Monthly Archives: April 2016

Self Empathy: loving oneself

I am contemplating self-empathy this morning- particularly wrt how hard it can be.
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Too often we align ourselves with the story, and in effect keep the story even tighter and make it more believable/ true. It’s like we empathize with our own stories (that usually aren’t true anyway) as a way to avoid what w’re feeling, and as a way to try to be in control. But that keeps us more in separation and suffering.
Inquiry invites us to have our story, but then instead of holding onto the story, to ask oneself, “how does it feel to have this story?” Sometimes more story will come so sometimes you have to keep asking that question until it takes you to a somatic response/emotional response in the body. Then when the emotional response comes, be with that as fully as you’re able to. In my experience this often leads to having empathy for that which i’m experiencing/feeling/sensing. In this way we’re not keeping the illusion of the story alive, and instead we’re loving ourselves. <3

Feeling, and releasing, shame

In my own journey and in working w/ clients I continue to find that shame is at the heart of suffering. Sometimes it shows up as shame about feeling shame. It’s at the root of identified conditioning and trauma. It’s what fuels harsh self judgment, and what keeps things in a state of separation. It’s what gets in the way of love.

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Sometimes it’s what least wants to get felt and acknowledged- it can feel like an actual wall. It can be quite visceral. It’s the ultimate thing to feel- it’s the key to freedom, and also the most backed away from. It’s like jumping into death, and in that there is rebirth.

Shame is just like any other thing that arises. It’s just another aspect of being human. it’s normal, and natural, and always evolving. And the thing is, like anything, once it’s seen and felt it doesn’t stay. In the recognition of it and willingness to dive into it, it is free to come, and go.

Sensations are in the present moment!

Sometimes we say “i’m not feeling anything (I don’t have any sensations).”  If this seems true for you, it’s fine to honor what feels true, and to be with how it feels to not feel anything.

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It can also be really useful to explore what’s telling you that. In my experience, it is always a thought that tells me that i’m not feeling anything. And it is another thought that tells me how it is that i’m not feeling anything. Our thoughts reference ideas of what we “should” be feeling/sensing, as opposed to what we actually **are** feeling/sensing.  In other words, the story of the thought may be- I’m not feeling anything because of what my thoughts are referencing (a mental recollection of when I had a different kind of sensation/feeling). The story that goes along with that mental recollection is often filled with concepts- and when we believe those concepts, we buy into the story that we’re not feeling anything.

When we use inquiry we can discover that thoughts and mental recollections themselves don’t feel anything- ever. And using inquiry, we can discover that when we reference mental references to base our experience upon, we are taken out of the present moment/direct experience and into imagination (which is always out side of direct experience of the present moment).

When we bring our attention directly into the body, we will discover that we are actually always feeling **something**. There is always sensation in the present moment- our bodies are designed to feel, we have millions of sensory receptors throughout the body! We can curiously explore to see if this is true. Bringing attention to the nostrils, we can feel air come in and out of the nose. We can feel clothing on our skin, or hair on our skin. We can feel air on our skin. These can be very subtle sensations, but when we get quiet and bring attention to the space of the body, they become obvious. There are other sensations that are more overt- the sit bones on the chair, the back against the chair, the feet on the floor, the fingers touching each other, the saliva in our mouth, and our tongue situated  in our mouth, our eyes blinking, our chest/belly/shoulders rising and falling with breathing. And there are temperatures and other qualities/characteristics on the “inner” space of the body- in our chests, our throats, our belly, our pelvic floor that can also be explored.

The continued invitation is to come back to what is here, in this moment- again and again and again. When we do this, we repeatedly discover that we are feeling/sensing something in the body- we are feeling/what is being felt, in this moment, as opposed to imagined thoughts. Welcome to the present moment. 🙂