Author Archives: Lisa

Honoring Lived Experiences

This was originally posted on the Living Inquiries web site as “Real life Interjects” on the Living Inquires web site.
Synopsis: Affirmations can create more cognitive dissonance, and suffering, when they are not coming from lived truth.

 

“You’re Good Enough, You’re Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like You.”

You might recognize this quote from Stuart Smalley, a character who played on Saturday Night Live in the 90s. Stuart was known for his positive affirmations, including the one above, and wrote a book of Daily Affirmations. Whilst the character and the book are based in comedy, there are hidden gems of wisdom in using affirmations and many transformational modalities are based upon their use.

While some approaches largely depend upon the use of positive affirmations, lauding their effectiveness, their critics suggest that they are little more than wishful thinking, essentially ineffective when it comes to sustainable change. Breaking it down simply, the first camp might assert that the positive affirmations will become reality if said enough and that until they become reality, you can “fake it until you make it” using positive affirmations. The second camp suggests that using positive affirmations may be like planting pretty flowers on top of a smelly, full septic tank- the pretty flowers can only hide the smell for so long, leaving cognitive dissonance- and smelly yet pretty flowers.

Who’s right? In their own way both camps sound plausible. After all, it sounds logical that repeating a positive phrase repeatedly would eventually start to “soak in,” right? And at the same time, it also makes sense that repeating phrases over and over won’t really get at the deeper stuff. In my own experience, both are true.
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Personally speaking, affirmations have been helpful for me.

While exploring the depths of my psyche using somatic inquiry or other deep process methods, hidden belief systems are often found, along with how they were formed and/or what continues to keeps them alive.

A belief system I recently wrote about was “ignoring my feelings is a loving thing to do.” I had been exploring presence, and all sorts of memories arose in which I saw how my mom took care of me involved her ignoring my emotional state – i.e. not being present with me. Through somatic inquiry I was able to remove various layers of meaning that were Velcroed to the belief system and the pain body. As the layers dissolved, so did the belief. I was left with the declaration, “being present with feelings is a loving thing to do.”

Whilst the old belief had felt quite real, somatically speaking, only moments ago this new pronouncement felt genuine and authentic. To help ease this new truth into place, it was useful for me to repeat it to myself every once in a while over the next couple days. Said another way, it was useful to gently utilize it as an affirmation until it became more integrated.

In my own experience, this is an effective use of affirmations: using an affirmation, which already has some resonance, in changing out old belief patterns. I suspect that the efficacy and sustainability of using affirmations in this way is hinged upon (1) the clearing out of an old core belief, which (2) makes room for a new affirmation (3) that resonates as an actual truth, as opposed to just a thought one wishes to be true. After all, knowing something from our being is more sustainable and meaningful than something from our minds. (Consider, for example: how fulfilling is it to love someone from our minds, as opposed to from our hearts?)
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Speaking of something coming from the mind, instead of the heart…

This brings me to my frustrations with the use of affirmations; they are often from the mind, hoping that they will (often magically) make their way to the heart. I call these empty affirmations (as opposed to affirmations which already have some felt resonance). Because we’re already a mind-biased and a body-phobic culture, I don’t think strategies that are mind-focused are ultimately healing. Generally speaking, utilizing empty affirmations requires even more mental involvement (pretending/ strategizing/manipulating) and oftentimes leads to more dissociation. For most of us, subtle affirmations may begin in our childhoods, extending into our adult years.
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The use of affirmations can confuse the psyche, starting from when we were young.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

Raise your hand if you’ve heard this one before. Many of us were probably told this in our childhoods by (perhaps) well-meaning adults. Many of us have likely told this to our own children, perhaps from an innocent desire to help, and/or comfort our child so that s/he feels better.

While well-intended, it is confusing for a child (or an adult) to be told that there is nothing to be afraid of when they are actually, in that moment, feeling afraid. It can be discombobulating or create a sense of dissonance when one feels one thing to be true and then is told that something else is the truth. Moreover, the child’s actual experience and feeling is discounted and invalidated. As you might imagine, shame is a likely side effect.

But what is a child to do? Because they were met with a mental response to their emotional pain body experience, they are likely to then employ their own mental strategies to cope with the emotional overwhelm being experienced. In other words, they will dissociate. The child, not wanting to risk further rejection from their parent, may pretend that they are ok, stuffing their feelings down in the process. Or their response may get louder or stronger, in which case they may be labeled dramatic or “too sensitive.” Either way, they are discounted, which goes counter to what we all want – validation, acknowledgement and/or someone to be present with us whether they agree or disagree with what we’re experiencing.

(As an aside, one can see in this simple example how pervasive gas-lighting is in our culture: one person says how they feel and another (who has more power in the dynamic) says that they don’t.)

As it is not ultimately helpful for an adult to repeat an affirmation to a child when it goes counter to their actual experience, it is not sustainably useful for us to repeat an affirmation to ourselves when it is counter to our actual experience. (It may be temporarily useful, and I’ll get to that later.)

When, as an adult, we use this affirmation to help ourselves in this way, it can (1) mimic or echo the same discount or invalidation we received as children, which can (2) confound the dissonance even more, (3) perpetually discount or invalidate our own experience, which may then (4) lead to an internalized state of dissonance and/or (5) increase dissociation.

We continue to experience dissonance, and so we continue to struggle, maybe even more so. We want relief, but the (empty) affirmation denies our actual experience and creates more resistance to it. (Some relief may be found temporarily if any part of the psyche can “buy into” the affirmation. More on this later.)
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Real life interjects. Literally.

As I’m writing this on my porch, the sun is setting.

I look out and see the sky behind the trees turning into an orange glow, the tree branches swaying gently. I look up, and the undersides of the leaves are glowing orange, as the top of the leaves are deep green. The sunset is somehow shining upon the bottom of the leaves. I gasp when I see them. They are beautiful and they greet me in mystery.

I am reminded that we must look underneath, we must go under what we normally see, and invite in everything else that exists too.

And perhaps this is why I’m not always a fan of affirmations. I don’t want to make myself mentally ok using affirmations; I want to feel true OKness in my being. I don’t want to cover up experiences, I want to honor them. When I cover up a part of me, I am telling myself that I am not allowed to be as I am. When I say, “there’s nothing to be afraid of,” when something in my system says there is, I’m relaying to myself that something is wrong with me – that I’m doing it wrong – that I’m humaning wrong. The violence in that brings a tear to my eye.

I appreciate affirmations as temporary bandaids when used along with other adjunct work, but not as the main approach. When utilized as a practice, I see time and time again how they ultimately create dissonance and self-harm as it encourages pretending or diminishing as opposed to honoring. I see it in the clients that come to see me, heads filled with dissonance, trying painfully to have “the right thoughts” as they try to have “the right feeling” as they try to be “the right human.” The shame and disappointment are palpable.

Lastly, maybe more than ever, we are in a time of being called to wake up. I have noticed that affirmations can be used to pacify and placate. In my experience that lends itself to mindlessness as opposed to mindfulness. In a time when we really need to be paying attention, using affirmations to gloss over things so that we can go unconscious and be asleep to our lives does not appear to be what is best for our evolution.

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” C.G. Jung
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Small Steps

I imagine some of you saying- “ok FINE! But I’m not there yet. I don’t know how to really live in a state of complete acceptance. I can’t always let things be as they are!”

Me either!

In those moments, I may use the mind to connect with an affirmation I already feel some resonance with to help in supporting myself. In my experience it’s very different to use affirmations that resonate in some kind of real way as opposed to using empty affirmations. Affirmations are most useful when they come from an already lived resonance in the body that feels real, perhaps because there is a deeper level of honesty and authenticity.
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Real life Interjects, again

My daughter is on her first overseas trip and is struggling. As her mother, I want nothing other than to say a bunch of affirmations so that she will feel better, so that she will feel safe, so that she will feel ok.

What do I do? More than anything I’d love it if affirmations “worked” on her. I’d love if I could cast a magic word spell on her. But I’ve learned that empty affirmations don’t help her. Rather than try to pacify her fears with empty affirmations, I acknowledged her actual experience while also mentioning some positive things that resonate in some real way for her.

Off the phone, I am confronted with my own fears. Being 4,500 miles away “as the crow flies,” I don’t know if what I’ve said has helped her, I just know that the texts have stopped. It becomes increasingly clear that I can’t make everything ok for her, and I can’t make everything ok for me either.

As I hone into what is going on with me, how it feels to my being that my daughter is out in the world and afraid, I find a sense of powerlessness. Powerlessness is no stranger to me, but this powerlessness feels different than the powerlessness I grew up with. I don’t feel debilitated, I feel humbled. There is a resonance in my being that says it is safe for me to acknowledge, “I am not in charge,” while feeling all the big feelings that come with that. There is something in me that knows “I can trust.” These affirmations nourish me, as they feel true deep in my being. When affirmations don’t feel true for me, and are instead more of a platitude, I don’t use them.
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Faking it?

I’ll be honest, faking it doesn’t work for me anymore. If I use an affirmation that feels empty, I honor that feeling and attend to what is actually present in my experience. Anymore, if I use an empty affirmation to cover up my actual experience, pressure will start to build up in my system, I will start to dissociate, and I “go mental”- AND I will continue to feel unsettled. For me, the distinction between an empty and a resonant affirmation is huge and important to pay attention to.

However, there was a time when empty affirmations provided some ready-made assistance for my system, and if you fit into that category then please use them!

Sometimes we need to ground or “land” and affirmations may help with that. Ideally, it is in those moments that a combination of somatic practices and affirmations are used to help the nervous system gain some temporary relief. However, sometimes we aren’t able to land, period. It is during such times that the mind just needs a sense of certainty, and affirmations can provide some temporary relief at those times. Said another way, sometimes we can use the mind to help calm the mind.

Once the mind is just a little more calm, we can start to add the body. While the feet are on the floor, and the back is against the chair, the words “I am safe,” for example, might be repeated while slowly breathing. The nervous system loves practicality, so connecting with and feeling the floor and the chair (for example) can provide physiological relief. Adding in the words “I am safe” may still the hamster wheel mind so that the relief can be felt deeper.

When we really know safety, we won’t need the affirmation, but until that time, the affirmations can be a way to provide ourselves with temporary support. They can teach us to find a sense of inner knowing and trust.
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Sustainability

I find it more sustainable and ultimately compassionate to honor what is actually being felt or thought as opposed to try to manipulate it into something we wish it were. Honoring our lived experiences, even when they are uncomfortable, allows us to really honor ourselves, rather than deny or alter ourselves, which has a tone of violence in it. The “fake it till you make it” adage can only go so far until it becomes a form of self-harm, mirroring the lack of care and attentiveness so many of us experienced in our childhoods.

When we include things as they are, we can know sustainable connection with ourselves and with life. When we don’t have to bypass, pretend, and manipulate, a sustainable sense of peace and trust becomes a lived experience as opposed to a pipe dream.

A client today expressed this: “Sobriety for me means not trying to manipulate or control how I feel and think.” I loved this so much, and of course, it is a journey as it has been the default setting for most of us to manipulate, control, pretend and be asleep at the wheel of our lives. Let’s continue to learn, and journey, together.

 

Facilitator Training 2018 with Lisa Meuser and Fiona Robertson

Facilitator Training 2018 with Lisa Meuser and Fiona Robertson

 

If you’d like to apply to become a Certified Living Inquiries Facilitator, you are welcome to apply to join our upcoming training course which will begin this September.

One of our current trainees recently wrote this about her experience:

“I am treating this course differently than I’ve ever treated any endeavor in my life. I have always been driven to succeed, to establish mastery, to become expert and competent at what I begin. I needed to justify my existence by doing and accomplishing. I’ve taken a giant step back from that strategy, willing to learn experientially in whatever time it takes instead of coercing myself to master the material. The gift of this course and the Inquiries to me is immeasurable. I don’t have to do anything other than be exactly who I am. This work is amazing. “

For more information, check out https://www.livinginquiries.com/training/   or email me! llmeuser@me.com

 

 

July Gathering Dates and Information: Gathering, Journeying, and Deepening Together

Support yourself in becoming truly available for your life. 

 

From a recent participant:

“It is quite breathtaking to experience you working with a group; watching and listening to your communion with who-they-really-are. You have a gift, Lisa.”

 

Belonging, community and connection are crucial for our well being. We come to learn about ourselves, together. For those of you who would like support in your deeper looking and/or aren’t interested in 1:1 sessions, here’s an affordable option.

 

Deficiency stories debilitate, demean and disempower us like nothing else. Sometimes coming from outside ourselves- through institutional doctrine familial conditioning- but eventually winding up in our own narratives, these stories seem to solidify a separate sense of self.

In an email to me Scott Kiloby shared“ I see so many people want to be free but stop as soon as the trauma or core story really starts to come up. Then they run.  I think it would be great idea for you to do a group, gently guiding people…”

 

This sense of separation is painful, and yet we often hide or pretend- or, as Scott said- run, staying separate and isolated in our pain.

In this group we connect together, and we honor our stories and our trauma, and we learn how that we don’t have to pretend or hide- or run. We gather to intimately connect and explore the nature of being human. We come to learn about ourselves, together. In a world where it is not always easy or safe to be vulnerable, we learn that it is possible. We gather in a safe container, where we are allowed to be exactly who we are, exactly as we are.

 

These monthly gatherings will focus on practical and experiential exercises that are specifically designed for the development of self-awareness and self love. I always facilitate a guided rest. There will be time for questions and optional sharing amongst group members. Sometimes I engage in a 1:1 facilitation while everyone else follows along silently. Other times I share ways to assist with self inquiry, or ways to heal the nervous system. Participation is always optional.

There are no requirements to attend: anyone who is interested in becoming more intimate with themselves and becoming more available for their life is welcome.

 

We will meet for 60-75 minutes on zoom. Each call will be recorded, and yours to keep. Please contact me with questions.

You can come to one, or as many as you’d like!

Upcoming dates:  July 6th and 27th.  1:30-2:45 EST.

 

Investment: Sliding scale based on income: $10- $25. To sign up please send PayPal to llmeuser@me.com, subject line “Gathering” along with your email address so I can send you a link.  Free to those in my current deepening courses.   

 

Minimum required 4. Maximum is 15 people.

 

To read more about embodiment:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/05/embodiment-10-things-to-know-about-this-buzz-word-lisa-meuser/

 

For more, visit my blog, where I write almost exclusively about embodiment. http://integrativehealingnow.com/blog/

 

Opening the Doors to Freedom

This was originally posted on the Living Inquiries web site as “Clearing Out the Basement; Decluttering Our Subconscious Interpretations of Love and Connection
Synopsis: Exploring our psyches reveals our unconscious meaning making with regards to love, greatly impacting our life and our relationships.

 

Photo By Caity Johnstone

 

There are many different ways in which we interpret love and connection.

As kids, because our survival depends on being attended to, we basically interpret love according to whatever brings us attention- regardless of the actual quality of the attention. Furthermore, we attach the experience and meaning of love/connection (and thus safety) to people, places, things and behaviors (actions) that come from “out there” (ie our careproviders) during those formative years. How this translates isn’t often very linear because of the amount of variables, and as such doesn’t always make much sense to an adult mind on the surface. In fact, it can be quite nonsensical and convoluted!

For example, let’s take the subject of coddling. One child might interpret coddling behavior from a caregiver as love and connection, whilst another might interpret coddling as a threat/suffocating. As those children grow into adults, they might come to have a push-pull (attraction-revulsion) reaction to people who coddle them. For reasons unbeknownst to them, they may both crave and resist attention that has a coddling vibration to it. Moreover, they will probably not understand this tendency until they explore their personal meaning-making with regard to what they perceive and interpret as love (as well as what they associate with coddling itself).

The hidden layers of what we have attached to love and connection are deeply rooted in our psyches. These layers can easily go unnoticed and unnamed as we humans are often complacent, resting in the thought that “this is just the way things are.” Whilst that may be true, unless we can unpack “how things are” we will continue to live through our subconscious meaning-making, which often results in a very unsatisfying life.


The Trap

How many of us have a basement (or room/corner/closet/drawer/garage) where we pile things… and even though we know it would be useful to do so, we resist cleaning it out? (It is possible, too, that we don’t even realize how much stuff we’re accumulating down there.) Because cleaning out a dark basement is neither comfortable nor easy, we often just leave things there and, instead of dealing with what’s already down there, we avoid it and shift our attention elsewhere. We busy ourselves with everything BUT that basement (or room/corner/closet/drawer/ garage).

This is what we often do with our own patterning- which, whether we know it or not, is largely in our subconscious.

Instead of going inward into our own conditioning we keep focusing outward, and with regard to the topic of love this can get particularly tricky. Trying to get love from “out there” will always bring about a somewhat complicated and often twisted relationship to it. And when the voice or narrative inside mimics the voices from outside (often the critical voices of our caregivers), it gets even more complicated and we can begin to feel trapped.

Depending on how convoluted our relationship with love has become, the more dramatic and chaotic our narratives will get. This can lead to a dramatic or chaotic life as we make harmful choices or numb ourselves in order to escape from such narratives.

Opening the Door to the Basement

Escaping the trap happens in different ways for different people.

A loved one might say something to us that makes us question our choices and habits. We might be experiencing such pain or loneliness that we reach out to a professional to help us make changes. Or a “wake up” moment might appear out of nowhere, coming from a total stranger who just happens to say something at “the right time.” Suffering and dissatisfaction can be good motivators, but questioning our lives is seldom easy and may not even seem possible. It may take us nearly our whole life before we finally take action, stop doing what we’ve always done, and embark upon a new course.

You might be lucky enough to have already opened that “basement door.” Maybe you were ready, or maybe the door was opened for you and life shoved you through the doorway kicking and screaming. Or maybe you’re apprehensively staring at that door, still closed, considering what might happen if you open it.

Personally, life has opened many doors in many ways to my many levels of basement. (Yes, apparently one basement level wasn’t deep enough for all my “stuff!”)

Sometimes I have willingly stepped through the door. Sometimes pain and suffering have nudged me through. And sometimes I have avoided the door altogether until life forced me through… despite my clinging to the doorframe, holding on for dear life.

Thank goodness it doesn’t always have to be like that.

Sometimes grace seems to gently open the door for us. And sometimes, after we’ve decided to get comfortable and “make friends” with the basement, the door stays somewhat open and no longer avoided. This “open door policy” has been my own personal path for the last many years, which brings me back to the topic of love.

It’s been my passion the last few years to explore what seems to separate me from Love. In doing so I’ve explored deep terrain and, while it was certainly not comfortable or easy, it has resulted in a more spacious “basement,” a more spacious narrative, and a very different relationship with love.

The Space to Notice More

On my own journey of wading through my false perceptions of love, I have come to know a much deeper and wider Love (which will be the topic of a later post). Suffice it to say that there is less drama and chaos in both my narrative and my life… in all ways. My relationships with people are more clean, clear, and genuine. My relationship with money is healthier. And my relationship with my career continues to become more and more filled with ease. Overall, there is an increased spaciousness with life.

This spaciousness itself is amazing.
Here I find true, sustainable connection and Love.
And yet…

And yet…

To reside in this spaciousness itself is in opposition to my learned conditioning because I come from a lineage of do-ers. And so, the spaciousness itself… the silence itself… can sometimes be uncomfortable. Even though I know there is beauty here (and love and connection), I sometimes resist.

I noticed this recently, so back into my basement I went.

Exploring the Discomfort of Spaciousness

The discomfort was a cue that something was up.

I took it as an invitation to pay more attention to what was going on. As I noticed the discomfort connected to spaciousness, I noticed visceral responses I was having to the silence and that increased spaciousness over all.

I noticed a subtle resistance and so began to study how it was manifesting in my life, noting where it was happening most often and under what circumstances. This is what I found: it was mainly arising in my bed, with regards to my phone/Facebook. And with it came a gut level push-pull within my body.

Giving Space to the Push-Pull

You see, a recent change I’d made in my life was to not engage on Facebook (or on my phone much at all) while I was in bed. This was a big shift for me as I often do social media at the beginning and end of my days… from bed. But I was inspired one day, from an internal whisper, to not bring the phone into bed as much anymore—and to stop Facebooking there—and I have learned to trust these whispers.

It was unexpectedly marvelous.

Until it wasn’t.

For the most part it was easier than I had imagined, maybe because the experience of spaciousness is so rewarding in and of itself. However… at times, existing in that gap of space and silence, I found a part of me that wanted to fill it.

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine about it. “I notice that at times I want to fill the space with ‘busy hands,’” I told her. This simple act of naming allowed me to see that some part of me still resists the silence and the space, habitually wanting to fill it with “doing” and “going out there.”

It’s as if some part of me still thinks that love and connection are to be found “out there,” even though experientially I find it sustainably here.

(Side note: This is not to say that love and connection are never experienced “out there.” We are not solipsistic creatures; we are tribal and community-based creatures. And yet, for me in this current aspect of my journey, there is very little sustainable and fulfilling connection that comes from my busy hands scrolling through my newsfeed, especially when compared to the richness and depth of what has been waiting for my attention “in the gap” lately.)

I kept exploring, and found more

Upon this realization, I decided to bring the topic to inquiry and consciously explore what was going on.

After settling in and sitting still for a while I connected with the sensations of the push-pull. There was a subtle visceral sensation in my chest area that accompanied the desire to “be busy” (distracted) on my phone as opposed to being in the gap (without distractions).

I was quickly brought back to memories of my childhood when my mom was in “taking care of” mode. For her, “taking care of” meant practical actions, not being present with what was going on. Staying busy, doing things, figuring things out… this was the world in which I grew up. There was no “being present,” resting in spaciousness, or truly connecting to my feelings or experience. Presence and spaciousness got zero recognition for me as a child, so of course I’d not have attributed any value to them back then.

As I mentioned at the beginning, we attach the experience and meaning of love and connection to people, places, things, and behaviors that come from “out there.” In my case, I had equated love with “taking care of” actions as opposed to presence or spaciousness with regards to my actual experience.

This was not new information. But the awareness of this information was coming from deep within my being, which created the space for new hidden fragments to come to the surface.

Particularly profound was the clarity that those practical displays of “being taken care of” by my mother happened at the expense of what was really going on for me: the ignoring of my emotion was actually seen as loving. In other words, ignoring or bypassing my inner terrain was seen as the loving thing to do, and even as love itself.

How can that be?

I make a living tending to others’ well-being through presence and compassion. I don’t ignore or bypass others’ emotions or others’ inner terrains, so how could I possibly think it was loving to ignore my own emotions and experience?

The fascinating thing about the depth of our subconscious beliefs is that they often don’t make sense to the logical or linear mind. And they often don’t make sense when considering the adult context of a person. I.e., it doesn’t make sense to my adult self that I would be with people who are unable to hold space for my humanity. But the pieces start to come together once I journey into the subconscious unprocessed belief that my child self developed: that ignoring my feelings is love, and going outward into action is love.

It’s no wonder that, until recently, I have attracted people who were good at practical aspects but have not been able to be present or compassionate for my actual experience. I’d been equating love with the former, while not including the latter!

The Freedom to Feel

The surfacing of this awareness brought grief and anger, and I allowed myself to deeply connect to all that was arising within my body. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I connected to my child self who wanted presence and compassion, and instead got action. Specific memories arose, and I took my time honoring all that was coming with them. My entire body became hot and constricted as the sadness and grief morphed into anger. Images of being “Hulk mad!” flashed through my mind’s eye and my breath became forceful as energies moved through me, from my head all the way down to my toes.

As those emotions and the energies attached to them made their way through my body, eventually settling, I was brought back again to the push-pull with my phone in bed. There seemed to be something at stake with regard to giving up the “busy hands.”

I discovered that there was a hidden fear that if I consciously allowed myself to go deeper into the gap—into quiet, into spaciousness—then I wouldn’t be taken care of. I honored that this was a pain body echo from my childhood, and allowed it the attention it needed. As I felt that a deeper truth eventually whispered itself: I will absolutely be taken care of fully in the gap, in ways I can’t even imagine.

I deeply experienced love entwined with presence, and experienced directly how that took care of everything, without a doubt, and without a doing. A knowing was received that love and connection in their purest representations (Love) reside in that gap, waiting for me, always.

A sat awhile longer, breathing and letting my system integrate what had just graciously flowed through. Deep gratitude washed over me.

Opening Doors

I have discovered that this internal decluttering has opened doors to an increased simplicity and ease in my life. Mysteriously, it has brought forth whispers that I had previously been unable to hear. Many of these whispers are insightful, creative, and full of aliveness. Some of them are echos of familiar deficiency stories that I’ve been exploring for a while and are reminders of old pain body.

They are all welcome. They all hold wisdom.

Taking the plunge and courageously exploring the basements of our psyches brings all sorts of things to the surface, which allows for a more satisfying and genuine connection to life as a whole.

When the basement door is kept open, and when we make ourselves more available to the whispers of the subconscious, profound revelations and healings can rise up effortlessly- for our evolution.

In my own life, as someone who guides others through their dysfunctional attachments to love, I’ve been able to do the same with regard to myself… and the revelations continue to come! The more I “clean up the basement,” so to speak, the more spacious and fulfilling my life gets.

Just as cleaning the basement in our home creates a more functional living space, when we clean up the basements in our psyches we too become more functional—and consequently more connected and loving human beings.

Thank you for reading! For more information on self-inquiry, exploring belief systems, and unwinding trauma, contact me at llmeuser@me.com.

June Gathering Dates and Information: Gathering Together, Journeying Together, Deepening Together

Support yourself in becoming truly available for your life. 

Belonging, community and connection are crucial for our well being. We come to learn about ourselves, together.For those of you who would like support in your deeper looking and/or aren’t interested in 1:1 sessions, here’s an affordable option.


Art by Caity Johnstone

 

Deficiency stories debilitate, demean and disempower us like nothing else. Sometimes coming from outside ourselves- through institutional doctrine familial conditioning- but eventually winding up in our own narratives, these stories seem to solidify a separate sense of self.

In an email to me Scott Kiloby shared“ I see so many people want to be free but stop as soon as the trauma or core story really starts to come up. Then they run.  I think it would be great idea for you to do a group, gently guiding people…”

This sense of separation is painful, and yet we often hide or pretend- or, as Scott said- run, staying separate and isolated in our pain.

In this group we connect together, and we honor our stories and our trauma, and we learn how that we don’t have to pretend or hide- or run. We gather to intimately connect and explore the nature of being human. We come to learn about ourselves, together. In a world where it is not always easy or safe to be vulnerable, we learn that it is possible. We gather in a safe container, where we are allowed to be exactly who we are, exactly as we are.

This monthly gathering will focus on practical and experiential exercises that are specifically designed for the development of self-awareness and self love. I always facilitate a guided rest. There will be time for questions and optional sharing amongst group members. Sometimes I engage in a 1:1 facilitation while everyone else follows along silently. Other times I share ways to assist with self inquiry, or ways to heal the nervous system. Participation is always optional.

There are no requirements to attend: anyone who is interested in becoming more intimate with themselves and becoming more available for their life is welcome.

We will meet for 60-75 minutes on zoom. Each call will be recorded, and yours to keep. Please contact me with questions.

You can come to one, or as many as you’d like!

Upcoming dates:  June 8th & 22nd. 1:30-2:45 EST

July: 6th and 27th  http://integrativehealingnow.com/blog/july-gathering-dates-and-information-gathering-journeying-and-deepening-together/

Investment: Sliding scale based on income: 10- $25 based on income, paypal to llmeuser@me.com, subject line “Gathering” along with your email address so i can contact you.  Free to those in my current deepening courses.

Minimum required 4. Maximum is 15 people.

To read more about embodiment:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/05/embodiment-10-things-to-know-about-this-buzz-word-lisa-meuser/

For more, visit my blog, where I write almost exclusively about embodiment. http://integrativehealingnow.com/blog/

Navigating the Process of Personal Evolution: The Death of the Psyche

This was originally posted on the Living Inquiries web site. Synopsis:  Along the journey of waking up, there are tearing downs. As we add acknowledgment, we can give space to the natural dying aspects that are a part of this human journey.

 

Artwork by Caity Johnstone

 

Does any of this sound familiar?

  • A lingering “sense of death,” feeling that you are dying in some way (even though it doesn’t rationally make sense).
  • A heavy sense of doom or un-groundedness.
  • Persistent dreams of dying or death.

Sometimes when someone is doing a lot of internal work, exploring personal trauma, or/and diving into belief systems/identities, some interesting experiences can start to arise around the theme of death and dying. Consider it a “personal evolution.”

 

My first experiences with this were rather unsettling.

Sometimes I’d feel like I was in a daze. Other times it was more like a bad dream. I might feel kind of spacy, and sometimes during such times my thoughts would roar up- as if to find control. My tendency was to, well… freak out. After a while, however, I got better acquainted with the nuances and covert expressions of death that happen in—and are a part of—everyday life. In other words, death is constantly happening throughout the unfolding of life. And sometimes, because of what weare traversing through, we feel the impact of that more strongly.

 

A loss of self.

Parts of us are dying every day on a cellular level, but dying on the level of the psyche is quite different. We don’t mind (or even notice) that our cells are dying and being replaced, or even that our neural pathways are dying and being rebuilt. But even though we identify very strongly with our physical bodies, when it comes to our sense of self… that can feel much more real to us.

During times like these, when the confusing weight of death feels overwhelming, it can be helpful to take a step back and try on a wider lens to see more of what’s going on. But before we are able to take that step back, we need to get grounded.

 

Caring for the nervous system.

When we’re in a state of overwhelm (or fight/flight/freeze), the parts of our brain responsible for self-awareness can become dull. With this response can come an increase of tunnel vision and a decreased ability to be in relationship with our experiences. This is why we need to get grounded first. To be able to have perspective, it helps to have our body mechanics working in our favor. So, first things first.

Taking care of the nervous system may look like:

  • feeling your feet, hands and/or bum,while breathing,on the floor, chair or bed, or even whilst standing.
  • going out for a walk.
  • looking up at the sky/birds/trees.
  • putting some cold water on the back of your neck or onto your forehead.

Choose the techniques that work best for you. For an extensive list of ways to soothethe nervous system and get the right/left hemispheres working together, click here.

 

The wider lens.

Once your nervous system has calmed down and your brain hemispheres are back in sync, you can start to have a greater perspective of what might be going on. Here are some things that this new perspective will ask you to consider:

  • Parts of your biology are dying every day.
  • You, as a human being, are designed to constantly die and be re-created from a cellular level.
  • The design of the human being is to progress and evolve, to better itself, to change, and to grow/mature.
  • Change comes from the old dying, which then allows something new to come into form.
  • Your psyche, too, is designed to die and be re-created, as this is part of our maturation process.
  • Your psyche is influenced by neural pathways which are constantly changing, dying, and being recreated.
  • When belief systems, identities, and trauma are explored, old areas of solidity and certainty are “opened up.” This creates change on a variety of levels. Our behaviors may change. Our emotions may feel different or be different. Our thoughts, and our relationships to certain thoughts/beliefs, may change.
  • With change come newness, unfamiliarity, and the unknown.

So is it any wonder that feelings of doom or death are present?

 

Loose Ends.

Sometimes when we are traversing through such territory, we may even find ourselves having experiences that energetically mimic or feel akin to an event in our past when we actually thought we were going to die, and all the fear from that event was stuffed away rather thanreleased. Pain body comes to surface—to tie up loose ends, so to speak—on its own timeline, regardless of when it would or would not be convenient for us. This can be unnerving as, rationally speaking, there seems to be nothing bad happening… yet the body’s and/or mind’s response indicates otherwise.

 

What does it all mean?

Humans have the capacity to mature not only biologically, but also emotionally and psychologically. As with biology, this can include growing pains since change can sometimes bring dis-ease, discomfort, and disorientation. Have you ever met a young person who is going through a growth spurt and their own body has become unfamiliar to them? These same words—dis-ease, discomfort, and disorientation—can be applied to the experiential process of emotional and psychological maturation and integration.

 

Identity crisis.

When parts of our psyche change, a portion of our identity is dying off. This may bring a variety of different responses, some of relief, some of threat. Identities that we’ve carried around for years within us—as us—can feel like they are who we are, so we fearfully wonder, “Who will I be without them?” The mind may then imagine all kinds of dangerous scenarios as possible futures. But beneath all those thoughts and mental constructions is a simple (but not necessarily comforting) answer:

Who will we be without our identities?
Without our familiar sense of self?
What will this next evolution bring us?

We have no way of knowing.

 

Unfamiliar territory.

The mind doesn’t always like this response. Particularly in our left-brain-dominated culture, we like certainty. We like binary and linear answers. Yet life is neither binary nor linear,and not knowing can often stir up the left brain even more-ruffling the feathers of those parts of us which incessantly try so hard to figure out and procure certainty. In direct disparity to the Zen “don’t know” culture, Western culture is fixated on a “must know” mentality.

But the simple fact of the matter is that we don’t know what is coming next. We don’t know what life will be like as we outgrow these old identities. We don’t know who we’ll be if we’re not who we’ve always been. We don’t know how life will manifest when we’re no longer engaging in all the shenanigans that we’ve always been involved in. Who would I be without my controlling, figuring-out self? A part of me relishes this idea… conceptually. Another part loves to think about it. But, another part resists actually leaning into this and opposes the release of these defenses in order to find out.

 

The land of limbo.

It is in these moments, when death is underway but the new re-creation hasn’t yet come in, that we can find ourselves in a state of fear or doom. And it is in these moments that it is important to acknowledge that deaths are happening within our system, and that it is a normal part of the process to feel in limbo. It is normal to feel this way, because we are in transition. We are in the midway land between old and new: before the old is entirely gone, and before the new has become familiar.

Stepping back in this way can sometimes allow the process to happen with more grace and ease. There is less of a need to grasp and resist when we are reminded that underneath the discomfort all is well, and that the doom and death-like experiences are but temporary steps that come along whilst travelling this path called life.

 

Patience, compassion, and support.

Be patient and compassionate with yourself during these times, or/and connect with others who can fill this role for you and help support you.
Take good care of your nervous system.
Return to the awareness that death/rebirth is a natural part of life.

You are not alone on this journey. Ever.

 

And for additional support there are free resources available on The Living Inquiries website, or you can email me with any questions- llmeuser@me.com

May Gathering Dates and Information: Gathering Together, Journeying Together, Deepening Together

Support yourself in becoming truly available for your life. 

Belonging, community and connection are crucial for our well being. We come to learn about ourselves, together.For those of you who would like support in your deeper looking and/or aren’t interested in 1:1 sessions, here’s an affordable option.


Art by Caity Johnstone

 

Deficiency stories debilitate, demean and disempower us like nothing else. Sometimes coming from outside ourselves- through institutional doctrine familial conditioning- but eventually winding up in our own narratives, these stories seem to solidify a separate sense of self.

In an email to me Scott Kiloby shared“ I see so many people want to be free but stop as soon as the trauma or core story really starts to come up. Then they run.  I think it would be great idea for you to do a group, gently guiding people…”

This sense of separation is painful, and yet we often hide or pretend- or, as Scott said- run, staying separate and isolated in our pain.

In this group we connect together, and we honor our stories and our trauma, and we learn how that we don’t have to pretend or hide- or run. We gather to intimately connect and explore the nature of being human. We come to learn about ourselves, together. In a world where it is not always easy or safe to be vulnerable, we learn that it is possible. We gather in a safe container, where we are allowed to be exactly who we are, exactly as we are.

This monthly gathering will focus on practical and experiential exercises that are specifically designed for the development of self-awareness and self love. I always facilitate a guided rest. There will be time for questions and optional sharing amongst group members. Sometimes I engage in a 1:1 facilitation while everyone else follows along silently. Other times I share ways to assist with self inquiry, or ways to heal the nervous system. Participation is always optional.

There are no requirements to attend: anyone who is interested in becoming more intimate with themselves and becoming more available for their life is welcome.

We will meet for 60-75 minutes on zoom. Each call will be recorded, and yours to keep. Please contact me with questions.

You can come to one, or as many as you’d like!

Upcoming dates: May 4th & 25th and June 8th & 22nd. 1:30-2:45 EST

Investment: Sliding scale based on income: 10- $25 based on income, paypal to llmeuser@me.com, subject line “Gathering” along with your email address so i can contact you.  Free to those in my current deepening courses.

Minimum required 4. Maximum is 15 people.

To read more about embodiment:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/05/embodiment-10-things-to-know-about-this-buzz-word-lisa-meuser/

For more, visit my blog, where I write almost exclusively about embodiment. http://integrativehealingnow.com/blog/

 

Gravity: a new exploration of surrender

This was originally posted on the Living Inquiries web site titled “The Gift of Gravity – A Curious Exploration of the Link Between Tension and Control.”  Synopsis: a curious way to connect with and learn about our experiences- and how we habitually and unknowingly hold ourselves back from surrender. 

 

It’s no secret – most of us humans are, to some degree, “control freaks.”

“Can we stop obsessing over the need to control everything around us?” I don’t know, but honestly I’m not sure we need to. That is, if we can learn how to be in relationship with this very normal human attribute. Studying the way we try to exert control or be in charge – as well as how we subtly or covertly resist throughout our days – can help us experience an increased sense of well-being because we are then in a mindset of engaging with, rather than of feeling overpowered by. Sound good so far? I think we can all use a bit more well-being these days.


What if it didn’t have to be so hard?

What if relinquishing control weren’t as complicated as we think it is?

There are all sorts of psychosomatic reasons why we unconsciously try to be in control, and my clients and I explore that territory intimately on a 1:1 basis or in group settings. But let’s break it down to something more universal: we all resist, control, and try so hard to be in charge because, fundamentally, (1) it’s become a habit and (2) no one ever taught us that there is another path we can take. Whilst being in control may feel good in some ways, it’s ultimately exhausting. And so, growing weary and ill under the weight of all this trying, we swing to the other side, desperately trying to not be in control. In other words, we struggle to surrender. But all that trying, even in the opposite direction, not only continues to be exhausting but can keep us stuck even more deeply.

We live in a fast paced culture which doesn’t give much attention to the mechanics of our interior world, so how we live in our bodies often evades us. We don’t realize, for example, how much muscular tension we’re holding, how tight we’re gripping within our body, and how much effort is being exerted even whilst doing simple tasks. What if we regularly took time throughout the day to reconnect with ourselves and notice, in our simple everyday happenings, ways in which we could experience relief? What if releasing tension and stress were simply a matter of curious exploring.


Let’s explore. Not to fix, but to connect. Not to control, but to discover.

Get comfortable because we’re going on an experiential journey, and I find that it’s useful to be comfortable while going on such an exploration. So plop into your favorite chair or couch. Grab a cup of tea and a blanket. Get cozy. (And for my Australian mates, turn on the fan!)

Pause right here. Yes, here. Here with the object on which you’re sitting, and you. Let’s start here. And let’s take a moment to ponder what’s here already.

Connect to the absolute simplest of happenings that is right here, right now. Your butt on the object you’re sitting/lying upon. Your back, resting against the bed / the chair / space. Your body is making contact in lots of ways. Feel the contact. Do nothing with it. Just notice the sensations of connection that are already happening

Most of us take for granted that our bodies are always making contact with solidity, but we are! I mean, have any of you ever walked on air? Or sat a few feet off the ground? Or slept hovering over your bed? Have you ever wondered, as you got out of bed in the morning, “I wonder if there will be something under me when I roll out of bed!” Of course not. We don’t question it, we don’t give it a second thought. We know that, due to this thing called “gravity,” we will always land on the floor when we get out of bed. The same goes for when we sit down. We don’t need to think about it. We just plop down and there’s the chair… holding us. Ditto for our beds at night. We don’t figure out how to lie down, we just do. We live under the influence and impact of gravity for pretty much every moment of our lives, and we can curiously study this so as to bring ourselves into present moment awareness.


We take the energetic experience of gravity for granted. But what if we didn’t?

What if, instead of unconsciously sitting, walking, and lying down, we consciously connected with these experiences? I remember what happened when I started to notice the presence of gravity, and it was pretty cool.

Maybe you’ll discover something totally different, but what I discovered was a space of holding that was coming not from within me, but from around me. The force of gravity literally holds us, and we can explore that in a direct experience kind of way.

Whether we want to be or not, we’re all subject to this energetic presence of gravity. If we choose to, we can consciously connect to this gravitational experience, and in doing so we can become more intimate with ourselves and be more present in our experience. We can also come to know how we resist in both our present moment experience and in our physiology.


Let’s start with our present moment and our physiology. While you read, include the rest of your body.

Let’s continue our experiential journey. Bring your attention back to the chair, the bed, the ground – wherever you’re positioned. These solid objects that we’re sitting/standing/lying upon are holding us. If you’re sitting in a chair or on a bed, it might be curious to notice that these objects have literally been created to hold our bodies. And yet, how often do we lie tight and tense in bed at night, or hold ourselves rigid whilst sitting in our chairs? Sure, I know posture is important, but holding our muscles tight and tense is not posture. It’s rigidity that comes from being disconnected from our actual direct experience that a chair is holding our body. We’ve practically forgotten that we don’t actually need to be tight and tense all the time.

Take a moment to breathe, and let the chair hold your body. Yes, that’s it: hand yourself over to this object which is already holding you, which has been designed to hold you, and which does hold you, no matter whether you’re rigid or soft. So, why not soften a little? Just for the fun of it… Breathe, and feel. Feel, and breathe. Keep it simple. There’s nothing to figure out, no problem to solve, and nowhere to go. Feel the sitting already happening, and the breathing already underway.


Invite the body and breath to catch up with each other.

To assist you in this – because sometimes we actually have to be taught how to not hold our bodies tight – keep your attention on your breath. Don’t alter it, just include it in your field of noticing. Notice and feel how the breath moves the body. Notice how the breath moves the body upwards (as if against gravity) upon inhalation, and how the body falls downwards with the exhalation. Stay with this cycle for awhile. Breathe in, body up (and often outward). Breathe out, body down (often with an inward sensation).

Now, as you feel your exhalation, really let gravity have you. That’s right. Hand your holdings, your tightenings, your efforts over to gravity as you exhale. You may try some sighing or audible exhalation to help yourself really feel this. With each exhalation let the body release, fall, empty, and soften.

Breathe in, breathe out. Notice what you experience. That’s it.

Are you bored a bit? That might be the case, because there is nothing to solve here and the ego mind loves having problems to solve. But keep your attention leaning towards curiosity, and let’s continue.


There may be nothing to solve here but there is loads to be curious about, and even more to discover.

Turn your attention now to your jaw, your cheeks, and your mouth. Are your lips pursed together? Is your jaw hinged shut? Or is your mouth open, your jaw unhinged, and your cheek bones soft? I don’t know about you, but personally (and for must humans that I talk to) I hold an awful lot of tension in my jaw. The thing is, however, I didn’t know this until I knew it. So don’t be too fast to respond to these questions. Take five minutes and breathe, and feel, and explore into the experience of your facial muscles. For you thinkers out there: thinking is useless for this experiment. You’ll need to shelf it for a few minutes, and hand attention over to the body to feel.

As you just sit and breathe, invite the lips to part, the mouth to open, the jaw to soften, and the cheek bones to release. Keep breathing, particularly noticing the exhalations. When most people start to explore their jaw and head regions in this way, they are quite blown away by how much unnecessary holding has been going towards nothing useful at all. There are no useful reasons why we need to be efforting, holding, gripping our facial muscles in this way most of the time, but we continue to do so out of habit. Please try it– you have nothing to lose, except perhaps any headaches or jaw issues you might suffer from.


Thank goodness for conscious awareness.

By utilizing your ability to be aware of your experience, that which was invisible can now become known. Holdings and exertions that ran the experience of you can now start to loosen. By continuing to consciously explore your body throughout the day, you’ll be able shift these stressful laden habits into new habits that will facilitate ease and bring increased well-being into your life.

It may seem simple, and that’s because it is. But it’s not always easy. Just like with all new practices, the more you change one thing, the more you’ll notice a slew of other things that you never realized were connected.   (Pssst! Those tight muscles are connected to the need to be in control, in charge, and/or in some version of ego identity.) One of the hardest parts of being more intimate with your body will be the incessant thoughts that try to convince you that spinning out of control is a more useful way to spend your time. (Pssst! Don’t believe everything you think!)

A possible outcome of this increased consciousness of your body is that, in the process, you may develop a more friendly and intimate relationship with yourself and the present moment. This means less “spinning out” and living from your hamster-wheel thoughts, and more living in the direct experience of now.


Let’s continue.

Now drop down lower into other areas of your body. In fact, while you’re at it, you might as well find out what’s going on with your body from head to toes. Why not engage in a full body scan? You will deepen your awareness of yourself, bit by bit, discovering all sorts of things that you hadn’t previously noticed.

Just below the head is another favorite place where people (including myself) unnecessarily or habitually hold tension: the shoulders. A year or so ago I’d randomly started to find my shoulders inching up to my ears. Bringing conscious attention to this habit allowed it to release, and as that happened I experienced fewer neck and shoulder aches, and less stress overall.

Move your attention away from your shoulders now and let it curiously explore other areas of your body. Are you clenching your hands? Your stomach? Your back? Your inner thighs? Your toes? All day long we unintentionally and habitually grasp, and hold, and exert. We just do this stuff, out of habit, thinking we have to. And sometimes we do. But whilst just sitting and breathing in a chair? We don’t have to tighten and hold so much during those times. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll have to hold less and less once we realize that we can hold less and less.

Whilst exploring, continue to notice that there is always this field gravity here, in every second. You are either subtly or overtly fighting against it, or surrendering to it. (This applies to walking, sitting, standing, or lying down.) In every moment, you can notice how gravity is here. You can play with this experientially, and feel the dramatic relief of curiously exploring the body, rather than being caught in a hamster-wheel of obsessive thoughts.


Notice and commune with the simple.

Most people think that our experiences, or these states of being, are coming from the mind. We’re used to having most of our attention on our mental activities/thoughts. But there are corresponding sensations in the body, so keep dropping your attention below the level of the hamster-wheel mind, and come to the direct experiences of your body.

As you continue to play with your own experience of yourself – and by the way, how cool is that!!? – keep being curious. What is holding now that wasn’t a moment ago, or vice versa? How is a sense of unnecessary exertion, trying, grasping, or holding happening in this moment? The mind loves to complicate things, so keep coming back to simple.

Be curious, and ask yourself questions. “What is holding now that doesn’t need to be?” “What else can I let go of?” “What would it feel like to release this habitual holding in this moment?” “Can I surrender the holding of my muscles into gravity, into the chair, into space, in this moment?” “What is it like to feel the breath move through my body?” Keep being available to simple noticings.

It may also be useful to curiously play with questions such as “What am I releasing the tension into? Where does it go?” “What (or who) seems to “catch” or hold gravity itself?” Ask these questions not to get definitive answers, but to find out what arises.

As you’re experimenting, notice that this is all happening in relationship. There is never just you and yourself. There is always a sense of a “you” who is relating to a sense of something else. You’re never really on your own, even if it seems that way. There is always attention, tending to something. Get intimate with what that is like to know that.

Most often we gravitate (no pun intended) toward thoughts as if we were solipsistic creatures. But we’re so much more than that, and we live in a universe that is so much wider and deeper than that. We can explore the depth and width of the universe by remembering to consciously connect to this presence of gravity that is already here. We’re habituated to hold and tighten our bodies, to try to control almost all the time, but we don’t have to. We can experience a kind and gentle relationship with our very being and with our universe.

Remember- this gravitational presence is always here. We trust it every day of our lives. Why not lean into- ground into- this trust, with your whole self, and experience ease and spaciousness in the process?


Keep playing and let me know how it goes!
What have you been habitually holding all these years without knowing it? What is it like to release these habits?


P.S. Sometimes we need a little support.

I have loads of audio rests that guide through this process. Send me an email if you’d like to receive them!

April Gathering Dates and Information: Gathering Together, Journeying Together, Deepening Together

Belonging and community  and connection are crucial for our well being. The gatherings this month will be April 6th and April 27th. Come to one, or come to both!

We come to learn about ourselves, together.For those of you who would like support in your deeper looking but aren’t interested in 1:1 sessions, here’s an affordable option.
“We gather to intimately connect and explore the nature of being human. In a world where it is not always easy or safe to be vulnerable, we learn that it is possible. We gather in a safe container, where we are allowed to be exactly who we are, exactly as we are. I always facilitate a guided rest. Sometimes there are a lot of questions. Sometimes I engage in a 1:1 facilitation while everyone else follows along silently. Sometimes I teach ways to assist with self inquiry, or ways to heal the nervous system. We come to learn about ourselves, together. Participation is always optional.”
Check out the details in the link or email Lisa directly llmeuser@me.com

Art work: Caity Johnstone

Support yourself in becoming truly available for your life. 

Awhile back Scott Kiloby emailed me:  “ I see so many people want to be free but stop as soon as the trauma or core story really starts to come up. Then they run.  I think it would be great idea for you to do a group,  gently guiding people…”

He didn’t know that I was already doing monthly groups at the request of the participants of deepening courses I was facilitating as well as people interested in experiencing increased well being. When the courses ended, some people would continue to come, while others would drop away. New people were always welcome.

Scott sees a need, and I love the community of groups- so I will be expanding my group to two times a month. Eventually I will be moving to Fridays- although this month I will be having one on a Saturday and one on a Friday.

There are no requirements to attend: anyone who is interested in becoming more intimate with themselves and becoming more available for their life is welcome.

We gather to intimately connect and explore the nature of being human.  In a world where it is not always easy or safe to be vulnerable, we learn that it is possible. We gather in a safe container, where we are allowed to be exactly who we are, exactly as we are. I always facilitate a guided rest. Sometimes there are a lot of questions. Sometimes I engage in a 1:1 facilitation while everyone else follows along silently. Sometimes I teach ways to assist with self inquiry, or ways to heal the nervous system. Participation is always optional. <3

We come to learn about ourselves, together.

 

When we don’t know ourselves we aren’t aware of thoughts we’re having, or our relationship to them. When we don’t know ourselves we aren’t aware of what triggers us, or even that we’re triggered. When we don’t know ourselves we don’t know what we need or want, or what has been missing with regards to our needs and wants. When we don’t know ourselves we don’t know what we’re feeling, or if it’s safe to feel. When we don’t know ourselves we become at the mercy of forces outside ourselves to take care of us because we don’t know ourselves well enough to take care of ourselves. When we don’t know ourselves it’s like having a party and all the guests showing up with masks on. Can you imagine such a party? I’m guessing there would be very little intimacy or connection. How can we love ourselves, how can we have compassion for ourselves, if we’re disconnected from ourselves?

When we know ourselves we are aware of our thoughts and if they have significance for us. When we know ourselves we know our needs and wants, and how to get them met without resorting to drama or manipulation. When we know ourselves we’re familiar with sensations, and how to connect with them in a way that feels safe. When we know ourselves we can develop a reservoir of inner resourcing, which empowers us and makes it possible for us to hold space for ourselves, love ourselves and offer compassion to ourselves. When we know ourselves we no longer feel like children caught in adult bodies, but capable human beings. When we know ourselves, we are aware- we are self-aware.

It’s easy to get to know ourselves, but it takes time, and often some guidance, as we learn how to do so. For most of us, no one has helped us to really get to know ourselves. In fact, too often we’re taught and encouraged to put all our attention outwards, and we lose our own sense of self in the process.

This monthly gathering will focus on practical and experiential exercises that are specifically designed for the development of self-awareness. There will be time for questions and optional sharing amongst group members. We will meet for 60-75 minutes on zoom. Each call will be recorded, and yours to keep. Please contact me with questions.

Upcoming dates:

 

April 6 and 27, 1:30-2:45 EST

Investment: Sliding scale based on income: 10- $15, paypal to llmeuser@me.com, subject line “Gathering.”  Free to those in my current deepening courses.

Minimum required 4. Maximum is 15 people.

To read more about embodiment:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/05/embodiment-10-things-to-know-about-this-buzz-word-lisa-meuser/

For more, visit my blog, where I write almost exclusively about embodiment. http://integrativehealingnow.com/blog/

Discovering a healthy embodied relationship with Love, A Deepening Course.

Discovering a healthy embodied relationship with Love, A Deepening Course.

 

 

We can learn how to give ourselves relief using kindness and compassion, and in the process invite more embodied well being into our lives. We can learn that this is truly what love is, and what is Loving. We will discover that the true essence of Love is an innocent and profound aspect of this human journey as we explore the mechanics of our bodies and our minds.

Human beings are hard wired to experience love and yet our culture has created a meaning of love that is distorted, misunderstood, and toxic. Because of this toxic relationship with love- and all that we associate with it- we innocently learn and engage in unhealthy behaviors from our earliest days in attempts to feel love, escape from love, or “have/get” love.

When attention (what we usually mistake as love) is not given and received freely, we innately feel a gap- and we can literally spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out how “to get love,” or how to cope in its absence. As we try to figure out how to get it, cope in its absence, or deny our needs for it, we often innocently turn to all kinds of addictive behaviors and substances so that we can experience relief. Our well-being and health suffers, our intimate relationships suffer, and our relationship to sexuality often suffers immensely.

Hidden within that innocent desire for relief- and all that suffering- is the want and need to be loved/feel love. Simultaneously, this is often accompanied by a fear of being alone/feelings of separation- resulting in the subconscious dance of trying to avoid/fearing rejection, fearing/avoiding intimacy and/or anxiously craving intimacy- weaving its way through our often dysfunctional lives.

Like many of us, I started altering my behaviors to please others- to get their attention and “love”- from a young age. I routinely didn’t have someone to support me when experiencing strong feelings. My emotions were often discounted, and my discomforts were usually treated with medication. I quickly learned to suppress what I felt, and I behaved in such a way as to not cause problems, or push people away. If I did that, I was rewarded with positivity and attention- perhaps what I commonly called love. I feared abandonment, and avoided intimacy. I developed attachment challenges early in my life that led to unsatisfactory relationships throughout my life.

As I matured into adulthood I realized that there was another way to be than trying to figure out how to get love, cope in its absence, or deny the need for it. I discovered that there were other options than numbing myself out, altering who I was, or running from my fears. I found that I had the capacity to use mindfulness and inquiry to study my relationship to “the gap” and even to see through that illusive gap altogether. I established a healthy relationship with sexuality, and came to know that Love, and ultimately wholeness, was (in) me all along, whether I was in a romantic relationship or not.

We will learn together:

Join me in this course as we explore barriers to feeling and experiencing love, as well as the false meaning making we’ve given to the word “love.” I will compassionately and gently journey with you as you get to know your innocently developed strategies, core beliefs, and blockages which have contributed to harmful behaviors in an attempt to feel and experience relief, but which ultimately yield a sense of separation and pain. Together we will learn that:

Wanting to experience relief has been an innocent part of our journey.

Acknowledging the toxic dynamics of “love” can be powerfully freeing once spotted and journeyed with.

Discovering the true essence of Love is an innocent and profound aspect of this human journey.

 

This course will utilize embodied practices, including the Living Inquiries, the N.O.W. practice, natural rest, breathing techniques, and some gentle experiential practices designed to explore your various experiences- shame, trauma, 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, attachment theory, and will learn about ways to support and be kind and loving with your self. I will be facilitating and guiding you in practices which will start to re-wire your nervous system and limbic system in ways that are profound. Lastly, you will get to experience the different inquiries first hand, and be able to practice skills for learning how to self-inquire.

You will have recordings so that you can practice on your own between class dates, which will help replace old habitual behaviors with new useful behaviors. All of this will set the stage for deeper self-intimacy and knowing, with compassion and love.

 

Course Information:

When: May 5, 19 and June 2 Noon-2 EST.

Where:  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!

What: 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. The investment is $495. This counts as a prerequisite for Living Inquiries facilitator training.

Also included is free attendance to the May and June Embodied Gatherings (Gathering Together, Journeying Together, Deepening Together). http://integrativehealingnow.com/blog/836-2/

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, and a private FB group for participants to share and receive support.

Please email me for questions. llmeuser@me.com