Monthly Archives: March 2019

its only exhausting if we’re clinging to something

One of the difficult truths is that sometimes things need to break before they can fix, and sometimes insight comes *after* an unfortunate circumstance.

I think yesterday’s comments about youth are actually aimed at a culture that *doesn’t want to be where it is.* Little kids want to be big kids, teenagers want to be on their own, young adults sometimes want to be established, sometimes want to move back home where they’re protected, middle-aged people want to be younger, older people long for easier days. Not everybody, of course, but lots of people. Why are we addicted to ideas we’d be better off in some other way? It really does feel like an addiction – a compelling habit.

I wrote that this morning, then someone hopped on the call and I had a full house at noon, so now it’s night and i’ve been thinking…

I don’t believe life ends. i believe we end, these individuals in these bodies, but life itself doesn’t end. it just keeps going and going and going. we impact it without question but it is a pretty strong force moving exactly how it moves.

So with that thought, that life never ends, my first response was “sounds exhausting!” and i had a cadence of culturally proliferated thoughts about ‘the grind’ and yes, the grind would be exhausting – but Life isn’t a grind. our perception of our own lives compared to what we can imagine they could better be – that’s a grind. constantly judging ourselves as needing something outside of ourselves to be ok, to be whole, to be complete. If you drop all expectations of yourself but to be here in this body doing the best you can and keeping the lights on. and if you can’t keep the lights on, receiving this next phase of your life with what it elicits in you – sorrow or determination or whatever it might be, because that, too, will change, because that’s what life does. so even when things look horrible, can we breathe and be in our lives with curiosity, sure that we cannot help but become ourselves. [cue the entire broadway musical “Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” or the bible story which is just as good but not as catchy]

Exhaustion comes – i’ve been exhausted by life and trying to figure out who I am and who I’m supposed to be and why i think that and financial ups and downs and values and kids and family.  But only when I’m trying to meet some picture i have of who i should be and how i should show up for them and how this impacts their/my future and blah blah blah blah blah. completely exhausting.

being in my body, being curious, breathing in and out – not exhausting. doing it for a bit typically ends with getting up to do something useful because i’m operating from rest – having not been spending energy, some has stored up, and isn’t this a good time to…x… so actions stem from authentic energy and are often quite ‘in the flow.’ good incentive to be in the body. This- this is not exhausting. it is fascinating. can it be just that simple of an orientation shift? it’s also a values shift.

Clinging to things is exhausting – identities, ideas of what should be…

My friend posted a brilliant Chinese proverb on FB today: “Tension is who we think we should be. Relaxation is who we are.”

Let’s Relax!

tyranny of the young

I believe the children are our future. No question about it. I strongly support youth activism and young adults being more involved in policy.

that said, I am sick to bits of this obsession with youth in our culture. While there is no question that my daughter looks better in her bathing suit than I do, I love aging. I love my world opening up in new ways – the same way it has since I was little. I kinda like my grey hair, and while my body has prompted me with all kinds of challenges, I meet them and appreciate what they bring to my life. I loved being 20 and I loved being 30, but I can tell you, I don’t want my 20 or 30 year old self deciding my future. I just didn’t understand many things that are wildly important to me now. Each phase of life has so many gifts, and the gifts of energy and beauty that youth have so powerfully are really delicious in service of some of the wisdom gleaned by elders. Bernie Sanders’ campaign is an excellent example. Although, fighting for a world of equality seems like a no-brainer – and one inherent to most kids. How “civilization” has devolved into consumerism is tragic. It’s a world gone mad and literally on the verge of destroying itself. It reminds me of piñatas. Man, I had one piñata at one birthday party and i would never do it again. Those 4 year olds were so manic about getting as much as they could. It was creepy. It feels like that mentality grew up and got in control of business and government.

Right now in our culture, it looks to me like parents are more afraid of their kids than intent on nurturing these beings into bright, caring, confident creators. In trying to set them up for success, it feels a lot like we’re stripping them of their individuality and innate connectedness in favor of making them look appealing to colleges or employers. At, like, 5. That there’s crazy talk, and it’s an epidemic. It may be that I’ve pulled too far away from this model, but I am very pleased to unplug from the idea that children have to conform to be acceptable or discover their gifts. And the “get what you can” mentality (as represented by the piñata) is noplace I’d like to live. I’ve seen kids organize masses of candy so that everyone gets some and there is some left over. Those are kids who have been cultivated by adults who have raised them to be cooperative instead of competitive. It’s lovely to watch. Because not only does everyone get the candy and have some fun in the process, but they had discussions about the merits of individual candies, tried another person’s favorite to see how it related to their candy-enjoying priorities. The event only took a few moments (like a piñata) but the kids expressed themselves, listened to each other, experimented, problem-solved and all came away with some, and more left over for teachers or visitors (this was at the international school where my dear nephew, Brent attended). It was a journey of discovery instead of a free-fall into ‘get all you can and f#@ everyone else.

It’s the context. The difference between piñata mentality and cooperative mentality is something that caring adults bestow upon (and at the same time draw out of) young people, and young people take it and make it even richer and more through their own unique contribution. Put the two year olds in charge and you have pandemonium. Give the two year olds safety and guidlines and boundaries, and while they’ll break some, they’ll flourish in the rest and be absolutely adorable doing so.

Sorry for the rant. Really, this came up in the context of the prefrontal cortex running the show in our bodies. It’s the youngest part of the human organism and we’ve let it take off and control everything and it’s wreaking havoc. The full system is valuable – all the parts. The cognitive brain is amazing in service of really any goal, but it service of itself it’s a freaking 2 year old, but infinitely less cute.

We are in such a weird part of history. We’ve fragmented the stages of life and put some above others. Brothers and sisters, we are a whole; and until we start acting like one we’re stuck with a dysfunctional society.

so much wisdom

I’ve been enjoying so many great books lately, all different fingers pointing to the same moon – and today I am contemplating the nature of the moon. Typically, I think of the moon as a thing, a state of being, a level of accomplishment wherein everything is realized. Today, I recognize that my perception has been far too static. Whether it is the moon, enlightenment,  heaven or the fruition of a dream – I keep thinking of things as things and not processes, and I believe that has been debilitating.

Beginning to appreciate the inherent and intrinsic motion in all of life, even in the stillness (if not especially in the stillness, for me), being in that motion, being in flow, riding on and interacting with the waves – this has become the new set of goals, and everything I need to reach the goals is within me. Interacting with the wisdom that acknowledges and reveals the motion is just one way of fueling the fire within me. It is a choice that I can make, but I don’t *need* to make. But, it sure makes my life more interesting. I love these books, I love new perspectives and rich insights. Curating my attention to have at least some portion of my day involved in this kind of nurturance is really a luxury. And completely free.

I had a long-time dream of running a production company. My anchor goal was producing kids’ shows featuring the diversity and color of the cultures on the planet, setting kids in different cultures up in communication and establishing a network of education based in wholeness and identity counterbalanced with curiosity and growth. This was all pre-worldwide web, and it would be much more streamlined to do it now, but I’m drenched in the inherent cultural disruption of it. But back to my original dream, then I wanted to produce educational content with commercial production values. The gap between the saleable and the educational was incredibly wide, and while it’s better, it’s still distinct. Anyhow, I wanted to solve all that (or at least offer an alternative) and then get into music and media that promoted this inter-cultural appreciation and interpersonal nurturance for adult audiences. I made some inroads, but for the most part I got sidetracked.

What I like most about that dream is that it is dynamic – it isn’t a single state – it’s a process with many elements. I’m not so concerned about media anymore (though I acknowledge its prevalence – indeed, its prevalence may be what deters me). What I really care about now is this concept of wholeness and the process of life moving from one whole state to another whole state. I am deeply not interested in “I’ll be happy when” sort of goals.

I grew up in a household where my father had a terminal illness and a lot of kids. It was stressful, and I embodied that stress. I have yet to check in with my body and find it relaxed. The tension I carry is so deeply embedded in my makeup that even with the intensity of practice (and variety of practices) I employ, it still has a pretty solid grip on my body. Even now, when I live in a safe and pleasant household, my body wants to be ‘ready for anything’ and seems always on alert. I wish it would just relax, but in the interim, I am going to provide opportunities for it to relax as often as I can – to recognize the current moment not as a potential assault, but as this wonder to notice and be a part of. This transition from ‘predict and control’ to ‘sense and respond’ is fascinating (and long) and worth every effort.  Predict and control -at least the way i employed it- had to do with using my creative power to steer life towards a picture of what I wanted it to be. Sense and respond uses my creative power to be in relationship with life itself. So. Much. Better.

I still puzzle with the paradox of creating life and receiving it. I get the value of having a dream and going for it and creating something new in the world. But that’s not what drives me these days. I guess my dream has become being open and receptive in the present moment, and engaging with life from a feeling of wholeness. Then, I can give and receive from life as the moment affords. I’m making some progress on this front.

Now, more than multicultural education, I’d really love to be able to sort out my journey from ‘constantly on alert for the next assault’ to ‘whole and trusting in life itself’ to be of some service to the multitude of kids traumatized by the chaos in our world. We seem to expect they should be able to grow out of it – but plants in diminished soil need a soil infusion. It’s our opportunity to provide it, once we find it for ourselves…

the equinox is coming, the equinox is coming!

It’s a day of special balance, with day and night each being 12 hours long. It is part of a cycle (like everything else) and the beginning of a ramping up of energy that will sustain the planting and harvest to come in the next six or so months. It’s a special day – a beginning of momentum, and so I like to celebrate it. This year it’s at 2:58 pm Pacific. My friends at Perelandra (I say this as if I know them. I don’t) have measured the soil with some sort of radio-something and consistently, at these sacred moments of solstices and equinoxes, the soil is imbued with specific and cyclical life vitality. Makes sense. To paraphrase the bard, there is more to heaven and earth than dreamt of in modern reality…

I’ve just begun reading Christine Caldwell’s Bodyfulness book and it’s great (you might imagine I would think so). She lists 8 principles of Bodyfulness, the first being “oscillation” – everything is in motion and healthy motion is oscillation. Highs and lows, backs and forths, rights and lefts – everything with matter oscillates between two states across some point of equilibrium. The equinoxes represent the equilibrium in the cycle of the seasons. I watched part of a movie on Netflix today (Inner World Outer World or something close to that) showing a time-lapse of sprouts coming through the soil.. they all emerge with oscillating motion, creating momentum that allows them to rise. That motion will likely change as the trunk becomes rigid, but oscillations will be happening throughout the life cycle of that sprout…

What this brought to mind for me is how obvious it is (in really every capacity from life, the universe and everything to good hair days and bad hair days) and how little we work with it. Most people I know have “goals” – pictures of success with certain criteria the reaching of which might create “satisfaction.” Why a picture? It would make sense to me if we defined our goals as continuums on which we are gaining ever more mastery and balance – the combination of exciting work and restorative rest. I think we might be happier with our goals if they were more aligned with our natural patterns. Or at least I would.

Indeed, over the last few years my goals have become less specific for attributes and more specific for experiential states. It’s led to an increase in satisfaction, a reduction in stress and finally a tool to escape the constant mental chatter. That tool is checking in with the body. My body’s simple being overrides all of my mind’s concerns, if only for a few breaths a few times per day. Checking in with that kind of stability of being offers a touchpoint that the rest of my life can’t help but integrate. As we taste freedom, we develop a taste for freedom and the means to achieve it.

and that’s today’s time.

fitting in… to what?

Have you ever heard the saying, “we spend the first two years of a child’s life urging them to walk and talk, and the next 16 telling them to sit down and shut up.” It’s eerily true in my experience. And creepy. But I was super happy to hear that phrase early in my parenting so that I could be conscious about not employing it.  I’m also delighted my kids aren’t sitting at desks 7 hours per day, and carrying around 30 pounds of books in an ergonomically devastating assault on their spines. We could use more movement, don’t get me wrong, but I do take great heart in knowing some of the current cultural norms don’t have a foothold in my kids’ development.

I have a lot to learn about movement. I’m very excited my friend Wowza is going to start teaching a class on ecstatic motion. She did a little demo today and I’m even more excited. I also realized, though, that I am differently-abled. It’s not totally new information, but received in this context it informs how I’ll engage with this new information. My friend Dawn Lawson in the UK taught me that “I can’t” isn’t an option, and how to modify those things I want to do to meet my current capacity – and how to test boundaries gently to ease into new capabilites. This is the mindset I’ll be bringing to Wowza’s class.

Through this, I’m happy to discover that I am at ease with my abilities, different though they may be. I’m not in a rush to change them, nor do I want them to stick around as they are. The fact that life is in motion tells me they are bound to change unless I am defending them, and I am slowly learning not to defend my weaknesses. But this idea of accepting the current situation as it is with equanimity is very freeing.

I spent a good deal of my life striving for things so I know the energy pattern well. And last summer I needed to re-learn how to stand and walk (which I am still practicing) which began with a striving (i want to do this right) but didn’t begin to see success until I encountered it with witnessing and curiosity. This is a wildly different energy pattern, deep and rich and expansive enough to allow for some striving energy (which i feel as more pointed and excited) without becoming only that.

I wonder how many people exist energetically almost exclusively in the striving energy. I know I did for a very long time. Assuming I could figure everything out to achieve x, y, or z; very thinking-heavy, very future-oriented, very obstacle-focused – all the things I wasn’t yet, that I would need to be in order to be ok. Well, I can finally say that I didn’t need those things to be ok.

The whole thing is a sham. Perhaps a well-intentioned sham in the name of progress, but a sham nonetheless. Putting kids in motion-free zones (seriously, some districts don’t even have recess!) and making them think all day separates them from their own nature, and consequently from *all of nature* – only in a society that so drastically demeans the body and motion and individual expression could we have the vast exploitations we have – be it of the earth, people or animals. We systematically separate our young from their natures and then wonder how we’re destroying the planet. Only disconnected people can do that, and “civilization” has been disconnecting people for generations. I wonder if we’ll ever stop. I do believe the first step is connecting with our bodies, our wholeness and each present moment.

old habits die hard

Yesterday we were lucky to see southern California desert in bloom.  It was exceptional – what we know to be brown, rocky mountains and dusty plains are very much awash in purples, yellows, orange, white… depending on where you go (and we went *everywhere*) poppies or lupine, desert daisies and tons of evening primrose… most amazing were the huge swaths of orange poppies across vast green mountains which are normally brown. We went to Anzo-Borrego state park and Joshua Tree. It was a long day. By the end of it, I had a solid headache and 2.5 hours of driving (as a passenger) to go. Tucker is an excellent driver, but I learned a few years back that I not a great passenger, so it’s best if i read or write or do something else instead of watching the road. I trust him completely, yet i’m always gasping and shit. yeah, who needs it. Given that it was dark, an app was my best distraction, and as I tried to tuck my headache into a corner of my brain so I could re-orient and just focus on the game, I thought I’d be able to make it all the way home.

Then it hit me.

Obviously, I needed to spend a little time in my body. Obviously, I needed to check in to my overall feeling state – including the headache – and try to release any resistance I was holding, physically and mentally. I got curious about the headache, which did shift with attention. In being quiet and not distracted, I overheard a funny conversation between my kids I would have missed. I didn’t keep my attention on my headache all the time, I wandered in and out, but I spent a solid couple of hours relaxing and releasing – and I never ran out of things to relax or release. That was fascinating. I had all sorts of pains come up and be noticed, and a couple got super intense (having been in a car so much of the day) but they all released over time. The headache was smaller by the time I got home, but I still went straight to bed (having been in a car so much of the day).

I was extremely amused to notice my habit of “distract!” and the feeling of “this [aspect of my body] feels awful. how can i tuck it away and focus on something else.” Feeling that was familiar. Feeling a choice, I was skeptical. Did I really want to put my attention on a headache? or any part of a body that’s been driving all day? Very skeptical, even with this intensely focused year of body awareness. I was pleasantly surprised. And extremely grateful that it is becoming such a powerful habit. Although, I may have crushed my high score on 3’s.  All in all, I think I made the better choice.

laundry…

Last night I sensed the ‘bedtime’ signal and bristled. i still had five or six things I wanted to complete before retiring. But, I’d just set this challenge for myself, so I started to get ready. Then, I realized I wanted to take an evening supplement. As I walked back to the kitchen, I figured, “I can just switch the laundry” and then got in just a brief conversation with my son and watched a few minutes of what my daughter was watching. Yeah, I blew it. It all seemed so innocent at the time, barely a distraction… I mean, I didn’t start anything “new.” It took me ages to fall asleep and I had trouble getting up. Not my best start.

But the very best thing about Bodyfulness is that it is so squarely and firmly rooted in the present moment, I don’t feel a whole lot of anger with myself – it’s simply a noticing. And because Bodyfulness keeps me in the present moment (instead of some fantasyland where I am in bed within 2 minutes of sensing this signal) I don’t need myself to achieve perfection before I’m ok. I’m ok now. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I also realize I’m just starting out with this sensitivity. I’m in the information-gathering phase, noticing how I behave and what it feels like. This, my friend, is infinitely better than my prior pattern of setting a goal, expecting to hit it out of the park right from the get-go, and feeling shame, anger and remorse with every misstep. Infinitely better.

This is consistent with what I’ve been noticing as my practice grows. I’ve become less defensive and more curious. Less defensive of my shortcomings, more curious about why I defended them all so much for so long, more curious about the present moment and how I’m feeling – and (this is key) willing to just soften. I don’t feel quite the need to explain as I often have, even to myself. Sometimes I do well with things, sometimes I fail (myself or someone else); it doesn’t feel like the referendum every. single. thing. used to feel like. Every flub made me a fool, every triumph validated my superiority. I am feeling clearer and clearer neither moniker applies.

Today, the monastery’s wifi was down and the cell signal too weak to carry the zoom call. It’s the first time i’ve missed (#46!) and while I was disappointed and trying to figure out if there was anything else I could do, a friend came in whose dear friend had died yesterday. Had I been on zoom, I couldn’t have been present to him, and bless his heart, he deserved my full attention.

This is another distinct development through this practice: the willingness to believe that what is happening may be appropriate and positive even when it conflicts with what I thought was going to happen. Even if it “reflects badly” on me. Even if it reveals my weaknesses. maybe especially then…

I believe that this might come from the essential nature of bodyfulness… to prioritize the feeling state of the body demonstrates openness to what is, right now, right here, in this moment.  I acknowledge that the body is a development of life itself, something I have no control over bringing in or taking out. This is obviously the most intimate relationship I can develop with the organic life here on this planet, at this time, in this mystical dance of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and the other elements.

I am running an experiment on trusting that dance and my place in it – not as a concept, as an experience. My physical interaction with the world. With this priority, I don’t have anything to defend. But I have oh-so-much to discover…

subtle signals

I am noticing that my body gives me some very subtle signals when it wants to go to bed. I am so magnificently skilled in ignoring them that I can understand why they might be subtle, but for the last several nights I’ve been going to bed on cue. I’ve fallen asleep immediately and wake with a readiness that typically eludes me. Last night I pushed to get just a couple of extra things done after the cue. Big mistake. Not huge, but trouble falling asleep, weird sleeping, weird waking… I’m SUPER EXCITED to make this my next laboratory.  As I listen for and heed that “bedtime” set of physical cues – I don’t even know how to describe it, but its a signal that says “time for bed” – as I listen to it, I’ll bet it becomes less subtle.

I really have had 40+ years of willfully ignoring it and valuing literally everything and anything I might fancy about staying awake longer – because grownups get to set their own bedtime, thankyouverymuch, and I am a grownup and will NOT be told what to do. What an idiot program I’ve been running (in the name of autonomy and independence – even if it’s wildly personally destructive; hence: idiot). After all these years, it’s amazing it gives me any signal at all.

I should note that at a certain time of night, if i am still up, my body begins to ache so profoundly I cannot but go to bed. If I wait until that point, my very brief bedtime routine is extremely painful and i have a lot of difficulty going to sleep, difficulty in the night, and difficulty waking/being able to get up. Sadly, I’ve let that happen quite a bit. I’m really a lot better than, say, three years ago, but why on earth would I let it get to that point at all? I am going to say this pain begins a minimum of 3 hours after that first, sweet, subtle “bedtime” signal.

This reminds me of the Dunstan Baby Method, which is truly amazing and distinguishes the 5 sounds every human baby makes in the first 3 months of life. Hungry, Tired, Upper gas, Lower gas and Uncomfortable (diaper/temperature). I did not have this knowledge with my first child, and employing it with my second was miraculous. Often we could tend to my son after just a little vocalization, whereas with my daughter she could be in full-steam crying and we were running through our imaginary checklist of what it might be. After 3 months, though, all bets are off and babies have a lot more to communicate. Because of the diversity in how people respond during those first 3 months, they haven’t been able to quantify the “step 2” sounds, because they’re not universal. But, those early sounds are. How many people do you know that have any idea how to listen to a baby?

Times Square or Picadilly Circus are so replete with sights and sounds and signals, it’s virtually impossible to take them all in. We’re being badgered by so many requests for our attention, many of us have difficulty even noticing a sign that is not neon, blinking and blaring. I have been part of that culture, often valuing the exciting over the obvious or the soothing. Maybe it was a time-of-life thing, or maybe it was simply because I didn’t understand the value of myself as a being, interacting with the world and its unfolding in the present moment; instead always valuing some imagined future that I would then try to shake heaven and earth to achieve. That just sounds exhausting. Just writing it makes me feel ready for bed…

costs and benefits

we make choices in life. Each choice has costs and benefits. we balance it out as best we can and move forward in the direction of our dreams. i have made some poor choices. i have bullheadedly made some poor choices certain that I am on the right path for me, or for our family. Life went on in it’s progression in the only way that it could given those choices.

Some days choices come into question. and we’ve got to be willing to look at it. in fact, when we’re not willing to look at it, then we *really* need to look at it.

For example, we unschool. That’s pretty extreme. Most homeschoolers provide *something* for their kids. Our kids get a whole lot of R&R. Now, part of me is very, very happy about this as I see kids sick and stressed pretty much everywhere. My kids do not have that problem. They are lonely. Yes, and I so wish we had something like the youth group that shaped Tucker’s teen years. We’ve tried several things and they’re always such epic fails that I have been convinced it is more productive to NOT do it anymore and trust that things are ok. But they’re lonely. And so are Tucker and I. Friends are fun. We don’t have many, and the ones we do are really scheduled so it’s tough to find times. This is a real cost. We feel slightly less isolated knowing this is an epidemic and connection is a huge opportunity for society to address. We address it by paying attention to it. And I feel connected through my evolutionary online relationships and courses, but our IRL sense of community is anemic.

For the most part, our home life is extremely pleasant. this is mostly because tucker is funny, or at least light-hearted and in so being diffuses my always-on-a-trigger-to-defend-myself from my less friendly, busier, louder upbringing. Two kids is a lot easier than five, and while there’s something to be said for the vivaciousness and diversity in a large family, there’s something to be said for the peace of a small one.

I feel like a very bad parent right now, and it’s possible i’m even worse than I think (and what i’m thinking is pretty cringeworthy). while i am thinking those thoughts, I feel my body tightening, contracting, almost tingling in anxiety. I can almost taste the hormonal cocktail fueling my spiral into wrongness.

Yet, if I take a breath and see where that thought shows up in my body, my body relaxes in inquiry… hmmm.. where does that show up? oh, a bunch of places. there’s a set-ness in my jaw, and a bit of a cringe in my jaw and eyes and some tingly tension between the jaws, then all this shoulder raising and maybe high-tension wires across my chest. and a cringing in my heart – disappointment realized, my worst fears come true.

And because that’s the strongest, that’s the one I’m going to tend to first. Hello, disappointment realized, my worst fears come true as expressed in a high pitched tingly feeling in my heart (that I know realize magnitizes the tension in my jaw)…. I am here. I feel you. You are here. Let us breathe. I do not resist you. I am present [the heart is already feeling almost normal, but the jaw is even more tightly wound] I am comfortable being here with you, you don’t need to change. I mean, you can relax if you can relax, but if not, I get it – stay tense for as long as you need, but know i’m not resisting you.

feels like quite a lot of thinking for a physical practice. Where does that thought show up in my body?

I’m feeling calmer now. and the possibility that I really am a reprehensibly bad parent may be true, and almost certainly is true from a certain perspective (maybe even from a broad range of perspectives). But my children also have some deep privileges I facilitate. So the opposite is also true.

These thoughts show up as denseness in my skull.

Hello, denseness in my skull. I do not resist you. you’re here, and i am happy to be noticing you even if you are uncomfortable. I know that being present to my body changes the trajectory of my thoughts and habits, especially that bad habit of ignoring my body, ignoring the bountiful signs life is giving, and focus on these pictures in my mind and of the world in order to generate a picture of how i can achieve what I think would make me happier. Heck, I’m exhausted just thinking that one.

I have to go now. I have to re-engage with a conversation and vision of the future from a kid who is living a very non-traditional life and really values so much of it but is really grieving the costs. I will probably put my foot in my mouth (again), i’ll make it more dramatic than it has to be all in the name of making sure he knows we’ll facilitate whatever he wants – even when having to decide what he wants feels like too much of a responsibility for a twelve year old, but is the most essential life skill. It’s hard to really know what we want – i mean it is very easy to have a lot of vague notions about what might be good, but to know what we want? Hell, I’m 50 I literally realized this week that i’ve been operating in this vagueness instead of getting really clear. and i have a glimpse of really clear just in this last month, although with slowing down in this last year, but so much moreso even just this week.

Anyway, I have to go live the life i’m in, doing the best I can, and trust that that’s going to be ok. and i’m so grateful to have spent a minute diffusing it by spending really less than 5 minutes repeatedly turning my attention to my feeling state, in a 40 minute or so ‘thinking about bodyfulness”/writing/chronicling the process.

 

bodyfulness

Bodyfulness is simply the practice of making the feeling state of the body the focus of our attention. Taking a breath or several with this focus. Beginning with an exhale, Body Relaxes. Then inhaling, Expand Around The Hips. Going into this area of the body helps me truly get in to the feeling state of my body. The head, it can be anywhere pretending to be in the body but i have very little success being in my body and even in my third eye chakra (which is a little sad to me, and probably quite impactful on my spiritual awakening, but we are where we are); being in my heart is better, I feel more embodied, but the heart is the relational space and for this practice I need to show up even before the relational space and just check in with this body and where it is right now. For that, I need to go to my hips. It’s also the area of the species and tribal chakras – both areas that I need to activate in love. I largely ran from them in disdain most of my life (wanting to transcend this human malarky and divorce myself from a culture i viewed as misguided). I’ve got to bring healing to this kind of mentality, and I do it through focusing my attention on the feeling states. Just a few minutes, many times per day. I learn a lot. I relax a lot more than I ever have. I’m more sensitive to my own being and others’ and nature and Life Itself. Solid use of time and attention.

Another benefit to breathing in and around the hips, or carrying this visualization and intention as I breathe, according to my  Tai Chi instructor it massages the organs that are usually getting compressed with chest breathing. This is helpful with digestion, and digestion is VERY important to Bodyfulness.

Bodyfulness is also bringing attention to the process of the cells – by tending to the breath we are becoming more intimate and aware of the process by which That Which Keeps Us From Being A Corpse (TWKUFBAC – not an acronym I’ll be using with any regularity. I’m going to keep refering to it as Life Itself) brings fresh life from all over the planet into our lungs which distributes it to Every Cell in our bodies in a joyful dance of receiving life and the excitement thereof, and then relaxing and releasing that which is no longer vibrant to the cell. That’s happening through every blood cell, muscle, organ and tissue, every breath. Receiving the new and releasing the old. Focusing on this rhythm, this dynamic with the Body Relaxing (BR-) and then the Expanding Around The Hips (-EATH) for a full BREATH cycle we can start to feel the aliveness in the cells and encourage the release. Paying attention to our digestion makes sure we’re providing the mechanism for the full release in the body.

Sometimes, some of us have a bit of trouble letting go of things. I know I’ve held on to thoughts and feelings that have not served me or anyone else. Being in this dynamic of aliveness and release regularly has untied some of the mental and emotional knots I’ve carried. I’m no longer primed for panic. My body was always ready for the next crisis. Poised and ready to jump into action. This is holding on. This is staying in the Sympathetic Nervous System which releases cortisol and other stress hormones. No bueno. Giving our bodies time of release of that “on call” nature, that “ready for the next problem (won’t catch me unprepared!)” for even just a few breaths per day, soon problems will have to prove themselves before they activate tension, and in doing so, many will resolve themselves before making any real progress.

Seriously, though, too, make sure you’re caring for your digestion. Getting this stuff out of the body is key.