I’ll never forget the time I dropped to my knees in excruciating pain. I just turned 30 and was going back to school for my degree in Creative Writing. I was just three quarters away from graduating and whammo! A bulging disc in the lumbar region of my spine intruded upon my sciatica nerve, sending searing pain down my right leg. I woke from a nap between classes and waiting tables that evening to find myself dropping to the floor and crawling to a telephone. I endured three tedious months of dealing with mind-bending pain, in addition to a relationship that was on the rocks, having to drop out of school and no job. A long story short, since I had no interest in holistic healing methods back then, the injury healed from a cortisone shot to the spine. I vowed to be a better inhabitant of my body and to take gentler care of it. That injury and the very challenging time that came with it, made me seek reflection and inner healing. That injury opened the door to yoga, meditation and an opening of my senses. All of which ultimately led me to Reiki and the amazing practice I’ve had for over a decade.
I bet you can remember at least one circumstance where you felt life handed you a big pile of caca, but once you got on the other side of it, you found something so much better waiting for you. It’s in these moments when we can have gratitude and gain momentum for whatever we’re experiencing now.
Whether it’s a job we despise, relationship troubles or even a health issue. How we deal with these circumstances shapes our overall perspective and mood. If the constant loop in our head is, “Life is hard, this sucks.” then guess what? It will be. However, if we look at our circumstances and find the loopholes, the workarounds, and even the pockets of joy..and trust me they are there…then we begin to retain more energy and become more fluid with life.
There’s the saying that ‘everything happens for a reason’. We don’t know exactly what that reason is. It may or may not ever become apparent to us. All we can do is make a choice. There are two options available to us in challenging circumstances: Flow with it or get caught in the downward spiral.
Remember that energy follows focus. Whatever we focus on, that is where our energy will go. The circumstances do not define you, how you deal with them does. So go have a fabulous long weekend, regroup, gather your light and bring your A-game on Monday because that is who you really are.
I recently began reading The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. It’s a wonderful book explaining the neuroscience of a child’s brain and how it develops. It’s been tremendous in helping me understand why our 9yo daughter dumps her banana peel on the coffee table after eating it and walks away, why I find her wet towel crumpled in the middle of the floor, or why??? I found her toothbrush down by the pool. And because I’ve learned that our brains do not fully develop until we are in our early 20s (boy does that explain alot!) it’s going to be this way for at least the next twelve years. Breathe in…breathe out…
Outside of these revelations, this book has also been valuable in explaining communication styles. It tells a story about how a two year-old boy went through a traumatic accident with his nanny. Luckily all was well in the end, but it shook the boy up. His mother did something remarkable. Rather than distracting him to feeling better, placating him with toys or ice cream, she let him tell his story over and over until the charge of the trauma released. Reading this completely shifted my perspective on communicating. ….So I practiced this on my beau. Yes, a grown man who recently had a tantrum about my ordering a giant truckload of wood chips to be dumped in our driveway. Clearly not a traumatic incident, but it sent him off a cliff. As he charged through the front door, panicked and yelling, I did something remarkable. I stood there and listened to his story about it. I let him get it all out. What was beneath it all was how incredibly overwhelmed he felt with various deadlines and now this was one more thing to deal with. He needed the space to express the frustration. So I held it for him. Only after he was finished did I calmly reassured him that I understood and outlined how everything was going to work out. I could see that while he was still frustrated, the charge had dissipated, the tension began to ease in his body because he could express it without getting push back or distracted.
Ladies, I know you can relate when you come home from a crappy day and want to tell your husband or boyfriend about it and they go into fix-it mode. “ARRRGH..just listen to me!” It seems so simple, but when something goes wrong, when someone gets angry or hurt, we are programmed to cutoff the expression of it by either defending ourselves or distracting from the incident. When we’re able to express ourselves fully until the charge of it is released we feel so much better because it no longer has to be trapped in our bodies. The tension eases, the adrenals calm, our blood pressure regulates just by having the opportunity to tell our story, whatever it is. It’s why I love my work so much, because it’s an opportunity for you to tell your story and then receive healing so the body may finally release it.
Practice this next time you encounter an argument or a friend who has had a crappy day or even your child who has fallen off their first bicycle. Listen to their story instead of distracting them or defending yourself. Let them work it out by telling it. Hold that calm, supportive space with an empathetic ear and see the healing magic reveal itself.
The other evening we sadly paid our respects to a friend of my beau’s who passed away unexpectedly and much too soon last week. I only met her once a year ago, and I instantly got that she was a free, vibrant spirit who loved life with her entire being.
Memorial services for people I barely know always take me by surprise. I go thinking, “Why am I here, I didn’t even know this person?” Yet by the end of each service I find myself melting into a puddle of tears from all the stories shared by people who loved them. Whether it’s an elder whose body has given out or a younger person who leaves this world long before they’re due, the imprints they leave upon those around them are so profoundly felt in their memorial. The stories shared about people, their lives, the ones they touched leave me wondering if they knew? Did this woman who passed know that she contributed so much to so many by just being herself? One of her friends spoke about how she would light up the room with her trademark blend of elegance, poise and childlike playfulness. And then she said, “You know, these days, we celebrate people for their accomplishments, what they ‘do’, what they ‘have’… but we don’t celebrate people for just ‘being’. My friend was perfect because she just knew how to ‘be herself’.”
I saw how simply being herself touched so many people she left behind. And it got me thinking about how we position and posture for this thing & that and so often shove ourselves off the path of just being who we innately are and appreciating each other as such…even in our imperfections.
We meander around our relationships with friends, family, lovers and even strangers with the blinders of who’s doing what, and is it enough…and we miss actually seeing and embracing the spirit within them. We’re all here, trying to do exactly the same thing, which is living our lives for such a short time on this planet. So take a moment today to just soften our hearts. Drop the resentments and the defensive plays, and expand beyond that which holds us back from our own ‘being’. You might be surprised how special it can be in someone else’s life.