It's been a while. Welcome to the first blog of 2020 ✦🜃✩ Year one of the new decade. What an ideal time to start anew. My intention for now and for as long as I need, is to go beyond. Expanding BEYOND boundaries and stepping into empty space, the depths of the spirit. And I've welcomed it! I've been cocooned as I prioritise my intention over all else, proceeding to lean away from the mind and finding myself more grounded and present, within. This means facing more emotional downs, things long suppressed, allowing whatever arises to arise, and working through the difficulties, bit by bit.
There's no easy road in facing long-held fears and shame head-on, but I was tired of walking the world with expired beliefs that were no longer serving me. With the passing of my dad late last year, I resolved to make a change. His legacy, more than his many incredible qualities and achievements, was without a second thought, how much he loved. His loving presence was the ultimate safe space. Knowing he was there fully, for all of us, was his unending legacy. I knew I loved, but his infinite capacity to love brought to light that I had a whole lot more in me to offer. More selfless giving, more gracious receiving. The wholehearted, open, vulnerable, kind of love. His passing and the soul-searching that ensued was the catalyst for my awakening.
If you've read my blog entries before this one, you will find a reoccurring theme in my writing. That is, presence - being in the now. Witnessing the mind and allowing myself to notice, is key in my spiritual awareness. A daily commitment to the practice of stillness, that allows for consciousness to grow, is my central practice. Eckhart Tolle and Michael Singer have been instrumental in my understanding of this simple yet profound practice, as has David Hawkins in demonstrating the power of letting go of ego and surrendering to what is.
I have been walking this road of awareness for at least 4 years now, making small steady shifts along the way. Late last year happened to be a major turning point for me, and one that I'm incredibly grateful for. Newfound realisations have further shaped the way I perceive myself, the world, and everything around me.
When I thought to document and share my experience with you, on the blog, I asked myself what was the purpose of sharing. What was my motivation and how could I possibly put it all into words. The answers flowed easily. My purpose is to raise consciousness higher. To provide positive, hopeful inspiration to whoever is ready to receive it. I know that I want to be an ally to you, on your journey, and that my sharing may assist in providing motivation, practical tools or starting point. I may not be able to put it all into words, but I can focus on one core theme, and this could explain much of my experience.
The core take-away from much of the processing I have been undergoing is the practice of leaning into the heart ♡ which requires old-wound healing and the real and true embodiment of love, beginning with self.
I know, I talk a lot about self-love! I've done workshops on it, written countless blog articles on it, shared my insights with written publications on it, created products to assist in it, and have probably over-shared on it. But no journey to spirit can be travelled without having felt it, entirely. Loving yourself means you are more connected to your higher good. It makes positive, intuitive decision-making a given, and healthy eating and nourishment, natural. This love-myself mindset is what allows access for high vibrations and frequency to develop.
By opening the heart space, I have been working towards peeling back the constrictions that have been blocking my progress to love wildly. Mantras, affirmations, good supportive friends and loving connections all help to find your way to heart. But what's more significant, to go that extra mile, was to revisit the past. With an intent and the willingness to learn more - to face truths and heal old traumas - revisiting the past has truly allowed me to face myself - my soul self - and this has been the anchor in leading me back to the heart.
Aided by a multitude of nourishing practices, including yoga practice, breathwork, love inducing oils, crystal therapy, practical reading material and heart-centred meditation (and there's more lol), I have opened to realise and accept the role of my past, the brain activity associated and the unconscious patterns of behaviour that have been in play.
It is incredibly powerful how significant the past is to the present. Our early experiences as a child, in particular our relationships with our caregivers and family members are responsible for many, if not all, of the emotional grievances that are played out now, in the present.
I understand now, more than ever, that the wiring of our nervous system from our early attachment styles in childhood (more on this later), along with our unconscious core beliefs have been directing the direction of my life and, in effect, been blocking my ability to connect with myself and others in a deep and fulfilling way. Yes, I love. Yes, I have worked on negative thought patterns and ego. Yes, I know I am worthy. But to move into full embodiment, I needed to move in, deeper. With awareness, I have been working on rewiring past programming, to sit and breath through emotional triggers as they arise and commit to replay scenarios to find a new way to respond. I also had to forgive myself, fully, for self-abandoning for all these years, and to finally honour the little wounded girl who lives within me. This was at the heart of the turning point.
It would be unrealistic to think I could cover this in a blog post so this is more like a starting point. I will offer you some insight into what helped me connect. Dialogue within is the way back home. It has helped myself open to the core, to allow courage in vulnerability and a willingness to lead from the heart. This is embodiment of the practice of self-love, and with it comes a freedom - a belief in yourself that comes from an internal shift in beliefs and how we treat ourselves, rather than from a place of external validation or from scarcity.
There are some reminders / practices that I keep coming back to, which I have recorded in a journal that reminds me of all the little helpful strategies that keep me connected to myself. They are simple and effective, and may assist you in finding your true soul self, and leading from love. I will summarise here, below:
In order to heal and connect with yourself, you need to be caring, gentle and compassionate with yourself. Letting go of self-judgement and criticism is crucial in allowing space for your heart to open. The more you become aware of your fears, false beliefs and unloving behaviours - with acceptance and empathy - the more able you are to detach from old patterns.
When you find yourself wound up - uptight, controlling pushing yourself to hard, ask yourself this question. This may help you to make self-compassion a habit:
If I unconditionally loved myself, how would I behave right now?
Before answering, close down your eyes and reflect on what you really truly deeply need, in this moment. Put aside the quick-fix, short-term unserving pleasures and allow for an insight into what you deeply need in that moment. Is it a reassuring word from a friend? Do you need to get some fresh air and clear your perspective. Is it a 10 min break from the desk. Could it be that you need to cry, to release sadness. Do you just need a rest? Do you need to turn down the gym session for some yin yoga. Whatever you need, take that option.
Do this each day and see you capacity for self-love, grow. It may feel hard at first, especially if you're accustomed to pushing yourself. I know. Just stay with it, it's worth it.
Using triggers as a guide and a gift (yes, stay wth me here) has been really helpful in understanding my emotional self and how and why I respond to people / situations / events as I do. With the understanding that your response to triggers come from old fears that are based on early programming (early childhood stuff), you will come to realise that you have the power to change how you react.
Becoming aware of your feelings and taking responsibility for them in the present, is the start of becoming more conscious. Noticing sensations in your body, through awareness and presence, and observing yourself reacting is the first step in unraveling out of unconscious behaviour.
Recording your triggers in a journal / notepad is really helpful. When you know and acknowledge that they exist, you can recognise them coming up and gain a window into responsiveness vs reactivity, and get to the next step.
Once you get comfortable in recognising your trigger situations, the usual emotional reactions and bodily sensations associated, it's key to stay here, in this moment.
Sitting with your feelings as they arise in everyday situations, without trying to fix them or distract yourself from them, is the heart of the healing.
When you stay with your emotional experience, giving it room to flow through you, you are attending to your pain. This works to release the pent-up energy that's been activating your nervous system. One by one, day by day, you will begin to deactivate the trigger. The awareness of being triggered and sitting with the emotion, again and again, helps this to happen. And as feelings rush over you, you are releasing old pain. Double whammy.
Inner Child Stuff
Old pain is healed as you learn to show up for your current and past feelings with compassion and kindness. As you recognise and allow space for triggers to guide you to your deeper emotions, you will realise that much of the emotional ups and downs you deal with now in the present - in relationships with your friends, partner, boss, children and pet - are a product of the past.
When we're triggered, it's as though a younger part of ourselves is crying out - the child within who along the way learned to fear her feelings, needs and desires. This is our child self, also known as the wounded child.
Sitting with your feelings is key in connecting to your inner child. Focussing on a neutral aspect of the here and now and slowing your breathing will help regulate the emotional experience. The upside to staying connected to your emotional experience is, not only the release that takes place and the peacefulness that comes after the heavy emotion has passed, but also, when we drop inside and stay with our experience, we have the opportunity to come face to face with the memories that are fuelling our reactivity and informing our behaviour. It's at this time, that you can make contact with the child inside. What a blessing.
Try this exercise to help stay with your triggered emotion and to connect with your inner child:
1. Recall a recent relationship experience that was triggering and that still makes you feel emotionally charged when you think about it.
2. Get a mental image of what happened that was distressing to you.
3. Close your eyes and go inside, locate where you're feeling the distress in your body.
4. Focus on your physical experience and give it room to be. Notice what happens when you. Breathe and allow it to be there.
5. Can you identify and name what you're feeling? Are there visual images that come up? Any negative beliefs associated? (eg. I can't let them know / the won't understand me / I can't trust them / I'm a bad person)
6. Stay open and experience what arises.
7. While focussing on your felt experience, trace the experience back in time. Have those thoughts / feelings / experiences been felt before? Ask yourself "Where is this coming from? How far back does this go? How young does this feeling feel?"
8. Stay with it and see what comes. Look deeply into the core of your experience. Can you witness the child who has been holding these feelings within? What's going on for her? What's causing her to feel sad / ashamed / vulnerable / unloved?
9. Stay with the experience. How do you feel as you see and witness the inner child's experience? Notice what happens for you emotionally. Stay open to whatever comes. Feel it entirely. Stay with it as long as you can. Allow the feelings to move through you.
10. Take time to reflect on what came up for you. Note it down, if it helps.
If this exercise has helped you connect with your inner child, go a step further. This will assist you in your healing:
1. Return to the experience that you practiced, get a mental image of what happened, at an early age, that was distressing for you.
2. Close your eyes and take time to go inside and feel.
3. Locate where you're feeling activated in the body. Follow your feeling back in time to the hurt child inside of you.
4. Ask yourself, what does this child need? What would have made this situation better for her?
5. Listen to your heart, let it guide you in responding to the needs of your inner child. Deep inside, you know intuitive what you need. Go with this.
6. When you get a sense of what your child-self needs to feel loved and protected, go ahead and care for her. Picture your adult-self giving your inner child the care she needed. Let yourself feel what it's like for your child to be cared for and loved. Be there for her, and notice how it feels to stand as an ally to her.
This is a beautiful cathartic experience that will really allow for major shifts to take place within you. It may take some practice at first, as your heart begins to open. Don't give up if it doesn't happen the first time. If this isn't for you, no harm done. Just practice what feels right for you to open up the heart centre.
Open Heart Practice
To lead with your heart, we need to work on opening the heart centre aka heart chakra. Emotional pain often caused by painful memories, old programming, emotions, and/or overthinking can block your heart chakra and make it difficult for you to open fully to loving ourself and others.
When you encounter painful feelings from your past or present, you can choose to feel them fully and let them go or hold onto them. By letting them go, you’re able to open your heart to people and experiences with compassion, love, and understanding. Holding onto hurt harbours negative feelings and cuts you off from opportunities to love and serve. Letting go is as easy as making a choice. Your mind may tell you otherwise but it’s really as simple as choosing to let go and move on.
There are many things you can do to open your heart. My healing candles and oils are my new love affair, as they help drop from head to heart, in an instant. Music therapy (spiritual tracks can be so so beautiful), and slowing down the pace always work for me, as does listening to my body and connecting with people who I love and trust. Saying no more often and getting to bed early really supports my love-myself mindset. Crystal therapy through meditation has been very powerful for me. Mindfulness throughout the day is also totally underrated in getting you back to centre.
My yoga practice has been a guiding light as I walk through my healing. My growing conscious awareness though the practice as well as the heart opening and emotional releases through the asanas have been so very empowering for me. My pelvic instability has gotten in the way of my practice over the years, and I believe now, it's because I wasn't ready to get to here, this beautiful landing space. I haven't allowed any thoughts about my pelvis to distract me since starting full time practice again, and that's how I am going to roll from here on. Heart over mind.
I can't stress enough how crucial timing is when it comes to developing your connection to self and moving more deeply in spirituality. Simply wanting progress on an intellectual level is not enough when it comes to having the resources within to take the leap. I have taken action many times before now when it comes healing on a deep, core level. I made advances, which have absolutely helped me to get to here, but have not been groundbreaking in effect as this.
Persevering daily in my commitment to open heart-practice and allowing the space, without fear of unproductivity (was that's a thing) has been the solid foundation for me, yet, I think a readiness within is required to get you over the line. This may or may not be the time. Be patient. Trust that in divine timing, all things will unfold as they should. Know that simply by having awareness and being conscious, you are where you need to be. Take your time. I personally love the knowing that I am on this ride for good. This is just the beginning of the journey and the process is my freedom and my joy.
As always, I hope my sharing opens up some inner dialogue and has given you some insight into loving yourself, that much more. This is 101 in stepping deeper into love. Holla if you need a a 102 on this and I will continue this on the blog in time.
Happy Valentine's Day. Wishing you open-hearted loving, always.