IT’S OKAY TO BE HAPPY.
I’ve been feeling pretty fantastic lately, which feels even more amazing because it almost seems as if I’m not supposed to be happy right now. But I am. And that’s okay. You can be happy too. We don’t have to let what’s going on in the world right now take over. We do need to take certain precautions, care for ourselves and others, and respect the current public health and safety recommendations. But we can still feel happy while doing that. It’s possible.
IT’S OKAY TO FEEL SAD.
Maybe you don’t feel happy. Maybe you feel sad, freaked out, stressed out, depressed. Maybe on the outside you look fine but inside you’re a mess. And maybe my happiness even bothers you. That’s okay. Just know that I also felt sad, freaked out, stressed out at times, but then something shifted. I mostly feel good. But yesterday I had a moment of sadness, when I had to ask some woman not to pet my dog. There are ups and downs. There always are.
JUST FEEL WHAT YOU’RE FEELING.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling good right now. There’s nothing wrong with feeling bad right now. There’s nothing wrong with being all over the map. So just let yourself be. Let yourself feel. And let others feel what they’re feeling too.
EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY.
My heart goes out to those who are struggling. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones. We need to take this seriously, but also welcome levity.
Although I have been feeling pretty fantastic lately, there are some things that freak me out and stress me out a bit about what’s happening in the world right now. But I’m not going to get stuck in my thoughts about that.
I’m not going to dim my light or hold back my tears. I’m going to feel it all and keep shining bright in the face of my fears.
Even when I feel down, dark, sad, frustrated, scared, and confused, deep down inside, I know all will be well. Thanks to my Sheng Zhen practice and other spiritual practices and beliefs, I feel rooted in the bliss at my core and know this current situation will pass.
And I have faith in humanity. We can learn from this. We can grow from this. It may not be easy. It may be uncomfortable. But we are resilient and intelligent beings. We are creative, too.
So, yes, feel your feelings and know it’s okay to not feel good right now. But also consider getting creative. What can you do to feel a little better when feeling blue? Maybe giving yourself permission to cry is what you need. Maybe going for a walk and feeling the sun and/or breeze against your skin. Maybe painting or drawing, writing, or cooking. Pulling weeds. Making a video. Playing a song. Dancing. Daydreaming. Meditating. Moving… What is it that you need when you’re feeling down? Sometimes it’s to just simply be right where you are, feeling stuck in those feelings, but sometimes it’s to move through them to move out of them. So, ask yourself, and be honest: what do you need to feel your best right now, even if it’s not going to be a sparkly happy kind of “best”?
If your answer is something you can do, then do it. If it's something like "a hug" but you're alone, well... I am considering creating a guided meditation/visualization for helping your body feel like it's receiving a warm embrace! But until then, just try imagining it on your own or let the earth hug you by lying down on the grass somewhere or even just your floor. This is just one example of something you might need in the moment when you ask yourself what you need--an example I use because "a hug" is often what I need! But I am a pro at finding other ways to get this need met when a hug can't be found. So stay tuned for more on that. Yes, I think a guided meditation or video is about to get added to my "ta da" list!
Until then, breathe deep. Feel your feelings. Stay healthy. Be well!
I've been having some insights recently about what influences my wants, my desires, my goals. And what I've discovered is that sometimes they're misguided. Even when I think they're not. Even when I'm so sure they're coming from a crystal clear place of love and divine inspiration, sometimes they've been fear-based or influenced by past trauma, old wounds, other people's opinions and societal pressure--or even by something like hormones.
Hormones are a biggy for me right now--or at least they were. Between March and mid-July, I went through 3 egg retrievals to keep my baby-making options open as I approached 40 with a ticking biological clock. I was what a nurse referred to as "fake pregnant" 3 times within a very short period of time. So, my hormones were all out of whack and affecting me in ways I didn't even realize until recently. I've just been starting to feel back to normal over the past few weeks. A normal I hadn't felt in a very long time. And along with that came some big questions, some changes of heart and mind...about various choices, goals, and desires of mine.
And as per usual lately, so much of what I want to say just feels too personal to share right now. I'm still processing and unpacking, unravelling, and clarifying some things for myself. So, although this blog post could be so much better if I revealed more of my personal story, I'm just not gonna do it. At least not today.
Today I just want to explore in a more general way this question of why we want what we want--and how what we want can change.
Or maybe that is all I want to say: What we want can change. And that's okay.
We always have the right to change our minds. Living life in an authentic way means that as we have experiences and collect more data, we just might change. Aspects of who we are and how we show up in the world might change. What we see for our future might change. Our mode of operation might change. Protective mechanisms and limited ways of thinking might fall away. And this is a good thing. It's evolution. It's growth.
It's all good. Just sometimes it feels scary or confusing, especially if it comes on suddenly or feels like a 180. But that's part of the fullness of life: accepting and embracing change. Having the courage to change. Having the courage to rewrite your story as often as needed. And feeling the freedom, the liberation, of that. Feeling the expansiveness of setting yourself free from how you thought things needed to be, if those thoughts and ways of being no longer resonate or serve you.
So, without overthinking things, it is helpful to look at why you want what you want--or don't want what you don't want. But it's also important to realize that no matter how clear you think you are, sometimes these things change. And that's okay. As I said back in 2014... Change.Your.Mind. Again and again and again...if it means you're listening to the whispers of your Heart.
Some days are harder than others.
Some are a piece of cake.
Some days I'm tired of the struggle.
Some days there's no struggle at all.
Some days it's hard to smile.
And other days the smiles just won't stop.
Some days I'm crystal clear on why I feel I how I feel.
Some days I'm not.
And when I'm not so sure, I've learned to ask.
"Is this mine?"
Some days I feel pain that isn't even mine.
I'm so sensitive.
Some days I try to avoid or numb my own...
Some days I face it head on, and with open arms.
Some days I dive fully in to feeling it all,
remembering that the only way out is through.
Today was a day that started off with sadness,
so I softened into it and asked if it was mine and then asked what I needed.
What I needed was to move, to sweat, to work out to work it out, to move the sadness, that energy, to move it, to transform it.
I asked what I needed after that, and what I needed was to take action, to move in the direction of my dreams by working on a meaningful project. And so I did, and with that, I found peace.
Some days, there's a feeling of sadness and restlessness that comes from not doing the things I know I need to do, the things that are most important to my wellbeing and my life's purpose. Today was one of those days, but I shifted it. And so can you.
Every moment we have the freedom of choice, the freedom to choose.
What will I do?
What will you do?
Does this get me closer or farther away from what I want, from how I want to feel?
What choice(s) will you make today to find more contentment, more peace, more satisfaction, more fulfillment? What will you choose to get where you want to go, to feel how you want to feel?
Today, this is one of the choices I've made-- to write this and share it here with you.
Now it's up to you to decide, to choose, how these words affect you. What's the gift you can take from them today? Or do you not need this today but want to stash it away for another day?
Some days we need messages like this.
Some days we don't.
Some days, reading something like this would feel boring or annoying, maybe even cause your eyes to glaze over--maybe not even getting this far.
But some days this is just what we need, to help us remember the truth of who we are--of our power to choose and create what we want--and to accept the ups and downs of the path that we're on.
When in doubt, go outside. Go outside and breathe. Go for a walk and let your blood flow. Or lie down in the grass and let the earth hold you. Let yourself go. Let the fresh air cleanse and invigorate your soul. Feel your body relax, relaxing your mind. Feel that expansion relieving the pressure, the pressure of figuring it out, of struggling with doubt.
Get some perspective and relief by just letting yourself be. And in that freedom, you’ll naturally let go. Clarity will come, even if it’s just the clarity of no longer caring, no longer trying so hard to know before you’re ready to know…
When in doubt, go outside. Go outside of your own mind, of your thinking about your doubts, about yourself, about you. Stop focusing on the questions. Just let the questions be. Let them breathe. Allow clarity to come effortlessly....
When I’m struggling with doubt, as soon as I step outside, perspective comes in the space of that spaciousness. Either an answer comes to relieve the doubt, or I simply stop caring. I step into living the question, accepting the not knowing, and that relieves the pressure of doubt, the pressure of trying to figure it all out.
This morning, I felt overwhelmed with creative ideas and frustrated by the paralysis rather than productivity that tends to follow these downloads of ideas. One of my ideas was to start a new blog or revive my old one (this one here). But with that idea came other ideas--and doubts. Questions. Things to figure out.
So, on my walk, as I breathed in the fresh air and let the questions go, I realized it didn't need to be so complicated. I don't need to figure it all out right now. I could just write this. And just write it here.
Just write here, at least for now.
That’s the answer. For now.
Because the important thing for me right now is to write, and to share it, to not keep it bottled up. And so here it is. Perfectly imperfect. Freeing up my mind and my energy--and perhaps contributing to you, you who are reading this. Perhaps guiding you to go outside next time you're in doubt.
Try it some time.
And then tell me how it goes. Contact me or comment below.
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: :)
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... :-)
My eyes are heavy and starting to close. Perhaps I'll let them, as I continue to type. Perhaps that's the best way to get this written. This is my third attempt today....
This is my third attempt to share more about yesterday's quadruple dose of meditation. This is my attempt to tell you how the day progressed. How I progressed. How I was struck with divine inspiration. Filled with an easy air of devotion that fueled me, propelled me into an 11pm yin yoga practice followed by my 2nd round of an SRF guided meditation on Peace, before drifting off to sleep. And the insights that came to me throughout the night and in the morning....
But sometimes it's hard to put into words. Or the moment passes. The moments pass. They're gone. Does it even matter any more? Does sharing it here, or elsewhere, do any good? Does it help anyone? Does it help me? Does it drive it in? Make it more real?
Yes. No. Maybe so.
Maybe I'll just have to break it down like this, provide a little structure for what feels so formless:
1. I woke up, rolled out of bed, opened up my iPad, clicked "play" on the SRF Peace meditation. I'd done this the previous morning too. What was different this time? It was easier to focus my gaze upward to my third eye, but couldn't consistently hold it there. And I kept seeing an image of Yogananda, a black and white image, and I don't remember seeing it in a book, in a movie, or online. He was sitting on some steps outside, his hair about shoulder length or maybe a little longer. Seeing him helped me focus, helped me relax.
2. I taught a Union of Three Hearts meditation class a couple hours later. And when I asked the students if they had any intentions for this meditation, they all said Peace. I smiled and then weaved the theme of peace in and out throughout the Sheng Zhen meditation, inspired and guided by my earlier morning practice.
And then? Then I spent the next several hours not feeling at peace. I spent the next several hours in some sort of time warp in which nothing was accomplished. And that's not even true. I did do some things other than stare into space. But the feeling I had was that it wasn't enough, that I should be doing more, that if I'm not going to do something "productive" such as working on my book or my business, then the least I can do is meditate, practice Sheng Zhen, or take it to the yoga mat. What is this resistance to doing? What is this attachment to doing? Is it my ego getting upset with me over this non-doing? Or is it my soul?
3. A bath and a long talk with a good friend helped me release these and other annoying thoughts in my head, including thoughts about isolation and loneliness on this path that I'm on, as well as questions about if I am spreading myself too thin with the various practices and studies calling to me now.... And then a few students showed up for a 7pm Union of Three Hearts meditation at my house.
The previous week, there had been a request for the room to be darker, so we tried that. And I don't know if it was the darkness, or the state I was already in, but I dropped deeper into my own meditation than normal while teaching. Usually when I teach, I enter into the Sheng Zhen state, a meditative state, but rarely this deeply. I kept my eyes closed for more of the time than usual, only opening them to check the time a few times instead of also to periodically scan the room and see what's happening for my students; this time I just felt into the field. I could see without looking. And truth is, I could always see without looking, but I didn't always trust it, and so I would look too... But now I know. Now I trust....
As for my own meditation experience while teaching, I felt the qi building up strong in my dantian. I felt the qi traveling up and down in the zhong mai between the dantian and niwuan. And then when the qi remained in the niwuan, this is where I went in the deepest.
I saw the cosmos within my head, within my consciousness. It didn't feel like the qi had expanded out and beyond and like I'd traveled out or merged with some cosmos "out there." No. This was inside of me. This felt contained and yet vast. And instead of pulling myself out of there, as I sometimes do when teaching, I simply relaxed into it, opened my mouth, and said, Allow yourself to get lost... in the blackness,... in this pure consciousness, or something like that.
It was awesome. I felt at peace again. I felt grounded. I felt relaxed but also energized.
4. But not too long after my students left, I went back to contemplating whether or not I have "too many" practices (and from different schools of thought). I read something online that made this less of an issue, something that helped me get out of my head and back into my deep knowing. Rather than quote it here, this is my own translation and elaboration:
If you are in alignment with the practices to which you've committed, if you know they bring you closer to God (Source, Spirit, whatever you want to call it) and in doing so bring you Peace and Joy, then you will gladly wake up earlier to do them; you will easily, and with pleasure, find the time for them in your day rather than feeling overwhelmed, over-committed, or too lazy or tired for practices and related studies.
And instead of just being words of some sort of abstract concept or "should," this time it was like a wake up call. Literally. I'd been fighting off sleepiness most of the evening. And although I felt awake right after Union of Three Hearts, I had come back down and was contemplating sleep instead of a late night yoga practice and another round of meditation.
But suddenly I had a burst of energy and a feeling of needing to sit and meditate again. Not "needing" in a way of "shoulding" on myself, but needing to because I felt a strong love for this practice and a deep knowing that meditating right before bed would be good for me. So I started cleaning my room to prepare the temple, so to speak. And as I cleaned my room, I noticed my body crying out, yearning for me to spend some time on the mat. I'd skipped yoga the previous day. And the day before that, I had cut my practice ridiculously short. So although it was nearly 11pm, and I am NOT a night owl, I found myself back out in my living room for a Yin Yoga practice.
I felt truly and joyfully devoted. I felt fueled by this pure love and devotion. And it felt amazing. So easy to drop into the poses and rest into it so late at night. And knowing that next I would get to sit and meditate? Yes, please.
5. So back to the SRF Peace meditation....
This time, this third time, was even easier. And several times when I brought my attention back to my 3rd eye if my attention had wandered, especially if not picturing it as a blue circle with a star in it (the image described on SRF's site), but instead just seeing more of an actual eye there, I felt little jolts of energy pass through my spine.
I also saw that same image of Yogananda from the morning, but this time in sepia instead of black and white. An image of an old Chinese sage came in a few times too. And then I was surrounded; in my room I felt the presence of deities and avatars from all these various traditions. I was not alone. This was especially significant in that earlier in the day, I'd been noticing a lot of feelings and thoughts regarding loneliness, and specifically the words I'd heard from others so many times regarding spiritual path: "It's a lonely path."
Part of me wants to say Bullshit. You are never alone. And the more you meditate and feel this sense of connection to the divine and a sense of Oneness with all, the less lonely you will feel. But.... There's a "but" here that is too much of a tangent to get into right now. So perhaps I'll return to this topic another time....
For now, I just want to wrap up this longer-than-usual blog post by saying that I woke up a couple of times in the night with some deep insights that weren't just thought in my head, but felt in my body. Deeper understandings about being part of the cosmos and about "not being your body." This statement "you are not your body" has actually often bothered me a lot over the years, but last night it didn't. Last night I got it on a different level. And getting that resulted in some insights about desire. Attachment. Suffering. Peace. All that good stuff.
I want to write more about this "not your body" thing and what followed from there. But I make no promises. We'll just wait and see if inspiration comes for a follow-up post....
In the meantime, I encourage you to check out those SRF guided meditations. There are also some great meditations specifically for sleep over on the Nestmaven site. And if you want a personalized guided meditation, I'm here for you.
© 2015 Rebecca Clio Gould. All rights reserved.
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."