Yesterday the United States celebrated Mother’s Day, a day which may feel joyful, neutral, or triggering to you, for any number of reasons.
Motherhood plays a complex role in our conditioning as women. Without realizing it, this day can trigger into deep wounds around our perceived success or failure in the roles we think we are supposed to play, and touch into our core identity.
Today, we’d like to bring mindfulness into the specific challenges of being a mother, a caretaker, a teacher, nurse, or helping professional.
Mindfulness can be a crucial practice to help us keep our center when much of our life’s work involves serving others.
Today, we consider a few fundamental Truths:
There is a part of each one of us that longs for someone to protect us, to stand up for us, to make it clear that we matter.
As emotional grown-ups, we can heal past wounds by learning how to do this work for ourselves.
It is my job to know my limitations.
It is my job to use my voice to ask for what I need.
I am accountable for my own resentment.
Today, we are sharing 2 mindfulness practices to help us find our center and maintain healthy boundaries. Doing so allows us to show up for life with our full capacity to love and be present with an open heart.
AEIOUY Check-in (The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown) : Each day, we can specifically focus on the I and the O– did I do something for myself today? Did I do something for others today? When these two points get out of balance, we can usually feel it in our sense of overwhelm, depletion, and/or resentment.
Does this nourish me or does this deplete me? (The Wisdom of the Body, Christine Valters Paintner) This question helps us find alignment and wise action in the present moment.
How does mindfulness impact relationships? Or does it?
Some people think of mindfulness practice as a solo-effort. But isolated introspection is only the beginning of the equation. After all, it is fairly easy to attain a sense of peace and centeredness in ideal settings of quiet, comfort, and natural beauty.
But how does this practice carry over when we find ourselves catapulted back into the messy world of dealing with actual people?
In today’s More than Mindfulness, Nesha shares a few ways that her practice of mindfulness and introspection has improved her relationships.
Healthy boundaries can help us create healthy relationships, and illuminate the ways we may be unconsciously using others to find our own sense of self. When we create self-directed boundaries and make space in enmeshed or confusing relationships, we find the clarity to self-regulate and self-define, rather than depending on others for validation and approval.
2. Ego Identity
When we pay attention to what triggers us in interpersonal interactions, we may become more aware of where we are clinging to an ego identity. When we can’t abide the idea of being perceived a certain way, it is likely that our sense of self has been wrapped up in a status, title, or achievement that does not serve our true identity and Highest Self.
3. Unhealed Traumas
Our reactions to other people can also illuminate our unhealed traumas. When we find ourselves in an emotional reaction that does not seem to add up, it is a good idea to consider the possibility that the person or situation has struck a buried trauma. We can offer self-compassion, love, and acceptance, and recognize that our over-the-top reaction is not shameful. Instead, it points us to the invisible wounds that need healing.
4. Trigger People
Trigger people are people that simply and inexplicably just bug us! When we find ourselves obsessing over every little thing that somebody does, analyzing their motives and behavior, and repeating our observations to others with a need to prove our point, we have likely encountered an uncomfortable mirror! Trigger people often exemplify the very behaviors or beliefs that we most reject or fear in ourselves. When we encounter a Trigger person, we can count it a blessing! He or she has come into our lives to bring awareness into something we were unwilling or unable to see before.
Do you ever pause to notice the thoughts that run through your mind when you are full of anxiety?
Anxiety can be a blaring, neon-flashing sign, asking us to consider, “Who or what is at my center right now?”
Some clues that we have lost our center might be:
feeling a state of crisis
playing God in your life and the life of others
analyzing and replaying scenarios over and over
using hopeless, helpless words like “always” and “never”
One of the best ways to work with anxiety is to simply and consistently calm the body and mind through mindfulness tools.
The purpose of mindfulness is to bring awareness to what is at our center in any given moment. This allows us to use our mind, body, and spirit to realign. With practice, we can consciously choose where we put our center, offering relief from anxiety, fear, shame, and confusion.
In today’s guided meditation, Holly leads us through an 8-minute breath-focused practice that you can use anytime, anywhere, to help you identify what is at your center, and create space for something Higher.
What are your current perceptions around mental health?
What do you do when someone you know or love struggles with their mental health?
How “bad” does it need to get before you seek help? And where do you go to find it?
At Body Soul School, we view Mindfulness as an incredibly powerful perspective to add to our mental health conversations.
Mindfulness shifts our typical assumptions: from the belief that we need someone or something out there to fix or rescue us, to the understanding that all the answers we need are already inside of us, and we have the power and ability to unwind the spell for ourselves–through the Light of a Higher Power. In fact, we are the only ones who can.
Common mental health conversations often frame things in terms of managing and medicating. Mindfulness adds on a lifelong journey of healing.
This way of “deep-looking” invites us into grounding tools, consistent practices, and supportive community, that help to illuminate the root of our difficulties: most often found in a false sense of self that is built on limiting belief systems and fear.
We see Mindfulness as an important addition to our mental health conversations and interventions, one that can reinforce traditional approaches like therapy and medication.
We seek to raise awareness of the benefits for mindfulness for all of us, to eliminate the stigma around mental health, and to create communities where compassion and connection grows organically as our increased level of self-awareness brings us together in empathy and understanding.
This week, Holly offers an 8-minute guided meditation that can help you unwind the perfectionism that may be impacting your life without you even knowing it.
How is perfectionism impacting your life? Your relationships? Your home? Your family? Your career? Your moment-to-moment access to joy?
How often do you hear internal chatter that says, “What you’re doing is not good enough”?
Who do you believe you “should” be?
What do you believe your life “should” look like?
All of these mindfully-asked questions can help us unwind the spell of perfectionism that so often robs us of joy.
Because before we can create a space for what is actually perfect–whole and complete– we have to be willing to let go of the ideas and belief systems that have told us what is perfect.
Everyday, we have the opportunity to surrender the rigid, perfectionistic ideas and belief systems that create tightness, desperation, and a sense of dissatisfaction.
Everyday, we have the equal opportunity to open our minds and hearts to new definitions of beauty, growth, and success, that create space for rest, compassion, connection, and meaning in our lives today–exactly as they are.
Mindfulness is our one-day-at-a-time pathway toward a new way of living, without the stress and tension of perfectionism. The freedom and peace we most long for is within our own hearts and minds, if we have the courage to release the chains that bind us. No one else can do this work for us.
Last week, we discussed surrender in a general sense, leaning to Eckhart Tolle’s definition: “Surrender is the simple, yet profound wisdom of yielding to, rather than opposing, the flow of life.”
This week, we talk about logistics. Even when people begin to grasp the concept of surrender, we are often met with some variety of, “Yeah, but…how do I do that?”
While there is no one right way to surrender, we find the following tips and practices helpful.
1. We Reach Out to Surrender:
At BodySoul School, we encourage our students to reach out often–maybe even daily! Reaching out is a concrete action we can take to surrender. Reaching out means contacting a safe person who can help you find your center when you are in the moment of distress. We often use the following methods to Reach Out:
Marco Polo app
Talk to someone in person
2. We Speak Our Surrender Out Loud to a Witness
When we use our voice to make a surrender, something magical happens. There is something that happens in the neural pathways and bodily reactions that is different than simply sending a text, or thinking something through in our own minds. Using our voice pushes us to solidify our intention, and practice humility and accountability.
3. Start by saying,
“Hi…it’s _________. I need to surrender.”
4. Next, begin an “I am feeling….” dialogue.
When you begin to process “I am feeling…” statements, it keeps your focus and awareness on your own locus of control: what is happening inside your own mind, heart, body, and spirit. You might even locate where the feeling is located in the body. Tension and contraction in the body is a common sign that we are holding on to distressing emotions that could benefit from surrender.
5. Explain your situation, without getting caught in the story.
Most often when we reach out, we have been triggered by some sort of situation or circumstance. It might feel necessary to explain the back-story to be able to fully understand what you are feeling, and be able to truly let it go.
As you explain the situation, be careful not to get caught up in the details of the story. There is a difference between processing to understand, and creating a case to justify your position. As you practice surrender, you will gain greater capacity to feel the difference, and learn how to process in healthy, accountable, and empowering ways.
6. Apply the Serenity Prayer
As you process, you can begin to apply the first stanza of The Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
As you begin to piece apart the situation, you can ask yourself 2 things:
What do I have the power to change?
What don’t I?
Both questions point us to the power of surrender.
If there are beliefs, mindsets, or willingness issues happening–these are thing you DO have the power to change. You can choose to surrender beliefs that aren’t serving you.
Maybe you can identify things you canNOT change that are keeping you stuck. Things you cannot change might look like:
other people’s opinions
other people’s behavior
the way you are perceived by others
your situation or circumstances
You can surrender the things that are outside of your control, knowing that you are giving them OVER to a Power that is greater than you, with the capacity and power to hold all things in wisdom, love, and justice.
7. Say the words, “I Surrender…”
As you state the specific beliefs, mindsets, attitudes, opinions, outcomes, or circumstances, watch for a tangible sense of lightening in the body, mind, and spirit.
When you surrender to a safe person, they will hold your surrender with space and acceptance. There is no need to judge a surrender as “good” or “bad,” it simply is what it is, and they are simply there to witness this sacred and personal process towards spiritual freedom.
On one side, you are IN THE ZONE, going ninety miles-per-hour, pushing yourself to the brink, obsessed with excellence.
On the other, you are ZONED OUT, indulging yourself, making excuses, and binging on social media or Netflix.
How do we get off the wild pendulum swings to find a more consistent, steady way of moving through life?
Today, Nesha talks about how her 20+ years of experience as a studio director has helped her see how accountability can work like a dial.
Turned down too low, people become self-indulgent, developing victim narratives that keep them from progressing toward their full potential.
Turned up too high, people become rigid and perfectionistic, driven by fear and shame.
Nesha offers the superpower of self-compassion as the magical ingredient that brings the dial of accountability into the alignment that brings us closer to our Highest Selves and greatest life fulfillment.
Last week, the world celebrated International Women’s Day. This week, we want to celebrate the Feminine Divine.
Did you know that all human beings have access to both masculine and feminine energies?
How does masculine energy typically manifest?
To get curious, all we need to do is look at our own bodies and the world around us: nature gives us the clearest and truest illustration of things as they are.
Some of the qualities we can infer might include:
Becky offers a mindful practice of the way these masculine and feminine energies live within you, and the ways you may have been conditioned to value or dismiss them.
This week especially, you might create more space to explore and trust the deeply intuitive, powerful, and embodied wisdom that resides within your feminine divine. In other words, don’t apologize for your intuitive wisdom. Learn to trust your gut.
Most of us spend our “spiritual” time and energy seeking the Light. We long for feelings of peace, equanimity, and joy.
But the counterintuitive Truth is that the pathway to these enlightened ideals eventually carries us through the darkness, one way or another. This concept is sometimes referred to as shadow work.
What is our shadow?
The shadow represents the parts of us that feel dark, scary, ugly, threatening, or vulnerable. Some of us are so afraid of these parts that we push them way down, repress them, and don’t even have awareness they are there.
Without bringing our shadow into the Light, these darker aspects of self end up running the show. Instead of living life with authenticity, integrity, and power, we end up living life running away from that which we fear, in ourselves and others.
Today, you might open your mind and consider the idea that there IS hope in your shadow–in the very things you reject most in yourself. As you learn how to bring compassion, acceptance, and even gratitude to these things, you remove the invisible barriers between yourself and the inner freedom you long for.
Your shadow plays a vital role in the fundamental purpose of your humanity: your ability to progress, your ability to love, your ability to feel joy, your need for God.