If we are all spiritual beings having a human experience, then our greatest learning instrument is our body.
Let’s start with our most human parts. Our belly being the keeper of our emotions and the archaic stories of our tribe. Our hips helping us move in the world. Some with more relaxation, others with more tension… both being okay. Our pelvic floor rooting us to Mother Earth and the place where we connect and disconnect from everyone else. All of it showing up for our learning and expansion.
Throat, eyes, and crown being our more ethereal and abstract parts. Our throat seeking to speak our truth, sing what we feel, and shout what we must say at times. Our eyes guiding us to what we envision for ourselves. The eyes also being the mirror, gateway to the soul – the core of our being that carries no stories of hurts or dissatisfaction, but just pure loving. Our crown being the spot in our body that is most connected to that which is higher than us. Call it any name you want – God, Yahweh, Allah, Spirit, Universe, Goddess – it is all the same. It is the part of us that leads the inquiry into who we are, what life is about, and seeks meaning to our existence.
This leads us to the heart. The part that balances the ethereal and the human, the part where love resides. It is in our heart space that love is born, love is given, and love is received. Stories do not exist here. When we are born, breath comes through here. And when we leave our body, breath comes through here. It is the place where we nourish our human desire to connect and our soul’s calling to expand.
So where does the brain fit into all of this?
Your body is the vehicle while your mind is the navigation system. They work together, not separately or in contradiction of each other.
We are the drivers of our ride. When we decide to go right, we go right. When we decide to turn left, we go left. The navigation does not take over, but simply helps us get there. From time to time the navigation system gives us feedback “maintenance required,” “hazard,” or even “system overload,” but it does not take over the driving. Therefore the only time our minds take over is when we forget how powerful and divine we really are.
You are a spiritual being having a human experience. You came equipped with all you need to handle this crazy and delicious life ride.
So next time the navigation system wants to take over, here are a few suggestions:
- Breathe s-l-o-w-l-y feeling every inch of your being. Notice where the tension is. Breathe into that area.
- Place one hand over heart and the other over the area tension and say, “I am a spiritual being having a human experience and I arrived equipped with what is exactly needed at all times.” Repeat as needed…and breathe.
- Celebrate the good moments. Don’t wait to remember you are human only in the negative, heavy moments. Celebrate the happy feelings because they too are part of this ride.
Loving and supporting you,
Photo by Craig Whitehead
I am going to start this by reminding you of a great truth…
You… the real YOU is wild.
You were born wild.
Your body born to shake, wiggle, and move freely.
Your mouth to tell your truths and yell in delight.
Your skin to help you feel you in this world and sense the world in you.
You were meant to feel it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
And, you were meant to use it for your growth and well-being.
Your soul chose this life to be wild and free.
But in your innocence, you forgot. You began to believe the lies you were told. Be this… don’t do that… good girls do… good girls don’t…be a man…man up… on and on and on. You believed it because when we are young we need to belong, we need to feel safe, and so we give up our wild, untamed self in order to survive.
Consistently I hear from men and women talk about their desire to be happy, comfortable in their own skin, and vulnerable in their relationships. Yet over and over what keeps them feeling sad, angry, shutdown, turned-off, and distanced is their adherence to old hurts, should, and regrets.
What I keep learning from these courageous souls is that talking about it, becoming aware about it is a great first step, but it is simply not enough. One has to feel – feel the contours of the energy rising inside. Allowing the body to express it through its natural wisdom.
Wildness resides in the body where the greatest of wisdoms also lives.
This is hard to do in a world where the mental is given more power. So rather than feel our way through an emotion, we begin to think about the emotion. We try to find a “cure” for it by assigning blame (spouses, partners, parents, and siblings are popular targets), remembering bad stories (reminding yourself how many times he/she/it made you feel this way before), or using a coping skills that get us further away from healing (drinking, eating, screaming, or giving the cold shoulder).
Thus we blame, shut down, and try all other coping skills in hopes one will help us feel better. It does not work. It has never worked. It will never work. Even talk therapy is not enough. So what can help?
Feeling the contours of the emotion and allowing the body’s natural, wild intelligence to express it and moving it out.
Nature is a wonderful teacher for us. When something bad happens, you see animal do exactly what their body intelligence knows to do: A possum freezes, a gazelle runs, and a lion fights. When the event it is over and it has survived, they reset their body by shaking. No blaming, no second-guessing, no wondering what it could have done something different.
Therefore, the next time you feel an upset of any kind, try this….
- Notice where you feel the energy (energy in motion = emotion) in your body. It may be helpful to place a hand over the spot and breathe in to it.
- Resist giving it a name. Yes, this is counterintuitive, but the minute you assign it a name – sad, mad, glad, anger – you stop feeling and you begin thinking.
- Move your body. You can stand up, sit down, lie down, or even get on all fours. This is not dancing. Shake, twirl, hop, karate chop… whatever your body wants to do.
- No matter what you do, keep on moving until the “energy” subsides.
- Breathe until your body settles. Not any kind of specific breathing, just breath.
So what does all of this have to do with liberating your wild soul? EVERYTHING!
Because to heal using your body’s intelligence is exactly what we were meant to do – to liberate ourselves from the heaviness, the tension, the unforgiveable, and the upsets and find the part of ourselves that lives life freely, enthusiastically, uncontrolled by the should’s or blaming.
No longer surviving the tension and the negative beliefs. Instead, living and loving your wild and delicious life feeling everything in the present.
If you are interested in diving deeper on how to let yourself feel everything, join us for FEMME – Workshops for Women. Theme for June is “Feminine Emotionality: The Art of Emptying & Feeling it All.” To register or for more information, click here .
Loving you and your wild soul,
It’s that time of the year when we get flooded by images and messages of how to create more romance, how to be a better lover, or how to find your perfect partner NOW. Admonitions that the status of our relationship or the togetherness of our coupling is lacking something.
Let me remind you that you lack nothing. Sure there are things that are in process of being fulfilled or transformed. BUT you my darling lack nothing.
So this year, I propose that Valentine’s Day be a day of romancing yourself – A practice of embodying every inch of you.
Because our relationship with ourselves is a direct reflection of our relationship with others, when we can connect with ourselves more intimately, more genuinely, more authentically, we create greater doorways and paths to be able to do the same with someone else.
Romance is defined as a love affair, an attachment between people, a mysterious appeal, or a mysterious quality of something beautiful.
To romance yourself is a powerful way to embody you.
To romance yourself is a powerful way to embody yourself. It is an invitation to feel more alive and relish being in your own skin.
Because when we do this, we deepen our intimacy, aliveness, and erotic connection without the push to make it about what we may or not be getting from someone or being alone or in coupledom this time of year.
Therefore, to romance yourself is at the very heart of Valentine’s Day.
Here are some ideas on how to romance YOU.
#1. S-L-O-W Down
Valentine’s Day is an invitation to live from the romantic, sexy and sensual parts of ourselves. One way we can experience more sensuality is to slow down. Many of us run around all day, mindlessly getting things done. How many of us have driven somewhere not recalling how we got there?
Slowing down is about being aware of what we are doing right now. One of my favorite way to slow down is to move as if I were moving through thick caramel (YUMM). How I move my body becomes more deliberate and more mindful.
Slowing down turns on our proprioceptive sense which many consider our sixth sense. The proprioceptive sense is vital to our daily experiences and something that contributes to our overall body ownership. Experts in this area share that without this sense our brains our lost.
When we slow down, our body feels more grounded and allows our mind and body to connect. Connection being the one quality that allows us to create deeper intimacy with ourselves (and with others of course).
Most who have been in a romantic relationship say that they felt the most connected to their partners at the beginning of their relationship. The reason for this is because at the beginning of the relationship each person was completely present to the other. Everyone attentively paid attention to every nuance of the other and most importantly the attention was based on curiosity.
You can practice presence by noticing the nuances of you and being curious about how you experience being in your own body. Noticing the movement of your feet as you walk – is it heal-toe, or toe-heal? Do your hips sway or shuffle side to side? What about your shoulders? For women – the bounce of our feminine curves!
The biggest invitation to practice presence with yourself is through the breath. Paying attention to the feeling of your belly and chest rising and falling with every breath. Is there pause at the top or the bottom? Is your inhale or exhale longer?
#3. Mirror Mirror
In Tantra, Soul Gazing is one of the primary exercises taught – two partner’s looking into each other’s eyes with hand over heart.
The invitation here is to practice Soul Gazing with yourself.
Gaze into your own eyes and share words of love and gratitude with yourself. Perhaps a little tough the first time, but I promise it gets easier. Besides, if we cannot admire ourselves, how can we ask that from someone else?
Forget about your hair, makeup, or any perceived imperfections. Look into your eyes and get lost in the wondrous and brilliant creature you are. Look into your eyes, place hands over heart and say…
I love you
…. a beautiful soul
… keep going.. What else can you whisper to yourself?
#4. Mindful Pleasure
One of the greatest things about Valentine’s is that it is all about stirring up and stoking the embers of pleasure. Pleasure is everything and anything that feels good to the body. Our sensual bodies innately know pleasure. It is often our brains that get in the way with the should’s and should not’s.
Pleasure answers the question what feels, tastes, looks, sounds, and smells good to me?
For example, start your day by feeling your body by stretching it in bed, noticing what areas feel relaxed, and how the skin feels when being touched by clothing or bed sheets. How about using a yummy lotion and taking the time to massage it into the skin? Choose clothes that feel good on your skin or at least take your time putting each article of clothing on you. Drink your coffee by smelling it, taking a slow sip, and feeling the warmth of it in your mouth.
When we pay attention to what our body enjoys and how it derives pleasure, we feel better because we are feeding our sensual selves. Let go of any misunderstanding that we can only do this with a partner. We open ourselves to pleasure and we give permission to receive pleasure. Having a partner has nothing to do with this.
#5. Shake Baby Shake
The demands of daily life often result in habitual tension patterns in the body and an overactive mind. Many of us adopt a freeze state of the body which many times is perceived as calm.
The problem is that this “freeze” state keeps up from experiencing ease and pleasure in our physical bodies because the body experiences “freeze” as tension. Consequently, the mind perceives tension as the body signaling something is wrong and we don’t seek pleasure when something is wrong.
Allowing our bodies to continually move without imposing any specific movement or pattern, the body begins to experience itself differently and pathways to pleasurable embodiment are reinforced.
Put a song on and begin to move. It is not about looking good or following a specific kind of dance. It’s about letting your body move you. Best way to do this… shake. Literally shake. Remember the “Hokey Pokey?” Shake one body part at a time or shake the whole body at once.
So how can you further romance yourself as a powerful way to feel more alive and embodied, or share more of your embodied self with another?
For the women… Come join me at our next FEMME.
For the men… stay tuned… something just for you is on its way.
Picture by Clay Banks
Many times when I speak of movement, people automatically think that I am speaking of dancing. Of course dancing is movement, but that is not exactly what I mean.
We live in a disembodied world — sitting endless hours at our desks, commuting long-distance maintaining relationships through our phones and laptops, and leaning on our intellect to solve or get our to-do list under some kind of order. The result? Loss of authentic connection with ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities.
Movement is the key to feeling more alive, generating creative solutions, enjoying growth, and connecting more fully and deeply in gratifying and enjoyable ways. Movement naturally generates more vitality, freedom, joy, and clarity in everything we do. Movement allows us to embody and connect with ourselves in an authentic and genuine manner. It allows us to engage parts of body, heart, and soul that we may have forgotten. As we connect with ourselves, we also connect with our loved ones.
When one learns to slow down and practice movement, what occurs is the discovery of the magic and wisdom of your body. It is not about performance. It’s about learning and practicing movement that allows you to tune out the world and tune into your heart and soul. Movement is an opening to feeling and hearing the nuances, the lyric and notes that your body, in alignment with your heart and soul, are writing for you. The mind is a wonderful vehicle to decipher the world yet it is also a great story-inventor. The body does not make up tales but helps us unravel them through tension, relaxation, and pleasure… the verses and rhythms of life.
As a therapist and coach, my commitment is to help my clients co-create the life and love of their dreams. Having each of them sit and talk is reinforcing the pattern of being disembodied. Many of clients know that movement, breath, and body-focused exercises are used often is sessions because these are the gateways to the authentic self. Many times themes and issues are uncovered more gracefully than with talk therapy alone.
So what exactly does one move… any part of the body that inspires and whispers to you. Start with stretching your arms over your head as you twirl your hands, undulate your hips, breathe while moving your belly up and down. Play your favorite song and move to it in ways that you normally don’t. Do the Hokey Pokey… yes, the one from childhood, remember how much fun you had back then?
The body is a fountain of inspiration and wisdom. Move and let it sing to you.