Yearly Archives: 2016

Rest Amidst the Hurricane

Happy Holidays to all of you!

IMG_5505

The holidays can be joyous and/or challenging- often oscillating rather quickly between the two!

I’m attaching a free 20 minute rest/meditation for you to listen to when you’re feeling particularly caught in the hurricane. I hope it will be inspirational to “catch” moments of rest here and there in your days.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rei315uzmjzc3zj/Rest%20Amidst%20The%20Hurricane.m4a?dl=0

Thriving over the holidays (and post election!)

15002428_10154454410681620_4004655771657845386_o

 

Post election and pre-holidays… people’s nervous systems are often STRESSED OUT!!!

This course will focus on practical and impactful information and practices that will help you to help yourself during this stressful time. We will be spending a lot of time on how you can support your nervous systems, so that you can be more present and less stressed. This is the third year I’ll be offering this course. It can make a profound difference to take care of yourself. A past participant had this to say “It was a powerful course at a difficult time. Timely. I definitely have tools and processes that can support me and my inquiry processes going forward.”
For many people the holidays in November and December are highly charged with too much travel, visitors or visiting, presents to buy, shortage of time, anxiety, food, sugar, alcohol, celebrating, family, money and over-stimulation of the senses. Add in pressure to feel jolly and be a big happy family and it’s no wonder we’re stressed.

This year has the added impact of a post election process that has left many in stress responses, PTSD, and/or fight/flight/freeze experiences. This is all fruitful ground for inquiry, but before that we must take care of our nervous systems. A course that is filled with guided practices, discussion, and support, plus 1:1 facilitations, could make a real difference this year!

During this course we’ll explore ways to support ourselves and our families. Inquiry will include looking at words and images of how we think we should feel at this time of year and what these sensations, energies and feelings in the body seem to mean. We’ll cover practical strategies, positive self-care, guided inquiry, breathing and in-the-moment ways to calm down and be present. In every class we will explore self-care through breathing and guided practices that calm and release triggers, allowing us to finally relax.

Perhaps most importantly, you will get 6 private sessions where you’ll get to explore the challenges you are currently facing- whether it’s about the holidays, or politics, or perhaps the combination. Many people are wondering how they will be able to have a peaceful holiday with family with all the political strife underway. Exploring our concerns before the holidays can lead to increased harmony and peace during the holidays.

 

Group calls will be held December 4, 11, 18th from 12-2PM EST (New York). Let me know if you would like to come but those times don’t work.

Included in our Course:

  • Three two-hour group classes: December 4, 11, 18th from 12-2PM EST (New York).
  • A total of six individual facilitations: Four with Senior Facilitator-Trainer Lisa Meuser and two with with Certified Living Inquiries facilitators.

Cost $425. This counts as a prerequisite for Living Inquiries facilitator training.

Please contact me ( llmeuser@me.com ) with questions!

Turning toward Resources, Tuning into Presence

 

trees

“I can’t figure out how to not engage in my addiction,” confided a client. Like many of us, trying to ‘figure out’ is often her go-to strategy. Our brains are great at figuring out some things, such as building a deck, balancing a checkbook, and planning the week’s meals. But when it comes to other things, like happiness or love or feeling good, that same figuring-out mechanism can be more of an illusive trickster.

 

The older I get, the more apparent it becomes that life can’t be figured out. And the various experiences of life can’t be figured out, either. The experience of addiction and cravings can’t be figured out. Particular thoughts can’t be figured out. Sensations can’t be figured out. None of these things can be figured out as they are happening- but they can be noticed, felt, and allowed. In that space of allowance and noticing, sometimes an understanding or some perspective drops in. But it doesn’t drop in from figuring out. It drops in because of the spaciousness that opens up when we allow our experiences to be what they are, without trying to make them different (read: trying to figure them out).

 

“I just sit there, trying to be with it,” she continued, “but I see now that I’ve been stuck in trying to figure it out.’” For my client, the “it” that she is trying to be with includes rapid-firing thoughts, quickly scrolling images, and uncomfortable sensations- all of which are often happening at once. She’s heard the phrase “just be with your experience” throughout her career as a spiritual seeker, and she keeps trying. It sounds simple enough, right? Just be with your experience! That’s what we keep hearing from teachers, gurus, and even well-meaning friends. Easier said then done, however, when one is in a state of overwhelm, or when one isn’t even aware of what is happening to “be with.”

 

When thoughts and images and sensations are perceived to be attacking or coming at us at once, as they often are, it can be extremely hard to “be with” anything. Instead we find ourselves in the experience of overwhelm, and/or a variation of the fight, flight, or freeze (FFF) mechanism that often accompanies overwhelm. When in any of these states, the part of the brain that facilitates self-awareness shuts down to a certain extent, making it nearly impossible for one to be fully aware of their present experience, or to be present (i.e. “with it”). Her innocent use of the phrase “be with it” confirmed what I’d been contemplating for a while: just be with it” is often not a useful pointer for people trying to connect with their present moment experience, because it’s misunderstood.

 

Contrary to how it’s generally interpreted, “just be with it” doesn’t necessarily mean to:

 

  1. sit still with the experience, and do nothing else,
  2. feel the experience as it is,
  3. explore what the experience might mean,
  4. or all of the above, adding “until it’s gone” at the end of each sentence.

 

Some people maintain the assumption that if they can “just be with it”—turn attention toward it (the experience or challenge) and do nothing else—then something will magically shift. That may be exactly what happens for some. But for others it might not; for others it might just exasperate the already difficult experience because it becomes more of an attempt to figure out as opposed to allowing the current unfolding.

 

 

“Just be with it” does not mean to do nothing but sit in the experience. “Just be with it” actually involves a person accessing her/his own personal reservoir of resources. We all have access to plenty of resources; some of us have more than others, and some resources are more internal while others are more external. For example, because I do inquiry with people for a living, I have access to a reservoir of internal resources. In other words, I can apply the techniques I use with other people to myself. I can ask myself useful questions and can extend love and hold space to and for myself, and I can often literally sit still and “just be with it” (allow the experience to unwind naturally by noticing/acknowledging my thoughts, images, and sensations without being attached to or enmeshed with them). When in a calm state, many of us have the capacity to connect with these internal resources. But when we’re not centered, grounded, or calm, accessing them can be confounding. For me, too.

 

 

Sometimes I’m too immersed in my own stuff to be really present for myself. Sometimes I am in my own version of the fight, flight, or freeze mechanism. Being in overwhelm or FFF affects my ability to utilize my internal resources, because when I’m in the FFF grip my nervous system is on high alert. “Just sitting with it” isn’t always possible during these times because the parts of my brain that enable the ability for self-awareness are quite literally diminished. Instead, my reptilian centers are more on line, so before I can “be with” anything, I have to calm my nervous system down. To do that, I have to get resourceful in a different kind of way.

 

 

There are a lot of external resources that we have at our disposal in any given moment that can help us to soothe and nourish our nervous systems. Taking care of our nervous systems will help us to connect with our internal resources so that we can inwardly connect more deeply with our experiences (read: “be with” our experiences). When we are able to connect with ourselves in this way, we can slow down the hamster wheel of thought from spinning out, loosen the grip of thoughts from jousting with each other, take a break from referencing past and future thoughts, and give pause to the figuring-out mechanism. We can stop trying to figure out how to feel safe and *actually* feel safe in the world / with ourselves / in the present moment.

 

We can find safety in the world, and we can feel safety in ourselves, by utilizing resources that will support us. Those resources are what can really help us “be with” what is going on in our experiences and be in the present moment. When my nervous system is jostled, I utilize my internal and also external resources:

 

  1. I feel the chair/bed/sofa/floor underneath my body.

Science upholds that when my back feels supported, my nervous system starts to relax. Try this out: as you lean into your chair (object), remind yourself that this object is literally designed to support your body. It is designed to hold all your weight, and to do so comfortably. So allow yourself to connect to this object fully, and notice what you notice. Feel the resourcefulness of this chair supporting you.

 

  1. I feel the floor or earth under my feet.

This is an extension of #1. The floor is also designed to hold up form. I can feel into that as I feel my feet connect with the floor or, if I’m outside, to the earth. Use the floor/earth as a resource.

 

  1. I connect to my inner sense of curiosity.

Curiosity is maybe one of the most profound resources that I have. I often say that curiosity is the antidote to fear, because if I can access just a drop or two, fear will begin to loosen its grip. One easy way to access curiosity is to ask yourself a simple question without trying to answer it. It could literally be any question. Even “Why is the sky blue?” Don’t try to answer it. Just ask the question and wonder. That opens the part of the brain that connects to self-awareness and loosens the reptilian brain center’s grip. I also bring curiosity into my explorations of #1 and #2, as well as the rest of the items listed here. Bringing curiosity into any moment utilizes an amazing internal resource.

 

 

  1. I connect to my breath.

As I’m feeling into #1 and #2 (and the rest of the list), I bring breath into my attention. I breathe into the chair. I breathe into my feet on the floor. I breathe into my belly. I breathe into my sit bones. I breathe consciously and gently into and throughout my entire body, at my own pace. Sciences documents that breathing through the nostrils can aid in calming the nervous system, so if it’s resonant for you, try that out. Follow the breathing cycle with attention: stay with the way that breath is constantly flowing in and flowing out. There are many breathing practices that can be researched- these are just a few ideas. Breath is an amazing resource because breath is always happening in the present moment. Play with this amazing internal resource of connecting to breath.

 

  1. I lean into touch.

Science also documents that physical touch puts my nervous system to rest. I use my own hands to connect with myself and the present moment, placing them wherever my body wants to feel touch. On my forehead or face. Behind the back of my neck. Over my heart. Against my belly. In a hug position or on my arms. I hold my own hands. I feel the touch of my skin. If I’m near animals or other humans, I connect with them using touch. Receive the resource of touch, from self or other.

 

  1. I access sound.

Sound can be a profound resource to connect with. Music (either that of my choosing or that which is already happening). Birds. Wind. The fans or white noise in my home. The purring of my cats. Listening to a guided rest (see #9) recording. I also play with feeling the sounds move through my somatic system, or invite my body to move to the sounds. Use the resource of sound in a way that is resonant for you and your nervous system.

 

  1. Connect with water.

A cool washcloth on my forehead, face, or behind the neck can help in soothing the nervous system. Drinking a glass of water, slowly and with mindfulness. Having a cup of tea. Taking a bath or a shower. Feeling the water pour over me. Feeling the water hitting different parts of my body. Feeling the temperatures as determined by what feels good in the moment. The cleansing nature of water makes it a powerful resource!

 

  1. Engage in movement.

Sometimes my body just wants to move! Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Yoga. Stretching. Walking. Exercise. Jumping. I let my body move however it wants to. I keep my attention on the movements and sensations that arise as I follow my body’s inclinations. Dancing to music can also be a powerful way to tap into my internal resources. Use movement as a resource however it resonates with you!

  1. Experiment with scent.

I really enjoy playing with scent: Essential oils, candles, outside air, flowers, food. Google to find out the properties linked to different scents and see how your system responds (most people find peppermint invigorating and lavender relaxing). Ground yourself using the resource of scent as desired.

 

  1. Rest.

Resting, for me, means stopping what I’m doing / engaged with, and consciously turning my attention toward whatever it is that I’m noticing in my current experience. Resting allows me to notice what is in my attention, and how I am experiencing what is in my attention. Is my attention mainly in thoughts? Is it referencing past or future? Is it lost in imagery? Is it in the body? This can be done sitting down, or during any activity. Resting for just a few moments can have a profound impact on my nervous system, and can automatically link me back to my internal resources. It opens the doors to self-compassion and self-awareness, and can connect me with some of the other resources listed above such as breathing, touch, feeling the floor/chair, and curiosity. Utilizing rest is one of my passions, and I have many guided-rest audios available for free- please contact me if you’re interested.

 

  1. Creativity

Creativity can allow a vast world of resources to open up for us. It is an internal resource, but I can also play with external resources to access my creativity. Finger painting is a favorite of mine as it allows free form expression and tactile engagement. Journal your experiences- writing down what is happening in a moment can help my system slow down and become more available to what is in my present moment experience. Cooking. Making collages. Taking pictures. Making a music compilation of your favorite songs. Knitting. Singing. Dancing. The list of creative endeavors is endless! Gently and curiously tap into how the resource of creativity wants to be expressed through you!

 

 

All of these activities literally bring attention out of the mental realm (where figuring out tries to happen) into the somatic realm (where presence “happens”). This is important. We feel, we breathe, and we have sensations in the present moment, whereas thoughts and the mental realm often reference past or future. Imagine taking attention from the head and bringing it down into the body: when attention is no longer spinning in the head, our nervous systems relax and the ability to be self-aware increases. If you have any questions about any of the above, please send me an email (llmeuser@me.com).

 

 

Being with our experiences—whether they are filled with joy, sadness, fear, anger, excitement, curiosity, shame, or happiness—doesn’t look a certain way. There’s no prescription on how to be. It may happen as we go for a walk in the woods, smell a flower, drive home from work, or yell into a pillow. “Being with” an experience may mean sitting in a chair and mindfully internally exploring. “Being with” an experience may include stargazing, listening to music, or sipping tea. “Being with” an experience may involve slamming the car door, holding one’s own hand, baking brownies, or breathing deeply and consciously. “Being with” an experience may invite one to watch thoughts, images, and sensations come and go, come and go, and come and go. “Being with” something may happen through meditation, a hug, a hot bath, or a deep sob.

 

Use resources as they support and resonate with you. When your nervous system is relaxed, you will be able to more fully access the parts of your brain that will allow for self-awareness, and you will have more capacity to inquire into your thoughts, your images/memories, and the sensations in your body. Using your resources—both internal and external—will allow you to be more present and enjoy life. There is no one way to be a human being- and there is no one way to “just be with” your experience. So be curious, experiment, and play!

Embodiment Through Writing

IMG_4290

A deepening course: Embodiment and Writing.

Embodiment is about being fully present with the “here and now” of life. In this Embodiment Deeping Course we’ll be taking an honest look into how we experience life, and the impact this has on us. We’ll inquire into thoughts, images, sensations—and taking a look at what seems true, and then experiencing what’s actually true. Particularly important, we’ll be spending a lot of time exploring the bodily sensations and energies that arise.

Writing has been a profound medium in my embodiment journey and I love to share it with others. There is no skill requirement- anyone who can type or write longhand is welcome! We will engage in various writing exercises throughout the course that will help you to have access into your direct experiences in new and profound ways. All writings will be kept private unless you wish to share.

This course will utilize the Living Inquiries, the N.O.W. practice, natural rest, breathing techniques, and some gentle body movement to explore your various experiences- depression, anxiety, compulsions, identities, body contractions, debilitating thoughts and/or memories and more. You will also become familiar with the nervous system, vigilance centers, the fight-flight-freeze responses, and learn about ways to support and be kind and loving with your self. Lastly, you will get to experience the different inquiries first hand, and be able to practice skills for learning how to self-inquire.

 

Dates of the Course:
Nov 5, 19, 26: 12-2pm EST

This is an on-line course. I use zoom, which is similar to Skype. You can attend from anywhere in the world using a phone, iPad type of device, or computer!

On top of the 3 group sessions, you will receive a total of six individual facilitations: Four with Senior Facilitator Trainer Lisa Meuser and two facilitations with Certified Living Inquiries facilitators.

All classes will be recorded so if you are unable to attend one, you’ll receive the recording. Also included in the course will be multiple natural rest and guided rest audios and videos, A pdf copy of Scott Kiloby’s Living Relationship book, and a private FB group for participants to share and receive support.

Please email me for questions. llmeuser@me.com

Cost $425. This counts as a prerequisite for Living Inquiries facilitator training.

Women Journey Together

img_8041

A deepening course, Just for women.
Women often request “women’s only” deepening courses. This makes sense because culture impacts the genders differently and sometimes it makes sense to create a distinct container especially built to honor these differences. We will give space to explore expressions which are often considered “taboo” in culture: anger, shame, guilt, sadness, pleasure and the various ways these expressions show up: mothering, how we were parented, sex/sexuality, relationship, career, body image, compulsions/addictions, etc.  We will use this shared space for participants to share, explore, listen and be present with each other. Verbal participation in the group is strictly optional.

 

The Living Inquiries and Natural Rest are helpful in creating a lived experience of safety. We will be exploring our experiences by utilizing the Living Inquiries, the N.O.W. practice, natural rest, breathing techniques, and body movement. We will engage in certain exercises so that you will be able to safety engage in the bounty of aliveness that flows through your being. We will also explore and become familiar with the nervous system, our vigilance centers, the fight flight freeze response, and ways to support and be kind and loving with our selves. Through honing our skills of attention, you will learn to able to be with your experiences rather then turn away from them. Lastly, you will practice skills for learning how to self-inquire. This will truly be a room of our own, to discover our journeys as women.

 

Dates of the Course:
Oct 30, Nov 13, Dec 4: 12-2pm EST

This is an on-line course. I use zoom, which is similar to Skype. You can attend from anywhere in the world using a phone, iPad type of device, or computer!
On top of the 3 group sessions, you will receive a total of six individual facilitations: Four with Senior Facilitator Trainer Lisa Meuser and two facilitations with Certified Living Inquiries facilitators.

All classes will be recorded so if you are unable to attend one, you’ll receive the recording. Also included in the course will be multiple natural rest and guided rest audios and videos, A pdf copy of Scott Kiloby’s Living Relationship book, and a private FB group for participants to share and receive support.

Please email me for questions. llmeuser@me.com

Cost $425. This counts as a prerequisite for Living Inquiries facilitator training.

 

I’m reclaiming my heart #41

IMG_7612

 

I saw the words

“broken heart”

and I died a little more.

Fuck.

I started to crumble.

I’m reclaiming my heart.

*

A split second of

resisting

exhaustion

shame.

I pushed pause.

I’m reclaiming my heart.

*

The fuck-you’s

counter the fuck me’s.

Anger.

Spite.

Pain.

I’m reclaiming my heart.

*

The bait took me there,

I return here.

Unrest.

Uncertainty.

Into my beloved’s arms: acceptance.

I’m reclaiming my heart.

*

She softens, she widens

the pain persists.

Nowhere to hide,

what a relief

the pearl revealed.

I’m reclaiming my heart.

*

I see the words

“broken heart”

and I live a little more.

The fishing line

loosens and I’m free, again.

I’m reclaiming my heart.

 

 

 

 

I’m reclaiming my heart #40

I’m reclaiming my heart

as the carwash

conveyor line

crawls

homeward.

**

**

I’m reclaiming my heart.

The spray down

removing traces

of invisible

vengeance.

**

**

I’m reclaiming my heart

Lurching.

Shaking.

Grinding.

Streaking.

**

**

I’m reclaiming my heart

The excessive suds

washing away

visible

shame.

**

**

I’m reclaiming my heart

Empty.

Noisy.

Redundant.

Full.

**

**

I’m reclaiming my heart

The hot wax

sealing

in love

and wisdom.

**

**

I’m reclaiming my heart

Saturated.

Hollowed.

Persistent.

Forgiving.

**

**

I’m reclaiming my heart

The forced air

making room

for more of me

and less of you.

**

**

I’m reclaiming my heart

Pressured.

Buffered.

Released.

Widened.

**

**

I’m reclaiming my heart

The garage door

opens and

I am

free.

Exploring Aliveness- 100 days of exquisite play

My passion is exploring my humanity: how this person called Lisa lives, breaths, thinks, expresses, feels, imagines, acts. I love to study attachments (velcro) to thoughts, to images, to sensations- the world of perceiving and the overt/covert meaning making that comes along (which is just more perceiving). And I love to peel back the subtle layers as well as the overt layers of perceiving and see what else is there, what’s under the hood, that I’ve not been able to notice but has been here all along. What I always discover is that life is vast and rich.

rocks

 

Exploring aliveness is a way that helps me get at these subtle and overt layers of perceiving- and that is really my ultimate passion in the realm of exploring my humanity. A year ago yesterday I started an experiment called  #100daysofbeingturnedon. (I blogged about it here.) It was an amazing journey, and it feels like the perfect timing to do it again, renamed #100daysexploringaliveneness

What is aliveness, and what is being turned on? As I  consider what’s revealing itself in this moment, it seems to me that whatever is being revealed is also that which is simultaneously being birthed in this moment now- it is that which is becoming/is alive/is aliveness- right now. In each moment we have the opportunity to meet aliveness. Aliveness can and does show up in a zillion ways, and through our ability to be aware we have the capacity to explore at least some of the ways aliveness is here.  For me, aliveness is so linked to being turned-on- I wonder if there is even anything intrinsically different other than conceptual overlay/interpretations. I don’t think of being turned on as a sexual expression, or synonymous with a particular expressions of aliveness. In this way, being sad can be experienced as being turned on just as being happy can be experienced as turned on as there are felt expressions that come with both. Expressions of aliveness comes with all of it.

Here is how my study of aliveness started this morning. I was lying in bed gently feeling into my chest and heart. I felt my breath come, go, and flow through these subtle but also distinct sensations. I was very curious about what was here- it was subtle, yet seemed to beckon my attention. As i followed the expression of the aliveness revealing itself, attention moved: it went into, around and through my left pectoral muscle. I hadn’t felt this sensation in this way, ever. I was drawn in further. Although there was almost no content, I experienced a kind of tenderness. A sweetness. A newness. As if a waking up of sorts was underway, I wanted to explore it even more intimately, and  I found my hand drift to connect with the physical location. I stayed there for awhile- curiously exploring and delighting in aliveness. I felt gratitude as felt a deep peacefulness- a beautiful way to start the day!

After awhile I got out of bed and went about “things.” What I noticed, after this brief exploration with aliveness, was an undeniable lightness. I’ve been going through a rather heavy transition so this felt simply like magic. My perspective was wide, my energetic system deep, my mind  calm and curious, and my over all state expansive. I felt tuned in, and absolutely turned on.

Yes!, I thought, let’s do this #100daysofexploringaliveness thing.

The exquisite aliveness that lives in this body is glaringly obvious when I bring attention to what alive in this moment. It’s something we all have capacity of, and it becomes easier with practice. Wouldn’t it be fun if we all practiced exploring our aliveness? If we all became more intimate with our present moment, instead of worry about the past or future? Let’s do this thing: #100daysofexploringaliveness

 

Converging Layers of Shame

IMG_3645

 

A furball of

shame

spewed from deep inside

my being

onto the bathtub floor.

**

It didn’t come fast or easy.

It was concealed

in thick, viscous muck,

taking it’s time

like a demon talking it’s prey.

**

Once spotted

she let out a

freight-train roar

and demanded devotion

unmercifully

**

I was dirty,

through and

through, as if

there was no end

to my badness

**

Desperate for the water

to save me,

it didn’t.

Heat rained down

upon my existence.

**

A life review revealed

an intended design

not to my liking.

Disgust and darkness

pirouetted into innocence.

**

Mother, forlorn

as she was,

forgiven

for her lack of joy

which became

my shadow.

**

Infant, mother, me, we,

twitching, turning

creations

of time and space

released and renewed in a flash.

**

The grip of stagnation

falls away as

converging layers are met with

the unyielding light of

compassion and kindness.

Here, softness.

 

In a world that

seems harsh

feels harsh,

people crying

people dying,

I crave

softness.

*

Harshness

of defense,

protective shields,

certainty

and resistance,

exhaust.

*

Harshness inside

my head,

with me.

Harshness outside

my head,

with you.

Lunacy.

*

I slither to softness

and fall at her feet.

She forgives the

insanity of harshness

of insanity.

I lay down my imagined fight

and breath.

*

An inherent

kind, compassionate

unspoken agreement

gives birth

to allowance and possibility.

Yes’ live here,

her strength sustains this field of aliveness.

*

I learn how to heed your call,

extending softness into

defense

protectedess,

seeming harsh realities.

Arrogance is dismantled,

nothing to prove.

Everywhere, diamonds in the rough.

*

In a world that

seems harsh

feels harsh,

people crying

people dying,

I crave softness.

That’s why I like

being

with

softness.