One reason I've been feeling so good is because of establishing a sense of continuity and normalcy in my routine--as much as possible. And the biggest example of that in my life is that as soon as I found out my in-person classes were cancelled, I moved forward with setting up online classes for Sheng Zhen meditation and qigong.
There are many things we cannot change or control. But this was something I could do to create a sense of continuity and normalcy both for myself and for my regular students. And I knew that would be just as good for our physical and mental health as the practices themselves.
So, after getting the email about class cancellations on a Thursday night, 12 hours after having just taught a class, I emailed some of my students to say stay tuned. And the next day I set up the online classes. I didn't wait for permission. I didn't wait for where I usually teach to come up with an online plan. I knew that on Tuesday I would still be teaching. And I'd teach every Tuesday and Thursday no matter what.
I felt proactive. Of service. And crystal clear.
In addition to it being my joy, I knew, without a doubt, that my regular students would want this. And I knew others would benefit from it too, so I put the word out to the general public.
And it's been amazing. The place I usually teach at on Tuesdays and Thursdays even got their own online plan together and so now even more people are showing up via Zoom!
And students are sharing about how it makes them smile, brings calm, and just how helpful it is now. For my regular students, I'm sure part of the benefit is that sense of continuity, and even "normalcy" even though we're online rather than in person.
So back to that idea of continuity and normalcy in times of big changes and uncertainty....
Like I said above, it's helpful for our health. Especially our mental health. We can't control everything, but there are some things we can control. There are still ways in which we can exercise choice in a way that serves us best.
The truth is, for me, life isn't all that much different because, in addition to being a homebody, I mostly work from home anyway. But the other day while walking my dog, I was thinking that if I were somebody who commuted each day, not just twice a week, this whole "stay at home" thing would probably feel hard and strange.
So, here are some ideas if you're struggling with staying home, especially if you used to work away from home:
1) If you normally commute, consider taking a drive if you have a car, even just a short one during at least one of the times that you're usually on the road. Or go for a walk or bike ride at that time. Or go out into your yard if you have one.
2) As much as possible, maintain the same kind of schedule you had before. If your kids are home, too, maybe this is not fully possible, but hopefully at least somewhat possible. Or maybe you adapt your schedule so that you can fit in some of your "normal" activities before the kids get up or after they go to sleep?
3) If you're not already participating in online group activities (ie meetings, dances, my classes, etc.), consider participating in some group online activities--especially at the times that you used to, before things changed. For example, if you used to attend yoga classes, find a yoga class online, or just practice on your own at that time. Or if you always went out for dinner or a movie or a walk with a certain friend or group of friends, set up some sort of virtual hang out. And if you don't like the group idea? Video call a friend or family member. Reach out. Find ways to connect and interact with others.
I'm going to just leave you with that. I might have some other ideas, but I also am considering rewriting and expanding this to submit to an online journal, in which case it's best not to write it all here first! ;-)
Just get creative. This is a great time to learn how to adapt and think outside the box. It's also a great time to slow down and do some self-reflecting. And it's also a great time to feel your feelings. It's okay if you're feeling sad, scared, anxious, bored, lonely, frustrated, etcetera. I just don't want you to get stuck in those emotions.
And I'm here if you need some support.
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!
This morning I remembered that I'd dropped the ball on getting back to someone about meeting up. My sister-in-law's friend recently moved up here, and we emailed almost two months ago, saying we'd get back in touch in late September to make plans.
But neither of us did. And it was nothing personal. It's just that life happened. Distractions happened. I went in and out of forgetting completely and then remembering but not reaching out because of not being available yet or not having clarity on my availability.
And remembering to contact her this morning, and finally emailing her back about meeting up, comes at the perfect time for me. It makes me laugh. It even soothes my soul a bit. It's like one of those "aha!" moments. Why?
Because there are a few people who I haven't heard from who either said they'd be in touch or who I left messages for that have not yet been returned. And I was starting to make up stories about it. Not for each of them, but for a couple of them. I was starting to take it personally and/or starting to make character judgments or assumptions because of their lack of communication. And that's not really fair. Because here's the thing: we all do this. And although sometimes it can indicate something about someone's character or an unhealthy relationship dynamic, sometimes it really doesn't mean anything other than that life gets busy and distracting, and sometimes we forget.
Sometimes it's not personal. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it's a conscious choice. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's about priorities. Sometimes it's not. People get busy. People get distracted. People forget. People drop balls. And sometimes that feels shitty. But sometimes it's okay.
I just love that this happened today because it was like one of those real life examples of that saying about how what we don't like in others is what we don't like in ourselves (or something like that). And I don't like it when I drop the ball. I'm usually really good about following through, especially when it involves others. I usually either do what I say I'm going to do or I let the person know it'll be a bit longer or that I can no longer do what I said I'd do....
Oh, but as I type that I recognize that if I'm being totally honest, then this isn't the only thing at play for me in this situation. In fact, the main thing is probably a childhood wound around rejection and other kids not wanting to play with me. Even though there's plenty of evidence to support that others do want to "play with me," this old childhood wound still wreaks havoc from time to time. And I'm working on it. Admitting to it here feels helpful, like a form of releasing it. And a way to gently hold myself accountable to not let it get the best of me.
I didn't expect this blog entry to go there. But here we are.
So, what's this blog entry really about? It's about not taking things personally, having compassion, and also having the courage to look at what's underlying our painful thoughts and feelings. Is the painful thought and feeling really because of what's currently happening? Or is some old trauma or wound influencing how you perceive what's happening?
This kind of self-inquiry is so important for optimal well-being and personal growth, and for having healthier, happier relationships--both with others and with yourself!
So I invite you to ask yourself those questions next time you catch yourself taking things personally or making up stories about others.
Another helpful tool is the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet, from Byron Katie. You can download a free pdf to guide you through a process of self-inquiry, questioning what's really true, and releasing yourself from the bondage of painful thoughts and feelings. Get it here. You can also just identify one painful thought and do "The Work" (Katie's 4 questions at the bottom of the worksheet) rather than going through the entire worksheet. Depends on what's bothering you and if it has anything to do with other people in your life or not.
If you try it out, let me know how it goes.
That's all for now!
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.
I've been doing a lot of mental detoxing lately. And I'll be sharing more about what that means and how to do that in my new book, Detox Your Life. Speaking of which, one of the thought patterns I've been clearing is around urgency, such as letting go of rushing the editing process of that book in order to publish before the end of the year! So, it'll probably be available in 2020 instead of 2019. ;)
But I digress...
Not caring. That's what I want to write about today.
I was reminded the other day of "not caring" while in the process of cleaning up and clearing out toxic beliefs and self-limiting, self-defeating thoughts. I've been using several methods for this mental detox, and one is what I call "positive brainwashing."
Yes, brainwashing can be good for you! ;) Not all brainwashing is bad. Sometimes our brains need to be washed! I mean, really, think about all the junk that we take in both consciously and unconsciously each day. Don't you think it makes sense to clear that stuff away and scrub your mind clean at least every once in a while if not each and every day? I sure do!
Again, I'll share more about that in my book, and probably over time in blogs and articles as well. But right now this concept of "not caring" is on my mind because it's been working magic lately, and I owe it all to Abraham Hicks videos on YouTube--one of my favorite positive brainwashing tools.
Now, as a very caring, thoughtful, considerate person, the first time I heard encouragement to "not care" and even to recite "I don't care" like a mantra, I was amused by the relief I felt when getting into the mindset of "I don't care, I don't care, I don't care." Wow, what freedom! I realized what an energy drain caring too much--or about the wrong things--is. So I love being reminded to not care so much--and in some cases, to not care at all.
The truth is, it feels good to care less. When I care too much and try too hard, it's just exhausting and usually sabotages things. So now I'm embracing the power of not caring.
Now, this doesn't mean I am no longer a caring person. It doesn't mean I don't feel caring. It just means I'm lightening up around how I think about things. And I'm getting out of my own way.
I'm being more selective about what I do care about. I'm getting better at not caring about things that I can't control or that pull me out of alignment.
This "not caring" helps with letting go of attachments to outcome or to how things unfold. I'm getting better at letting go of some of the ways in which I think things need to be. I'm seeing so clearly how all of that over-caring, which is also a form of overthinking, is a protective mechanism. And I don't need that anymore. I can relax into trust, into faith; I can have more fun in this dance of life; I can feel more truly free.
Perhaps context matters here or would be helpful? So, here's an example. If I don't care what you think of this blog entry, I'm much more likely to let the words flow freely through me, not overthink it, and then release it into the world after just a little editing. This blog becomes a place where I can freely express myself without being a perfectionist. And that feels good. And feeling good is important. It's all anyone really wants. Although there are various flavors of feeling good, it all boils down to feeling good, right? Right.
And when I don't care what others think, I can still be mindful and respectful and kind, but I'm much more free to say and do as I please. I'm less inhibited, more authentic. I'm not walking on eggshells or trying to control things. I'm more in the now. I'm more accepting and trusting. I'm more free to be unapologetically me. And there is so much power in that.
When I care less, and don't try too hard, when I lean back and trust that everything truly is working out for me--and always has been working out for me--then things just fall into place with much more ease, flow, and grace.
And, so, I invite you to try on this whole "I don't care" thing. See how it goes for you. Or don't! I don't care. ;)
I don't care if you take my suggestion... but I do care about you.
I do care about feeling good and about you feeling good. I want you to be happy and to live your best life. I just don't care what path you take to get there but do hope you find a path that resonates, that serves you well. And so I'll wrap this up now and leave you with a link to a video all about caring and not caring.
Click here* if you're curious.
*If you've never listened to Abraham Hicks before, and/or don't resonate with the use of the word "source," you can replace it with something like god, higher self, higher power, love, the universe, inner knowing, inner wisdom, etc... Whatever floats your boat.
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.
When you're ready, it's easy. When you're ready, there's no question. No making up judgments, assumptions, or stories as to why not to.... It just feels right.
Although this could apply to so many things in life, these are the words I heard in my head a couple of nights ago while voraciously reading Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy.
I'd purchased this book by Georg Feuerstein on a whim a few months ago. I was at Half Priced Books, and it caught my attention. I knew I'd only really been skimming the surface over the past couple of years-- sure I'd been diving deep with my Sexual Awakening for Women studies (and teachings) and some other workshops and readings here and there-- but what about the foundation and origins of Tantra? I'd pretty much skipped right over that.
I knew there was much more to Tantra, and it was time for me learn what exactly that "more" was.
And yet it wasn't. It wasn't time for me. Each time I picked up this book, I could never get into it. I'd read a page or two or three or four here or there. But it didn't grab me. It felt too dense or technical or dry or something. Something that made it feel difficult to read. I even started thinking I didn't like the author, didn't like his writing style.
But now? Now I know I just wasn't ready. It just wasn't time. Almost. But not quite.
Now I am loving this book. I feel that it's so easy to read. So fascinating. So digestible. So right for me right now.
And this brings me back to timing and readiness. Imagine if I had tried to force myself to read this sooner and when it wasn't feeling right. I probably wouldn't have gotten nearly as much out of it. Would've gone in one eye and out the other. And it certainly wouldn't have been as enjoyable. It would have felt more like some sort of obligation or something I should do because blah blah blah.
But instead, I didn't force it. I remained open to the possibility that at some point in time I'd read this book. But I wasn't attached to the when or even to it happening at all. And then? One day it finally happened. Right timing. Resonance. Ease. Flow.
It feels so delightful now, and all because I had let go. I had let go and remained open. And when I was ready, it all worked out.
I want to remember this. I want to remember this anytime, in any situation, where impatience or force or pressure, where trying to micromanage or control an outcome or timing, are wreaking havoc-- and they always do. I want to remember this.
And now some questions for you:
What in your life do you feel you might be trying to force?
Are you willing to just let go?
Ooooh, and this makes me think of a related topic-- the topic of getting over the resistance to getting into a daily practice. This has come up with friends, clients, and students a lot lately. What's the difference between discipline and force? Perhaps it's that feeling of devotion I wrote about the other day? Perhaps it's a question of alignment? Please feel free to comment below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to see your thoughts.
© 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."