As we step into healing which is another word for transformation of that which is in a state of dis-ease within us, we don't have to take too many steps before we come face to face with our own resistance. Healing, transformation, change, personal growth, magic--these all require of us a commitment to risking what we have considered "safe" and leaping into the unknown.
Stop for a moment. Take a long, slow breath. Come fully into the body. Open in the places you hold tension. Relax by following the slow breath in and out of the body. When you are feeling centered and as though you can hear what your body is trying to tell you, say out loud, "I'm going to leap into the unknown."
What just happened within the Body and Wild self? The Wild inside us doesn't really know that we aren't physically standing on the edge of a precipice. The Wild and Body are intricately connected and when threatened, move immediately into a stance of defense/protection. The breath catches in the throat, adrenal glands activate and flood the bloodstream with fight-or-flight chemicals, the heart skips a beat. If we are already living in a state of heightened anxiety (which has become normalized in our culture), we may even notice our hands or feet going a little numb as our small blood vessels constrict in response to the adrenaline wash. Our mouths go dry, our ears strain and our pupils dilate in response to perceived danger.
It's no wonder we are so resistant to change! Even change our Genius understands as positive and healthy for us can cause this Wild-Body reaction, effectively terrifying us into resisting actually doing anything which will bring about personal transformation.
This week, we're going to explore some ways to settle down the Wild-Body so we can move past resistance and risk change. If we want anything at all to move forward, we have to move past fear. Making the commitment to ourselves to step over the ledge of the known into the unknown takes huge courage! Whether the known we are stepping away from is a job, lifestyle, relationship, way of thinking, addiction or a method of protecting ourselves, we need to be able to confront fear. Whether the unknown we long for is a healthier body, a deeper relationship to Self or love for another, we must be able to step past resistance and risk everything we have known in service to our new vision.
It's Thanksgiving week in the States--a traditional time to focus on gratitude. It's also a time when we are gathering with family, friends and community. These gatherings, in my experience, provide ample opportunity for us to move past resistance and risk changing the ways we behave and the roles we have habitually played in our families and other relationships. Are you ready?
Right now, your Wild-Body is most likely awash in a fear-chemicals. Take some long slow breaths and as you exhale, release as much of that tension as you can. Take as long as you need. Drinking extra water will also help wash the adrenaline through your system quicker (as will reducing caffeine, sugar, nicotine and other stimulants).
12-4-09. Today and over the course of the weekend. Continue to observe and notice the new patterns you are setting in place. How is this work affecting you? How is it impacting those around you? How has it influenced your decisions and actions? Continue to breathe through fear so you can expand to contain the new patterns you are building.
Have a magical weekend.
12-3-09. Today, give yourself the space and time to integrate what is happening within you as a result of the word of the past 10 days or so. Notice how the changes you have set in motion as affecting both your internal and external life. Try not to be judgmental or fearful. Simply observe. Journal about it if you like.
12-2-09. For today's Daily Commitment you'll need to set aside about 20 minutes. You'll also need a glass containing about 4 ounces of water.
Settle your body and breathe. Let your breath be intentional, slow and deep. Allow it to carry away from you, on your exhalation, any tension, stress or anxiety you are carrying. Just let that go. You may want to make a sound on your exhalation.
And as you continue to breathe long, deep breaths, imagine that each inhalation carries into your body a sense of calm, centeredness and stability. Breathe that in. With your mind's eye/imagination, see that each breath makes you more calm and steady.
Next, take your glass of water and hold it in front of your belly. While doing so, call up for review the behavior you are going to change. In the part of you that thinks and solves problems, the Genius Self, name the behavior and commit to changing it.
Continuing with slow, steady breaths, now engage the Wild Self. Allow yourself to feel the emotions, anxiety and distress which occurs when you are acting in that pattern as well as those feelings which result from engaging in the behavior. Let the emotion rise in you. Let your body respond as well. Feel the places in your body which become tense, shrink in, get smaller or enraged and engorged. Let these sensations wash through you.
Now, imagine that you can gather up all of the tension, stress and discomfort and push it into the water. You can use your breath and/or you can imagine the energy moving down your arms and out through your hands and into the cup. The point here is to really engage the Wild One and your capacity to "pretend." Let all the tension anxiety and stress go. Put it all in the cup using any image that feels appropriate to you.
Take your time.
Next, take a few long, slow cleansing breaths. Come back to the present. Come back to now. You are no longer carrying the problem. It is in the cup. Imagine the water in the cup is infused with the toxic sludge of your no-longer needed habit. Now, we are going to transform that into something shining, glorious, transformative and healing.
Continuing to hold your cup, raise it your your forehead, to the place sometimes referred to as the Third Eye. With your intention, begin breathing in Life Force. Fill yourself with Life Force. As you do so, make a decision in your Genius Self to change the pattern, to change your future, to transform your life, to transform what is in the cup to something healthy which will set new patterns in you and which will cause beautiful rippling effects in your life and the lives of everyone you touch!
Really feel that. Feel the excitement of it! Imagine in as much detail as possible, your transformed self. Imagine how you will respond appropriately in situations that once made you uncomfortable, angry, or small. Feel how your posture changes. Imagine not only with your mind's eye, but with your whole body. Remember to breathe Life Force while you do this!
Next, gather up all the positive energy you have generated in your Wild-Body self. Call upon the part of you which is Divine to transform this old pattern. Call upon Spirit by whatever name(s) you prefer to help you with this transformation. Put all the energy into the cup. The energy of the Wild-Body and your imagination, the blessing of your own Divine Nature, the love and power of the Spirit(s) you are accustomed to working with.
Feel, if you can, helpful spirits of every kind rushing in to help with this act of Will and Surrender! Hear if you can the wings of angels as the come to participate in your elevation!
Now, the contents of the cup--once toxic and poisonous--are illuminated, glistening and shimmering with Life Force, with the power to heal you from the tiniest of your cells to the workings of your gorgeous mind! Drink the water. Drink it all down.
Know that this Elixer is changing you from your cellular level up. Continue to behave in the new ways you began to several days ago. This prayer with water will speed along the process of deep and abiding change.
Note: Praying with Water is from the Kahuna Tradition of Hawaii. If you feel too energeized after doing this, use the energy to get a task accomplished in your life. Wash the dishes, fold laundry, take the dog for a walk, go for a run. Don't leave the excess energy untended (you may be tempted as it can feel good) or it will quickly turn and may cause problems.
12-1-09. Happy December. I hope you are doing what's necessary to prepare to stay grounded and centered for the upcoming Holy-Daze.
Thanks for your understanding that I needed a few Holy-Days myself and am just getting back to last week's Daily Commitments this week. Hopefully you've been carrying on with the commitment to "pretend" at new behavior during these past days.
We have well-worn neurological pathways in the Body Self which cause us to fall back on old behaviors, even if they are ineffective or have been proven to cause strife in our lives. 'Pretending' is a sneaky way to trick the Body/Wild Self into building new pathways.
Today, go back and review your notes from last week. Sit quietly, watching the breath come in and out of the body while you think about what you are letting go. If grief, fear, shame or guilt come up, that's okay. Just breathe through them and let them go like a leaf being carried along by a gentle river.
As you breathe, reaffirm your resolve to change your pattern. Tomorrow, we will do the
crux of the work to make it so.
11-26-09. Happy Thanksgiving, US readers! Today, let's not do anything too taxing. Rather, as you move through your holiday festivities, see if you can mimic--even a little bit--with your words, gerstures, body language and eye contact, some of the details of new behavior you wrote about yesterday. Don't overdo. Don't make yourself uncomfortable., Play with this. Have fun with it! Engage the Wild within and enjoy.
11-25-09. You'll need up to fifteen minutes for this one, depending upon your ability to readily find your point of relaxation and centeredness. Have your journal and a pen.
Breathe deep and slow. Release your habituated tensions. Open yourself to insight. Feel your body and the breath coming in and out. When you are ready, open your journal.
Write or simply jot down notes regarding your desired change. Yesterday, we focused on the behavior or pattern and how it shows up on the body and in our actions. Today, focus your attention on how you would like to be instead.
We've all heard the old addage, "The universe abhors a vacuum." This may have been scientifically disproven, but holds true on a metaphysical level. One of the reasons it is so difficult to change negative behaviors is that we forget to replace them with positive ones!
As you write about how you would like to be, feel and behave differently, try to get as much detail as possible. It doesn't really matter that you don't yet know for certain how you will be. Engage your imagination! As you engage that playful, hopeful, innocent and Wild part of you, try to get a sense of how your body will feel. How will your posture change? Your tone of voice? The way you communicate? The way you feel about yourself inside? Flesh it out as much as possible.
Breathe into this image of your future self. Let the image expand and fill with the life force which enters you with each breath. Come back to your body. Find your center. Take a few more long, deep breaths and close the journal for today. This is enough. This is good work. Nice job!
11-24-09. For this week, choose one thing you would like to change within yourself. Key is that this needs to feel reasonably do-able for you this week and that it does not involve attempting to change anyone else. What small habit, behavior, way of reacting, act of procrastination would you like to transform? We begin small and practice for a while. Then, when we feel secure, we can move on to larger issues. For now, choose something you feel you can claim success with in a few days.
For today, set aside about ten minutes. Sit quietly and breathe. Quiet the mind and
emotions, relax and open the body. Then, with your journal open and your pen poised, write down the thing you want to change. Say it out loud. Now, notice what your body does. Take notes. Breathe on through.
Next, allow the issue you intend to work on to show itself to you through the Wild-Body Self. What I mean is for you to get an emotional and physical sense of this thing you want to change. What are you feeling when you are in the midst of the behavior? What is the Body experiencing in the midst of the habit? What happens to your tone of voice? What muscles tighten? How do you hold your gaze or meet the eyes of another when you are enmeshed in this issue? What happens to your posture? Do you stand tall and go on the offensive or do you become small and defenseless? What is the tone of the internal dialogue during the moment when you are engaged? What about when you look back on behaving in this manner? Are you proud? Ashamed? Guilty? Afraid? Envious? Enraged?
We are only gathering information here. We are simply taking notation on our observations of Self. Be as thorough as you can so when we are ready to move through our resistance and take that courageous leap of faith, we will be armed with the facts gathered today by our Genius self.
Set aside your findings. Breathe deeply until you feel cleansed. If you cannot acheive this through breath, try drinking water, taking a walk or getting a mundane task completed.