Hello, my dear tribe!
For some reason it feels appealing to address you all as my tribe. Maybe because of the general feelings of isolation and divisiveness that are surfacing in the collective as we come upon the completion of our third month of pandemic reality (unreality). Maybe because of the deep understanding that has come to me in the last three months of just how important it is to know and feel that we are not alone and that we have a healthy and intact support system. You all are part of my healthy and intact support system. By allowing me to share my thoughts and ideas with you, and you sometimes responding and sharing yourselves with me in that way, I feel seen. I feel valued. I feel like I am of service.
Feeling ‘of service’ is important to me. So much so, that when this all started, I felt inspired to offer some weekly online yoga classes (both independently and for a local studio). And you all responded positively to it, and in turn felt supported. In that small way I was a part of your support system. I know that it was out of my love for you all that I felt inclined to offer online yoga classes. I know this because it doesn’t come naturally to me to teach or practice yoga online.
I discovered (or maybe confirmed is a better word), after 6 weeks of teaching yoga online, that it is not a good fit for me. I found that it was irritating to my nervous system, my adrenals and my psyche. I was meditating and walking daily to maintain my balance, while offering a yoga practice to you (to hopefully help you to maintain your balance.) At week 7, I finally had to call it quits. I was no longer able to rise above my own stressors with online yoga teaching. It was humbling to have to acknowledge my limitations in this regard. And it was liberating to fully honor my own needs.
For the last decade or so, I have been learning about how to be of service without it taking such a toll on me. In other words, I’ve been learning what sorts of services I can offer to others that don’t feel like a burden to me. When I was a full time educator I learned that I was of great service to my students, and, that being a traditional classroom teacher was incredibly stressful for me. (This topic came up in an interview I did with VoyageDenver recently.) As a healer, I have learned that working with people individually, I am of great service to people, and, it never feels like a burden to me. No matter what I feel like before a session, I always feel better after I work with someone.
I continue to better understand who I am and how I can be of service. As of late, I’m specifically exploring my adaptability, and how that adaptability has evolved. In my youth, being adaptable meant I was good at making the best out of shitty situations. In my adulthood, it has been more about learning how to avoid shitty situations. Now, as I near a half a century of life, I am learning that adaptability is more about recognizing the areas in which I am more or less able to adapt. It is learning to understand and honor that there are some things that I can be tremendously flexible about, and there are other things that simply don’t fit for me, and will never feel right to me.
This has helped me to understand that being of service to others is important to me, and being of service to myself is critical. It’s still challenging for me. It doesn’t feel particularly natural for me to say, “I don’t have anything to give to others right now. I’m just managing to keep myself healthy by focusing on self-care.” It’s not that this need is new to me. Or even the action of focusing on caring for myself. What is new is the deeper understanding that it isn’t really optional, and it doesn’t come after everything else. It’s no longer what I do “if I have time.” It is now the number one priority. And that is okay, and it doesn’t mean that I’m no longer an adaptable person who can be of great service to others.
I’m curious what you all have discovered about your limitations and adaptability in month three of the pandemic. What are you coming to understand about yourself and how you respond to usual and unusual situations? What are you finding are some of your central needs? What do you miss the most about your life pre-pandemic? What are you glad to have seen go? I would truly love to hear from you about this. Reply to this email and let me know.
I would encourage everyone to try more self-care. Yes, even more. I used to think people who were good at self-care were selfish. I’m now starting to think that superb self-care might be the only way to truly be of service. Hmm!?
I love you all and hope that you are staying well,
P.S. Here’s how I’m caring for myself. I am walking in nature a lot. I’m talking to Mother Earth about my concerns. I am meditating and I am doing a lot of pranayama (breathing practices). I am gardening and eating fresh food out of my garden. I am watching light-hearted movies (I often go months without turning my TV on.) I am spending time with loved ones who fill me up (on the phone or in person), and I am avoiding loved ones that deplete me. And sometimes, I just stare at the ceiling.
Hello Dear Ones,
As humans, one of our least favorite places to be, is limbo. We seem to be innately uncomfortable with the unknown, the unmanageable, the unpredictable: that which we cannot move by physical force. Besides making apparent to us that being able to know, predict, move or manage things might be an illusion anyway, limbo implies being with self. Even more challengingly, being still and silent with oneself. Most would say that is a formula for disaster. Or, as social media would put it, at this time of shelter in place, a formula for making babies or dramatically increasing the divorce rate.
Since we are accustomed to interacting with ourselves, with all of life’s distractions swirling around us, it can surprise us that we are so uncomfortable in this place of silence and stillness. Most are used to evaluating (and likely judging) ourselves based on our actions, our achievements, our contributions. We value ourselves based on what we do. Often, we are able to identify redeeming and worthy qualities in ourselves, and often (even in the best of circumstances) we are brutally unkind to ourselves. It isn’t ideal, what happens when we are faced with ourselves, even when we are completely distracted by life. It can be downright startling when we eliminate all of the distractions.
The liminal space, that is limbo, takes all of life’s trappings away. It deposits us into an unknown realm, where we are naked (so to speak) and unable to hide aspects of ourselves, or look away from, our wholeness. Typically, when we do look, most of us will only see our shadows. We will have difficulty seeing the well-lighted parts of our wholeness. As humans are patterned to do, we will focus on the ‘negative.’ Focusing on our shadows keeps us stuck, limited, small, and ultimately, in a place of self-loathing (aka depression).
I feel oddly blessed that this is not my first encounter with limbo. That I have sat within this specific space before in my life. Several times, actually. The most dramatic experience of it, was what I would call my ‘dark night of the soul.’ Many would call it a major depressive episode, and I did exhibit all of those signs and symptoms, but I could somehow tell (at the time) that this was different. That I was being given an opportunity to really get to know myself. And that, even if I didn’t know it, I actually had the tools I needed to get through it safely.
What can we do when we find ourselves here: in limbo (which I’m extrapolating implies self-judgement)? How can we find the prana, the life-nectar present in limbo? Believe it or not, the solution is to walk in deeper. Allow yourself to look around and really see/ feel what is there inside of you. There are a couple of important ground rules for doing this. So that it is a healing process instead of a harmful one. First and foremost, you have to face your inner critic and definitively tell it that it is not allowed to be part of this process. (Follow this link for specifics on how to do that). Secondly, you have to discover, nurture and grow your self-compassion. Yes, you deserve love. We all do. Always and without question.
Here is an exercise for moving deeper: Draw your attention away from the judgement (shadow) you are currently tormenting yourself with, and turn it toward that which lies just beneath it. Your intention. Your wound. Your dream. Your desire to be free. Your desire to feel whole. Draw your attention away from your criticism and allow yourself to see you. The fragmented, confused, self-doubting, good intentioned and light-filled you that exists within, next to and beyond the shadows.
It may initially be difficult to see this part of ourselves. And it will definitely be difficult to meet this part of ourselves with compassion. The inner critic truly believes that when it berates us, it is helping us. Fortunately, it is wrong. I know, most of you don’t believe me. “This is the part of me that makes life happen. It’s what gets me up in the morning. It’s the me that got that promotion.” That is what you are telling yourselves right now. And it feels so true. But it’s not.
The inner critic is actually the part of use that makes us feel burdened and overwhelmed. It is the part of us that kills creativity and motivation. If you still don’t believe me, work through the above worksheet with some of your common inner criticisms. Believe it or not, we get up in the morning because we actually want to get up in the morning. We do the work that we do because there is a part of us that believes that work has value. I know this because I have meet the moment in life when my inner critic could no longer make anything happen for me. It was like beating a dead horse. Unfortunately, I was the dead horse I was beating. I was the one who could no longer get up. And I discovered, the more I beat myself, the more paralyzed I became. Beating myself up for my failings, could no longer get me up and moving.
At the time, I was slogging through the worst shame storm I had ever experienced. I had taken medical leave from teaching and eventually gone on short term disability. The problem was, I hadn’t broken my back and I wasn’t battling cancer. Those would have been acceptable things to have gone on disability for. According to my inner critic, “I was just having severe anxiety, panic attacks and migraines. I should surely be able to get my shit together and go back to work. If I wasn’t so flawed and weak, I would definitely be able to not let the anxiety take over. If I weren’t so lazy, I’m sure I would be able to get up off the couch and make dinner.” It wasn’t pretty. Or self-compassionate.
I did a terrific experiment during that time. Unintentionally. One morning I woke up at 10am (this was already a ridiculously late wake up time, in my opinion), and I couldn’t get out of bed. I simply couldn’t get myself to get out of bed. I berated myself mercilessly for how worthless and lazy I was, and I still couldn’t get out of bed. Even though I hated myself for it, I didn’t manage to get out of bed until well into the afternoon that day. Several days later, I woke up at approximately the same time, and again, I couldn’t get out of bed. Having learned a little from my previous experience, I decided to hit myself with some compassion this time. Don’t get me wrong, I had to gag and tie my inner critic first. But then, I was able to tell myself that maybe I needed a little more rest. After all, I was processing a lot and I had had a lot of anxiety and I knew how much that fatigued my adrenals. I feel back to sleep for a bit. Miraculously, when I awoke, about an hour late, I was able to get up and start my day. And I didn’t even have a shame hangover.
Coming to understand that forcing and belittling myself no longer worked as a way to motivate myself; I surrendered to self-love. Even though I didn’t feel worthy of it, it felt like the only viable option. I decided to meet myself with compassion and I learned how to quiet and discredit my inner critic. This particular experience taught me a lot. Of course, it’s only one example of many such experiments that I conducted during that time in limbo. Obviously, the shift didn’t happen overnight, it took a good while “Sitting in Limbo” (one of my all time favorite songs), to learn these things.
I hope this helps all of us to expedite the process, and come to a place of self-compassion, more quickly than I did before. It is so incredibly scary to really look at ourselves and get to know who we truly are; underneath all the doing. I can promise one thing: If we really do this, we will learn to be at peace with ourselves. We will even find that we like ourselves most of the time. And, we will come to accept ourselves more. Inner peace, liking are selves most of the time, and accepting ourselves are terrific tools to combat self-judgement (and depression). I believe we can avoid a mental health crisis (in this time of isolation), if we take the opportunity to meet our true selves (without judgement), in this limbo.
Of course, don’t discontinue your current (successful) practices for maintaining mental health. I continually remind myself to employ all of the self-care tools I know to be effective for me: Keep a regular sleep/ wake cycle, eat healthy food, move my body regularly, talk to my loved ones regularly, and give myself alone time (yes, really, even now).
I have come to believe that self-love and self-acceptance are powerful acts of rebellion and liberation. They bring with them, the miraculous gift of accessing our personal power. Let yourselves taste this gift. Dip your toes into your inner being and invite yourself in for a tour. The powers that be (definitely the patriarchy), do not want you to discover your own power. The inner critic is a valuable social construct for maintaining the status quo. For creating docile masses. They think your inner critic is doing a splendid job of keeping you small, and manageable. Now doesn’t that seem like something worthy of rebellion?
I love you,
Hello Dearest Ones,
I write this with all of you in my heart, and a true hope and intention that we all tap into our higher selves as often as possible as we navigate this unusual and unprecedented time in our lives and our history. I also want to share a gift with you that might be useful to you and your loved ones in the coming weeks. Please enjoy this video as a tool for healing and prevention. I share it now so that you won’t miss out on it, if for some reason you don’t make it to the bottom of this love note.
What I want to share with you all is how I have been experiencing the energetics of the collective in the last couple of weeks. I am fairly practiced at not tapping into the collective too frequently, and I am also immensely sensitive to it when I do tap in. Beyond what I discuss here, I would encourage you all to practice disconnecting from the collective as often as possible. It will give your nervous system a much needed break.
I have been hit by two distinct waves of the collective energy in the last couple of weeks. What I feel and sense when I am hit with these waves, is a lot of fear. Of course, fear is the more ‘popular’ form of grief and sadness. That is to say, fear is our default/ go-to emotion when we are experiencing grief and sadness. What makes fear so effective at paralyzing us and causing panic in our hearts, is its ability to make everything personal. When things are personal, or feel personal to us, they tend to overwhelm us more easily.
Notice that while the collective is fearful of not having enough toilet paper, or being out of work for an extended period, your fears are taking on their very own flavor. That is because they are reflecting back to us the places in our heart (and our pelvic -the two places most of us carry fear) where we have some latent fear. When the collective fear hits our system, it spreads through our being until it lands on something that holds that same resonance (frequency); and it activates it. Hence why, in addition to all of the collective fears, some of us are feeling we may never have the love we long to feel, never have the child we hope for, never have the ability to put our kids through college, etc.
What is important here, is to have tools to move through and dismantle the fear. And, to help us uncover what is actually there, inside of us, that is activated and manifesting as fear. The first thing I do, when faced with fear, is investigate where it is coming from. In this case, for most of us, it is simply coming from the collective store of beliefs. When I am confronted with a strong collective belief, I always ask myself if I actually believe or agree with it. I already know that I am impacted by it, by association. I am part of the collective, and I know how difficult it is to move in a different direction than the collective. But do I actually believe it?
Let us first give ourselves the time and space (maybe free of outside input) to question whether or not we actually believe the fears we are feeling. Secondly, when I am experiencing fear, I know that it is trying to show me something. It is asking me to get curious about myself and my internal workings. I will often ask the fear directly: what are you trying to show me? If we are still and patient, it does answer. Honestly, it will answer even if we aren’t. The answer just might be a little more uncomfortable without the stillness and patience. As a helpful guide, I can tell you that the answers always have something to do with lack. It always comes out as some variant of: I don’t have enough ____________. I’m not _____________ enough. No one will ever ______________ me.
Once I have the knowledge that comes from that exploration, I look at the fear and I thank it for the information. And then I tell it to leave. I tell it I am unwilling to let it run the show and that it no longer has a purpose within me. Amazingly enough, it actually listens and leaves. Of course, we might have to have that conversation frequently initially, until we personally believe it enough to have more lasting results.
Now, how do we deal with our own beliefs? The ones we revealed by becoming curious about the fear. Oddly enough, I often intentionally visit the worst case scenario. For some reason, for me, it helps to go to the extreme and come to the understanding that I can even survive that. Don’t employ this method if the fear has already completely taken you under.
My most powerful go-to, is to invite into my heart my spirit guides, my gods and goddesses, and my human, animal and plant allies. I make it a daily practice to ask them to be present with me and help me to see/ feel/ know the truth about my situation. I pray and meditate with them and ask them to show me, allow me to feel, the truth (the higher perspective) of my belief. What they know, and what I’m not always able to tap into, is that the Universe is absolutely abundant. They know that I will always have enough. They know that I will always be enough. They know there is enough.
I love you all. And yes, there is enough love in me to love every single one of you.
Be well, and call on me if I am one of your human allies and you need me to be more present with you at this time.
With an infinite amount of love,
It is interesting to me that we are just wrapping up January of 2020, and most people who are in the practice of making New Year’s resolutions, are already finding it difficult to stick with their intentions for change. Why do we have such a hard time honoring the hopes we have for ourselves in the new year? Or in general? I suspect it has something to do with the energy of closure and completion that have been ever present since we stepped into 2020.
Many of us think of the new calendar year as a great time to make change. This year we may find ourselves thinking that the new decade, in particular, is a great time to make change. Those thoughts are positive and hopefully help us to move our energy forward. However, they seem to be in sharp contrast to the energy that can actually be felt in the Universe and the collective at the moment. It seems life really wants us to focus on sussing out the final details of certain things. It’s asking us to place our attention on the things that still need a little more fine tuning from us; before we move on to the new.
Have you ever noticed that humans are a little closure/ completion averse? Can you see your own tendency to struggle with the final stages of a project? Do you often feel inclined to just skip those final steps and jump right into a new thing? (We are especial good at this in relationships.) It is certainly understandable. New things have all that novelty and exciting newness energy attached to them. Closure and completion have the energy of all the stuff we have already been trudging through for a while. All the stuff we feel REALLY READY TO BE DONE WITH.
I sense this phenomenon is related to what I wrote in October about “closing doors to open doors.” With the energy moving in a different direction that is. In the case of closing doors to open doors, we have to be willing to walk away from something that feels comfortably familiar, in order to create space for new ‘things’ to come into our lives. Whereas, in the case of allowing ourselves (notice I use allow instead of force) to stick with and see something through to its actual closure and completion, requires us to stay with something uncomfortably familiar. The discomfort is present because there are still lessons for us to learn, or unfinished aspects of the project (or relationship) that we need to process and fully understand before we can truly leave them in the past. If there were no unfinished business, there would be no discomfort. And there wouldn’t be so much difficulty in moving forward either.
I believe that part of what happens, when we have less success than we desire with our intentions for ourselves, is that we are trying to build new habits and behaviors when we are still in the closure and completion stage of the habits and behaviors we are trying to move away from. As I mentioned above, the Universal and collective energy right now is all about closure and completion. It is tremendously difficult to jump into the energy of our new hopes for ourselves and our lives when we are surrounded by the collective stream of closure and completion energy. Not to mention when we are individually carrying closure and completion energy more than initiate and innovate energy.
So maybe, patiently put your intentions and resolutions to the side long enough to see what it is that is unfinished. That which lies just below your desire to created this new behavior or change in your life. That is where you will discover the unfinished business that is asking for completion and closure at this time. It is also likely where you will discover any energetic disruptions that are contributing to your general lack of success in moving toward the intentions you have for yourself and your life.
Can you find a way to enjoy the closures and completions that are asking for your attention? Imagine how much more enjoyable zipping up a project, or stage in our life, would feel if we focused on the benefits of that process. Even more so if we can approach the completion of it with pride and enthusiasm for making sure we completed it as well as we wanted to. Or to experience the absolute joy of feeling true closure about something. Like we really aren’t taking any of the emotional baggage from it into the future with us. To be free to only take with us, from that situation, relationship or project, the life affirming lessons learned and/or the well completed project. If we can do this, I think what we will find, is that we will have far greater success once we finally place our focus on our new intentions and desires.
Lately I have been reminded of how manifestation tends to happen in my life. It may not be exactly this way for you, but I would guess there are similar threads in your experience. A couple of weeks ago, when I was teaching yoga, one of the students approached me after class and said that they had been working at their job for 30 years and were ready to retire, however they had always felt they would retire into something else, and the something else still hadn’t shown up in their life. I had mentioned in passing in class that I had been a Spanish teacher for 20 years, and they were curious about how the transition out of the educational system had happened for me.
Their question reminded me that most of the time we have to close a door that no longer serves us before a new door can open in it’s place. Especially if the new door will indeed be replacing something. Closing familiar doors, even when they have outlasted their value in our lives, can be very hard. And scary. Most of us would really like three beautiful new doors to open expansively in front of us before we very gingerly close the outdated door behind us. How are you at closing doors in the absence of certainty another door with open in its place? Are you skilled in this area? Or like me, do you have to be thrown out the door kicking and screaming as the Universe lovingly slams it in your face? I’m sure the Universe smiles upon me tenderly for being so persistent, although she might call it stubborn.
It is with this renewed awareness of the need to shut the doors in my life that are no longer feeding me, that I step into fall. And as is always the case in my life, every time I learn (or relearn) a lesson, I am immediately given the opportunity to put it into practice. No, no comfortable accumulation of theoretical knowledge allowed for me this time through. I am always required to put it into practice. I’m happy to report that I didn’t injure any limbs in the door closing this time. I didn’t even kick and scream (or at least not too much). I simply acknowledged that it was time for that door to close, and I sat with my internal discomfort as I gently pushed it shut.
No, the discomfort hasn’t completely left me yet. That won’t likely happen until I can see at least a glimmer of the new door that will eventually open. The in-between (limbo) is truly an important and necessary part of calling in the new door and everything that comes with it. It is precisely the discomfort of this limbo that helps us to energetically and vibrationally refine the plans for what we want come to us when the next door opens. It is with the creation if this internal space, often external too, that we are more fully able to co-create and collaborate with the Universe and the manifestation rich juices of the void.
Let your focus linger on the excitement of that potential. We are far better equipped to keep fear at bay if we remain focused on what could be. If we allow ourselves to imagine and dream beyond what we perceive as possible that feel good energy will carry us to the next door. Don’t worry about dreaming bigger that what you ultimately manifest. You will feel satisfied with the door that opens for you. It may not be the doorway to heaven, or the million dollar door, but it will be your door and it will feel good to you as such.
I have, with a bit of longing in my heart, closed the door to teaching regular weekly yoga classes and quarterly yoga teacher trainings. It was time. I absolutely love it, and there are other things that are calling to me more urgently now. Like teaching classes about energy healing. I don’t have anything on the calendar yet, but you can find up to date class information on my website, and I expect to be offering an online and in-person class this winter.
I have also been ignoring a door that the Universe opened for me almost a year ago. A door that I allowed to open and invited into my life with a mix of enthusiasm and trepidation. Now the Universe is more firmly demanding I walk through it, all the way in; and invite you in as well. If you have wisdom, opinions, sentiments, and contentious ideas you have been wanting to share, and you like to write or create two dimensional artwork, maybe this is a doorway that is ready to open for you as well.
May the door be with you,
lots of love,
P.S. For some reason I have been on a bit of a Star Wars kick lately. I find myself regularly referring to “the force”. Hence, “may the door be with you.” Let all the magic of the force come into your life through the next door that opens to you. Or shuts. As I said, you usually have to close doors to open doors.
As I was foraging in my garden this morning, I found the beautiful cucumber that you see in this picture, hiding beneath a large leaf. They had started to grow as two separate cucumbers, however at some point, because they were growing in such close proximity to each other, they became connected. For some reason these cucumbers made me think of how we grow with and into each other as humans. When we have been in close contact with someone, for some time, we start to grow into them and they into us. When we carry a child in our womb, or on our hip they become part of us and we become part of them. It also happens when we spend a lot of time walking down the street holding someone’s hand. Or if we sit next to or across from them at the table regularly to eat a meal or have our morning coffee and tea. These are just a few of the conditions that allow us to grow with and into each other in life.
My stepfather was recently diagnosed with cancer and given a bleak prognosis. I have been observing his sadness about his condition, but more than that, I’ve been observing his sadness at the idea of someday soon no longer being in relationship with the people he loves. I have also witnessed my mother’s sadness at his condition, and again more deeply her sadness at the idea of not getting to continue to share her days with this person who has been part of her for so long.
Like the cucumbers, we do not completely meld with another person. We do not lose our own shape, yet we do send out tendrils of our essence (of our being) and plant those tendrils into those who are closest to use. The tendrils go to and from both people and they pull us closer to each other. Sometimes so much so that we can’t discern where one person ends and the other begins. The borderline between us and another person is sometimes hidden below the surface. Just as it is with these beautiful cucumbers.
We are all aware of pain that comes from the severing of the tendrils between ourselves and others, yet I feel concern that we don’t always allow ourselves to truly feel the tendrils, and the connection that comes with them while they are forming or firmly planted. Do we savor the essence of another that is shared with us? Do we celebrate their unique flavor and frolic in the expansion that happens within us in response to it? Do we see the value in the shifts that come about within us as a result of this specific connection?
I ask because I am not sure I do. I’m not sure it is a skill that I have developed adequately. I think I sometimes want to fit new tendrils into old and outdated receptors. Or I want to define how the tendrils (the connection) someone is offering me should look, feel, smell and emote. Essentially I want to define someone’s essence and then pick and choose the aspects of their being that I want to behold. Odd isn’t it? Especially when I know so clearly how important it is to me to honor my own essence and be free to be completely and unabashedly me, and to be loved for it.
This is the gift that I am offered in this time of sorrow and contemplation. I am given the opportunity to refine and expand how I allow in and perceive my connections with others. It invites me to explore more deeply how I interact with these loving tendrils that others offer me. Do I have expectations and conditions that I place upon these offerings of connection? Or do I simply recognize their existence and receive and celebrate all of the beautifully unique ways in which they are offered to me.
Maybe this is how we learn to truly receive love from others. We learn how to recognize and receive it even when it is offered in an unfamiliar form; when it comes to us as an expression that doesn’t necessarily fit our “love language.” Maybe this is how we learn to perceive beyond the surface form of expressed love and encounter the essence and intention of that love.
I hope you are already fully proficient at the art of perceiving and receiving all of the love in your lives.
I love you,
Have you noticed that spring cleaning is both an inside and an outside job? For your house/yard and your mind/body. As we step into the season we head outdoors to more freely move our body, and to clean and beautify our outdoor surroundings. It feels great to move the body deeply after a winter of generally quieter engagement with our physical selves. You might notice however that there are parts of your internal selves that are still tugging at you and asking to be fully addressed before the opportunity is lost. Your heart might be asking you to finish the internal work you started before you completely give yourself to your outdoor projects. It is easy to become overwhelmed when we have so much going on both in the mind and in the body. This can create sleep issues and a resultant springtime fatigue.
We are now generally expending more physical energy, which is tremendously helpful in quieting the body and readying it for rest at night. The complicating element this time of year is the excess or un-directed mental energy. Because the majority of our focus is moving outward right now, enjoying the uptake in physical activity, we can often forget that our mind still needs an outlet for expression in order to be able to find its way to a restful sleep state at the end of the day.
To combat the somewhat erratic nature of my sleep pattern in the springtime, I have to regularly recommit to and become more disciplined in my daily meditation practice. I notice I will also often pick up my journal out of a need to work through my thoughts and my emotional experiences of the day. I find both of these practices to be particularly beneficial at the end of the day in the spring. They give me a tangible way to work with and release any mental hyperactivity that has arisen during the day, and set me up for a much more restful night's sleep.
Sending you blessings of energized days and restful nights.
With love and gratitude,
P.S. Looking for more guidance on how to manage the spring energy swings? I've written more here and will follow up with the remaining ideas in Sibyl Magazine and on my website in May.
In yoga there is a concept called swadhyaya (self-study). It is one of the niyamas; guides for living consciously, which in turn is one of the 8 limbs of yoga. The limbs are the 8 ways in which we can practice yoga in our lives. I often find that some of the deepest insights I have, from my practice of swadhyaya, come to me at night, just as I am about to sleep. I believe that is because it is a transitory state, the time when I am moving from waking consciousness to a dream state, and therefore the veils between realms are thinner. The movement from one season into another is also a transitional state, so the veils also thin around us as we prepare to pass from one season to the next. If this is true, then the veils are particularly thin this time of year. Especially at bedtime. I invite you to take advantage of this, as we energetically wrap up winter, to feel the stirrings within you and beyond you that will lead you to a deeper understanding and acceptance of self and Self. I’m including a poem that presented itself to me a couple of nights ago when the veils were at their thinnest.
Late Winter Stirrings
I feel a quaking in my inner chambers
A hollow echo trying to scream
Where am I? Who have I become?
This life, it feels like a dream
I’m neither here, nor really there
Still, I feel I am everywhere
Unexpressed and yet exuberant
An inner essence trying to flow
Completely present and available
After years of not being allowed to grow
Like an un-inhaled breath, of fresh spring air
Softly tickling my untidy hair
Wanting to know I have a choice
Demanding to be given my own voice
By Tawa Ranes
The Confidence to Trust
Trust is a very interesting concept. A concept in which exist many different layers and levels. For some of us trust comes very easily, and for others allowing ourselves to trust may be the biggest challenge we face in this lifetime. Some of us may have a high level of initial trust that meets huge obstacles once we start to move into deeper levels of vulnerability. Yet others may not trust easily initially but once they have been given one or two experiences of being able to trust a person or a situation they can instantly relax into a deep state of trust.
Our relationship to trust can be further complicated by our childhood experiences with trust. For example: If as a child we expressed our perception of a person or a situation to someone we trusted, and they then refuted our beliefs about the situation or person, we would likely learn to distrust ourselves and our perceptions. This can impair our ability to trust, and create a tremendous amount of confusion as to whether it is better to trust ourselves, or to disregard our own sense of things and always turn to others for a ‘trustworthy’ opinion.
I once told my partner: “I don’t want to say I have trust issues, but I sort of have trust issues.” We laughed about it a little at the time. Later that same year I had an astrologer tell me there was “no way I could not have trust issues with Saturn and Chiron that high in my chart,” and that my trust issues were at the soul level. I feel like I fall into the category of those who trust initially then bump into huge obstacles as life situations require me to be or feel more vulnerable. This is partly because I have great initial instinct and intuition about people and situations. I trust myself in that first moment to read the situation correctly, and then later, as I start to feel vulnerable, I start to distrust my own perceptions.
I deeply believe in the value of trust, and think of it as a basic human need. We truly need to be able to trust life and others to feel safe and at ease. We need to be able to trust the people we have chosen to let into our lives. Learning to feel a deeper level of trust in all aspects of my life is a regular practice for me. One in which I have varying levels of success from one day to the next.
In Spanish the word for trust, confianza, also means confidence. It resonates deeply with me that trust and confidence would essentially mean the same thing. It has become very apparent to me that the more I trust the flow of life, the more confidence I have in myself and my abilities. The inverse is also true. The more confidence I have as I move through my life and all of the situations that it brings, the more I trust the flow of life.
So, here is to continuing to nurture my relationship with trust. Especially trust in myself. May we all find enough trust in life to move through our days with ease, and confidence that we are capable of finding our way through all of the situations and challenges that may come into our lives. May that ease and confidence build our trust in life, our trust in love, and our trust in people. My life has improved dramatically as I have actively engaged in a practice of trust. It’s something that has developed and become stronger as I practice, just like when I practice patience and tolerance.
These musings on the topic of trust have made me very aware of the trust requirements in my line of work. It is incredibly vulnerable to allow someone, such as myself, to work with your energetic bodies, with your subconscious mind, and with your cellular memory. It humbles me deeply to know that you all trust me with those aspects of your being. I am in awe of your courage to be so trusting. You inspire me.
Thank you for showing me the way!
I feel profoundly blessed that I am not currently experiencing the relationship paradigm I will discuss here. Although I am not experiencing this dysfunction in my own life, I am quite familiar with it, and the topic has been nagging me for months, asking me to address it. I have watched the dynamic play out in the lives of many of my clients and loved ones, in particular, my male clients and loved ones. Currently, a large percentage of the men I encounter are living out the victim archetype (assuming the role of victim) in their intimate relationships. I have, of course, repeatedly observed (and in the past fallen victim to) the male as aggressor/ female as victim archetypes. Much of it manifested in its original form: the female in the relationship as the victim and the male as the aggressor. However, more recent observations have reminded me of the importance of looking at this social paradigm in its entirety and myriad manifestations. These observations have very firmly reminded me that I have also observed the other manifestations of this archetypal relationship dysfunction. I have seen males as aggressors toward younger, smaller or more vulnerable males and females. And I have seen females as aggressors victimizing males and females who are younger, smaller or more vulnerable.
The specific dynamic I have repeatedly observed in the last year has been of women victimizing their child/ children, their male partner, or their ex-partner (male). This victimization or abuse is predominately emotional in nature, but in some cases has also taken physical form. I think it would be easy to simply label this as a role reversal, since historically it is the man who is the perpetrator of this sort of behavior. And it is a reversal of roles, however I believe it is far more complex than that. It is important to explore those complexities because reversing the roles only adds more dysfunction to the already broken (sick) system.
This is a conversation we desperately need to have. Probably over and over again, because the dynamic has become so tightly woven into the fabric of society that we either don’t see it anymore or we believe it is the only way things can be. The problem with ignoring or accepting it is that it is becoming more and more toxic to relationships, and to the humans attempting to find success in relationships. We are social animals and we need relationships. We need healthy relationships, so it is important that we heal this wound; personally (if it is a wound we carry as an individual) and collectively.
To me this archetypal relationship dynamic demonstrates a deep societal dysfunction, and a heaping dose of wounded-ness within us and amongst us. I believe the socialization process: which in this discussion includes a) how we are enculturated as both males and females (as well as the entire continuum of gender identification that exists among us), and b) the wounds we carry with us; has more to do with how we relate to each other and ourselves than any biological, physiological, or anatomical differences between us.
I use the term archetype to indicate a commonly held model of behavior in society. In reading this article it will be helpful to understand that all archetypes can be manifested by all people. So, for the sake of this discussion, just because the archetype we are looking at is ‘male aggressor’ that does not mean that a woman or a trans-gendered woman or man (this is not an exhaustive list) cannot adopt and play out the archetype ‘male aggressor.’ I have chosen to stick with the archetypes ‘male aggressor/ female victim’ because those archetypes are the most entrenched in our society and therefore are useful examples of this particular dynamic. I also choose to use the archetype in its original form because it lends itself well to discussing how we work with the feminine and masculine energies within us. In making this choice, it is also important that the reader understand that these archetypes can be adopted by anyone and the dysfunctional dynamic that comes as a result is the same regardless of who is taking which role.
I will approach this topic from the perspective of energy medicine and the energetic body. This gives me an effective way to focus the discussion, as it is enormous and complex. From the energetic perspective, the archetypes victim and aggressor, can be seen as two sides of the same coin. That is to say that the energetic imprint (or vibration) is the same in both instances. They are two manifestations of the same archetype, so to speak. The differentiating factor is that one manifests the feminine aspects of the archetype and one manifests the masculine aspects. We could just as easily say that one is the receptive manifestation of the vibrational imprint and the other is the active manifestation. All things are a balance of feminine and masculine (receptive and active). This is why we can see these societal archetypes present in any kind of relationship, and between two people of any gender. This is an energetic problem. It emerges from the foundations of who we are and how we interact with each other on an energetic level.
This brings me to the origins of the dysfunctional archetype and how we come to adopt/ adapt it in our own behavior and experiences. We start with the larger patriarchal system that hands these archetypes (or models) down to us. This is done through establishing beliefs and behaviors as the norm, as the acceptable way to think or behave. Think of the expressions: “boys will be boys,” “she got what she dressed for” and “he’s such a pussy.” These are examples of victim/ aggressor archetypal beliefs we hold as a collective (even if we don’t personally subscribe to them). This is a gross and necessary simplification of the socialization process.
The other aspect of the perpetuation of this archetypal dysfunction, and our socialization, is how we individually carry it and pass it on. As I get a clearer picture of this particular archetypal manifestation, I have started to observe it from the perspective of how our individual and collective wounds affect our behaviors, as well as how they interact with the enculturation process. It gets a little convoluted here because the trauma we experience in life is part of the enculturation process, and it also affects how we receive/integrate or reject the process of enculturation. Do we accept the archetypal dysfunction that is being handed down to us or do we reject it?
Many individuals have been taught (socialized) to believe that we are either victim or aggressor. This is one of the ways in which this particular energetic imprint becomes internalized. Many of us have been victimized in childhood: through emotional, physical or sexual abuse, or through neglect and abandonment. These experiences also teach us that we are either victim or perpetrator. We often witness, or experience personally, that females are more likely to fall victim to males. Or we observe/ experience that children are more likely to be victimized by adults. This teaches us about hierarchy and dominance. We start to form beliefs about humans that tell us the world is made up of victims and aggressors. We start to believe that if we aren’t one we have to be the other. In this way we spread, either through the generations (via our children), or in our intimate relationships, the dysfunction of how we experienced intimacy with our parents, our caregivers, and our society (i.e. we hand down the wounds that came as a result of our individual enculturation process). The neglect, abuse, abandonment or enmeshment that we experienced in childhood plays out in our relationships in adulthood, and the archetypes society hands down to us, give us the basic models for our behavior.
Analyzing the energetic root of this phenomenon will hopefully help us come to an understanding that reversing the power structure does nothing to heal our wounds or mend society. That is to say, that once the ‘victim’ is finally able to wield a measure of power and use that power over someone else, this does not heal the original wound. It only creates more wounds. For the victim, who has now become the perpetrator (aggressor), and for the person they are in turn victimizing. With this approach we continue to add layers of wounding, we add layers of dysfunction to the enculturation process, and we reinforce the original archetypes; individual after individual, generation after generation. The role reversal that is happening, and that I have been observing for the last year, is an example of how someone goes from manifesting the vibration in its receptive/feminine form (as victim) to manifesting it in its active/masculine form (as aggressor/ perpetrator), or vice versa. It does nothing to actually transmute and clear the vibration (archetypal dysfunction) we carry within us, or to re-pattern our behavior.
The men I have been observing are men who seem to have chosen not to be the stereo typical male. They are kind and gentle, they try to take responsibility for their part in a situation, and they care for people. In other words, they are manifesting more feminine energy in this regard. What I want to explore, is the idea that they have stepped into the victim role (expressing the more feminine dysfunctional energy of the archetype), possibly as a result of not wanting to step into the perpetrator role (expressing the more masculine energy dysfunction), or possibly because they were always in the victim role and haven’t figure out how to heal that. On the other side of the discussion are the women who would now appear to be perpetrators (expressing the masculine side of the dysfunction). In all likelihood they were victimized as children (just as most male perpetrators were), and have chosen to be the aggressor as their way to escape continuing to be the victim. (Note that when I say chosen, it is likely a completely subconscious process.)
So, we can’t heal this wound (individually or collectively) by simply manifesting the other side of the archetypal coin. For example: When a woman who has been victimized in her life chooses (subconsciously) to be an aggressor toward her children or her partner/ ex-partner she is then manifesting the other side of the coin. She is behaving according to the exact energy imprint that allowed her to be a victim. No actual healing has occurred. She is simply manifesting the dysfunction from the other side. The same is true from the aggressor perspective. If a male has been taught through his life experiences to be an aggressor, but chooses to not manifest that in his behavior, he will likely manifest the energy of the archetype from the victim side of the coin, which makes him vulnerable to being victimized by others. This is because in both cases the individual still carries the original dysfunctional energetic imprint. Reversing roles will only add to the entrenched nature of this societal issue, it will never heal it.
The way this looks on the individual level, is that many people who have been victimized in their life seem to feel (or at least they behave in a way that would indicate they feel) they only have two choices in their own behavior when relating to the people with whom they have an intimate relationship. The two options that are available are to be a victim or to be an aggressor. It doesn’t appear that we know, as individuals or as a collective, that there are other options. The societal archetypes that were handed down to us, and the wounds we still carry in are cells, are very powerful. They have a way of making us believe they are the only options available to us.
Yet we don’t have to continue to be a victim, and we also don’t have to victimize others in order to achieve peace and safety in our lives. Why is it so difficult for us to see that we have more options available to us? Well, because we haven’t healed that energetic imprint within us, as individuals or as a society. This is a collective, patriarchal, systemically perpetuated, oh so very old paradigm, and until we heal and transmute (read eradicate) the energetic imprint we will continue to perpetuate this archetype in our relationships.
On the other hand, releasing the energetic imprint (vibration) allows us to release the old pattern, and discover new ones. Once we clear the energetic dysfunction (or false belief) we are then open to new options. The color pallet we are working with instantly expands. It’s a bit like going from tunnel vision to a panoramic view of your personal story. What does that mean? It means that we, as individuals and as a society, have to take our emotional and energetic healing journey to heart. We have to see it as just as important as feeding ourselves nourishing food and drinking clean water. To heal physically and psychologically in not enough, we have to heal the energetic dysfunction as well. Find someone who can help you clear, dissolve and transmute the dysfunctional archetypal imprint from your physical and energetic being. You deserve to enjoy healthy and fulfilling relationships. We all do.
I want to briefly note the importance of the “Me too” movement and the momentum that women are experiencing in social change and empowerment. This is a critical piece of the healing puzzle. It is also critically important that we not simply instill the feminine mirror image of the current patriarchal social structures. We must all take part in building an entirely new system. That is the beauty of the feminine Divine: It is inclusive, restorative, and collaborative, and it seeks wholeness and love. We must take all of society into this healing with us. We must help the men and the wounded male energy as well as the women and wounded female energy, and bring it all into our healing circle.
Tawa Ranes has a very curious mind and has always been interested in the nature of consciousness and the workings of the Universe. Since healing has been a big part of her own personal journey, much of her curiosity focuses on understanding how and why healing occurs or fails to take place.