"When a loved one passes, there is only one good thing you can say about it. In the pain of their passing you get to experience a form of clarity that nothing else can match. When a loved one is gone you know, really know, that all that matters is saying "I love you." Everything else is pointless in comparison. If you have had this experience, your loved one has given you a chance like none other. You get to live the rest of your life in the remembrance of what they taught you about love. This is how you love them after they are gone. This is living without regret."
by Rolf Gates in "Meditations on Intention and Being"
Whether is was yoga, cross fit, a spiritual tradition, a diet, a hobby, or a product you got super into, nearly even obsessed with, you can probably can relate to this experience of what Rolf Gates calls: "Mountain Madness." In the end, wholeness prevails. The sought experience was already with you all the while.
"Mountain moment is so impactful that most people don't want more for a while. They are happy to "go to yoga" and find a moment or two of peace and maybe some insight. Eventually they reach a tipping point and awaken to the fact that they would prefer to extend mountain moment into mountain life. Why go to yoga if you can live yoga? At this point the search is truly on. Trainings become more trainings, poses become more poses, some folks seek more better faster, others seek more better fancy, others seek more better certain, most seek more better special, and the moment gets lost in the search. This seeking phase seems unavoidable because it is the final playing out of our faith in materialism. We have to try one more time to find some thing to complete our experience of being. We are the eternal moment seeking more. It's a paradox, mountain moment; the direct experience of wholeness produces a search for wholeness that will leave us feeling incomplete, which will, in turn, ultimately lead us back to wholeness. When the forms we sought wholeness in let us down, we begin to discover wholeness in the formless."
by Rolf Gates from Meditations on Intention and Being
In my work with clients using mindfulness, the most frequent question I get is "But how do you quiet the mind when I have all these stressful things going on?" As if there is some magic one step technique.
This passage by Rolf Gates in "Meditations on Intention and Being" is exactly what I often share in that moment . . .
"Connecting to stillness is like connecting to silence. We come to see that stillness and silence form the backdrop of our lives and that everything else is just passing through. Sounds come and go, sensations come and go, thoughts, emotions, all of them traveling through stillness and silence like fish moving through an eternal ocean or weather traveling across an eternal sky. As I begin my meditation, my body carries with it the experience of stillness and my mind becomes silent. I become the sky that holds the weather. Resting in the felt experience of my body, I am able to give my full attention to the weather of my life, to care for what is coming and going with wisdom and compassion, to love what is just passing through."
What is the loudest part of you running the show these days? And, at what age did that come to be necessary? and why? There is likely very good reason it got started but maybe not so good of reason to still be running that way. With my support and your conscious awareness, we can come up with something new together. I am especially qualified to help you change the physiology, the thoughts, the relationship to that outdated wiring....... as soon as you're ready.
"It is one thing to process memories of trauma, but it is an entirely different matter to confront the inner void—the holes in the soul that result from not having been wanted, not having been seen, and not having been allowed to speak the truth. If your parent's faces never lit up when they looked at you, it's hard to know what it feels like to be loved and cherished. If you come from an incomprehensible world filled with secrecy and fear, it's almost impossible to find the words to express what you have endured. If you grew up unwanted and ignored, it is a major challenge to develop a visceral sense of agency and self-worth. "
This passage from Bessel van der Kolk, MD in "The Body Keeps the Score" summarizes much of the work I do with clients who sometimes aren't even aware of their voids. The void has become their normal. They say "my parents were great, normal typical childhood." Yet they come to me struggling with lack of physical and emotional intimacy, low self worth, impulsive anger, anxiety, depression, substance abuse and unexplained medical syndromes. Their experience was not one of overt abuse in the way we often think of it, but one of neglect. What did or didn't get ideally unconditionally lovingly consistently wired in the first five years of a child's life is paramount. When I meet with my adult clients, I treat and see the infant inside. I start at the beginning, from the bottom up. I aim to cherish, to honor, to attune to what didn't get celebrated the first time because we all deserve to feel and know we matter. It's our birthright.
"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind."
by William James
And then some! Much of my therapeutic work is based on this concept which encompasses more than just the mind. From my formally Somatically trained perspective, mind influences body which influences mind and around again. I have to believe creating new neural pathways is possible and maladaptive nervous systems can be rewired. Thankfully, the expanding and current research in neuroscience relevant to psychology and mental/behavioral health is supporting this approach. When working with clients, I support creating change through various somatic (body) techniques such as: attunement, physical co-regulation, introducing safe experiences to overly activated nervous systems, and challenging limiting beliefs. Borrowing from Henry Ford, if you think you can experience the world and yourself in a different way, you're probably right. And if you think you can't, you're probably right. In my private practice, I prefer to serve the former.
I can't help myself that I yet again need to share a passage from one of my favorite yoga and meditation teachers, Rolf Gates in his book, "Meditations on Intention and Being." As I hustle bustle attempt to get settled in my new state of Colorado and next chapter of life, I am confronted with the business of "doing." Thankfully, every morning during my meditation and yoga practice, I get quiet and try to remind myself and return to my world of "knowing." And then for seconds, hours, if I'm lucky, all day, the hustle bustle weighs less and all is well. Yesterday morning, this was the passage I read in perfect timing,...
"The world of doing is busy and loud and the people who live there like it that way. In the world of doing, noise and agitation mean things are getting done. In the world of knowing, things tend to get done with silence and stillness. Patience turns out to be a real go-getter with a capacity for getting things done that almost nothing else matches. In the world of knowing, we are happy to live without many of the things that are needed in the world of doing. In fact, very few things turn out to be absolutely necessary, which saves us a lot of time and energy. In the world of knowing, listening is necessary, as are learning to forgive, saying "I love you," laughing, and spending time on activities whose only purpose is the experience of joy. The world of doing care only for what can be seen; the world of knowing flows from the unseen world of being. The people who live in the world of knowing love what can be seen because they know where it comes from and where it is going. In the world of knowing, nobody ever does anything— yet everything gets done."
"Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom."
by Viktor Frankl
"Unconditional love really exists in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It's not 'I love you' for this or that reason, not 'I love you if you love me.' It's love for no reason, love without an object."
by Ram Dass
I truly believe in unconditional love not because I grew up receiving it, but because I grew to understand it by beloved ones in my life who later demonstrated such to me. It feels much better than conditional love. Of course, much harder to put into practice when your ego and survival instincts are put to the fire.
So, I encourage you to try this practice by Ram Dass for even one hour today with no matter whom you come into contact. Imagine what a better feeling world this would be if we all tried it even a little bit more often.
"However beautifully we carry out an asana, however flexible our body may be, if we do not achieve the integration of body, breath, and mind, we can hardly claim that what we are doing is yoga. What is yoga after all? It is something that we experience inside, deep within our being. Yoga is not an external experience. In yoga we try in every action to be as attentive as possible to everything we do. Yoga is different from dance or theatre. In yoga we are not creating something for others to look at. As we perform the various asanas we observe what we are doing and how we are doing it. We do it only for ourselves. We are both observer and what is observed as the same time. If we do not pay attention to ourselves in our practice, then we cannot call it yoga."
by T.K.V. Desikachar "The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice"
Luckily my first exposure to yoga in 1995 was by a Kripalu teacher who was already informed of this wisdom. After practicing asanas for now over 20 years, I can assure you, it is not about the postures. Every morning when I wake to do my practice, it becomes a journey into a moving meditation of me and all my parts. Some days the internal critic is loud and other mornings, less noisy. Either way, I return time after time on my mat to see what I bring to my day and by savasana, make peace and accept my experience.
This is where I share MY TRUTH.... authentically, some of my thoughts, inspirations and insights that might be of service for whomever has interest and need.