, wisest, most evolved and most developed. Other aspects to pay attention to is your own clarity, present state of body-mind (are you well-rested, centred, did you drink enough water?); and be aware of any interference from Shadow elements - those parts of your psyche that you have disconnected from, are unaware of, and therefore they act under the radar of your awareness and outside of your volition. That’s a lot to pay attention to, I know, and still, even with the questioning of the accuracy of your embodied wisdom, it is still preferable to have access to it than to not use it. Intuition is the native and cultivated ability to access and use your embodied wisdom. This statement is so smart, I’ll say it again:

Intuition is the native and cultivated ability to access and use your embodied wisdom.

Voilà. 

What’s God have to do with it?

That depends on what you mean by “God”. What I mean by “God” is the ultimate mystery, that which is unchangeable, infinite and eternal, and so great and awesome that anything you say about it or him or her or they is not it. I like the practice of calling “God” by evoking nicknames, such as “Always-Already”, “All-That-Is” and the “Unqualifiable”. Who are we, human beings, in relationship with God? Let’s explore. Go grab yourself a fresh cup of tea and read on.

Ken Wilber is my favourite map maker for the evolution of consciousness, founder of the Integral Model and author of more books than rabbits make babies, maps the evolution of consciousness in body-mind-spirit in self, culture and nature. And Shadow. So he covers all the bases of the manifest world, that which we can talk about. No map for God, for it is unqualifiable, but map for everything else. I found the Integral Model useful as a framework for my own life and work, and since it is informed by perennial wisdom, psychology, philosophy, and everything Ken Wilber read, it’s my one-stop shop for making sense of things, the world, myself, and my place in it. Here’s what I got:

You have three bodies, which represent three states of being: the gross body, also known as “the body”, which is the vehicle for the awake state of being. You know you have this body, you can feel it, you can feel the touch of your feet on the floor and your chest moving with your breath. The subtle body, which we refer to as “the mind” is the vehicle for the sleep state, and also the realm of our soul. The third is the causal body, what we call “spirit” or the “ground of being”, which is transpersonal and the realm of all possibility. Spiritual awakening occurs in state-stages (a state of being is temporary while a stage is a permanent trait), and unfolds from identification with the gross body - “I am the body”, to transcending and including the body to identify with the subtle realm “I am more than the body, I am the mind too, and all these subtle energies”. The soul is said to outlive the gross body after its death and as it goes in and out of the body at night during sleep, it leaves the body at its death and joins a new body in a different incarnation. Just as the gross body is a finite entity, separate from other gross bodies, so is the soul: the subtle realm still supports the identification with a separate self. My soul and your soul are two different things, as much as we love each other. 

Further awakening occurs with the transcendence of the gross and subtle bodies into the ground of being, which comes with the relinquishing of identity into “no-self”. This is the realm where all suffering ceases, and all the world of finite form appears as an illusion, reality only being this formless void, of spirit. 

The next step after relinquishing a separate identity is the return to the world while informed with this expansive sense of being at one with all beings, to regain identity with the finite self as a separate identity with the realization that form and formless are not two, in a non-dualistic paradoxical grasping that “I am both finite and infinite”, and the finite self is merely one perspective of the many that the infinite eternal being can assume.

The awakening to higher states occurs through insightful spiritual practice as illuminating “aha” realizations. Meditation and self inquiry can and will lead to spiritual awakening and the nature of God in a direct experience which cannot be communicated in words, but we do anyway because we must say something to share the love and good news. 

What meditation and self inquiry does not lead to is a mapping of the manifest territory. You can’t meditate your way through medical school, driving lessons or the developmental stages of the human mind. For those ones you need to read books and attend classes, because these maps are drawn by people who’ve done years of research to draw those maps. The mapping of human development is high in complexity, and so it can only be accessed with the help of the highly complex cognitive function of the intellect. You can’t use instinct or intuition to access - it’s a scholastic endeavour.

All this is to say that:

  • Accessing and processing information is a highly specialized activity
  • Wisdom is embodied, and uses sensation, emotions and language to benefit you and your loved ones
  • Intuition is the ability to access and utilize wisdom
  • Instinct is our basic information processing which we need to survive, reproduce and be well
  • Insight awakens us to the deep nature of our being
  • Research helps us develop and read maps for navigating life’s complexities

To further your intellectual studies of the best mapping of human consciousness of our times, read Ken Wilber’s books, from Integral Vision and A Brief History of Everything to his more complex writings.

To awaken to the deeper nature of who you are, practice meditation with a reputable teacher / teachers that you like.

To learn how to cultivate body-centred awareness, contact Tana Saler on Facebook, Messenger or email at tana.saler@rogers.com to arrange individual or group classes. Tana currently leads the Gut Va’Nefesh Body-Mind-Spirit Integration monthly classes through the Or Haneshamah Jewish community in Ottawa, Ontario, and virtual classes online. 





Thursday, December 20, 2018

Victim to Hero - Life After Adversity and Trauma

There's been generational trauma - my maternal grandfather died for being a Jew, and so did my mother's brother when he was 17. My mother grew up in fear, had panic attacks - undiagnosed at that time, and became mentally ill when I was pre-teen. Dad was depressed, undiagnosed and untreated. I lived in fear, some of it felt from my parents as being sensitive, some of it my own, fear of the dictatorial regime I lived in. I immigrated on my own to a new country, language, climate and culture, all a shock to me. My couple relationships have been rocky - my good fortune and sustenance being my enduring friendships with great people. I went through a war and feared for my life every day that it lasted. My jobs were making me unhappy, I hated office politics, and I endured through painful long hours until I quit to become a healer. Being self-employed required a new set of skill building, and has been filled with uncertainty, so more stress, even though passionate about my work now. Then I immigrated again to a new country, climate and culture to be married, another rocky relationship, this time without a network of support, family, friends or money. Marriage was followed by another move, more stress, loss of my father and stepmother, loss of my dog, and - the cherry on the cake - a head concussion just a year ago.

If I competed for the Victim Olympics, I'd win Gold. But that's not my game.

My game is to do life at my best with what's left, wounds and strengths. My wounds are my strengths, because now I have stories to tell. If I never left my living room, I'd be mute. But I've seen the world, overcame seemingly impossible shit, learned deep lessons, built some serious skills, for life and for service, and I'm still marching on. 

After all that I went through, here I am, writing daily, laughing out loud at silly stuff, dancing, singing, drawing, connecting with people, leading personal development programs, volunteering, taking good care of myself, and assisting the people I work with in private coaching sessions. 

I'm telling you all this for two reasons:

1- I like to talk. A lot. I'm an outgoing extrovert, so deal with it! 🤪

2- I want to show you - not just to tell you - that there is life after adversity, that trauma can be healed, that no matter what happened to you, you don't have to live as a helpless victim, but you can turn your greatest pain into strengths, that seeing yourself as Victim or as Hero is a choice, that with help from friends, healers, coaches, mentors and teachers you can recover and you can thrive. 

I want to show you that all things considered, I am doing very well, and so can you. 

May you thrive beyond what you've ever hoped possible, in spite of everything, and thanks to everything!

Hugs xo

Tana

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Ten Pillars of Self-Love - Day 48 in the One Year of Self Love Facebook project

1 - Self-esteem: 
Valuing one's own qualities, traits and behaviours, as well as one's own time, skills and work. The opposite of selling oneself short.
2 - Self-confidence: 
Trusting one's own abilities. The opposite of self-doubt. Although some self-doubt is good for prudence; it's good to doubt your ability to fly from the top of a tall building.
3 - Self-Care:
Practicing habits and behaviours that are nourishing and nurturing. The opposite is self-neglect.
4 - Self-Respect and dignity 
From language use to posture and stance, to personal hygiene, grooming and appearance, this is the practice of treating oneself like the king or queen of one's own castle, in ways that are ennobling. The opposite of self-degradation.
5 - Self-Affirmation:
Taking a stand and speaking up for oneself and that which matters to oneself. Showcasing one's genius and brilliance. The opposite of making oneself smaller than, in order to fit in, or avoid threats and jealousy; self-effacing. 
6 - Self-Advancement:
The practice of constantly growing and developing oneself psycho-spiritually, and cultivating useful skills. The opposite of stagnation and sometimes, regression.
7 - Personal Boundaries:
Creating a healthy sense of self, and establishing, communicating, commanding and defending one's own boundaries, rules and principles. The opposite of vagueness, not knowing oneself, living with either rules that are too rigid, or too flexible and breached. 
8 - Living on Purpose:
Having a clear raison d'être - reason to live, and living it. Working at what you are passionate about. The opposite of living aimlessly.
9 - Self-Expression:
Saying the words that need to be said, saying what you mean, and what you want. Moving your body as it wants to. Walking, talking, moving and breathing freely and fully. The opposite of self-repression.
10 - The Tenth Pillar is your own entry. What is it? Comment. Serious or funny. Go ahead, write it!