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!
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?
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.
A couple weeks ago, I posted a blog called "When in Doubt, Go Outside." For years, I've also often said, "When in doubt, practice Sheng Zhen." If we're Skype contacts, then you've seen that message there under my name.
And as I sit here to write this now, I'm thinking about how it's not just about doing the actual moving and non-moving practices of Sheng Zhen that helps in times of doubt. It's also just simply Sheng Zhen, which is defined as sacred truth, or unconditional love.
In times of doubt, yes, Sheng Zhen's meditations in motion and in stillness help by opening the heart and relaxing the body and mind, taking you into the Sheng Zhen state, bringing more peace, joy, and clarity. But even if you don't know the Sheng Zhen forms yet, summoning within yourself a feeling of unconditional love can help. Asking your inner wisdom or a higher power what's truly True can help.
I have more to say about this, but my newborn niece is sleeping nearby, and I gotta wrap this up soon. I just wanted to keep a recent promise I made to myself: post a new blog entry at least once a week. So here it is! ;)
Perhaps I'll expand more on this another time. But for now, just remember that Sheng Zhen helps in times of doubt. And if you don't already know any of the Sheng Zhen practices, consider learning them. In the meantime, remember love. Love without conditions. The pure, generative, creative energy of love. And ask yourself or a higher power for guidance; ask for Truth. And then be receptive and courageous enough to listen, to hear what's coming through. And then follow through.
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.
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."