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: :)
I'm sitting on the couch in the rec room of my parents' house on Mercer Island. This was my childhood home from the age of 8 on up. And 23 years ago, when I was 16, on a Monday, on President's Day, the first day of mid-winter break, I remember being in this room.
In the earlier part of the day I was watching Pulp Fiction with two friends. And then, after taking them home, I found myself back in this room, back on the couch, in front of the TV, watching Melrose Place.
And then I went to bed. It must have been 9 or 10pm, which was pretty early to go to bed during a vacation, but I was sleepy, so I went to sleep.
But not for long.
Around midnight, I received a phone call on my parents' landline. I had a phone in my room, but the ringer was off. My mom knocked on my door, though. She said someone was calling from work.
I worked at Tony Maroni's pizza. I knew it wasn't really a call from there. But I crawled to the foot of my bed and answered the phone. And soon I was getting into someone's car to go watch The Usual Suspects. But we didn't make it to our movie-watching destination...
There's more to this story, a lot more, and it's in a manuscript I mostly finished back in 2012. And some day I'll finish it, when I know what the point is of sharing it and how the story ends.
But for now I'll just say, for those of you who don't already know, that night I was in a nearly fatal, highly traumatic car accident.
You can read an old blog post about it here--a blog post that inspired me to convert that whole manuscript into the style of "epic poetry." No joke. I worked on that conversion in my friend's attic, where I was temporarily living, when I first moved down to Austin to work with Master Li on his books.
It's tempting to share some more of it here. But for now I feel it's best to just redirect you to my old blog.
And speaking of now, what more do I have to say about this day?
Anniversaries are stored in the cells, which can feel like a gift or like a curse. Or like both.
I've done a ton of healing--physically, emotionally, energetically, you name it--and the driver and I are on good terms. But every year, as February 19 and 20 approach, I feel it. I feel a combination of things, and it's shifted over the years to be mostly positive. I have more of a survival story than a victim story now. I feel grateful for the blessings in disguise and the gifts that have come from this experience. I see how the accident and its aftermath have shaped my life in mostly good ways.
But I'd be lying if I said it was all good. I even just recently found out about an impact of the accident I hadn't anticipated. And some day I probably will share more about that. But not today.
Today I just sit with it all and don't feel like saying much more. I sit with the blessings and gifts, as well as the harmful impact. I sit with the perfection of it all, even the parts that have been hard. I know it's all part of my path. And I'm grateful to have survived. I'm grateful for this life.
In my blog post the other day, I shared a concern that if we say "everyone has something to heal" or "everyone is always healing," then it's like implying there's "something wrong with them." Something broken. Something needing to be fixed.
I asked you to share some thoughts on this before I share more of mine.
And now, here are mine:
I feel that it's important to remember the Truth of who we are: We are are Perfect. We are all Whole. Nothing to fix.
And yet it's also true that we have things to heal.
Sometimes we have things going on physically, emotionally, mentally, or energetically that appear as problems--or as something that needs healing. Perhaps the important thing here is to recognize that just because we are healing, that does not mean we are broken or that there's something "wrong" with us.
What's so wrong about feeling like there's something wrong? I can hear some people thinking that! Even a part of me is wondering that!
And my answer is: It depends.
Does the thought--do those words--empower or disempower you? Does the thought of needing to heal imply that something is wrong with you? And does the thought having something to heal or feeling like something is "wrong" make you feel smaller or help you feel more expansive and motivated towards taking some action? Does acknowledging that something is/feels "wrong" make you feel bad, or is it just useful information to guide you towards making a change for the better?
Some of this is about semantics--whether it's the word "healing" or the word "wrong." Some is about perception and belief systems.
I don't think there's a right or wrong answer here. I feel very curious to hear from others about this. All I know is that as a teacher, or in any leadership role, it feels important to me to be mindful and considerate regarding word choice and the power of words.
So, personally, I don't feel comfortable saying that we are all in the process of healing, and yet I recognize that maybe--depending on how you look at it--maybe we are.
Even as I write that though, part of me sighs, ugh, but that just feels like so much work. I just want to be free and not always feeling like there's something to heal!
So when I share a concern about how others will take "we are all healing something," maybe I'm projecting. Because sometimes that implies to me a need for ongoing work. A constant need for improvement or something. And not in a fun, expansive, and evolutionary way.
Then again, sometimes I do see healing as an adventure, as constant growth and expansion! And that feels good.
So, again, the bottom line is that it depends. It depends on who you are. It depends on the day. It depends on the context.
Today the thought of everyone always being in need of healing doesn't feel good to me. Maybe it would ring true another day. I don't know.
Again, I find myself wondering, what do you think?
What does healing mean to you?
Comment or send me a message. I'd love to hear from you.
A couple weeks ago, one of my Sheng Zhen students asked me, "Why is this form called Healing? Is there an assumption that we're all healing from something?"
What a question! I felt both excited to answer, and a bit surprised to be asked this. We had just finished Sheng Zhen Healing, Stage 1. We may have done Stage 2 that day as well. I don't remember now. But I remember the conversation as if it were yesterday.
I remember asking if anyone had any comments or questions, as I often do. And this one student asks about the form we just practiced and why the title is "Sheng Zhen Healing."
"Why is this form called Healing? Is their an assumption that we're all healing from something?" she asked.
At first I felt unsure of how to answer. I absolutely love questions like this, but in over 10 years of teaching, nobody had every asked me this.
So, I thought about it for a moment and responded, "I don't think that's what was meant to be implied. But perhaps we are all healing from separation and disconnection, at the very least? I don't know... However, I don't think Master Li meant to imply anything like that. My understanding is that the "Sheng Zhen Healing" forms (stages 1, 2, and 3) were a result of being asked for a form to help those with Cancer and AIDS. That being said, the Sheng Zhen Healing forms are often practiced by people who are physically well and aren't necessarily trying to heal physically, emotionally, or spiritually."
And then another student said something like, "but aren't we all healing from something?"
I may have laughed--I just chuckled now thinking back to it. But I also remember feeling sensitive to the idea of saying that everyone is healing whether they would see it that way or not.
And so, I responded something like, "Well, yeah, I suppose you could say that, and I hear what you're saying. But for some people, that could imply there's something 'wrong with them' or that there's something they always need to be working on. Some people wouldn't like to think that, even if it's true! So I wouldn't impose that wording or concept onto anyone even though I hear what you're saying."
And then I posed the question: Do we all have things to heal, whether we're aware of it or not?
What do you think??
Really, I want to know. I'd love to see a discussion about this in the comments to this blog. Or email me. Do you think everyone has something to heal?
I have more to say, and I even already wrote it. But I want to stop here for today. I'll share the rest tomorrow or Saturday. In the meantime, please share your thoughts... :-)
This morning, and yesterday morning, I started my day with seated meditation. But not my usual Sheng Zhen meditation, not Union of Three Hearts..... No, this was something else.....
I've been reading, or more like devouring, Autobiography of a Yogi over the past couple of weeks. I grew up seeing this book in my house, in my dad's study, the cover rather than the spine facing out, displaying Yogananda's beautiful, androgynous face and kind, penetrative gaze. I was always drawn to it, and thought he looked familiar, like family. Was I related to him?
Despite this feeling of connection and all of my spiritual studies over the years, I never felt compelled to read this book. Until now. Thanks to a friend who came more fully into my life after several weeks of a voice inside whispering, Yoga. That's what you need.
And that's what I got. First with a recommendation of The Ultimate Yogi to get back on the mat, and then to read Autobiography of a Yogi. I'm only on page 175 or so of 550, but so far, all of the gems contained within feel familiar to me. And it feels peacefully exciting, like coming home, and like, Yes, I get it. And of course I'm reading this now; I need these reminders, and in this form....
So yesterday I watched the videos about meditation on the Self-Realization Fellowship website, and then experienced my first SRF meditation by following along to a 15-minute guided meditation on Peace. This morning I also chose Peace. And it was already easier the 2nd time around.
One of the main differences in this style of meditation and the meditation with which I'm familiar is focusing your gaze upward to the third eye. I do have some experience with this, but it is not part of Union of Three Hearts, which has been my primary seated meditation form for years. So yesterday morning, I found this challenging. I wasn't straining, but it felt strange. I also had to be more mindful of sitting totally still, rather than allowing some gentle movements in to help my body relax-- this was made easier though thanks to a relaxation technique shared in the beginning of the guided recording. And I realize now, as I write that that I don't want to get into the details here of how this meditation differs-- I'm too new to it anyway to accurately describe.... Best to go straight to the source.
So this post is just a little background, as reference, along with the links to check this out on your own, in case you're curious as I share more about my experiences with SRF guided meditations over time....
© 2015 Rebecca Clio Gould. All rights reserved.
Yesterday I sent the following email to the members of my Living Turned On! Meetup Group:
Hello, Turned On & Alive Beings! I'm so excited that in less than 2 weeks Marcia Baczynski will be back in Seattle offering 3 amazing events! Sexy Games on Friday the 13th, Asking for What you Want on Saturday the 14th, and Deep Desire on Sunday the 15th. Last time Marcia was in town, I attended Asking for What You Want, and I highly recommend it. This time around, I'm looking forward to seeing what Sexy Games and Deep Desire are all about. ;) If you're interested in any of these, or all of these, be sure to sign up via the registration links; RSVP'ing on Meetup will not secure your spot! And check out this video about Deep Desire; it's gonna be good! http://vimeo.com/askingforwhatyouwant/dd
Now, why am I sharing this with you?
First of all, because if you're in Seattle, I encourage you to check out these events.
Second, and actually the primary inspiration, because of the questions I posed in the subject line: What do you desire? Do you even know?? Big questions, right? Right. And they make me want to ask you another question: Did you have a clear and immediate answer? And another question: Did you tense up and/or stop breathing, or did your heart skip a beat or thump extra loud, when you read those words: What do you desire?? And do you even know??
If these questions excite and delight you, awesome! If they freak you out a little or stump you, be gentle with yourself. Take a deep breath. For some people, the answers aren't clear and/or the word "desire" is triggering, and that's ok. Just be aware of it. And know that there's nothing wrong with not knowing or being out of touch with your desires. And there's nothing wrong with desire itself; it's attachment to the outcome that is problematic. Desire though, getting clear on what it is you deeply desire, and stating it in writing and/or out loud-- that's where the magic happens.
So, what do you desire? It's important to consider this, to clarify it for yourself: take some time right now, or schedule it in to your calendar. At least 10 minutes. A quiet place. A private space. Drop into your body. Listen to your body; listen to your Heart. Explore your desires. And write them into being.
And if you want help clarifying your desires and/or support in coming up with, and sticking to, action plans to move in the direction of your dreams, I am here for you. All you need to do is ask.
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
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."