Spiritual Baby Steps

"Doing" spirituality in the real world

Archive for the tag “Energy”

Practicing Self Compassion…

There is a reason they call it a “practice”!!!

I may have mentioned before that I am participating in Leo Babauta’s Sea Change Program, where ever month there is a small behavior change that you commit to incorporating into your life. For the month of May, this tiny habit that we are attempting to incorporate is self compassion. Seems like an easy enough endeavor… but I’m here to tell ya… it’s trickier than you might at first imagine!

What I’ve noticed is that, despite my initial compassionate, loving words to myself, I immediately follow said compassion with a smidge of negative chatter that is like adding a “yeah, but” to my attempts at self-healing. I yelled (spoke sternly is probably more accurate, but it might as well have been yelling with the tone and the eye rolling that accompanied) at my son the entire drive to school this morning. I was very irritated because he made me re-tie his shoes 3 times due to the laces not being the correct amount of “tight.” I was explaining (do you like how I’ve relabeled the yelling to explaining now?!) how he needs to take responsibility for being on time to school and that, at the ripe old age of 9, he really shouldn’t need me to be tying his shoes… let alone insisting that I retie his shoes numerous times in one morning.

When I finally dropped him at school, he slammed the door and never looked back. I can only imagine what was going through his head. I’m pretty sure it was not along the lines of, “thank goodness I have such a great Mom who helps me understand the error of my ways.” In the great irony of a good day, I realize that the very thing I told my son he needed to do, which was to take responsibility for himself (from my viewpoint, this meant getting out the door on time), he was actually doing (from his viewpoint, making sure that his shoes were tied in a way that worked for him). Funny… that whole irony thing.

Anyway… back to self compassion. After a bit of verbal self-abuse, I did manage to remember the habit for the month. I congratulated myself for having the presence of mind to remember that beating myself up over the events of the morning was not actually going to rewrite the events of the morning for the better. Instead, I took a moment to acknowledge how difficult it is to be a Mom who is trying to balance consciousness and reality! I am, in fact, very thankful for this month’s sea change habit of self compassion. I think it is an easily overlooked habit that can have the potential to hugely impact our lives for the better. After spending numerous moments today offering myself compassion, I have to say that it feels pretty good to be loved… even if, and maybe especially if, it is by my very own self.

Wishing you gobs of love and self compassion!    ~Rashel

What’s Your Story?

We all have stories. Stories are what we believe to be true and what we tell others about our lives. Rumi says… “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” I find it interesting that he does not say, “unfold your own story,” or even, “unfold your own truth,” but “unfold your own myth.”

I was listening to an NPR podcast the other day and they were interviewing Tony Robbins. He mentioned something about stories that really struck me. He revealed that he was beaten as a child. Apparently he shared that truth with some kids when he was doing a talk in order that they might relate to him… to understand that even if you have a troubled youth, you can still turn your life around. The point he was making on the podcast was that he had consciously chosen not to perpetuate that story… that he worked hard to create a new story that he had shared with the world. Until that time, and only for the very specific purpose of relating to those kids, he had chosen not to share that story of himself and his life and to share and communicate a new story… one of empowerment and strength rather than victim hood and struggle.

Sometimes I think we get very caught up in what’s “true.” Reality, if you will. But what that realization illuminated for me is that we can choose to focus on other parts of our lives that are just as true and real without perpetuating the parts of our story that do not foster our own growth and development as a human being. Now, I am not advocating for a life of lies. I am not implying that everyone should wake up tomorrow pretending that their past is non-existent and acting as if the sky is green. I’m simply saying that we all have choices. Choice about what to share… what to focus on.. what to pay attention to on a daily basis. In any given day, there are as many, if not more, positive occurrences as negative… so why in the world do we feel so inclined, when asked how we’re doing, to list the 2-5 things that have gone wrong in the day? I know it’s not just me who does this because I walk around hearing of everyone’s issues on a regular basis. I’m not complaining, mind you… I’m just recognizing that we are very much hard-wired to focus on our negative story instead of perpetuating the positive aspects of our day and lives. I’d say we can’t help it… but that might be seen as taking on a bit of victim mentality, no?

What is your story? How do you feel when you tell your story? Does your story focus on the amazing, wonderful events that have shaped your life… or does you get caught up in the negative, difficult details? Do share your story!

Love and light!  ~Rashel

Acceptance in Action

I often think about acceptance. I really believe this is a misunderstood concept. I know I’ve blogged about acceptance before… the importance of it… the value in it… how hard it can be to master! It came up for me again the other day. I was half-way through a yoga class and began to notice my own self judgment. In a room full of yogi’s in training and full length mirrors… ones mind does tend to wander toward comparison. How in the world is that girl getting her arm to go straight up right now? Am I the only one in the room using blocks today? Why is this still so challenging after years of yoga classes?

What came up for me is how natural it is to think that judgment and criticism will lead to change. Why else would we do it? If I honestly believed that all of the negative self chatter would keep me stuck… would I really continue it time after time? I think there is a part of us that believes if we truly accept… if we let go of self judgment and criticism… that we will sink into a state of laziness, carelessness or general malaise. And on this point, I think we’re wrong.

I took some time to practice acceptance right there in that yoga studio What would it feel like to honor my achy knee… my tight shoulders… my protruding belly? Could I allow myself to be fully present in that moment? Appreciating the act of showing up on the mat… despite being exhausted and sporting a to-do list a mile long. Could I invoke a paradigm shift in that moment… moving from a place of self denigration to self acceptance? And more importantly, if I did… what would it mean for my commitment to yoga… to exercising… to my general health?

You see, I think the issue with acceptance is that we think it’s not possible to both accept and act. I would like to argue that it is. I realized as I stood in that yoga class, hand on block, reaching ever so fervently toward the sky, that accepting my limitations in that moment did not make me want to quit. Actually, if anything, I felt free. Free to just be… to exist in that moment without shame or judgment.

It felt good. And while I’d like to say it transferred immediately and directly to all areas of my life… alas… it has proven to be akin to many other transformational experiences I’ve had… profound and difficult to consistently implement! But it has made me think twice about how we encourage change… in both ourselves and others. If acceptance and change can successfully go hand-in-hand… perhaps we can do away with judgment and criticism altogether, no? It might not come easy, but I believe it’s worth the effort to give it a try. For ourselves… and those we interact with every day!

Love and laughter to you!  ~Rashel

 

Are We Having Fun Yet?

So much of what I read about being happy and getting what you want out of life has to do with perspective. Be happy with what you have and only then can you get more. Well… if I was happy with what I had, would I even want more? I mean… in principle, I get it. If you’re walking around miserable and complaining about your life… you’re not exactly in a state of good vibrations that would welcome positivity and prosperity! And really, I know I have tons… I mean massive amounts… to be thankful for. I should be just walking around in a state of awe at how outrageously lucky I am and how much I have to be grateful for… but for some reason, I’m not.

Why is that? I don’t think I’m an ungrateful person. If I stop to think about it, I would never admit to being anything less than abundant! Amazing family, friends, community, job… I could go on and on. But the reality is, that’s not what I spend the majority of my day focusing on. I think about what needs to get done. What’s bothering me and how I might be able to fix it. How I do more than everyone else in the world… well – maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration – but I do spend a lot of time thinking about how much needs to be done and how much of it I do! lol

I was just cleaning the house this morning and thinking to myself… well, this is NOT fun! I don’t really want to be cleaning. But I don’t work on Monday so this is my payment for not working full-time. Like so many things in everyday life, this is just one of those things that needs to get done – and currently, I don’t have enough money to pay for someone else to do it. So, as I was wiping away, I wondered – how do I shift to a positive place when I’m doing something that’s no fun? (and it was toilets, people… so I had to think long and hard!)

I tried the gratitude process. I stopped for a moment to appreciate having a toilet… and electricity, running water, and the like. Then I thought about how thankful I am to have a house… in a great neighborhood… and the money to buy cleaning supplies and toilet paper… and the functional arms and legs that have the ability to clean the house. That was helping… a little… but really I was kinda thinking to myself – I’d rather be sipping wine by the pool and having someone else clean my house. Now THAT is something I’d really be grateful for! (never mind that it was only 11 am… you get the point)

I decided to try Plan B. I thought for a moment about how I could make the cleaning more bearable. I decided to put on some music. Actually, I decided to BLAST some music, like my Mom used to do when she cleaned house (she might actually still do this). I plugged my iPod into the sound system and sang like a canary the whole time I was cleaning. It actually helped… A LOT.

It made me wonder where else in my life I might be able to make slight modifications and end up having more fun. Having fun is really important. It’s like exercise for the soul. I realize that as a Mom who is constantly taking care of others, it’s very easy to lose sight of what makes me happy… what feeds my soul and adds joy to my life. Sometimes I get into a mode of black and white thinking. Having more fun means I need to go on a week-long vacation – probably without kids… possibly without my husband (just kidding, honey!) The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that drastic. Just like adding music… in this case, very LOUD music… to a situation, I was able to shift my own energy from feeling like this was something I HAD to do, to something that was actually somewhat enjoyable. In this case, I was able to shift myself to a place of positivity even though I wasn’t sailing on a yacht or sipping wine by the pool.

So between noticing and being grateful for what you have in your life… and finding ways to notice, pay attention to, and add moments of joy and fun to your everyday routine – you, too, can find greater moments of positivity and joy. I encourage you to take a few moments right now. What are you grateful for? Do you have something fun planned? If not, where could you add some fun? How could you “fun-up” some activities that might not be all that fun in and of themselves? What makes you smile… if not out-and-out laugh? Where are you missing opportunities to add humor, joy and satisfaction to you day? Anything worth doing is worth having fun doing!

As always, thanks for letting me share my thoughts.  Love and laughter to you!  ~Rashel

Ebb and Flow…

“I easily adapt to the ebb and flow of my life.” ~Louise L Hay – Power Thoughts

This is a power thought I need to work on! I’m realizing I’m not so good at honoring the ebb and flow of my energy. My habit is to go, go, go until my mind and/or body collapses… and then… to rest only as long as absolutely necessary until I can jump back into the game. What I’m realizing lately is that this need for constant motion is entirely my own doing. I’m not a high-profile public figure – I don’t have hoards of people clamoring for my attention every day – no entourage of people waiting for me to give them the ok on things.  Nope… just a normal, busy working Mom who may be her own worst enemy when it comes to chaos!

If I take a long hard look at where I put my energy… much of it tends to go toward taking care of others rather than myself. I do get satisfaction from doing for others… but sometimes at my own expense. There is a part of me that knows the extent to which I do for others is related to my people pleaser self. I want others to like me… to see me as nice. Taking time for myself doesn’t make me look good to others… it makes me look selfish. In reality, I’m not sure that’s true… but it must be an underlying belief that I hold, cause I sure do act as if it’s truth! Often when I do take time for myself, I end up feeling guilty or trying to make up for it by working harder when I’m done. Why, why, why?

Now, I’m not trying to pass myself off as a martyr here. It’s not like I’m doing slave labor 24/7! First of all, no one is making me work so hard at ignoring my own needs. That’s 100% me. Secondly, I have amazing people in my life who love and support me. Many of the things that I do for “others” in the name of helping, could be better served by having them done themselves. For example, my kids could be doing a lot of the stuff that I “take on” in their name. In fact, they’d be better off for it. The problem is, this requires me to be consistent about making them do it. Nagging them to do chores makes me feel like the “bad guy.” While doing it for them makes me feel like a great Mom. In reality, I’m fishing for them instead of teaching them how to fish. Why, why, why?

There are always a million things on the to-do list. And somehow, no matter how many things I get through in a day, the list is always just as full tomorrow. I really want to learn to honor the ebb and flow of my energy. And if my body tells me it needs a “time out,” I want to just take one – and not feel guilty about it. Just honor the fact that sometimes I run at 150%… and other times I need to crank it down to 50% and be ok with that.

What about you? Are you regularly stopping to fill up your tank… or do you run on fumes most of the time? What happens when you hit the lulls of energy and your body needs a break? Do you allow it… or push through it?  Curious how others cope through the demands of the day!

Love and laughter to you!  ~Rashel

 

Tapping… it’s just cool!

This week I want to tell you about a very cool technique called tapping. It’s also referred to as EFT and probably other names I’m less familiar with. The thing I really like about tapping is that it’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s effective. Basically, the tapping process stimulates certain key points along pathways in the body called meridians. As you tap the pressure points, you also talk through what is bothering you and in the process, you release the blocked energy and the negative feelings.

When I first learned about tapping, it made sense to me. I’ve always been a fan of acupressure (Thanks, Mom!) I’ve used acupressure points over the years to get rid of headaches and other pain in my body. I also believe that when we repress emotions, they get trapped in our body and cause all kinds of negative side effects. So I immediately bought the idea that you could stimulate acupressure points to increase energy flow and release trapped emotions. I’ll admit that when I first tried it, I did feel a little akward. The acupressure I’d used all my life did not entail talking! I dabbled with tapping off and on for a while… which consisted of checking out video’s on youtube that demonstrated the EFT/tapping technique and walking through some of the various scripts. My interest was piqued… but I wasn’t sold.

Then I stumbled across an event that changed the way I thought about tapping. The Tapping World Summit. There are 10 days of recorded interviews with Tapping experts who walk you through various tapping scripts. It’s a pretty cool way to not just read about, but really experience, what tapping is all about. Each day’s recording are available for 24 hours. 10 days x 2 interviews per day equals a lot of calls! But even if you just listen to a few of them, it’s free and awesome – and you really can’t beat that! What I experienced when I was listening to the tapping calls was a sense of lightness and calm. It made me realize how powerful the process can be.

I use EFT/tapping on my kids quite a bit. It’s great stuff and both of my kids ask for it now when they’re not feeling great or they can’t fall asleep. Kids tend to be great subjects because they don’t have all the baggage of what will “work” and what won’t! We have so many great tools at our disposal these days. If this tapping business resonates with you, I encourage you to check out the Tapping World Summit at www.tappingworldsummit.com. I’m going to try to take the time over the next 10 days to listen to as many interviews as I can. I’ll be doing my best to balance work, family and spirituatl growth – it’s quite an act! Actually, one of tonight’s presentations is titled, “Overcoming Overwhelm for a Life of Success.” Yes, please!

Love and laughter!  ~Rashel

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