An interfaith minister asked us to name out loud some things we will miss about a person who has recently died. All sorts of affectionate things were said in the room. Then she asked us to name out loud some things we won't miss about the person. I think there was a longer pause that gave her some time to talk about this request. She said that just because someone died they haven't suddenly became a saint. Let them be their whole selves. Let yourself be your whole self. She talked about the graciousness of grief, to allow ourselves to be honest. A few people said some things that I don't remember since I was just sitting there loving what she'd been saying about keeping it real.
Gosh, that's all I want. It's all I ever wanted, and had little to no information from anywhere that real and honest was a possibility for most of my life, until recent years. Until I began the braving to be real and honest myself. I remember people swooping in to perform "care" yet they hadn't paused to find out what was needed, or wanted. I remember people instructing others on how to caretake, as if there's a solid object called "caretake" and that's what you do, the way they're doing it. The strongarming and the sneaky shaming. Without any other options, I'd lay down into doormat shape and allow the out of touch "care" to be forced upon me or the other person.
Thinking back on it, from the comfort of my couch and dogs flanking, I notice a yawn coming on. A yawn that could stretch back into my entire past and release all that weird WEIRD confusion around caring and around people dying and around grieving these changes that came that were not wanted but there they were. Heck, even changes that ARE wanted can inspire grieving. Life is sort of a continuum of grief and laughter. At least that's part of it. Some say there are stages to grief. I don't know about that. Maybe when we're honest, when we've dropped the performances and ideas about it all, there's no distinction between grief and the rest of life. Maybe in super real honesty, there's no real distinction between life and death. Just a continuum of light.
One day in 2010 when I was sitting a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat, I was about to go nuts. A spot on my face had started to itch and it became my focus in that I sat there for probably several minutes planning when and how I'd reach up to scratch it. An itch. Gotta scratch an itch! At some point the simple meditation instructions repeated in me: meet everything that arises with equanimity, as impermanent, and from the field of loving presence. It occurred to me that the itch is the same as anything else that would arise, and I'm here to do this particular practice.
My agreement with the itch then changed. It stopped being my target to get rid of, stopped being an exception to the practice, as I had been uncuriously seeing it just moments before, and surprisingly it started to move and stretch out across my face and scalp and down my neck... I witnessed the itch turn into warm energy and its movement opened my bodymind and a realization about something in my life I had no idea was coming. That sort of thing happened over and over in those 10 days and still happens. It's a new way forward from before.
How many itches of so many sorts happen in a day in a life? How many opportunities are we missing by reflexively, uncuriously scratching away and blocking our doors to greater awareness, with conventional beliefs about things we've labeled as solid state things?
If I haven't just fallen down and I feel something start up in my body, I learn to allow it. And even if I did just fall down, the only thing really to do is move openly from there. I find out over and over that nothing is separate. There is no body separate from mind separate from emotion. It's all one movement with countless facets we can perceive in a moment. Aware of my context, that I'm not standing in the middle of the street about to get hit by a car but something just came across my mind and I contracted, allowing pause and openness lets me learn, unexpected and undirected by my thoughts. Things that are held separate from the rest of it by my beliefs, perceived exceptions to the practice that my personality holds out as special, even that stuff is just energy trying to move.
The only barrier is our strongman beliefs about ourselves and the world as solid state.
One morning in college, my biochemistry professor suddenly stopped lecturing mid-sentence. He became very still, then sat down. The entire teaching auditorium full of students was paused and open and silent. He eventually told us to go home but no one moved until a few started going down to him. We learned later that he was having an aneurism, and that the space he created in himself, probably made even more potent by the space we all created for him, saved his health and maybe life. He was fine. Had he continued pressing on or had he gone into reflexive contraction against that movement, the pressure would have compounded in his brain. Instead, it got to dissipate and move through.
What if we all practiced everyday to meet life this way? What if a sudden itch or pain somewhere is not met with reflex habit or fear and contraction but open kind awareness? Faith in life itself. We can still be taken to the ER or equivalent, but on the way we can be spacious inside and allow for the unexpected pathway to open.
"What I think of you has nothing to do with your worth".
Words that came across my mind earlier today. I saw the face of the person, who I don't like and who's been having a hold on my freedom (transparency, it's my mom's husband). Giving him back his worth from within my mind does feel freeing. I don't like him because he's made it clear that he doesn't like me. So mine is retaliation or defense. And those words also flow in the opposite direction. What he thinks of me has nothing to do with my worth. Yes, someone could have said that to me but it would have only gone so deep. This sifted up, a surprise, from inside my body as I walked to buy half & half at the corner store. A moment of grace I want to name and incorporate, roll around with.
People honestly not liking each other but still co-existing is better than people having to "love each other" because that is a ridiculous expectation in the world of egos. We can trust that need with the spiritual truth of Love, which can hold all our disagreements. Our honestly and flexibility is what's needed down here in the trenches of life. Plus, nothing is fixed in place. Honesty allows movement and change. Who knows what will come? I feel a bit inspired that this not having to lord over ourselves with "should love each other" demands is a way forward in this world of crazy division we've been creating with our expectations.
No person can take away another person's worth. Check, and thank you. We can coexist, all worthy of the same big Love. It's what we ultimately are.
Hi. I have a desire to write something that's a simple easy connection. Not too much thought effort involved, not lost in concepts for convincing anyone of anything. What is easy? What's simple because it's true? And is that even worth writing about?
Maybe that's the only thing worth writing about. Words acting like a finger pointing to what's right here. This sensation of life right where I am, and something about this is the same as that sensation right were you are. No time or space gap exists when we're alive in the sensation of life. Simple and easy and true.
Our bodies are perfectly safe. They are our only homes in this life.
Healing is a unique process to each of us, of reoccupying the safety and at-homeness of our bodies, the bridging of the divide between the life of the mind and the life of the body. As healing goes on, as deep as we choose, the bridge disappears and we are simply whole and fully alive, free to be our non-strategized selves. There is no conflict in that, only generous truth.
I find out over and over that healing is a creative discovery, and I don't have to wait until I'm dying to remember my wholeness, to feel and to know. Without this body, where would I be? And as long as I'm here, why not be fully alive? Not scary alive, running mania type thing. Fully alive. It comes down to choice. That's the free will in life.
There is nothing wrong with you or me. I'm saying this because I know it's true, not because I believe it might be true. And pain is not an indicator of wrongness, I know it as an indicator of love, that something needs care. In any moment of pain in the body, old or new, it can spur separation and worry, an unsafe feeling. Try allowing consciousness to include the pain and expand, feel the love that is always with you, right there in your safe home.
If you just fell off a roof and you feel pain, the love will allow you to yell for help. If you just cut your finger, the love will grab a cloth and compress the cut to stop the bleeding, and allow you to look to see if you need stitches and follow through with the need. If your family shuns you and your heart is crying at the loss of connection, allow the love within your own body to bring you wholeness right here and now. Allow your own mind and body to live together, and allow the present flow within you to maybe even have no need for a bridge between mind and body. Maybe choose to discover that you are unconditionally whole and be comforted in your safe home.
The safer we become in ourselves, the safer we become for all, and the safer our world.
Last night I dreamed while
sort of awake about
a person I reckon was me
floating in the middle of the sea.
He became aware,
in a moment,
where he was,
not knowing how he got there.
His next thought was
The Will Of God Put Me Here
and he felt pleasantly sedate,
accepting of his fate.
His next thought was
the memory of everything he had ever
thought, believed, chosen, spoken and done
in every moment of his lives, prior to
Willing Himself To That Spot In The Sea.
Then he was vividly awake.
Then he was capable of
swimming toward land,
Therapy without the backdrop of "mindfulness" seems more like coaching than therapy. If we're looking to "fix" ourselves, then maybe coaching is fine. Our world is full of that mentality, so we can't miss if that's what we're looking for. But if we're wanting to truly heal, then a therapist needs to be far more capable. It's the difference between giving answers and helping find the right questions to explore. To heal means to become whole and that comes from within.
When we approach life in a fixing sort of way, we end up needing on-going management and defense for our fixes because that's not a free state of being or the truth of our potential.
'Mindfulness' implies developing awareness beyond our tight, fixing, control-focused minds; an inner orientation with nothing really to do with problem solving. It is more like open attunement in the moment of life. This moment, and this one... We learn to observe and start to perceive how we've been making stories about reality rather than simply living reality. By perceiving our mental behavior while practicing flexibility and curiosity (non-attachment to any outcome, no preference) the behavior of story making begins to dissolve itself. Truth shows up and relaxes us. We begin discovering we are actually walking in amazement that we could have never planned and executed from that stodgy way of thinking, believing and trying that we've been doing.
It's our right and responsibility to continually practice (friendly within ourselves) and when consciousness shows up expanded beyond our mental belief systems, we finally see and can stop believing our mental activities. We become capable of surfing life as it rolls along. Not goal oriented but life oriented. Free. ... Therapy should help with this.
"Be like water, my friend", Bruce Lee famously said. He wasn't just talking about physicality. The mind can and needs to orient to flow. Without this flexibility, we create prisons everywhere. That's what human culture has created around the world, and we've got to evolve past that model by awakening to the simple moment of life within ourselves, not remaining problem fixing oriented in our narrow boxed in ways of thinking. That's not healthy and it's not healing.
Therapy, whether talk or body oriented, and any mode of healing needs to become oriented to the evolving front of humanity. If not, then it's just more compartmentalized thought exercise that we desperately need to move beyond. We're killing our ecosystem from our addiction to compounding heady ideas. The newest fad is not evolution, it's just another fad, "same as it ever was".
Recently, I joined and then left a talk therapy group that I discovered was practicing a purely fix-it style of group coaching. Heady analyzing and mansplaining galore! It felt like a cult. I was baffled at how obtuse it all was, lead by a person who is a PhD psychologist. That person must have no mindfulness practice to rest on. That experience made me wonder about the prevalence of therapy these days and the strong potential to end up being groomed further down a dead end via "therapy".
Therapy, to me, is relating with respect for the *still small voice* of wisdom inside us all. It takes a mindful, spacious orientation to allow that voice to be heard and to allow honest change to happen.
Therapy needs the humility to perceive the moment while in the moment with another human. Allow the honest question to arise out of the moment and to be spoken as an invitation to explore. There's a free, bright-eyed wonder to this. A commitment to staying in the not-knowing with each other, open and generous, honest and awake, so the honest resolution can happen organically. Big invitation into freedom. That's therapeutic to me.
Knowing is not an answer, it is a relationship; an open, engaged, mutual curiosity.
Me and now. Me and yes. Me and you.
Knowing is living bare in the moment of reality, experiencing the moment as it evolves, evolving with the moment.
Knowing and not knowing are partners. We cannot Know unless we can Not Know. So we, in our heady culture, can relax about thinking we have to get a handle on it all.
Knowing is a fluid relationship, spiral of life, losing track of who is who every now and then.
Open awareness meditation (the way Buddhists practice) and Biodynamic orientation are really two ways of the same Way. The ego learns how to listen to the divine, greater movement of life.
Egos can't ever KNOW anything, not in the solid way we're usually taught to think of knowing as "possessing knowledge". Everything in the world is always moving and changing so knowing one minute is not knowing the next. But, thankfully, we are not limited to our egos. That's just an aspect of us, the "small mind" way of being. We can, in fact, learn to orient awareness beyond ego and life becomes a fun and free exploration. Egos get to learn how to dance with life.
From working with lots of different people, themes emerge. One is the simple thing about gratitude. When a client is in gratitude of their own lives, the health of their own bodies, then there's a resonance of gratitude in the room and the healing relationship is safe for deepening into the recesses of the client's body/psyche. In that deepening, the profundity of what keeps life going is able to do its thing, releasing even very old traumatic holdings. Why wouldn't we want that? I think we all do want that, we just lose connection to our natural gratitude at times.
Healing is available in us all the time, I do believe that, but something is commonly blocking it. And what is it that's blocking it?
One way that I've come to understand the blocks to our health has to do with gratitude, and a misunderstanding/mis-training that might be in the way. Gratitude is often talked about as being to/for someone or something outside of ourselves, for gifts given to us, or based on someone's idea about God. But what I learn through embodiment and healing in myself as well as in clients is that gratitude is really our own internal availability to ourselves in full feeling and honesty. A real appreciation for our very bodies and moments of life. Real gratitude is unconditional, not hinging on having things just so, nor expecting things to go just as we want. Gratitude is being truly with ourselves through it all.
We can train ourselves toward the state of gratitude as a way of opening and allowing the healing that is trying to happen in our bodies/minds/lives. Biodynamic CST is a perfect body therapy to blend with this gratitude practice. It certainly helps me!
Someone on a discussion group quoted Iyanla Vanzant as saying "repetition is the Mother of Skill". It got me to thinking that a lot of what we practice is really not so obvious or intentional but hidden and habitual, mental positioning. The question is, what's my quick mental repetition? But rather than trying to leap ahead and start a new "good" way of thinking, it is cleaner, less mentally crowding, to practice being aware of my current "skillful" habits first. And by "skillful" I'm not being self-congratulatory or selective. More like, recognizing just what mental habits are actually happening here in me and what I'm honestly practicing myself to be good at through diligent repetition.
I mean opening the doors of honesty to see what's quickly happening in my mind. What am I really making here? And what am I constantly attempting to override or deny that I'm doing with "positive" or preferred thoughts? You know, the mental version of Botox. Doesn't humanity generate a lot of skillful delusions, like dividing life into categories, critiquing good and bad without even really knowing what's being critiqued? Don't we collectively go with assumptions and roll them into group preferences we call culture?
Once someone, I think it was a meditation instructor, pointed out that everyone's skillful because everyone's devotedly practicing ways of thinking. When you look at it that way, recognizing non-preferred habits can become a doorway. I can avail myself to see what I'm doing and feel confident in my functionality. "Hey, look what I'm capable of! If I can be this good at creating stress then I can be equally good at NOT creating stress!"
Instead of writing ourselves off as lazy, bad, mentally ill or something equally dismissive (maybe originating from voices echoing from when we were honest little kids) we can acknowledge that we've actually been practicing skills all along and getting really good at it, no matter what it is. Everyone is brilliant and skillful in whatever it is we're practicing the most. And, when we realize that we're dissatisfied, unhappy, stressed all the time, what have you, we can see how good we are at what we spend our energy doing, and experiment with different choices.
A great choice is to become curiouser and curiouser with no end of curiousness.
Hi, it's Ginger. I hope my thoughts here will add to freedom, expansion and creativity for you as you read them.