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.

  

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What to Do with Regrets

What to Do with Regrets

Sometimes there’s things we’ve done that we wish we hadn’t. Or things happen that are out of our control. What can we do? While we cannot change the past, we can take a look to see the part we  played … Continue reading

A Return to Sensuality + Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancakes!

Dear readers,

As those of you who’ve been following me for a while know, I used to teach about pleasure, femininity, and sensuality.

But this year, I’ve been feeling so disconnected from all that.

I’ve felt so disconnected in fact, that I started feeling like it was all fake and forced and inauthentic. Whenever I tried to bring myself to that place of being absorbed in my senses, my mind would start telling me how it would solve nothing and I was doomed.

Despite all this, or maybe because of me not having access to my tools of the past for a while, a lot of blind spots have been uncovered.

Things have been transforming and moving forward in ways that wouldn’t have happened had I not ‘fallen’ from my pleasure stand.

I am grateful for re-discovering the artist in me. The little girl who has always wanted to be a performer and sing on stage in front of people who want to hear me and see me express myself (and them) through my voice.

I am grateful to once again feel the creative impulse to make stuff, like jewelry and clothing and art.

I am grateful to know without a shadow of a doubt that I can pursue these things seriously, and not just as a hobby. Because I say so.

Still, the truth is that 2012 has been very painful for me.

I’ve been pretending that everything was ok when really I wasn’t allowing myself to just be and feel whatever I feel… The way I used to.

I’ve been making myself wrong for not doing enough, and thinking that I have to make a difference in a bigger way than just the medicine for the world that I carry which is myself. I had been disconnected from Tantra and Shamanism, two paths that are very dear to me and that have held so much healing.

The past 10 days have brought me back to mama Earth and to the Tantric practices of allowing my emotions to be there and feeling them fully and ecstatically, no matter what they are (‘positive’ or ‘negative’).

(Remember when I used to talk about that non-stop?)

Last night I went to a women’s circle (Thank you Isis and Cindy, and all the beautiful goddesses who joined me there!), and it brought me the last piece. I now remember why I loved those practices so much and how full they made me feel.

How complete and whole and perfect.

A lot of them center around being in my body, allowing myself to feel my emotions and tuning into my senses. It’s the complete opposite of what I have been practicing lately, which has been so masculine in it’s purpose, focus and goal-orientation.

So now I am excited to live myself into the juicy spot where making a difference the masculine way and allowing myself to be the difference dance a beautiful dance together. I don’t know this dance, but I cannot wait to learn and practice it.

So… My affirmation for the day is:

I am SENSUAL and FOCUSED.

So exciting!

As part of my commitment to my pleasure, today I decided to indulge in some delicious homemade gluten-free buckwheat pancakes. The recipe is below.

Thanks for reading, loves, and I hope you try the recipe out.

With gratitude and love always,

Melody

Fluffy Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancakes (And I mean FLUFFY!)

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
This recipe made 8 medium pancakes. Adjust your ingredients according to the quantity you desire.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 c. coconut flour
  • 1/3 c. gluten-free flour mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour)
  • 2 tsp. agave syrup
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil

Preparation

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  2. In a separate bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the milk, egg, agave syrup and oil, beating slightly with a whisk (a fork will also do).
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk together well.
  4. Let the batter sit and thicken for a few minutes while you heat a skillet or pan very hot.
  5. Spoon the batter onto the skillet. These brown quickly so turn them as soon as you see bubbles start to pop on top.
  6. Serve on plate with spatula and slather in your favorite syrup. I chose raw honey.

Enjoy!

 

If you liked or identified with what you just read, please ‘Like’ or share this post. And please let me know what moved, touched, and/or inspired you in the comments!

(Remember: at Naked Wellness we have a policy of no unsolicited advice, so please keep your comments to acknowledgement of each other or personal experiences. Thanks!).

Choose Your Story Wisely

Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books?

Oftentimes, we feel as though life throws things at us and we have no control over anything.

But what if that’s not true? What if all the ways in which we perceive the world were up to us to choose?

I have to admit, this is a lesson that keeps coming up time and time again. I learn it, I apply it, I thrive, I fall off the wagon, and…

DESPAIR. RESISTANCE. ANGER. SADNESS.

All beautiful emotions that make me human. I’m grateful for them, really… They are not the most comfortable thing to feel, but they bring with them so much growth and learning about myself.

And then, I get to FORGIVENESS… And I remember that I get to choose whether I believe the stories my mind spins.

This morning, as I was riding the subway to meet my accountant, it dawned on me for the umpteenth time that I didn’t have to.

So liberating!

In a moment of absolute clarity, the wisdom came from somewhere deep inside me and said there’s nothing to be sad or angry about because they are all just stories.

My mind remembers these things, but then I have to wait until my body catches up when it forgets. This is exactly what happened in that moment.

My body remembered.

And then, out of its own volition, it picked up my phone to type the following words up. I don’t know if it was for my benefit, yours, or ours… But here it is:

Are you plagued by feelings of unworthiness?

Feelings of not being good enough, of not deserving the good things that come your way in life?

What is your reaction when someone compliments you or praises you?

Are you able to fully receive it and feel deep inside…

Yes! I DID do a good job!

Or

Yes! I DO look great!

Or

Yes! I AM a good person/friend/mother/father/etc?

If the feeling that comes up when someone praises you or compliments you in any way, it’s one of distrust, of

Why is this person telling me this?

Or

What do they want from me?

chances are that a part of you doesn’t feel deserving of it. Whatever that person’s motivation is (and that is something to take apart and judge separately), has nothing to do with whether you feel worthy of the praise or not.

So how can we get to the place where we do feel deserving?

Well, the reason we don’t is that at some point in time we have incorporated stories that say we don’t deserve it. That we need to be different from who we are, do things different from the way we would naturally do them, or just work our ass off to deserve anything.

Whether the story comes from your religion, your culture, your parents, teachers at school, or friends… The point is…

It is just a story.

When we recognize it as a story, we can choose to let it go. Or at the very least, choose not to believe it.

Every time this little voice comes up to tell you you are unworthy, not good enough, or undeserving… Take it in, embrace it lovingly and tell it gently that you appreciate it, but don’t believe it.

Agree to disagree.

And firmly add another voice to the party in your head:

I DO deserve this.

And

I AM good enough.

And

It is my birthright.

I love it when my wise body speaks so directly!

What is yours saying? What are some stories you are ready to let go off?

Support (Not the Boob Kind)

I don’t like pretending to be something that I am not.

A lot of people would say I have to put on the “Expert” suit, strut my stuff, and sell, sell sell to get business.

But that doesn’t seem ethical to me.

Moreover, pretending to be perfect and have all the answers is a hell of a chore. What a burden!

Plus, as you should know by now, I prefer nakedness to any suit.

I’m not perfect.

I’m human, which is why you can relate to me.

It is also why I will now share with you one of the ways in which this not-having-it-all-figured-out-edness is coming up in my life right now.

Lately, I’ve been experiencing a feeling of lack of support.

Lately, it seems the people I thought I could rely on,… I can’t.

Doesn’t it suck when you realize that you can’t count on someone that you thought would be there for you?

I’m not expecting people to drop their lives like hot potatoes and come to my rescue. I’m not really looking for solutions or advice.

Just a little support. Listening. Holding space for me to talk it out and find my way out of it.

After all, that’s what friends are for, right?

For me, this feeling of unsupportedness is centered around my heart, solar plexus and lower belly.

After sitting with it for a bit, it came to me.

The issue here is Trust.

At the bottom of the nasty realization that we cannot rely on someone anymore is a feeling of misplaced trust and betrayal.

Wow! I thought I could count on this person!

It feels like a bit of a slap in the face, doesn’t it?

But…

A growing distance between friends doesn’t necessarily mean there’s less caring, even though we might take it personally and want to think of it that way.

People change.

Their interests change. Their ability to relate changes too.

And that goes for us too.

How many times have we been the ones who couldn’t devote the time to someone else?

Sometimes we are left behind. Others, we are the ones leaving our friend behind.

And, though it’s scary, and it sucks, and we want to hold on… Well, growth sometimes mean people grow apart and in different directions. It’s the way it is.

And why should we hold on to something that either doesn’t serve us anymore, or doesn’t serve a person that we care about?

This by no means we don’t love the person anymore. It just means that we understand the boundaries of our friendship and will think harder before asking them for help when we need it.

Going a bit deeper, this is about trusting ourselves.

I have to admit that part of me feels like wow, I was totally wrong about feeling like I could rely on so-and-so. Am I such a bad judge of character? Can I ever trust my friend-selecting skills again?

Yes.

Just because I cannot rely on this person now doesn’t mean I wasn’t able to rely on them before. Or that I won’t be able to in the future.

This is now.

I have no business extrapolating to anything because it will only trip me up.

So… What to do?

First of all, forgive.

Forgiving ourselves and our friend and letting go of expectations is the first step.

After all, it’s expecting the person to be there that got us into trouble in the first place. It’s the attachment to the relationship that led us to feel entitled.

So… Appreciate the friendship for what it was and what it is. And appreciate yourself and your friend for who you were and who you are.

This will make it easier to forgive for having the expectations and forgive the friend because there’s nothing wrong with changing.

Then… find a new source of support.

First, find support within. Without this, there cannot be support from outside.

We need to be our own best friends. Care for our body, our mind, our spirit. Do things that make us feel good and are in support of our health and happiness.

This sends us the signal that we are supported, appreciated and loved… by us.

Most importantly, this is telling ourselves that we can rely on ourselves no matter what is going on.

And trusting ourselves is one of the most important things there is.

Part of this support that we give ourselves is getting out there.

Stepping out of our comfort zone and seeking support from new people.

It could be online.

For example, I recently found a very supportive group of people as a result of a teleclass on copywriting from the fabulous Havi Brooks.

There was so much fabulosity going on during the class, that Andy, from Journey to the Spirit of Healing, took it upon himself to create a Google group to keep in touch with everyone.

We’ve been e-mailing each other daily, cheering each other on and giving feedback.

How awesome is that?

You can also join a forum, or an existing Google group, or even a meetup (which is great because they also have offline meetings!).

And/or you could get some support offline.

This has the added advantage of being able to hug someone or be hugged, instead of the virtual versions.

There’s the aforementioned meetup groups. There’s also countless activities (yoga, dance, book clubs, knitting clubs, cooking clubs, sports clubs, gym classes, art classes, etc etc), and all sorts of support groups for all sorts of subjects.

There’s events: film and music festivals, activism events, chocolate fairs, expos…

My favorite are Evolver spores. I never fail to meet interesting people there (though, let me warn you, they will be the quirky interesting kind).

Another one is volunteering, which has the bonus of feeling really really good before, during and after.

The point is to stop wallowing in self-pity and get out.

Bottom line: if we want support, we have to create it by giving it.

There is no other

I’ve been really sagging (not to say sucking) in the blogging department. Or at least in the department that is in charge of initiating the blogging experience.

Not that it’s an excuse or justifies it in any way, but I’ve been going through a lot of rapid changes, epiphanies and realizations.

It made it quite hard to write: the changes were so fast that, by the time I wanted to write about them, I’d be on to the next thing. And I needed to be fully present in those moments for them to be fruitful.

Writing  takes me out of the present; it requires I try to explain the experiences that have already happened in the past in words that barely describe what I’m trying to express.

It’s an interruption of the experience.

But, being as what I’m trying to do here is inspire and empower others to live their lives in a better, more connected way… it’s kind of required.

Quite the mind-fuck.

Good thing writing can also be very therapeutic and bring lots of realizations too.

This is exactly what happened while chatting with my friend Yvonne, who is a total sweetheart and an amazing, beautiful soul.

First, let me tell you what’s been going on in my life:

While in Thailand, I happened upon a magical place that was a catalyst for a lot of spiritual progress. It’s the type of place that is beautiful and full of welcoming people who make you feel like family.

It is also the type of place that, because you’re free to just be your true self, increases your awareness and pushes all your buttons.

So.. LOTS of epiphanies about the way I operate.

I’ve written about a couple of them before, such as how I use my thoughts as a coping mechanism. Or how being in the present allows us to flow.

But then I ran into issues.

ISSUES! Bing!

Why don’t they ever go away?

Hmm.. Must have something to do with the point of life…

Anyhoo! Back to the subject! (See how our mind just gets distracted all the time?)

The issues came up because, in becoming aware I was able to detach. Stop identifying myself with my thoughts and feelings.

It was great!

I could laugh at the things that crossed my mind. Things like taking things personally, feeling offended, making a huge deal out of something insignificant.

It was like watching a movie.

And then the question came…

WHO AM  I WITHOUT MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS???

Insanity (and paranoia about being insane!) ensued.

I no longer knew how to function. Constantly being aware of the higher self inside, the one that is not separate but is always connected to everything else in the universe, everything else seems like role play.

Like it’s not real.

It’s just pretend.

So what’s the point of it??

What, exactly, is the point of life when everything is already fine, there are no problems. How am I supposed to operate?? What am I supposed to do with myself?

Why am I here???

A while after realizing I’m not my ego, I started freaking out.

And then I realized I was identifying with the freaking out, which was really my sneaky ego ensuring its survival.

Ohh… This spirituality thing is so convoluted and confusing!

Never-ending stuff, I tell you!

But that’s not the point.

The point is that I started feeling quite detached from everything. And that was really scary.

REALLY SCARY.

I couldn’t enjoy fully anymore. Everything seemed devoid of “it-ness.”

Which is exactly the way everything exists: emptiness is the word Buddhists use.

Nothing is exists on its own. Instead, everything exists interdependently.

This realization is supposed to make it easier to live.

Once you see that everything in your life comes through your mind, your perception, and that nothing that you are reacting to is “out there”… It’s supposed to be easier to stop reacting and stop the attachments and aversion, and therefore the cycle of suffering.

But this is not what happened with me.

It appears I was addicted to the ups and downs of life’s rollercoaster.

Ohhh.. how I missed the drama!!

The withdrawal pains were earthquakes rocking the whole foundation of what I thought was my self.

I became depressed because everything lost its flavor.

I couldn’t even enjoy being sad because my higher self knew that everything was ultimately ok.

I couldn’t give in to my sadness.

It’s quite a funny thing when you realize you WANT to be sad and you can’t.

I just wanted to feel anything, really.

When I realized the emptiness and impermanence of things, I focused on the future loss when I should have just stayed in the present.

The issue was that I felt completely fragmented.

On the one hand, I was still experiencing all these thoughts and feelings.

On the other, I was very aware that the thoughts and feelings were temporary. This made them seem not real, which is why I couldn’t surrender fully to them in order to release them.

I felt trapped with this knowledge of the nature of reality.

I wanted to erase it all and go back to ignorance.

But I knew that was my ego speaking. It felt very threatened.

I just kept telling myself to breathe and stay present.

Sometimes I was more successful than others.

Of course, then you have to let go of your attachment to the successful times. Otherwise, you will generate disappointment and frustration when your thoughts inevitably return to the past or the future.

Complete acceptance. Complete forgiveness.

Something I haven’t had the fortune (yet!) to achieve.

But it’s ok. I’ll get there someday.

(Ohh.. I’m making progress!).

So… I’ve already told you why I dislike writing. But I have to admit it has its uses.

While chatting online with Yvonne, I had to explain my feelings in writing.

Clearly, as opposed to the way in which they appear in my mind.

Of course, this forced me to organize my experience in a way I hadn’t done before, which is what brought me to a couple realizations:

#1 – I’m living in my head again.

This is a recurring issue. It appears my higher chakras are more active than my lower ones.

Or something.

I don’t know if that’s accurate, but that’s what it feels like.

It’s like my soul feels trapped in this body, which holds it hostage to this physical world. So it cannot go and float around without attachments.

It doesn’t know how to operate in this world; it doesn’t want to stick around.

This “acting like a human” thing is too confusing, and it doesn’t feel like role playing anymore.

What’s the point? It’s all meaningless anyway.

#2 – I need to get back into my body.

This means I need to go back to my physical practice, which I pretty much abandoned while traveling.

Yoga. Exercise. Moving around.

Anything that will get me back into my body and into my senses.

It is a wrong assumption in spirituality that, because our senses “deceive us” and make us feel that things have inherent existence, we should ignore them.

Doing that, as I have seen from personal experience, will only put us at odds with our bodies.

Like it or not, we do have bodies and we do have egos. So we have to make friends with them instead of enemies.

Enlightenment comes through them, not in spite of them.

The moments in which I have felt the most alive and present have been the moments in which my senses were firing so strongly that there was no choice as to what to pay attention to.

Thoughts don’t have a chance when you’re so present and so connected.

#3 – Some meditation practices are dangerous for me.

Don’t get me wrong, meditation is an amazing. It can bring lots of insights and work wonders in your path to enlightenment.

But, in my case, certain meditation practices just tend to get me into my head and into trouble.

It’s very easy for me to get too spiritually high, and then it’s hard for me to get grounded again.

I feel loopy.

Like it’s a play, everything and everyone working together but there’s no meaning in sticking around because everyone is just acting.

In those moments, I feel connected because the feeling of one-ness is strong.

But I also feel disconnected because my ego starts freaking out, which leads me to focusing on my individual self. And then the illusion that the ego creates that I’m a separate entity starts feeling real…

In those moments, the feeling of connectedness stays in the background but my attention is taken over by the feeling that I’m separate when really I’m part of the whole.

It’s very unsettling.

So the meditation practices that work for me are those that get me out of my head and more into my body and my senses, such as walking meditations.

#4 – The one, all-important reason to stick around is to empower others so they can fulfill their potential.

That is the meaning of life.

That is the whole point.

We are on this journey from ignorance to enlightenment so that we can realize and appreciate our own one-consciousness.

It’s as if consciousness created this whole spectacle so that it can love and appreciate itself.

(Maybe it has issues as well).

My most important epiphany out of this whole conversation was the realization of my soul’s overwhelming wish for everyone to see their true nature and cease suffering.

This wish, true compassion, arises out of the realization of the unity of everything.

So there was never any other point because there is nothing other than inspiring and empowering “others” to realize their own one-ness.