I just came home from walking Buddy, and I must’ve written about 4 articles in my head--or at least the beginnings of those articles. I’m good at that--thinking of the beginning for a great article, book, etc. But then I get sidetracked, like right now. So, back to the walk! ;)
First, I just felt so happy that I started writing something in my head about feelings, moods, ups and downs. But then I started to wonder, “Is it just the coffee?”
I started drinking coffee this year. Instead of a new year’s resolution to stop drinking coffee, I resolved to start! No joke. For real.
Not every day. But sometimes, especially on days dedicated to working on getting my book done--a book about detoxing. How ironic! Right? Is that the correct use of the word “ironic?” I still get confused about that sometimes...
But coffee! Back to the coffee. Although all this covid-19 craziness threw me off of my book editing schedule, I was drinking some coffee even on non-book-editing-days, just to perk me up a bit. Again, not every day, but enough to mistake heartburn for possible signs of coronavirus! Yep. I shit you not. I was freaked out for a second there.
I’d never had acid reflux before, but after a few days of telling myself I was just having a bad reaction to inhaling clorox wipes, I remembered that one of the symptoms of heartburn is the strange feeling I was experiencing in my throat. So I cut out the coffee for a few days, and my throat feels normal again.
So, naturally, I decided to drink some coffee this morning now that I concluded my experiment! And that is why I wondered if it was just the coffee making me feel so incredibly happy this morning.
It’s probably not just the coffee, but I want to write more about that another time. Soon....
Right now, I want to share more about this “Curiosity Walk.”
My thoughts about feelings got interrupted by a strong smell. “Is that weed?!” I wondered, as I scrunched up my nose and looked around. “Or is it a skunk?”
I don’t think there are skunks around here. Someone must’ve been out on their porch smoking right before I walked by. And that nostalgic smell got me thinking about how long it’s been since I smoked. I can’t remember the last time, it’s been so long. But I could remember the first time, back in high school. And that is definitely a whole other story. Perhaps another time…
My thoughts of weed and high school got interrupted by a loud sound. “Is that a woodpecker?” I wondered. It sure sounded like one other than just how loud it was. Maybe it was some sort of power tool?
Pretty sure it was a woodpecker, but I felt curious. And then I noticed a house that had recently been painted bright blue, and they had a big pile of soil outside and some new landscaping in the works. I wondered if they’re preparing to sell or just doing this upgrading for themselves. Whatever the reason, I felt really happy looking at their bright blue house, their dark brown soil, and all the new plantlife in their front yard. Life goes on...
And that’s when I realized that this was not just a curiosity walk, but a sensory presencing walk. Is that a real term? Or did I just make it up? Sensory presencing… I used to call it a “sensory smorgasbord.” I used to lead gatherings where I’d lead people through a guided meditation, focusing on one sense at a time. Sometimes there was food involved. I also wrote about it in my book, The Multi-Orgasmic Diet.
And then it all came full circle.
This is one reason I’m happy even when times are tough. I am aware. I am in my body. I engage with my senses. I have a playful, curious mind. And I let the simple things delight me and fulfill me.
Not always. But often. Sometimes I forget. But usually I remember--or don’t even need to remember. It’s become pretty natural. And now I’m curious again, wondering if it became natural or if it was always who I was. Is this actually how we all start off when we come into the world? Does the process of growing up dull our senses, take us out of our bodies and into our heads?
And there I go again, into my head. ;) Nothing wrong with that. It's fun to think about things. But sometimes when I'm looking at a screen, I forget to breathe, or don't breathe deep. And I'm craving some movement now. So, I’ll stop this here. It’s time to roll out the yoga mat.... It's time to breathe.
How about you? What are you curious about? And what will you do today to drop into your body?
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!
Life is short. So, cut the bullshit.
Life is short. So, who really cares?
Life is short. So, live it to the fullest!
Life is short. So, why bother?
Life is short. So, tell them you love them...
You can spin it either way, this life is short thing. It can free you up or bring you down. It can make you an asshole or make you a saint. The choice is yours. It always is...
Life is short. And sometimes it's even shorter than we anticipate. You or someone you love could get diagnosed with a terminal illness, suddenly drop dead from something like an aneurysm, or get hit by a bus. Death can come at any time, to anyone, unexpectedly.
So? So, let's get clear on what matters most. Let's get clear on how we want to live, how we want to treat others. Let's be real. Let's be brave. Let's tell it like it is, with kindness and respect. Let's not hesitate. Because life is short, and you never know when you've had your last chance to be kind, to be honest, to love, to connect, to clear the air, to heal, to inspire, to liberate, to make a difference no matter how big or how small.
Life is short. Although, some say it's eternal. But so what if we continue on? That can be helpful in some contexts, but... This life, this life right now, here and now, this life is short--even shorter, in the grand scheme of things, if you believe we continue on. This incarnation, this body you're in now, this person you are today, how do you want to show up in the world? Who do you want to be? How do you want to be remembered?
Life is short, so cut the bullshit. Cut it all out. Clean it all up. Strive for greatness while loving and accepting yourself along the way. Be honest and expressive. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Otherwise, what is the point? Just putting on some sort of fictional play?
Ugh, I feel tempted to apologize. And yet I know I don't need to. But I'm feeling annoyed, and I rarely write publicly when feeling this way. It's just that I'm writing this after learning this week that two men I went to high school with passed away. I didn't know them well, but I feel the impact of the loss. I feel the grief of their loved ones. My heart goes out to them. And I've also been feeling fed up with bullshit this week--other people's and my own. I'm just done. No more. Bullshit be gone!
What if it were that easy? To just wave a magic wand? Maybe it is. But maybe it takes waving it more than once. I suppose it depends on how much bullshit there is. But why not just abracadabra and poof that shit away once or twice a day, or however often it takes? Might as well try some creative visualization and get playful with it, because, yep, you guessed it: life is short.
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: :)
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.
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."