• When a person drowns himself in negative thinking,
he is committing an unspeakable crime against himself.
- Maxwell Maltz
(Adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous)
Negative thoughts can rule our lives as compulsively as an addiction. The feelings of power we get from holding a dismal and gloomy outlook deprive us of the positive and pleasant parts of life. Some of us have said, "If I expect the worst, I won't be disappointed. If I think the worst about myself, no one else can cut me down." It is like taking a driving trip and looking only for trash and garbage in the ditches, ignoring the beauty beyond. Indeed, what we see may be real, but it is a very limited piece of the picture.
When we have relied on negative thinking, it feels risky to give it up, to hand over that power to the risk of the bright side. So, we cannot turn to being totally Pollyanna all in one day. We CAN begin by imagining ourselves with a more open attitude toward ourselves and the world. Then we can try it out as an experiment in little ways. Small steps. I recommend starting with trying to first WITNESS your negative thoughts rather than identify with them. Can you observe yourself thinking negatively vs BE negative? Can you notice what it feels like energetically, physically when thinking negatively? Once you can accomplish this, try next replacing that thought with something totally different and positive, possible gracious or at least neutral and also notice the shift in your physical, energetic body.
• Walking to work having the thought:
"I'm not going to get the credit I deserve for finishing that work project because the boss has her
favorites and never acknowledges me."
• Notice the fact that your mind is having that negative thought.
• Notice how this negative thought impacts your physical body: possibly heavy, constricted, lack of
breathing, tense, deflated.
• Consciously and deliberately change to a more positive thought:
"I love the fact that I get to have old friends from out of town visit this weekend because they love me."
• Notice how this positive thought impacts your physical body: possible lightness, ease, expansion
deeper breathing, smiley energy.
The Goal of Yoga
(No, it's not handstand)
The yoga pose is not the goal.
Becoming flexible or standing on your hands is not the goal.
The goal is the create space where you were once stuck.
To unveil layers of protection you've built around your heart.
To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates.
To make peace with who you are. The goal is to love, . . . well, you.
Shift your focus and your heart will grow.
My mother who was recently reacquainted with yoga after about a forty year hiatus, shared this post with me she found on Facebook. She doesn't quite understand it, yet, but she sensed I would. Guarded, hypervigilant, barely breathing and wound up tight, I first got exposed to yoga just shy of turning 21. I haven't stopped practicing since. Over two decades later, the practice continues to inform me from the physical to the subtle to the meditative, to the deep awareness, uncovering, disarming and acceptance of me. I fell into teaching group classes originally by happenstance across the MidWest and intentionally in the San Francisco Bay area for nearly fifteen years. I stopped after feeling disenchanted with my ability to get this message (above) across to my students. It seemed most students were showing up for a workout and less interested in the emotional and psychological journey. I can appreciate and teach a strenuous physical class to a group, but it is the healing journey that is of primary interest to me. It was challenging as a teacher in these crowded classes, to reach the individual in their unique process as they struggled or eased with their mind and body from posture to posture. Their truth, their wounds, their trauma, their emotions, their trials were evident in their bodies, in their breath, in their reactions to a posture. I could see it more than they themselves were aware. This witnessing, plus my own healing journey diving inward, were largely my motivation to pursue a Masters Degree in Somatic Psychotherapy. Today, I often use yoga asanas in individual Somatic Psychotherapy sessions. This allows the safe space to explore and dialogue with the physical sensations, stuck places, the emotions encapsulated in the tissues not to mention the limits we might place on knowing and accepting ourselves. In the slowing down, paying attention and letting go of the getting to a perfect handstand, we reveal ourselves to us.
I frequently work with individuals and couples who can't seem to find the right partner, keep choosing the same partner or aren't satisfied with the partner they chose (cause it IS a choice). Endless arguments, secrets, miscommunication, enmeshment, codependence and lack of connection are sadly the norm. Over and over, I try to explain the concept of loving oneself first before love happens fully, effectively, healthfully with another. Many times I am met with blind eyes and deaf ears. "Doesn't love happen when one person completes the other?" clients ask. Gag me! NO!!! One broken soul doesn't compliment another broken soul. It just equals more broken. Love needs to happen with the self first. I repeat: YOU are your soulmate. YOU are the one you've been longing for.
Sometimes we need to see, read, hear the same message multiple times by various sources for it to stick. I am not immune. My journey began at age 7. These words by Anodea Judith in "Eastern Body Western Mind" are so significant that I need to share the entire passage. She writes it well.
"Intimacy, as Thomas Moore so aptly points out, is about bringing forth deeply interior aspects of the self. In order to have intimacy we first need to have a sense of self. We need to be intimate with our own interior, to know our needs, wishes, fears, boundaries, and hopes. Through knowing the self within, we can honor the self that lives within another. We need to be able to love our own self enough to offer it openly to someone else. Without self-love, this cannot happen.
The most common block in the heart chakra is the absence of self-love. How can we have intimacy with others if we are distanced from our own self? How can we reach out to others when we are drowning in shame and criticism? How can we maintain balance between ourselves and others if we have no balance within? How can we treat another with respect if we treat our own selves abusively?
Ideally, the demon of shame has been transformed in the third chakra, leaving us ready to enter the heart with an honest regard for the sacredness of our being. To love ourselves is to act respectfully and responsibly toward ourselves, to enjoy our own company when in solitude, to honor our limits and speak our truths. In general, self-love is an act of treating ourselves the way we would treat anyone else that we love—respectfully, honestly, compassionately, with feeling and understanding, pride and patience.
Our relationships with others reflect our relationship with ourselves. We will find others who treat us the way we expect to be treated, others who respond to the relationship program we carry inside our heart chakra. Self-love is the foundation for loving others."
After you fall in love with YOU and let go of needing another to feel loved, love WILL show up for you.
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.