It All Counts (On Softening, Trust and Gratitude)

  I’m proud of myself that I started my day with answering a few emails, and then immediately jumping onto my mat and doing an hour of stretching/yoga.

It felt good to spend time with my body again, even if my mind was wandering most of the time.

It will come.

Towards the end, when I was doing some simple sun salutations, I was filled with gratitude and chose to practice some self-forgiveness.

I’ve been so hard on myself in the last few years,  keeping myself in a holding belt of constant self-judgment, criticism, and bullshit that led to self-doubt, sticky stuckness, and the inability to trust myself.

And then beating myself up for not being able to move past all this, on top of it.

[Note: yes, even I, get into loops of stuckness and paralysis born out of self-punishing thoughts. It’s time I shed the layers of shame about it, and show up as I am: human.]

I felt myself soften today.

Felt so much gratitude for just being alive. For this experience and all the experiences I’ve had in this life, the good and the bad.

Even if the bad are not completely resolved and I don’t know if they will be.

I’m grateful to be alive.

And I guess it doesn’t much matter what I do with this life as much as it matters that I live it and that I’m alive.

It all counts.

It’s all experience.

I feel softer, slightly, towards myself.

The choices I’ve made have brought me to this moment, and this moment, feeling this gratitude filling every corner of my being, is precious.

I want to cry but the tears aren’t coming yet.

All in due time.

I know my undoing is coming, and it’s coming softly.

Unravel. Unfold. Unfurl.

The chrysalis comes to mind. That mush that isn’t formed, which will become a butterfly but has no shape yet.

In this place, I trust.



Benefits of Being: Delightfully, Mindnumbingly, Unbearably High

I’ve been going through a lot the past few weeks. Every day brings a new epiphany, a new perspective, a new way of being.

It’s funny how much I didn’t know. Even more, it’s funny how much I didn’t know I didn’t know.

Actually, I’m not sure that’s what I’m trying to say. “Know” doesn’t seem like the right word for it…

Words are inadequate, and it’s difficult to express myself with them right now. I wish I could write with feelings, and you would all get what I mean.

In any case, back to the epiphany of the day:

Part One: I’ve been living so much in my head!

Thinking, judging, explaining, doubting, understanding, questioning, wondering…

My whole world was about what was going through my mind. I was constantly aware of what was happening in my head, processing the external world and my reactions to it.

I thought (thought being the operative word) that I was conscious of my emotions. Very aware of when they showed up, why they showed up, how they showed up…

I had an explanation for them and was very understanding of myself and others.

But this understanding always came from my head, and from the belief that every feeling is legitimate. There are no wrong feelings or emotions.

While this still rings true to me, I’d been feeling quite blocked the last couple of days. I was very aware of putting my walls up when people approached me, especially men. And realized I needed to work on some forgiveness in order to be able to fully open up.

I knew how to forgive. I knew that holding on to my anger and resentment was only hurting me. After all, this is the sort of thing I help my clients with.

But I still couldn’t manage to get it done. The oppressive feeling of tension in my gut and throat lingered.

I didn’t know how to translate the knowledge in my head to a more visceral and real forgiveness and opening.

So I enlisted the help of CiarKirby, who does a sort of intuitive healing and is amazing. I wouldn’t exactly call it counseling because it wasn’t talk-based. It’s hard to explain, but it’s very powerful and it works.

At the beginning of our session, she told me she was having a hard time reading me. All she got was a sense of pervading numbness.

I was a bit shocked. I thought (there’s that word again!) that I was allowing myself to feel already. I thought I was open to letting my emotions wash through me.

But when she said that, it resonated with me. I felt the truth of it and it made me question my assumption.

She was right.

I had shut myself off from my emotions because of a fear of feeling the full extent of my pain.

So she asked me to allow myself to feel the pain fully so that I could release it.

For the first time since I can remember, I allowed myself to really feel.

It was hard. Really hard.

Being fully present with my emotions shook me. It was rough. But it wasn’t the biggest challenge.

The most difficult thing was staying open and not allowing my mind to interrupt by trying to explain, understand, judge, question, transform or in any way think about the sensations that were coursing through my body.

I was bawling my eyes out and not once did Ciara ask me why. In fact, every time she saw I was about to open my mouth to speak she stopped me by telling me to just stay open and feel.

She was not interested in my explanations and it was quite unsettling.

What is wrong withy her?? Why didn’t she want to hear the reasons why? Didn’t she want to understand? How could she help me when she didn’t know why I was crying? Wasn’t it part of her job to hear me out?

I realized she wasn’t trying to understand things with her mind. She didn’t want to or need to.

I did.


It hit me like a brick:

Part Two: I was using my explanations like a salve, a balm, a numbing agent.

Quite literally, a pain killer. *

* which explains (there I go again!) why I was attracted to someone who abused morphine.

I had been using my thoughts as a coping mechanism!

It blew me away.

And then I felt myself starting to think about the whole concept and what it meant.

HA! Not so fast, dear mind of mine!

I love you, and I know what you’re up to. As much as I appreciate you trying to protect me, it’s not working so well for me. It’s shutting me out and shutting me down. It makes me feel lonely, disconnected and separated. While suffering sucks, it is very valuable. And shutting my ability to fully feel down makes it impossible for me to trust and open up to others.

I’d like to be able to sit with my feelings, good or bad. Can we try that for a while?

It’s so easy for me to revert back to thinking mode. But there’s a time and a place for it, and I need to learn to consciously apply it when it’s needed and be aware of when I need to just be and let myself be guided by my intuition.

I still have some work to do to fully forgive, but right now I feel so integrated, so open, so… full of feeling!

And it doesn’t feel right to force my forgiveness by thinking about it.

It will come.

It will unfold from inside, and it will be much more complete than whatever I could achieve with just my mind.

I’m really enjoying just being present, fully focused in the now. It’s very grounding and uplifting at the same time.

Everything flows, and patiently waiting for answers feels delicious.

Part Three: I need to find a way to integrate some of this to my healing practice.

This is my personal ad for today.

Being a counseling practice, the way I work with my clients tends to be more talk-based.

But I realize now that there’s a whole component missing. Talking isn’t enough, and I would love the wonderful people I work with to be able to fully release and reach the unbearably delightful feeling of bursting that I am experiencing now.

So what I want is to keep the talk, and at the same time incorporate a more physical and grounding way of working with my clients to find this type of release and transformation.

I’m not sure what it’s going to look like yet, but I can’t wait to live my way into the answer!