Month: November 2018

We Retreat to Remember

“There are times when we stop, we sit still. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper”.

 

~James Carroll

 

As I was facilitating my most recent retreat experiences, I kept hearing the phrase “We Retreat to Remember”.  When we retreat, in any capacity, our cells have the space to heal. We create that breathing room in our being to remember who we truly are. We have the opportunity to carve new pathways in our minds, our bodies, our hearts, and in our lives as a whole.

 

When we give ourselves the space for quiet and stillness, we naturally slow down and tune into that deep, intuitive voice. We transition from doing into being. 

 

As a working single mom, I have learned that I cannot afford to wait until that opportune moment to exit my life and go on a bigger retreat. I have created what I call “retreat moments”, that give me the opportunity to remain connected to myself in midst of day-to-day life.

 

During my “retreat moments”, I remember the crucial nature of creating the space in life to listen, to acknowledge, to honor, and to heal.

 

“Retreat moments” are an opportunity to reset and remember.

 

Some of my favorite “retreat moments” include:

 

  • Stepping outside, taking some breaths, and orienting myself to the natural world around me.

 

  • Pausing for a moment while cooking dinner, putting one hand on my heart and one hand on my belly, closing my eyes and tuning into my breath.

 

  • Taking 5 minutes and lying on the ground, coming into my breath, and feeling the connection of my body to the earth.

 

  • 20 – 30 minutes of early morning quiet meditation.

 

  • A spontaneous yoga session of a pose or two in the middle of the woods while with my son.

 

  • A mindful walk around the block focusing on my breath and my steps.

 

  • A candlelit hot bath with Epsom salts and soothing essential oils.

 

  • A long restorative yoga practice abundantly using props so that my mind can quiet, my body can soften, and my heart can unwind.

 

 

When I am consistently creating “retreat moments” in my life, I feel resourced, present, and grounded.  I am a better mom, am more resourced and connected, and am able to meet life with equanimity.

 

“Retreat moments”alwaysencompass tuning into my breath, bringing awareness to that quiet space inside, feeling my body, and tapping into the stirrings of my heart. From there, an embodied wisdom is invited to emerge.

 

We must slow down to tune in. 

 

It is truly a radical act of self-care.

 

It is a declaration of love to breathe into our bodies, inviting in that space to heal, grow, honor, and celebrate the fullness of living an embodied life.

 

There is much wisdom and potency accessible in cultivating silence and stillness.  By practicing daily, in small or larger moments we strengthen that muscle which keeps us steady in the face of difficulty.  We have the opportunity to enhance an unwavering belief in the truth of who we are and the rightness of our life’s path.

 

 

As we dive deeper into the winter months, may we cultivate these moments of retreat to listen and inform what is to come. May we bring consciousness into this time of darkness and allow ourselves the space to heal.

 

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear”.

 

~Baba Ram Dass

The Epidemic of Self-Doubt and Breaking Ingrained Patterns

The Epidemic of Self-Doubt and Breaking Ingrained Patterns

Our challenges in life have the potential to be our greatest medicine and gifts to the world.  We must be sharing our stories and experiences and having these conversations to heal.  We must feel ourselves in relation to others to lift the shame and break the cycle. We must remember that we are not alone, not even for a moment and although others may not resonate with our version of the story, we all have our stories.  We all hold variations of the stories and carry with us the pieces to the puzzle.  Our stories are powerful and have formed the foundation of who we are.  Sharing our stories is pure liberation and provides the opportunity to shed layers of shame and angst, heal, repair, embrace, and embody who we truly are. 
  

I work with women and men who struggle with disordered eating, those unwinding from trauma and those who are searching for peace in themselves.  The overarching theme that I continuously witness is a tremendous feeling of self-doubt.

Somewhere along the road of their lives they internalized the message that they are not worthy, not good enough, and have nothing to offer those that are blessed to cross their paths. These are highly successful professionals whom have had a tremendously positive impact on others, yet the feelings of self-doubt consistently reign and are being played out in their abilities to nourish and nurture themselves.

I get it wholeheartedly.

As I was gearing up to begin my physical descent down to Taos to work with 4 different women intensively over the course of 2 weekends, my old stories, programming, and messages about my abilities – my capacity to do this deep work, and my own personal biography in the realm of disordered eating and unwinding trauma, were screaming.

I was in self-doubt hell and it took every ounce of my connection to my true Self and my decades of practice to continue forward despite the cries otherwise.

What unfolded felt nothing short of miraculous as I pushed through my wall of self-doubt and landed embodied and upright in who I am. My experience affirmed my strong beliefs in the power of consistent, meditative practices which provide the the capacity to sift through what is truth and what is old messaging.

I am also reminded of the crucial nature of authenticity and being exactly who we are both personally and professionally.

I share this with you as a bridge – as an offering of a gateway towards our humanness – and, as validation that not only does everyone go through times of doubting the self, but that each of us truly have our own unique voice and story to share.

Please do not allow the voices of self-doubt to stifle who you are in the world.  Your experiences in this lifetime are of equal value to those who may be making millions public speaking or those who have 10,000 Instagram followers.

You are important.

We are important.

Now, more than ever, the world needs the light from each of us – first honoring that light that lies within, our true Self – and then honoring the light in each other.

“Be kinder to yourself and then let your kindness flood the world”.

~Pema Chodron

Tell the Truth.

“The healing and recovery for all addictive behaviors includes learning to cultivate a discipline of telling the truth, first to oneself and then to others”.

~Katherine Woodward Thomas

I love this quote.  It encompasses for so many of us recovering addicts the void that is missing from our lives. Our life situations, life experiences, our feelings, thoughts, emotions, and the actions that we have chosen to take as a result of are rarely based upon truth. Truth is generally not what is presented to us, what is accepted, and we are not given the license to live from that authentically and unwavering place of truth.  We are taught to suppress, stuff, numb, distract, and hide all of the confusion and angst that we experience as young ones.

Rarely do we meet those adults whom were supported and encouraged to be who they are – the whole of them – the messy and unappetizing of them – the ones who were taught to open their hearts and share their unabashed souls.

A disclaimer here:  This is not about blaming the adults whom raised us.  Not about blaming ourselves for the choices we have made in living our lives.  We have all done the best we could given the human experience and situation that we have been gifted with.

I truly feel that.

I do not spend a minute in blaming others for my lifetime of addictions and I will never support anyone in doing so.  We all have wounding – it is the nature of being a human being.  We all also have choice as to how we respond to these wounds.  Personally, I feel the importance of self-responsibility.  Of removing ourselves from the space of what others have done to  us and moving in the clear direction of what choices we have made on behalf of ourselves.  It is a hard pill to swallow when we move in that direction and take ownership for the creation of our lives, yet, in my experience, it is the only way to truly heal and move forward wholly embodied and operating from your heart.

I spent decades trying to decipher what was mine and what others had done to me.  It got me nowhere and set me up for many years of struggle and an inability to land in my body and in my heart.  It kept me distracted and disconnected from the actuality of who I am and the beauty of my life, right now.  As it is. 

Shifting into a state of ownership, acceptance, and yielding into the mode of receptivity has been a game changer.  It is not an overnight process, mind you, yet worthy of the time and efforts it takes to attain and sustain what I consider to be true and embodied self-acceptance.

The unconditional loving of ourselves in every moment, even in the times when our imperfections surface – especially when we fall off the path as that is where the good stuff lies. 

When I can have a moment of angst around a less-than-respectful text message received from my son’s dad and my breath becomes short, I become short-tempered with my son, I dig into the ice cream pint or eat my dinner so fast I haven’t even tasted it – when I have those moments and then a potent moment of acceptance, which usually comes in the form of slowing down, finding my breath, putting my hands on my body, apologizing to my boy for my impatience, and remembering who I am and the truth of the entire scenario……those are the nuggets of gold.

Those are the moments that escalate our growth and capacity as humans.  Those are the times in our lives when we have the choice to pour the love onto our humanness and watch the flowers grow. 

I was walking into Whole Foods the other day with my son when I ran into an old acquaintance that I haven’t seen in awhile.  Mind you I saw him from afar and was trying desperately to diverge our course so that he and I didn’t end up aligned, yet aligned we became.  As we walked side-by-side into the store I noticed my old story surface about how irritating he was and how triggered I was going to become as he touted about his new living situation of residing half the year in Hawaii and half the year in Boulder.  Oh, and then about the girlfriend, and blah blah blah.  You get the picture.   I was bracing myself and was holding my son’s hand tightly as if he could “protect” me from the conversation and provide me with the security that I was longing for in that moment – or perhaps in my life.  The assurance that the past 8 + years have not be for naught.  That I am where I am in my life as being mommy has been my absolute priority and that I didn’t need to make excuses for myself…..

What happened though was dramatically different as I softened into my being, I relaxed my body, I opened my heart and walked tall in the pride of who I am.  I was met with such graciousness from this man. I was given the most incredible compliment of recognition and I left our interaction feeling fabulously empowered and alive.  To me, it was a moment of sheer self-acceptance and the proof or reminder or affirmation, whatever you want to call it, that our intention and the ways in which we carry ourselves, our hearts, and our beingness matter.

When we believe in ourselves and love ourselves and accept ourselves, we magnetize goodness.  We draw out the positive aspects of those that we are blessed to pass on our paths and the divinely timed event in our lives become more apparent.  We are open to the good, so the good will come.

When we are living from our truth, healing is inevitable.

When we make the choice to stop hiding behind our addictive ways of living and being, anything is possible.

This truth may stir up fear and that is completely understandable. This is uncharted territory for many, many adults whom only know how to live from one addiction to another.

I understand.  I have been there.  I lived that way for most of my life.

For me, cultivating the deepest sense of self-acceptance in the totality of who I am – the unconditional loving presence for myself that I have longed for from others – the fierceness to love and accept myself flaws and all – has been powerful beyond words.  It feels like a gift to have so much more of life to continue living even thought I spent so much of it berating and obsessing, punishing and abusing. Sometimes it takes a crisis of sorts to “snap” one out of it.  Sometimes it takes intensive process and therapy.  Sometimes it takes reminders from those whom have walked the path before you.  Sometimes it’s an inspiring resonant book.  Often it is a combination of it all.  We have the opportunity every single moment of every single day to tap into our resources.  The choice is alive.  Living a fully embodied life is always an option.

There is no perfection here.

No end point.

It is a work in progress and every day there lies infinite opportunities to surrender, soften, love, accept, yield, receive, and accept our beautiful bodies, hearts, and souls.

Tuning into the greater flow of love and abundance and keeping our mind chatter out of the equation.

Cultivating daily practices which support this state of being are essential — meditation, yoga or other embodiment practices, mantras, and a commitment to our inherent wellbeing – must take precedence in the busyness of being a human.

When we put our own truth and healing at the forefront of our existence, anything is possible.