All posts by playdoh

More than meets the eye

During the Bodyfulness calls, we’re focusing our attention on the feeling state of the body, but there is also a context I’m setting – a context of connection, of wholeness, of the de facto truths about our bodies – all of the harmony that is going on between systems to keep us alive, the energetic field of the earth radiating out and through us, our complete interconnectedness with all of nature and all of life as evidenced by our unrelenting exchange of molecules. These are all things that are undeniable but that we, or at least I, typically forget when my mind is assessing what is right and what is wrong with the world.

The last few days, as I’ve struggled mentally and emotionally due to changing circumstances (which I welcome, as uncomfortable as they are, because I want to exchange the known for what’s possible), I’ve neglected to remind myself of some of these truths. Checking in with my body is helpful every time, even when i pop back to my mental discomfort/confusion. But reminding myself of the truths of nature which I started focusing on today, relieves my feelings of isolation. It reminds me that whatever I am going through is part of a much bigger process *that I deeply want to be a part of* and I can rest a little that this ever-evolving life knows what it’s doing.

I can’t decide if that’s spiritual or simply practical. Believing in life seems sortof self-evident. Aligning to nature as it is unfolding seems to make sense being that it has done such a bang up job these last several billion years. I was raised Catholic and truly worship Christ and accept him as my savior, and I also accept Mary and Buddha and Kwan Yin and Ramakrishna and Divine Mother. We have all of these wayshowers and at the end of the day, I feel the message is about Life and choice and truth and trust.

Anyhow

Sometimes things are difficult, and I believe I am moving through this as best I can through staying connected to my feeling state and employing the ice/water/vapor relaxation. And it’s been so helpful. But add in the context about life, about the truths going on in our bodies and our interconnectedness to the whole world with each breath, and the helpfulness and rest expands at an order of magnitude from just me noticing my body. Both seem to be far more powerful than either, although each has a lot of connectivity and potential.

I am doing my best that when my exhalation leaves my body (and makes its way to yours, and to my dear trees outside) that it carries with it acknowledgement that we are all one playing out in infinite expressions, and that I love and support you and yours, and thank you for your contribution to my inhale.

So, thanks.

not a panacea

So I spent the day yesterday in and out of checking in with my physical body and still I struggled. Contemplating that as I went to bed, I realized I didn’t exercise yesterday (well known as the best relief for depression) nor did i eat well. Great reminder that while bodyfulness is remarkably helpful, it is, as the breakfast cereals claim to be, part of a balanced diet. Meaning, you need other constituent parts. I neglected those.

Having that knowledge as I went to sleep, it was much easier today to get up and care for the basics – exercise, meditation, good nutrition and of course bodyful practices – as every bit as important as any other activities I do to try to a) get a job and b) be of service to others. Tending to one’s mental and physical health is a foundational step, not an optional step. As helpful as body awareness is, it is only a part.. How quickly I can forget.

I love the quote “fear is excitement without the breath” and as I tend to all of the parts of my life with a little more care (and not avoiding it due to feeling funky), I can begin to access the excitement aspect of a new chapter. that’s nice to feel. Still uncertainty, just from a different perspective. It’s certainly an improvement.

sharing my process

I didn’t want to write today. I’m depressed. I spent most of the day with a lens that frames me as a total asshole. I can’t say that lens is entirely incorrect. I’ve been trying to use it as a teaching opportunity, to be real with my emotions and explain to my kids that I’m just having a tough time with all of the uncertainty of what’s next for me, how I can be of service in the world and to our family, the insecurity. They’ve been kind, and I’ve been appreciative – letting them know that while they can’t fix what i’m going through, knowing they care helps, and that when they are struggling I will try to do the same for them.

But it sucks.

I would estimate I’ve done 30 practices today. I feel better while I’m actually in the practice, and a few times it had a half an hour or so glow, but the sediment of my subconscious is all stirred up and keeping things murky. Right now I feel it’s a game of endurance. Also, an opening towards more compassion for the very real mental health struggles of a huge swath of the population.

Do the practices I promote really help? I know I have sat on a call and thought, “if they’d only do more practice.” I don’t think I’ll think that anymore. Today, I am feeling it is the reminders about the truth of the physical world: that we are part of a system that is much bigger than even our gorgeous (and sometimes hideous) imaginations can take us, and that natural world is clicking along nicely, miraculously, from atom to cosmos. Understanding myself in the context of life itself unfolding definitely eases the sting of this uncomfortable time. But it doesn’t take it away. At least not yet.

Caroline Casey advocates ritual to let the universe know we’re ready and willing to play. I’ve found a reasonably sized candle to include during my practices and any time I’m feeling particularly beseiged by the feelings (unworthiness, abject assholery, futility, undeservingness, screwing-up every advantage – that might be the worst one, having advantages others don’t have and squandering them)… anyway, me and this candle are going to be spending some time together. And when that candle is burnt down? I guess I’ll let you know.

It’s humiliating to feel this way, and even worse to share it. But I started this writing to document my process as directed by all kinds of people I feel are contributing mightily to the evolution of our society and species (in this case, paul selig’s guides and to a lesser degree NDW) and who say it’s important to do. OK. I don’t like it, though.

Most of the time in my life, I can swing my attitude towards the appreciative. And throwing oneself into service of another is a surefire way to feel better. But with this ‘getting a job’ focus, i don’t really get that luxury. i’ve got to really dig in to me and figuring out how to communicate me. I’m really struggling with that communication bit. I’m so comfortable guiding practices and giving people realtime presence and feedback, reframing things that someone is struggling with… this is my area of happiness. Trying to communicate marketing ROI from my old jobs? I loved those jobs and did quite well in them, and there are aspects of those days I’d be delighted to recreate. But selling myself, framing myself through a lens that might (and i emphasize might) be attractive to a recruiter – this just brings to mind all of the things I *should* be, I *should’ve* been more diligent about. It’s ugly. But here I am in the thick of it. And because it’s the obvious next step for me and my family, I can’t run away. The only way out is through.

I wish I was impervious to this stuff. I wish I could just do a practice and be all better. Contending with all of these emotions is far more difficult than any physical flareup (at least in recent memory) and seems so incredibly self-indulgent and wasteful. But contend I will. Step by step. Breath by breath. Knowing that I am part of something much larger than my individual agenda or the way I’d like to be (and like to be seen). As Bucky Fuller said (and I paraphrase) that which created me has the obligation to sustain me. and so I put my eye on being of service and let the chips fall where they may.

full disclosure

usually when I sit to write,  i’ve meditated or done a bodyfulness practice, or maybe just come off reading something (and, thankfully, most of what I read points me to the possibility in life)… i’m typically feeling like I have something useful to say or ponder. but those aren’t the only parts of my day. for example, I’ve spent most of this morning in quite a state.

Having gotten zero response from any of the resumés I’ve submitted, and being serious about this new direction, I started researching tips for job market re-entry. If you’re planning on something similar, I strongly suggest you refrain from such a search. It is depressing as hell.

I know that growth requires discomfort. I’m even eager to endure the discomfort so I can get to the goodies on the other side. But, man, the uncertainty paired with society’s ‘progress at any cost’ mentality is brutal.

I know that I am a far better person (and so then potentially a far better employee) than I was when I left the job market. I know that when I find a gig, I’ll rock it out. I’m a quick learner, but even more importantly, I genuinely like people. I genuinely enjoy listening and helping. That’s got to be an asset to somebody.

As I sit trying to re-write my resume for the umpteenth time, I have to question if it is worthwhile trying to play in a field that’s lost its humanity, or at least made it secondary. With all that I’ve learned – and not just intellectually – with all that I’ve come to know about my self and my values and my contribution to life, when it becomes clear that I need to expand my participation in the world, i go right back to the standard “this is how you enter the job market”?? I don’t think so. But, how, then?

So my morning has been very difficult to endure. the uncertainty. the insecurity. the frustration.

the good news is that clare dubois recently wrote that Sadhguru told her he wants her uncomfortable – that that’s how the growth can begin. He may as well have been speaking to me, and he’d be very pleased with how uncomfortable I am. because, damn.

one of the strategies I’ve come up with is speaking about bodyfulness to community groups. mostly because bodyfulness is such a freaking treat, and sharing it is great. And more than just *visiting* community groups, where it may take 5 meetings for people to get to know me, the speaking bit might accellerate that. But, this whole endeavor seems to be in my lap because I’m not particularly great at marketing myself. I feel self-serving, even if what I’m marketing completely serves the individual. Part of the excitement about getting a job is doing something someone already knows they need, and doing it well, in service. I know how much it means to me when I need something done and someone actually does it. It’s rare. and it’s delicious. and I want to provide that.

The thing about bodyfulness, much like when I called it ‘slowing down’ is that even the people that think it is a good idea don’t actually realize how much they need it. and i am not motiviated to make them realize they need it. i don’t need to change anyone’s mind. i know they need it – it’s written all over their life. but their life is their business. and even though they say they want [insert benefit that would come from being more present and attuned in life here], they really enjoy the way they live their lives, else they’d change them.

Funny thing is, as I work to bring myself out of this funk, this – well it’s not despair, but i’m pretty sure if i didn’t have this practice it would feel a lot like that – that in order to go out and make the personal connections that can slip me into a place of true service in the world, it looks like i’m going to need to promote bodyfulness, to evangelize a little bit – the thing i’ve been avoiding. The Divine Comedy is sometimes a little ironic for my taste.

well, that was fun…

Six months and over 250 Bodyfulness sessions came to a close today. As Paul Selig’s Guides say again and again, the new comes at the cost of the old – and while Bodyfulness was pretty new to me and didn’t feel at all old, that format ran its course. Yesterday, 6 ladies came and with at least 3 we discussed (and it was evident) how much the practice facilitated their unfolding to their broader, richer, more complete enjoyment of and engagement in life. I was thrilled because Marianne brought Bodyfulness to the direct actions Extinction Rebellion undertook the last few weeks. When I thanked her for bringing bodyfulness to XR, she said, “Bodyfulness brought XR to me, too!” which is both funny and true. I leave this endeavor knowing it has had impact. That feels good.

I also leave this endeavor (or that iteration of it) recognizing how important it is for me to have colleagues. I’ve done a lot of entrepreneurial work over the years, but the years I shone, those were when someone had an objective and I got to do it and plus it up. There was some structure and infrastructure and, most importantly, people.

Yesterday I sat at a cafe in Laguna Beach waiting for Josie. I done something like that in a while. I read and had coffee (which was really good, which is a treat because i never drink coffee and am often disappointed when I do).  People stopped and talked to me like 6 times! One gentleman came over because he noticed my distress (I was reading about some of the horrors of segregation and visibly disturbed) and was so kind. Two ladies chatted then gave me their card so that we could meet there again. The others were less engaged, but still went out of their way to acknowledge me and share the morning just a bit. I took it as a very auspicious sign as I look to re-enter the world in a new way.

I’m also inspired to do *something* with this body of Bodyfulness knowledge that has evolved and taken shape over these 6 months. I’m not sure how it will evolve, but i can’t just put it in a box on a shelf. It’s too helpful to people. It’s easy, pleasant and infinitely accessible. It’s a simple shift that once you start doing it has the paradoxical impact of speeding up unfoldment and ease of the process. Without the pressure of trying to figure out a way to monetize it, I can put it out in the world and let it be of service to whomever finds it.

I have no idea what the next 6 months might hold. I’ve loved every job I’ve ever had (except that hostessing job at Bennigans when I was 18 that lasted 1 shift) and largely knocked each assignment out of the park. Again and again, people who dropped in for a bodyfulness practice told me I was born to do it. And I think that’s true. And stopping this rendition of it doesn’t negate that. The beauty of bodyfulness is that it turns our attention to the essential truth – our experience in this moment, yes, but also the harmony that is going on within and all around us (from a natural world point of view) and offers an escape from the stress and chaos of the mental dominance that is destroying our earth and our individual experiences. This presence and orientation is a habit, and thanks to this intense engagement, it’s a deep habit for me. One that I can employ and eminate wherever I end up. With that knowledge I can take true refuge in, to quote A Course In Miracles (with a slight gender modification)

I am only here to be truly helpful. I am here to represent She who sent me. I don’t have to worry about what to say or what to do, for She who sent me will direct me. I am content going wherever She wishes, knowing She goes there with me. I will be healed as I let Her teach me to heal. (emphasis mine)

With a foundation like that, I can even endure the hardships of the job hunting process with an attitude of service and possibility. Thank Goddess!

welcoming the new

Welcoming the new (at the expense of the old) is a core tenet in my evolutionary outlook. If we’re comfortable, we might not be growing. That razor’s edge between surrender and creativity is a fine line to walk.

It became obvious this weekend that it’s time for me to go back into the world of employment. A new law passed in CA last year that has impacted my husband’s business and cost a couple of key clients. My daughter is old enough to drive my son to his activities. I’ve been enjoying offering Bodyfulness practices for 6 months, but I haven’t been able to achieve any kind of momentum with it. After 17 years out of corporate environments, it’s time for me to go back in.

The last few times I’ve toyed with the idea, the results were disappointing. This time, I can’t worry about that. I’ve got a wide variety of skills and talents (hard to capture on a resume) and I want them to go into service in the world. If only I’d been finishing my Masters via mail order…

I’ll admit, I’m uncomfortable. I’m also excited. I’ve loved being home, and I loved working at all of my various jobs. I’m truly a people-person, and it’s been a little lonely. I’m particularly excited because during my last go as an employee, I wasn’t nearly as balanced or grounded as I am now. I get to go into this new phase with a wealth of new skills garnered from parenthood, illness, extended travel and deep personal work. I’m convinced I’ll be a better employee than I’ve ever been. Now it’s time to convince someone else.

I’ve had a lot of success in my life and career. I’ve also had a fair amount of failure. They say we learn more from our failures, in which case I should know a lot. But, one thing is for sure: I am yearning to contribute. I really want to be a voice for freedom and light and love in the world. There are just so many things to be angry about – and verifiably so. But we don’t change anger with anger. And, truthfully, I’m not sure how we change it. I know that in my own life, it comes from slowing down, from listening, from empathizing and getting creative about new ways to move forward. This way of being has provided more harmony in my life than I imagined possible. My  hope is, whatever is next for me, I can broaden the circles of harmony, the approach of light & freedom.

I’m disappointed in myself that I haven’t been able to make my entreprenurial ventures pan out. I also know people more intelligent, connected and wealthy that are in the same boat. I just have to trust that by being who I am and being open and engaged, I’ll find a way to maintain my light and share it.

This is the hope. Wish me luck!

usefulness

I worked for a great guy once named Ty Damon. I was super eager and wanting to be impactful and ready to take on anything, so everything he gave me I’d throw myself into and be ready for the next project far too soon. “How can I help?” “What can I do?”

Finally, he said to me: “How you can help is to quit bugging me for things to do. I trade your time for my money. I want you to sit there and be ready when I need you.”

I feel like i’ve been doing the same thing with The Universe. I want to feel busy and purposeful. I’m chomping at the bit to be of service beyond my inner sphere. I spend a lot of time in my inner sphere – inside my own body (relaxing as much as possible) and in my little foursome of a family. Lots of time. And it’s good time. Even when I’m in pain being in my body offers a feeling of wholeness and presence which are the foundations of contentment, and we have remarkable harmony in our home. So, it’s really a lovely place to be. And I know raising my kids outside of the ratrace is a service to humanity, but I’d like to be of more direct service.

I used to do it with cooking quite a bit, open houses and entertaining, but my hands aren’t quite so nimble. I really enjoy doing it through the shared bodyfulness practice online, but my inability to coalesce the website and whatnot are kindof overshadowing that time for me. Plus, I haven’t enjoyed my hair all year. Weirdly enough, that makes a difference (my daughter and I just had this conversation).

So, happy as I feel, with many areas of relaxation and surrender, I also feel areas of disappointment, fear and shame. And so I endeavor to embrace those areas, to feel them fully, often I invoke The Presence Process’ “I am here now in this.” and they dissipate, and they return and lately have been having their way with me for quite some time before i smarten up and relax into them again. I should be doing more. <long stories about arrogance and wasted potential>. Breath. I am here now in this. body is in space. breath is happening. stories don’t matter. staying present to the feeling state of what is actually matter, and the only matter you can truly know the insides of… that’s what matters. and as we connect with the physical sensation of this current incarnation, we are de facto connected, intertwined and interdependent with every atom in this (relatively) closed system on planet earth (as well as beyond – maybe even inside as much as outside). There’s a huge amount of data in each feeling, and being that we’re always assimilating our physical environment through breathing and digesting (as the mental realm is being fed the inputs of movies, magazines, the internet as culture) – our unity is so apparent, it’s hard to believe we could ever believe otherwise.

Part of unity is shadow, having space for the shadow to be acknowledged, held. Held within the totality of Love, of the completely innocent, where there is nothing to defend. all is accepted. Fear is part of love, too; it just doesn’t know it. But love knows.

temple universalis

SoCal Vedanta has a Swami I love who has spoken quite a bit about the need for a Temple Universalis, where there’s not religious tolerance but true commaradarie in our concurrent journeys to wholeness. Buddha, Krishna, Christ and more avatars represented in a physical altar with equality and honor for all. I love the idea. Kindof reminds me of Vedanta itself or SRF but this would be a step further independent of allegience. Or that’s how i understand it. He may have a different intent, but as Ramakrishna says, there are as many ways to God as there are human hearts….

Recently it occurred to me that I am a temple universalis. Within me are teachings from all the great traditions (and lesser ones as well 😉 … I am a testament to all that I love, all that resonates within me.

I had no idea how to go about plotting a physical temple requiring real estate and donations. But this inner temple? Yeah, I’ve got that. No “how do I?” needed. The blossoming of every bit of wisdom, the respect for individuals and traditions and infinite curiosity about all of it – this is how I nurture the temple within me. All of life is moving through me and as me and as everything else. Being aware of this dynamic interplay in the dance of life and love itself, even if it’s only a glimpse, makes the body a true temple because its where we directly experience life animating matter.

What is most exciting to me is we each are such a temple, eaching carrying a different set of stones, so to speak, each having collected and valued and been led by little nuggets of inspiration and direction. And as we value the stones, maybe we can let them go a little bit and bask in the freedom of a moment of all of it existing within us and within everything. We each have a distinct algorithm of experience and values and interest. we are each Temple Universalis. so cool.

collisions of consciousness

I am pretty good at being. just being. i am less good at doing these days, in part due to illness, in part due to laziness, perhaps lots of other parts with lots of other reasons, some valid, some ridiculous. I fully recognize that the confluence of circumstances leading me to have the time and inclination to be extremely ‘being’ focused is a luxury beyond measure. I am grateful. I feel a little guilty, and a variety of other feelings, some valid, some ridiculous. But, overall, I am well-rested and happy in my family relationships, so I’m one lucky specimen. I also feel that I’m part of (if only a tiny, off-in-the-corner part of) the evolution of humanity, life itself’s expression on earth right now. I feel committed to being the solution – of equality, care, Michaelle Small-Wright’s “Behaving as if the God In All Life Mattered” (best title ever), unplugging from the constant onslaught of consumerism and status.

And then, I get a load of myself from the consumerism and status point of view, and I do not fit the mold. I kindof suck by a number of metrics. and still, this part of me wants to straighten myself up and measure up a bit better in this paradigm.

Thankfully, bodyfulness practices take me out of measurement and comparing most of the time. But, my mind has been dragging me back every chance it gets. But with Paul Selig’s new book coming out soon, I am reminded that I am a growing, evolving being and any measurements I try to take reflect a dedication to a past that I do not wish to recreate. When I identify with life itself moving through me, as a being on this planet at this time in relationship with life and people and culture, I am curious as to what I’ll get next. When I identify with this midwestern smartypants female, I get real tied up in that smartypants bit. And I’m not. Maybe it’s the brain fog, maybe I was never quite as clever as I felt, but I don’t know nearly what I thought I did and I’m glad I finally realized it. I also know far more than I’d ever imagined about wildly different things, and I’m delighted life took me in that direction. Had I been trying to find it intentionally, I may well have missed it (as I’ve missed so many things I’ve intentionally shot for….) (oooh, see the self-shaming? Yep, it’s been like that all day. Luckily, every 15 to 20 minutes I do *some* sort of bodyfulness practice and at least unplug the diatribe for a few breaths.

This is an exciting time, and we have so many brilliant teachers offering so much hope and light and context, it’s exciting to be on this evolutionary train. Unitive Justice, Tree Sisters, Extinction Rebellion. Bodyfulness. Thomas Hübl’s new community.. No matter how weird and judgementally my conscious mind evaluates my progress, I am here. now. in this. and that’s enough. it’s got to be. it is.

[relaxing]

just when i thought i was x

summer took over about 3 weeks ago, and i was feeling good. ‘summer is my time’ i thought, remembering last year’s generally very good summer. and i don’t know if i am upper limiting myself, but practically as soon as i said it.. i am not good again, and i don’t know if its what i ate, activity, exertion, mental level activity, actually a positive detoxing… i have no idea. i am just having a hard time moving.

it definitely has its benefits, though. it slows me down and lets me dig in to some of the glorious deliciousness I wouldn’t have time for – right now Unitive Justice and The Tao of Change. both glorious. and i do my perelandra, and as many bodyfulness practices as I can shake a stick at (consciously relaxing hundreds of minutes per day, in stillness and activity). and i feel incredibly privileged. which makes me feel guilty. which makes me point at the illness and say, ‘you’re faking this so that you can have that good stuff and have an excuse not to have a real job or be too busy and occupied by the affairs of the world.” am i self-sabotaging? did i get bit by a tick? you just have to look at my hands to know there is something not quite right in my body, so i know its not totally psychosomatic.

and then i check in with my body.

my body doesn’t care. the reasons why i am in this feeling state , the story behind it? Not interesting. You know what’s interesting? what’s under it. what’s just beneath it? what’s under is what’s up. not the story, the feeling. and the breath leads you ever-there.

i love dropping out of a mental construction like that – especially the ones that play me as the villian.

i am all of it. we are all, all of it. our minds? at their height they can really only understand a fraction of what’s going on. how many things I thought would suck turned out to be wonderful. how many things i was so sure was the right thing to do, really messed things up. moments of genius. moments of failure. moments thinking one thing and not even knowing it. defending. projecting. judging. strategizing. it’s as exhausting as it sounds. And if we don’t give our minds a break (by spending a breath or two (or one hundred) in the feeling state of the body) they will drive us to the ground. Like the genie looking for work.

I don’t doubt that i made up the physical issues I contend with. to save myself. my body found a way to get my attention and it worked.. My mind was on a path of constantly assessing my worth and impact and judging my weaknesses. There were always plenty – just enough successes to make me worthy of living, but enough failures to let me know i wasn’t enough, and please, yes, try harder. Rely on me to keep assessing and pushing the carrot.

I still have all of that. But now it is counter-balanced with lots of moments of communing with nature, be it outside or inside my body – importantly, BOTH. Moments of wholeness can counterbalance a whole session of self-flaggelation, and increasingly, wholeness intervenes earlier and earlier in the beatings. Even if what my mind is arguing is true – essentially, so are a million other things. We are truly infinite. There is no finite path we walk. as evidenced by the fact that no one’s life is a straight line. Infinite. By nature.

And thereby, infinite stories. A simple breath of relaxing releases the stories, if only for that second. actively unplugging something. Consciously being here now. None of the stories matter. The being matters. The being fuels all the directions of the day, of our lives. It’s seems to me always the best way to spend a breath. Like this one. Now. Please join me.