Month: October 2016

Laying down roots

laying down rootsLaying down roots

Where do I belong?

Where do I feel stable? Secure? Loved?

Am I safe?

Our roots begin with our biological family, whether we like it or not, they are our family.

Some of us are fortunate to have been born into loving families, and some not so.

Our families can be quirky, over protective, quiet or loud… anything is possible.

As we grow into adults our root system is well established, our beliefs and identification with our family are ours as much as theirs.

Why then do we feel like we are rootless, lacking in stability and security?

It could very well be that your roots never travelled deep enough to protect you from the storms of life. Your family might have been there, but you never internalized a sense of security.

Or a parent left the family leaving a hole too big to grip the roots. Perhaps your parents too, had low-lying roots, leaving them without a sense of security, passing on their anxiety on to you.

Your roots may have been splintered by abuse or lack of love; therefore, the roots began to wither and die, leaving no real sense of belonging or trust.

Our roots are what carry and embolden us to rise up in the world, but those roots require depth and nurturing.

You may be the lucky ones whose roots started out strong and robust, yet when you ventured out on your own, you found it difficult to replicate the earlier root system. This left you longing for your old roots, though there was no going back.

Our roots are what provide a sense of security, grounding and stability. Throughout life, roots change, our beliefs change, and family’s change, they are in a constant state of flux.

We know this when; we feel uneasy, depressed, anxious, worried more than usual about finances, your job or where you are going to live.  Until the basics of life are sound, unease becomes the predominant emotion.

Since our roots are instrumental in providing us the foundation to weather the storms and manage the risks of life, it is in your best interest to establish a healthy root system.

How?

Examine your own family system; see what is working and what is not.

What has helped you feel more secure in the past, what is missing now?

Besides your family can you find grounding in a spiritual practice, exercise program or a hobby?

Take a look at your basic needs; food, clothing and shelter, are all these needs getting met?

Explore your beliefs and reoccurring thoughts that sabotage your feelings of security.

Take solace in knowing that when one root system dies, with love and attention another can fill the space.

 

Recipe: Laying Down Roots Meditation

Find a quiet space to sit without distractions.

Close your eyes, or look towards the floor with a soft gaze

Take 3 deep breathes to settle down

Now bring your attention to your feet and your bottom, which are your roots to the earth, especially your feet, when standing.

Feel how the feet and your bottom provide a solid foundation for you to sit up erect. Notice the way the feet touch the ground, wiggle your toes, and feel how the calves and shins contract with this movement.

Continue to take deep breaths to keep you present and calm, while the attention returns to your two stabilizes – feet and bottom.

Now move on to a time you felt unstable, anxious, and insecure. Allow those feelings to rise, without pushing them away or distracting your self. Sit with those feelings.

(Long pause)

Now think of a time you felt secure and safe. Allow those feelings to rise and sit with those feelings. Maybe take your hand and place it on your heart or on your solar plexus (under your breasts) or on your belly.

(Long pause)

Gently begin to deepen the breath and bring your attention back to the feet and your bottom.

Take a few more deep breaths and when ready open your eyes.

This meditation will help you to see that there are times in your life you have felt rootless as times you felt solidly planted to the ground. Despite where you are in your life, your own body has the capacity to ground you and relieve some of the feelings of being rootless.

By being aware of the signs of rootlessness you can begin to take action to create the roots you need at that time.

Vulnerability

VulnerabilityWho wants to be vulnerable?
If you asked most people their first response would be “hell no”.
Vulnerability is considered a sign weakness, defenselessness and helplessness, though in truth it takes a great deal of courage to expose one’s vulnerability.
It takes a lot of balls to open yourself up and show your inner fears and insecurities. Less so when you hide behind the façade that you are invincible, that you have it all together.
None of us have it all together.
We are all wounded soldiers, wondering on this great big earth, trying to pretend that we are in control and never cry or feel crazy.
It is way to hard to admit we make mistakes, what if we did confess? Our boss may think we are incapable and friends may slink away.
So you decide to protect yourself, by only sharing the things you think people want to know, you don’t allow anyone to get too close, if they do your cover will be blown.
Perhaps you avoid eye contact with people, as they may see right through you. Or you place your attention on a phone, book or a computer so eyes can never meet.
When eyes meet, even for a second, you are found out. There is no turning back, the seal is broken.
What to do? Avert your eyes quickly, look down at the ground, see what is going on up in the sky. You might feel you have found safety, though the second connection has already happened.
By looking at another person directly into their eyes, the connection to another human being sets the motion of allowing that person in to your inner world. If not prepared, your initial response is to hide by glancing away.
Not seeing them anymore means, you think, you have found safety, though what actually occurred, is a missed opportunity to connect with another person.
By allowing ourselves to be real and honest, in other words vulnerable, we no longer feel alone.
Think about how it felt when you smiled at someone and they smiled back, or said ‘hi’ and the other person responded the same, or you made eye contact with another driver and they let you cut in front of them.
What about when you touched a strangers’ arm to thank them for their kindness, or kneeled down to speak to a child. These are examples of allowing your vulnerability to show through.
Start with the simple act of changing your bodily postures.
Walk with your head up, shoulders down, look at people as they approach you, not away. Uncross your legs and lift your heart forward.
Then with time, you can open up, let people know you are scared and sad, and there are times you get angry. That you do screw up and don’t know what you are doing.
Be true to yourself and then you can be true to others.
Once you allow your mask of bravado to drop, you are free to be your true self.

Recipe: Dropping the mask to vulnerability meditation
Closing your eyes and take 3 deep breaths
Recall a time you allowed yourself to be vulnerable.
Embody the feelings invoked by that memory
The feelings may be discomfort, shame, embarrassment, or possibly relief, joy.
No matter what feelings arise, sit with them, allow your body to feel them.
If the emotions are painful or uncomfortable use this as a time to heal from those feelings by recalling a time a loved one or a stranger exposed their vulnerability to you. How did you react to them?
Allow whatever comes up then, embody it, feel the emotions.
Then recall a time you exposed your vulnerability and was supported – how did that feel?
Continue exploring these feelings associated with vulnerability, no matter if it creates a sense of weakness or strength.
With time and practice you will begin to heal and more likely to feel at ease exposing yourself to the world.
Patience, persistence and perseverance.

Waiting

WaitingWaiting for the nails to dry.

Waiting for the cake to cook.

Waiting for the bath to fill.

Waiting for the bus to come.

Waiting for the doctor.

Waiting for 5 O’clock.

Waiting for the kettle to boil.

Waiting for the seeds to grow.

Waiting for the flowers to bloom.

Waiting for your loved one to return home.

Waiting consumes much of our lives, more than not waiting, though few enjoy waiting.

Waiting is aggravating, frustrating, and tiring.

Waiting wastes time, so you think.

While waiting, other chores can get done, as a way to fill the waiting.

So much can be accomplished during the waiting.

Waiting is not a waste of time or needs to be filled with doing things.

Waiting is a privilege and an opportunity to be still.

Waiting gives us freedom to be present, to not have to do.

Waiting is gift, though more often than not, seen that way.

Waiting is the space where inspirations rise to the surface.

Inspirations can only be seen in the breaks between the doing, that is the waiting.

Do not underestimate the significance of waiting.

Waiting allows the nails to dry fully.

Waiting gives you time to delve deep within yourself.

Waiting clears your mind, rests your heart and creates calm.

Give yourself permission to wait, to not fill it with things to do.

Allow your nails to dry completely.

 

Recipe: What to do while waiting

Breathe, feel the breath enter you and leave you.

Look around as see what is surrounding you.

Do not grab for your phone.

Do not turn on the TV, or pick up a book.

Sit and breathe.

Use your waiting to be quiet, evening out your breaths, tuning in to your body.

Take this waiting to pause from the busyness.

Your mind will inevitably seek something to do, observe the seeking and return to your breath.

Do not succumb to the craving of doing.

Remember waiting is only brief; this is your time for you.

Let the nails dry.

Wow moments

wow momentsLet’s be honest, most weeks are pretty dull, not much happens.

Yet, we try hard to seek the opposite. We want to feel inspired and brilliant, we want to feel WOW!

What is wrong with that?

Nothing, other than, in reality our day-to-day lives cannot be anything but routine, most of the time.

When you can finally accept this state as being normal, then there is less pressure to have those WOW moments, everyday.

We all wake up, do that thing that comes after waking up and then that next thing, until we are back in bed again.

Every once in awhile, there is a little deviation from the routine, it feels nice, and then you are back doing your thing again.

If you aspire for WOW moments too often, they are no longer WOW moments; they are reduced to ordinary moments.

Mindfulness offers us the gift of seeing our ordinary moments with different eyes.

Ordinary moments are the soft, cozy blanket, which wraps you up as you sip a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

Ordinary moments are when you sit down on a warm, cushiony seat on the train, while you turn your gaze to the comfort of the same buildings and landscapes seen the day before.

Ordinary moments is the dog, nuzzling up to you as you step through the threshold of your home, seeing it as it was before you left that morning.

Mindfulness takes us to those ordinary moments where you experience contentment and when stress and craving for the WOW fades, it simply does not exist.

You might call this a dull existence, but in fact, far from it!

Ordinariness is the springboard to cultivate the WOW’s.

WOW’s come randomly, when you least expect it. If you are searching high and low for them, chances are they never come.

WOW’s trickle or burst into your ordinary moments, they can show up with the intensity of a high-speed train or as a trickle of water dripping through the crack of a dam.

Mindfulness orchestrates these WOW moments; since no one can physically and emotionally cope with too many WOW’s, mindfulness drip feeds the amount that is just right for you.

However, the caveat is, if you want a WOW, practice the skill of enjoying the ordinariness of life.

Watch with curiosity, the simple things in life.

Don’t race through the day mindlessly to get to the WOW’s, walk through the day seeing what is there and most likely when you least expect it…

WOW!

Recipe: Seeing What Is: Mindfulness Meditation

This meditation can be done anywhere.

Take 3 deep breaths, to calm your nervous system down and center you.

Begin to notice what is happening right in front of you, see it, don’t interpret, and remain in a state of complete detachment.

Notice the sound or the touch, whatever the next stimulus is, see it, feel it, don’t interpret, and remain in a state of complete detachment.

Continue, noticing things, visually, internally, etc.…

Keep this up for approximately 5 minutes

The key to this meditation is to see, but to not engage.

The only time you engage is if it is important to do so, for instance, your stop is approaching, you will be required to engage with the process of preparing to get off at that stop.

This meditation trains your mind to be present, though not to react to everything, it conserves energy for what will be required for the moments of inspiration, those WOW moments.

Is anyone listening?

listeningIs anyone listening?

No one seems to have time to listen.

They are too busy trying to keep up with their hectic lives.

Is anyone listening? Does anyone hear what I have to say?

Listening is becoming an outdated skill, as who has the time to stop and listen.

There is always some type of distraction, emails and texts keep coming and everything seems to be urgent.

How does it feel not be listened to?

It feels lonely and painful.

All of us want to be listened to, whether we admit it or not.

Yet, we don’t listen either.

It might appear you are listening when your eyes are fixed at the person speaking, though your mind wanders off or you are mulling over the response you want to give.

How is that listening has become obsolete?

We can blame our mobile phones, our busy lifestyle, and our butterfly mind.

What will become of us if we no longer listen to each other?

Life will become lonely.

Life will lose its freshness and creativity, as all you have are your thoughts and ideas.

It is harder to love another when all you hear is your voice.

Without listening there can be no connection to others or the world we live in.

Our sense of separation is reaching catastrophic proportions.

When we cease to listen, we stop protecting the world we live in and the people we love.

When you stop listening you miss the words being spoken, most importantly you miss the subtleties of what is being said… the expressions, tones and body language.

You say, you are too busy; there is not enough time to listen.

Listening is too time consuming, you want everything to be brief, to the point, or you lose focus.

Whose fault is that?

How has it gotten to where we can only hold on to a few seconds of information?

Some things cannot be expressed succinctly; it might take longer.

The end result is the speaking stops altogether.

What is left?  Nothing gets spoken. Therefore, problems and pains are shelved.

Yes, they do come out eventually, though probably in anger.

Anger seems to be the best way to get attention, though; no one listens to anger, as they are too busy defending their position.

So what to do?

Simply start listening.

Listen with your whole being.

Listen with understanding not with the expectation of responding.

Step out of your busyness and let the other know you listening.

How?

Look at them with your eyes and your body.

Give the person what they said back in your words, and then they know you are listening.

And ask the same for yourself.

“Listen to me”

 

Recipe: Active Listening 3-Minute Practice:

Set a timer for 3 minutes

For the next 3 minutes settle into your quiet space.

Sit on the floor with your back straight and eyes closed. If you are unable to sit on the floor then use a chair. Be comfortable

Start by taking 3 deep breaths to settle you in.

Then allow your breathing to return to your regular rhythm

Imagine you are sitting across from someone – you can choose a specific person or an imaginary one.

You are listening with your full attention

Notice if you mind begins to wander towards criticism, analyzing, interpreting and judgment pull your mind back.

Keep returning to being a receptive listener

You do not need to agree or disagree  – just honour what is being said.

Open yourself to that person’s mood and experience.

Continue on

Until the 3 minutes is up

Open your eyes and practice this in real life with someone you love, first.

Observe the reaction of the other person, and see how they feel when you are truly listening to them.

RJMindbody

RJMindbody