Want more energy? Qi (pronounced "chee") is vital life-force energy. It's all around you and inside of you. You can cultivate qi, get more energy, and feel more energized, by practicing qigong (also seen as "qi gong" or "chi kung"). While there are many systems of qigong, there are also some general practices that don't necessarily belong to one specific system, or school, of qigong. To get started with a few of these general practices, check out my article in OMTimes Magazine: 3 Qi Gong Techniques for More Energy.
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 Holistic Health Coach and Mentor specializing in women's sexuality and spirituality, as well as trauma recovery. She is also a Sheng Zhen Teacher, Supreme Science Qigong Instructor, Writer, and Author of "The Multi-Orgasmic Diet: Embrace Your Sexual Energy and Awaken Your Senses for a Healthier, Happier, Sexier You."