Month: August 2022

Part 2 of Embracing Support series 

being in the present moment

As I lay in bed thinking about this week’s blog, I realize how privileged I am.  A quick explanation; This is the second part of a four-part blog series around embracing support. This week is about presencing ourself to be able to name what we need.

 

I am privileged to be able to have the space and time to actually self inquiry. To ask myself what I need beyond the basic rights of any human being. I do not live in a warring country, I have food, water, shelter, and I am not in a situation of need for protection, necessarily, beyond being a woman. I have choices.  

 

I write this because I want to acknowledge that for some, the need is immediate and clear.

I write this so we can all join together in stopping the systems of oppression, hatred, greed, and more, and instead, create a world where all Beings may thrive because all their basic human rights are being upheld and supported. 

 

And now the blog:

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

-Carl Rogers

We have this tool called awareness

This statement from Mr Rogers already is making the presumption that anyone is present enough to themselves to know how they are, to see their own reactions, and to observe what they would want their responses to be. To really step out of themselves and to take the witness frame of mind. 

 

This is a great tool that we have; witnessing our own thought patterns and habits. We have this tool of awareness that we can call upon to support ourselves in being deeply and authentically present to what is, both outside of our self and within our self. 

Awareness has always been one of the most important aspects, benefits, and practices of and from Yoga. 

 

This action of awareness in the moment is what I have started to call “Presencing”. 

It just came out in a class recently, and it felt good.  (There are a few definitions I have found for presencing, but the one that is most in alignment for the way I am using it is, “The act of bringing Oneself into the present moment.”-Macmillan dictionary)

Awareness can be a very challenging action too!  

 

Challenging because we might just come across witnessing within our own mind thoughts of self-doubt, self-dislike, unworthiness, and even self-hatred.  And we might witness thoughts of jealousy, wrong comparisons, hurtful judgement against others, disgust, negative ego, and more.  For support in this, go back to last week’s blog that was all about self-acceptance.

 

Through the act of becoming deeply present with our self, and honest in that heart centered look, we can then start to recognize where we’re holding our own self back. 

 

*Here’s where I caught myself for a moment. I was about to continue on in saying that it would allow us to see where ‘life is holding us back’. However, it is not life that is holding us back, it can only ever be our own beliefs, fears, expectations, or other self-judgments or self-doubt that could hold us back.

 

Life does not hold us back, life loves us, so why do we hold ourselves back?  

Why do we dim our own Light when we need support and won’t ask for it? {More on the asking next week!} As I said in a recent Instagram post, “you are not meant to go alone”! Watch it here, especially if you like ’80’s Rock! 

Take a moment to be with this poem…

 

‘Fear’ by Khalil Gibran:

“It is said that before entering the sea

a river trembles with fear.

She looks back at the path she has traveled,

from the peaks of the mountains,

the long winding road crossing forests and villages.

And in front of her,

she sees an ocean so vast,

that to enter

there seems nothing more than to disappear forever.

But there is no other way.

The river can not go back.

Nobody can go back.

To go back is impossible in existence.

The river needs to take the risk

of entering the ocean

because only then will fear disappear,

because that’s where the river will know

it’s not about disappearing into the ocean,

but of becoming the ocean.”

 

The river was presencing herself. We know in her inner landscapes she is fearful, she is trembling. She is scared to go into the unknown. We hear how she is able to look back, and to see forward, by being in the here and now, and accepting all of it as it is.

 

Fear makes us lost from our True Self. 

Like the river at that moment, as she looked back and forward from a place of the fearful present, what do you need, dear reader, in order to leap?!

 

Some needs that I have discovered recently to support healing at any given moment, and perhaps they might resonate with you.  Notice what does or does not feel resonant in your body as you read, then write…

“To heal you have to get to the root of the wound and kiss it all the way up.”

 -Rupi Kaur

*I must love all of me. Love the shadows, the ingrained beliefs that are so false. I must look so deep that I may find the root and be able to then kiss, love, and accept it (then I can change! Just to circle back to Carl Rogers quote.)

“Could you plant

healing words

in my wounds?”

-poem by Alexandria Vasiliu

 

*A practice of constantly repeating healing and uplifting words to myself. Asking for a loved one to support me with their kind words and actions.

“Healing feels like a 

Stranger inside my body,

Until she gains the courage to

Remember she’s been

Here all along.”

-poem by Treena Orchard

*Moving my body so that I feel connected to my heart again, to my strength, to my love that I have to then give. Moving to refill my well and to remember.

There are miracles in me

Waiting their turn to happen

I am never giving up on myself.

-Rupi Kaur

*Just that, never giving up!  Believing in myself that I am worthy of support, and that I am worthy of abundance!  Having patience at times, persistence, and gratitude; especially with miracles. 

“When you are lost, that’s the best time to be found.”

-“The Littlest Families Big Day” children’s book by Emily Winfield Martin

 

*Allowing myself to be supported.  Allowing myself to just stay, and then be found. Trusting that I am taken care of, even when I feel lost, and that I will be found; and that I will come to know my own heart, know myself as whole, and find my True Self. 

“There are probably other incredible souls who will change your sense of what’s possible and will change your life in such beautiful ways, that are still out there, that we have yet to meet.”

-Ai-jen Poo

*Knowing the support is there. There are people out there WANTING to help me and you! And there are people RIGHT NOW in my life, and your life, that are showing us what is beautiful and possible. 

 
You now have a choice, dear reader.

Will you now ask for what you need? To flourish, to serve, to live the life of abundance, joy, and peace you SO deserve?

 

Next week I will dive into asking!

 

May you become present to the world around you and within you. May you begin to see and experience the support that’s here for you; both within yourself and around you. May you start to feel the love from life that is given to you. 

 

All my love,

Shawna

 

Read Part 3 of this Part 4 series on Embracing Support. 

Part 1 of Embracing Support series 

Embracing Support

In her book,”Radical Acceptance; embracing your life with the heart of a Buddha”, Tara Brach rights:

“For so many of us, feelings of deficiency are right around the corner. It doesn’t take much–Just hearing of someone else’s accomplishments, being criticized, getting into an argument, making a mistake at work–to make us feel that we are not okay.

As a friend of mine put it,”feeling that something is wrong with me is the invisible and toxic gas. I am always breathing.” When we experience our lives through this lens of personal insufficiency, we are imprisoned in what I call the trance of unworthiness. Trapped. In this trance, we are unable to perceive the truth of who we really are.

“We don’t have to wait until we are on our deathbed to realize what a waste of our precious lives. It is to carry the belief that something is wrong with us. Yeah, because our habits of feeling insufficient are so strong, awakening from the trance involves not only inner resolve, but also an active training of the heart and mind.”

This is the quote in which I started all of the classes in the first week of August. The reason for this; one of our beloved community members from Journey to the Peak  requested to spend a month on the topic of “embracing support”. Patrick and I said yes, wholeheartedly! 

I could already feel how important this month was going to be, and also how challenging. I felt that it’s reach was going to move my heart deeply. I hope that it will support and move your heart, too, in very healing ways.  

 

With the ideas already ruminating and floating around in my mind around support, worthiness, unworthiness, supporting oneself, receiving support, accepting support, I started to question what might come first? And of course, as a lot of wonderful thoughts do, it came in the bathroom one morning.

 

What Embracing Support means to me

With the idea of embracing support, it really feels as if there is an acceptance in seeing that support is needed. It presupposes there is a need. So, I began to contemplate an arc for the entire month.  It really started to feel cyclical as the weeks unfolded. Here are the bones of the arc that will be fleshed out through the next coming blogs:

 

  1. Self-acceptance.  Being present to Oneself enough to see what is going on, inside and out.  Accepting that there is a need, a desire, a limitation, a request, something missing, something we can’t do alone, something requiring the divine, ourselves, a friend, a community, or a contractor, lol.  Using satya and ahimsa to do so: truthfulness and non-harming, respectively, towards oneself.
  2. Naming.  Naming exactly what is needed. Being clear. Acknowledging.
  3. Asking.  Asking for the support, calling out for support, and/or calling in the support. Being brave in asking, and remembering that we are not less than because we need the support.
  4. Accepting the support. Allowing Oneself to receive.  Accepting the love, help, energy, prayers, money, gifts, condolences, meals, kindness from others.   Accepting these things from our own self to ourself. Accepting these things from the divine.  And in these acceptances observing how life shifts. Doing so with gratitude and realizing our oneness, not our separateness.

Perhaps now you can see why I started with Tara Brach’s quote. And how it seems interchangeable, the concept of self-acceptance with the ideas of worthiness and unworthiness. 

 

Why are we hesitant to ask for support?

I personally feel that here in the United States of America, there is an ethos of “pulling yourself up by the bootstrap” and getting things done by yourself. I’m even hearing the song in my head now… “Here I go again on my own, going down the only road I’ve ever known. Like a drifter I was born to walk alone.  But I’ve made up my mind, I’m not wasting no more time, here I go again.”-Whitesnake, 1987, watch here.

 

But, science is now proving just how much we are not meant to do this thing called life alone. And just how much it is detrimental to our health to try to go it alone. 

 

This study that was written about in 2017 found that, “Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives.” This study is one of the world longest studies ever done for adult life. 

 

I can attest to the need for support, especially as a parent. I’m grateful for the freely given love and help of friendships that I forged after my son was born. I’m grateful for the support of friends and family during the past and now. I’m grateful for the support that I know I will receive in the future so that I can have an hour to myself, a date night with my partner, time to write these blogs, and time to pursue my own passions and curiosities!

 

Throughout this month, I want you to focus on you. Whow, what did you say?!  That’s right, turn your attention on yourself.

 

So, dear reader, where are you needing support? 

This is what this first week in this month is all about. Taking a very honest and truthful look at yourself and your life. Seeing yourself through your own, loving and compassionate heart. To speak to yourself with all honesty, Satya/truthfulness, and to do so in a way that is completely loving and not self-harming, ahimsa/non-harming.  

 

Do NOT judge what comes up.  Don’t shame yourself for whatever you might find.  This will only add a compounded weight to whatever judgements might already live around you needing support.  AND, who knows what this all might change in your life!  

 

Start with these mantras:

“I am here”

“I am breathing”

“My true nature is joy and love”

“My true Self is wise”

“This is what the body feels like as it’s breathing”

Stepping into awareness of oneself and offering loving kindness to yourself is perhaps the best way to begin looking within. When we breathe and notice that we are here, to notice that we are breathing, to notice that our body is breathing, to notice how our body is feeling, it begins to open up space for our consciousness to be aware of what is present within. We become the witness. We become a loving and non-judging observer.

 

From this place, we can begin to embrace all that we experience, all that we notice, and all we discover.  In my opinion, Parker Palmer said it very wisely:

“I now know myself to be a person of weakness and strength, liability and giftedness, darkness and light. I now know that to be whole means to reject none of it, but to embrace all of it.”

One of my most favorite poems is by Danna Faulds, entitled “intimate with all things”.

To be as intimate with our own pain, suffering, self-critic, internal voice of self-judgment, broken heart and aching body, as much as our own joy and happiness, excitement, voice of elevation and enlightenment, voice of our inner wisdom, and our wise body and knowing Spirit.

I closed the class with Tara Brach:

“When we practice radical acceptance, we begin with the fears and wounds of our own life and discover that our heart of compassion widens endlessly. In holding ourselves with compassion, we become free to love this living world. This is the blessing of radical acceptance: As we free ourselves from the suffering of “something is wrong with me,” we trust and express the fullness of who we are.”

To move away from the untruths that we are ‘broken’, that there is ‘something wrong with us’, that we are ‘not worthy’, that we are ‘not lovable’, and to move towards the truths of who we are.

 

To move towards the truths that we ARE lovable, that we are NOT broken, that we are SO worthy, that we ARE beautiful and NOTHING is wrong with us.  That we ARE divine, that we ARE magical, creative, fluid and gorgeous as we are!

 

To embrace and embody this, we closed with a tool for training the mind, which is called mantra in Yoga. The mantras I offered earlier, “my true essence is joy and love”, are actually the translations for this mantra that I now share with you in Sanskrit:

 

“Om Aim Namah”

*’Aim’ Is the seed sound for the goddess Saraswati.  Read my blog on her here.  I invite you to remember that as you create this vibration, what you are creating is all that she represents, which is all that you embody and hold within you. This is a vibration that is activating that which is in you that is wise and love, lovable and happy, joyful, your true self. 

 

Use the mantra with this heart chakra mudra, anahata mudra:

Softly extend all your fingers open. In each hand, separately, fold down the index finger into the palm. Cover the index finger with the thumb finger between the first and second knuckles.  

 

This is just one mudra that we can use in supporting ourselves and our heart. This gesture of the heart chakra is potent because it really focuses the energy back to yourself.  The index finger, in some lineages, represents air, the element connected with the heart chakra. It sends the universal life force of love back to our own heart. It truly is the gesture to use in upholding one’s worth, and really offering unconditional acceptance to oneself. I feel it is one of the lesser known mudras of the heart center, and yet is very profound. I am inviting everyone to use it for the entire month instead of just one week. 

 

In closing, we have to discern the untruth from truth. We have to really uphold our own light and train ourself in the ways of the mind and the heart and the body. This way we will be able to move away from the untruths and away from the ‘trance of unworthiness’, and towards the knowledge of our Self as Light, Universal, Love.

 

Are you ready dear reader?

Are you ready to step into this path with me?

To take on the challenge of looking at yourself in all honesty?

And to do so in a deeply committed, and deeply loving and supportive way?

I hope you have answered yes. 

 

I pray that in doing so, with yourself, within the community of belonging that you have with me and other human beings, that you will experience abundance, transformation, healing, and great flourishing in your life!

 

Love,

Shawna

P.S. And let’s not forget about perfectionism and the ego within the scope of this honest looking. You ARE worth gold and more! Let perfectionism go. Tell your ego your intention is pure and loving, and don’t let it tell you that you are not deserving of love and everything positive in return. 

 

Read Part 2 of this Part 4 series on Embracing Support.