This morning I went to Ecstatic Dance. It had been awhile, and so I was determined to go today no matter what. No other plans. No excuses. Just go.
But when I woke up and got out of bed, I limped. My ankle very occasionally has this mysterious, out-of-the-blue pain. And this morning it showed up. But since I was determined to go to dance, I knew I'd still go.
I knew that even if all I did was sit on the edge of the dance floor, watching others dance, I'd still be happy I went. Plus, there was also a chance the pain would resolve before it was time for dance.
And it did. My ankle felt better. The pain was gone! But then it came back. So I danced a little. I sat a little. And when I danced, I took it easy. I resisted jumping.
Yes, I'm a jumper. I love bouncing around the dance floor. But not this morning. This morning, I just had to work with what I got.
And it reminded me of the kind of thing I say to my qigong and meditation students when we're doing the movements, or even just during a little warm up:
"Work with what you've got. If you're in pain or feeling restricted, find a way to do this that feels good to you. Forget about what you can't do; enjoy what you can do."
And as I type that, I smile as I think of how it applies to more than just physical movement.
How often have you felt brought down by limitations and restrictions? Sometimes limitations and restrictions are meant to be challenged. And feeling sad or angry about it can be like fuel for making changes.
But sometimes we need to accept restrictions and limitations and learn to focus on the bright side and be solution-oriented rather than fixated on the problem. Sometimes we gotta get creative to work with what we got. And sometimes it takes a little bit of effort to shift the negative perspective to a positive one.
Sure, I have a right to feel pissed off or bummed out when my ankle hurts and prevents me from dancing how I really want to dance. And you have a right to feel bummed out or angry about whatever seems to be holding you back.
But I love being able to acknowledge that and then let it go. Acknowledge it and then move on to finding the better feeling thoughts.
Try it for yourself. Next time you're feeling stifled, limited, restricted, and getting upset over it, see what happens when you take a step back. Take a deep breath. And let it go.
This isn't about denial or spiritual bypassing. It's important to acknowledge that part of you that feels bothered. You can even say to yourself, "I know, I know. I hear you. This sucks. So, what would feel good right now? What would help? What can we do?" And see if that helps you shift, feel a bit lighter or more hopeful. See if you can find the gratitude and joy in working with what you got.
And on a side note, when I was thinking of the title for this blog post, I stumbled upon this song on YouTube! Enjoy: :)
Back in January I was selected as an inspirational, independent woman, to be interviewed by Angelina Zimmerman of Effervescent International! Topics include confidence, independence, life lessons, and self-love. You can watch the video at https://youtu.be/K2oo5RUcJC0 or here in this blog entry. I've also included a transcript below. Enjoy!
Transcript of Interview:
Angelina: Welcome to Ms Independent TV. I’m talking with Rebecca Clio Gould from Seattle in Washington. Welcome, Rebecca.
Rebecca: Thank you. Hi.
Angelina: Hi. It’s good to have you with us. I just wanted to talk a little bit about some of the incredible things that you’ve been doing. So in 2005, you dropped out of law school. What happened there?
Rebecca: Well, I had finished 1 year of law school, and I was doing an externship for a judge, and I was also in the middle of a failing marriage. And I remember one day, being in the judge’s chambers, doing a bunch of research and thinking, “this is not what I want with my life.” I just felt like I was on a conveyor belt. I did well my first year of law school, and I knew that if I just kept doing what I needed to do, I could get a good job. But it just felt, like a said, a conveyor belt, and I wanted off.
Angelina: Fair enough, fair enough. I’m sure a lot of people could relate to that. So after law school, you moved to Sedona, Arizona to find yourself, and then you moved to California to study Asian Healing Arts and Healing with Whole Foods. Tell us a little bit about that time.
Rebecca: Well it’s interesting because I had been really interested in alternative healing and specifically healing with whole foods before I ever went to law school. I even thought I’d go to that program later on. Most people go to law school and think they’re going to work for a long time with that degree. But I had actually planned to only work for a few years and then go to this program. And part of that had to do with what was going on with my marriage and needing to be in Seattle.
So when I left law school, I knew I might end up going to the healing arts program, but first I needed a little bit of time to just go away. And I went to Arizona and did a bunch of writing and crystal harvesting, like looking for crystals and rocks out in nature, and just had a bit of healing time.
Angelina: Beautiful, beautiful. And what I found really interesting as well, you’re part ofCCFL Global Academy as a Sacred Energy Exchange Specialist. What does that exactly mean?
Rebecca: That’s a great question. So that’s a relatively new part of my life. The CCFL Global Academy, that stands for Creating Champions For Life, and it’s primarily for parents, but really anybody can join. There’s a lot of great content. But basically the founders of it contacted me saying that they wanted me to come on as their Sacred Energy Exchange Specialist, knowing not only that I was teaching Qigong, which is all about energy , but also studying to become a Sexual Awakening for Women Facilitator, so also getting more into sacred sexuality too.
Angelina: Wow, that’s beautiful. Absolutely lovely. Ok, so let’s talk about being an independent woman. What was that moment in your life when you felt like you were really coming into your own, really living your life as an independent woman? When would you say that was?
Rebecca: Great question. When I first thought about the independent woman question, I actually thought of something that my parents told me about when I was a little kid. When I was just 2 or 3, I said, “you’re not the boss of me!” So I always had this kind of independent streak and didn’t want people to tell me what to do. And I think in terms of growing up and becoming an independent woman, I’m thinking when I left law school. When I left my marriage and left law school, I really had to go out on my own and figure out how I wanted to live my life based on what was really best for me, and learning how I could make my life be the way I wanted it to and being on my own. And not just being on my own in terms of being divorced, but also having independent thought. Not being too influenced by the main stream or social conditioning. And I really looked a lot at my programming or social conditioning over the years.
Angelina: Yeah, that’s a really good point. It’s so easy for us to be conditioned by what’s in the media, what society expects of us. So how would you describe the journey so far in terms of being able to reach your independence, being an independent woman? How would you describe it?
Rebecca: I’d describe it as a bit of a roller coaster, actually. There have been ups and downs and all arounds. There have been things that have been exhilarating and things that have been scary. I’ve often said that my life has taken a lot of detours, but I’ve recognized that those detours are actually the path. So, you know, there’s been a lot of trial and error, and just recognizing that it’s all part of my learning and growth process. Times of feeling really excited and confident, and times of feeling like “What am I doing?” or “I don’t know how to do this.” But always continuing, always moving forward.
Angelina: Excellent. Would you say you’re always a confident person? Or when do you feel most confident in your life?
Rebecca: Like I just said, there are times that I don’t feel confident, to be totally honest. I mean I’d love to say I’m confident all the time, but I’m human and I do get setbacks. I do feel like in general I am a confident person though, in the big picture, most of the time, and I feel my most confident when I’m, first of all, taking good care of myself, when I feel my best whether it’s confidence or other positive feelings. And then the other time that I really feel confident is when I’m teaching, when I’m teaching qigong or meditation. And more recently I’ve been leading these sacred sexuality classes, leading women’s groups. And I really feel confident that I’m doing what I’m here to do, and it feels really good.
Angelina: Yes, and nothing feels better, does it? When you’re living your inspired mission, so to speak.
Angelina: You kept bringing up about the teaching of Sexual Awakening for Women. What is that? Just to give the audience an understanding.
Rebecca: The words “Sexual Awakening for Women” that’s actually the name of a book, and program, that my teacher wrote, and leads. Shakti Malan. She’s a teacher based in South Africa and California too. So Sexual Awakening for Women is her book, and then she put together a facilitator training too. And I enrolled in that. And it’s really about empowering women to deepen their connection with their own body, their own femininity, their own sexuality. And for me, personally, I just feel really dedicated to helping women move through any feelings fear or shame or inhibition, to feel fully alive and to feel safe and more comfortable being a woman and being a sexual being in the world too.
Angelina: What would you say has been your biggest lesson in life?
Rebecca: Hmm, I’ve had such a sort of non-traditional life, and it’s been so full of growth that it’s really hard to pinpoint 1 lesson. But one of the things that comes to mind that was kind of like a catalyst for a lot of it is the car accident I was in as a teenager and just learning about how everything that I go through in life is teaching me and making me a better person, and all the growth and resilience too. So to just learn how to go with the ups and downs of life. And kind of related to that is learning about self love and how to open the heart and live a happier, more joyful life.
Angelina: Yeah, that’s beautiful, Rebecca, definitely. Getting on to the topic of self love. How old were you when you got to that point, when you felt like you loved yourself whole heartedly?
Rebecca: I love this topic, because it was after my divorce. A year after, I actually discovered this amazing qigong practice that I now teach, and it’s all about opening the Heart and unconditional Love, and it’s called Sheng Zhen, which means Unconditional Love. And so that practice actually really helped me recognize the ways in which my heart had been closed and I wasn’t loving myself fully. And so it’s been now like 9 years that I’ve been very dedicated to living with an open heart and loving myself more, and it’s been a huge part of my life. And I feel like even when I have times of not feeling confident or going through a rough time, I always know in my core that I love myself and that I just need to amp up the self-love practices or self-love vibes.
Angelina: Beautiful. So in what ways do you demonstrate self love? Do you do that daily? Is it a daily practice for you?
Rebecca: Ideally the qigong practice is done daily. Sometimes I don’t practice the movements every day, but there is not one day that goes by that I don’t think about Sheng Zhen. It’s more than a movement practice; it’s really a philosophy, a way of life of living with an open heart. So every day I’m practicing Sheng Zhen. I’m always thinking about loving myself and how I can love myself more. And in terms of how I demonstrate it, I am very committed to my self-care routine. I have a list of stuff that I do. I feel my best if I do this stuff every day, so its really a priority.
Angelina: Yeah, that’s wonderful. I think sometimes we get so busy it’s not a priority; people are trying to juggle family, career and other commitments, and they put that one last unfortunately, and it weighs you down and you don’t’ feel like yourself at all. So it’s great that you put that as a priority in your life. So what advice do you have for our beautiful viewers watching today, to become an inspired and independent woman? What’s your tips?
Rebecca: My tips are, I was just writing about this today. Feeling your feelings is one of the main things I tell people to do. We have all these things that come up in life and all these emotions, and to feel empowered and inspired in life, we have to have this energy flowing freely in us, and when we try to suppress our emotions or deny them, it creates energy stagnation, so that’s one big tip that I usually give, to feel your feelings. And then prioritizing self care. I think that’s really important too. And I’m trying to think if there’s something else. That’s such a good question. I think self love and acceptance is really key, and that kind of goes along with feeling your feelings, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Face your fears. Face your shame. Ask for help. Oh, learn how to receive help too. I think a lot of women have a really hard time asking for help. I used to have a hard time with it, but I’ve learned how, and now I love to receive. And to lighten up and have fun too. Not to be too serious. And I think the final thing too is to implement-- we all have inner masculine and inner feminine, so to implement masculine support structures in your life so that your feminine side can actually feel safe and supported to work its magic.
Angelina: I love it I love it. Thanks so much for your time this morning. It’s been lovely talking to you.
Rebecca: Yeah, it’s been such a pleasure.
Happy February! Or is it?
Here in Seattle, February may not feel so happy. This month, from my perspective, can be a bit challenging emotionally and energetically. It's grey and cold and wet and blah. Plus, sometimes by now the momentum of January-- the "it's a new year, and I'm gonna kick ass doing all the things I said I'd do this year"-- has reached a temporary pause or plateau. And this particular February, with Mercury retrograde in full effect, some of what we were giving our attention to in January is now up for reconsideration and revaluation. Am I right? Have you been feeling any of that?
Now if you're feelin' great and still chugging along just fine, congrats! But if you're feeling a bit down or discouraged, frustrated, or like things are sort of on hold or up in the air or not falling into place, not clear, here are a few tips:
1) First of all, feel your feelings. All of them. Do not get sucked down into the abyss, but don’t spiritual bypass here either. I used to be a big fan of spiritual bypassing, such as by "choosing joy" and trying to only focus on the silver linings. Now I know that it's essential to honor and feel the pain and the hurt as well. It’s essential to feel into the depths of your sadness, anger, frustration, fear, and shame, to cry your tears, to yell and scream (not at others, but in a private and safe space), and to let yourself simply feel like crap for a bit if that's how you feel. Allow, allow, allow, and feel. To heal. And trust in the process as it unfolds. Be present with the process, with the ebbs and flows, the highs and lows. Know everything is going to be ok, already is ok, and about to get even better, one way or the other. Feel your feelings, and keep on breathing.
2) Commit to starting your day off right. Did you know that spending 10 minutes, or even just a few minutes, in the morning to think about who and what you love, to envision your goals, to think about what's good, what you're grateful for, can set you up for an awesome day? Trust me. This works. When you first wake up, before getting out of bed, give yourself several minutes for focusing only on all the yummy, juicy, goodness in your life. And as long as you’re also allowing yourself to feel your feelings as they come and go throughout the day, this doesn’t qualify as spiritual bypassing. Since the human brain has a tendency to focus more on the negative, we must retrain it with techniques such as this, to redirect your attention and mindset to focus more on what’s good, to remember what’s good. So go ahead and try it!
3) Morning pages. First thing in the morning, WRITE. By hand. In a notebook. 3 pages. Non-stop. Write before you are awake enough to really think or censor yourself. Just let it flow. Write honestly about how you feel, what your stories are, what your fears are, what your truths are, what your questions are. Be open to the answers coming through. Ask for them to come through. Then listen as you continue to write. Not only will this be like a detox, getting it out of your system, but clarity and peace and healing can come through this process. You just might write yourself out of that rut or bad mood!
4) Move it or lose it. Exercise. Dance. Run. Hike. Whatever gets your heart rate up. I could write much more on this, on why cardio is so helpful for stress and especially for anxiety, so stay tuned for more. But for now, just get moving. Break up the stagnation. If you're feeling physically depressed, it might be hard to get started, but as soon as you do start moving and breathing and sweating, you're going to feel better. Even if only in the moment.
5) Be in the moment. Speaking of the moment, yes, be in it. Be in the present moment. Distract yourself from any nagging or tape loop thoughts about the past or the future by being fully present with what's happening in this moment, with what's right in front of you. I mean that; look at what's right in front of you. Look at an object in front of you. Focus on it, and if possible, pick it up. Look at it closely. Allow yourself to be mesmerized by it. Take in every detail. If you're touching it, feel how it feels. Be here now. And delight in the simplicity. Relax into the peace of presence.
Alright, folks. That's all for now. So give these a try, and comment below on how it goes. I'd also love to see if you have any other tips. What works for you? What doesn't? If you're willing to share, please comment below.
 Spiritual bypassing, a term first coined by psychologist John Welwood, is the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs.
 Morning pages is a practice from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.
I woke up today yearning to write and write and write and write. I have a couple of topics in particular just waiting for a blog entry. But as the clock ticks, and Tuesdays are full of appointments, I've decided to share with you something I've written before. Not just because I don't have time for fresh content this morning, but because as the holidays approach and the days get shorter, I know I'm not the only one feeling a little stressed. So below is a reminder of what to do when feeling crappy, from a newsletter I sent out in October. Enjoy...
Some days are tough.
And sometimes those rough patches come when least expected.....
On Saturday night I decided to experiment with scheduling a week's worth of these early morning inspirational, start-the-day-off-right kind of posts for my Facebook page. Normally I like hopping online and posting what comes to me in the present moment, but I wanted to see how this would go. Little did I know that on the first day of these pre-scheduled posts, I would be starting my day off with the loss of a super close loved one.
I'm not talking about death here. Nobody died. I'm talking about changes in relationships here, how they come and go, and how sometimes the loss of a friendship, or really any type of relationship, is dragged out over time, but sometimes it happens out of the blue, quickly, and in a way that really hurts.
So when I realized that these posts were going to be going out during my grieving and adjustment period, I suddenly felt like a phony. It wasn't intentional. It was just timing. Strange, ironic, awful, yet perfect, timing. Here's what that first one said:
Did you know that spending even just a few minutes in the morning to envision your goals, to think about what's good, who and what you love, what you're grateful for, can set you up for an awesome day? Go ahead and try it!
That's nice, right? Right. I never would have written that at 7 a.m. on this particular Monday though. But the truth is, it worked. My own post cheered me up by reminding me of what's good.
I still spent a lot of the day crying and being present with a vast array of emotions, but my seemingly "phony" post, followed by the truly authentic glimmers of Love, Light, and Joy it stirred up in me, were just as real and as necessary to experience yesterday as my pain and tears.
So here are today's top 5 tips for getting through a rough patch:
1) Feel your feelings. All of them. Don't you dare spiritual bypass here. I used to be a big fan of spiritual bypassing, such as by "choosing joy" and trying to only focus on the silver linings. Now I know that it's essential to honor and feel the pain and the hurt, to cry your tears, to yell and scream, to let yourself simply feel like crap for a bit if that's how you feel. Allow, allow, allow, and feel. To heal.
2) Balance solitude and self-reliance with reaching out for support and spending time with friends. It's so common to isolate when we feel bad, when we're going through a rough time. Maybe because we're tired or truly want some alone time, but it can also come from a place of shame or feeling like you don't want to impose on others. You don't want to be that person who's moping and bringing others down. But here's the thing: people who love you want to be there for you, and they will be there for you. So reach out and touch someone. Literally. Touch is good. Ask for hugs. Ask for cuddles. Take a friend's dog for a walk. Go to a pet store if human contact isn't available. Interact, connect, and allow yourself to feel loved and held by others.
3) Morning pages. First thing in the morning, WRITE. By hand. In a notebook. 3 pages. Non-stop. Write before you are awake enough to really think or censor yourself. Just let it flow. Write honestly about how you feel, what your stories are, what your fears are, what your truths are, what your questions are. Be open to the answers coming through. Ask for them to come through. Then listen as you continue to write. Not only will this be like a detox, getting it out of your system, but clarity and peace and healing can come through this process.
4) Spend time outside. Ahhhhh, fresh air. I'm sitting in it now. Out by Lake Washington, listening to the waves, feeling a cool breeze. I don't care what the weather is like; when you're having a tough time, go outside. Breathe fresh air. Connect with nature. Let Mother Earth nurture and recharge you.
5) Trust in the process as it unfolds. Be present with the process, with the ebbs and flows, the highs and lows. Know everything is going to be ok, already is ok, and about to get even better, one way or the other.
That's all for now, folks.
Much Love and Light and Peace to you all,
Rebecca Clio Gould
Women's Holistic Health & Empowerment Coach
Sheng Zhen Teacher
Have you ever been going about your day, feeling great, and then an interaction with someone leaves you feeling depleted? Maybe even sick to your stomach? Or gives you a headache?
That recently happened to me. Not the headache, but total depletion and nausea.
It happened after my neighbor told me all sorts of "scary" stuff about my house, the house I bought and moved in to last month. And I even thought I was following my own advice while talking with her, creating a good energetic and emotional boundary.
I amped up my inner light and expanded my own protective "happy bubble." I listened to what she had to say, and even responded pretty positively, with a sense of calm and perspective, no worries, no fear.
But as soon as I walked away? I felt sick and tired. And totally freaked out and upset about some of what she had said.
The first thing I did in response to noticing this? Well, first I actually looked in the mirror, said "what the fuck?," stuck out my tongue along with a "bleh" while shaking my body for a few seconds like a traumatized animal. Then I sat down and took a deep breath.
Next? I called my real estate agent, who is also a good friend and knowledgeable about all things related to not only home-purchasing but home ownership and maintenance. And he helped me see what I already knew: don't worry about it-- there's always a solution; and.... my fear-based neighbor had just zapped me.
Don't get me wrong; my neighbor is sweet, and her intentions were good. Plus, it's important to have the information and some of the warnings she provided. My concern though was how it affected me energetically and emotionally.
Although I was able to shake it off pretty quickly, it was intense while it lasted. And part of the intensity for me was actually the surprise of it. I was surprised to be feeling so affected. But I was. I'm human. And sometimes, despite our best efforts to prevent them, energy drains happen; energy zappers get us.
What to do when that happens? Here's what I suggest:
1) Surrender to it; rest. Resisting takes even more energy, so admit to the depletion. First, give in to the reality of the energy drain so that you can then go beyond the reality of the energy drain, to the reality of that there is an infinite supply of energy; you can and deserve to reclaim yours.
2) Voice it. Calling my friend, speaking about what had just happened, helped lighten up the heaviness and shine light on the darkness. It's a way of getting it out of your system, brushing it off, releasing it. If you don't have someone to talk to, or prefer to keep it to yourself, write it out. Using your voice in speech or in writing is a great way to let go of what you don't want and welcome in what you do want; it's a great way to get your power, your energy, back.
3) Shake. Literally, shake.it.off. Jump around, move around, whatever it takes. Moving your body will also help break up stagnation and bring in fresh, pure, vital life-force energy to revitalize and restore you.
Drinking water and getting some fresh air will help too. Standing in the earth with bare feet is a wonderful thing to do.
So when all else fails to prevent energy drains, try the above suggestions, and then report back here with a comment. Other tips are welcome too! What's your favorite way to regain, to reclaim, your energy when it's been drained? Comment below or email me; I'd love to hear from you.
Rebecca Clio Gould is a Certified Sheng Zhen Teacher and Holistic Wellness Coach. Her specialties include self-love, embodied joy, women's sexuality, spirituality, surgery preparation, and trauma recovery. She is also a Supreme Science Qigong Instructor, Essence vs Form Coach, and Award-winning Author of "The Multi-Orgasmic Diet: Embrace Your Sexual Energy and Awaken Your Senses for a Healthier, Happier, Sexier You."