The Importance of Touch

touch1One of the things that I miss most about being in a relationship is being held and hugged when I need it. I don’t think we ever outgrow our need for physical touch, yet it’s seen as one of the quirks of being in a romantic relationship, only for those who manage to make another person fall in love with them.

I’m not saying we should go out and be held by strangers, because that can understandably feel uncomfortable, but as a single woman I’ve been exploring self-touch. Whenever I feel anxious or afraid, I put my hands on my chest and belly, or wherever the feeling is located in my body and soothe myself with loving words, such as I love you, you are safe, everything is okay. I also hug myself and caress my shoulders and arms when I’m feeling particularly vulnerable. This might seem weird or cheesy to some (it does seem that way to the more critical and judging part of me as I’m writing this), but if you’ve never learned as a child how to soothe your overwhelmed nervous system, the practice of self-touch can be a very healing and even life-saving process.

So maybe next time you feel lonely, sad, afraid, or you’re experiencing any sensation that makes you wish for the presence of another, you might like to try this practice of closing your eyes, feeling where in your body the emotion resides and touching that part with loving caresses. It’s important to learn how to mother ourselves, so we no longer require a partner to do this for us. That way we not only can learn to be happy alone, but we also create the opportunity for more healthy, honest and loving relationships when the time comes. 🙂

Have a beautiful day!

self-love

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How To Feel Our Feelings Instead of Stuffing Them

Eye-opening wisdom from Lisa A. Romano 🙂

For those of us from dysfunctional homes–the act of feeling our true feelings is often foreign. Because we have been brainwashed to worry more about what others think about us, than what we think about ourselves–we worry more about others feelings–for us–than we do about our feelings for them. We are stuck-do not understand why.

Very often the only emotions we CAN identify are negative–like rage–frustration–angst–fear–and disappointment.

There is a way out..it is a process…it does not happen over night…but if you never give up–you can learn to reprogram your mind.

Is It Time For a Facebook Break?

To me, Facebook is like a sugary desert: a little taste of it can give me pleasure but the more I eat, the more my body starts to ache and the more I believe myself dependent on a source that’s not nourishing me. There are a lot of inspiring pages that brighten up my newsfeed and can give me the message I most need at that moment. I enjoy reading those beautiful bits of wisdom as I sip my morning coffee and prepare for another day.

But Facebook can be insidious. You don’t notice how your habits change, how whenever you open your browser, you automatically go there to check if there is anything new. You lose time and you end up feeling unproductive and disappointed in yourself.

I’ll be honest and say that FB also triggers my ‘ego’ (I don’t really like using that word, because it’s so loaded, but for lack of a better one…) in a way I’m not proud of. It can run quite deep. There was this guy I liked and I found myself posting more pictures just to get that rush whenever he liked one of my pictures. But similar to a sugar rush, the effect runs out and you end up craving more and more. The worst part is that neither he or my behaviour were feeding my soul. It’s easy to mistake the lazy communication that FB represents for heartfelt connections. It’s so easy to get caught up in what others are thinking of me, why they haven’t liked my post, why they haven’t replied. But likes are cheap and we waste so much precious energy worrying about virtual stuff that’s not substantive and doesn’t mean anything in the bigger scheme of things. I feel like this whole FB dance of sharing our life to gain approval, lazy messaging to escape genuine intimacy that requires effort of us and the ability to open up and face our fears, and the waiting and compulsive checking for likes that creeps upon you whether you believe yourself immune to such trifles or not, distracts us of our path and why we are here.

I’ve written about my dilemma with Facebook before and two years ago I deleted my Facebook account completely for a few months, as part of a new self-care plan. I have fond memories of those months. Now I think it’s time for another serious break. It can be such a big relief to just deactivate your account and say good-bye to all the drama. If you resonate with this, perhaps it can be an idea, if it feels right to you, to do the same. Don’t be afraid that others won’t be able to reach you anymore. The ones who really want to make an effort for you will *gasp* keep in touch via e-mail, or, heaven forbid, take the trouble to pick up the phone and call you. And the others…well, good riddance. Your life is too short and precious to worry about them.

This FB break is part of a larger project for me to step away from other people for the moment so I can let go of that compulsive need to check for approval. I want to create space to hear my own voice. This includes lots and lots of solitude. I can already feel a dormant part of me come alive again. I got up before sunrise today and did four sun salutations and meditated to the sound of birds joyfully welcoming another day. It felt amazing. 🙂

Let Me Come Back To Myself

I don’t need to go anywhere
No need to feel jealous of ambitious travel plans.
My luscious garden during spring
is positively bursting with life.
The golden flowers and deep green leaves
kissed here and there by glistering drops of dew
are brimming with the promise of renewal
as I exhale a little bit deeper each time.
Let me just sit here, on this sparkling white bench
the sun caressing my weary face.
Let me leave behind the bustle and dreary business
of the Internet
the clouds of confusion and urgent longings
finger-painted by other people, but never really mine.
Let me feel the pulse of my wild heart again.
Yes,
Let me come back to myself for a little while.

No

No,
I am not going to forget about my own peace and well-being
so you can feel good about yourself.
No,
I am not going to make it my life’s mission to please you
while I stay behind, crying in shame and confusion.
No,

Enough excuses made for you, your pain,
your depression, your demons.
No, no more,
my patience has finally run out. 
It seems you don’t care about my feelings,
my vulnerable beating heart,
about the screams that haunted my insides
and which you tried so hard to repress.

No,
I choose me.

I choose life.
I choose my own innate gladness
my will to live and live well

in complete tenderness and devotion.
Go ahead and demonise me, call me selfish,
try to make me drown in guilt.
Don’t you think I’ve heard it all before?
“My precious feelings” as you called them so sarcastically
are going to 
matter 
once 
more. 

For the Wild Ones

To find that overrun road
right by the blossoming pear trees
shoes will be of no use to you, my lovely one.
I’m afraid anything you might carry with you
will only be a hindrance.
My advice, you say?
Don’t stop running
Follow the wolves
Light a fire
Stir the soul
Make love in the woods
Take it seriously
and fall headfirst into the autumn’s leaves

Then tell me something,
when you’re standing there,
Your hem knee-deep in mud
did you smell that scent you’ve been aching for?
Did you witness her shadow
jumping from tree to tree?

The one who’s elusive cadence
causes stars to burst into being
colours to whirl into flame
moonlight to birth another river
while her gentle ashes
cover the faces of the dying.

Did you run out of breath
following her to where she lives?
Did you pick up her trail
dancing shouting howling
under the pale moonlight
feeling the stabs of painful solitude?

Take heart, fiery soul
for it’s there,
at the end of all things orderly and recognisable
that your true home lies.

The Elixir of Life

I breathe in the elixir of life
Every moment so precious
Every colour so vivid and alive
The scent of flowers gently carried 
by the wind
When I slow down 
I can hear nature’s heartbeat
in the midst of pure silence
In that moment, I am whole again.

My Beloved is with me
reminding me to truly see
to truly breathe
to truly know
to truly love

How to truly embody your life

Yesterday we talked about the importance of embodied experience in creating positive change in your life. Today I’d like to give you a suggestion on how to best stay present with your experience, so that you can get in touch with your feelings and needs in any given situation. 

Based on my own experience, I find that a daily meditation practice helps me greatly. Normally, when we go through our day and encounter different challenges, we don’t always take the time to process our emotions fully. They stay right beneath the surface, giving us a vague sense of uneasiness. Our first instinct, in order to avoid pain and unpleasantness, is to turn our attention away from ourselves towards some form of occupation, whether it be work or some form of entertainment. This is an unconscious mode of living, which makes the cycle of learning and going through the same experiences time and time again much longer than it needs to be. Our patterns remain the same and we give our power away to others by not turning within and nourishing ourselves with our own inner wisdom. 

There is another way, though. We can choose to carve out some time each day to be fully present with ourselves. We can sit in silence, breathe, and focus our attention completely on how we are feeling. This can be quite challenging sometimes, especially when intense sadness, anger, resentment and fear come up. We don’t always know what to do with these “negative” emotions. In these instances it’s good to remember that emotions are actually different forms of energy and that the most harmful type is static energy, locked up and unmoving. When we allow ourselves to feel all of our emotions, they start moving around, seeking release. We can release sadness by letting ourselves have a good cry. We can release anger by hitting some pillows or growling like a lion (yes, growling) and coming into contact with the strength of a lion as well. The lion is often depicted as king of the animals. Do you feel like you are the king/queen over your own life? What are the ways in which you give power over your life to others, and how can you reclaim it?
I have to admit that anger is a difficult emotion for me, but it’s very valuable as a message about our own well-being. Anger is often a sign that our boundaries have been crossed in some way, so we can take some time out and give some thought to our concept of healthy boundaries and how we can speak up for ourselves in a constructive way. 
We can also stay present with fear and allow ourselves to fully feel and own it. Fear is often unconcious, so when you make the true root of your fear conscious, that act alone makes it lose much of its power over you. 

Important in all this is to remain patient and gentle with yourself. It’s not because you are feeling “negative” emotions instead of peace and bliss during meditation that something has gone wrong. Not at all. It’s so healthy and healing for us to feel everything and to allow everything. I notice that when I truly listen to my body throughout these intense feelings and bravely stay present, that my sweet body rewards me with a deep, content, healing silence where I feel completely whole and at peace. This leads me to believe that all your inner self wants is a listening ear, someone who will sit with her/him through the rough times and hold their hand. You don’t need to panic on how you are ever going to get rid of these bothersome emotions, you just need to trust in the wisdom of your body and know that your presence is much appreciated. You’ll be more in touch with what you truly want and need, and this in turn gives you the tools to create a happy, fulfilling, blissful life, without resentment.

Further Reading:

For all those who are struggling with expressing anger, I strongly recommend Harriet Lerner’s book ‘The Dance of Anger’. It’s very practical and has given me a LOT of valuable insights in how to effectively express myself and my needs.

If you find the traditional meditation methods a little dry, or you just want a pleasurable, sensual and profound initiation in meditation, I can heartily suggest ‘Meditation Secrets for Women’ by Camille Maurine and Lorin Roche. I’ve had this book for quite some time and it has proven to be a real treasure.

Feeling stuck? Spring will come!

 

 

Nobody knows you as well as you do. 
This means that asking advice from other people is actually pretty useless, especially if it concerns very personal experiences and not something practical as say, how to best drive a car. Even then, you know best how you like to drive.
If we for example made the choice to be in a bad and abusive relationship, other people can tell us to leave our partner until they turn blue in the face, but it won’t work unless we are truly ready to do so. Truly ready means when you feel that inner pull, that dissatisfaction with your life as it is and you feel strong enough to make a change. This is a process, a very valuable process, but we have to walk it alone. We got into this situation because there was something for us to learn here. We chose to stay. If there wasn’t anything valuable in this experience for us, we would just shrug it off and let the “bad” guy/ girl pass us by. This is what truly embodied experience teaches us – to let go of, to avoid, to refuse what we know doesn’t serve us. Knowing something in your mind because someone else told you is not embodied experience and will usually have little (lasting) influence over your behavior. That’s why, to follow our example, you might break it off with your partner after an intense “lecture” from your friends, only to take him back again afterwards, when the advice fades to the background and you’re left to deal with your conflicting emotions alone. You haven’t truly embodied your decision yet and so it’s no wonder it doesn’t stick.  
If you look at the instances when you feel pulled to ask for advice, isn’t it with at least a bit of hope that the people you ask will agree with you, will make excuses for you so you can continue what you feel is impossible to change right now? And when they don’t, isn’t there a tendency to make excuses for yourself, because in the end, you know your situation best? I know this is often the case for me.

First, I want to say that it’s ok to walk at your own pace through life. I know the situations we get into often aren’t very pleasant and sometimes outright horrendous, but I believe that it’s not without purpose or use. This is sacred territory, for we are learning and growing. It’s ok to be where you are and not feel ready yet to change. In fact, I’d like you to picture the earth during winter, covered in snow. Everything seems death and lost, but underneath the ground, hidden from view, are seeds preparing to bloom, preparing to break through. Preparing for spring. Preparing for action. So it is with our lives and the trouble we get into. We might feel stuck, but there is something at work in ourselves, pulling us towards change, even if we don’t notice it yet. If you don’t feel ready, don’t give yourself a hard time, it just means the time isn’t right yet. Just trust that there will come a day when you have gathered all your resources, when all the seeds are sown, and you will be ready. Your body and spirit will know that the process is complete and all of a sudden, what seemed so impossible yesterday has become inevitable – you, rising from the ashes, spreading your wings and flying off into a better sky, leaving behind everything that used to give you so much anguish. It will still take courage, but you are courageous anyway. You just needed to fully remember that.